Saturday, August 23, 2014

Bake a Difference

Recently I became a volunteer baker with a fantastic organization , Cakes Against Cancer.
My first cake was an urgent cake, for a little boy celebrating his birthday early . The doctors told his parents he would not make it to his third birthday which was two months away. 
I had 12 hours to come up with a superhero cake for this amazing little fighter. Somehow I managed to pull it off, but not without shedding a few( thousand ) tears. 
I hoped I would never have to do a heartbreaking cake again, although I am very honored to make these cakes, I just wish there was more I could do to help these children. 
It's a very helpless feeling, but the minute you deliver that cake, you realize why you volunteer to make them. Heartwarming doesn't even scratch the surface.

Last week I received my second call to action, again, an urgent cake. A little boy battling cancer who had been sent home with Hospice care a week before his seventh birthday.
Again, my heart broke. What got me through this cake was the theme. 
Hockey, but not just hockey... Detroit Red Wings hockey ! Being a Detroit girl, and loving all things Detroit ( except the potholes ) this was MY dream cake .

I never attended a Red Wings game despite living right next to where they played, but I have fond memories of ' hockey nights' and the Stanley Cup celebrations that breathed life into the city of Detroit.

I only had one day to make this cake happen so I had to design a cake where I could get away with only soft accents.
I decided on a hockey jersey cake. I had never made one before and was surprised on how easy it was.

I started out by making my templates.
I searched for athletic fonts until I found one similar to the Red Wings jersey font. Then I created the template on regular computer paper.
I made one template with his name and another with his favorite number ,13.

For the cake I baked an 11x15 sheet cake. 
Once it was cool I leveled it and cut off 2 corners to contour the shoulders.
Then I iced the cake with buttercream and smoothed it before covering it in fondant.

I decided on the Red Wings away jersey due to the fact I am ' away' from Detroit.
Once my cake was smooth I covered it with white fondant and smoothed it out.

I used a ruler to make a ' seam' towards the top of the jersey.

Next I cut a strip of red fondant for the stripe on the bottom of the jersey.

I used the templates to cut out his name and number using red fondant. 
I always flip my template over and cut in reverse. When I am done all I have to do is dampen the fondant and lay it in place while it is still on the wax paper. It eliminates trying to line up and perfectly space letters on the cake.

The Red Wings place the players name on a patch on the back of the jersey so I made a fondant patch .

I placed the letters on the patch and added a strip of red fondant for the collar.

The most important part of this entire cake is lining everything up even . Be sure to measure from the sides, top and bottom before placing any text on the jersey.

Once I had the lettering on the jersey I made the sleeves.
I rolled out more of the red fondant to just under 1/2 inch thickness.
I angled one end and squared off the other.

Place the sleeve on the cake, attaching it with a brush of water. Give it a wrinkle , and smooth the shoulder . 
I used another piece of fondant rolled into a ball and just kept rubbing the shoulder until it blended in with the fondant on the cake.

Repeat for the other side and decorate according to your teams jersey design.

This is a great cake for hockey or football jerseys. 
To make a football jersey just shorten the sleeves.
To add more Detroit to this cake I made a pennant out of an edible image attached to fondant, a fondant puck, and Stanley the octopus. 

The family was thrilled with this cake and just as I was plotting my retirement from cake, their reaction inspired me to keep caking .
If you are a baker, please look into volunteering your time for this great organization .
It's heartbreaking and heart warming all at the same time.