And so the day arrived when I had to put all my preparations to the test, it’s Peppa Pig day! First, to make the cake. I needed a larger cake canvas than my template (which was about 10 inches wide at it’s widest) so I used my new Silverwood multisize square pan (exciting!). I used Nigella’s “basic but yummy” chocolate cake recipe from Feast, a two layer cake with a chocolate butter icing. So I needed two 12in squares from my multisize tin. A bit of a pfaff to have to do two separate batters, takes a bit longer but with only one tin that size that was my only option.
I worried that I wouldn’t be able to get the cakes out of the tin and onto the cooling wrack without breaking them, a 12 inch cake is difficult to control. But turns out that part was easy, I would have a slight, shall we say, hiccup a little later! While they were cooling I made the chocolate icing which uses melted chocolate, butter, icing sugar and sour cream (there might have been some bowl licking at this point but I won’t be drawn on it…..). Once that was ready it was time to start the assembly.
I decided to assemble and ice the cake on a baking sheet, it was big enough and hopefully it would be easy to transfer the finished cake to the cake board at the end. I put the bottom layer in place and iced it, so far so good. As I was putting the second layer on top a bit of it broke off in the transfer…..no panic. I used a bit of icing and shored up the break and all was ok.
Once I had the two layers in place I put the Peppa template on top and, using my trusty bread knife, I cut out the shape of the pig. For my first time doing this it was fairly easy and it looked like Peppa. There was loads of leftover cake, the trimmings filled one of my medium sized bowls (I processed all this to crumbs and it is sitting in my freezer awaiting a use, cake pops maybe?)
While researching the cake, many recipes said to put the sponges in the freezer for a short time before cutting/icing them, I could now see why. The cake was so fresh that it was very crumbly and icing it proved a challenge. On the other hand my freezer isn’t big enough to accommodate that size cake so it wasn’t feasible. After a little bit of stress (there were tears and tantrums!) I managed to ice it and put it in the fridge to firm up in readiness for the fondant.
After about 30 minutes in the fridge and a calming cup of coffee I moved on to the final stage, the pink pig bit. I rolled out the pink icing and covered the cake, trimmed and smoothed it and it was starting to look quite good. I had toyed with using fondant to trim the edges in a darker pink but decided to use royal icing and pipe the outline and around the bottom of the cake. I made the royal icing and coloured it using a liquid colour rather than gel colour (I had some liquid colour left over from a red velvet cake I had made at Christmas). Big mistake. The extra liquid made the icing less stiff, I added more icing sugar but when I piped it on the cake I could see that it hadn’t been enough. Also, my piping skills are pretty basic which didn’t help matters. But it would have to do, no going back now.
Once I added Peppa’s features (eyes, mouth, nose etc) she looked pretty good. If I had been on GBBO there would have been many criticisms. I have to say that it was a lot more stressful than I had imagined, too many things went wrong. I salvaged it all but as my own worst critic it wasn’t my neatest work.
The final hurdle was moving it onto the cake board. But what with all the icing and fondant the cake had grown and was now too big for the board. GIVE ME A BREAK!! On the baking sheet it remained.
The next day, after mad traffic in the Catford area, we delivered Peppa to the two year old birthday boy. His parents, sister and him were very pleased I’m glad to say. We stayed and tried the cake later and it was worth all the trouble to have everyone say how good it was. In the end it is the taste of the cake that matters.
Here is the finished article, you can judge for yourself![read more]