Tip 3. Use toys as decoration
If you are concerned about making the topper and can’t find anything suitable to buy then you can always look into using toys. I made this very simple Postman Pat cake using plastic Postman Pat figures and just making Pat’s van from sponge and covering in ready coloured fondant. I made all the letters, flowers, covered the board in fondant etc. a week before so only had to made the sponge using a brownie pan, cut it to shape, cover in fondant and assemble the various bits. Making it was especially easy as I found a great blog post to follow for instructions @tamingtwins
Much as I love baking various types of cake I can’t say I find baking plain sponge cakes for birthday cakes much fun. They generally have to be made within a day of the party to ensure freshness, then let it cool and then flat ice it before starting on the decorating in the evening once the kids have gone to bed. This level of pre-planning, time management and energy have so far eluded me. I have to confess I therefore frequently ‘cheat’ and buy a readymade and flat iced sponge cake on the grounds that plain sponge cakes aren’t my greatest talent and that most people don’t really notice the taste of the cake.
As supermarket cakes obviously contain more preservatives that something you would make yourself they do also have the advantage of lasting longer if your cake doesn’t disappear on the day of the party. They are available in most supermarkets for about £4 or you can often order larger ones or ones of different sizes (usually need 7+ days advance ordering) from Marks & Spencer or Waitrose Entertaining which you can put together for a 2 tier cake.
You can then move them onto your cake stand, either pipe around the bottom or add some ribbon and then assemble your decorations on top. Bingo, cake you bought, decorations you made a week ago and a cake that looks like you were up all night….