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A blue cake on a cake board decorated with pink flowers

40th cake

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2.801 stars based on 25 ratings

When making a cake that requires flowers it’s always best to make them a few days in advance so they have plenty of time to set and can be handled more easily without breaking. They can be made with sugar paste icing or with flower paste (from cake decorating stores) which sets harder.

Key Information

  • Prep:
  • Bake:
  • Serves:8
  • Skill level:medium

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For the cake

  • 150g 5⅜ oz Butter (unsalted) at room temperature
  • 200g 7⅛ oz Unrefined golden caster sugar (we use Billington's) Unrefined golden caster sugar
  • 1tsp 1tsp Vanilla extract (we use Nielsen-Massey) Vanilla extract
  • 3 3 Egg(s) (free range) medium
  • 75g 2¾ oz Plain white flour (we use Allinson) Plain white flour
  • 150g 5⅜ oz Self-raising white flour (we use Allinson) Self-raising white flour
  • 1½tsp 1 .5tsp Baking powder
  • 3tbsp 3tbsp Hot water

For the buttercream

  • 100g 3½ oz Butter (unsalted) softened
  • 225 225 Icing sugar (we use Silver Spoon) Icing sugar

For the decoration

  • 150g 5⅜ oz White sugar paste icing
  • 150g 5⅜ oz Sugar paste icing pink
  • 2kg 4½ lb Sugar paste icing blue
  • 250g 8⅞ oz Royal icing sugar (we use Silver Spoon) Royal icing sugar

Change Units

The Method Enter Bake mode

  1. Classic mode Step 1

    Grease and line an 8in round, deep cake tin with baking parchment and pre heat your oven to 150°C (130°C fan, gas mark 2).

  2. Classic mode Step 2

    Cream the butter and the sugar until they its light and fluffy. Add the vanilla essence and mix until smooth.

    Ingredients for this step

  3. Classic mode Step 3

    In another bowl measure the flours and baking powder.

    Ingredients for this step

  4. Classic mode Step 4

    Whisk all the eggs in a bowl 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 and the water until smooth.

    Ingredients for this step

    • 3 3 Egg(s) (free range) medium
    • 3tbsp 3tbsp Hot water
  5. Classic mode Step 5

    Spread the mixture in the cake tin and bake for 45 minutes. 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. Allow to cool in the tin for 15 minutes, then turn out and allow to cool.

  6. Classic mode Step 6

    To 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.

    Ingredients for this step

    • 100g 3½ oz Butter (unsalted) softened
    • 225 225 Icing sugar (we use Silver Spoon) Icing sugar
  7. Classic mode Step 7

    To make the flowers, choose three colours of sugar paste icing and roll out the first batch. Dust a decorator’s pallet with a little icing sugar ready to give the flowers the curved look (or crumple up some foil or cling film to make shallow containers to dry the flowers in).

    Ingredients for this step

    • 2kg 4½ lb Sugar paste icing blue
    • 150g 5⅜ oz White sugar paste icing
  8. Classic mode Step 8

    We used two style flower cutters for this cake – daisy and blossom. Start by cutting out the largest flower. Place it in the well of the pallet and press it down with your finger, being careful not to tear the icing. Repeat till you have made the desired number of large flowers then use a brush dampened with clear alcohol to wet the centre of each flower.

  9. Classic mode Step 9

    Next cut out a smaller flower and place it on the centre of the large flower. The easiest way to do this accurately is to use plunger cutters and press the flower out directly where you want it on the large flower. This step can be repeated so that you have three layers of icing petals to create each flower. Leave to dry.

  10. Classic mode Step 10

    To decorate the cake cover cake with the buttercream.

  11. Classic mode Step 11

    Position your cake on the cake board and cover the whole cake and board in one go in pale blue icing. Smooth to a perfect finish. Position the cake near the back of the board to make room for the flowers at the front.

  12. Classic mode Step 12

    Cut out the number you are celebrating from white icing and position centrally using clear alcohol.

  13. Classic mode Step 13

    Mix up some white royal icing so that it is soft and use an artist’s paint brush to add a little under each flower as you position it. Make sure that you mix and match the colours, sizes and shapes of flowers as you decorate the cake. Place some up the side of the cake in clusters to create the overall effect.

    Ingredients for this step

  14. Classic mode Step 14

    To complete the look position a matching blue ribbon around the cake board. Secure with stick glue for instant adhesion. Use a pearl pin to keep the ends of the ribbon in place at the back.