My new cake decorating and sugar craft venture .Birthday cake 10x10inch

After 40 years of cooking and baking i am finally going to teach myself sugar craft and cake decorating. I can’t say i have never decorated a cake with butter cream/ cream or icing sugar but its always been quite simple. I have a lot of time on my hands having accomplished my goal of self publishing my cookbook so here i will try to explain my journey into this fabulous art. I may not be very graphic but i will try to explain the best way i can from my first steps to my creations. My first cake will be for my husband and daughter who will celebrate their birthday together this year . Their birthdays are only 4 days apart.

I have ordered the following tools that i think i will need but don’t be put off by the expense as i am the sort of person who does not do anything by halves lol. If you think you might enjoy this craft then you can buy what you require gradually.I will put an Astrix by the basic tools to get you started though.

PME 6″ Non Stick Rolling Pin (for the modeling)
2x Cake Biscuit Cookie Pastry Icing syringe
*Icing set with 8 nozzles
*1 pair small scissors
*Silicone pastry Mat
Cake turntable
12″ silicone rolling pin (for the cake fondant)
Square and round cake boards
Set of 4 Flower gum paste cutters/ rose
Crimper for icing
Straight Frill Cutter
*Edible glue
Set of 3 Garrett Frill Cutter Plunger
Bead Cake Decorating Cutter
4 x Precision tweezers
3Pcs Leaves Cutter Mold
Single rose cutter
4 Sugar craft Daisy Flower
*Pack of 8 decorating tools
*Red,green,yellow,blue and black colouring paste
Pink.lilac gold and blue edible dusting powder
Sugar craft Patchwork cutters – Basket weave Embosser
Fondant Cake Smoother Decorating Polisher
*CMC Tylo Tylose Powder Gum Tragacanth Substitute
7 White Plastic Side Cake Scraper Decorating
*Cake Decorating Brushes
Flower nails
*Wooden toothpicks
Craft knife or scalpel
Piece of foam about 6 x 6
PME Marzipan Spacers
*Confectioners sugar

 I have decided to make a 10″ Madeira cake because it can keep up to 2 weeks, can be frozen after being cooked until needed and is firm enough to hold whatever decoration i want to put on top.

Here is the recipe for the 10″ square birthday cake. If you use any other size the quantity of ingredients will need to be altered.

Part Two: This recipe is taken from The Cake Decorating Bible by Lindy Smith but i have changed a couple of things. I have never made a medeira cake before so i cant wait to try it out. Obviously i wont know what it tastes like until my guests eat it but as its just close family i am sure it will be eaten anyway . I have to test my first madeira cake on someone after all.


  • 500g unsalted butter
  • 200g good quality margarine (not low fat)
  • 700g Castor sugar
  • 700g self raising flour
  • 350g plain flour
  • 12 eggs
  • 3 tsp glycerin (optional but this will help keep the cake moist)
  • grated rind of 2 lemons or 2 tsp vanilla extract these are my choices but you can decide for yourself what flavouring you want.


  • Pre-heat the oven to 160c/325f/gas 3 It you use a fan oven reduce the temperature from 160c to 140c
  • Grease and line the cake tin with greaseproof paper and tie or tape newspaper 1/4″  thickness’s around the outside of the tin. If you are using a gas oven it might be better to use a good thickness of aluminium sheet. This will prevent the sides becoming crusty and help prevent the cake from ‘doming’
  • Sift the flours together in a separate bowl.
  • In a large mixing bowl beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 4/5 minutes in an electric mixer or 6/7 minutes by hand incorporating as much air into the mixture as you can.
  • Next, beat the eggs into the mixture one at a time adding a tablespoon of flour with each egg. This is to stop it curdling. When you have done that add the remaining sifted flour into the creamed mixture and fold in gently by hand with a large metal spoon,adding the vanilla or lemon zest. Do not overdo the folding process by beating or whipping.
  • Empty the mixture into your cake tin and put it in the centre of the oven . Bake for about 1 3/4 to 2 hours. All ovens are different so i would check your cake after 1 1/2 hours by inserting a knife in the centre to see if it is cooked. The knife should come out clean and dry.
  • Lyndy Smith also says put a baking sheet above the cake on the next shelf up to protect the cake from becoming too crisp and brown.
  • When i am baking my cakes i tend to cover the tops with greaseproof paper 3/4 of the way through cooking.
  • p.s…just a reminder…be gentle when opening and closing the oven door or your cake might flop!

  • After researching lots of recipes for vegetarian/vegan rolled/fondant icing i have decided to use the one from a book ‘The Contemporary Cake Decorating Bible’ but adapted it to suit my own needs. The quantity here should cover a 10 inche square cake
  • Vegan/vegetarien Fondant Icing
  • Ingredients Makes 1kg (2 1⁄4lb)
  • 60ml (4 tbsp) cold water 3 tsp powdered agar agar (you can use the gelatin version but use 4 tsps of this) 1/2 tsp white vegetable shortening (trex or crisco) 125ml (4fl oz) liquid glucose /corn syrup 15ml (1 tbsp) glycerin 1 tbsp clear vanilla extract 1kg (21⁄4lb) icing (confectioners’) sugar, sieved, plus extra for dusting
  • Procedure:
  • Place the water in a small bowl, sprinkle over the gelatin and soak until spongy. Stand the bowl over a pan of hot but not boiling water and stir until the gelatin is dissolved. Add the glucose and glycerin, stirring until well blended and runny. Put the icing sugar in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and slowly pour in the liquid ingredients, half the fat and the vanilla, stirring constantly. Mix well. Turn out on to a surface dusted with icing sugar, coat your hands with the remaining fat and knead until smooth, sprinkling with extra icing sugar if the paste becomes too sticky. The paste can be used immediately or tightly wrapped and stored in a plastic bag until required.

You could try adding any other clear essence to your fondant to complement the flavour of your cake! Try rosewater or lavender essence with a vanilla cake giving it a delicate taste experience. Peppermint, orange or coconut would be nice with a chocolate cake. For this first occasion i have decided to stick to the vanilla but i do fancy making a pink fondant cake with the rosewater.

  • (1 Tbsp. of agar-agar flakes is equal to 1 tsp. of agar-agar powder.)
  • Flower paste
    • 500g Confectioners’ Sugar, sifted
    • 1 tablespoon Gum Tragacanth (or Gum Tex)
    • 1 tablespoon Liquid Glucose
    • 2 tsp agar agar gelatin or your normal one
    • 2 tsp of white vegetable fat
    • 4 tablespoons warm water (or 3 tbs warm water + 1 tbs lemon juice)
    • 1 egg white, beaten
  • Procedure:
  • Pour the water (or water and lemon juice) in a large bowl and add gelatin slowly. Stir over a pan of simmering water until gelatin is dissolved in the water.
  • Stir in the glucose slowly.
  • Add the confectioners’ sugar, egg white, fat and gum tragacanth.
  • Mix well. If you use a mixer use the dough attatchment hook.
  • You’ll end up with a soft, sticky dough. Store dough in a well-sealed plastic bag at room temperature overnight (if possible) for it to set.
  • When ready to work the paste add more powdered sugar if it continues to feel sticky.
  • This will make 500g of petal paste which will last up to a month if covered in clingfilm and kept in an airtight container.
  • Butter cream:
  • Ingredients:
  • 425 unsalted butter
  • 700g sifted icing sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract or paste
  • 4 tsp of sugarflair superwhite (optional if you want your buttercream to be more white than yellow.)
  • This should be enough to cover the top and sides to help the fondant stick and stay in place.
  • Put the butter into a large bowl. Beat with electric beaters for a few minutes until pale. Gradually add the icing sugar, a spoonful at a time. Keep beating until mixture is pale and creamy. Beat in the vanilla extract or paste. Will keep in fridge for 1 week. Bring back to room temperature and beat well before using.

Here is the cake covered with butter bream

These are the leaves and flowers made of gum paste. I have to admit i did not find it at all easy but i suppose practice makes perfect. I found the gum-paste was not as gummy and would break. I tried adding and subtracting ingredients but i think it may be because of the agar agar(gelatin) not working in the same way as standard gelatin. However i did manage and the decorations are not rock hard and easily eaten.

As i said his is my first attempt at making a madeira celebration cake with fondant icing and gumpaste flowers. 10 inch square so for a first attempt was not an easy thing, i should have gone for a smaller cake but friends and family will be sure to get a slice 🙂

Everyone said they loved the cake. I thought it was ok but i do prefer sponge. I would not suggest you put any left over cake in the fidge as it seems to go a bit hard. I wrapped some in foil and it was still as fresh the next day


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