Cake of the Month – November 2014

November’s Cake of the Month is up next – a dinosaur in cake form that was so cute it made us fall a little bit in love with it.  If we could have taken it home to keep as a pet then we would have!

FCFK - dragon cake 1Name of baker: Esther Metcalf
Name of cake: Dinosaur cake

Butter, sugar, self-raising flour, baking powder, cocoa powder
Icing 1 (main cake):
Butter, icing sugar, cocoa powder
Icing 2 (under the dinosaur cake):
Butter, icing sugar, vanilla seeds

FCFK - dinosaur making ofMethod:
Standard Victoria sandwich cake method for the cake – I made three circular cakes. Two were used sandwiched together for the base cake which was then covered in dark green fondant and the third cake was used to form the body of the dinosaur.

I made some off cuts for the tail and head and then sandwiched together the remaining halves of the circle to form his arching body.

A base layer of vanilla butter cream made a smooth base to cover over with orange fondant (from my favourite shop, Party Party in Dalston) for the dinosaur’s body, and I added cut out triangles fixed with dabs of water for his spikes and yellow dots stuck on this way too. The best bit was adding his googly eyes and teeth!

A sneaky flourish of green buttercream icing helped cover some cracks in the green fondant.

About the baker:
My day job as an architect doesn’t always mean I get to be as creative as I would like, drawing on the computer all day. So baking is a way for almost instant creative gratification. FCFK Hackney seemed an obvious match. I love making cakes, especially fun ones for kids and FCFK Hackney need volunteers to make them.

Cake of the Month – October 2014

Um, yeah, so it’s March 2015 and we’re posting October 2014’s Cake of the Month. We’ve reached new levels of lateness, but hello! Baker Beth only went and made TWO amazing cakes for one year-old and three year-old sisters. The older sister had been in and out of hospital and the family were planning a special celebration for when she came home. Beth could have *just* made a pair of vicky sponges, but she didn’t. She went to town and has some great icing tips to share below. Read on…

FCFK - cakes for sistersName of baker: Beth
Name of cakes: Makka Pakka garden cake and Mickey Mouse ball pool cake
Chocolate sponge with chocolate icing x 2
Fondant icing
Food colouring (I find the gel ones best as they give such a bright colour)
Various icing tools – I usually use whatever I can find around the house such as different sized knives, chopsticks, bottle tops etc
Lots and lots and lots of Smarties!

First I covered each sponge with chocolate frosting followed by a sheet of fondant icing. For the Makka Pakka cake, I coloured the fondant blue, and for the Mickey cake, bright pink. A tip I was given for colouring large amounts of icing like this is to colour a small ball of icing first, making sure its colour is brighter than you want the final colour to be, then knead this small ball into the rest of the icing. I love this way, as it is much quicker and the end product ends up much less streaky.

After this, I used more icing and even more colours to decorate the two cakes! I used leaf cutters and star cutters to decorate the Makka Pakka cake to look like a garden and the sky, before adding some clouds and a fondant Makka Pakka to the top of the cake.

For the Mickey cake, I recruited a good friend of mine who usually comes to the rescue when my baking doesn’t go to plan, to help me make a Mickey from fondant icing – which turned out to be much harder than we first thought! Once we conquered this, I rolled out a long thick tube of purple icing, lined the cake with it, placed Mickey in the middle and then poured Smarties around him to make the cake look like a big ball pool.

And that’s it! Making two cakes in one evening was definitely a challenge, but once I heard that the two girls were sisters, I was very glad to do it.

About the baker:
Hi, I’m Beth. I’ve been baking for FCFK Hackney for about a year now, and began after I graduated from university. It has been a bit of a crazy year, but I really enjoy taking the time to bake, and love to challenge myself with new cake designs. I definitely wouldn’t have the opportunity to make cakes like this without FCFK Hackney, so I am grateful for the opportunity!

Cake of the Month – September 2014

Oh balls. It’s November. How did that happen? Better late than never, hey? Here’s September’s Cake of the Month – which is a spectacular masterpiece by anyone’s standards.

Often cakes for children are very literal; a cartoon character’s face for example (not that there’s anything wrong with that – we are huge fans of Mickey’s grin or Spiderman’s mask). The brief for this cake was Snow White and we love how baker Becca has styled it to the max. It doesn’t have Snow White’s face on it, but this cake – in colour and symbolisation – is undeniably Snow White. We love it.

FCFK - snow white cake

Name of baker: Becca Gale

Name of cake: Snow White Cake

Vanilla sponge (flour, sugar, margarine, eggs, vanilla extract)
Strawberry jam
Buttercream icing
Fondant icing

I made two sponges of different sizes and then sliced them both in half when baked and cooled. I filled each sponge with buttercream and jam and then stacked them so that the smaller sponge sat on top of the larger one. I then covered the cakes in coloured buttercreams and made the apple and bow decoration out of fondant icing which I painted with food colouring.

About the baker:
I have always loved baking but as I live with only my boyfriend I don’t like to bake too often (keeping our waistlines in mind!). When I heard about FCFK Hackney I thought it would be a way for me to do some extra baking and it is for such a great cause. I always loved the birthday cakes my mum made for me growing up and think that every child deserves a homemade cake baked with care for their birthday.

Cake of the month – June 2014

June’s cake of the month was made by one of our newest bakers. The cake is pretty special as we’re sure you’ll agree – it’s bright and colourful, and fulfills the unusual brief (Dragon Ball Z? Yes, we had to Google it too!) – but, also, its baker, Clare, has already made a handful of cakes for us in just a couple of months. Top cake. Top baker. Happy us.

FCFK - Goku cake


Name of baker: Clare Brewer

Name of cake: Dragon Ball Z (Goku) cake

Ingredients/method: A standard Victoria sponge cake recipe, with strawberry jam in the centre, then covered in vanilla buttercream and fondant to decorate.

About the baker:
I love baking and I stumbled across this charity about a year ago, so I looked for local groups and at the time Hackney was my nearest one.

It’s satisfying being able make cakes for someone else, whilst at the same time honing your skills as a baker, and of course not having to eat everything you bake!

Cake of the month – February 2014

We have to admit that we totally swooned when a picture of this cake appeared in our inbox.

It is all kinds of awesome and we reckon that even if Arsenal are your team’s deadly rivals – or even if you don’t give two hoots about football! – you’d probably still bite someone’s hand off to have this as your birthday cake, although you may piggle off those Arsenal logos first!

Like we said: T O T A L L Y swoon-worthy!

And we love baker Kelly’s comment about the possibility of one of the cakes she’s made for us forming a happy memory in the life of the child who receives it. (No, we’re not welling up, there must just be a lot of dust in the air or something!)

Enjoy the step-by-step guide…

FCFK - football cake with scarfName of baker: Kelly Davis

Name of cake: Arsenal football cake


225g plain flour
350g caster sugar
85g cocoa powder
1½ tsp baking powder
1½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 free-range eggs
250ml milk
125ml vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
250ml boiling water


Mix all ingredients, except water, until well-combined. Slowly add the boiling water and mix until smooth.

I made two batches of this very easy, basic chocolate cake and divided the batter between two hemisphere tins and one shallow rectangular tin. If you’re fancy you will have two hemisphere tins, but I just have one, so I had to bake my hemispheres one-at-a-time, which took a while.

I was a bit worried about having a gap where my hemispheres met, but the secret is to cool your cake in the tin and cut off any excess cake that rises above the rim of the tin before you turn it out. I used Wilton cake release in my tins to ensure they came out perfectly – I didn’t want a sphere that was anything less than spherical!

When the cakes were nice and cool, I iced the rectangular cake with green buttercream icing, as a kind of crumb coat. I then covered the cake with green-tinted desiccated coconut. I have wanted an excuse to make coconut grass ever since I was a kid and my mother made me a log cabin birthday cake, with grass, trees and flowers out the front. It’s easy to do: fill a zip-loc plastic bag about half full with coconut and add in green food colouring a little at a time. Mix it about really well in the sealed bag, until you’re happy that all the coconut looks green.

FCFK - footie cake 0FCFK - footie cake 1FCFK - footie cake 2

Next, I sliced just enough off the bottom of one of the cooled spheres that it would sit flat on top of the ‘grass pitch.’ I joined the two spheres together with buttercream, making sure all of the cakes sat on each other nice and securely. Then I covered the football with a crumb coat of buttercream.

If I was a pro, I’d have a set of pentagon and hexagon cutters to make the next step really easy. I don’t so I made some paper templates. I rolled out black and white fondant icing and cut the shapes out using the templates. Be careful to keep the white and black shapes separate, as the white fondant picks up marks easily. I stuck one of the black pentagons on the football first, and placed white hexagons all around it – look at a real life football or use a picture of one for reference. Keep going until you’ve covered the sphere and – voila! – it will look like a pretty convincing football!

FCFK - footie cake 3FCFK - footie cake 4FCFK - footie cake 5

Finally, I rolled out fondant icing in the colour of the football team – in this case Arsenal – and draped it carefully around the base of the ball. It’s a good way to disguise the join where the ball meets the pitch. Make sure the fondant is nice and thick so that it doesn’t tear or break when you’re manipulating it. I used white fondant, with slits in it for the tassel fringe on the ends of the scarf. I printed out the team logo in colour and added this to the scarf.

About the baker:

This is the eighth cake I’ve made for Free Cakes for Kids Hackney over the past year. I am delighted to volunteer with the charity and am sure I enjoy making the cakes even more than the kids and families enjoy receiving them. Every cake is a challenge and a chance to try something I would never otherwise have the opportunity to make. I don’t know anyone who would want me to make them a football cake so getting to bake this cake was a wonderful experience for me.

I have very happy memories of the spectacular cakes that I had for my birthday parties as a child. It seems like such a small thing, but if a birthday cake can help make a child’s special day that bit sweeter and more special, then to me that’s no small thing at all. I would be chuffed if any of the cakes I’ve made live on in the memories of the families and children who receive them – but I won’t be offended if they don’t either!