Lemon Cake & Stripy Piped Icing

I genuinely love baking, and enjoy few things more than the look on people’s faces when I get it right.  But usually when I provide baked goods it’s on a whim, so I’ve exceeded people’s expectations just by showing up with a loaded plate in my hands.  It all changes when I’m specifically asked to bake for someone, particularly for a birthday, and I start feeling the pressure…  I mean, heavens to Betsy, who wants a rubbish birthday cake?

I was flattered to be asked to bake a birthday cake for my discerning foodie friend, Simon.  Now, Simon is an extraordinary chef with incredible skills, an admirable palate and an adventurous attitude to food, and he’s also a terribly clever colourist who makes the programmes on your television look blinkin’ awesome.  (I have some very talented friends.)  I set out to make a delicious, meticulously baked cake that Simon, his gorgeous wife Jessie and three-year-old daughter Livia would all enjoy: a lemon cake, with a little classy something as a gentle nod to Simon’s love of colour.

I baked a gorgeously light three-layer lemon sponge and made some fluffy tangy lemon buttercream (combined with the paddle fitting, then fluffed with the whisk fitting).  I frosted it very plainly, then moved on to the coloured bit…  In the absence of disposable piping bags, I used a freezer bag, which I loaded with a star-shaped piping nozzle and rested inside a glass while I painted strips of colour down the inside, then dropped in a wodge of lemon buttercream:

I was marginally disappointed to discover that buttercream behaves differently from royal icing when it’s piped, so it didn’t quite come out the way I had expected but it had its charms:

The next job was the writing on the top.  I wasn’t too chuffed with my last writing efforts so I was determined to make a better job of it this time.  I made up some icing with lemon juice and a little pale yellow colouring, and poured it into a freezer bag with a small round nozzle.  One of my failings is spacing my writing evenly when I just go for it freehand, so it’s necessary for me to trace out my plans with a skewer before I start piping:

Text just in…  Taste-wise, it was “a triumph!”.  Coming from Simon, this is praise indeed.

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One thought on “Lemon Cake & Stripy Piped Icing

  1. And very delicious it was too. Can I get you to do you amazing rainbow cake for Liv’s birthday in Feb? Your challenge is to incorporate a ‘princess’ theme too, though still tbc. We’re hoping she’ll change her mind 🙂

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