This colourful cake is perfect for a craft themed party.
Makes: 1 x 25cm cake
Preparation: 5 hours, plus drying time
Baking time: 1 hour – 1 hour 20 minutes
Oven temperature: 180°C
• 150g plastic icing
• gel food colouring in colours of your choice
• cornflour or icing sugar, for dusting
• 1 batch royal icing
• black gel food colouring
• 2 batches basic vanilla cake
• 11⁄2 batches basic butter icing
• green food colouring
• liquorice sweets, to decorate
1 Pencil decorations Colour the plastic icing in the colours of your choice. Colour a small amount a very light brown for the pencil tips. Roll out each colour into a rectangle. Roll it out on sifted cornflour or icing sugar to prevent it sticking. Use a ruler and large, unserrated knife to cut out pencil shapes. Cut out at least 20 pencils so that there are spare pencils in case a couple break. Cut each about 3cm wide and as long as possible, about 15cm, so that they can be cut according to the height of the cake later. Cut the points of the pencil.
2 Roll out the light brown icing and cut into 3 x 3 x 3cm triangles. Use the back of a piping nozzle (or something similar) to cut away the tip. This will form the ‘wooden’ tip of the pencil. Brush the tops of the pencils with a small brush dipped in water and stick on the ‘wood’ pieces. Lay the pencil cut- outs on a large tray and use a dry brush to brush off any excess cornflour or icing sugar.
3 Colour the royal icing dark grey with the black food colouring. It doesn’t need to be black as the colour will darken as it dries. Spoon it into a small plastic bag, cut the tip off and use it as a piping bag. Pipe two lines just below the ‘wooden’ tip and pipe each child’s name vertically onto a pencil. Leave the decorations to dry for a few hours or preferably overnight.
4 Cake Prepare the cake batter according to the instructions on page 116. Pour into two 25cm greased and lined round cake tins. Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, then turn the cake out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
5 Once the cakes are cool, trim the tops to level them if they have risen with a peak and then cut each in half horizontally. Colour the butter icing and spread some in between the layers, stacking them carefully. Place the cake onto the cake stand and cover the entire cake with butter icing.
6 Measure the height of the cake and cut the icing pencils to the right height using a sharp unserrated knife. They should be long enough so that the tips of the pencils will stick out above the cake. Space the pencils evenly around the cake on the table to make sure that they all fit. Carefully lift each pencil and spread a little icing onto the back. Press them up against the cake, gently pressing them into the icing.
7 Arrange a variety of liquorice sweets on the top of the cake and make a border with red liquorice along the bottom edge.