Tuesday, August 30, 2011

More Birthday Odds and Ends - Cakes and Outfits

12 Days To Go!
I'm having a lot of fun planning this party. The hubby is liking it too because he gets to eat the practice cakes. I try not to have more than 1 slice of each because I don't want to gain 20lbs before the party - that would be sad. Hubby has a crazy fast metabolism so he is in the clear for that. He could probably eat a whole cake a day and still have a six pack. . . not that I'm jealous or anything.

The Cake:
I posted about my first try with fondant earlier this month. I made a batch of marshmallow fondant and covered a simple white cake - no bells and whistles there. It turned out great, but I wanted to play with fondant a little more, and also try making a more complete birthday cake. By complete, I mean making a filling for the cake as well as buttercream to go under the fondant. So last week I got to baking again and made a chocolate cake this time. I used this fabulous recipe from JoyofBaking.com. While it cooled I made a raspberry filling out of Smuckers raspberry jelly and some fresh raspberries. I also made a white chocolate buttercream frosting. I just winged it, but the recipe is a lot like this one from FoodandWine.com.

I cut the cooled cake in half, put the raspberry filling and some white chocolate buttercream in the middle. Once filled, I then spread the remaining buttercream over the entire assembled cake. I smoothed it out as best as possible because I have heard that small imperfections can show through the fondant. I then grabbed the leftover fondant from earlier this month out of the fridge. I rolled it out just like last time and covered the cake.

Once the cake was covered I had to decide on how to decorate the thing. I had been wanting to try out the quilted fondant look like this one from Lettie Cakes:
So I googled "quilted fondant" and found a nice instructional You Tube video. Unfortunately, all the tutorials I found called for a special quilting tool, or at least a diamond shaped cookie cutter - neither of which I own. I quit after looking at my 4th tutorial and decided to just use a long metal skewer to make the quilting imprint. I did, and it worked rather well actually. I wasn't too careful to make the spacing perfect so I would definitely watch that next time around, but it was definitely pretty good for a first timer free handing it.

Here is the finished product:
There are some several imperfections, but it looked pretty overall.

I tried another simple technique - cut outs:

 A picture of the yummy inside:

Mmmm, yummy white chocolate buttercream and raspberry filling:
I enjoyed the process once again, though I am still not much closer to making a decision about the actual design for the party. I like the quilted look, but it isn't minimalist enough for what I am envisioning this time around.

I - of course - did more inspiration hunting on Pinterest and found a couple of cakes that would be perfect for the day. First of all this one from none other than Martha Stewart Weddings (figures):

Now check this one out from Paper Garland blog:
Seriously the colors could not be any more perfect!
Can someone just deliver this for me on party day please?

I may do a trial smash cake soon too so that I can get some practice doing the ruffle frosting. . . maybe I should buy the hubs bigger pants after all. I think I was a baker in a previous life because I am having way too much fun with the practice cakes.

The Outfit:
The other party detail that I have been working on is a birthday outfit for Baby Boo. I scoured Etsy for cute birthday outfit ideas and saw many that I loved like these ones:
From OMG2Cute on Etsy

From Diva Baby Designs on Etsy

The problem was that these are all custom made outfits so I was running the risk of not getting it in time. Several of these shops do rush orders, but they often charge more for them and I have am already spending enough money on this party. I decided to take it into my own hands and make her an outfit myself. That way it could be as custom as I wanted it to be.
I went to a couple of fabric stores and unfortunately had a difficult time finding the peachy/coral colors that I was hoping for in tulle. I had to settle for light yellow and pale orange which is fine. Chances are that will be the case with a lot of the table wear as well, since coral is not a common party color. I bought some dye too so that I could color a white onesie to match the tutu. I went with iDye for natural fabrics in pumpkin. I figured I could go really easy on the dye and get a nice pastel orange with that.

Once I got home, I got to work. First I pulled found an old white onesie, the iDye packet, and some salt (recommended on the iDye packet):
I went with a onesie that will be outgrown soon since this is a one time use kind of thing anyway: 

The dye worked perfectly and I had a pretty pastel orange onesie to work with. I put the onesie back in the wash with detergent and the color held perfectly.

The tutu was super simple. Basically I sewed a circle of elastic the size of Baby Boo's waist and then tied strips of tulle around it until it was full. It took no more than a half hour to finish. 

Once the onesie was dry I got to deciding on a design for the front. I don't have a sewing machine let alone a fancy embroidery machine so I wasn't sure I could duplicate the pretty designs from Etsy. I have never embroidered a thing in my life; the closest I have ever gotten are a few cross stitching projects I did as a little girl. I figured why not give it a shot, the worst I could do was ruin a cheap onesie. I borrowed an embroidery hoop from my mom and embroidered a large 1 using a chevron pattern. Amazingly, I figured it out despite not knowing and embroidery stitches. It took me a few days since I would do it in small chunks.

With the 1 done, I decided to spell out her name in the onesie in hotfix Swarovski crystals. With her name on it, the birthday outfit was finally done. I put it on Baby Boo to model it, and she proceeded to immediately puke on it. Sooo, please don't mind the big wet spot in these photos - that would be baby puke:

 On the model herself:

Big brother wanted in on the photo shoot too so I appeased him:

A close up of the embroidered 1 and the crystal name:

The crystals are so pretty - They shine either yellow or bright orange depending on how the light hits them:
It is hard to photograph though.

The outfit is now done. It is pretty simple, but I'm happy with it. I especially like that it cost me about $12 in materials versus the $40-$85 range I found on Etsy. It may not look as professionally made, but it was made with love (aww). I fully expect Baby Boo to mess it up royally with her smash cake!

Other Odds & Ends:
The cake and the outfit are the biggies that I have worked on in the last week. As far as the tissue paper pom poms go, I think I will be ordering colored tissue paper online today (or tomorrow). The price is much better than anywhere I can find locally, not to mention the color selection is infinitely better.

I am also currently working on a test batch of meringues for a sweet party snack. I have my fingers crossed that they turn out delicious!

Oh and the invites have all been mailed out. I will be notifying a few additional people via facebook too, but for the most part, that stuff is all done - phew.

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