Friday, 3 May 2013

Tutorial: Sweet shop cakes

Mini sweet shop cakes, as made by EJ
Birthdays are the best, aren't they? I love having an excuse to spend time making something awesome for a friend - and I've wanted to make little cakes along this vein for a while now. There's something really appealing about these kind of old-fashioned candy colours, like the illustrations from a children's book.

These mini cakes have a vanilla sponge coated with vanilla buttercream, beneath a layer of Renshaw ready-to-roll. I actually made these cakes using upside-down cupcakes, with the cases removed - so there's no need for special cake tins or to carve a larger cake. The icing sweets and pin-wheels were made the day before and left to set overnight. This tutorial deomnstrates how to make some of the icing sweets, with a few links to other useful tutorials as well.

Mini sweet shop cakes
For the cakes, you will need:
3 cupcakes (any flavour)
Buttercream icing (50g butter, 250g icing sugar, 3tsp milk, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, 2 tsp water)
A palette knife
Ready to roll icing in the colours of your choice

For the sweets and 'peppermint swirls', you will need:
Ready to roll icing in the colours of your choice
A sharp knife (to cut the icing)
A modelling cone tool
Edible glue
A food safe paintbrush
Kitchen roll

To make the pinwheels using this tutorial, you will need:
Ready to roll icing in two colours of your choice
Food colouring gel (suitable for painting - to decorate the pinwheels)
A food safe paintbrush
A little vodka (to rinse the brush)

I made the pinwheels following this fab tutorial on Clockwork Lemon - I used Renshaw ready-to-roll and left out the crisco. The process for the sweets was inspired by this tutorial from Cake Journal.

Sugar paste sweets

To make the sweets:

Sugar paste, a cone tool and a rolling pin
Knead the icing before shaping to soften it up and prevent cracking.

Roll the coloured sugar paste into a ball and press down to create a sweet
shape. Roll the white icing out to be 2mm thick and slice into a strip.
Use the cone tool to push deep indents wither side of the sweet. Cut
two 1.5cm lengths from the white icing, with diagonal edges 
Gently fold and pinch the narrower edge of the white icing to crease
Secure the white icing in place as the wrapper with a drop of edible glue.
Support the wrapper with some folded kitchen roll while the icing sets, to prevent it from drooping.

To make the 'peppermint swirls', use red and white ready to roll icing. Knead both until soft and workable.

Roll both colours into lengths approximately the same diameter 
Wrap the colours around each other
Roll into one striped length
Roll this into a spiral and leave to set
To cover the cakes:

Remove the cupcakes from their cases and turn upside down. To make it easier to cover the cakes with buttercream, chill them for 30 minutes beforehand.

Use a palette knife to coat each cake with buttercream. To ensure a smoother finish, dip the pallet knife into hot (just boiled) water and wipe dry with some clean kitchen roll before using. The heated pallet knife will very gently melt the surface of the buttercream making a smoother finish much easier to achieve.

Apply the buttercream in two layers, chilling the cakes for 20 minutes in-between each application.

Toll out the ready-to-roll icing to a thickness of approximately 2-3mm. Carefully lay over the top of the cake and gently smooth down the sides, working around the cake as you go - take your time with this. Trim away excess icing and press the raw edges beneath the cake using the edge of a clean pallet knife.

Attach the sweets to the cakes using a little edible glue and arrange extra sweets around the base of the cakes as decorations.

Sweet shop cakes - detail

Sweet shop cakes - detail
Sweet shop cakes - detail

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