Toppings for Children's Birthday Cakes
Eyes bigger than stomachs need plenty to see! For kids, the first impression of the birthday cake is Lots of people are happy to make cakes but panic about decorating them. Don’t! There’s nothing difficult or mysterious about producing professional-looking cakes at home (but don’t tell your many admirers that when they ogle your latest fantastic creation...)
As you do more baking, you will get a feel for it. Your personal tastes-and those of your family, of course-will influence the variations of cakes, fillings and toppings that you use.Follow some basic guidelines for cake toppings, then interpret them as you wish, using your imagination and a little flair.
Toppings are not only about visual appeal; they have a practical purpose too.Cakes stay moist for longer if they have been filled and iced.
Four Basic TypesButter cream is the most commonly used and probably the simplest type of cake topping. It can beflavoured with chocolate, orange, almond, coffee or ginger, for example. Soft sugar icing is another basic type of cake topping frequently used on kids cakes.Cooked fudge frosting and fluffy cooked frosting are the other two basic types.
Choose Your ToppingThese quantities should be enough to cover one 18cm cake.Soft sugar icing is made with icing sugar and a liquid. It can also be combined with flavourings and colourings. This topping is uncooked and easy to use; particularly with soft sponge cakes.
Ingredients and Method
- 175g icing sugar
- 1 tablespoon (approximately) of cold water
Sift the icing sugar into a bowl then stir in the water to make a smooth, but liquid, paste. Place your ready cooked and cooled cake on a wire rack with a plate underneath.
Simply pour the icing over the centre of the top of the cake and allow it to ‘find’ its own way until the cake is covered. Use a palette knife to cover the sides of the cake too if you wish.
This can be sprinkled with grated chocolate or other fine textured edible finishing touch.
You can give a textured finish by ‘fluffing up’ the icing with a fork before it sets. You can also use tubes of readymade coloured icing to decorate this icing while it is soft and make your own patterns.
Butter Cream Topping: Ingredients and Method
- 125g butter or margarine
- 175g icing sugar, sifted
- 1-2 tablespoons milk
- a few drops of vanilla essence (optional)
Either beat the butter (or margarine) with a wooden spoon until soft and creamy, or, whizz it in an electric mixer. Slowly add the icing sugar a little at a time and mix thoroughly between each addition. Add vanilla essence if used.
Next, add the milk to achieve a more liquid consistency.Place your cake on a board and use a round-bladed knife to cover the sides first. Dollop more butter cream onto the top of the cake and spread it evenly, to the edges, with a palette knife.Use a fork to make a ‘fluffy’ pattern, or the blade of a knife to form a lattice pattern. Experiment!
Chocolate Fudge Frosting: Ingredients and Method
- 450g caster sugar
- 300ml water
- 50g butter
- 50g (preferably organic) cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons golden syrup
Put it all in a saucepan! Heat without boiling and until the sugar has dissolved. Next, bring to the boil and bubble over low heat. Prevent the syrup from sticking by slowly drawing a wooden spoon across the bottom of the pan, but, do so without actually stirring or beating the ingredients.Remove from heat and leave to cool.
Once the mixture has cooled thoroughly beat it vigorously with a wooden spoon until it thickens. It is now ready to spread over the cake with a palette knife. Decorate when it has set.
As this topping is a sort of fudge, it can misbehave! If it sets too quickly, just place it in a bowl overhot water then add a little warm water or milk, beat to soften then use immediately.
Fluffy Cooked Frosting: Ingredients and Method
- 1 egg white
- 175g caster sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- a pinch of both salt and cream of tartar
Use an electric mixer/whisk to whizz the ingredients together in a deep bowl. Place the bowl over a pan of hot water. Keep on whisking until the mixture stands up in peaks.
Use immediately by spreading the frosting over the cake with a palette knife. Leave to set.These are the basic toppings-what happens after that is up to you! Have fun.