I remember my third birthday cake well; it was gigantic, covered in cream and chocolate, and in the shape of a number three. Looking back at the photos, I still chuckle when I see my then tiny three-year-old self being dwarfed by cake – stuff of dreams really! I always thought my parents went all out on my third birthday cake until I was invited to a third birthday party for Jenius Social, a cooking school and events space in Holloway, and discovered that they were having not one but three cakes, and each of them would be three-tiered. Yeah, that’s really going all out!
Like any good party, there were plenty of nibbles and prosecco, but as an incorrigible sweet tooth, I was most excited about turning up at a party with three cakes! However, before we got to eat cake, there was a catch – we had to decorate them first! Most of you will know that I like a bit of a challenge in the kitchen and needed to make up for the fact I failed miserably at spinning rotis recently so I threw myself into this challenge with enthusiasm. That’s not to say that I was actually any good… just keen. Thankfully for me, I didn’t have to create this cake masterpiece on my own; my team consisted of a Baking King and Instagram Food Styling Queen. So obviously they drew the short straw getting stuck with me.
We kicked off the evening with a short lesson in cake decorating from the Jenius Social chefs; they talked us through how they made the cakes, and gave us some tips on working with chocolate icing. I thought the chefs were clear, concise and really helpful throughout the evening which really made me want to book another class with them straight away! I liked the sound of the Artisan Sausage Making and Tempting Tapas classes, but if you’re not a hugely confident cook then something like the Ultimate Knife Confidence or Classic Cake-Making might be more suitable to set you up for future culinary success.
Each team was responsible for decorating a cake in a different style and I think we lucked in with the oh-so-in-trend ‘Naked Cake’, whilst the others had to work with chocolate and fondant. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the naked cake trend, you’ll be pleased to know that the only nudity involved is that of the cake itself. They’re iced just enough so that a lot of the cake is still exposed, hence ‘naked’, and often adorned with natural decorations such as fruits and flowers. Personally, I’m not a huge buttercream fan so I love the idea and look of a naked cake and was very excited to create my own for the first time.
Our team got our thinking caps on a very swiftly decided to keep things simple, elegant and ombre… I told you this cake was chic and on-trend! We started by icing the cake with plain buttercream – John’s top tips were to spread the buttercream on smoothly from side to side, and not be afraid of really pushing onto the cake when scraping off the excess buttercream to create the ‘naked’ finish. After the base was complete, we started the real decorating… purple buttercream and blueberries went on the bottom tier, followed by red buttercream and raspberries in the middle, and finally the pink buttercream and strawberries on top! I must admit, it wasn’t as tricky as I thought it would be and the result was far more impressive than I could have ever hoped for!
Obviously I’m a tad biased so thought our cake was the best, but the other creations were equally spectacular! I was impressed by how smoothly one team managed to get their fondant icing onto each tier, and also by the additional chocolate-work done by the other team. That proved to be their winning touch as their cake was judged the best by the judges! The team at Jenius Social really know how to celebrate a birthday… and I’m sure they’d have just the right cooking class or activity to suit your needs if you decided to host your celebration or event with them!
Have you ever made a really elaborate birthday cake for someone?
Thanks to Jenius Social for inviting me to their 3rd Birthday Party, but as always, all opinions are mine and mine alone!
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