• Meg

Make Your Own Stripy Rainbow Sweetie Surprise Cake

What should every birthday party have? Why, a birthday cake of course! Whether the party is for a child or a grown up, it doesn't matter. A cake should be the proud centrepiece of any birthday spread - unless you don't like cake, in which case just ignore me!

First things first, I love cake! I've been making cakes for family and friends for a couple of years now, and I still have so much to learn. My latest creation, I call the 'Stripy Rainbow Sweetie Surprise' - not the most inventive name, I know, but at least it does what it says on the tin! I recently made this sugary overload for a friend's daughter's 12th birthday. The birthday girl provided me with a brief of what she wanted - stripy icing, sprinkles, rainbow colours, and sweets. Simple enough. Usually before I start a cake, I like to sketch out a rough idea of ideally what I want it to look like (this often changes along the way, but it's always good to have a starting point).

I had decided on a classic vanilla sponge for this cake - often the classics are the best - but on this occasion I wanted to jazz things up a little... How so? Sprinkles, and lots of them! This is a nice, simple way of making a plain cake a bit more 'fun' for kids (and adults... no judgement here!). A little advice though, you should slightly reduce the amount of sugar you add to your cake mix, the sprinkles will add extra sweetness and you don't want to go too overboard... Probably made no difference in this instance given the amount of icing and sweets that were used to decorate!

Now, let's talk icing! But first, a disclaimer - icing is not my forte, and this was my first attempt at stripy buttercream. First of all, you need to start by mixing your different colours of icing. Over the years I have experimented with different brands of food colouring, but hands down the best I've found are Wilton's gel paste colours (you can purchase these from Amazon, and they're not too expensive). They produce lovely vibrant colours and you only need to use a tiny amount each time, so the pot lasts ages. Winner!

Once you have your lovely coloured buttercream mixed into separate piping bags, you're ready to begin your decorating. At this point, it's probably important to say that it is recommended you have a cake turntable (again, these can be purchased from Amazon). It's a useful piece of equipment to have as you need to slowly turn your cake while you are piping and smoothing the icing.

So, start by piping rings of your different coloured icing around the sides of the cake and choose one colour to be piped all over the top. Using an offset spatula, smooth the icing on the top of the cake until it's nice and even. Then, switch to your icing scraper and hold it vertically at 90 degrees against the side of the cake. Slowly turn the cake whilst holding the scraper steady to create the striped effect. Make sure you stop every few turns and wipe any excess icing off the scraper, otherwise things get a bit smudgy. A little tip; if your piped rings aren't thick enough to begin with, you can end up exposing your cake through the icing as you scrape it off to create your stripes. If this is the look you're going for, then crack on! This technique can be used to create what is known as 'semi-naked' icing, which is a common style for 'rustic' wedding cakes, but in my case I wanted a nice even covering of buttercream around the whole cake (I didn't completely achieve this, buy hey ho, we learn from our mistakes and I know what to do for next time).

For the final flourishes I hit the sweeties in a big way - think Pick 'n' Mix station at Woolworths level of sweetie goodness, plus even more sprinkles of course! Now in my opinion, no birthday cake for a 12-year-old girl would be complete without some bling. So, to complete my pièce de résistance I gave it a good spray of edible glitter to finish it off - the extra sparkle was simply a tactic to distract from the mistakes I had made. However, the birthday girl loved it, and that's all that matters in the end.

So, there you have it. Thank you for reading if you made it to the end. If you have any photos of cakes you've made in the past, or any tips and tricks you wish to share, then head over to the Laetitia Facebook page (@Laetitia-Events20) - I'd love to see them!

Bye for now!

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