I’ve mentioned my daughter’s obsessions with various animals before. We’ve made a penguin cake, penguin cupcakes and a turtle cake as a result. Well at the moment, the obsession is with ducks so it was really only a matter of time before this cake appeared. This is also the first cake I have made and decorated since Master Spice arrived back in April, although luckily he decided to have a nap while we were decorating it. Little Miss Spice helped by making some icing stars and hearts, then crumbling them all up and swiping them across the kitchen. As always, the cleaning up took up almost as much time as the decorating.
I’d actually been planning this cake and deciding how it would look for quite a while but knowing that the Great British Bake Off was starting soon, was the push I needed to actually bake it. I love baking but I still don’t consider myself to be a great baker. It’s something I’d like to do more of and improve my skills so I’m hoping (if I can find the time) to try and have a go at some bakes inspired by the show over the next few weeks.
As the GBBO was on my mind as I was planning the cake, I had to go with a Mary Berry cake recipe. I love fruit cakes and decided to use the marmelade cake recipe from Mary Berry’s Baking Bible. I changed the dried fruit a little (Mary Berry uses glace cherries and sultanas) and as I was putting icing on the cake, I didn’t put as much marmelade glaze on the cake as in the recipe. I just used a very thin layer so the icing would stick. The cake was delicious – full of fruit and with just a hint of orange flavour. It was rather crumbly though, perhaps because of the amount of dried fruit in it.
You can see from the picture that my icing moulding skills certainly need a bit more practice, but it was all I could do to stop Little Miss Spice grabbing the ducks out of my hands and then off the cake and running off with them. I was planning to attempt a few more pond-loving creatures but in the end I left it as a plain and simple duck pond. Master Spice was also beginning to wake up and I sensed that time was running out. Until the next cake.
Ingredients for the Cake, adapted from Mary Berry’s Baking Bible
100g room-temperature butter
100g caster sugar
175g self-raising flour
1 tbsp marmelade
How to Make Marmelade Cake
1. Put all the ingredients in a bowl and stir with a wooden spoon until you get a stiff cake batter.
2. Grease an 18cm cake tin and line the bottom with baking paper. Spoon in the cake batter.
3. Bake in the oven at 160c or fan 140c for 60-80 minutes.
4. Turn it out and leave it to cool on a wire rack before beginning to decorate it.
Decorating the Duck Pond Cake
Of course, you don’t have to follow my instructions exactly and you don’t even need to decorate the cake at all. You could buy ready made blue and yellow icing and there are other ways of making the grass at the sides rather than using a tube of designer icing. If you’re feeling more creative you could add frogs, lily pads, flowers, butterflies and even dragonflies.
What I used to decorate the cake
1 tbsp orange marmelade
White ready to roll icing
Blue food colour
Yellow food colour
Black writing icing
Tube of Green Designer icing and a flat nozzle
How I Decorated the Duck Pond Cake
1. Melt the marmelade in the microwave and brush it thinly over the top and sides of the cake.
2. Sprinkle some icing sugar on the work bench. Take enough white icing to cover the whole cake. Add some blue food colour and knead the icing until it is all mixed in. If the colour is too pale, just add a little more food colour.
3. Roll out the blue icing and cover the cake with it. Trim off the excess icing from around the bottom of the cake
4. Wash your hands to get rid of any blue food colour. Add some yellow food colour to some more of the white icing. Knead it again and then form it into the duck shapes.
5. Use the black writing icing to make dots for the ducks’ eyes.
6. Use the green designer icing to pipe the grass on the side of the cake.