I have worked on baking and decorating several cakes but this one really “took the cake” both in terms of effort put in and accolades received. A friend who is an avid hiker was about to turn 40 and I took on the onus of baking the cake. This hiking theme cake was 11 inch by 16 inch chocolate cake with a strawberry and whipped cream filling. Adding chocolate chips to the batter gave the cake texture. I primarily used butter cream icing to decorate it.

A lesson I learnt from this cake was that the chocolate chips sunk to the bottom of my cake while baking making it difficult for me to slice the cake in order to put in the filling. However, the chocolate chips were well received by the guests.  It was different from the normal soft, spongy cake taste that one gets when you bite into a cake!

I started off icing my cake a pale green. However, while I iced the cake, plenty of crumbs started coming off the cake. At first I tried my best to get rid of the crumbs and then realized that the crumby look made the surface look realistic. It looked like a mixture of greenery mixed with dirt – perfect scenario for a hiker!

Then I made a small hill with some left over cake and while icing that, more crumbs came off the cake giving the hill a rugged look. I created a hiker trail with brown sugar and the trees with pretzel sticks and dark green royal icing. A mixture of chocolates such as chocolate covered nuts and raisins along the path and the camp fire gave the hiking theme cake a more authentic look.

The most exciting bit of decorating the cake was making the camp fire. I made the stones out of chocolate covered nuts and raisins and put in thin pretzel sticks in between to create the firewood. I put 3 candles in between and when we lit the candles to cut the cake, the camp fire did look very authentic.

I created the tent using graham crackers covered in yellow fondant and the oasis like structure using blue fondant on which I wrote “Happy Birthday”. The border was created with dark green icing that I used for the trees and a star icing tip. The final touch was the “Over the hill” sign (my husband’s contribution) and the Lego man holding two pretzel sticks.

The cake did turn out to be a crowd pleaser. Everyone loved the camp fire idea and the ‘Over the Hill’ sign. The best part was that people not only liked the decoration but appreciated the taste too as the cake had a mix of fruits, whipped cream, chocolate chips and lots of other nut based chocolates.