Last weekend my good friend got married and I had the exceptional honor of being a bridesmaid and making the cake. Let me just say...it's a LOT more pressure to decorate a wedding cake than a preschooler's birthday cake! Seriously. But Tristin was the most laid back, gracious and fun bride in the history of brides. She rocks. Her sister actually baked the cake (a delicious double chocolate....yum!!!) I filled it with chocolate icing and covered it in fondant.
About a month before each of my kid's birthdays I ask them what kind of cake that want then I start brainstorming. Here are some from the past few years...
This was Solomon's 1st birthday cake, we had a pirate themed party. His cake was HUGE. The ship was chocolate with chocolate filling and the ocean was vanilla cake with chocolate filling. It was decorated with butter cream and chocolate butter cream frosting. This was my first cake and it was super fun to make. Of course it's pretty easy to please a one year old...haha! I could have given him a package of Twinkies and he would have been stoked.
For Sophie's 3rd birthday she was adamant about having a SpongeBob Squarepants birthday. If you don't know....SpongeBob is a sponge that lives in a pineapple under the sea, and he works at the Krusty Krab flipping Krabby Patties. I can't take all the credit for these delicious little wonders. Who else but Bakerella would come up with something so cool? These are vanilla cupcakes with 'hamburger' brownies. the lettuce, ketchup and mustard are butter cream.
We served them in little food baskets with sugar cookie 'fries' and strawberry dip. They were a big hit and it was so easy because we didn't need to worry about cutting cake and dishing it up--EASY!
For Solly's 2nd birthday we had a Yo Gabba Gabba theme. I made DJ Lance Rock's hat for the base of the cake and made a little sign for the characters to hold. The cake was vanilla rainbow and filled with raspberry preserves, covered in butter cream. Artificial food coloring overload!!! But ahhhh, what are you going to do? Birthdays come but once a year...
Sophie's 4th birthday was just two months ago (wow I have a four year old! When did that happen?!) and she wanted a Ni Hao, Kai-lan party. This time I went a little overboard, I'll admit. But it was super fun...and once I got the ball rolling it was hard to stop!
First I made mini milk chocolate cupcakes and piped on some red butter cream frosting. I topped them with little caramel fortune cookies that I rolled out of little caramel squares. The cake, frosting, caramel combination made for a really yummy treat!
Next I made rice crispy treat 'sushi' with gummy worm centers wrapped in fruit leather. This was a pretty fast and easy. The only tough part was getting the fruit leather to really stick to the rice crispy treats. Because you have to grease the pan before you spoon in the sticky crispy goop it makes the outside a bit slippery. But with a little coercing it all worked out.
Then came the actual fortune cookies. I tried making my own and failed miserably! So I bought a huge bag of them at cash 'n carry (amazing place!) and got to work. First I used clean tweezers and a bobby pin to pull out the fortunes and I used the same tools to shove custom fortunes back in. They said "Xièxiè for coming to my birthday party. Love-Sophie". Then I thought they looked a bit plain so I dipped them in chocolate and threw some sprinkles on those babies! I put these in chinese food takeout boxes and slipped a pair of chopsticks under the lid. These were the goody bags for all our guests!
And here's the cake...my first shot at working with fondant. It was a two tier vanilla cake with cream cheese frosting and sliced strawberries for the filling. I made the marshmallow fondant (tastes MUCH better than the standard fondant) and it was really easy! Look below for the recipe!
1 16oz bag of mini marshmallows
4 T. water
4 T. water
2 lb. powdered sugar (plus extra for kneading)
In a large microwave safe bowl add the marshmallows and water. Nuke those sugary puffs for 60 seconds, stir them up (the easiest way to do this is to spray a spatula with non-stick cooking spray...keeps it all from gommin' up your spoon) nuke this mixture again in 15 second intervals until it's totally smooth. Add your giant bag of powdered sugar (2 pounds) and stir it until you can stir it no longer. Sprinkle powdered sugar on your kneading surface and knead the crud out that stuff! Add more powdered sugar as needed-you don't want it to be sticky, but it can't be too dry either. You can use gel food colors to achieve whatever shade your desire...just make sure you add more powdered sugar to it while you're kneading in the color as it makes it sticky. Cover whatever fondant you aren't using very tightly with Saran wrap.