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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Bekka's 1st Birthday Cake

I really wanted to make a nice cake for Bekka, since it seemed silly not to use my talents for my own daughter's party. Unfortunately, I did not bring any of my cake supplies, so I had to make do.

1) Cakes: I used 4 disposable 8"-square foil pans. I made one box of chocolate cake and one box of vanilla cake (each box filled two pans). I used chocolate, vanilla, chocolate for the bottom tier (for the adults). Then I cut the other cake into fourths and stacked two of the squares to make the top tier (for Bekka). To make the base board, I actually cut up a diaper box into two squares, taped them together, then wrapped them in foil.

2) Filling: I made crème patisserie (French pastry cream) which I used between the layers of the small cake, and between the bottom and middle layers of the big cake. Between the middle and top layers of the big cake, I used crushed mixed berries (thawed from a bag) that I combined with some vanilla frosting. I just used store-bought whipped vanilla frosting for the crumb coat.

3) Frosting: In addition to the whipped frosting I used for the crumb coat, I made marshmallow fondant to cover the tiers and make the ribbon and polka dots (I just eye-balled the width of the ribbon and cut it with a knife, and I used the bottom of a large tip to cut the pink dots and a No. 5 -- or No. 8, I can't remember -- tip to cut the green dots). I used neon food coloring (the only kind they had at the store) to get the pink, purple, and green (made to match the decorating icing). I used store-bought decorating icing to decorate the cake balls and to accent the ribbons and polka dots (the pack came with purple, pink, teal, and white). The pearl border between the two cakes was made with the vanilla frosting in a similar Ziploc piping bag, using a No. 8 tip (the same tip I used to cut the green dots. I can't remember if it was a No. 5 or No. 8).

4) Piped Flowers: To make the flowers, I cut a corner from a Ziploc bag, put used a No. 1 tip and coupler that I borrowed from my friend Erin, and filled it with store-bought brownie icing. I free-handed the floral design based on the Garden Greenery pattern from the Wilton Garden Terraces Cake. I also used this icing to write on the fondant gift tag.

5) Cake Balls: With the cake I shaved off the layers (so they would be flat and create an even square) and the other half of the second vanilla cake, I made cake balls. I crumbled the vanilla cake in one bowl, the chocolate in another and added store-bought whipped cream cheese frosting to both (I didn't measure, but you want to add enough that the crumbs all stick together). I rolled them into 1" balls and stuck them in the freezer to cool them. I cut all the chocolate ones in half, then cut an equal number of vanilla ones in half (I had a lot more vanilla than chocolate). I then rolled a chocolate half and a vanilla half together until I only had mixed balls and vanilla balls. I used vanilla melting candy and coated the cake balls. Once the candy was hardened, I decorated using the store-bought icing.

6) Finishing Touches: I added a lot of sugar pearls to the top cake, as well as to the pearl border between the cakes. I used the white decorating icing to make French dots on the bottom cake. I rolled some fondant and laid it around the bottom cake. I put some frosting on the bottom of the cake balls and stuck them around the cake. I then sprinkled the board with shaved chocolate (which I got from smoothing out the bottom of the cake balls).