This cake was my first relatively large scale paid cake. I was asked to make this for one of my mums friends sons birthday (that was a bit of a mouthful!) , as he was going to be visiting the track soon after his birthday. After scouring the internet and pinterest for inspiration, i drafted up my cake. I knew i most definitely had to use the skittles as people in the stands, but all the other cakes i had seen had the cake carved in the middle to raise the stands up to a higher level. I didn't want to do that, as i haven't practised my carving skills! So i had to do a bit of thinking! in the end, i improvised quite a bit! but i don't think it turned out too shabby!
Here's how I achieved my final product...
I used my never failing simple vanilla sponge recipe. I used 350g of flour butter and sugar and 4 eggs for each cake (2 12" circle & 2 square). Each cake took around 45 minute to an hour to bake. My oven is so temperamental because the cakes were cooking so unevenly... i think i need to invest in some even bake strips. I managed to prevent the second batch of cakes browning too much by using a tin foil 'lid'. Once they'd baked and cooled, i trimmed off the over-browned bits.
After trimming the edges, i cut the circle cake in half to create the oblong shape. I then added jam and buttercream to the centre and arranged them as shown below...
I then applied a buttercream crumb coat to lock in all though loose crumbs! after letting it set for a while, i rolled out 1kg of ready roll white fondant until it was around half a cm thick (5mm) and placed it over the cake, smoothing down the edges and being careful not to rip it like i always do!
I knew the edges at the bottom were messy, but that didn't really matter, i already had planned on hiding that bit!
After covering with fondant, i had to tackle the seating stands. Originally i had planned to sculpt it out of a thick cake pop style mixture (cake crumbs with buttercream) however it didn't look like it was going to work, so i aborted that idea and moved onto plan B! This worked a lot better! i rolled a long sausage type shape out of white fondant, i then covered it with black fondant and placed along the outer edge of the cake, securing it with cocktail sticks. I also rolled a thinner sausage out of black fondant and placed that about 2 inches into the centre of the cake (pictures explain this better!!)
After placing the 2 long sausages on the cake, I made 2 long oval shapes to seal the seating area. I made up some thick grey icing (just using icing sugar and water) and threw on the skittles...
I had hoped that this would give it a nice random 'busy' assortment.. I was wrong. I had to hand scoop out the skittles and place them in uniform order with no 2 of the same colours touching. I think it worked out for the better!!
After that, I cut out a large oval. Out of that oval, I cut a smaller oval and placed the now donut looking shape onto the cake, this was now the track!
My next step was the grass! I bought the Wilton grass nozzle from hobby craft especially for this cake not really expecting it to work too well but hopeful it would look okay... I LOVE this thing! It's so so cool and I really want to experiment further with it. To do the grass, I made some grass green butter cream (obviously) and 2 thirds filled my piping bag with the nozzle preinserted. I did a few practice pipes on a sheet of acetate and then piped onto the cake. It works by gently pressing the nozzle to the cake whilst gently squeezing the bag, whilst still squeezing you lift up on off the cake leaving little grass like strands in its path!
You can do as many layers as you like for that overgrown meadow effect, it also doesn't matter if you mess up, just wipe it of or go over it again! It's such an easy yet effective decoration method.
After filling in the centre oval, I went ahead and piped on the white markings on the road. For this I used a premixed royal icing mix in white and just piped little lines about a cm long and a cm apart to add to the effect of the road. I also added a black and white checkerboard to the start line.
After this, I cut out some squares using a paper template I'd created for my cakes dimensions. I cut them out and stuck them on in checkerboard effect. You can do as many rows as you choose, however I only did 2. I had some difficulty with the widths and heights at some points, however it all worked out okay in the end. When the checkerboard was done, I neatened up the bottom edges with some more grass! I love the effect this gave. Almost like the cake was rising out from the ground! I think it looked really cool whilst also hiding the messy bits I didn't want people to see! I think that's a crucial tip to making great cakes.. You're bound to make mistakes and things won't turn out perfect first time, but never ever stick precisely to your plan. Alter your ideas to cover those little imperfections! Everything can be fixed with a little bit of imagination and extra detail, just like my grass!
I then moved onto my models. I made 3 race cars: red, blue and yellow. They were made very simply and you can easily see the components needed from the picture, however if you need more information, feel free to ask! I placed 2 cars onto the track and cut the front off of the yellow car and placed it in the middle of a fondant tyre pile (black fondant donut shapes).
One of the last things I added to the cake was my race car driver. I made him from an assortment of sausage shapes and blobs and added the black details to emphasise most of his joints. I added some creases around the knees and the elbows to enhance the idea of the White suit. I perched him onto the cake using a cocktail stick to hold his head and feet down ( he had one up his bum too).
I printed off the flags and the background sign and attached them using tape to some cocktail sticks to be positioned around the cake.
Finally, i piped the greeting at the front of the cake.
And there you have it! My racetrack cake from start to finish!! Let me know if you liked reading this either in the comments or on my instagram and I'll hopefully do some more posts like this in the future!
Thankyou for reading and happy baking!