Yesterday we had a birthday party for CrashGirl’s 4th birthday. I love a good birthday party, and especially love decorating a cake. You can see previous birthday cakes here on the blog and you’ll get a sense of how much fun I have!
So this year when it came to planning the cake, the big question wasn’t so much, what will the cake look like, but “Will the cake have sugar in it?” Can I really serve up a birthday cake full of sugar when we have quit sugar? The answer is no, and that doesn’t mean the end of all the fun.
Thanks to David Gillespie’s book Sweet Poison we were able to have our cake and eat it too!
The theme for the birthday was (loosely) a beach party. Except we weren’t at the beach. Although we did have a sandpit! So we made the cake the beach.
Here’s how I made it.
I used a double quantity of David’s Vanilla Cake Recipe (what follows is the single quantity recipe, published with David’s permission).
Vanilla Cake Recipe
- 150g butter, softened
- 1 cup dextrose
- 2 large eggs
- vanilla essence
- 2/3 cup milk
- 2 cups self-raising flour
- pinch of salt
- Preheat over to 180°C (350°F). Grease and flour a block tin.
- Using an electric mixer, beat butter and dextrose to a cream
- Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition
- Add vanilla essence
- Sift together flour and salt in a separate bowl
- Fold one-third of the flour into the mixture, followed by half of the milk
- Continue adding the flour and the milk alternatively until you have a soft dough (do not over-mix)
- Spread evenly into the prepared tin
- Bake for approximately 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean
- Remove from tin and cool on a wire rack
The mix was a bit dry so I added more milk until I had a smoother and softer consistency.
Rather unconventionally I poured the batter into a greased and floured Scanpan roasting dish. It was huge, but worked to bake the perfect big beach cake!
All of the frosting (except the waves) is the Mock Cream recipe from David’s book (again published with his permission).
Mock Cream Recipe
Mock cream doesn’t work well in a hot environment, so if you plan to use it, do so where it can be served straight from the fridge.
- 125g butter, softened (not melted)
- 1 teaspoon powdered gelatine
- 1 cup dextrose
- 1/4 cup warm water
- Using an electric mixer, beat softened butter until light and fluffy
- Sprinkle gelatine over two tablespoons of the warm water to soften
- Add dextrose to beaten butter and beat thoroughly until light and fluffy once again
- It may be necessary to add the rest of the water to the mixture to improve the consistency. If you need to do this, do it slowly, one tablespoon at a time. Allow the mixture to absorb each addition before beating it back up to a fluffy consistency and then adding more if necessary. You are aiming for a mixture that is not grainy to taste. If you use up all your 1/4 cup and the mixture is still grainy, add up to another 2 tablespoons but no more. Too much water will drown this recipe and turn it into a gloopy mess that never sets.
- Flavour and colour as desired
- Spread onto cakes, then refrigerate to set
I made one quantity for the crumb coat, a second quantity tinted blue for the ‘ocean’, and a half quantity for under the ‘sand’.
The ‘sand’ is actually not fructose-free. I used Marie biscuits whizzed in a processor until a fine crumb. I’m sure if I looked hard enough I could have bought or made some fructose free biscuits and done the same with them. I just avoided that half of the cake!
The breaking waves are also not fructose-free. It is frosting in a can which I used because it is white and it was in the cupboard.
The mermaid is a Polly Pocket and CrashGirl insisted she sat on the beach rather than in the water. We made sure she didn’t dry out by shading her with a cocktail umbrella ;). The creatures came with the mermaid.
The cake looks a little bare in the photo. I added candles (of course) and piped CrashGirl’s name across the ocean.
- Make sure the crumb coat is set before you start on the next layer.
- I did the ocean next and pushed the dolphin in while the mock cream was still soft. I let this layer harden before doing the final layer for the sand so the water’s edge didn’t get all mucky.
- I spread the final layer on and then sprinkled the crumbs on straight away so they stuck.
That’s pretty much it! Everyone loved it and so did I. The cake was beautiful and moist and really enjoyable because it wasn’t all sickly sweet. CrashGirl loved it too, “It’s beautiful Mum”.
My job here is done :)