The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

A Marble Cake and a Space Shuttle Cake for the birthday boy

My son turned 3 on Saturday, and I did more cake baking last week than in the past year! The boy's kindy had asked me to kindly bring a cake so that his class could celebrate his birthday, and I baked a Choc-Vanilla Marble Cake using this joyofbaking recipe. There was another kid in class who shared the same birthday as my son, and my homebaked cake looked rustic and not as pretty as the store-bought ones that the other mum had brought. Most mums in HK are too busy to bake, and to be honest - given how busy I was last week - I would probably have been happy to buy a cake from the store, but the boy has so many food allergies that it just wasn't an option. It was my first time baking a marble cake, and I was so glad to see it did indeed have a marbled effect when the cake was cut in class. The teacher and helpers appreciated the homebaked effort, and they were happy that Zak could finally eat a birthday cake in class!

The whole marble cake on the cooling rack:

My little piece in a yellow plastic bowl in my son's classroom:

We also had a party to celebrate the boy's birthday, and I baked and decorated a space shuttle-themed cake for the party. I used the same basic butter cake recipe as the marble cake to bake a chocolate cake, made some orange-flavoured buttercream using orange oil, and used the template from this Betty Crocker recipe to cut and decorate the sheet cake into a space shuttle shape. I'd chosen this theme because my son has a special interest in space (recently I overheard him correctly name all the planets in the solar system, by memory and in perfect order - I still get the planets in the wrong order myself!), and I must admit it was no small feat, especially when I already had plenty on my plate preparing for my parents arrival and organising the party. It was my first time dabbling in cake decoration (beyond simple icing), and it really was rewarding to see all the pieces come together. I don't think I've ever used so much butter for a cake before!

The chocolate sheet cake baking in the oven, the largest piece I've ever baked. It's also the largest size that can fit in this table-top oven:

The finished product, from the top. I used glacé cherries, jelly beans and gummy lollies for the final touches:

View from the side (note the strategically placed candles, a suggestion that hubby and I thought were brilliant):

Now that the cake baking projects are done, I can say that it was a fun experience. I've certainly learnt a lot about frostings, and am no longer apprehensive about decorating cakes.


  1. Fabulous job Jean. You are much better than me - I plan to use cake mixes from the US for M's bday in a couple of weeks.

  2. Thanks Shari, though it doesn't make me better than you. Cake mixes are out of the question due to Zak's multiple food allergies, and if I had two kids under 3, I would want to take the easy way out too :)

  3. Happy birthday to your son! I do not think that having food allergies should keep anyone from having a birthday cake and he is lucky to have a mom that thinks the same. Awesome cake-yum!

  4. Thanks Tina! We're hoping that the boy will outgrow his allergies so that he can get to enjoy more kinds of food!