These adorable mini cakes require a little carving and a deft hand at covering, then they’re pure good fun to make, as you create embossed roof tiles and cute bird decorations.
You Will Need:
- 20cm (8in) SQUARE SPONGE CAKE, cut into rectangles and stacked to make three cakes of three layers. The top of each cake should be carved into a triangle before coating with buttercream
- 3 x 15cm (6in) cake boards covered in pale brown sugarpaste
- 400g white sugarpaste
- 2 tbsp stiff peak royal icing
- 200g red flower paste
- Edible Glue
- 10g black flower paste
- 40g brown flower paste
- 15g white flower paste
- 3 tbsp white soft peak icing
- 15g dusky pink flower paste
- 120g 50:50 mix turquoise flower paste and sugarpaste
- 10g yellow flower paste
- A cutting wheel tool
- Non-stick board and rolling pin
- Cake smoother
- Small sharp knife
- Art deco embosser
- Bowl and spoon for icing
- Fine paintbrush
- 2cm round cutter
- Thin round nozzle
- Small piping bag
- Small and mini blossom cutters
- Foam flower pad
- Ball tool
Step-by-Step Birdhouse Cakes
- While the sugarpaste on your covered cake board is still fresh, roll over it with your Cutting Wheel Tool from Issue 28 to emboss random wavy lines – long and short – in the paste, as well as almond shapes, to create the impression of bark. Do this on all three boards and put them to one side for now.
- Knead your white sugarpaste so that it’s soft and workable (but not sticky) and roll it out on your prepared work board to 2 to 3mm thick.
- Move a stacked, carved and buttercream-coated cake near to the board, lift the white sugarpaste, then drape it over the cake. Lift the paste out at the sides, to prevent folds and creases, then carefully smooth down from top to bottom. Keep pulling the paste out at the sides and smoothing.
- To get a smooth finish, use a circling motion to run over the cake from top to bottom on both sides with a cake smoother. Also smooth the front and back of the cake. Cut away any excess paste around the bottom of the cake using a small sharp knife. Cover your other mini cakes in the same way.
- Smooth stiff peak royal icing over each of your cake boards – towards the back – then stick a white birdhouse in place. You need some space in front of each birdhouse to add the bird later.
- Knead your red flower paste until pliable and roll it out on your work board. Keep flipping and rotating the paste between rolls. When the paste is an even 2mm thick, flip it over one last time, then place your Art Deco Embosser on top and press in firmly all the way along the strip.
- Remove the embosser from the paste to reveal a pattern beneath, then use your small sharp knife to carefully cut around the top edge of the strip.
- Hold a cake smoother at the bottom edge of the strip and use it to cut a straight line all the way across. Once cut, carefully lift the strip away, knead your remaining red paste and roll it out again. Cut and emboss 14 strips in total – each one needs to be three triangles long.
- Dip a fine paintbrush in edible glue and sweep it along the bottom edge of one side of a birdhouse roof. Lift a red embossed strip and stick it in place, cutting away any excess paste at the edge of the birdhouse with a small sharp knife.
- Brush a second stripe of edible glue on the roof above the first embossed strip, then stick a second strip onto the roof, slightly overlapping the first. The points of this strip should touch the highest point of the first strip.
- Work your way up the side of the roof, sticking
- on one strip at a time and trimming it to size, then repeat on the other side of the cake. Make sure the bottom strip on the other side lines up with the strip on the first side.
- Take two last strips and trim them to half the height of the other strips you’ve used. Stick one to each side of the front of the house, just under the top edge of the roof, to make eaves.
- To hide the rough edges where your roof tiles meet the eaves and along the apex of the roof, roll your remaining red flower paste into three long sausages. Use a cake smoother to ensure they’re completely even.
- Trim the three sausages to the correct size with a small sharp knife – one should be long enough to sit along the apex of the roof and the other two should sit along the top edges of the eaves. Once trimmed, stick them in place with edible glue.
- To make the entrance to the birdhouse, roll out black flower paste to roughly 1mm thick and use a 2cm round cutter to cut out a circle. Brush the front of the birdhouse with edible glue and stick the black circle in place.
- Also break off a third of your white flower paste, knead it and roll it into a sausage. Roll over it with your cake smoother, then use the smoother to flatten both ends – this will be a perch.
- To make the decoration for the top of your eaves, roll our some of your remaining brown flower paste to 1mm thick and cut out a diamond shape.
- Drop your Thin Round Nozzle from Issue 40 into a piping bag and spoon in some white soft peak icing. Pipe elongated teardrops that make up the shape of a fan in each half of the diamond. Finish by piping a dot in the centre. Leave the icing and brown diamond to harden for a while.
- While waiting, roll out dusky pink flower paste as thinly as you can and use two blossom cutters – small and mini – to cut out at least eight flowers. Transfer the blossoms to a foam flower pad and press gently in the centre of each one with the smallest end of Issue 4’s Ball Tool.
- Now divide brown flower paste into five or six small sections of differing sizes. Roll them into sausages, then roll over them with a cake smoother. Place more pressure at one end of each sausage to make it taper – these will be branches.
- Decide where you want to position the branches on the front and one side of the birdhouse, then brush over that area with edible glue. Stick on the branches to look like they’re climbing up the walls.
- Take your bag of icing again and pipe five small dots in the centre of each small blossom and a single dot in the centre of each mini blossom. Leave the flowers to harden, too.
- While waiting, take your turquoise blue paste, break off a small ball and put it to one side. Roll the remaining paste into a thick sausage in your palms. Place pressure on one end of the sausage to thin it out, then tease it into a tapered point to make the basic shape of a bird.
- Divide the remaining blue paste in half and do the same again, but this time flatten each tapered sausage with your palm or a rolling pin to make a wing shape. Stick one to each side of the bird’s body using edible glue.
- Roll two tiny balls of black paste to make the bird’s eyes and stick them to the head. Also roll a tiny piece of yellow paste into a cone shape and stick it to the front of the bird to make a beak. Leave the bird to firm up a little.
- To complete the details on your house, coat one end of the white perch you made in Step 18 with edible glue and stick it just below the black circle on the front of your birdhouse.
- Use edible glue or a little stiff peak icing to stick the blossoms to the birdhouse, positioning them on top of and next to the branches.
- Also brush the back of the eaves decoration with edible glue and stick that to the top of the house, covering the hole left in the eaves. If the icing isn’t dry, be careful to only touch the sides.
- To finish, use a smear of stiff peak icing on the belly of your blue bird to stick it in front of the house, just to the side. Make two more birdhouses following the steps above and allow them all to firm up completely before serving.