Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Taipei 101 Cake

DS 5 requested a Taipei 101 skyscraper cake for his birthday this year. After a week trawling the internet for anyone who had done it before, I realised I would have to design it from scratch. This is the Taipei 101 official website.

So I came up with a not-so-simple tier cake design. It was to be a 7-tier cake. The base would be the biggest part, then the next 6 tiers would be virtually identical. It would be topped with a blue lego topper.

The cake also had to be GF so I could eat it!

This blog will walk through how I made it.
It took over 6 hours to make so It's not one to do in a rush.


1 large square cardboard or wood cake base
6-7 small 8mx8cm cardboard squares (cut down if necessary)
about 40cm ribbon in pink.
4 hard circle-shaped lollies. Large chocolate buttons would be ideal. I used small candies, a bit like fruit tingles.
5 small flags + bluetack ( or toothpicks and coloured paper!)
Lots of blue lego.***
lots of fondant icing *
buttercream icing **
3 x cake (23 x 32cm). The cakes I used were a cranberry-orange cake recipe from 'Gluten Free Baking' and my banana cake recipe.
straws. fat ones if possible, but thin ones worked just fine.
sticky tape.
Thin cardboard


1. Make cakes the night before  so they can cool.
2. Make the buttercream
3. Make the fondant (Cover with plastic wrap so it doesn't harden.)
(I'm assuming that you can either do these, or find appropriate recipes)
4. Cut the first cake in half lengthwise. Then cut each half into squares ( approx 11x11cm). Do the same with the second cake. These will make top 6 tiers.
5. Save the fattest cake for the bottom. Cut a 13x13cm square, and a 10x10cm square. Use the offcuts to construct an 11.5x11.5cm square (approx.)
6. Now to cut the cakes. On a smooth bread board, stack the bottom 3 layers, biggest on the bottom(13x13 then 11.5x11.5, then 10x10). Take one of the 8cm cardboard squares and place it centred on top. Leaving .5cm clearance at the top, cut a diagonal line down each side to made a trapezoid shape ( out to 13x13 at the bottom). That's the bottom layer.
7. Take 2 of the 11x11cm cakes. Place on top of each other. Get the 8cm square. ( It's good to keep an extra one as a template). Centre it on top. Cut out a trapezoid shape. Leave NO clearance. You can even cut in a bit if you want or have to.
8. Repeat step 7 with the other square cakes. You should end up with 6 trapezoids all the same.    
9. Now to assemble the cake. Put a blob of buttercream on the cake base, then put the 13x13cm cake on it. Spread jam on it. Then put the 'constructed' 11.5cm square on top.  Jam layer again, and then the 10x10. Line them up so they taper nice and smoothly. Put a thin layer of buttercream over the whole cake.
10. Take one of the 8cm squares. Put a blob of buttercream in the middle. Place the trapezoid cakes on the square UPSIDE DOWN so that they flare outwards in an upside down trapezoid. (with jam in the middle). Ice with a thin layer of buttercream. Repeat for the other tiers. Keep each tier SEPARATE at this stage.
11. Now to ice each layer with the fondant. There are lots of lovely websites and videos on how to do this. None of them worked for me. I just grabbed out a handful, flattened it out between my hands (oiled so they didn't stick) and placed it on top of the cake. I then pushed it down and spread it around, adding more fondant as necessary. It's a lot like playdough. Then I smoothed it out. Not ideal, but I was running out of time - the guests were arriving!
12. Now to do the final assembly. On the base cake, push in 4 straws in the centre. (You an do 8 straws in a diamond pattern if you want. The straws are there to support the weight of the above layers.) They should form a square shape within the 8x8cm centre section. Using your fingers, pinch the top where it meets the icing, pull it out a few mm and cut it. Make sure the cut is straight. Push them back down.
13. Centre the first 10x10 tier in the middle of the base layer. Press down gently. Smooth the icing as best as you can around the edge.Push 4 straws into the top centre in a square shape. Pinch, pull and cut as previously. Repeat for all layers.
14.  Now get the ribbon and wrap it around the bottom layer. Cut it to the required length and secure it to the other ribbon with buttercream. Take the 4 circle lollies and place them on the ribbon, centred in the middle on each side. Secure with a blob of buttercream.
15. Place the lego topper on top ( See below on how to make it.)
16. Put 5 blobs of bluetack in a line on the base cardboard. Stick a flag in each. ( If you have to make them, wrap a small rectangle of paper around a toothpick and tape in place.)

And that's it! Stick your candles in the top and get ready to sing happy birthday!

* There are hundreds of fondant icing recipes out there! In Australia, you can't get a lot of the ingredients. I used a 2 stage process. First I melted butter and copha together in a 50 / 50 mix. Then I waited till it started to harden up. Then I added golden syrup. I mixed this together before adding a LOT of icing sugar. NB. even though it's a pain, make sure to food processor the icing sugar to remove lumps. It saves hours later on. Measurements didn't help me much here - about 1/2 a square of butter and copha each? 1/4-1/2 up golden syrup? The fondant should be at least playdough like in consistency when everything is added.
** actually I used coconut oil rather than butter or margarine. It worked beautifully

*** How to make the cake topper:
Start with an 8x8 lego square. Build a 6x6 square on top. Do 4 layers of this. Then do a 4x4 layer. Do 3 layers of this. Do a 2x2 layer. Do 5 of these. Then do a 1x1 layer - at least 10 of these. This is a great thing for the kids to do in advance.
 Cut out a square of thin cardboard the same size as the bottom layer. Tape it on with clear sticky tape. This will stop icing getting into the lego.

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