Have a look at a local baking supply store or a party shop for their assortment of novelty cake pans for posssible inspiration regarding the type of cake to make. These are often available for hire for a nominal fee.
PREPARING THE CAKE PAN FOR A NOVELTY CAKE:
What you will need:
- A novelty cake pan
- Vegetable shortening and a little flour for greasing the tin
- Buttercream icing (click here for a buttercream icing recipe)
- Food colouring (preferably gel colours when working with buttercream icing)
- Icing bags (you will need at least as many icing bags as the number of colours that are required for the cake so perhaps use disposable bags for this purpose)
- Icing nozzles (see the particular pan instructions for specific nozzles required)
- Couplers (not essential but make life so much simpler and reduce the number of icing bags needed)
- A cake board or plate to fit the cake (and if freezing the cake, that will fit in your freezer!!)
Grease the novelty cake pan very well using vegetable shortening (which can be found in most supermarkets). Using a sieve, sift over just enough flour to cover the entire surface that you’ve greased. Turn the cake pan upside down and tap the pan a few times to remove any excess flour. This will also expose any spots that you haven’t greased properly as the flour will not adhere to the surface here. Regrease these spots and then dust with flour once again, tapping the pan to remove the excess. Take time to do this properly as this will ensure that the cake turns out properly and that you are able to define the details on the cake.
Use a cake mixture of your choice for the novelty cake (click here for a recipe that you can use). Use a cake recipe that is robust enough to hold its shape. Do not be tempted to overfill the pan (about halfway to just below two-thirds full is more than adequate) as the cake will rise and you will simply have to cut off the top to make the cake level. You will have to use your judgement as to the amount of mixture required, based on the size of your particular novelty pan (this will be between one and two cake mixtures worth).
Make the buttercream icing using the recipe here (or alternatively you could make Swiss meringue buttercream icing). You will see from this recipe that the proportion is basically one part butter to two parts sifted icing sugar so you can easily adjust this recipe to the quantity of icing that you require.
Decide on the amount of buttercream icing that you’ll require in each particular colour. Use the picture that comes with the tin (these can often be found online too or simply use your own imagination). Note that the background and sides of the cake will require a good proportion of the icing. Divide the buttercream icing into bowls and add food colouring, using a toothpick and only a drop at a time (from experience, it is far easier to add another drop than to have to make more buttercream icing because you squeezed too much out in one go!!).
Place a coupler into each icing bag (click here for how to use couplers). The advantage of using couplers for this type of cake, is that you would otherwise require quite a few nozzles for all the various colours or else you would have to finish all your piping in one colour and then remove the nozzle and wash it before proceeding with the next colour.
Place each of the icing bags into a jug or glass to make it easier to load the icing into the bag. You do not necessarily need an icing bag for crumb-coating the cake (the details of this are explained below).
Now it is time to crumb coat the cake. This simply means coating the sides and/or background of the cake with a first coating of icing to literally hide or seal in the crumbs before adding a second layer of icing. You can put the icing on with a palette knife (put sufficient on at a time) and then smooth it. It doesn’t have to be perfect but get it as smooth as you can. Then place the whole cake in the fridge (uncovered) to set for about half an hour. Crumb-coating a cake can make a huge difference to the overall final appearance of the cake. You may find it easier to use a piping bag (filled with your background colour) for areas on the top of the cake that need to be iced with the background colour. Smooth this area with a palette knife after piping on a few blobs of icing. Now apply a second ‘coat’ of icing and smooth gently with a clean palette knife (dip in boiling water and wipe clean if necessary).
Start outlining the details on your cake (typically a darker colour like black is used for this) with a small round nozzle fitted to the coupler. This makes it easier for you to contain the stars that you will pipe next. Now for the fun part… start piping stars. Remember that pictures are made up of a whole lot of little dots or pixels. The same applies to this type of cake… the picture is merely a collection of little stars. If you haven’t made one of these types of cakes before, practise a couple of stars first on a plate or piece of baking paper. Now start piping in the various colours. If there are details (such as eyes) that you think should stand out more, then pipe them last.