I've been wanting to make a carousel cake ever since I bought a PME rocking horse cutter in January. This week I found several excuses to do so:
- it was my birthday on Tuesday and I could see no reason not to celebrate turning 39 by making myself a cake better suited to a small child.
- Renshaw have just brought out new regal icing colours including ruby red and my favourite duck egg blue and I was keen to try them.
- Wednesday saw the first Clandestine Cake Club in Newcastle with cakes themed as childhood summer memories (for all the summery cakes, see here).
- my alma mater Cakes4Fun are running a competition entitled 'What Summer Means to Me' that I wanted to enter. For me, summer is a travelling fair and here is why.
New York has Central Park, London has Hyde Park and Newcastle upon Tyne has the Town Moor, home to a couple of hundred cows and little else. At the end of June every year since 1882 the cows clear off to Benidorm on a cheap 10 night deal while the moor hosts one of Europe's largest travelling fairs, the Hoppings. This short video neatly shows the contrast.
As a child the most exciting day in the year for me after Christmas was the day I went to the Hoppings. I remember almost levitating with excitement as we approached the rides. The smell of chip fat and candy floss blended with diesel generators and the throaty thud of pop music still plucks at my heart. I remember the time it was so wet when I was 7 that the mud came over the top of my wellies (I was undeterred - nothing kept me off a waltzer); the time aged 10 that me and my cousin slipped the safety bar inside an American Egg and rattled about inside it like a couple of tictacs; and the time we lost Yvonne inside the helter skelter on my 6th birthday trip and I loudly suggested that she'd been stolen by the gypsies, just as our mothers had warned.
Here's me 35 years ago by the dodgems sporting a little dress and hat that my mum had sewn.
Last year, Caroline and I took her girls Hannah and Becca to the fair and they loved it.
So my summertime theme was a fairground ride. I tried to tone down the out and out kitsch of a carousel horse but kept the mirrors, the gold and the garlands of flowers around the horses' necks.
The cake could even go round and round and I made a three second video of
After ten days of Hoppings fun, the rides are dismantled, the travellers move on and the cows come home with as much duty free as they could buy. In much the same way, my cake was dismantled. It didn't have far to travel and there was still some left for breakfast.