Tag Archives: buttercream

“GELATO!” Nope… chocolate cake. The Neph turns 5

I’m genuinely not sure what’s happened to the last five years, but somehow, my adorable nephew is now five entire years old. Which meant my biggest birthday cake challenge to date! Old enough to be very much the star of his own birthday show, complete with artistic input on the menu. By which I mean, he knew around a year ago that he’d like a “minion cake please, Auntie Sez!”

The good news being of course that the phonetically exuberant, banana-obsessed creatures are basically everywhere. I did not expect to be short of creative inspiration. Name any object available for purchase and it’s very feasible that you can buy a minionised version of it somewhere. I am also now, thanks to James, on first name terms with your four central minion characters: Bob, Dave, Kevin and Stuart. (I regularly confuse the last two – one is tall and the other squat and for some reason my brain refuses to associate this distinction with the relevant names.) Bob is my favourite because he has two eyes, goggles and is bald. Dave is basically Bob but with hair. ANYhoo, I digress.

Cake-wise, I decided to bring Dave to life in all his cakey, follicle-filled glory. Having researched my quantities relative to my chosen tin size (8 eggs, ladies and gentleman), I sourced the image below from Google to use as a guide. And I was pretty pleased with the results! (Though, in what is fast becoming a theme for Maison Hart bakes, he did end up limbless. Well, he has legs. Who needs feet, eh?)

Minion Dave sponge cake before and after photos
Before and after…

Dave is one of my proudest moments. Genuinely. He actually looks like Dave, for a start. Most importantly, my nephew absolutely loved him. Plus he was relatively easy to create, and I spent a nice few therapeutic hours in the kitchen last Saturday – a great way to decompress after my first week in a new job. (Yes, I took leftovers in, in a shameless attempt to ingratiate myself with new colleagues. Ahem.)


Once the cake had cooled I was able to, initially, just lightly score the main outlines directly onto the sponge, and then to cut out the shape of his head at the top and his legs at the bottom. I then lathered the shaped sponge in chocolate buttercream – both as a filling and all over the top and sides – and rolled out a sizeable hunk of yellow icing.

I’m including photos from various icing stages below because, well, because a seemingly ‘naked’ minion is fairly chucklesome, let’s be honest.

Minion Dave sponge before icing is added

Minion Dave cake yellow icing
If he had a face he’d be blushing right now

This last photo is also worth laughing at because you can make out my giant hand print, caused by my inelegant attempts to persuade the cake onto an icing surface. I was able to smooth away most of the marks, and/or cover them with other body parts. (Cake smoothing tools are widely available online; I use one very similar to the Easyflow Smoother/Polisher.)

Cue the rest of Dave’s costume…

Minion Dave cake before face is added
Dungarees! He’s so on trend

All the coloured icing you see in this cake is ready-to-roll pre-coloured icing (I bought these particular colours in Sainsbury’s). The buttons are simply small balls of black icing pushed down and then stuck on with a dab of buttercream. And now for the face…

Minion Dave cake with dungarees and goggles
Goggles and brown eyes added

That’s better! I can confirm that Dave definitely has brown eyes. Google said so. Fortunately I had some brown icing leftover from various reindeer escapades in the past. To make the goggles silver, I cut out the black circular rims separately, and put them on kitchen towel to spray with edible silver glitter.
For the finishing touches, I lightly sliced in a mouth (smiling), and forced some liquorice twists onto cocktail sticks to insert in the top of the head as hair (three on either side of the parting). Et voilà!

Minion Dave cake

He tasted pretty good too 🙂


The cake wasn’t the only thing in tiers (#sorrynotsorry)*

Originally posted May 2014.

Exciting times this month chez Maison Hart! On Saturday 10th May I had the total pleasure and honour of baking 48 personalised cupcakes for the wedding of the lovely Beth and Adam. Having never baked for such an occasion before (eek!), cue much experimentation and multiple tasting sessions!
The happy couple went for half vanilla flavour, and half rosewater and pistachio. Both were topped with flavoured buttercream sprinkled with edible glitter, with homemade peach sugarpaste roses nestling in the pink buttercream, and alternate sugarpaste hearts labelled with the letters ‘A’ and ‘B’ protruding from the blue topping – see below for the results.

For the roses, I followed Mich Turner’s handy tutorial as guidance: see below. Don’t be put off by the subtitle promising ‘Cake Decorating Perfection’; frankly, if you go into this expecting GBBO-levels of quality you may be disappointed. As I have learned, you really do just have to start from where you are.

I was originally inspired into thinking I could actually produce something vaguely flower-like after taking a sugarpaste modelling one-off class through Groupon. This was in fact two of the most frustrating hours of my life, as I struggled to come to terms with being a total beginner surrounded by experts (well, two other people, one of whom was the teacher. The small group only intensified my feelings of inadequacy). I felt fat-fingered and utterly out of my depth, but I did somehow manage to stifle my vanity and was incredibly proud of what I eventually took home with me. Although, frankly, TWO HOURS for a single flower. No wonder bakers and modellers are moving into teaching others; the time vs money ratio on wedding cakes must be challenging to say the least!

It was just lovely to be involved in my friends’ big day, and to present them with such a personal gift. A lot of love went into those cupcakes…I hope it shows.


* Cake pun stolen directly from my Dad’s Father of the Bride speech at my sister’s wedding

Official cupcakes photo courtesy of Rebecca Walters
Beautiful official cupcakes photo courtesy of Rebecca Walters (http://www.rebeccawalters.co.uk/)


A is for Adam, B is for Beth. C, as we all know, is for Cake.
A is for Adam, B is for Beth. C, as we all know, is for Cake.


sugarpaste pink rose cupcake
Roses are… pink. The other cupcakes are blue.