This cake’s basic vanilla buttercream top and sponge base make it all about the adornment, but you could substitute any other cake to suit your preferences. It would be fantastic as a fun cake for someone or a kid’s birthday party.
12 oz Self Raising Flour
12 oz Caster Sugar
12 oz Margarine
750 g Icing Sugar (F)
240 g Unsalted Butter (F)
75 ml Whole Milk (F)
A few drops of Vanilla Extract (F)
You will need to preheat your oven to about 180 degrees for this cake. Forgetting to do this is the most aggravating thing you can do. Even so, preparing a cup of tea while you wait is a good justification.
You can use any cake you choose, but for this cake, I chose a straightforward sponge batter because the birthday boy requested it. To accommodate the tin, I quadrupled a traditional 6,6,6,3 cake recipe. Put the margarine, caster sugar, S.R flour, and eggs into a bowl and mix until smooth. There is some cross-over on ingredients used, which is why they are given twice. The ingredients marked with a “(F)” are for the frosting; those that aren’t are for the cake.
Now I have used a novelty tin (I do love a good novelty tin) to create this cake, I rented it from a local bakery, but you could simply use a rectangle tin and shape it later. Since I usually decorate freehand rather than using the tin’s shape, either of these approaches will work. Either way, fully grease your tin and put the mixture into the oven for around 25 minutes. Depending on the depth of your tin, this could take longer or shorter, so I propose inspecting it after 20 minutes and then seeing how much longer your cake will take. Also, at the 20-minute mark, put tinfoil over the top to stop it scorching if the outside is cooked and the middle isn’t. Once cooked, remove from the tin and let cool fully.
Because the amount of buttercream you will need for this recipe varies on the size of your cake pan and how much you use each time you pipe your star shapes, it’s difficult for me to give you a precise estimate. I personally used this much frosting to decorate my cake, but you might need more or less.
Beat the icing sugar and butter together until well blended. Then stir in the milk and vanilla extract a few tablespoons at a time. Once all the ingredients have been added, whisk the mixture at high speed until it becomes light and fluffy.
BACK TO THE CAKE
Your cake needs to be entirely cool at this stage. At this step, if you use a rectangular cake pan, you must mold the cake into a firetruck.
COLOURING THE BUTTERCREAM
Again, estimate how much of each color you’ll need necessary for this step. I discovered that around 1/3 of the design must be red, 1/3 must be white, and 1/3 must be black (you can make the yellow and grey once you have iced the vast majority of the cake).
PIPING – BLACK
In a piping bag, place your black buttercream and begin sketching the outline of the fire truck. I used a small star tip and simply formed small star shapes to create the lines. This does take a little experience, so I suggest trying it out on greaseproof paper before going onto the actual cake. That way, you can scrape off the buttercream from the greaseproof and re-use it.
Pipe the white buttercream around the bottom of the cake and below the wheel (essentially wherever that is not an actual part of the fire truck) using a clean piping bag with the same nozzle. The lights on the truck’s front were originally white when the picture was taken, but I later changed them to yellow, so do not turn them on.
Use a clean piping bag and the same size nozzle to fill the fire truck’s body with red at this point. (I actually forgot to take a picture at this stage, but if you want to see what to color in red, I’ve attached a picture of the finished cake instead)
PIPING GREY AND YELLOW
With the leftover white buttercream, take some into a separate bowl and tint it yellow (you don’t need a lot, just some for the lights). The remaining black and white buttercream will then be combined to create a grey color. Pipe the grey into the windows, wheels, and buttons in one bag and the yellow into the lights and buttons in the other.
Finally, with a little larger tip, pipe a crimson border all the way around the base of the cake, just to disguise any gaps between the board and the cake. And that its a really basic cake. It only takes time to get the piping correct.
BEFORE YOU MAKE THE CAKE
There is some cross-over on ingredients used, which is why they are given twice. The ingredients marked with a “(F)” are for the frosting; those that aren’t are for the cake.