Mermaid’s Tail

Mermaid’s Tail

I go loads of brilliant cake decorating things in my Christmas stocking including a silicone mould for a mermaid’s tail and various sea shells – cockles, whelks and top shells; some Katie Sue Design ferns and some other lace texture panels. No better excuse to use them than to bake a cake!

The cake is a 4-layered chocolate sponge with coffee buttercream. I covered it in various sprinkles and topped it (for no better reason than wanting to try marshmallow meringue) with piped meringue shapes.This meringue is similar to a Swiss meringue in that it is cooked over a bain marie

Until recently, I had only heard of French Meringue, the one with egg white and icing sugar that gets baked in the oven. Since then I have found out and made (several times), Italian and Swiss meringue which I like much better.

Italian meringue has hot sugar syrup gradually beaten into the egg whites then whisked till it forms firm glossy peaks. This is the meringue mix I use in Macarons.

Swiss meringue is made by stirring sugar and egg whites together over a bain marie (a pot of simmering water) until they are warm then whipping them up to glossy firm peaks.

Swiss meringue with golden syrup

260g caster sugar

3 free range egg whites

100 ml golden syrup

1/4 tsp of cream of tartar

2 Tbsp water

1 tsp vanilla


Put all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water making sure that the base of the bowl doesn’t actually touch the water.

Use a hand whisk and beat for 5 mins.

Take off the heat and beat for a minute more or until the meringue is glossy, white, stiffish and will form soft peaks.

Use it as the topping for lemon meringue or to make chocolate dipped marshmallow topping for cupcakes (pipe the meringue onto a batch of cupcakes, melt some chocolate and while still warm enough to be liquid but not so warm as to melt the meringue, dip the cupcakes into the chocolate).


My favourite go-to bakers on You Tube are the bubbly and friendly Jemma Cupcakes and British Girl Bakes. Lots of inspiration and instruction all in metric. My head feels like it’s buttoned up the wrong way round trying to fathom my way around volume using cup measures and am on safer ground with metric or imperial so I stick to bakers that speak my love cake language.

The sea shell and tail moulds are really easy to use. I dusted them with a soft paintbrush and Tylo powder then squished in some fondant. I scraped the excess off the mould with the edge of a thin knife and popped them out. Perfect and a really nice level of detail. I’ll get some vodka next time I’m out to blend with colouring gels and pastes so that I can paint with them and touch the shells up with some colour.

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