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  • Bec

That 70 Cake: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

I recently stepped waaaay out of my comfort zone to make a number cake for a 70th birthday. This blog gives you some tips for using number tins, and tells you how I got on! The idea of number cakes has always filled me with dread. I'm much better with round cakes. Just a simple circle that I can twirl around on my turntable and ganache in 10 minutes, easily cover with fondant and most importantly... bake in a normal shaped tin! However a lovely customer requested a 7 and 0 cake for her mum, and as I relish the chance both to make a client happy and to add a new string to my bow, I boldly went where I have not gone before - the NUMBER TIN.

Thanks to Personal Ice in town I could rent both the tins and get some great advice from them about how to use them. I placed the tins on silicon mats (highly recommend these for baking purposes, just not for macarons, but that's a different, and very tragic, story) and greased them. I then cut long strips of greaseproof paper, folded them in half, snipped the bottom half at 2cm-intervals and then lined the tin with them. Then I greased them again. Each tin took a full 8-inch cake's worth of batter (so 4 eggs).

After baking I used my cake leveller to trim the tops and to torte the cakes. I then filled them with jam and buttercream and - crucially - left them cling filmed to sit for a few hours. Doing this ensures your cakes have settled into the filling and won't have a sunken top when you've ganached and covered them. The ganaching was messier than usual and obviously not as neat as a round cake would be, but to combat this I rolled my fondant out thicker than usual. I used Couture fondant as it's very pliable and stays soft for longer than my usual Massa. I wanted it to stay soft for a while as the cakes were going to be crimped around the edges and if you crimp hardening fondant it cracks and looks highly unattractive. So the couture worked well.

The Good

- The batter did not leak out of the tin, the cakes looked neat despite them being tricky shapes, and the customer was delighted with the final product!

The Bad

- Let's just say it's not my favourite job extruding. It took me a looooong time to extrude the tiny amount of modelling paste needed to make those cute little balls of wool.

The Ugly

- This cake board was enormous. The number cakes are large and to fit both on comfortably I had to order a cake board that was 20" square. The sight of me rolling out fondant onto it and huffing and puffing was not a pretty one...

For more cake decorating tips go to our Facebook page and have a look at our Top Tip Tuesday feature, and to take one of our cake classes click on the 'Classes' page above.

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