Everyone loves homemade birthday cakes, especially if you give the cake a personalised theme. Working out the ideal theme for a specific person is fairly easy. If you think about what they do, where they work, their hobbies and their passions, you will think of something that leads to a cake design. For example, if your family member or a friend loves to fish or hunt, make him a camouflage or hunting cake.
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First consider the flavour and look of the cake base. For example, for a camouflage cake, you can make a marble cake. To do this, make two batches of plain sponge cake batter; flavour one batch with cocoa and the other with vanilla. Swirl the two flavours together in the cake tin. For a really dramatic effect, put in a few drops of green colouring in the vanilla cake. For a hunting cake, use chocolate to resemble the soil, or colour the base according to your theme. Alternatively, you can make the cake in any flavour as it won't really take shape until you decorate it.
After you have made your cake base, let it cool. For camouflage icing (frosting), get a block of marzipan or sugar icing and divide it into three pieces. Use gel food colouring since it won't change the consistency of the marzipan as liquid colour sometimes does. Knead the colour into the marzipan. Colour one piece with green gel food colouring, one with brown gel and one with a small amount of both green and brown food colouring. Press the lumps of icing back together and roll out the new mixture. Alternatively, for a hunting theme, you can first cover the base in a muted colour such as plain white or brown.
After you have covered the cake with the camouflage icing, you can decorate it. Make a sugar lattice to use as a net to "throw" over the cake. Heat brown sugar with a small amount of water until it melts; add a drop of brown food colouring. With a wooden spoon, zigzag the sugar syrup over the cake in a net pattern. Create "ropes" by rolling brown marzipan icing into long wormlike shapes with the palm of your hand; then plait them together. Coil the ropes on the sides of the cake.
Decorate a hunting cake with leaves and animals. Make leaves by colouring some marzipan, using green gel food colouring. Roll the marzipan out on a flat surface. Pick some leaves from your garden, wash them and press them onto the marzipan so they make an imprint. Cut around the leaves and place them on the cake. Make animals out of marzipan to sit on the cake. Roll out a small amount of icing; cut around an animal head's outline. Carefully colour the animal shape with a paintbrush and liquid food colouring before placing it strategically on your cake.
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