I devised this Witch Cauldron Birthday Cake using some ideas I picked up off the internet and using some of my own as well:

Equipment used (I am a complete amateur so please excuse me if the terms aren’t 100% correct!):

Cake

1 x Kugelhopf cake tin – 25cm or 10″ diameter at the widest part

2 x Madeira cake recipe (see below)

* HINT: The two cakes ultimately fit together to make a ball shape (you could use a “Globe” cake tin if you have one – I used this because it was the best alternative)

Madeira cake (from Debbie Brown’s “Easy Party Cakes” book):

340g/12oz Unsalted butter softened

340g/12oz caster (superfine) sugar

6 large eggs

340g/12oz self raising flour

145g/5oz plain flour

Half teaspoon vanilla extract

*I substituted about half the plain flour (75g or 3oz) for cocoa and added 200g (7oz) melted dark chocolate to get a chocolate cake.

Cake Recipe Method:

* I greased the cake tin with melted butter and then dusted it with plain flour

* Set oven to 150 to 160 Celsius or 325 F.

* Sift flours together.

* If adding cocoa, reserve 6 TBSP of flour mixture before adding cocoa

* Cream butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl until pale and fluffy

* Add eggs one at a time with 1 TBSP of white flour mixture beating well after each addition

* Add vanilla extract and then fold in the flour or flour/cocoa mixture

* Mix in melted chocolate (if adding)

* Spoon mixture into the tin and make a dip in the centre of the mixture around the ring of the tin (this helps to get a smoother finish to the cake)

Icing and Decorating Equipment:

1 x Buttercream recipe

2 x 750g Packets chocolate ready to roll sugar paste icing

1 x 750g Packet White ready to roll sugar paste icing

(Alternatively, you could use ready coloured icing if you can get it – I can’t!)

Cookie cutters: I used a Star, crescent moon, a witch on a broomstick and a pumpkin (on the back of the cake)

Silver balls (you could use anything you like really – some little silver or gold stars would be great)

Black Licorice Straps (I used the “rope” kind with a hole running through the centre)

Cocktail sticks (3) or bamboo BBQ skewer (2) – used for the handle and to put “veins” on the eyes

2 x 85g packets jelly mixture – I used 1 each of lime (green) and blueberry (blue)

Lollies: Gum worms or snakes, milk teeth, bones, frogs (anything that’s “witchy”)

Paint brush – used to paint the Iris and pupil of the each eyeball and to stick shapes on the outside of the cake

Palette knife – the best way to apply the buttercream icing

Bread knife – used to “sculpt” the cake

Small sharp knife – used for cutting the flames

Small saucer or dish – used as a stand for the bottom of the cake

(the middle needs to fit inside the ring of the cake tin)

Icing smoother – if you can get your hands on one of these – they’re great. They give the roll out icing a really

smooth and shiny finish. I actually couldn’t find mine (!!) but I would have used it if I could have.

Piping bag with fine “writing” nozzle.

Food colourings:

Black, Yellow, Orange, Red, Blue

Sugar “glue”: 3 TBSP sugar dissolved in 3 TBSP water (heated in a small pan on a low element)

Buttercream Icing (from Debbie Brown’s “Easy Party Cakes” book):

175g/6oz unsalted butter softened

2-3 TBSP milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

450g/1lb icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar) sifted

Put butter, milk and vanilla into a mixer. Set to medium speed and add icing sugar a little at a time until

mixture is light and fluffy.

* I added 90g melted chocolate to get a chocolate icing

Assembling the Cake:

Prepare your cake board. I just used a cake tray and covered it with tin foil. Once my 2 cakes had cooled I first “sculpted” them a bit, taking the rougher edges from the mould off to get the outside smooth. I also tidied up the “bottom” of each cake at the widest part where they would fit together. One cake was going to be the bottom of the cauldron (smaller “side” at the bottom). I placed this on a small saucer as a kind of a stand in the center of my cake “board” to raise it up slightly.

I didn’t “glue” the saucer to the cake board but you could probably use some roll out icing to do this. I found that the weight of the cake was enough to stop it slipping.

I then took the top layer and hollowed out the centre to allow for the jelly filling to go in.

I then placed the trimmings inside the LOWER half of the cake. Then I joined the two halves of the cake together with a generous amount of buttercream filling. I covered the whole cake with buttercream including the inside of the top ring.

Using 1.5 packets of chocolate icing I added enough black colouring to make the covering for the cauldron, the “lip” around the top, a ring for the base, the 2 rings (on on each side), a disc to put inside the top layer (to stop the jelly from oozing through to the bottom layer) and a small piece to wrap around the centre of the handle.

I then measured the height (allowing for some overlap at the top) and circumference of the cake and rolled out enough icing to wrap around the entire cake in one go. I then wrapped the cake in the icing putting the join at the back and putting the overlap over the top and slightly inside the centre ring.

This is where a cake smoother comes into its own to smooth out the “seam” and make the icing look glossy. As I was without my smoother I just used my hands and had gave the cake a lovely massage until it looked as smooth as possible.

Then I made 2 rolls: one for the lip at the top of the cauldron and one to put around the base.

Then the outside handles: 2 small rings. I made a disc slightly bigger than the hole at the bottom of of the top layer which I put into the base of the top layer (essential if you don’t want the jelly to ooze out).

To construct the handle, I used 2 black licorice ropes and inserted a cocktail stick into each one to fix into the top of the cauldron just inside the lip. I then used another cocktail stick to join the 2 ropes at the top and wrapped a small amount of black sugar paste icing around the join.

I then added the flames which I cut by hand from some of the orange sugar paste. I used “lengths” and glued them to the cauldron with my sugar glue mixture. Then the decorations (all adhered with the sugar glue). I used my large pumpkin shape to cover the seam at the back of the cake, put witchy on the front to one side and then added some stars and crescent moons in yellow to the front and back and a few silver balls dotted around.

I piped the “Happy Birthday” message in the gap at the front in basic butter icing (icing sugar, boiling water and a small amount of butter)with red food colouring added.

The “logs” were made from the remainder of the chocolate sugar paste icing which I rolled flat and then rolled back up to make logs which were then cut to length and arranged around the bottom of the cake. These were used to put the candles into.

Finally I made the jelly (1 blue and 1 green the night before which I didn’t add until just before the party. This was spooned into the top layer of the cake and then we added all the lollies and the eyeballs which I made from some white sugar paste icing and then painted with food colouring. I used a cocktail stick and red colouring for the veins.

Last of all, the candles. The cake was a great success, especially to the birthday girl who loved helping me add the jelly at the end (I was quite surprised that we used it all!).