Of all the cakes I’ve made over the last few years, this one was by far THE most adventurous.
When Bruiser set his heart on an Octonauts cake for his birthday I envisaged a Captain Barnacles or Kwazii face, something simple. Wriggler had other ideas. He sat on the laptop with Bruiser and googled Octonauts cake images. Bruiser picked his cake, he wanted a Gup-A cake. For those of you not familiar with the Gup-A, it is loosely based on the Anglerfish and looks like this…
…As you can see, I had my work cut out!!
After I’d spent about two weeks panicking that I would never pull it off, I began drawing some plans together, I decided how much cake I would need, what it was going to look like etc and so then began the search for the perfect colour icing!
In all, to ice this cake I used:
750g ready to roll Icing in Jade
250g ready to roll icing in Blue
A multi pack of coloured Icing in red, black, green and yellow.
A tub of turquoise Dragees (the small little blueish balls)
(Ordinarily I would use Lakeland for ingredients but this time I found everything I needed at Tesco Party.)
I used my recipe for The Perfect Sponge Cake and used a plain sponge on this occasion. To make sure I had more than enough cake I made eight 7inch layers!
I started by making paper templates. When Bruiser wasnt walking around the room going wacker-wacker-wacker with them (for those not familiar with wacker-wacker-wacker, that’s the sound the Gup-A makes) 😉 I placed them onto the cakes to cut around with a bread knife.
Once the main shape was established I then started making the curved sloping shape down the sides from the top. This was a lot more difficult than I anticipated because, the sponge kept moving. I also made a cut through 2 layers at the front and removed the section of cake to make the cockpit of the Gup.
Once the shaping was complete. I used jam and butter cream in between every layer to stick them together and butter cream to stick the different parts together (see pictures). I then completely covered the cake in the remaining butter cream to form a nice smooth surface to rest the icing on. This also helps fill any gaps.
Now it was time for the icing. As much as I love working with icing, it still scares me. If I get it wrong, the cake is ruined. No pressure hey?!
Because I knew that there was a lot of shaping needed with the icing I used more of it and I rolled it out quite thick. Once it was the size I needed (after roughly measuring around the cake surface), I picked it up on the rolling-pin and placed it onto the cake. Using my hands I shaped it to the cake and trimmed off the bits not required. I then used my icing smoother and my hands to finish it off.
Hard part over right? Ha, no!!
I now had to make the features of the Gup to stick on the cake. I actually really enjoyed this bit.
My tools of the trade did not include any fancy icing tools (which I really should invest in) they were random objects found in most kitchen cupboards. A water bottle opening to make the windows, a fruit shoot plastic lid to make smaller holes in the windows and the eyes. A small 2.5ml medicine syringe for precisely applying the icing glue. Cocktail sticks to help make the fins and propeller stick into the cake enough. Tupperware tubs to hold bits in place while the ‘glue’ dried. I pressed the propeller of the (real) Gup-A into the yellow icing slightly to leave an imprint and then cut around it.
After a break for some tea when Hubby came home and time with the kids before putting them in bed, me and now the Hubby then cracked on. We had to complete it that night, preferably before the Birthday Fairies visited.
Hubby did the characters while I finished the cake! He used the actual toy characters as models to copy!
The attention to detail was paramount! Bruiser notices these things!
… and then there was three!…
While Hubby did the characters, I made the finishing touches to the cake. Adding the side fins, tail fin, the windows, propeller etc. I used a mix of some of the jade icing with water as a glue to set the features onto the cake. I also used this as a glaze all over the icing. This hid away any dry cracked areas and other indiscretions and gave it a nice finished look when it had dried. I used this glue to set the dragees around the cake too while also pushing them into the icing slightly. These little bits really finished off the cake.
Once all the characters were finished and placed on the cake, Hubby made a control panel with all the buttons and levers, not forgetting the all important Octo-alert!
The final piece to place was the Esca on top and it was complete!
No themed birthday is ever complete with out buns too so I made some Octonauts buns for his classmates at school.
Bruiser LOVED his cake and he had a very Octo-Special birthday!
(the cake was octo-licious too)