Penguin classics

We had a party at my house. It was partly for winter and partly for my man’s birthday and partly for our housemate’s birthday. I made a cake. Et voila.

Well ok, that’s not the whole cake, just one of its residents. A few weeks ago, upon inviting a colleague to the party and informing there would be cake, it was somehow agreed that said cake would be an igloo (I can’t remember if that was her idea or mine). At the time I had not yet begun the cake decorating course, but I thought to myself, “I’ll have done two weeks of proper decorating by then, I’ll be fine.” And, largely, it was fine. It was even a little bit fun, working out how to turn this picture I had in my head into a real cake creation. (One friend insisted it was from one of the Women’s Weekly birthday cake books. I protested it was all of my own invention, so he looked right through the new and original versions and could find nothing resembling this. Though there is a penguin cake.)

For those interested in specific details: The cake is chocolate mud, baked in a pudding tin. I one-and-a-halfed the recipe but unfortunately that and the domed tin meant I was unsure about the cooking time needed and it did sink quite a bit after it was taken out of the oven. Also half the cake stuck un the pan. However it was delicious.

I used a dark chocolate ganache (70% cocoa chocolate because I didn’t give clear enough instructions to my shopper, but it tasted ok) and two layers of fondant icing that were about 2-3mm thick each (I wanted to have just one but it was a bit lumpy looking still). The “ice blocks” were defined using the handle of a paintbrush.

The penguins (there were originally going to be polar bears but that seemed an awful lot harder) are cone-shaped rolls of white fondant mostly. Their wings are from black fondant rolled about 5mm thick and cut in a circle then squished into a kind of oval shape and stuck on to the bodies with water. The heads are just balls of the black fondant, stuck on again with water. I didn’t have any yellow colouring but I did have already-coloured gumpaste that’s supposed to be turning into cala lily stamens, so I used that for beaks and feet. The beaks are attached with tiny dobs of sugar glue. The feet are little heart shapes stuck on with more water.

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