Tramlink Celebration Cake
This weekend the Gents were tasked with creating a cake to celebrate all things Tram! Culminating in a picnic near the Croydon Tram network, we set about making a 'celebration cake' that would feed the hungry hordes. You will note that we have used a classic TfL roundel as our design reference, although the font in not a Johnstone derivative and the colours are approximate! Unfortunately for us, TfL is in the process of renaming the Croydon tram network from Tramlink to, simply, Trams. We went with the former as that's what it says on every stop.
Right, enough of the geekery for now. For any celebration cake you need a good stable base on which to build. We settled on a simple light-chocolate sponge with a vanilla buttercream and jam filling. Simple flavours but likley to appeal to a broad range of tastes. The finished result is two 10inch square cakes each made with a three egg recipe. Each cake was trimmed to flat then sandwiched (top to top) with a layer of vanilla buttercream and lashings of raspberry jam. The remaining buttercream was then used to create the all important 'crumb coat'. This is where you use your plastering skills to produce a smooth finish that holds any rough crumbs and provides a clean layer onto which you will place you fondant.
Whilst our crumb coat was left to set in the fridge we started on our decoration. Plan your design ahead and measure at least twice before you start making up your fondant colours and cutting. We printed our design on paper to check our fit and to provide templates for our fondant pieces. When it comes to colouring fondant, it's worth investing in some gel colours. These add a lot of pigment without a large water content and wont change the consistency of your fondant. When rolling out you can use icing sugar or cornflour to prevent sticking. We find cornflour best and any excess simply dusts off. With our shapes cut we placed them on a cornflour dusted baking sheet and placed in the fridge to dry out.
Icing the main cake should be a fairly simple task. Roll our your fondant to bigger than you need then lift over your cake and drape. Work quickly to gently rub the sides into place as this will help prevent the excess pulling. Unfortunately we'd chosen the hardest shape to ice, a square s the corners required careful attention to avoid seams and creases. Once in place we trimmed around the base and used an icing smoother to achieve a dimple free finish.
With our pieces of roundel and letters now firm we finished constructing our cake, placing each piece in turn and gluing with a little water. A note to the wise, don't do this in a warm kitchen in summer. Setting times treble and you have to work quick!