This cake was request by Eleanors parents to help celebrate her 10th Birthday. Eleanor has health issues that mean she is severely visually impaired and as such we needed to ensure she was able to enjoy her cake in different ways to most 10 year olds. Read about her journey here
I was asked for a lemon and elderflower semi naked drip cake – easy enough to start with, one of my classic flavours in a signature style – no problem!
Can the drip please be purple or royal blue? Okkaaay I thought cake designer head on – how can I make that work? – because Eleanor can identify those colours – of course I can make that work!
Would you prefer macarons or meringues ? Either were fine,no food allergies to consider – so I did both I used the meringues to marry the yellow from the lemon cake and the purple element of the drip. The macarons allowed me to go colour-tastic going full on purple! I used an oil based colour brand Americolor to give that vibrancy I was after.
And she loves Harry Potter can we included that? At first I felt the cake might become too confusing and was just going to focus on the main elements we had already. But then the brain started slowly whirring and I realised I could use the board to included elements that she could lift of touch, feel smell and taste. The sorting hat is made using modelling chocolate, the other models are made from coloured and flavoured flower paste. I wanted everything to dry hard so they could be easily handled. The wand was flavoured with liquorice, the scarf raspberry, the glasses peppermint all from Foodie Flavours and the snitch was bubblegum flavour by Beau . I attached them all to the board with a dab of white chocolate so they could be easily lifted off for Eleanor to explore. I also had a treasure stash of Bertie Botts Harry Potter All Flavour Jelly Beans as an extra detail.
Really importantly I was asked to include a birthday message in braille. I was sent the formation of the words and an explanation of how it all works – which of course I just skimmed and missed a crucial explanation of how braille works where not all the shapes equal a letter some make sounds.
So after a quick panic that I had got it wrong and a short email exchange all was ok! I found the easiest way was to use mid sized sugar pearls. I marked out the formation with pins then stuck the pearls to the board and translated the words in purple above. This allowed the braille to be read without damaging the dots.
Finally the star of the show for me is the flowers. Annie from There May Be Bugs first introduced me to the Stollery family during UK lockdown number one. They were strictly shielding at the time and Annie wanted to treat them to something doughnutty so I made them some duffins! The delicious hybrid muffin/doughnut were apparently a huge hit. Its a great recipe by the way from the BBC Good Food website if you want to make some.
Annie grows the most beautiful flowers in an organic environment some of which are edible varieties and I have used them on my cakes in the past. On contacting Annie she had some flowers that would be perfect and really came up trumps. A mix of violas, pansies, primula, forget-me-nots with some rosemary for fragrance gave me a purple triumphant mix to play with.
Eleanor and her family collected her cake on her birthday. She is such a delight, so excited about her birthday and opening her presents. She read her braille and it worked yay! It was all quite an emotional journey for me but nothing compared to what Eleanor and her parents live through daily. All proceeds for this cake have been donated to the Amber Trust who support Eleanor
Happy 10th birthday Eleanor it has been an honour to create this cake for you.