We’ve all been there. You see a picture of an adorable pink Barbie cake on Pinterest and think, “How hard can it be?” Seven hours, six kilos of flour and a broken spatula later you’ve got a startled looking Barbie who is slightly lopsided and melting by the minute. Fear not! We’ve got some super simple tips on how to bake kids’ birthday cakes in Singapore and nail it every time. Baking your own birthday cakes for kids has never been easier, so go forth and create!
Rule #1: The Golden Rule
This is The Golden Rule. Kids don’t actually give a flying fork what their cake looks like (or tastes like for that matter), as long as it’s chock-full of sugar, butter and topped with brightly coloured icing. Cheesy but true: as long it’s made with love, you can guarantee that your kiddo will adore it too.
Rule #2: know your limits
Pinterest is your friend, but use it wisely. Mums and dads, you need to know your limits. While it might seem awesome in your mind, it’s very unlikely that you’re going to nail the vertical giraffe replica cake. The trick is to keep it simple and if you need to, use store-bought props like sweets, mini figurines or fun icing colours to add some bling.
Rule #3: beware these tropical climes
Humidity is not your friend. It’s not just in your mind, it actually is more difficult to bake a cake in Singapore. Our sultry weather means that dry ingredients (like flour and baking powder) tend to soak up liquids more readily. If your cake falls flat or is too crumbly, try reducing the amount of liquid you add to your mixture. It’s a good idea to do a practice run in the lead up to the main event.
Rule #4: air con is your bestie
If you’re lucky enough to have air con in your kitchen, turn it down as chilly as you can stand before you start baking or decorating. If your kitchen is an air con free zone, when it’s time to decorate you might even consider relocating to a room with air con or start the creative wizardry part of the process in the evening, when things are a smidge cooler. The colder temperature will mean your icing will hold its shape for longer and if you need to whack some icing between layers, there’ll be less chance of slipping and sliding.
Rule #5: go back to basics
You need to track down a good, basic cake recipe. It might sound fancy to have a raspberry white chocolate ganache cake, but as per The Golden Rule, your kids won’t care about the $20 block of white couverture chocolate you’ve just melted into your batter. Give yourself (and your wallet) a break and buy a packet mix, or ask a friend (or reliable Facebook support group) for their go-to recipe.
Rule #6: get intimate with your oven
Get to know your oven. Like the first time you tried penciling in your patchy eyebrows, this one is a matter of trial and error. Ovens can run hotter or cooler than the dial says, so keep an eye on your cake as it cooks and make sure it’s not browning on the top too quickly. You can pop a skewer into the thickest part of the cake to test if it’s cooked, it should come out clean when it’s good to go. If it comes out sticky or with cake batter on it, give it some more time. Another trick is to feel the top of the cake – it should spring back when touched if it’s cooked properly.
Rule #7: don’t scrimp on ingredients
Good quality ingredients are key. Try to buy the best ingredients within your budget, like fresh, cage-free eggs, pure unsalted butter, good quality vanilla extract, full fat milk and organic flour. This lovely island is dotted with cake supply stores, like Phoon Huat, Bake King and Sun Lik Trading.
Rule #8: fondant is a dark art
Avoid fondant unless you’re an expert, or you live in the Arctic. Kids absolutely adore fondant (it’s like edible playdough!), but it is super tricky to wrangle, especially in this heat. If you do want to use fondant, make sure you’ve got the air con pumping and a good supply of cornflour handy. If the fondant becomes sticky, you can use the cornflour to dry it out.
Rule #9: when in doubt, use sweets
We’ve been to a lot of kids birthday parties in our time and it has to be said, kids don’t rate a cake by how much it cost, they rate it by how many lollies or chocolates it has on top. We eat with our eyes, right? If you’ve made a boo boo with your icing and it’s turned out the colour of baby poo, just cover it up with loads of Smarties. Same goes for a collapsed cake situation: cover that mess right up with a bag of gummy bears. Too easy!
Rule #10: in the face of adversity, pass the buck to a bonafide baker
And our final pearl of wisdom…there’s no shame in outsourcing. It’s the thought that counts, right? As per The Golden Rule, as long as somebody has made the cake with love, you’re good to go! Lucky for you, we’ve got a roundup of the best store-bought cakes (made with loads of love, guaranteed!) for those last-minute cake-mergencies.
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