Sunday, July 31, 2011

Whale Cake

I just finished this cake yesterday. I have been planning and working on it for awhile now and was very excited to finally see it come together! This was for a good friend of mine, Katie, whose little boy turned 1 on Friday. They had a party for him today and I volunteered to make him this cake. I also made this little smash cake for him to tear apart.

Here are the two cakes together.

Now for those who want the details, here they are! Both the tiered cake and the smash cake are yellow cake with strawberry Swiss meringue buttercream and sliced strawberries for the filling. They are also both covered with milk chocolate ganache. The smash cake was then covered in blue modeling chocolate and topped with more of the strawberry buttercream and fondant decorations. The tiered cake was covered in fondant and all of the decorations, except for the whale, are fondant.

I made the whale by molding rice krispie treats into the shape I wanted then covered the whole thing with modeling chocolate. Modeling chocolate is so nice to work with and so tasty! You just melt chocolate (or in this case I used candy melts) and add a little corn syrup. The chocolate technically seizes up, but it then comes together to make a clay that can be rolled or molded. I did learn, though, that it can be a little difficult on a hot day. While I was trying to cover the whale and smooth him out, the chocolate kept melting a little against my warm hands. That made it really hard to get him perfectly smooth! I would have liked to have done a little better on that, but overall, I was happy with him. The little water spurts are fondant with a toothpick holding it in.

I think my favorite part of this cake is the bottom tier and the fish. The background color ending up being the perfect blue, I thought, and I love the way the bright colors of the fish stand out against the background. I wish you could see it better in the picture.

The horizontal lines were a first for me and are really difficult to get straight. I measured, marked, and measured again before putting the strips onto the cake. Although they aren't quite perfect, I was happy with them. Not bad for a first attempt!

I also learned a little more about getting my ganache smooth. I had a really hard time with that on this cake. I tried a new technique - putting a board on top of the cake and smoothing the sides with a scraper against both the top and bottom cardboard rounds. The top was supposed to just pop off after the whole cake was refrigerated for awhile, leaving a perfectly smooth top with sharp corners. Well, the top came off, but it took the ganache and part of the cake with it! This was about midnight Friday night and I nearly threw the cake against the wall! I was able to add more ganache and fix it, thankfully. And it helps that the top tier covers the rough part! Though it was frustrating, one of the things that I like about doing cakes is that I am always learning and improving. Sometimes when things go wrong, I learn the most because I have to really think about it in order to fix things.

I hope that Joey enjoys his birthday party today and that everyone enjoys the cake! I tasted some of the scraps with the leftover buttercream and a slice and I have to say that it is now one of my absolute favorite combinations! It was sooooo good!! I'm sure the milk chocolate ganache made it even more fantastic!


  1. Wow, very cool, I'm kinda jealous of the little guy that got this : ) I can just picture you about ready to pitch the cake, let alone trying to be quiet in your frustration so as not to wake the kids! I like the adding more chocolate fixed it, that works for me too in other things : )

  2. Chocolate fixes everything, right?! Thankfully, the kids weren't home. They are at my Mom's for the weekend. Andy was already in bed and he said that he heard me. Oops!

  3. It was a great cake! We took extra care in getting it to the party, making sure it was out of the sun and turning on the air lower than normal. And although Joey really had no clue, EVERYONE else was amazed. Cameras were flashing multiple pictures in between "ooh's and aah's". When we finally got to cut it, there was a pause by everyone because no one wanted to ruin it.

    I can't thank you enough for offering to put so much time and energy into this awesome cake!!

  4. Thanks Katie! I would love to see a pic of Joey smashing up the little cake! It was my pleasure to make it and I'm so glad that you all were able to enjoy it!