Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Books and Yarn

 It is time to design my favorite Aunt's 50th birthday cake. I had a lot of options in designing this, she is a very talented quilter, crochet-er, and cross stitcher , but when I think of my Aunt, the librarian, I think BOOKS! Lot's of books!
In one of my earlier posts I made a single, flat, book cake.  For this cake I decided on a stack of books, with a yarn basket on top with a crochet hook.
To make the stack of books I used the same method I used in my " Book Cake" post, only I made 3 of them instead of 1.
Stack using a lot of support as the basket cake is very heavy.

For the basket I used an oval pan and made 2 layers to give me a 4 inch tall cake.
I covered this in buttercream, and then fondant basket weave. I had never done the basket weave before but used this tutorial to get me going .
Once that was done I laid a piece of beige fondant over the top to cover the buttercream.

For the yarn balls I used Rice Krispy Treat and covered it in fondant colored the same as the fondant yarn you are using.
With my clay extruder I piped out the yarn and laid it out on some wax paper.

Cut the piped 'yarn' as shown below. Make 2 of these.

With some gum glue attach the yarn to each side of the ball.

Next pipe out longer strands of yarn. I made mine about 10 inches long . Make 2 of these.

Lay 1 of the strips of yarn at an angle over the top of the ball, and cross the 2nd strip of yarn over the first to completely cover the ball.

I use dowel support under the yarn balls before placing them on top of the basket cake.
Stack the basket bake on top of the books using as many support dowels as you can fit , this basket cake will be VERY heavy.

I made a crochet hook out of gumpaste and painted it with a mixture of vodka and gold petal dust .

...and here is the finished product.

My next tutorial will be how to make the Peonies and Hydrangeas.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Belly Cake

Ahhh, the belly cake...one of my most popular baby shower cakes.
Some love it, some think it's odd, done tastefully I think they can be very cute. I don't do the foot pushing through the skin, the domed belly buttons, along with a bunch of other variations I have seen that made me go "huuummm" .
For as many design variations there are of this cake, they are as many structural variations.
Sometimes I make a 2 inch base cake, carved to shape, and then I place the anatomy on top. I torte and fill the base cake, I leave the belly alone. Other times I make just the anatomy and  torte and fill that if only a small number of servings is needed.
I use the Wilton large Soccer Ball 1/2 pan for the belly, the Wilton Mini Wonder Mold pan for the 'girls' , and a 1/4 sheet cake for the base cake.
This particular cake was requested in chocolate, with raspberry filling, and chocolate ganache. YUM!
I bake the cakes. 1 large Soccer ball , 2 of the " Wonder Mold's ". I am not using the 1/4 sheet this time as the order is only for 20 servings.

Rich Chocolate Cake
( great for stacking and carving )

1 box Chocolate Cake Mix ( I use Duncan Hines )
4 egg whites
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup oil
1 pkg  Instant chocolate pudding
1 Cup sour cream 

Mix ingredients 1 at a time on slow speed until all have been incorporated. Batter will be quite thick. Spread into parchment lines pans and bake at 325 degrees F for 30 minutes. Check for doneness, cook longer if necessary. 

I  doubled the recipe  for this cake

While the cakes bake I whip up the ganache, and filling.

Chocolate Ganache

12 oz Ghirardelli ( or any quality ) Chocolate ( 60% Cacao ) 
1 Cup Heavy Cream

Chop chocolate and  place in a bowl.
Heat cream till almost boiling, remove from heat and pour over chocolate. 
Stir until chocolate has melted and mixture is smooth and glossy.
~ Depending on the sweetness of the cake and filling I am making, I sometimes add 1/2 cup confectioners sugar to this and stir until dissolved.
Let sit overnight to firm to spreadable consistency.

Once my cakes have cooled I set them on cake cut to the shape of the cake.

Then I torte and fill and ice all of the cakes with the ganache and let them firm up and use a warm spatula  to smooth. Rememeber, fondant is as forgiving as Spandex, any lumps will show through....

Next roll out some flesh colored fondant and cover the 'girls' and smooth with your hands.

Place entire cake on the cake board.
Roll out fondant the color you would like the dress to be and gently transfer it on top of the entire cake and cut to shape.

Add straps and dots, or any other decor.

While the cakes were baking I covered my cake board with fondant and attach some ribbon to the sides. I also make a couple cute little baby feet and cut out "Welcome Baby" with my Funky Tappit's.
I made some fondant ribbon roses to decorate the cake board also.
Set the cake board decorations in place and deliver! ( couldn't resist using some pregnancy terminology here :)