Sir Chocolate series
My ten year old son, Michael, and I have recently published a book called Sir Chocolate and the Strawberry Cream Berries. Michael has the most amazing ideas and this one, about a little man made of chocolate who lives in a world where you can eat absolutely everything, was such fun that I decided to convert his ideas into a series of little books for his entertainment. We both love to bake and we also like to model fairy-tale and other creatures out of fondant, cake, biscuits and basically anything else you can eat. I also like to write poetry about whatever is on my mind at a particular point in time. I frequently get asked by friends and family who see my cakes and other sugar creations how I make them. We also both get asked where we get our ideas for the Sir Chocolate series of books and for the other writing we do, together or individually. We decided to start this blog so that we can share our sugar and baking creations and how we make them, as well as our other thoughts on reading, writing and children’s literature.
How to make a cake shaped like a book
The picture I have included in this blog is of a cake that we made last week for Roald Dahl Day. My older son, Gregory, who is thirteen, recently took part in the finals of the International Kids Lit Quiz in New Zealand. Eight schools from eight different countries were represented at this event and it was the inspiration for this cake which was also a thank you gift for the librarian who lead my son’s team. I made two cakes, one is an open book and the other a closed book. The closed book was easy to make. With a ruler, I drew the shape of the spine and front cover of the book onto wax paper and cut out the shapes. I then rolled out fondant, coloured brown, about 5 mm thick and cut the prepared spine and front page out of the fondant using the wax paper cut-outs. I left these two cut out pieces to firm up.
I made up a double mixture of my vanilla oil cake recipe, this recipe will be featured in book 3: Sir Chocolate and the sugar dough bees, and split the mixture into three. I then colour each of these smaller mixtures a different colour, I used red, blue and green. I poured each of these brightly coloured mixtures into a prepared Swiss roll tin and baked them in my oven at 180 degrees celcius for approximately 15 minutes each. Once the cakes had cooled down, I used my wax paper cut-outs to carefully cut out the shape of the open spine of the open book and the left and right open pages of the book. I cut out one set of each from the blue cake and one set of each from the green cake. I then used vanilla butter icing, the recipe for this will feature in book 2: Sir Chocolate and the Baby Cookie Monster which should be available in early November 2017, to stick the six pieces of cake onto the cake board and together. I also cover the whole open book shape with a thin layer of butter icing. I rolled out white fondant to approximately 5 mm thick and gently lowered it onto the open book cake. I smoothed the fondant all over the cake and pressed down along the edges of the spine to create the indentations on both sides of the spine. With a sharp knife, I then cut away the superfluous white fondant from the edges of the cake. I used a petal veining took to make lines along the sides of the open cake to create the impression of pages (you can also use the tines of a fork to do this).
For the closed book, I cut out the shape of the book using the green cake. I cut out two shapes and attached them to the cake board with butter icing. Again, I covered the whole cake with a thin layer of butter icing. I attached the spine sideways and the front cover. I rolled out more white fondant and cut out a long strip the size of the spine. This strip I wrapped around the other three sides of the closed book. I used the petal veining tool to create the impression of pages all the way around the three sides of the closed book.
I then had my two basic book cakes, one an open book and the other a closed book. I attached the two school boy figures I had previously made from fondant to the books with royal icing, the recipe features in book 1 Sir Chocolate and the Strawberry Cream Berries available from TSL Publications, UK or Lulu.com. I used a chocolate writing pen to write the name of the book and a blue edible ink pen to write on the poem that I wrote for this cake.
The poem I wrote was as follows:
A school day
The teachers voice, a background buzz;
Lulls me to sleep, it always does;
It has a nearly hypnotic effect;
My brain, shut down, does effect;
Its faculties seem to turn to mush;
Day dreams slide in, with a rush;
Does this presumptuous teacher really think?
That all this nonsense will ever sink;
Into my mind, which wanders too;
Far distant lands, reserved for few.
By Robbie Cheadle