Before another wave of Christmas posts hits, I got the chance to make this as a respite. One of Jim's work colleagues is leaving to have a baby, and as you can see from the cake, they have chosen not to find out the sex!
This is simply a light lemon sponge, doused in lemon syrup and slathered with a crumb coat of lemon buttercream and covered in fondant.
For the cake
250gr soft unsalted butter
250gr golden caster sugar
Grated zest of one unwaxed lemon
250gr self raising flour
1/2tsp baking powder
For the syrup
30gr granulated sugar
Juice and zest of a lemon
For the buttercream
115gr soft unsalted butter
265gr icing sugar
1/2tsp good Sicilian lemon extract
Small splash of water
1, To make the cake, beat together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, zest and a tablespoon of flour to stop it splitting. When smooth, fold in the rest of the flour and baking powder.
2, Line and grease two seven inch sandwich tins and divide the batter between them. Bake in a preheated oven at 170o/c for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and an inserted skewer cones out clean. Turn onto wire racks for cooling.
3, While the cake is cooking, prepare the syrup by heating the water and sugar in a small pan until boiling. Simmer for 3-4 minutes and then add in the lemon juice. Simmer for another minute. Leave this to cool.
4, Spoon a couple of tablespoons over the cakes when they are warm and leave until they are cold before icing.
5, Whip together the butter, icing sugar and lemon essence for the icing. Add a small splash of water if it needs it to bring it together and beat until pale and fluffy.
6, Spread the butter cream thickly on one cake and invert the other on top. Ice around and on top of the cake giving you a smooth base for the fondant. It doesn't matter if this looks crappy, bits of cake are showing or there are crumbs in the buttercream, this is the crumb coat for the fondant. Leave this to set for an hour or so.
7, When your ready to fondant it, cut a piece of fondant around 500gr. I alway white fondant and then colour it, unless I need black or brown fondant then it's easier (and cleaner!) to use ready coloured. I used these fab gel colours from Dr. Oetker, which were very kindly sent to me by Citizen Brando.
8, I didn't take step by step photos of the fondant when I did it, but if you find yourself in a sticky fondant situation, YouTube has great videos for showing how to cover a cake. The only tips I can give you is make sure the fondant is well kneaded and soft before use, don't douse it in icing sugar - this will make it dry out and the crack, roll it out bigger than you think you'll need and if it tears, it can be pinched and smoothed together.
9, Roll out a small piece of white fondant and cut circles, flowers or stars and stick them on with a little water either on a paintbrush or your finger.