Swimming Pool Cake : Nutella Chiffon with Dark Choc-Nutella Ganache Filling

My litle girl turned all of four 2 days ago. I asked her over and over again what cake she would like for her birthday and her choice changed from day to day. She started out by asking for a castle cake (which I had made for her cousin last year), then changed her mind to a mermaid cake (whcih was the cake I made for her cousin 2 weeks ago) and finally settled on a swimming pool cake. Ofcourse, she also hesitated between a smurffette, princess and Dora cake too. As to the flavours inside, she was undecided till the very last moment. Strawberry or Chocolate? I practically took out the strawberry emulco and put it back a few times while she hesitated from one to the other. Finally she decided on chocolate. So back went the emulco into the drawer and out came the jar of nutella. Yeah, I figured that we should do a nutella cake for variety instead of the usual chocolate.

We decided on a nutella chiffon cake with a dark chocolate-nutella ganache filling and a fresh whipped cream frosting (ok I admit, I did most of that decision-making, but mainly in an effort to speed things up). I knew for a fact that she would love those flavours.

Mermaid Birthday Cake

The star of this evening was my little niece and her gorgeous cake. I must say I had a ton of fun designing, baking, crafting and finally decorating this cake. She had already told me that she wanted an oreo cheesecake for her birthday about 3 months ago, the only thing is that she had originally wanted an Ariel Mermaid cake and then she changed her mind to a Smurfs cake (all thanks to the movie she watched) and then finally about 4 days ago, she decided on a Mermaid and Ocean cake.

So I rolled up my sleeves and baked up two Oreo Cheesecakes for the first 2 tiers of the cake. And since I was already baking some chocolate chip cupcakes (read previous blog), I used some of the batter to bake up a small cake for the top tier of the Mermaid Cake.

The decorations included royal icing roses (in bright red, pale pink and orange) as well as a few other types of flowers in various shades as well as leaves, a royal icing swan and assorted candies and chocolates. The mermaid was created using a barbie doll which was dressed in a bikini top and fish tail, both moulded from marzipan. It was also accessorised with a pearl necklace, some bangles and earrings, all of which were again made using marzipan. I would have used sugarpaste/fondant but the only thing I had on hand was marzipan. Although it tastes a lot better than fondant, it’s a bit trickier to handle. The trick, however, is to use generous and frequent dustings of icing sugar while rolling/working with it.

All three tiers of the cake were frosted with fresh whipped cream which I tinted a light blue to mimic an ocean/water look. After frosting the entire cake, I used a much darker shade of blue and swept it across randomly over the light blue icing to create different shadings of blue and make it look more realistic.

The whole process of decorating the cake was enchanting, it really brought out the child in me. Even the birthday girl helped out by rolling the marzipan into tiny balls to make a pearl necklace for the mermaid. I get such joy in making and decorating every single cake and I get even greater joy when I see the look on tiny faces when they see their special cakes.