Tennis Ball Birthday Cake
The midst of the summer holidays seems like the perfect time to restart my blog without having revision and exams getting in the way.
Back in March, two of my closest friends shared a birthday and I had to think of a special cake to make for them.
One loves tennis and the other loves cake so this tennis ball cake seemed like the perfect cake for them to share.
I have to say that the making of this cake caused me high levels of stress due to the first attempt being a complete and utter disaster. It burnt on top yet remained raw in the middle and subsequently collapsed as soon as I turned it out onto the cooling rack. Starting again was my only option.
Eventually the cake worked out and in the end it did resemble a tennis ball.
Here's how I did it:
I was all for making a 3D cake but a full sphere seemed like a step too far so I settled on using a hemisphere cake tin in order to make the tennis ball look as realistic as possible.
I have both sizes of hemisphere tins from lakeland (http://www.lakeland.co.uk/p16778/Hemisphere-Cake-Pans?gclid=Cj0KEQjw3vyeBRDt673h5ZTYrdQBEiQAzhkf8qJ8QKPOGHTJVg0bGxaJYjpoCFiXUG4PpsfpeHw94bgaAtom8P8HAQ&src=gpbak&s_kwcid=AL!49!3!38143123091!b!!g!!hemisphere%20cake%20pans&ef_id=Uhs8FwAABBWsSxkE:20140804101021:s) but used the larger one as this cake had to be shared between two groups of friends.
I used a 10Oz cake mixture for the hemisphere cake and cupcakes which I placed along side.
For the cakes:
10Oz Self Raising flour
10Oz Caster sugar
10Oz Stork margarine
1tsp baking powder
I use an all in one method to make my cakes and it has never failed me (apart from my disaster of a first attempt - I'll blame it on the oven).
1) Preheat the oven to 170 degrees celsius and grease and lightly flour the hemisphere cake tin and line a cupcake tin with 8 cupcake cases
2) I use a KitchenAid mixer but any other electric mixer will work as well. Place all the ingredients into a bowl and then mix on a medium speed until completely combined. The mixture will become a lighter colour and this is when it's ready.
3) Pour the cake mixture into the hemisphere tin until 3/4 full and then fill the cupcake cases with the remaining mixture. Bang both tins on the counter three times to reduce the chances of the cakes doming on top.
4) The cupcakes will cook a lot quicker than the large cake but they can go into the oven at the same time. Place the cupcakes on the top shelf of the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. You can use a skewer to check that the centre of the cakes are cooked. Take out of the oven and leave to cool.
5) The large cake took around an hour to cook but be sure to check everyone 5/10 minutes after 30 minutes in the oven.
6) When you think the cake is cooked use a skewer to check the middle and then take out of the oven and leave to cool slightly before turning out of the tin.
As long as your cake didn't collapse and burn like my first attempt you will need to leave it to completely cool before icing it.
Imogen (my tennis loving friend) is very particular about the colour of tennis balls - something about them being yellow and not green...I think? - so I had a challenge to try and meet her standards with the colour of the buttercream.
I was scared about the verdict that Imogen would give the cake but it was definitely a relief when she told me I got the colour right.
Here's the buttercream recipe I used:
300g softened butter
725g icing sugar
1) Using an electric mixer, beat the butter until soft and creamy.
2) Gradually alternate the addition of the icing sugar and milk and once combined beat on a high speed for about 5 minutes until light and fluffy.
3) Before colouring the icing, take away a couple of spoonfuls and put to one side in order to make the stripes on the tennis ball and to fill the centre of the cake.
4) To get the desired colour I used a leaf green food colouring and a few drops of yellow colouring. It will take a while but eventually you should get the colour you need, just keep adding a few drops at a time to gradually change the colour. The colour I achieved was vaguely fluorescent giving it a realistic look.
5) Slice the large cake across the middle and fill with a small layer of the plain buttercream. Place the cake back together and then carefully ice with the coloured buttercream (leave some to ice the cupcakes) leaving space for two stripes along the top of the cake. Make the stripes using the remaining plain buttercream. Your cake should now resemble a tennis ball.
6) Finally, using the left of green buttercream ice the cupcakes.
This is the cake that I ended up with.
I have to say I was quite proud and very pleased that it went down so well with both the tennis lover, the cake lover and all our friends.
Whilst celebrating the birthdays and eating the cake, we realised that this birthday was our last birthday all together at school as we all go separate ways in September, making this cake all the more special!