5th April 2017 Angela Hughes

Elias turns two!

My youngest turned 2 yesterday, how did that come to be? The last time I looked at him he was still so baby-like, a real tot. Still, he has changed so much in the last few months… I mean both developmentally and physically. He has always been quite stocky, a real beefcake build.

Recently both myself and James have noticed the subtle changes, his face has lengthened and he walks with confidence. He jumps a lot, Jonathan didn’t really jump until he was around 2 and a half, but Elias worked it out sooner and jumps all the time. He literally binkies like a bunny!

Anywho…. Elias turned two, became this amazing little old man and his development is more recognisable to me now. He is truly becoming a boy, not a toddler. He is so grown up, and he is a smarty pants. Not that we want to toot our horns here but it really is evidence to the work we as parents put into our child, it makes the hard moments worth it all ten times over.

So to celebrate this moment I  took it upon myself to hold a little birthday party for Elias: family and close friends of Elias. It turned into a nicely sized get together of around 30 people…. as it usually does! I love holding get-togethers, I love the buzz and seeing people. I love to feed.

I decided to make Elias’ cake myself, and based it on a Twirlywoos theme. For those not versed in children’s television programmes, Twirlywoos is a bright and fun educational programme made by the people who brought Tots TV (a childhood favourite of mine) and Teletubbies. Elias is addicted to it, and will stop anything he is doing when I ask if he would like to watch an episode whilst I make a cup of tea. Said cup of tea will actually be drunk hot for once.

I used Yolanda Gampp’s recipe for chocolate cake (a youtube inspiration of mine) and her ganache recipe for fillings and coating the cake. Links to her recipes and youtube channel will be listed below, and I really recommend watching a few. She has great tips on levelling and filling cakes and creating the best cake to eat.

Chocolate cake and chocolate ganache. Already I was drooling thinking about it, the whole cake required 8lbs of cake. CAKE!

A two tier cake with a Twirlywoo theme, and Twirlywoos on top. I went for toy Twirlywoos so Elias could play with them afterwards, since cake toppers cost £25 upwards.

I love to bake, so really wanted to try and create a cute cake for the boy, and hopefully eat cake afterwards. Everyone wins!

The whole process took a week, I baked the cake two weeks ahead and froze them. I find that freezing cake means they are easier to level, less crumbly and moist. Just make sure to cover with a few layers of cling film and foil, and thaw overnight for best results. I used simple syrup to add more moisture to the cake, with a ratio of 1:1 sugar and water. Ganaching the cakes was much better for me than using Italian meringue buttercream (my favourite boiled icing) because it allowed me an easier time of creating sharp edges and was better for being out of the fridge for longer without losing shape.

I had so much fun, just relaxing into baking and using copious amounts of lustre dust and nonpareils (that went everywhere!). Sometimes you just need some time to bake and love life.

Elias’ birthday party was wonderful, friends, family and memories being made. The party was over by 2 and we had the whole afternoon to go for a walk and enjoy the day. It was perfect. Hooray for two year olds!

Yolanda Gampp’s recipe for (success) chocolate cake and ganache: here (she has a great chart on cake mix and weight ratios) and here