Monday, 13 February 2017

Baking With Littles: Mermaid Cake!

First of all, thank you for those of you who have been patient with me during this ridiculously busy time in my life! Selene's third birthday fell within two weeks of me starting a new job and on the same week of university exams. I can't remember the last time I sat and just relaxed. Feeling very blessed, but very tired, so thank you for bearing with me!

Alright, this month's Baking With Littles is completely on theme with my beautiful Selene's birthday party: mermaids! You may or may not want the kiddo(s) involved with the actual baking process. I like to bake cakes a day or two before an even, as by the time I am done cleaning up the mess, I have no energy left to actually decorate the cake.

Having said that, this cake was so simple to decorate, I could have just done it all in one go. That is how it made the Baking With Littles approval - simplicity. It looks beautifully intricate, but it is so easy to do.

The cake recipe is from How to Cake It, and it never fails. I have used this for every party since I found it last year, and I am told it's delicious every time. You can choose from either chocolate or vanilla. For reference, I did 2 1/2 pounds of vanilla cake and split it between 3 5" pans. For the icing, I made this classic buttercream recipe, dyed it lilac and added a little bit of bubblegum flavouring.

To make:
  • Prepare the cake as per instructions
  • Layer the cake with thick buttercream between the layers
  • Pop in the fridge for 30 minutes to let the buttercream set. This will prevent it from moving around or squishing down while you finish the cake.
  • Frost the outside of the cake with a moderate amount of buttercream. Back in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  • Cover with a very thin layer of fondant. Be messy with it - it doesn't matter. I am not the best at covering cakes with fondant, and it's totally ok if it rips when you put it on. It's just there to help hold the buttercream together and help the mermaid "scales" stick!

Now you're ready to decorate! This is the fun part for the littles.

Take the back end of any large decorating tip, like the Wilton 1M.

Colour your fondant whatever mermaid-y colour you desire, and roll it out thinly. Show your little one how to cut out the circles with the back of the tip, and then let them go to town on it! I honestly let Selene cut them all out while I cleaned up the living room. I came back and they were done. It's like playing with playdoh to any child, and it's lots of fun for them :)

Another option is to do this next step while your little one cuts out the circles for you. To apply the scales, dip your finger in a tiny bit of water and dap it onto a circle. Apply it to the cake, working around in a circle, and then applying the next layer slightly overlapping the first. You can start from the top of the cake or the bottom, but I find starting from the top gives a better look.

Be sure to cover the fondant you aren't working with. It dries out very quickly, and gets funny little ruffled edges when it's too dry.

Another fun option for little ones is painting the scales. I placed a few yellow scales throughout the cake, and then painted them with edible gold paint (available via ebay) afterwards. I didn't ask Selene to help me with that part, but it's very easy and she would have enjoyed it.

If you want to add the exact details that I did - use a mermaid tail fondant mould (ebay), let it dry overnight and use a toothpick to hold it in place on top of the cake. To make the 3, just thinly roll out fondant and curl it in to make the 3.

The reason this recipe is perfect for baking with littles is, they can get hands on with no supervision for the circles, and the rest (which you would need to do yourself) is easy and not time consuming. If you are like me and like to bake the cakes for your little ones' birthdays instead of paying someone to do it, then this cake is for you!

I made this cake for family on the day of Selene's actual birthday, but here are a few snaps from her birthday party a few days later:


If you have any requests for how to make a recipe child friendly, or if you see me bake anything on snapchat that you'd like advice on, please let me know!

Thanks for reading.

xo, Miss Betty Doll.

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