Saturday, April 12, 2014

Springtime Sunshine

And so are the all the birds! It is SO nice to finally have spring weather, isn't it? Unfortunately, we are expecting snow on Tuesday, after a few days of 20 degree weather. But I'll take it!

I have some catching up to do with pictures, it would seem :)  I've had the pleasure of creating some pretty amazing cakes lately and it's time to share!

 This cake was so fun to make, it was to celebrate the birthday of my son's friend, and it was chocolate with chocolate buttercream. It was relatively simple, the figures in front took a couple of nights to make, because certain parts needed time to dry, but everyone at the party really enjoyed the cake... the party was a lot of fun too!

So, I used two layers of chocolate cake, filled it with the chocolate buttercream and crumb-coated it. I rolled out some white fondant and covered the bottom half, instead of choosing to cover the whole cake, which would have made the cake so much heavier. I covered the top half with red fondant, and cut and attached the other pieces to make Big Red.

I was asked if the small figures were cake pops, which was interesting because I hadn't even considered using pops, but I totally could have! Instead, they are balls of fondant, with eyes, beaks and other additions attached. I secured them to the front of the cake board with some buttercream, after arriving at the party. The beaks wouldn't have fit into the box without falling off (next time, I would get a bigger cake board instead). The birthday boy was VERY happy!

Next was this beautiful beast. This cake was my nemesis because after baking it, it challenged me at every turn afterwards. It's beauty is very deceiving!

 The bottom layer is a ten inch chocolate raspberry cake, with whipped raspberry mousse filling. It was crumb-coated in a deep pink, raspberry buttercream, before being decorated with raspberry buttercream rosettes. Four dowels were inserted into the cake to support the cake above it, which was an eight inch banana cake, with a whipped banana mousse filling. It was crumb-coated in a lighter pink, banana-flavoured buttercream, and done up in matching rosettes to create a beautiful, two-tiered bridal shower cake. One long piece of dowel went through the center of the top tier, through the cake board and through the bottom tier to support the entire cake and to keep it from slipping or sliding. The two tiers were finished off with a white lace trim, to match the bridal theme of Roses and Lace.

Problems: I forgot that the bottom cake was chocolate instead of banana, and I made a HUGE batch of banana buttercream, because rosettes take a LOT of buttercream. I used about half of the batch, and had to toss the rest.

The next problem was trying to figure out how to do rosettes on the top tier without screwing up the rosettes on the bottom tier. Too make a long story short, I needed to scrape off the rosettes once, and the top tier needed to be redone. When the rosettes were finally done, and looked uniform in size, I trimmed both tiers in a delicate white lace ribbon. This was another problem because the ribbon soaked up the pink colour from the buttercream. I replaced the ribbon once, and doubled the ribbon layer so that it would soak through the bottom layer, and not show through the top one. The cake was going to be picked up the following day, so I had some time to see if this theory would work.

The following day, just to challenge me again, the ribbon looked tie-dyed! LOL! The ribbon idea was NOT going to work, and they were picking up the cake that evening. It still needed one more evening in the fridge before the actual event, and I knew that replacing the ribbon was not going to help. I needed a different ribbon.

My husband, patient as a saint, and oh-so-lifesaving, ran out to buy a thicker ribbon for me. He took pictures of two and ultimately, he made the final decision, and it worked. It looked so much more defined against the cake.

And lastly, finding a darn box for the cake was next to impossible. My husband brought three boxes home from work, and we couldn't use a traditional cake box, either. The cake was too tall, and way too heavy for a flimsy cake box. The first two boxes weren't wide enough for the fourteen inch cake board and the final box he brought home was massive. In the end, the client decided against the box altogether (but at least we had one available). I was happier not putting it into a box because of the history I had with this cake by this point, and I knew the more it was handled, the worse the outcome would have been.

I can't lie, I was never so happy to say goodbye to a cake. Beautiful, yes! Tasty, yes! Made an impression, yes! Taught me a lesson, absolutely! I have learned so much from this cake, it's unreal. Never make assumptions on how simple a cake will be to make, because that's when you run into challenges like I did. I am actually looking forward to the time I get to make something similar to this cake again because of everything I have learned. :)

And the most recent cake I've made was a redemption of sorts in my cake world. I've been wanting to take another run with the giant cupcake cake, since I wasn't thrilled with my first attempts.

My husband informed me, nearly a month ago, that his office is having a potluck and he was hoping I could do something in cake for it. So, I put some thought into it and decided to do a dozen cupcakes and the giant cupcake cake. I wanted to do something cute, something to make an impression, since he chose the theme of babies, since it was partly to say goodbye to a co-worker who is going on mat leave.

She is a chocolate fan (I love her already! LOL), so I went with chocolate. The cupcake cake was filled with a peanut butter filling. Since she didn't know the gender, I went with a pale yellow and green theme. I made the toppers two evenings before, to give them time to dry.

On the evening before, I crumb-coated the giant cupcake bottom, and wrapped it in green fondant, and secured it to the board with some buttercream. I filled it with peanut butter filling, and placed the top on, after crumb-coating it. I then did small rosettes all over the top, and decorated it with fondant flowers and a leaf. The cake was done!

Then the cupcakes were also done in rosettes (seriously, I am addicted to rosettes now!). I topped 6 of them with the fondant pea pods, which were made up of three balls of fondant, two green, one in skin colour. I used some green fondant to make pacifiers and some skin colour for a nose on each. I debated buying some food markers to make the eyes, but I really didn't have time, so I ended up using Americolor brand black gel colourant with a few drops of vodka. I mixed these up and used a toothpick to paint on the sleeping eyes.

I topped all of the cupcakes and we were good to go! I heard some very positive feedback, and several people even took pictures. That makes me so happy!

So gosh darn cute, right?
Well that's it for now... off to spend some time outside with my family, enjoying this gorgeous weather while we have it!
As always, stay sweet!