This week I am going to tell you about a little girls birthday cake I made. But first I'm going to tell you why I made it. I'm going to talk about a sick little boy named Vinnie.
Vinnie was born with a rare genetic condition called SMA Type 1 - he requires breathing support and a feeding tube and he cannot swallow. He is also somewhat immobile and receives physical therapy. It is ultimately a terminal condition. Vinnie is 16 months old.
If you'd like to learn any more about Vinnie you can check out the Our Boy Vinnie Facebook Page,
There is currently no approved treatment for Vinnie's condition, but there is a drug on trial. So far there have been incredible results. Children on the drug seem to be able to walk, dance, swallow and live long beyond their prognosis. I'm not a doctor or a medical researcher, but I do appreciate these things take time. There isn't a drug on the market that doesn't have side effect and it is irresponsible to release medication to the public that hasn't been rigorously tested. But, as Vinnie's mother herself has pointed out, these children already have a terminal diagnosis. A little more quality of life in the time they have would be a miracle.
There is a petition to push to allow children with SMA Type 1 to be given the chance to walk on their own, eat and maybe more. The petition is to give terminally ill children access to this trial drug. I know Vinnie's family would be extremely grateful if you felt that you could sign it.
Children with Type 1 SMA rarely make it to 2, many don't make it to 1. Despite this, the British Government doesn't offer any financial assistance until disabled children reach 3 years old. Vinnie is under the care of 3 different hospitals and there is obviously some free care on the NHS but there is a lot of equipment and other things that the family needs. Which they have had to fund themselves.
And that is where I - and this cake - come in. Vinnie's Mum Kelly and I went to school together. She started running a series of raffles to raise money for a specialist car seat, buggy etc. Equipment meant to make Vinnie's life a little more enjoyable and make it a little easier for his parents to care for him. She asked if anyone had anything to donate.
I offered up a cake. It isn't much, but we can only do what we can with what we have.
The lady who won the raffle was a lovely Mum looking for a birthday cake for her little girls 5th birthday party. It was pretty good timing as her birthday was around a month after the prize was drawn.
This has honestly been one of my favourite cakes to make to date. I liked the bake, the recipe was great and tasted fab. I enjoyed the fondant covering process despite the weather (more on that later). It was very pressured because this was for a little girls party and I wanted it to be wonderful. But I gave myself (almost) enough time, so I didn't feel too rushed.
They decided to keep things simple flavour-wise and went for a chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream. I went with the Chocolate Madeira Cake from SheWhoBakes and my favourite Swiss Meringue Buttercream by Sweetapolita.
Keira, the little girl, loves Charlotte's Web and there was no shortage of inspiration on Pinterest. In the end, the birthday girl opted for elements from 2 different cakes, a barn and a spiders web with some fondant figures. A number '5', a pig and a spider, naturally.
This was my final design.
And here is my final interpretation of this design.
It isn't perfect - but I don't know a cake maker who ever feels their work is. But I have to say I am pretty happy. I'm proud of the little flowers, I think they really finish the cake. I'm also pretty chuffed with my fondant models too, I've only made one model before, so these aren't too shabby.
I'll do another post going into this cake in more detail. But for now these are the changes I'd make if I could go back:
- I'd spend a little bit more time smoothing. It just wasn't 100%
- Wider board and put either the Pig or the Spider down at the bottom.
- Cover the edge of the board in ribbon.
- Centre the name. I'd start with the 'E' in the middle of the web and work out
- When placing the top tier I'd make sure the centre of the web lined up with the centre of the barn door
- I'd take better photos!
The photo part is important, I assembled the cake at the venue. So I couldn't take pictures with a backdrop and what have you. But I could have spent a little more time and taken a better shot.
Anyway, let me know what you think of this one - any questions let me know.