A few weeks ago I baked a birthday cake for Bryony. Whilst I might spend hours icing a cake I usually just bake simple round or square cakes. This time though I thought I'd use one of the novelty cake tins we seem to have acquired recently. Specifically the tin for making a bee hive shaped cake.
Once I'd converted the recipe into something that could be understood (poor English and American amounts don't make for easy baking) the cake itself was easy to bake and assemble. What you can't see from the photo is that there is a back to the cake and so the two halves have to be stuck together with honey flavoured butter icing. Everything was really straightforward apart from the fact that the bees wouldn't set!
The bees were made by piping three different colours of royal icing onto greaseproof paper and letting them set -- unfortunately they didn't. The problem was that making the black icing for the bodies of the bees takes quite a lot of food colouring in comparison to coloring the yellow icing. When I had eventually made black icing I piped the bodies onto the paper and then the yellow stripes and wings. A few hours later when I was ready to assemble the cake I found that while the yellow and white icing had set solid the black icing was still very runny. In the end we left the bees overnight to set. Unfortunately this didn't help much and the black icing was more jelly like than anything else.
In the end I managed to gently lift a few of the bees onto the cake without ruining their shape too much and even if they were a little soft the whole thing still tasted pretty good. I'll certainly be using the cake recipe again, even if I don't use the tin for a while.