So I’m sure we’ve established by now that making cupcakes is my usual thing for whenever there is a birthday celebration at work. I’m not so confident with large cakes, generally because I can’t be 100% certain that they’ve worked until they’re cut open, and also because they just aren’t as cute and pretty as cupcakes!
Recently though, I was issued a bit of a challenge. One of my colleagues had a birthday coming up, and she really REALLY wanted a cake in the shape of a turtle, but with purple toenails. So I thought I’d give it a shot!
My first attempt at a themed decorated large cake, and I think it turned out pretty well! (yes, I know it’s more like a tortoise in shape, but we’re calling it a turtle, ok?)
Here’s how I did it…
I used a basic butter cake recipe, and I made two batches. The first I baked the whole batch as one cake, in a 20cm round tin, while second batch I used to make 5 cupcakes and then baked the remainder of the batter in the tin.
250g soft butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ¼ cups caster sugar
2 ¼ cups self-raising flour
¾ cup milk
Preheat oven to 180C, grease and line the base and side of a round cake tin (I used 20cm).
Beat the butter till light and creamy, add the vanilla and sugar and beat again until fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Sift in half the flour and mix with a metal spoon. Sift in the rest of the flour and the milk and mix until combined.
Bake for 1 hour, stand in tin for 5 minutes, then turn onto wire rack to cool. (only bake the cupcakes for 30 minutes though)
I used the second cake as the base, and the first cake I shaped using a sharp knife and then layered on top, sandwiched together with raspberry jam. I cut the cupcakes in half and used them for the feet, but I used a whole cupcake for the head. So far so good! You could probably do it just using the one batch of cake mix and that would be fine – this was a pretty big cake!
I made a basic buttercream icing, added green food colouring and did the shell. Added a bit more green colouring and a drop of pink to the rest of the icing to do the head and the feet.
Then I piped on purple toenails, but you could also use smarties (if you wanted coloured toenails at all). I used a tube of black ‘writing icing’ to do the eyes, and a tube of green to do the shell markings. I really didn’t know what the shell markings should look like so I made it up, and I think this is probably one of the weakest parts of the decoration.
Overall it still turned out better than I thought it would, wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be, and it was very much appreciated by the birthday girl! Success!!