Friday, September 16, 2011

Birthday Cake Love

Birthday parties can be a lot of work. . . at least if you do them like me they are. I know some people don't feel like it is worth it, and I agree it isn't for everyone, but I love the results and am so glad it all worked out great in the end. Baby Boo's party has definitely been the most labor intensive party I have ever thrown, and it was definitely the coolest looking.

If you missed all the previous posts on the party preparations, check out yesterday's post for a recap.

So lets start with the cakes. Over the last few months I have been ogling cakes on google and Pinterest. I have looked at some pretty amazing inspiration and even baked a couple of practice cakes. I found myself at a point where I was comfortable working with fondant, but I still had no idea what to do for the big party cake. The only thing I knew is that I wanted to make a tiered cake.

The smash cake I had a better idea of what I wanted. I believe it was back in June that I saw this cake on Pinterest:
Originally from the amazing Sweetapolita.
I was totally smitten with the ruffles. The best part was that the ruffles are done with buttercream, meaning they are great for smashing - Perfect!

I googled "ruffle cake tutorial" and came up with this very helpful video:

The party was Sunday, so on Saturday I got to baking and I started by making the smash cake. First I baked 3 layers of cake. I made them different colors so that it would have a graduated look like the photo to the right. I figured it might go unnoticed since Baby Boo would be smashing it versus cutting a clean slice into it --- but I did it anyway. Once the cake pieces were done I whipped up some white chocolate buttercream. Once again, there was no reason to make the buttercream a fancy flavor like white chocolate since no one but Baby Boo would be tasting it. I didn't care, I figured my little girl deserved the yummiest frosting possible.

Once the frosting was ready, I started assembling the cake. I stacked the 3 layers with plenty of buttercream in between to try to keep them level:
With the inside done, I was ready to attempt some ruffles. I was a little apprehensive since I had no idea how difficult this technique might be. The video makes it look very easy, but that can be so deceiving sometimes.

I used a Wilton tip #103:
. . . and went to it:
It turned out to be surprisingly easy.

Within a minute I had the first layer all set:
 Another couple of minutes (and some new food coloring) later I had a second layer all done:
Then the third:
 Finally the top layer was ruffled on and the cake looked fantastic:
 Another angle:
I was really proud of myself. Usually when I attempt crafty things the results are OK but not quite as cool as the original inspiration or tutorial. With this that wasn't at all the case. This cake looked fabulous! This technique is rather forgiving. I made mistakes all over the place and you wouldn't know it looking at the cake. If you are a novice cake decorator, I highly recommend this for an easy yet very impressive cake.

Baby Boo really did a number on it too, but those pictures are yet to come. I duplicated the technique for her portraits a couple of days later in a different color. Here is the sneak peak I showed off yesterday with the cake in it:
I heart ruffle cakes!

Anyhoo, that was the smash cake part of the equation. Next up was the big kahuna; the big cake that everyone would eat.

As I mentioned before, I still had no idea what I would be doing specifically. Not being one to be deterred easily, I went ahead and started making the cake.
I mixed and baked, and mixed and baked. . . and mixed and baked. 6 layers later, I had all the pieces I needed to construct a 3 tiered cake. Each tier had 2 layers, and once again, I made the graduated color layers for visual appeal. While those cooled I faced making some more fondant. My first experience with fondant was a positive one, but also an extremely messy one with a little frustration thrown into the mix. The recipe calls for a stand mixer with a paddle attachment which I simply do not have. Instead I was stuck with my hand held electric beaters, and the fondant would continually creep up the beaters as I mixed. A very generous friend offered to lend me a mixer even, but I was stubborn and determined to make it work again with the tools that I had.

So I assembled the ingredients:
See the recipe I used here.

I learned a few tricks that made the process much easier this time:
  • First of all, melt the marshmallow for as short a time as possible. You need it to be runny and fluid, but as cool as possible while still being runny and fluid. Overly warm marshmallows = extra sticky mess.
  • Secondly, be very liberal with the Crisco on the beaters; pre-grease those suckers and you will help avoid climbing fondant.
  • Finally, use only 1 beater. My electric beater is made to have 2 attachments at once and that is always how I use it. My apparently intuitive husband suggested I reduce it down to 1. I tried it and amazingly, it worked like a charm. I had tamed the fondant!
I then of course needed to color the fondant to match the color scheme we had going. Let me tell you that I honestly think making and coloring fondant burns as many calories as eating it does. Boy did my arms get sore from kneading that stuff over and over and over! Once it was done, I put it in the fridge to cool for a while.

Next my focus turned to the raspberry filling. This was super duper easy. I had a partially thawed package of frozen raspberries from Trader Joes. I threw that into the blender along with a half cup of sugar and a squirt of lemon juice, pulsed it for a while on high and it was done:
It was amazingly delicious and such a pretty color too!

Then I whipped up a big double batch of white chocolate buttercream frosting. the Ghirardelli white chocolate had been on super sale at Target that day so we got the good stuff:

Finally all the components were ready and I was ready to build the cake:
So I did!
Buttercream and raspberry filling in between the layers:
The first layer all done:
At this point I was kind of on a roll and stopped taking photos of the progress. They weren't exactly necessary anyway seeing as how all the layers were identical except for their size. I just kept adding details and after a while I came up with this:
I had no idea I was going to do this until I did it.
Close up of the flowers:
It wasn't perfect - I had attempted to leave the top layer with a draped look, but instead, it just looked like it had some awkward creases. That wasn't a huge deal though. The overall cake looked pretty nice -- I think.

Next post I'll actually throw some photos of the actual party - It came together rather well - Stay tuned!

No comments:

Post a Comment

I'd love to hear from you!