This is really fun to make, and goes down well with both little and large Star Wars geeks!
I used a vintage Wilton Star Wars Darth Vader cake pan (bought from Ebay). Wilton is really good for all sorts of novelty cake tins.
The recipe is Nigella Lawson’s Easy Buttermilk Cake (see http://www.guardian.co.uk/cookingforkids/recipe.downloads.pdf for the recipe and method). It’s a simple, tasty cake, but more importantly, it’s fairly dense. This makes it good for use with a mould, plus it can take the weight of the icing without collapsing. You can try any cake you like, but don’t go for anything too light and airy! I doubled the recipe as my cake mould was quite big.
My other tip is to make sure that your tin is really well greased before you add the batter (I used Wilton’s Cake Release. Be quite liberal – you really don’t want the cake to stick in the mould. You can always dig bits out of the corner and do some sneaky ‘repairs’, but the overall quality of the shape will be affected.
For the decoration:
Ready-to-roll black icing (it’s probably better to buy this because even with a lot of black food dye, the homemade kind can be rather grey and dreary!). You need a lot so you can cover the cake evenly – I used four packs, but the cake was quite large.
Something sticky I used melted apricot jam.
Edible glitter I used two types – a black lustre spray and a silver glitter.
Edible cake glaze spray Essential for achieving a shiny metallic effect.
Roll out your ready-to-roll icing sugar onto a smooth surface. You can dust your worktop with icing sugar (as you would with flour) to stop the icing from sticking. Keep it even, and roll enough to cover whole cake. You can use an ordinary wooden rolling pin, but glass or plastic would be better. You can even get special sugarcraft rolling pins (made from a shiny, hard plastic), which get a really smooth result. You want to ensure that the icing is thick enough that it won’t tear, but thin enough that it’s pleasant to eat – you want the cake to taste nice, after all.
Melt your apricot jam in a saucepan, let it cool slightly, and then brush, quite generously, it all over the cake.
Lay over your icing. You’ll probably find that it just sits on top and looks nothing like Darth Vader’s helmet, so you’ll need to press it into the crevices of the cake. You can use your fingers, but special sugarcraft tools are really useful for getting a polished result (no dodgy thumbprints!). I used Fimo modelling tools – they seemed a little cheaper and did pretty much the same job as other versions.
Spray evenly with the black lustre spray, then dust lightly with silver glitter to achieve a ‘highlighted’ effect. Then spray with the edible cake glaze for an authentically shiny effect. Although it’s tempting, don’t go mad with the sprays and glitter, as they can taste a tiny bit plasticky and you don’t want to overwhelm the flavour of the cake underneath.
Next up, a lightsaber. Or maybe not…