My daughter wanted a “book” theme for her 12th birthday, so of course she would need a “book” birthday cake. I did a bit of research on Pinterest and found a few good ideas to get me started and then I just winged it from there.
First step was to buy 2 vanilla cake packet mixes. I always make novelty birthday cakes out of a plain packet mix because they seem to be easier to cut and shape than cakes made from scratch.
Next was to bake the cakes. I baked them in lamington size (18cm x 28cm) slice trays (I have two of them so I did them both at the same time). Once the cakes were cool, I wrapped them in two layers of cling wrap and put them in the freezer until the day before the party. Cutting into the right shape and decorating is much easier to do with a cake that is frozen (well, slightly thawed).
The day before the party, I found a board that was the right size and took the cakes out of the freezer, placing them on the board. I trimmed the cakes off top and bottom to get a sharp edge and to make them exactly the same size.
I sat the cakes next to each other on the board and used an open dictionary as a guide to get the right kind of shape for the pages. I used a cake skewer like a pencil to draw where I was planning to cut, then shaved pieces off the cake following the skewer marks as a guide. Keep the offcuts as they are handy for filling in uneven patches and using to pad out the cake where you want it thicker.
Then, using a butter knife dipped regularly into a glass of hot water, I endeavoured to make the icing more even and smooth it around the sides. This is always a bit of a nightmare, but I do find the hot water on the knife works a treat and you can smooth the icing out really well, even if it’s started to set already. Another helpful thing I always do when decorating cakes is to place the cake and board onto a lazy susan so that I can turn the cake around easily as I go.
Then I took a break for lunch!
After lunch I made the pink icing (again, just melted butter, pink food colouring, icing sugar and hot water to make up to pipe-able consistency). I spooned the icing into my piping bag that I had attached a small, flat nozzle onto. Then I proceeded to pipe the pink border around the base of the cake, being sure to pipe a bump where the spine would be, to look like the book cover.
Next was the writing. For this I used a tube of bought black icing that came complete with writing nozzle. It was so easy to use and came out really smoothly. I would highly recommend buying one of these if you need to write on a cake because it is much easier than piping (also black icing is difficult to make).
After this I started to relax a bit. I took my piece of fabric “picnic blanket” and teddy bear ornament and placed them on the second page of the cake. I found the perfect ribbon to use as a bookmark, cut it to size and poked one end into the top spine area and lay it flat through the centre of the book cake. Then I went crazy decorating the cake with sugar flowers.
I cleaned the board up with a damp cloth and showed the birthday girl! She loved it. 🙂
This cake wasn’t as hard as I was expecting it to be. You could use a “book” cake like this for birthday parties (boy or girl), a book club night, confirmation (make it look like a Bible), or even graduation party.