To accompany the video on my English Singing Baker YouTube Channel, in this post, I want to give you a closer insight into how I made my brother’s 18th birthday novelty cricket cake.
You can watch the video by clicking below or visiting my YouTube Channel.
As I said in the video, I can never resist the temptation of using a special occasion for extra special bakes and my brother’s 18th birthday celebrations felt like the perfect occasion to try out something new. My brother has always been very keen about cricket so it made sense to make him a cake with a cricket theme. Having made that decision, I searched through Pintrest, sketched a design of what I wanted to make and set to work. Making cakes is always an organic process so I was flexible with my design and added and took away from my original idea as I went along.
In my experience, the most impressive celebration cakes have a simple design. In terms of type of cake, I chose a fruit cake. I decided on it because it is an easy cake to put together and stays moist over a number of days as you decorate it. I also had experience of baking and decorating Christmas cakes, which gave me confidence in what I was making, and gave me freedom to think about the decoration.
Decorating and decorations are the most fun if you have time to play around with different ideas. Imagine white fondant as a grown up version of play-dough, and just play around with anything related to the cake that pops into your head. I made a number of different things from bats to balls and pads but ended up using less than I made so I had the pick of the bunch. The only tip I would have is, that if you use liquid food colouring, have a decent amount of icing sugar on hand so that you can make the fondant less sticky.
Making this cake was labour of love but I always think it is worth spending the time to show the ones you love how much you love them. And being a self taught baker, the cake was a little rough around the edges but overall, everyone was impressed with the finished product, including me. So here is the recipe for you to read and peruse…
Just before you dive in, if you want a soundtrack to listen to while you read, the songs from my video are in a Soundcloud Playlist here so click play to enjoy a selection of songs about cakes and birthdays.
An 18th Birthday Novelty Cricket Cake
For the cake
1 kg (2 lb 2 oz) Dried Fruit (I used 300g sultanas, 500g raisins and 200g glace cherries, halved and rinsed)
125ml (4 fl. oz) Orange Juice
1 Eating Apple, peeled and grated
1 tbsp. Honey
155g (5 1/2 oz) Light Brown Sugar
250g (9 oz) Butter, melted, plus a small amount to grease the tin
4 large eggs, beaten
190g (7 oz) Plain Flour
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Mixed Spice
A jar of apricot jam
500g (1lb 1oz) White Marzipan
750g (3 x 250g packets) Green Fondant Icing
500g (1lb 1 oz) White Fondant Icing (plus red, blue and yellow food colourings, to model with)
Icing Sugar, to roll out
6 copper candles, for wickets
Black card and stickers (to make a scoreboard)
How to make the bake
- Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C and prepare an 8 1/2 inch (20cm) square cake tin by greasing it with butter. Then line each of the four sides with three layers of greaseproof paper and line the bottom with a rough square.
- Cut up the butter into large chunks and put in a small saucepan. Melt it gently over a low heat and pour into a small bowl. Leave to one side to cool. Put all the prepared dried fruit into a large mixing bowl and add to it the orange juice, grated apple, brown sugar and honey. Give it a big stir with a wooden spoon to combine.
- Beat the eggs together in a small bowl and add to the mixture and beat again before adding the cooled butter. Finally, add in the flour and spices before giving it a last big stir. When the mixture is well combined, spoon carefully into the prepared tin and level out by gently shaking and pressing the mix into the sides of the tin to ensure that your finished cake comes out an even shape.
- Bake the cake in the middle of the preheated oven for 2 – 3 hours. Oven temperatures vary so keep an eye on the cake until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean and the surface of the cake is a deep golden brown. ESB Top tip – If your cake isn’t done in the middle but is baked on top, cover the top with a square of foil or paper till the cake is cooked to avoid burnt edges or sides.
- When your cake is baked, take it out of the oven and leave to cool completely in the tin till the cake is stone cold. It is important not to decorate your cake before it is cold as the icing will start slipping off and will spoil all the work you put into it.
- When the cake is completely cool, warm half a jar of apricot jam in a small saucepan. When it is slightly runny, put it through a sieve to make it extra smooth and then roll out the marzipan. Dust a clean surface with icing sugar and roll the white marzipan out to a rough size of your cake – you can always check this by hovering the cake over the marzipan and seeing how much excess there is around the cake.
- When the marzipan is rolled out, take the cake out of the tin and its paper. Turn it upside down on a flat surface, such as a baking tray, and brush liberally with the sieved apricot jam. Carefully, place the marzipan on top of the cake and smooth down the sides to stick. Cut off the excess around the edge to make a sharp finish before leaving to dry, preferably overnight to seal the cake.
- While the cake is drying out, set to on the job of creating the finishing touches to your cake out of fondant. It’s up to you what you decide to make but I made a series of cricket related paraphernalia including a couple of bats, balls and a cartoon version of my brother as well as a scoreboard made out of black card.
- The next day, when you have cake and decorations all ready, finish the cake by covering in fondant icing and adding your finishing touches. Like the marzipan, roll out the fondant icing on a clean surface covered with icing sugar, to stop it sticking and roll it out bigger than the cake itself.
- Brush the cake with recently boiled water and lay the fondant icing carefully over to cover it. Use a smoother or your hands to make the cake smooth all over and get rid of any air bubbles. To make your cricket pitch, add another rectangle of green fondant, coloured slightly lighter with white fondant and yellow colouring to the top of the cake at an angle. Add two white lines as markers at either end, and add on your extra bits of icing. Place your decorations on top of the cake, and play with where you put them before sticking them down with more boiled water. As a final touch, cut wicket fence out of white fondant and stick around the edge of the cake and add on the scoreboard and candles. Serve as part of a birthday celebration and enjoy the admiration for your work!
- Once the icing has set hard, the cake will keep for a good week or two but I doubt that it will hang around as long as that if you have the same experience with this cake as I did!
Thank you for popping by my blog and reading about my cricket cake exploits. If you enjoyed it, let me know in the comments and tell me what cake you would make for a friend or family member and on which theme?
I would love to know if you try to recreate it so do tag me in your Instagram posts @EnglishSingingB #esbcricketcake.
Until next time,
English Singing Baker x