Zodiac Cake

This is an ideal cake to make for a birthday party or indeed any party. It is decorated with the signs of the zodiac so that each guest can choose his own zodiac sign. If you know your guests’ particular signs and you find there are two Leos or three Capricorns, you can decorate the cake accordingly, if you wish.

If you are not an expert on piping the signs straight on to the cake then trace them from a book. Place the tracing on top of the cake and, using a pin, mark out the design. Remove the tracing paper and pipe over the marked-out design.

2 x

9-inch Genoise Sponges

Buttercream Icing, made with

3 oz. unsalted butter,

12 oz. icing sugar etc.

½ lb. sugar

15 fl. oz. water

12 oz. icing sugar

Cut the domed top from one cake and discard it. Spread this cake with the buttercream icing and place the second cake on top, dome side up. Set aside.

To make the icing, in a medium-sized saucepan, dissolve the sugar in the water over low heat, stirring constantly. In- crease the heat to moderate, cover the pan and bring the syrup to the boil. Continue boiling until the syrup registers

215°F to

220°F (102X to

104°C) on a sugar thermometer or until a small amount of the mixture, cooled, will form a short thread between your thumb and index finger.

Remove the pan from the heat and allow the syrup to cool slightly.

Place the icing sugar in a medium-sized mixing bowl and, with a wooden spoon, gradually beat in the syrup. Continue beating until the icing is thick and smooth.

Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and set the pan over low heat. Stir until the icing is warm and of a spreading consistency.

Pour half of the icing on to the centre of the cake and spread it out quickly with a flat-bladcd knife dipped in hot water.

Once the cake is covered with the icing, clean the blade of the knife and, holding it vertically against the side of the cake, smooth the sides by drawing the blade carefully against the icing.

Clean the blade of the knife again and, holding it horizontally, draw the blade carefully across the icing on top of the cake to make it smooth. Set the cake aside until the icing has set.

Fill a forcing bag, fitted with a plain writing nozzle, with the remaining icing (add a few drops of food colouring, if you prefer the decoration to be of a different colour) and mark 12 dividing lines on the surface of the cake. Using the forcing bag, pipe the required zodiac signs into the divisions. Set the cake aside and allow the icing to set.

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