Image © Pikwizard / Creative Art.
Think you're not a good enough baker to create a book cake? Think again.
We love this cheat's method to creating a book cake design. Forget trying to carve your book shaped cake and instead use multiple round cakes to create the effect of open pages.
There are lots of book cake ideas out there but many rely on a steady hand to shape the fallen pages of your book cake. Instead, you can bake your cakes and assemble into the required book cake shape. As cakes go, a book cake makes a big impression. Who wouldn't love a book cake? It looks fabulous, is easy to personalise and yet is easy for home bakers to create in an evening.
Once you've got your basic book cake made and covered you can let your imagination run riot to fill the pages. For teens, a few classic lines from Harry Potter are likely to be well received, while tots will enjoy something instantly recognisable from their favourite bedtime story. If you're feeling ambitious you can add pictures to your cake too. The beauty of this design is that if it all goes horribly wrong you can remove the top 'page' and quickly roll out another and try again without damaging the entire cake - bonus!
Book Cake Cheat's Method:
400g caster sugar
400g softened butter
400g self-raising flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
4 tablespoons of milk
Heat your oven to 190C/170C fan/gas mark five. Grease and line four 20cm sandwich tins. If you only have two then you can make your cakes in batches.
Beat together all of the ingredients in a large bowl until you have a smooth batter. Divide between the four tins, smooth the surface and bake for around 20 minutes or until golden. Place on a cooling rack.
450g icing sugar
150g unsalted butter, softened
60g cocoa powder
White fondant ready rolled icing
Food colouring gel pens
Extra cocoa powder
Once your cakes have cooled stack them on top of each other with a layer of jam between each one.
Slice your cakes in half vertically so you have two tall half moon cake shapes. Now lay each down on the flat edge pushed together to create the rounded shape of an open book. You can trim the outside edges with a knife to get the necessary flat look of a book edge. Transfer to your cake board.
To make an initial crumb coat for your cake blend together the butter, cocoa powder and icing sugar until it's smooth. Then slowly mix in the milk. Spread all over the cake so it's well covered. At this point, it doesn't need to be too neat as the cakes will be covered in fondant icing.
Now for the cake decorating. Set aside a small amount of your fondant icing. Use your rolling pin to roll out the rest and cover the entire book cake with the fondant icing. Make sure to press it neatly into the 'spine' of the book to maintain the shape of your book cake. Cut away the excess. Next, use a ruler to gently press lines into the edges of the book to give the impression of pages.
With the rolling pin roll out the remaining fondant icing into a really thin layer. Lay this carefully on top of the fondant-covered cake, be careful as it should be thin enough that it may tear. This top layer of fondant gives a more realistic page impression. You can even gently fold it slightly for an authentic look.
Final touches! You can lightly dust the edge of the 'pages' with cocoa powder if you're going for an aged look. Then use the gel food colouring pens to write on the book. You can spell out a favourite book title or if it's a book birthday cake why not the recipient's name and age? If you're feeling ambitious you can copy out a page of text from a treasured book.
Tips and Recommendations:
This above cake should cut around 20 slices. If you want a smaller cake then you can adjust the size of the tins you use.
The cake will last for up to five days if kept in an air-tight container.
You can freeze any leftover cake for up to three months. Wrap in several layers of cling film and foil to maintain freshness.
If you don't have round tins then bake a one layer square cake. When it's cooked and cooled you can find the centre and carefully carve away from the cake so it looks like other open book cakes.
Kids of all ages can help make the cakes but you may like to leave the tricky decorating for when they're in bed.
If you're making the cake for someone with allergies then switch out ingredients as necessary – for example, gluten-free flour or oat milk.
If you want to really make an impact think about using fondant icing to create 3D characters from a book and adding them to the top of your bake.
If you're baking a book cake for a book lover you don't have to go for an open book. You can also try a book cover. All you need to do is make a square cake, place on a cake board and top with a crumb coat then fondant ready rolled icing. Using icing pens you can recreate a book cover, such as Harry Potter, the Bible or a picture book. This will require a steady hand and the actual book next to you for reference. Don't forget you can get fondant icing in different colours.
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