Sunday, 9 February 2014

My husband's favourite time of year!

It's not often my husband will, not only wake up before me, but also get up and make coffee before I have even begun to think about getting up... But, Thursday morning - the day before the 2014 Winter Olympics officially starts he was out on the couch, watching TV first thing in the morning.  Not many things get him up and awake... but the Olympics is definitely one of them!! ... And I got my breakfast out of it too, so can't really complain!

Not only is it the start of the Olympics this week, but last Monday it was my amazing husband's birthday!  We kind of celebrated all weekend, with a snowy day out on the Saturday, a family day on Sunday - with the Superbowl of course, and then birthday breakfast, presents (a bit of work/school) and then a delicious dinner out together on Monday night!

So, with both of these exciting events happening for Jonathan all in one week, there was only one way to go with his birthday cake this year...

... His very own Winter Olympic cake, in two tiers, with two flavours I just knew he would love.
For the bottom flavour, I used my go-to Red Velvet Cake recipe from Joy of Baking.  Since the first time I tried this recipe, it has never failed me and I LOVE the taste of the cake so why change?!  Find the recipe here
2 9" sandwich pans filled and baked... Next up was the buttercream!  This is the thing I do differently to the original recipe, filling the cake with buttercream (with a hint of vanilla), instead of cream cheese icing.


For the top tier, I was undecided whether to do a vanilla cake, or something a bit different.  The 'something different' was the winner!  I went with an almond cake, filled with plain buttercream.  Jonathan LOVES almond flavour, and most of his family do too, so I'm glad I went with this one, as it was a hit!  I'll definitely be using this one again for something or somebody else!  I'll add the recipe for this at the bottom of the post.

So with a 9 inch red velvet cake... a 6 inch almond cake all ready, just sitting out cooling - it was time to get icing!

I used Wilton roll out fondant.  The white was perfect, and it's always a nice feeling when you don't have to colour 2lbs of fondant!!  But this time, there was no excuse to do this - snowy white was exactly what I wanted!

A little mistake with the top tier was I think my fondant wasn't thick enough.  The coverage on the bottom layer was definitely better than the top, but oh well... There were decorations to come!

... Lots of them!!
A couple of days earlier I made all of the fondant decorations, not only to save time on cake baking day, but also to let them harden up a little.  This meant the shape, for example on the skis would hold once placed and attached to the cake.  The nice thing about the fondant is it's not too hard to eat!  ... Sugar highs here we all come!

One of my favourite pieces on the cake was the curling stone.  A nice big fat round of grey, and then a Canadian red for the handle!  I wedged a little piece of paper under the handle for the couple of days after making it, to make sure the handle could support itself when the royal icing I attached it with set.


Another feature that just had to make it onto the cake were the skis with 'Go Lenny Go' written on in edible pen.  Jonathan's cousin Lenny is racing for Canada in the cross-country skiing team, so we're all pretty much the MOST excited for him... this was just a little shout out to him as the 2014 games begin!  #TeamLenny :)

Aren't the Winter Olympics just great?!  Full of some really great sports... Hockey of course had to make an appearance! 

Here are 2 skates I create with fondant coloured black, grey toe parts to the skate, royal icing laces and a blue fondant star for decoration on the back of each skate.

You can't really see the blade part of the skate, but it is there - they're not just walking boots I promise!
And where would hockey skates be without a stick and puck?!... This was one of the decorations I was most nervous about.  How to make the hockey stick NOT look like a golf club!?  I went with a retro looking wooden stick, and even taped it up to try and make it definitely hockey.  And a nice and easy round piece for the puck!
The next bit, the Olympic Rings were perhaps the hardest and most frustrating part of the cake.  I coloured the fondant icing into the appropriate colours, and then used my Wilton fondant press, with the circle plate insert inside to create perfect lengths of tubing.  I then connected the blue, black and red ends together to form a circle.  The green and yellow were much harder as I tried to be accurate and realistic with the overlapping/interlocking in the right places.  I had a hard time with the green one (and it was my least favourite part of the cake because I knew the mistake was there!) but royal icing helped me out and it wasn't too noticeably faulty!  Just a bit more icing holding it together than I would have liked, but apart from that - the rings were as they should be.

And let's not forget the compulsory red maple leaf to represent Canada on top of the cake here!  The space on the right hand side of the top cake was intentional - that's where the candles went :-)

And as you've seen by now, I surrounded each bottom of the cake with snowballs.  I had made SO many of these on fondant day, all in different sizes that it made it much easier to finish up the cake on the day, just sticking them to the cake board with royal icing to make sure they stuck down!

This cake was SO fun to make, I really love creating decoration pieces out of fondant, and had a great time putting them together.  And it also made cake day less stressful.  After baking and icing the cake, all that was left to do was decide where everything went, and just ... well, do it!  Sticking everything down, and then voila.  It was done! 
Finished on Saturday night, and taken to the Superbowl party on Sunday afternoon where Jonathan's family would all be, helping him celebrate his birthday - even if it was a day early... And anyhow, we're still eating cake leftovers right now too... Problem is, I can't decide which my favourite flavour is... Which was yours?!  ... Or perhaps I should say, which would yours be?!

I made a bottom layer of Red Velvet which you can get the recipe for here, but here's the almond cake recipe - I kind of adapted a usual plain sponge recipe as I went along!  This was for a 6" Spring form pan.


6oz self-raising flour (minus 3 tbsp)
6oz granulated sugar
6oz unsalted butter
3 eggs
3 tbsp ground almonds
1.5 teaspoons almond extract


1.  Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease and line a 6" Springform pan with parchment paper.
2.  Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

3.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition.

4.  Add the almond extract.
5.  Weigh out flour, but then substitute 3 tbsp of the flour for the 3 tbsp ground almond.
6.  Add flour and beat together until combined.


7.  Spoon the batter in the prepared pan and place in the centre of the oven and bake for at least 50 minutes.  Checking on the cake as you go - the top will likely get a golden brown colour, but the most important test is the skewer/toothpick test - the cake is cooked when the skewer comes out clean.

Baking in the deep pan did mean for a REALLY long cooking time, and if it wasn't the top tier, I would have definitely chosen to do it in two sandwich tins instead.  But, it did get cooked all the way through, I just had to keep checking on it!
I hope you get to try either the Red Velvet or Almond cake in some of your baking you do soon! 
And of course, enjoy the 2014 Winter Olympics!

*** My blog is 1 year old ***
Look back at what I wrote 1 year ago today!



  1. Incredible cake and almond was definitely my favourite, although the red velvet was a close runner-up!!! Exquisite job, Hannah!
    ema (Marika)

  2. Such an impressive and colourful cake! I finally got to watch some of the Olympics today! Love it!

  3. Wow! That's such an incredible cake. I love how detailed all the little fondant pieces are...very impressive!

  4. What an amazing cake! Your fondant decorations are so detailed and realistic. Very impressive! My favorite cake flavor would have been red velvet :)

  5. This is amazing! I don't have the patience to decorate cake, so I appreciate how much you put into this. I'm sure it was a huge hit! Thank you for sharing at What We Accomplished Wednesdays. Have a lovely weekend! ~Deborah

  6. What a great cake! Thanks for sharing your recipe at Sweet and Savoury Sunday, we hope you stop by and link up with us again this weekend!

  7. You did such a great job with your cake darlin'! I love it :) You are being Featured!!! Great job!


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