Cross-stitch building blocks
These delightful blocks can be used as a first birthday or even a christening cake. Draw your own cross-stitch designs to suit the child, or, if you're not as confident at drawing, copy or trace from picture books or use letters of the alphabet. Not suitable flavours for fruit cake.
Have your say
- three 10 cm (4 inch) cubes of cake
- 1 kg (2 lb) sugarpaste
- 250 g (8 oz) pastillage
- 220 g (7 oz) royal icing
- assorted paste food colours
- 250 g (8 oz) buttercream edible glue
- fine ribbed rolling pin graph paper
- coloured pencils
- three number 0 piping tubes herb cutter (optional)
- 30 cm (12 inch) square red foil cake board
Blend 250 g (8 oz) of the sugarpaste with the pastillage, kneading well. Roll out the paste 2.5 mm (⅛ inch) thick and roll a ribbed rolling pin over it. Turn the paste through 90 degrees and re-roll with the ribbed pin to form tiny squares. Cut out twelve 10 cm (4 inch) squares and place on foam to dry.
Using graph paper, draw six different pictures to fit the cube sides. Colour with pencils, using only a few colours per design.
Colour batches of royal icing in a selection of colours for each picture. Put into piping bags fitted with number 0 piping tubes. Start by finding the centre of the design and the centre square on the cutout panel. Count the squares to find the top centre. Pipe tiny crosses in each square, starting from the top left of the design and working in a horizontal line. Count the rows, filling in with crosses and making sure that all the stitches are started in the same way. Change colours as required in each row. (Try not to change direction when piping.)
Allow to dry for 24 hours. Any facial features or additional straight lines are piped when the main cross stitches have dried.
Coat the sides of the cake cubes with a thin layer of buttercream. Roll out the remaining sugarpaste and cover five sides of two cubes and six sides of one cube. Cover each side separately, trimming to fit. Allow to dry.
Colour 60 g (2 oz) of the blended paste blue, 60 g (2 oz) red and 60 g (2 oz) yellow. Roll out and cover the top square of each cube with a different colour. With a small amount of royal icing, fix a cross-stitch panel to two sides of each cube, making sure that the edges are level.
Roll out a strip of blue paste and cut with a herb cutter or knife into strips 5 mm (¼ inch) wide. Stick strips of blue paste to the edges of the red topped block with edible glue, covering the joi: the corners. Repeat for the remaining cubes, us the yellow and red pastes.
Place two blocks side by side on the board with the third block on top, positioning it at a slight angle and securing with royal icing.