This realistic cheeseboard cake makes an impressive centerpiece, or serve at the end of a meal to amaze and delight your guests.
By Olivia Zampi from The Bakery Lounge (www.thebakerylounge.co.uk
For the Cake:
A 30x20cm (12x8in) sheet cake, baked as a single layer
A 20cm (8in) round cake,
baked in two layers (to be sandwiched together)
Buttercream (enough for sheet and round cakes)
1kg (2lb 3oz) chocolate flavoured sugarpaste
70g (2½oz) teddy bear brown sugarpaste
90g (3¼oz) jet black sugarpaste
250g (9oz) amethyst purple sugarpaste
45g (1½oz) grass green sugarpaste
225g (8oz) yellow sugarpaste
200g (7oz) poppy red sugarpaste
215g (7½oz) white sugarpaste
Edible silver sparkles
1 green liquorice shoelace
Yellow, green and blue
Food paste colourings
1 red, blue or green gingham cloth, or sheet of paper around 43x43cm (17x17in) – you want it to be slightly bigger than the cake drum so the edges drape over the edge of the drum by about 5cm (2in)
2x2cm (¾x¾in) veined ivy
38x38cm (15x15in) cake drum
30x20cm (12x8in) cake card
4cm (¾in) circle cutter
Large and small balling tools
1 For the ivy leaves, thinly roll out the green sugarpaste. Cut out leaves with the ivy plunger cutter. This will produce about 35 leaves. Set aside.
2 For the grapes, take a piece of purple sugarpaste about the size of a marble and roll into a ball. Hold the ball in your palm and gently roll until it forms an oval. Repeat process until you have 40-45 ovals of varying sizes. It doesn’t matter that one side will end up a little flat (this will happen while they are sat drying).
3 For the knife handle, take 50g (1¾oz) black sugarpaste and roll into a thick sausage 7cm (3in) long. Use your fingertips to gently flatten the top of the sausage until it forms a 2cm (¾in) wide rectangle. Use the small balling tool to indent top and bottom 1.5cm (½in) in from each end. Set aside to dry.
4 For the knife blade, take 30g (1oz) white sugarpaste and roll it out (not too thinly). Use the blade template (see page 111) to cut out the shape. Set aside to dry.
5 For the crackers, take 60g (2oz) teddy bear brown sugarpaste and roll it out to about 4mm (1/8in) thick. Use the circle cutter to cut out 7-8 discs. Immediately take a toothpick and lightly press holes into each disc (they don’t have to be perfectly spaced). Set aside to dry.
6 Level the sheet cake to 4cm (1½in) high. Attach to the cake card with buttercream, then frost completely. Place in the fridge until the icing is firm.
7 Level the round cakes to 2.5cm (1in). Sandwich the round layers together with buttercream. Carefully cut the cake completely in half. Set aside one whole half of the cake – this will become the Edam. Cut the other half of the cake into thirds. Frost each piece with a thin layer of buttercream. Place in fridge until firm.
8 Take 10g (1/3oz) teddy brown sugarpaste and roll into long thin sausages. Separately roll all the chocolate sugarpaste into a thick cylinder. Press the sausages length-ways onto the chocolate sugarpaste spaced 4cm (¾in) apart (you might not need them all). Then twist the whole cylinder, as if you are opening a jar. Do this until the straight lines of the sausages are broken up. Roll the whole thing out and a marble effect will form.
9 Cover your sheet cake with the marbled chocolate sugarpaste. Use the smoother to sharpen the edges.
10 For the Edam, use the halved side of the round cake. The flat side is to be the front. Roll out 100g (3½oz) yellow sugarpaste to 24x7cm (9½x2¾in). Place onto the flat side of the cake and wrap the excess around the top and side edges – this way there will be no gaps between the yellow and the red sugarpaste for icing to escape through. Then roll out 200g (7oz) red sugarpaste and cover the top and rounded side of the still exposed cake. Once the red is in place use scissors to trim any excess from the front at the top and sides. Use your forefinger and thumb to gently pinch the edges of the yellow and red together. Polish with a smoother.
11 For the blue cheese, take a slice from the round. Roll out 125g (4½oz) white sugarpaste and cover. Polish with a smoother. Gently use your forefinger and thumb to pinch top and side edges so they’re sharpened. Let set before painting.
12 For the Emmental, take the second slice of the round cake. Roll out 125g (4½oz) yellow sugarpaste and cover. Polish with a smoother. Again, pinch the edges. Take the large end of the balling tool and press indents into the sugarpaste to form the ‘holes’.
13 For the Brie, take the third slice of the round cake and remove the top so it becomes a single layer. Trim to a slightly more slender triangle. Roll out 60g (2oz) white sugarpaste and cover. Cut a crosshatch pattern in the top. Put a little yellow colouring paste into a bowl and dilute. Very lightly wash the top of the cake with the yellow.
14 To paint the blue cheese, place a small amount of green and blue food colouring pastes into bowls and dilute. Take the still white blue cheese slice and, using a small, damp brush, lightly paint daubs of blue onto the sugarpaste. Repeat the process with the green. Allow colours to overlap.
15 Take the sheet cake and lay a ruler across its width. Measure 4.5cm (1¾in) inwards and mark with a notch. Continue measuring 4.5cm (1¾in) spaces across the cake. You should end up with four marks. Use the back edge of a kitchen knife to indent four lines down the length and the side edges of the cake at the measured distances.
16 Take the remaining black sugarpaste and roll to 1cm (½in) thick. Cut a triangle 5cm (2in) across by 7cm (2¾in) down. Use glue to fix the now set grapes onto the triangle. Add grapes until the triangle is hidden. Build the layers up working across. Place more grapes in the centre to form a dome. Cut 2.5cm (1in) green liquorice and push in the top. Use the glue to fix the ivy leaves to the top of the bunch of grapes in a random, overlapping pattern. Set aside.
17 For the knife blade paint a light coat of glue on and cover with silver sparkles. Leave to dry.
18 Take the cake drum and place a piece of double-sided tape in the centre and on the four corners. Take your gingham cloth or paper, make sure it is centred to the board with the edges draping over each side, then fix onto the board.
19 Put a small amount of buttercream in the centre of the now gingham covered cake drum and place the sheet cake on it.
20 Insert a toothpick on the right-hand side of the sheet cake, positioned 7cm (2¾in) down and 7cm in. Place the Edam on the toothpick and angle it on a diagonal slant.
21 In the centre of the sheet cake insert a halved toothpick and place the Brie on it with the pointed end of the Brie slanted down towards the left.
22 Insert a toothpick towards the back
left-hand side and place the Emmental on it. Insert a second toothpick towards the front left-hand side and place the blue cheese on it.
23 Glue the bunch of grapes to the front right-hand side of the cake.
24 Glue the silver knife blade onto the front of the cake. The top of the blade should sit directly below the bottom end of the grapes. Position the black knife handle so the top end of it is slightly overlapping the base end of the blade.
25 Scatter the crackers in front as you wish.