Same, Same, but Different!

Strange title I know! But I’ve just baked and decorated a cake for a 14-year-old girls birthday party, and wanted to share a couple of photos. It’s similar to a couple of cakes I’ve shown you in the past. But I thought I’d still share, cos I’m generous like that! 😉

There were a few guidelines that I was given. Firstly it should be two tiers. That made me a little nervous. A few years ago when Hubs turned forty I baked him a special birthday cake. Not two tiers mind you. No. For some reason I decided to attempt a four tier cake, and a Topsy Turvy style cake to boot! The problem was I had to be at my daughters’ dance concert for most of the day leading up to the party in the evening, so it had to be completely constructed the night before. End result? One formerly impressive cake leaning against the wall. Oh well. We had a laugh and called it the ‘Drunken Sailor’ cake!


Since then the only multi-tiered cakes I’ve been brave enough to attempt were the Paris cake for my eldest daughter last year, and the Harry Potter cake the year before that. But the castle on top of the Harry Potter cake didn’t get added until the last minute. And as for the Paris cake, I added so many straws to the bottom tier to hold up the top there was no way it was going anywhere! (by the way, I used wooden dowels for the Drunken Sailor cake so I’m not sure what went wrong there! I guess the centre of gravity was out – I must have been thrown by all those weird angles!)

This time I used plastic lollypop sticks trimmed to match the height of the bottom cake, just because they were still out from making the marshmallow pops! My fingers were firmly crossed that the cake stayed put for the 24 hours leading up to the party!

old cakes1

The birthday girl had also asked for the cake to be covered with rows of alternating pink and white marshmallows. That would have been pretty, but it was just like the cake one of her friends recently had. I sent her a photo of the pink ruffle cake I’d made for my niece and she decided to go with that.

Saturday was set aside for baking, constructing and decorating. I decided to hide a surprise inside the top tier! I made it a checkerboard design, which is the other ‘same’ from the title! I’ve done a photo tutorial on this design of cake before, but thought I’d take some more photos to see if I could do a better job!

Here are the main steps for making a checkerboard surprise inside cake.

  1. Bake two different coloured cakes
  2. Trim tops flat
  3. Cut cakes in half to create two discs of each colour
  4. Use round cutters to cut discs into rings (this was a six inch diameter cake, and I used the smooth end not the scalloped end!)
  5. Use a knife to cut all the way through if cutter won’t go deep enoughpink cake1
  6. Separate the rings
  7. Reconstruct the discs using alternating colours
  8. Layer the discs with a thin layer of icing between (otherwise the cake will fall apart into cubes when you cut into it – I learnt that the hard way!)
  9. Crumb coat and refrigerate
  10. Decoratepink cake2

I only ended up using three of the four layers of cake for the top tier. I think it would have looked a little out of proportion with any more height on the top. My kids and their cousins agreed and offered to eat the remaining layer! I really appreciated their input and help! 😛

The entire cake got the buttercream ruffle treatment, which I carried into the centre of the top tier. I wasn’t quite sure what to do with the top of the bottom tier, so left it flat. It looked a little messy though, so I did some ‘shells’ around the edge. Talk about a close call. I only had a tablespoon or two of icing left by the time I finished. Thank goodness. I’d been in the kitchen pretty much the whole day and couldn’t face the prospect of making another batch!


The cake was finished off with a diamante “S” on top, and some glittery star shaped candles around the bottom. And most importantly, the it didn’t collapse before the party. Yay!