Afternoon tea birthday cake


I spent over 12 hours on this cake, and just as I gently pressed the last sculpted tiny scone onto my handmade and painted icing cake stand, husband tells me he's left the flash card for our SLR at work.

Fantastic.  Thankfully it's not 2004 and my camera phone does a nice enough job, despite the yellowy overhead lights.  I would have taken it outside for better lighting, but being summer, and in England, it was pissing it down with rain.  So everything was against me.

But who am I to let the weather and my husbands forgetfulness end my attempts at recording my hard work?

So here, in all of it's colour corrected glory, is the story of how I made this cake.

My Auntie Bee has made our birthday cakes for the past 26 years.  I've had trolls with candy floss hair, a sulky teen leaning over a computer, cookbooks, art pads, giant cows and shopping bags.

So as soon as I found an interest in baking, I started to return the favour.  This year I decided to push the boat out a little and attempt a version of a cake I had seen on the talented Emily's blog a few months back.  Here is the link, and with much better photography than this post will have.

So how was it done?  When it came to making afternoon tea parts, I had to let the icing dry before I could paint them, and then dry again before putting it all together.  Each part was made separately and then assembled on the cake.

So i made one hell of a mess.

My first attempt at plates & saucers failed (they were too thick and wouldn't set.)  But my teapot, teacups, sandwiches and tasty treats were all drying nicely.

The teapot was easy enough, despite my spout looking a little flaccid and sorry for itself, and I ended up making an extra lid after my attempts and putting a little handle on the top ruined the original shape.

I remade the plates, plus a few spare ones in case any broke in the assembly.  It was a bloody good job I did.  Then I painted the same pattern onto the plates, parts of the cake stand and teacups.

The worst part was the cake stand.  I don't know why I did that too myself.  One extra hard push and the whole thing snapped in half.  Assembling tiny sandwiches and scones to a delicate sheet of icing, with shaky big fat hands was incredibly difficult.

But we got there.  I say we, but Kris actually played Spyro games and napped whilst I assembled and made this cake.  Which is why there are no pictures of me making it.  What a rubbish glamous assistant he turned out to be.

So after 12 hours (split over two days)  I was putting the finishing touches to the cake.

Everything was made from icing, and was fiddly as hell.

1 teapot
4 teacups and sauces
1 cake stand
1 sugar pot complete with mini sugar cubes
1 milk jug
1 cake knife
1 cake plate
3 serving plates
20 mini ham sandwiches
4 scones
1 pot of jam
1 pot of clotted cream
8 various pastries
4 eclairs
1 victoria sponge
4 spoons
1 table runner

All I can say was it was a bloody perilous 10 minutes car ride over to my Auntie's house.

But I think she liked it.

So then onto the best part, eating it.  I went for a traditional classic sponge, with a redcurrant and strawberry filling.

She refused to cut through any of the decorations, so carefully dismantled the cake before cutting.

And that's about it.

Happy Birthday Auntie Bee!


  1. OMG! That cake looks amazing! I would never have the patience to put this together. Lovely!

  2. You should be very proud of yourself, Emma. That's not an easy cake to make and I love how vivid and beautiful it has turned out. Excellent job, Emma.

  3. This truely a work of art Emma, well done! You should be very proud. I love all the detail and effort you've put in, it looks awesome!!

  4. Oh my goodness! What a fun and creative cake! What an amazing job!

  5. This birthday cake was pretty much the most brilliant thing I have ever seen! You never cease to amaze me, you British Minx!!

  6. Are you actually kidding me?! This is unbelievable! I am in so in awe of your attention to detail - even down to the matching crockery! Love it! :)

  7. You should try out for Bake Off! That's amazing that cake is.

  8. This cake is amazing, I honestly can say with my hand on my heart, I count not have done this. My hands are just not steady enough for this kind of fiddly work. Well done you for doing it, I think I would have gone mad trying to make this. What an amazing birthday cake :D

  9. This is amazing! I could never have the patience to do anything like this. How funny she dismantled it before eating!

  10. This truely a work of art Emma, well done! You should be very proud. I love all the detail and effort you've put in, it looks awesome!!


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