Hidden Fairies in the Garden Cake

As our precious Rainbow approached Two, our new garden was nearing completion (with a spot of midnight gardening as is the case when you have little people who won’t go to bed early!). I wanted to have a garden party for our special girl amongst the newly planted flowers. My hubby wanted to put his feet up and watch the cricket. Goldie had decided her sister’s party theme ought to be ‘Fairies’, so we went through her favourite Fairy books for inspiration. We found it in the outrageously gorgeous pop up book ‘How to find Flower Fairies’. This book is next level and an amazing gift for 3 years and up! Goldie & I LOVE looking between the leaves and flowers for hidden fairies (with a torch for added detective effect!). So, I had the idea of trying to achieve something similar with a cake. My husband rolled his eyes when he saw us studying the book – Him: “This was going to be time consuming…” (this was not his first experience of a crazy birthday cake for a toddler.) Me: “It easier than you’d think, I can do it while we Netflix”. Birthday cakes are BIG DEALS in our house…and always take longer than I think.

I’m not going to lie to you. If you want to attempt painting 40 flowers at 11pm, you can’t ALSO watch The Blacklist. It’s far too complicated to understand a fast moving plot line while trying to apply gold leaf a soggy daffodil and it may cause marital irritation when you ask what’s going on for the 5th time.

However, if you can handle a bit of basic water colour style painting and pressing gum paste into moulds this is totally achievable! You will need: modelling paste; paint brushes; Decorative Cake paint; edible glitter; some moulds or cutters; gold leaf (optional) and an over-the-top personality.

To create the flowers I used modelling paste. You can also use fondant if you add gum powder to give it the firmness it needs. I pressed them into a variety of leaf, flower, butterfly and berry moulds mainly bought from Ali Express. I actually used one of the kids Play Doh mould for the berries and tiny leaves. To create variety I also used a selection of leaf and flower cutters. With the leaves I rolled clean actual leaves onto the modelling paste first so that they had the veins of the leaves for detail. I dried them over the sides of the tray so that they had a more natural, curling shape.

I used good quality Edible Art Paint diluted with 50% vodka as I didn’t have High Grade Alcohol but it did the trick. This brand was Sweet Sticks Pastel Pack. The leaves were blends of green, yellow and peach to get variation. It was a relaxed, late night job by the TV! I added food grade non-toxic glitter and gold leaf while they were still wet.

These will keep for ages in an air tight box so you can prep this part long in advance. When it came to assembly, I just thickly but roughly iced the cake with green coloured Swiss meringue icing; them piped the bottom and top edges with a leaf piping nozzle to create a structure to start placing the fondant elements. I added the Toad stool cake (covered in fondant) and piped a pathway of leaves and up the sides of the toadstool so that I had places to place the tiny flowers and butterflies.

Next, I started to arrange the leaves in a random fashion so that they leant out of the sides of the cake to create that 3D effect. It was a bit of a puzzle looking for what naturally fit where but also leaving room for the little rice paper flower fairies to peep out. I got these on Amazon – they are super cute and totally edible. The kids were all desperate to eat a fairy!

This cake was SUCH a pleasure to make and Super rewarding. It formed the perfect centrepiece for a Fairy Party. Making it took me back in time to my childhood of reading Flower Fairy poems and pouring over the pictures of the Brambly Hedge Series. It reminded me of picking blackberries in the UK and stepping through Primroses brimming from the hedgerows. Seeing my little Rainbow’s eyes light up and her fingers edge towards the flowers and butterflies made it worth every moment.

Cake in situ on Flower Fairy Fabric by Colefax & Fowler; Meri Meri Liberty collaboration party plates, serviettes, straws & bunting – courtesy of Oxted Ltd. Rice DK melamine cups.

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