Friday, September 6, 2013

Icing Smiles

A year ago I signed on as a baker with a wonderful non-profit group Icing Smiles.
This group has assembled a large network of bakers who are willing to donate their time and talents to provide special children their dream cakes.
These children have been born with some pretty serious health concerns and deserve something over the top for their birthday.
All the parents have to do is contact Icing Smiles and they call on a volunteer in that area to provide a special cake for their child, FREE!

Finally, I got my call to action.
Again, here I go with the coincidences. The little boy Michael, who I was asked to make a cake for, shares a birthday with my son.
What are the odds of that?!
Have I mentioned my life is full of coincidences.

Michael loves Caillou and his Mom requested a Caillou cake for his party.
I know A LOT about Caillou, my son went through an extended phase of only wanting to watch that show.
With that being said, I aspire to have the patience and nerves of steel that Caillou's parents have.

This was to be his " dream cake". Each child is allowed one and it's to be either a tiered or carved cake to serve up to 40 people.

I went with a tiered design and had planned on two tiers but this is a dream cake so I upped it a tier.
I had some pieces to make in advance, like stars on wires, a Caillou figurine and the number 2 so I made them one week in advance out of a fondant/ gumpaste mixture.

For the bottom tier of the cake I made a 10 inch round.
Following Caillou's color scheme I cut red, blue, green and yellow stripes to decorate it.
I used the frill edge on my FMM ribbon cutter to make the stripes look snazzy.

I placed the frilled stripes on the cake and then added some thinner stripes piped with my extruder.

The middle tier is a 8 inch round.  I made a sign similar to Caillou's name plaque and
using the Futura Light font  I cut out his name.

I added some edible dots for some subtle color.
I make these out of fondant in advance so I can color match the other accents on the cake.
I used to just buy the pre-made Wilton " sprinkles" but they never seemed to match anything I was making.

The top tier was a 6 inch round decorated with color coordinated stars.
On top I set the number 2 and the Caillou figurine.

The stars I had spray from  the bottom and middle tier.
If you use this cake as inspiration for your own please remember not to stick wires in your cakes. When I have a cake iced in white or light fondant I use Bucatini , a hollow pasta , to slide my wires into before inserting into the cake.

Normally coming up with the design and decorating is the challenge. Not with this cake.  Mike has a nut allergy so I had to take all the necessary precautions.
I started by washing down all my surfaces and tools with hot soapy water ( even though they were already clean this is very important.)
I found many products that warned that they may have been produced in a facility that also processes peanuts or tree nut products.
I had to make sure no nuts were consumed in our home while I was making this cake as well.
Cross contamination is serious business and it's best to not introduce an allergen for any reason.
I did find that Satin Ice fondant is nut free so that was not an  issue and instead of scratch I used a Pillsbury white cake mix .
I was amazed to find that my brand of flour was not guaranteed to be nut free so scratch baking was " scratched" .

I had a wonderful time with this cake and was so happy to help.
My heart melted when Michael came in, saw his cake,  smiled the most amazing smile and said " Caillou!"
Every hour, every minute, every second of my time and energy was worth making that little guy smile.

Please check out Icing Smiles and give them some support. They are doing some great things for some wonderful children.

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