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Fishy Tale

Image of Fishy Tale
Ingredients

100 g (4 oz) butter, softened
225 g (8 oz) icing sugar, sifted
teaspoon vanilla essence
1 tablespoon (15 ml) hot water
20 cm (8 inch) round sponge cake
Blue, black, green, yellow, orange, red, brown and pink food colouring
1 kg (2 lb) ready-to-roll fondant icing
teaspoon gum tragacanth

YOU WILL ALSO NEED

30 cm (12 inch) round gold cake board
8 large cake-decorating flower stamens
2 bamboo skewers
15 cm (6 inches) black cotton
Fine paintbrush


Method

1 To make the buttercream: cream together the butter, all but 2 tablespoons of the icing sugar, the vanilla essence and water until the mixture is light and fluffy.

2 Slice the cake in half horizontally and sandwich together with half the buttercream. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the buttercream and spread the rest over the top and sides of the cake. Put the cake on the cake board, then dampen the board edges with water.

3 Roughly knead a little blue food colouring into 550 g ( lb) of the fondant - it should not be blended to give an even colour. Roll out the fondant on a surface lightly dusted with icing sugar and use to cover the cake and board. Trim off any excess fondant.

4 Knead the gum tragacanth into the remaining fondant. Colour 75 g (3 oz) grey, 125 g (5 oz) green, 50 g (2 oz) yellow, 25 g (1 oz) orange and 75 g (3 oz) red. Shape the pebbles, leaves, 3 ducks and 2 fish and reserve the trimmings. Use a tiny amount of white (uncoloured) fondant to make the eyes; paint the centres with black food colouring. Roll out 25 g (1 oz) of white fondant and cut out 7 water lilies. Roll 7 balls out of the red fondant for the centre of the flowers. Paint the stamens brown. Shape the fisherman from the remaining green, red and grey fondant. Colour 25 g (1 oz) of the fondant pink and use to shape the hands and head. Paint on the features and fix together with water. Leave all the shapes to dry overnight.

5 Fix all the pieces on to the cake using the reserved buttercream. Write the message on a piece of paper, fix it to one of the skewers and push it into the cake. Tie the cotton on to the other skewer and fix it in the man's hand. Fix the cotton into the fish's mouth with a little water. Mix the reserved icing sugar with a little water and drizzle it around the fisherman and fish.

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