Vegetable plot

Vegetable plot

Spiced apple cake

By
From
The Birthday Cake Book
Serves
15-20
Photographer
Laura Edwards

A perfectly ordered miniature vegetable grden, sprouting an abundance of vegetables in neat rows. Each year I try, but mine has never looked anything like this to date… This is an ideal cake for a keen (or like me, aspiring) gardener. All the vegetables can be made weeks ahead and arranged on the cake on the day.

For the cake

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
unsalted butter, for the tin
1 quantity Wigwam, cake batter only

For the vanilla buttercream

Quantity Ingredient
200g unsalted butter, softened
300g icing sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Special equipment

Quantity Ingredient
25 cm cake board
1 cm calyx cutter, (optional)

To decorate

Quantity Ingredient
2 boxes matchmakers
icing sugar, to dust
edible glue
edible glaze spray, (optional)
few pieces spaghetti
short piece green cotton
500g ready-made teddy bear-brown sugarpaste
2 tubs chocolate vermicelli

For potatoes and pumpkin stalks

Quantity Ingredient
25g sugarpaste
brown food colour paste

For pumpkins and carrots

Quantity Ingredient
75g sugarpaste
peach/orange food colour paste

For peas, carrot and tomato tops, and beans

Quantity Ingredient
75g sugarpaste
mint green food colour paste
grape violet food colour paste

For leek tops and caulis

Quantity Ingredient
35g sugarpaste

For aubergine and rhubarb tops and cauli leaves

Quantity Ingredient
50g sugarpaste
mint green food colour paste
christmas green food colour paste

For tomatoes

Quantity Ingredient
25g sugarpaste
christmas red food colour paste

For rhubarb sticks and radishes

Quantity Ingredient
25g sugarpaste
claret food colour paste

For aubergines

Quantity Ingredient
25g sugarpaste
grape violet food colour paste

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C/fan 150°C. Butter a 25 cm square cake tin and line the base with baking parchment. Pour the cake batter into the tin and bake for 40–45 minutes, or until a skewer emerges clean. Leave to cool completely.
  2. To make the vanilla buttercream, beat the butter until very light and fluffy, then add the icing sugar and vanilla extract and beat for at least five minutes until very light and fluffy.
  3. To decorate, trim the top of the cake flat. Place the cake upside down on the cake board, adhering with buttercream, then spread the remaining buttercream all over the top and sides. Trim the Matchmakers to slightly different lengths, and press around the sides for the fence.
  4. Colour sugarpaste for the vegetables. The amounts and colours listed overleaf are those I used, but feel free to experiment. Keep the coloured sugarpaste sealed in polythene bags, as it will dry quite quickly.
  5. For the potatoes, roll the light brown sugarpaste into a sausage about 1 cm thick and cut up into 1–2 cm lengths. Roll into uneven shapes and, with the fine end of a paint brush, make indents all over. To make the carrots, take small balls of the orange colour, roll into an elongated cone and press a small knife across it to look like the ridges on a carrot. To make the fronds, roll out a small quantity of the paler green to about 1 mm thick. On a work surface dusted with icing sugar, cut small strips about 2 cm x 5 mm. Cut fine lines down one side. Stick on to the ends of the carrots with edible glue.
  6. For the peas, make 3 cm-long boat shapes with the paler green, making a point at each end. Indent the centre of each pod with the end of a paint brush. To make the peas, roll tiny little balls of the same colour. Paint the inside of each pod with edible glue and place three peas inside each. To make the cauliflowers, take balls of white about twice the size of a potato and press one side against a sieve to make the pattern. To make the green leaves, press five small pieces of the dark green in your fingers, mark the veins with a knife and glue around the white centre.
  7. For the tomatoes, roll small balls of red, indent the sides slightly with the end of a paint brush and indent a small hole in the top of each. To make the calyx, roll out a small quantity of the lighter green, mould with your fingers and stick on to the top of each tomato (or use the calyx cutter). To make the radishes, simply roll small balls of pink and make one end into a slight point to form the root.
  8. To make the aubergines, roll pieces of purple sugarpaste (about twice the size of a potato) into a ball, then into an oval, slightly narrower at one end. Spray with the edible glaze, if you like. Once they have dried, roll out a strip of the darker green sugarpaste to 1 mm thick and cut strips of about 3 x 1.5 cm. Cut zigzags along one side, wrap around the thinnest end of the aubergine and mould a thin stalk.
  9. For the leeks, roll thin sausages of sugarpaste of both the white and brighter green (mine were 2 cm white and 2 cm green) and join the ends together with your fingers. Cut the green part at an angle and mark lines along the length of each leek with a craft knife. To make the pumpkins, roll a ball of orange about the same size as the aubergine, squash slightly and, with the fine end of a paint brush, mark indents from top to bottom. Make a small hole in the top, roll a stem with a tiny amount of brown sugarpaste and glue into paste.
  10. To make bean canes, cut 8 cm lengths of raw spaghetti. Press in twos into the cake in a row and tie the tops together with a piece of cotton to resemble string. Roll thin sausages of the lighter green sugarpaste and twist around the spaghetti. To make the beans, mould very small pieces of the darker green and adhere to the spaghetti with glue. For the rhubarb, roll thin 2 cm and 3 cm long pieces of pink sugarpaste. Line with a craft knife and mould a leaf from darker green sugarpaste.
  11. For the snail, roll a piece of brown sugarpaste into a very thin sausage and coil around. To make the raised beds, roll out the teddy-bear brown sugarpaste to 5 mm thick on a board lightly dusted with icing sugar. Cut out six rectangles, each 10 x 6 cm. Using the glue, arrange all the vegetables in neat little rows on the raised beds. Add the snail. When you are ready to assemble the cake, place the raised beds on top and sprinkle the vermicelli between them. Use a dry paint brush to remove any vermicelli that falls among the vegetables.
Tags:
Baking
Cakes
Birthday
cake
sweets
dessert
sweet
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