Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Teddy Bear Cake

      For celebrating that "Special Day", the First Birthday of Our Lil Sweetheart, I wanted something so cute and innocent looking just as our lil one....And that's why I came up with the idea of a Teddy Bear Cake...(I love Teddy Bears...they,re so cuddly and lovable...) But I didn't have that Teddy Bear Cake Pan with me. I also didn't want to spend money on something rarely used. (Who is gonna make a teddy bear cake often...maybe professional bakers...and I'm not )
     So I decided to carve the Teddy Bear out of a simple home baked cake. I baked a 8" round cake and and a 1/4 sheet cake (!2"x 8"). And my advice for any home baker is that if you want to make a fancy  cake for any event there is no need of wasting money on pans that may be used only once. You can decide the design and make plans how to convert a simple piece of cake to a 3D image. Of course the pan makes the creative part easy, but the creation of the cake through your own hand is something fun and enjoyable, even though it tedious.
      The cake I baked was a simple Victorian Sponge Cake. This particular cake was created by one of the ladies-in-waiting of Queen Victoria, the Duchess of Bedford as a teatime snack. The cake is usually served as a kind of sandwich. I sandwiched the cake with whipped cream and strawberry spread. And decorated it with butter cream icing.


  For Cake
Butter                                                              - 1 Cup (2 Sticks) at room temperature
Castor Sugar*                                                 - 1 Cup
Self-raising flour**                                          - 1 Cup
Eggs                                                               - 5, at room temperature
Milk                                                               - 1-2 tsp Tbsp, as needed

For Sandwiching
Strawberry Spread                                         - 1 Cup, at room temperature
Whipping Cream                                            - 300 ml

For Butter cream icing
Butter                                                             - 1 Cup (2 sticks) at room temperature
Powdered Sugar/Confectioner's Sugar            - 4 Cups
Vanilla Essence                                              - 2 tsp
Milk/cream                                                    - 2 Tbsp (or as required)
Food Colors - Peach or Orange, Brown, Black, Light brown (You can substitute with any of your favorite color)

   Preparing the Cake
         Place the racks to the center of the oven and pre-heat to 350 F (180 C). Prepare*** a 8" round and 1/4 sheet pan (12" x 8") . Keep aside.
          In a mixing bowl sift together the self-raising flour and baking powder. Set aside
          In another bowl beat the butter until smooth and creamy. This may take about a minute. Add the sugar little by little while beating, so that the sugar is incorporated into the butter. When all the sugar is added gently add the eggs, one at a time. Beat and mix together till each of the egg is absorbed into the butter-sugar mixture. Add flour mixture into the egg mixture 1/3rd at a time and gently fold them together. Make sure the whole flour mixture is mixed well without any lumps. The batter must be smooth and thick but pourable. If the mixture is too thick add 1 or 2 Tbsp of milk to loosen it a bit. Add 1/2 Tbsp of milk at a time to make sure the batter is not made too loose. Also make sure that the batter is not over mixed.
         Now pour the batter into the prepared pans. Gently level the batter with a rubber spatula. Tap the pans with the batter so as to remove any air bubble. Bake the cake for about 20-25 minutes or till the cakes get a golden brown color. Insert a toothpick at the center and if it emerges clean the cake is done. Allow the cakes to cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Then gently loosen the sides with a spatula or knife and transfer them onto a cooling rack. Let the cakes cool completely before icing.

  Preparing Butter cream Icing
          Place the butter in a bowl and beat to cream it. Slowly add the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time and mix till the entire batch is absorbed by the butter. After the whole sugar is added mix in the vanilla essence. If the icing looks too thick, add milk/cream 1 Tbsp at a time so as to make it little more soft. Do not make the icing too watery. If it goes watery add a little bit powdered sugar, mix and leave in the fridge for about 10 minutes to thicken it. Take some cream and mix with the required colors. While mixing the orange color mix a little at a time so that you can stop when the required color consistency is reached.  Use only a small portion of the icing to make the desired colors, so that even if you need more of a particular color you can come back to the original batch and whip up the required color.
            Put each colored icing into separate piping bags fitted with tips. For the peach or light orange color and the brown color use star tips. You can spread the light brown color with a spatula or a butter knife and use a straight tip or outline tip for the black color.

  Arranging the Cake
           Beat the whipping cream in a bowl and beat till it forms soft peaks. Take the Sheet Cake and draw an outline of the teddy bear's head and stomach with a tooth pick. You can also draw the outline on a piece of paper and keep it on top of the cake. Cut the shape of the bear on the cake. Now with round cookie cutters (small, medium & large) cut a pair of round shapes of each size. The small one for ear, medium and large for the front and hind paws.
           Now keep the ear piece over the head portion and cut the side of the head so as to insert the curve of the ear. Do it on both sides. Do the same with the front and hind paws. Cut the whole cake (The body piece, ear and paws) horizontally into two equal halves so as to make two layers of the cake.

            Assemble one layer of all the pieces on a cake plate or cardboard piece  in the shape of the teddy bear. Glue each piece onto the plate with a small amount of the icing mix. Now on top the whole layer spread the strawberry preserves or jelly to half inch thickness. On top of the jelly spread the whipping cream, also to half inch thickness. Now place the other layers of the cake on top over the corresponding pieces. Spread the light brown icing on the inside portion of the ear, paws & tummy. Now apply the brown icing on the ears and paws as well as their sides. Using the orange cream ice the head and body portion along with the respective sides, leaving a portion for the eyes as well as the mouth. Using the black color draw the eyes, mouth and claws of the teddy bear. Keep the cake covered at room temperature or in the fridge till ready to use. If kept in fridge allow the cake to come to room temperature before serving it.

* Castor Sugar - This is a sugar that is much finer than the regular granulated sugar, but not as fine as the powdered sugar. If you don't have castor sugar. powder the granulated sugar using a coffee grinder and then measure to 1 cup.

** Self raising flour - This flour does not require any leavening agents like baking soda and baking powder as they are already mixed into it. If you do not have this flour in handy you can substitute with all purpose flour. Sift together 1 Cup all-purpose flour, 1 1/3 tsp Baking powder and 1/4 tsp salt into a bowl. Sift it one more time. Now measure this mixture into 1 Cup and use as self-raising flour.

*** Preparing a baking pan - Either apply non stick spray or butter to your pan. Add 2 Tbsp of flour into it, preferably the same flour as used in the recipe. Swirl the pan and make sure the entire pan is coated with the flour and butter. Dust the extra flour into the sink. Instead of flouring the pan you can also use parchment paper to line the pan. Cut the parchment paper to the size as the bottom of the pan. Once the cake is baked and transferred to the cooling rack you can simply remove the paper.


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