So this weekend I made another Malteser cake and realised that I am currently slightly obsessed with how great Maltesers are for decorating cakes. Not only do they look brilliant, they also add an extra taste and texture dimension to the cake itself. And you can eat them while you’re decorating…
One of the great things about blogging is that I now have a record of how and why I have made certain things. While thinking about this post and looking for photos, I discovered that I have actually learnt a lot over the past few months. My decorating skills have improved, I consider things a lot more carefully, I plan better and I have discovered far more artistic “ability” than I ever thought I had.
And while I have been baking for years, now that I have this blog I am approaching baking in a more structured and considered way and learning all the time. And learning not just about baking itself, but about what I can do with it and what it means to me. All of which is great for me, but what about you?!
So I thought you might like to know what I have learnt about decorating with Maltesers.
I started off just using them as a border:
When I made these Bunny Cakes I felt the bunnies needed to be in the centre of “something”. They needed something to keep them safe. What better than a Malteser fence? So the next birthday cake I made had a similar border but it was an”adult” cake despite the Maltesers, due to the more sophisticated strawberry sprinkles, and, I think, because of the contrast between them and the cream and chocolate colouring:
Now that I think about it, it would be perfect with truffle chocolates instead of Maltesers. I can feel a new favourite decoration coming on…
When it came to making my son’s birthday cake I wanted to make it as chocolatey as possible and chose to decorate it with Maltesers and Flakes. This was my first attempt at putting Maltesers around the sides of the cake and it’s a lot easier than you might think.
These are the things I have discovered:
♦ Bear in mind that a smallish cake will look bigger when you have finished decorating it, and it’s quite rich so a little goes a long way!
♦ Make sure you have a decent layer of buttercream for the Maltesers to anchor themselves in. Also be sure to keep some buttercream to one side as you may need extra.
♦ If you find you don’t have a thick enough layer, drag the Malteser through some more buttercream and use that to stick it to the cake. Don’t just hope for the best. You can see that one of the Maltesers was falling off and I didn’t notice until I looked at the photo properly. Clearly not enough icing!
♦ Leave a slight gap between the bottom row of Maltesers and the base of the cake. Otherwise when you come to move it, ones on the bottom row will be more likely to fall off.
♦ Start with the bottom row and do the entire bottom row before moving up. Continue row by row up the cake and try to put each Malteser directly above the one below.
♦ Try to work as quickly as possible as the icing will start to dry out and it will get harder to stick them on. If necessary you can spray the icing carefully and lightly with a water mister, or spread on a little more icing.
♦ When you have finished the sides don’t be afraid to use your hands all the way round the cake to make sure the Maltesers are well stuck on.
♦ If you have left a small space between the base and the bottom row you shouldn’t have a problem transferring the cake to a stand or a board with either a cake lifter or a couple of fish slices (I keep meaning to get a cake lifter, much safer!). If you lose a few Maltesers when you move it, just stick them back on.
♦ Don’t underestimate how many Maltesers you will need! I don’t think I had enough for a fourth row for Linus’ cake, but it would have looked better with a proper top row, like this one I did for his friend Benjamin:
I think you can see the progression in my decorating skills with this one! I had a much clearer idea of what I was trying to achieve when I started this one and I think it really shows.
And why hadn’t I thought of using Maltesers as a topper before?
So the next time I got to make a Malteser cake (I swapped it for a sports massage, I have the best friends!) I thought I would try some different sprinkles on the top and see if I could get a bit of colour in:
You can see on this one I decided yet another row of Maltesers was necessary, and ditched the Flakes. Not because I have anything against Flakes, I think at the time I had forgotten about them until it was too late! I forgot to put any glitter on the topper, which still upsets me…
I divided the top up into four with the Maltesers because the cake was for an 8th birthday: 2 candles in each quarter. But you can divide it up however you like and this weekend I made a cake for a ten year old so I divided the top into five and this time the topper had ten Maltesers instead of eight:
This is a much larger cake, as you can see from how much smaller the Maltesers seem, but the concept is exactly the same. I found some bright blue sprinkles and glitter for this one and even managed to fit Leo’s name on in sugarpaste. Happy Birthday, Leo!
So these are my tips for decorating cakes with Maltesers – do you have any to share?