Ribbon Cake with Bunting
My dear friend Audra truly appreciates a good party plan and is amazing with the execution! I was ecstatic to make her daughter’s first birthday cake, but also seriously nervous. I love decorating cakes for friends and family, because at this point I am pretty confident that whatever I put together will be more fun than what they could pick up from our local grocery store or Sam’s Club.
Audra, however, is a different story.
Audra always knows what is hip and cool, before it is hip and cool. Yeeks! I just said hip… and cool… I am sure that Audra could find a fantastic cake from one of our amazing local bakeries that would turn up in our favorite blogs and magazines in a month or two as the hottest new trend.
The pressure was on!
Ribbon Cake with Bunting
Audra found this adorable cake bunting from Boo Bah Blue to provide inspiration! I wanted to keep the cake pretty simple to showcase the adorable bunting, so I decided to try a two-tiered ribbon cake, with a gum paste plaque. I used a 9 inch round cake for the first tier and a 6 inch round cake for the second tier.
To keep this project manageable and fun, I organized my time and spaced out the work. I created the gum paste name plaque on Wednesday, baked the cakes on Thursday, and I frosted and assembled the cake on Friday.
1. Apply a thin crumb coat of vanilla buttercream to both cakes and refrigerate for 15-30 minutes, for the icing to set.
2. Once the icing is set, apply an additional smooth, thick, coat of buttercream to the top of each cake.
3. Fill your favorite piping bag with the vanilla buttercream and affix a Wilton 104 piping tip. (I believe tip #104 is typically used for piping petals, but I am a serious piping novice!)
4. Start at the base of your 9 inch cake, with the thin side of the piping tip facing up and the thicker side of the piping tip facing down. Pipe from left to right (or right to left!), about ¾ of an inch, in a figure eight motion. Continue this back and forth motion, moving from the base of the cake to the top. Continue this around the entire cake.
5. Trim 3 wooden dowels to the correct height of the cake, and insert the dowels in the center of the 9 inch cake, for support (I usually space them about 3 inches apart, in a triangular shape).
6. Gently place the 6 inch cake on top of the support dowels.
7. Pipe the 6 inch cake in the same fashion as the first cake.
8. Once both cakes are complete, pipe one final ribbon around the top of each cake to complete the look. Angle the tip with the wide base touching the cake and the thin side facing up. Gently pipe, in about a ½ inch back and forth motion, from the center to the outside of the cake around the circumference of each cake.
9. Before the icing complete sets, affix the gumpaste name plaque to the top tier. If the icing is already somewhat dry, simply wet the back of the gumpaste plaque and firmly hold against the icing until it sticks.
10. Top with an adorable cake bunting!
Confession of a *wannabe* cake decorator…. In my excitement over the ribbon cake, I overlooked the ever-important smash cake! I wanted both cakes to compliment each other, but I didn’t have time to bake, cool, and decorate another cake before the party! I hit up our local grocery store and bought a small cake from the frozen section. I scraped off the frozen icing from store and quickly iced the cake in complementing colors. This worked great… a trick I *may* remember in the future!
It was snow much fun making this Winter Onederland to celebrate my nephew Miles’ first birthday! I was a little nervous with my friend Tim coming to join in the cake decorating fun, because let’s be honest, there is really only room for one chef in the kitchen, especially one as small as mine! It turns out… we actually work pretty well together! I think this cake adventure was even disaster free.
With every cake adventure I seem to learn a few good cake decorating tips:
- Definitely apply a thin crumb coat to your cake before icing, especially with white icing. I recommend refrigerating the cake for 15-20 minutes after applying the crumb coat, to provide time for the icing to set.
- Sugar cubes are amazing for winter wonderlands: ice blocks, igloos, snow, the opportunities are endless!
- Insert a toothpick in fondant figures to secure the figures in place on top of a cake.
- In order to minimize the mess, add sprinkles immediately after icing before the icing has opportunity to set.
Confession of a *wannabe* foodie….. While I always make homemade icing, I occasionally , okay frequently,cheat on the cake and filling, if I am decorating a cake. Before I started decorating cakes, I had no idea you could buy pudding in cans, but it turns out that canned pudding is pretty fantastic as a cake filling.
Hello Kitty Cake
Hello Kitty. Pink. Sparkly.
Those were the instructions from my beautiful niece Elise for her 3rd birthday cake. I should probably rearrange those instructions to reflect the true enthusiasm of Elise in her birthday cake request…
Sparkly! Pink! Hello Kitty!
In an attempt to be the ultimate aunt, I added one more to the list:
Sparkly. Pink. Hello Kitty. Gum. (one of Elise’s favorites)
Who knew the most challenging mission of this cake would be to locate and acquire gumballs! Once gumballs were included as part of the mission, however, they could not be removed, as they were now an essential element in the cake completion. Fortunately, my mother and sister voluntarily enlisted in the overt gumball operation. Three stores and several phone calls later, a large box of gumballs appeared, concealed in a Dierberg’s bag, between the side door and screen door of our quaint brick bungalow. With the success of the overt gumball operation, it was time to move on to the next phase of cake completion.
Hello Kitty Cake
Pink pearl dust, applied with a paint brush (clean, and cake-specific, of course), provided the perfect pink sparkle to make this cake Elise approved. I intended to make this cake over-the-top -sparkly with actual sparklers, but lost too much time with the overt gumball operation. Next New Year’s Eve, I plan to purchase several packs of sparklers to use throughout the year.
Confession of a *wannabe* foodie… My free hand Hello Kitty failed, so I cheated a bit by creating my own Hello Kitty stencil by printing and cutting an image I liked online.
Batman and Iron Man Cake
I don’t consider myself a necessarily girly-girl. I love to camp, spend time outdoors, watch baseball and hockey, listen to loud rock and roll, love crime shows, etc. I have to admit, however, I seem to be missing the superhero gene! I appreciate a good superhero in the occasional movie or great costumes at Halloween, but if you ask me about Bruce Wayne, it may take a second before I figure out if you are referring to Batman or Superman.
I am always up for a birthday cake challenge, so I thought I would attempt Mason and Alex’s favorite superheros: Batman and Iron Man. Despite my superhero ignorance, I am fairly confident with Batman. Iron Man, on the other hand, is where that ignorance returns in full force! I tried my usual hot spots for cake inspiration: blogs, Google image searches, Pinterest, movie/cartoon clips, etc., but Iron Man continued to elude my creativity. This creativity block continued for several days and as the birthday approached, I began to fear that stifling creativity might, in fact, be Iron Man’s ultimate super power.
I unleashed a few of my decorating superheros, and the gold and silver pearl powders ultimately saved the day by kicking up the Iron Man mask and power supply.
I welcome any suggestions for future superhero cakes! It can be difficult to find that delicate balance of awesome… that remains within my ability to execute!
Batman and Iron Man Cake
Confession of a *Wannabe* Foodie… Boxed cake mix, layered with pudding, and frosted with homemade icing can be pretty fantastic and great for kids’ birthday cakes. The kids get way more excited about the decorations than homemade cake!
I started drafting a few cake ideas for Robotto Otto’s first birthday when my husband Allen nonchalantly mentioned that I could not make a robot cake without some electronics! My knowledge of circuits, however, ended with grade school science.
Needless to say, we decided to divide and conquer. I added the lights into the cake design and Allen headed off to RadioShack. Allen created a series circuit with three LED’s, two nine volt batteries, a switch, a bunch of wires, a project box, some solder, and a bit of electrical tape.
(he totally wrote this section, see my aforementioned self proclaimed electronic ignorance)
I saw a tutorial for these adorable racecar toppers, on the Cake Journal site, several weeks ago, and was ecstatic when Elliott decided he wanted a racecar cake for his birthday! The tutorial is excellent! I did not, however, have all the supplies, so I improvised a little, but I still think they turned out great.
When looking at tutorials, don’t get overwhelmed with materials you may not have, you can usually cope with the materials you do have on hand (okay, I realize not everyone has fondant in the basement). As a novice cake decorator, I adapted the tutorial by using mostly fondant, instead of gumpaste, since I already had the fondant colored appropriately for the racecars. I used plain water to adhere the separate pieces, instead of tylo glue (shhh… I truly have no idea what that is). I only have one fondant smoother, so instead of using a pair of fondant smoothers to shape the car, I used my one fondant smoother and a box of graham crackers! (more…)
Casey's Beach Cake
My friend Casey is getting married, on the beach, in less than two months! To celebrate her upcoming nuptials, I created a 3-tier, vanilla and chocolate buttercream, beach cake for her wedding shower, as any cake-loving friend would do. Casey loves all things teal, which coordinates perfectly with her beach-themed wedding. I knew if I started with teal water, I couldn’t go wrong. Once I finished the teal water, however, it was time to get creative! (more…)
Isaac's Superhero Cake
I have always loved to bake, and in honor of being a wannabe foodie, I always decorated my desserts using simple and complimentary ingredients to enhance the flavor of the dessert (fruit, chocolate, nuts, herbs, etc). Although intrigued by serious cake decorating, I quickly judged fondant covered cakes as adult play dough. I would never subject my taste buds to such mediocrity, when I could cover my cakes in rich butter cream, tangy cream cheese, or dark chocolate fudge! Who wants a cake that looks good, when you can eat a cake that tastes good?!? (more…)