Fish-shaped cakes are an interesting and unusual choice for a party. They can be painted with edible colours to look realistic, or covered with sugar paste scales or chocolate pieces and jelly beans for a tropical or fantasy look. You can place your fish cake on a board or platter covered in blue cellophane, or pipe waves with blue icing to complete an ocean theme.
Pre-heat the oven to 176 degrees C. Combine the butter and sugar in a bowl and beat together thoroughly. Add the eggs a little at a time, beating after each addition. Slowly add the flour, mixing after each addition.
Grease a cake pan and line the base with waxed paper. Spoon in the mixture, flattening the top with a knife. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the cake has risen and is a pale golden brown. Insert a toothpick into the deepest part of the cake. If the toothpick comes out clean, turn the cake out onto a cooling rack and let cool completely.
Transfer the cake to a cutting board, and cut out a rough oval for a fish shape with a tail at one end. Using a sharp knife, round off the edges and trim the top of the head to make it flatter. Use spare pieces of cake to make fins, adhering them to the main cake with jam.
Heat the apricot jam and spread it over the cake. Sprinkle your work surface with icing sugar, and roll out the green sugar paste. Cut out a rough triangle shape, and use it to cover the fish's head, trimming off any excess. Roll out the yellow sugar paste and cover the fish tail and fins.
Cut out circles of green and yellow sugar paste using a cookie cutter. Starting at the tail, arrange the circles in rows, alternating one green and one yellow circle. Overlap the rows to look like scales.
Add eyes and mouth made of black sugar paste and let the cake cool for a couple of hours until the sugar paste has hardened. Transfer the cake to a cake board, and decorate the board as you wish.
A cake lifter is useful to transfer pieces of sugar paste, as well as to lift the cake itself. Instead of carving the cake yourself, use a fish-shaped cake mould. Place well-washed shells on your cake board or platter, or spread a thin layer of icing and cover it with brown sugar to look like sand. Personalise your cake by icing a name and message onto the cake board, or across the body of the fish.