The Fencing cake idea came about from a dinner table discussion where the boy announced that he thought as I was at home all day I would have lots of time to make him a cake. After a bit of deliberation I secretly agreed with him and a seed of an idea was formed.
First though you need a little bit of history, as I don’t like cooking, or should I say didn’t like cooking before I left work. I am not a food lover never have been. I do however like a spot of cake, but feeling like I could never make a cake as good as my Nan, my cakes came from packets. I have made some great cakes, but all of them courtesy of my good friend Betty Crocker.
Ok I did have one other attempt at a cake, and with lots of advice from two good friends, one who is a chef, and the other who has done cake courses and made some beautiful cakes. The resulting microwave cake was tasty and looked as planned, a purple octopus cake. The Fencing cake however was going to be a bit more of a challenge, as it was going to have figures.
I set about my research, and after a long discussion with Miss L and a look through some of her modelling and recipe books. A simple sponge recipe with: 220g soft butter, 220g caster sugar, 220g self raising flour, 4 eggs and 100g cocoa powder mixed with hot water, would make the base for my chocolate cake. I cheated and bought some vanilla fudge icing as I have had too many disasters that I wasn’t willing to risk it, this would be my only concession. The ingredients were bought, and with some borrowed tools, cocktail sticks I started what turned out to be a weeks work. I did think about other themes for the boy’s Birthday cake, but there is one thing in his life bigger than all the others so a Fencing cake was the only option.
Day 1, and fencer number one. I had my instructions on how to roll and mix the flour paste with the fondant icing, adding colours for the mask, glove and socks. Luckily fencers are mostly white. This proved to make for an easier time, although I still needed some highlight colours. With the help of the book, and sizes for each part, making the first fencer only took 2 hours. I was rather pleased with the results, and adding detail with a food dye pen was a great touch. Confident that number 2 would be ok, I hid him in an airy place to dry out.
Day 2, and Fencer number 2. This fencer was going to represent the boy and both Fencers would stand proudly on the cake. I had all my mixed icing, tools and weapons at the ready. But as the first fencer was in a right-handed pose I realised that Fencer 2 would have to be left-handed to add them flat to the cake. There would be no going back now as the boy is a right-handed Fencer! The worst bit was making stripe socks, as my red icing kept melting and going sticky!
Day 3 and time to bake! The cake mixed up ok, as I have my lovely new mixer that I treated myself to earlier in the year. It didn’t curdle like other cakes have and was rising beautifully. I wanted the finished cake to be long and skinny like a Fencing pieste, so baked a square cake with plans to chop it in half. A few added touches made, score board, stars and a birthday star, and all was going well.
Day 4 time to put some of the parts together, the cake had baked a bit lop sided but some careful cutting and turning and I managed to get it level. the fudge icing was great and a lovely contrast to the dark cake. Only problem was the crumbs that came off the cake. I was covering this with fondant so know one would ever know! I rolled out my grey icing, and prepared to lift onto the cake. This cake wasn’t small so lifting was a problem. As I got it over the cake it cracked, there was no going back as it was on fudge icing, not like a marzipaned cake that you can remove and try again. I was annoyed with myself, but finished off, trimmed the icing and did the best I could.
Day 5, and a restless night worrying about what to do now. My worst fears realised, yes the thunderstorm and high humidity in the night had caused both of the fencers to start to melt. Yes this can happen! A crack across the top and a bodge on the sides and things were not looking good. This is where some creative thinking was needed. A trip to Hobby Craft, and some co-ordinating ribbons which I tacked up on the sewing machine. that was the sides sorted. I rolled more icing for the top to make a pieste to cover the cracks. There was no way the fencers would stand up so taking fencer 2 as it was most like the boy, I set out the top of the cake.
The Fencing cake was finished. I can say it was a labour of love, and something I certainly would do again. I have complete respect for people who make wedding cakes as it must be super nerve-wracking. The best part was the look on my boys face when he saw the cake. I presented it to him at his fencing club, he had no idea at all. They sang Happy Birthday, then all had a piece to share his day.
So , yes I am at home all day, and yes I can make a cake. If it makes my boy smile than that is all the reward I need. We still have the fencer as the boy doesn’t want to eat him, and now a whole club who want me to make fencers out of icing for them!
This post is my entry into The Great Denby Cake Off,you can find out more about the competition here