(click on the text to highlight each stage):
- Grease and line your cake tin with baking parchment and pre heat your oven to 150°C (130°C fan) gas 5. Make up the correct quantity of cake mix as directed in the introduction.
- Beat the butter and the sugar until they are light and fluffy.Add the vanilla essence and mix again.
- In another bowl measure the flours and baking powder.
- Whisk all the eggs and gradually beat into the sugar and butter mixture. Add a tablespoon of flour at a time to prevent the mixture from curdling, fold in the remaining flour with the water until smooth.
- Spread the mixture in the cake tin and bake for 45 minutes the 9in cake and 1hour 30minutes for the 12 in cake. Check to see if the cake is done by pressing a finger gently on the top. If it bounces back it is ready, if not it will leave an indent and needs a little longer. Leave cakes to cool for 30 minute in the cake tin then turn out and allow to cool completely
- To decorate:
Start by icing the cake board and leave it to dry. The board should be dampened, but not wet to \'stick\' the icing in place on the board.
- To make the name roll out some Ready to Roll icing . If possible, use spacers to ensure that each letter is the same thickness. Use letter cutters to cut out the name. Ensure each one has no fraying icing at the bottom. If it does use a soft bristled brush to tuck them under. Place each finished letter on a flat board and leave to dry. The letters need to be thick enough so that they will stand up without breaking and so they can withstand quite a bit of handling. These letters are 0.5cm thick and took a week to dry. Once you have made the letters turn them over every few days so that the underneath gets a chance to dry out too.
- Make the flowers
Using Ready To Roll icing make the flowers with small blossom plunger cutters and small daisy cutters. Dust each well of an artists or decorators pallet and place each flower inside. Use the plunge action when making the flower so that the petals rise up and stay shaped against the curves of the pallet’s wells. Use a tiny blossom flower for the centre of each flower, securing it in place with a small amount of clear alcohol. Make more flowers than you will need to allow for breakages and leave to dry so that they can be handled easily.
- Make the butterflies. Use a plunger cutter and be sure to press down when releasing it so that you get a full pattern detail on the wings. Use a small pallet knife to lift the butterfly and position it on an artist’s pallet so that one wing is flat and the other is raised up, as if it is flying. Continue making more butterflies making sure that they are set to be at different stages of flight- i.e. some with their wings wide open and some only a little bit open. Butterflies look best if they are made from very thin icing sugar, so they do become very fragile. Leave them to dry so that you can handle them more easily, 3-4 days drying time is perfect.
- Make up royal icing as directed on the packet and keep in an airtight container
- Make the buttercream
Beat softened butter with sifted icing sugar, until light and creamy adding 1 tsp hot water if necessary. Store in an airtight container.
- Once the cake board, name, flowers and butterflies are dry you can assemble the cakes.
- Cover each cake in turn with a smooth layer of buttercream.
- To ice the cakes knead the icing till it is soft and malleable then roll it out so that it is large enough to cover the whole cake including the sides. It should be around 5mm thick, so that is won\'t tear as you lift it and smooth it over the corners. The 12 inch cake will sit centrally on the iced cake board. The 9 inch cake should be secured onto the 9inch un-iced cake board with royal icing before it is covered with the ready roll icing. The 9 inch cake and the board will be covered in one go so you can\'t see the board.
- When ready, carefully lift the icing on top of the cake.Smooth it down with your hand so that the icing sticks to the side of the cake. Remove any excess icing from the bottom of the cake with a pizza cutter and smooth the sides.
- To stack the cakes, use a small amount of royal icing to position the large cake centrally on the large iced cake board. Place 4 plastic dowels in the centre of the cake, so they are spaced apart within the 9 inch square where to smaller cake will sit. Ensure that the dowels go all the way into the cake vertically and cut off any dowel that protrudes from the cake. Place a small amount of icing centrally on top of the 12 inch cake and secure the 9 inch cake in place.
- Once stacked, position the name where you want it to go. Don\'t stick the letters down until you have checked where each one goes so you know that you won\'t run out of space. Use royal icing to secure each letter on the cake. Apply some to the bottom of the letter and some behind the top, then lean the letter against the cake making sure that the royal icing will keep the letter \'stuck down\'.
- Once all the letters are in place, use a piping bag of royal icing to secure the flowers and butterflies in place. Put some flowers on the letters, some on the cake and some on the cake board.
- To complete the look position a matching coloured ribbon around the cake board. Secure with stick glue for instant adhesion. Use a pearl pin to keep the ends in place at the back and you\'re finished