Saturday, January 30, 2010

Happy 3rd birthday sweet Imara

Yesterday was my daughter's 3rd birthday and the theme this year was Mermaids. Imara loves mermaids and asked if I could please make her a mermaid cake. I made the tiered skirt she is wearing above out of Michael Miller Sea beauties and malibu stripe fabric. The pattern is from Sandi Henderson's Gracie range.
Here is the lovely and ultra yummy birthday cake. This year I tried something new, no more caramel or chocolate mudcake but instead I baked a strawberry jelly cake with vanilla and strawberry buttercream icing. I can't believe how scrummy this cake ended up being, its nearly all finished and it was super duper easy to make.
RECIPE (from the website, slightly altered)
1 x 600g box of vanilla cake mix (I used Betty Crocker vanilla cake)
1 x 85g packet strawberry jelly
1 punnet strawberries, pureed
4 large eggs
120 ml vegetable oil
1/4 cup water
1 tsp strawberry extract/essence
3 level Tblsp margarine
500 g icing sugar
1 tsp strawberry extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
a few drops of milk to smoothen the consistency of the icing
Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius (mine is non fanforced gas oven). Line and grease a 12 cup capacity dolly varden cake tin.
Beat eggs in a large bowl till light and fluffy, then add cake mix, jelly crystals, pureed strawberries oil and water (I also added 3 extra tablespoons of maragarine to my batter, but you can omit this if you like).
Beat on medium speed untill all ingredients are combined (don't overbeat). Pour into cake pan (about 2/3 up from the rim)
Bake for 63 minutes (they said 45 min, but it wasn't enough time) or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
Let the cake cool in the pan and then remove and refrigerate (give mudcake texture if you do this). The next day remove from fridge and let it come back to room temperature. The cake produces a lovely moist almost mudcake/banana bread like texture but not as stable as mudcake. I personally wouldn't use this cake if I was to make a novelty cake, which requeres a lot of cutting and shaping.
For the icing, combine butter, icing sugar and milk and beat on medium speed until the frosting is light and fluffy and pale in colour (almost white). Add colouring and strawberry & vanilla flavouring.
Place some icing on the bottom of the cake and secure to your cakeboard/serving plate. Ice the cake and quickly sprinkle soft brown sugar to represent the sand. If you wait till the frosting is dry/set, the brown sugar will fall off, so make sure the icing is still wet when you sprinkle the brown sugar. Now you can add your cake topper and water effect (I normaly use blue tinted Royal icing) and shark fins.
For the mermaid topper I tinted about 1 cup of Orchard fondant (you are supposed to use modelling or flower paste, but my children do not like the taste) with Wilton copper (use a tiny bit, or the skin will be too dark) I then moulded the body, two arms and a nose.

I then attached the head, arms and nose using sugar glue (bought from cake decorating store) I shaped the hands, adding fingers and added eyes with a kebab stick, the mouth was made using the bottom end of a piping tip. Using a straw, I indented the "scales" on the tail of the mermaid.
The mermaid is then left to dry completely, in this case two weeks, modelling paste dries much quicker and becomes much harder when dried.

Next I shaped a top out of some fondant tinted grass green and added some grooves using a toothpick to look like creases. Stick the top down with some sugar glue and let it dry. I also made some purple flowers out of purple tinted fondant using my blossom cutter and then "glued" it down onto her hands. Let it dry completely. The tail was brushed with edible green chalk (I grated about three different greens and blended the colours using a soft new paint brush) finish off with lustre dust (I used white lustre dust)
Once the mermaid was dry I placed her on the cake and added her fins (green tinted fondant) and hair. For her hair I tinted some fondant brown and used a clay extruder to make her hair. I then added her hair a section at a time (begining at the back of the head, so she wouldn't end up bald!) using sugar glue to stick it down. The reason I did this after she was placed on the cake was so that her hair wouldn't break if I tried to move her, ditto with her fins on her tail.


  1. That is super cute! AND happy birthday! Love the skirt too.

  2. Hi Leoni,
    Thanks for stopping by my blog. I get alot of my candy from the USA. The shipping is expensive though.
    I also buy some from lolly shops here in Australia like
    HOpe that helps


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