Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Fairy Cake Ice-creams

Today I visited the studio of the lovely ceramicist Anna Barlow. At the moment, she makes astoundingly realistic ice creams out of a combination of clays and glazes. Check them out. Anyway, I am a great believer that guests asking for favours should bring cake, and I'd seen a tutorial on youtube ages ago (I think it was this one) for individual cakes that look like ice creams, made by icing a cupcake/fairy-cake on top of an ice cream cone. They looked pretty easy, and they were definitely appropriate, so I had a go at making them!

You will need:

  • fairy-cakes/cupcakes, baked and at room temperature 
  • Ice cream cones. Make life easy for yourself and get the flat bottomed ones. If you can't (I couldn't) just bodge it like I did.
  • buttercream icing
  • decorations- sprinkles, 100s&1000s, wafers, flakes
  • a pallet knife for spreading icing
  • icing bag if you have one (sandwich bag with the corner cut off works too)
  • [if you're using pointy cones] a surface to stick your cones to. I covered a piece of corrugated cardboard in tinfoil.
Okay, let's get started!
If you bought pointy cones, like I did, start off by evenly cutting off the bottom using a serrated knife and no pressure. Test your cone to see that it can stand up. With a large dollop of icing, glue your cone to your surface. Trim the the pointy end of the cone, fill it with icing and invert it inside the main body.

If you bought flat bottomed cones, you can weight them down with sweets for extra stability. 

Spread a layer of icing around the rim of the cone...
...and invert your cake onto it. Do this for all of your cakes and cones and leave them a little while to affix both to the board and to each other. This will make decorating less precarious. Here you can see I stuck mine on a board with very close quarters, so they'd fit inside my cake transportation box. This made them pretty difficult to decorate. I recommend giving them a personal space perimeter of at least 4cm on all sides for easy decorating!

Now it's time to decorate. You can stick with vanilla buttercream, or add cocoa powder to make chocolate ice-creams, even experiment with extracts and food colourings to make different ice cream flavours. I want to try mint choc chip! To decorate, you can either smear your icing straight on with a pallet knife, or pipe it on in a big swirl starting at the base. Either way I find you have to smooth over with a pallet knife for a good finish. This is why flat base cones are easier- you can pick them up and put them back down.

If you want sprinkles, put them on straight away! As soon as the icing starts to harden you will have trouble making them stick, and unless you want to waste your life applying sprinkles with tweezers, you'll have to go without.

To stick in a wafer (do this AFTER sprinkles), make a hole with the fat end of a wooden chopstick and then gently push the wafer in. If you're using fan-wafers, I guess you'd make a slit with a knife and push them in.
And that's it. You're done. Leave them for the icing to set, or devour them straight away.

They are quite top heavy and do not transport well without a lot of care. If you wanted to make these for a party at someone else's house it would probably be best to take all the crap with you and assemble them there. You could even make an ice-breaker activity out of it!
Here are mine chilling in Anna's studio:

See how much better everything looks under natural light? The light in my flat is awful, I hate all the stupid sodding blinds and net curtains sapping all the light away! Although that can't be blamed for the pictures in this, as I finished making these at 30 minutes past midnight.

Here's how they look with a bite taken out of them:

As for the taste? As long as you don't spread the icing too thick, they're pretty tasty without being super sickly. If you're worried about it, you could go for a cream-cheese icing instead. I don't think they'll be a regular thing I make, because they're kind of gimmicky, but they would be fun for a beach themed party or a kid's party. And they got a good reaction from Anna, so that's the main thing!

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