Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Surfing Hello Kitty


Last week I had the chance to make a cake for a lovely little girl turning 8 years old. Her lovely mother is a friend of mine and she is so sweet. I was happy to make this cake!

The birthday girl requested Hello Kitty. On a surfboard. With a palm tree and a red crab.

I said "sure" but when the time came to make all of that and get it to work, it had me trembling! In the end it all worked out, though. Don't you think?

Here is a slightly closer look.

I assembled this cake on site, so I don't have a lot of pictures. I was afraid that if I put Hello Kitty on the top ahead of time, she would fall and break during transit. I do wish I had gotten a close-up of HK, the tree (my personal favorite element) and the little red crab.

The cake itself was chocolate (you can find the recipe in this post) with vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream (recipe here).

I was really proud of how I did covering and smoothing the buttercream. My corners actually turned out pretty sharp! That is not easy! For those of you who are interested, the method I use for frosting my cakes is very similar to that demonstrated by John Russel in his new Craftsy class. This class is free, so check it out! I also cut and trim my cakes in pretty much the same way as he does, except that I don't trim the cake board. Instead, I keep it about 1/4 inch bigger than my cake and use it as a guide to hold the smoother steady and keep the buttercream even all the way around. Maybe someday I'll do a video....

Here is a picture of the cake chilling in the refrigerator. You can see that I've already smoothed and stacked the tiers, and I've put on a few "waves" and the tree. Please ignore the food in the background and how messy my frig is! :)

The "sand" is also in place in this picture. I love, love, love the way this sand turned out! I was just going to use brown sugar. Then I was just going to use crushed graham crackers. I went to make it and I decided to use both together. I chose the graham crackers for the bulk of the sand because they didn't seem as likely to melt into the buttercream. I added some brown sugar for some depth of color and for the slight sparkle of the sugar crystals. Then, and this is the brilliant part if I do say so myself, I added a handful of white chocolate chips. I pulsed it all in my food processor - first the crackers and sugar until very finely ground, then the white chocolate chips until they were in fairly small pieces but not evenly ground. The chips ended up looking like little bits and pieces of shells scattered in the sand. It was perfect! And tasty!

(Please don't tell me if people have done this before! I'm sure I'm not the pioneer of this technique, but I like to think I am!)

Hello Kitty, the tree and the waves are all gumpaste. I had to make HK out of gumpaste so that she would be firm enough to stand up. Same with the tree. I made the trunk and the leaves several days ahead of time and left them to dry. The leaves were on wires and then inserted into the top of the trunk. There was a toothpick in the bottom of the trunk to hold it in place. I really like how the tree turned out. I do wish I had dusted the leaves with petal dust, though, to bring out the details and give them more depth. Sadly, I didn't think of it until after the tree was all assembled and I was afraid that if I took the leaves back out to dust them, they would break. I couldn't afford any breakage because I didn't have time to make more. My extras had already broken!

Handy tip: when working with gumpaste, always make extra! Some pieces always end up breaking.

Anyway, I hope you all enjoyed surfing Hello Kitty! Thanks for stopping by!