I am just bursting with pride right now! Will decorated his very first cake. Here it is:
Isn't it great?? I baked the cake and covered it (the background color) for him, but that is it. Other than showing him how to do things, I had no part in this cake. He designed it all himself and even did a little sketch with colored pencils. The final version turned out pretty much like he had sketched it! He cut out everything and put it all together. We were both VERY pleased with how it turned out. And I'm very excited to have a cake-decorating buddy! I'm afraid that he may surpass me pretty soon! :) Here are a couple more pics of his cake.
If you see Will, tell him what a great job he did. He told me when he finished, "I don't think any other 5-year-olds can do a cake like this! I think you have to be at least 7!" I responded that a lot of people Mommy's age (not to be disclosed!) can't do a cake like that! He beamed with pride. I love it!
Well, I also did a knitting bag cake, inspired by this drawstring knitting bag I found on etsy.com.
Here is a closer look at the design.
Overall, I am happy with how it turned out. The fondant gave me a LOT of trouble! It took me 5 tries to cover the cake with the tan fondant. I did it last night and by the time I was finished I was so tired, I didn't even notice the uneven and rough edges. So, they remain unfixed. My quest for perfection is ongoing!
I did the pattern by drawing and cutting out the pieces from regular lined paper. I then placed them on the rolled out white fondant to cut around them for the background. I then took each piece and cut it out of the color I wanted - light blue, dark blue, and teal/green. After that, I placed them individually onto the cake. This was much harder and more time-consuming than I thought it would be! I thought that I could start from the center and work the "petals" out from there to get the right spacing, but it was too difficult to find where the center would go. I realized that I needed to start at one edge instead in order to fit it properly on the background white piece, which was already on the cake. That made it much more difficult to get the pieces on properly, but I think it turned out pretty good overall. I'm not sure how I would make it easier next time, except to maybe to take a toothpick and mark where the pieces will go on the white background before removing the template pieces. Or at least marking the center.
The yarn balls are cake balls covered in ganache and left to harden overnight. The "yarn" is fondant pushed through an extruder, then lined up and placed onto the balls. I use a relatively cheap Sculpey clay extruder from Michaels and it gave my hands a real workout! I think I have a little blister on my finger now! My Mom likes the yarns that go from one color to another, so that I what I tried to do with the yarn on my cake. I took the three colors I used for the pattern on the bag and blended them together a little so the yarn would have all three colors in it. I love how that turned out! You can still see the individual colors, but they are also blended together. The knitting needles are just bamboo skewers painted with brown gel color. I tried to attach little fondant balls at the end, but it just wouldn't stay and the color was off. So, I decided to take them off. I think they look just fine without them.
Oh, I almost forgot! Some of you probably want to know what kind of cake this is! It will make your mouths water! They are both midnight dark chocolate cake (my own super-dark, super-moist chocolate cake recipe) with vanilla bean swiss meringue buttercream filling. Both cakes are covered with dark chocolate ganache and then fondant. I tried some of the cake scraps with some leftover buttercream and leftover ganache and it is amazing! And this cake only gets better as it sits. It doesn't dry out as quickly as some others. My recipe uses a lot of oil and eggs, so before I share it, I'm going to try to pare those ingredients down. The trick will be to keep all that wonderful moisture without it falling in the center (this was the reason for all of the eggs in the first place - the cake is so moist and sweet, the structure suffered a bit). In any case, look for the recipe soon! I plan on sharing more recipes with you all too, so you can look forward to that. I will also do a whole post on swiss meringue buttercream and chocolate ganache - how to make them, tricks and tips, and the actual recipes that work for me.
Thanks for playing along with me! I'm off for a week to visit with my wonderful family (hubby is staying home this time). When I get back, I will go immediately to work on a reptile-themed cake for a little girl. It was quite a challenge coming up with a more girly design for that one, but I think I did it. Stay tuned for that one in a couple of weeks!
Have a wonderful week!