You can make a birthday or family anniversary into something memorable with a cake that is designed to catch the eye and appeal to the imagination. Novelty cakes come in all shapes and sizes and they are surprisingly simple to make.
It is great tun to make a cake that is out of the ordinary, when the occasion demands it. With a bit of imagination you can produce a wonderfully decorative centerpiece for the party table. Do remember that a simple decoration is often the most effective, or there is a danger that the results will be garish instead of entertaining.
Novelty cakes look their most attractive when served on a cake board. These are thick square or round boards covered with a hard wearing silver foil, available from large stationers and department stores. They are sold in a variety of sizes so choose one that matches your cake tin; the board should be about 2.5 cm [1 in] bigger all round than the decorated cake.
Alternative bases for decorated cakes are plain, clean wooden boards covered with silver foil or a cake stand or plate.
A fancy-shaped cake tin will automatically give you a decorative shape a prettily iced cake, which has been baked in a ring or fluted cake tin is elegant enough to serve as a dinner party dessert. Heart-shaped and numeral tins are available from most large stores. However, if you do not want the expense of a special tin, a knife can easily be used to produce some amazingly decorative cakes starting with a plain square or round shape.
Whichever cake tin you choose, remember that it is essential that it is correctly prepared. If the cake sticks when it is turned out, its appearance will be spoilt. Details on preparation of tins. You must, of course, also use the correct size tin for the amount of cake mix.
Simple designs can be cut from larger cakes baked in deep or sandwich tins. A rich sponge cake is the most suitable; this may be plain, colored or flavored as you wish. Select a suitable size for the number of servings you require.
Choose your design with regard to the cake tins you own. The simplest shape to cut from a round cake is a heart, but a star shape, horseshoe or butterfly is not difficult. The simplest shape to cut from a square is an octagon but you may want to try cutting out a number. First trace your design on to a thin sheet of cardboard. This should correspond exactly with the dimensions of the cake tin, so that the minimum amount of cake is cut away.
The cake must be completely cold before you start. Place it on a wooden board or work surface. You will need a medium-sized and a small sharp knife. If you are working with a cake that has peen baked in a deep tin, first cut it into layers. If you are using sandwich cakes place the layers side by side on the work surface or wooden board.
Put the cardboard template on top of each layer of cake and cut around it to form the cake shape. Hold the knife vertically at the side of the template and use a sawing motion to cut as this gives an even neat cake edge. The trimmings need not be wasted as they can be used for trifles and puddings (if they last that long).