Thursday, 4 July 2013

Renshaw Royal Baby Cake Competition

Last week I was invited to take part in a competition held by Renshaw. Renshaw are a long established company who make sugarpaste, marzipan and frostings. You can find the Renshaw website at

The competition task was to design a cake for the birth of the Royal Baby. The first prize in the competition is a full day class at the Peggy Porschen Academy in London. There are also two runner up prizes, consisting of a signed copy of Peggy Porschen's "Boutique Baking" book and £25 off an order from the Renshaw website.

I was so excited to be asked to participate! I was sent a pack containing 500g of white sugarpaste, 5 x 100g of coloured sugarpaste and 500g of white marzipan to decorate the cake with.

I took me quite some time to decide on the design I wanted, and I must admit it did change a bit during the process of decorating the cake!

For the cake itself, I decided on a lemon sponge with lemon buttercream. Lemon Drizzle Cake was recently voted as one of Britain's favourites, so I thought that this would be quite fitting for celebrating the Royal Baby.

To make a lemon sponge, you will need:

4 eggs, weighed
Same weight Self Raising Flour, sifted
Same weight Butter, softened
Same weight Caster Sugar
2 tsp lemon juice
Zest of 1 lemon

Grease and line 2 x 7" sandwich tins and preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan oven).

Beat the butter and sugar together until pale and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well with each addition. Add 1 tbsp of flour with the last egg to prevent the mix from curdling.

Mix in the lemon juice and zest thoroughly.

Fold in the flour, a little at a time, until fully incorporated.

Divide the mixture between the two tins and bake in a preheated oven for around 25-30 minutes until well risen and golden, and a skewer inserted comes out clean.

As I was making a cake for the Royal Baby, I decided to have a red, white and blue theme. I divided the sponge mixture into two mixing bowls. I then mixed red gel colouring into one half, and blue gel colouring into the other.

Leave to cool then chill in the fridge until cold.

To make lemon buttercream for sandwiching and crumbcoating, you will need:

100g butter, softened
250g icing sugar, sifted
1 tbsp lemon juice

Beat the butter until creamy and add the lemon juice. Gradually add the icing sugar until fully incorporated.

I did not colour the buttercream as this was to be the white in my red, white and blue theme.

To assemble the cake:

Remove the cake from the fridge. If needed, level the top and trim the sides with a sharp knife.

Using a pallet knife, spread some buttercream on top of the base sponge (around 0.5 - 1cm) thick, and set the second sponge on top.

Lightly crumbcoat the top and sides of the cake as evenly as you can (it gets easier with practice! For more tips see Sandwiching and Crumbcoating Cakes).

Return to the fridge for 30 minutes or so until the buttercream has set.

To cover the cake, you will need:

500g white or coloured sugarpaste
White vegetable fat / shortening (or icing sugar)

Lightly grease your hands and knead the sugarpaste until smooth.

Lightly grease a rolling pin and the surface for rolling out the icing.

Roll out the sugarpaste to around 0.5cm thick. Wrap the sugarpaste over the rolling pin and drape over the cake.

Using your hands or an icing smoother, gently smooth the icing onto the cake. Start at the top and gradually work down the sides to the base. Trim of any extra sugarpaste with a knife. (This also gets easier with practice - for more tips see Covering a Cake)

I did have a minor disaster once the cake was covered. I didn't have enough room in the fridge so left it on the side overnight. When I came to decorate it, this appeared...

I managed to overcome it by popping the bubble with a skewer and gently re-shaping the area. There is a noticeable crease that I couldn't get rid of as the icing was starting to crack, but I turned this to the back of the cake. (I did trim of the excess shown in the picture below)


I decorated the covered cake with royal icing crowns using cake stencils. This was the first time I'd tried stencilling and I'm quite pleased with the result! I used a regular pallet knife, but an offset / angled pallet knife would make it much easier to get the royal icing more level.

I originally wanted to apply lettering directly to the cake, but as it was so warm, the letters kept deforming. After some impromptu problem solving, I decided to make two banners and emboss the lettering onto it.

I made some baby blocks for the front of the cake and embossed the year onto them.

Finally, I painted the lettering, numbers and crowns gold.

The End Result

Here is the cake all finished!

The cake once cut (as it was late, the overhead lighting has made the red sponge look a bit orangey - it is definitely red though!)

I've really enjoyed making the cake, but it would have been nice to have had a bit more time to spend on it.  I also had 30 cupcakes to make, and another batch of cupcakes for some sugarpaste I'm reviewing (post to follow soon!). I've also been packing for a camping holiday and busy at work, so this week has been quite an eventful one!

Most of the cake has gone to friends and family, but I'm off for my first piece now!

I'm on holiday now, but I've got a few updates in the pipeline for when I get back.

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