BornGrace

What I do while I figure out what to do next . . .

Archive for the tag “fondant”

Birthdays are for the Birds

So, how cute is this cake??  It was for my husband’s birthday and he was out of town and I had NO IDEAS.  And I kept having NO IDEAS.  I had pretty much decided I was heading to the Cake Box and picking up 6 cupcakes the next day and calling it a night.  But at 10pm I found a recipe that I wanted to try.  I had all the ingredients.  It had glowing reviews (as are many people, I am in search of the perfect white cake).  When I made my girls’ 13th birthday cake (lemon, white and chocolate) I found a very strong white cake.  Absolutely perfect for fondant and we all liked it.  But hubby wasn’t sold.  Now remember, up until last year, this is the man who wanted the straight from a box, just add water Angel Food cake – so strong is not where is heart is.  So I was in search of light and airy tasting but with enough umph to hold up the fondant.  I know the cake would look soooo much better if it was big.  But I didn’t need big.  Also when you start baking at 10pm from scratch – well, let’s just say I’m too old to pull a cake all-nighter.  It also would have looked better with 2 layers of the square – but I only had one pan (and see earlier comments about lateness of hour and ingredients).  But back to perfect.  I love love love how it came out.  I found an inspiration picture and it just fit.  His favorite colors are red and blue.  He is a “bird guy” and we are both from Virginia (state bird Cardinal).  The cardinals are perfect.  I drew them free-hand on paper, cut them out, and then I traced around them with a knife in the red fondant.  Then I tweeked until they were right.  If they hadn’t been right nothing else would have mattered.  The tree branches and red petals are just piped free-hand with no particular plan.  I added the cardinals last.

The cake was wonderfully light.  And if I had had enough time to really let it cool and firm up it may have worked better, but I just popped it in the fridge with a crumb coat, threw in some hollow dowels for support and hoped for the best.  The lower layer in particular sagged a bit with just the fondant.  If it had been taller and I could have spread the weight of the fondant around more cake – may have been fine.   I really liked the taste (and I even messed up the recipe and added 2 sticks of butter rather than 1.5).  The frosting was an awesome whipped frosting.  Gorgeous, light, really tasty (well except to my one child who doesn’t like whipped cream – must be a texture thing).  If anyone wants the recipe – shoot me a comment and I will add it.

 

 

It’s all about Balance

I’ll be the first to admit it.  This cake was a struggle.  I had very clear ideas of how I wanted it to come out in my head and IT WAS HARD!!!  I made some compromises along the way.  There was no way to make the balance beam elevated and still have the girl on top.  It was hard enough getting her to stand at all.  But I do think that the low beam fit the age group – and also works with the other elements in the cake. I also had to sacrifice some form for function with the legs to get them to “hold her” which meant the leotard didn’t look as “real” as the gymnast wearing purple.  She was just way way too tippy and that frustrated me to no end.  But there are other things that really make me smile.  I LOVE how the foam pit came out.  I hollowed out the center of the cake and cut the foam bits out of fondant that I dusted with powdered sugar to resemble chalk.  And I like the chalk stand near the uneven bars.  I also like how I thought to work Charlotte’s age into the leotard of the gymnast.  She liked that!  And as caught up as “I” get in the details — I have to remind myself that I am making a cake for a child’s party and if the child it happy – it’s a winner!

Lights, Camera, Action

Thankfully, boy child has come over to the dark side of fondant, because there is no way this cake would have looked as good without it.  Plus, I have done black icing before, and while it might have been wildly fun for the 4 year-old boys involved;  I was not exactly the most popular Mom with the other parents when they picked up their little darlings and realized that black icing doesn’t really wash off.  Kind of ever . . .

This cake was super simple.  Absolutely no structure what-so-ever involved.  The only really really important part is the lining up of the angles of the clapper.  If they are off, the whole cake suffers.  It’s the only non negotiable part.  Also do the math.  Measure well and then measure again before you do the word boxes.  I took a ruler and a skewer and lightly marked the surface and then followed with the piped icing to get it right.  I think my hand must have cramped up a bit, because the words at the top make me much happier than the words at the bottom.

Enjoy!!

Not a “yes, dear” sort of wife

When my husband told his dad he wanted to marry me, his dad wanted to make sure that he understood that I was never going to be a “yes, dear” sort of wife. I took it as a complement. At least he didn’t call me a b*tch :-). That said, I have found it to be rather annoying over the years when my daughters demonstrate their inheritance of that particular trait. Witness their 11th birthday sleep-over cake.  I don’t remember what the original sketch looked like, but I liked it and showed it to them expecting all sorts of oohs and awes.  (This is when my husband likes to point out that I don’t actually want anyone else’s opinion, I just want a rubber stamp of my good taste . . . duh?!)  Not what I got; I think Eleanor suggested I might want to check out a book she had on drawing faces and Grace decided that I needed to make each face representative of the actual child invited to the party.  SO MUCH HARDER . . .   And it was more than a little disconcerting seeing said children gleefully devouring their own heads a couple of hours later.  But, to give credit where credit is due – my girls’ ideas were right on the money.  That’s Eleanor in the pink sleeping bag on the left and Grace with the short hair and purple bag on the right.

ENJOY!!

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