Weasel loves octopuses and pirate ships, so it wasn’t a great surprise that when asked what she wanted on her birthday cake these two items would feature. Having had cakey disasters in the past, or at least cakes that eat up days of my life making, I first looked for ways to cheat.
Cheat 1: Use Cake Mix. If I was going to spend hours decorating it and putting a ton of icing on it, the last thing I wanted to happen was to have a cake with a bad consistency that couldn’t stand up to the topping. Do not under any circumstances go to the American shop, buy 3 boxes of expensive cake mix from your childhood, entrust Husband to bake the simple cakes (3 ingredients, how could it go wrong? Oh yes, he forgets one of them in all 3 cakes, which he for some reason he bakes back-to-back until 1am), and find yourself sending husband to the 24 hour Tesco to amend his cake-ruining ways.
Cheat 2: Buy pirate ship. Why bother spending hours moulding a pirate ship from icing or purchasing a cake topper when I could buy a toy from the shop that could be played with later? I avoided Lego just because the thought of getting icing and cake out of all those little holes seemed daunting!
Cheat 3: Use pre-rolled icing. I did make an attempt at rolling my own to cover the cake. This was total disaster. Thankfully I had backup. I think it only comes in white, but you can do as I did and paint it, which is seriously a million times easier than rolling.
Cheat 4: Buy pre-coloured fondant where possible. My bright orange octopus would never have been so vibrant had I mixed the colour myself.
Step 1: After baking, don’t be impatient, allow to cool properly. Bake an octopus in a small metal bowl like this:
Step 2: Put on pre-rolled icing. Paint pre-rolled icing to desired colour (or colour you wish everyone’s mouths to be dyed for days). Add sparkles to annoy Husband. I recommend a watery theme as people seem to think painting it badly is actually a wave effect that you worked very hard at to achieve. Wait to dry – this could take a while. Get impatient, continue decorating anyways.
Step 3: Plonk ship on cake at jaunty angle.
Step 4: Roll up legs from pre-coloured icing, and put them where the ends would be hidden under the octopus’s head. I failed here and put the head on first, meaning you see all the joints. Stab a few toothpicks into the cake and spear octopus head in order to keep it on top. Note – please remember these exist when serving to small kids.
Step 5: Add polka dots to your octopus to cover up your total inability to roll icing. Add candy fish/other sea creatures/pirate candles to distract further from shoddy workmanship.
Step 6: After refrigerating overnight to stop droopage, make confused child nearly cry at birthday party with requested cake. Blow out candle yourself.