Saturday was my son’s 5th birthday! I know everyone says it but where did the time go?! When he was born he weighed 2.9kg or 6.4lb and arrived on his due date! I read that only 5% of babies arrive on their due dates. Crazy huh!
Over the years he has had a rainbow cake, a sculpted dinosaur cake (never again), a ninja turtle cake and a lego cake. This year he asked for a dragon cake, so together we designed his cake. I always prefer buttercream to sugarpaste so I showed him pictures of the gorgeous unicorn cakes around at the moment. We decided on a 3 layer chocolate fudge cake with marshmallow swiss meringue buttercream and raspberry jam between the layers. Dragon wings, tail, feet, teeth, eyes and spikes were all made from french meringue. Although it could have done with a 4th layer of cake to make it a little taller, I think he’s rather cute and my son LOVED it!
A little note for anyone who thinks this looks very time intensive. As I am a Mum and my time is limited with looking after 2 littlies, I took 3 days to make this cake. Meringue lasts the longest so I made this on the Wednesday and stored them in a airtight container. I baked the cakes on the Thursday, once they were cool I wrapped them in cling film until I was ready to decorate the cake. On Friday I made the buttercream and decorated the cake for Saturday.
For all the details on making meringues see my Meringue Hearts blog post.
Here I used 4 large egg whites which I weighed and then doubled the amount of caster sugar used.
Once the meringue was ready and had no more sugar grains, I removed 2 TBS of white meringue before colouring the rest yellow.
All templates were hand drawn by myself after comtemplating some of my sons toy dragons. I used a small piping bag with a small whole cut to pipe the teeth and eyes and then used a cocktail stick to make the points of the teeth more defined.
I painted yellow stripes of gel food colouring into my bigger piping bag to give a brighter colour to the tail, wings and spikes. For the details on the wings I used the smaller piping bag and to attach the wings to the cake I added 2 cocktail sticks to each wing.
As I wanted the meringue very dry with no lovely gooey middle I baked the eyes and teeth, which were very thin, for 45 mins. The wings, feet and tail I baked for 1.5 hours and the spikes were 1 hour as they could still be a little gooey.
Once cool I stored them in an airtight container until I decorated the cake.
Chocolate Fudge Cake (Makes three 6″ round cakes)
263g self-raising flour
3 3/4 TBS cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp bicarb
225g caster sugar
225ml sunflower oil
2tsp vanilla extract
2 TBS tinned caramel (the really thick type)
Preheat the oven to 160°C with a fan.
Line your cake tins with parchment paper, it makes it so much easier to get the cakes out of the tins!
Sieve flour, cocoa and bicarb into a large bowl and stir in caster sugar.
In a medium sized bowl combine oil, milk, vanilla extract, caramel and eggs. Whisk together well making sure the caramel breaks down.
Add liquid to dry ingredients and mix well, the mixture will be quite runny.
Divide cake batter into cake tins, I weigh each tin as I’m pouring the mixture in. I only have two 6″ cake tins so I weighed out the cake batter and kept a third aside. Once the first two cakes were cooked I quickly cleaned a tin and filled it with the mixture that had been waiting. There was no difference in the outcome of the third baked cake but I was very gentle with the mixture when I poured it into the tin as the bicarb had already started working and making bubbles.
Bake for 30-35 mins. Check the center of the cake with a cocktail stick before removing from the oven, it should come out clean.
Allow to cool in the tins for 5 mins and then remove to cool on a rack.
Marshmallow Swiss Meringue Buttercream
For all the details on making buttercream see my Swiss Meringue Buttercream vs American Buttercream blog post.
I used my usual Swiss Meringue Buttercream recipe but flavoured it with 3/4 cup of marshmallow fluff. It was so yummy I think I could have eaten the whole bowl of icing by itself.
I then took a 1/4 out and coloured it yellow and coloured the remainder lime green.
My son loves raspberry jam so I warmed a couple of TBS in the microwave and pushed it through a sieve to ensure there were no seeds left. After leveling each cake layer I started assembling the cake.
Start with a tiny bit of icing on the cake board to keep the first layer of cake in place. I then spread a thin layer of jam onto the cake before covering it in icing. Repeat with your remaining layers although I did not spread jam on the top.
Crumb coat and refrigerate. After an hour remove from the fridge and cover with your decorative layer of icing. I covered the whole cake in green icing and then added blobs of yellow before smoothing the icing with a cake smoother.
I returned the cake to the fridge for another hour before adding the final touches.
I hope you love my quirky dragon cake as much as my son did and if I’ve inspired you please tag #sprinkesinthewild so that I can see too!