You may have gathered by now that I am a rustic cook.  And a bit messy too.  Prettily iced cakes are not my style.  I love them but they’re just not my forte.

With that in mind I’ve been a bit nervous about embarking on a fire engine birthday cake for my three year old.

I decided to use two Nigella Lawson’s Quadruple Chocolate Loaf Cakes as the base cakes as they are made in a loaf tin (easily transformed to form the fire engine shape), dense enough to hold together with heavy icing on top, and keep well for several days.  It is also a fairly rich recipe so there should be enough to go around quite a few people at a party.

I made the cakes the night before I wanted to start the icing.

In the morning I wrapped the cakes in foil and put them in the freezer to help reduce crumbs interfering with the icing process.  I then covered the cake in vanilla buttercream (I made two and a half times the recipe linked here).

The fondant icing was done in the evening, after the children had gone to bed.  It was a long night as it took about four hours!  The end result was a bit ramshackle (especially when compared with this beautiful example that I was attempting to copy) with a friendly ‘face’ where one section of icing was a bit too soft and slumped a bit under the ‘eyes’.  Nevertheless, I was really pleased with the result.

My son came downstairs on the morning of the party to find me brushing a few remaining patches of icing sugar off.  After gazing at it and asking questions for a few minutes he went off to find his toy Fireman Sam fire engine (Jupiter), brought it back to the cake and said “Jupiter, this is your Mummy”.  Success!  It didn’t taste bad either although he wouldn’t know as he hasn’t eaten any.  He doesn’t really do cake.