Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Birdcage Birthday Cake

Birdcages are a common theme at weddings and recently they have become popular as birthday cakes as well. I went to a wedding a few years ago of a couple whose surname is Bird, and they had a birdcage on each table – which I actually sourced for them – filled with flowers and decorated with little birds. I was given one of them to keep afterwards and replaced the flowers with dried ones, and I have it on display in my bedroom.
I’ve noticed a few birdcage cakes on the internet and thought they were really pretty and when I was sent a pair of bird cookie cutters to review by Cake Mart, I thought this was the perfect opportunity. I also used another item they sent me for review which was not exactly the purpose it was meant for, but it worked really well!

The cake itself didn't quite turn out as I'd hoped; despite making sure that my cakes all looked even, when I covered it with the fondant it looked a bit lumpy. I'm not sure how else I could have done this on this scale - if it was a smaller cake I could have left out the buttercream in between the layers, and made one or two large sponges and carved it. Maybe the way to do this is to make a mini birdcage cake!

I used the same lemon cake recipe that I made for this cake so I'm not going to repeat it here, as there are several steps to assembling the cake. Here's the cake, or part of it at least - I doubled the quantities in the recipe.

The top of the cake needs to be a dome and I would normally bake another cake in a hemisphere tin but I had some offcuts of cake left over from another recipe. I treated it like a giant cake pop, turning the cake into crumbs and mixing with buttercream until I had the consistency of a pliable dough, which I then shaped into a dome.

As you can see, the cakes look very neat when stacked together (other than the top), so I don't know what happened when I covered them with fondant! I think actually looking at the picture on the right, one of the layers shifted due to the buttercream.

I covered the whole stack of cake with ready-made fondant which I had coloured light blue with some Sugarflair gel colour. You can also buy a pre-coloured pack but that way is more expensive.

Looking at pictures of bird cages online I saw they had wide bands horizontally around the top and bottom and then thinner rungs (or wires) running vertically. I knew that I couldn't do this freehand, so had the idea of using this pastry lattice cutter that I was sent by a German company called Cake Mart - they also have a UK site. This allowed me to cut very thin strips which I separated with a knife. It worked really well and it's nice to know products can have multi uses!

For the wider strips I used a fondant ribbon cutter from Cake Boss that my boyfriend gave me for Christmas. It's a great little set that comes in a metal tin, consisting of a roller with a handle, and various wheels that give you different width and style ribbons, such as straight or wavy.


Cake Mart also sent me these bird cookie cutters, which come in a pretty box and would make a lovely gift. They are big enough to use for cookies but also small enough that you could use them for fondant in cake decorating projects, as I've done here. They are robust and comfortable to use.

I used a litte water to stick the bands around the top and bottom of the cake and stuck the smaller strips vertically around the sides. I made some very quick hand-rolled roses and stuck them down one of the cage rungs.

Here is one of the birds which I cut out using the cutters from the same pink fondant as the roses as I didn't want to introduce too many colours.

Another bird which I placed on top of the cage

I also made a handle for the top. Here is the finished cake - definitely not one of my best and it looks a bit messu which is largely down to the uneven cake and fondant covering. Next time I think I would make a smaller cake and carve it rather than stacking several layers together. You get the general idea of a birdcage cake though and it did taste good! I took this into work for my birthday.
I'm sharing this with Love Cake, hosted by Ness at JibberJabber UK; her theme this month is 'colour me pretty'.


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