Jungle Baby Shower

January 16, 2010

January 2010

Months ago, some friends and I got together (via email) and started to plan a baby shower for another friend. Right away, I volunteered to make the cake.  I was really excited for this and I had about 8,000 ideas! We were doing a jungle theme so I was thinking monkeys, elephants, grass, trees, etc. After changing my mind many times, I finally decided on the design a few days before the event.

The cake is Wilton’s golden yellow cake which I have made before and really liked. I made two 10″ rounds and one 6″ round. It is filled with Oreo cream cheese and the icing on top is chocolate buttercream (my mom’s recipe). The green is actually a jar of Betty Crocker icing (eek, I know, but I was already making two kinds of icing, so I thought I’d get the third ready made). And then I used blue gel for the water and light brown sugar for the “sand”.

I got the little animals at Michaels – they came in a set. And I made the palm tree out of royal icing and a pretzel rod. This was my first time making and using royal icing (with meringue powder). The palm tree in the picture is actually the second one I made – the first one was sort of messy! Royal icing needs to dry overnight before being handled – not just 30 minutes – lesson learned!

This was also the first time I used the multi-opening tip #233 to make the grass. After my first test, I was thrilled at how it really looks like grass!

I am really pleased with how this turned out – it may well be my best effort yet! I definitely worked on it for about 3 days and I am so glad that I could contribute this to the shower. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the actual shower so I haven’t got the verdict back on the taste yet, but hopefully it went over well!

A Wrecky Recreation

January 12, 2010

January 2010

My friend Dani asked me if I could make a cake for her for a baby shower she was attending. She wanted me to recreate the Naked Mohawk Baby Carrot Jockey cake featured on the popular Cake Wrecks blog. I was excited to take this on, and the first thing I did was head to Party City in search of tiny plastic babies. I did manage to find some, although they didn’t have mohawks. But no matter, I had a Sharpie 🙂 The cake was 9×13 and it was Funfetti. The icing was Wilton’s vanilla buttercream recipe.

I’m not sure about this icing recipe. It tastes good – it does taste like bakery icing – but it’s very thick. I added additional milk to try to thin it so that I could pipe with it, but it still wasn’t thin enough. For the icing that I tinted green and orange, I added corn syrup to try to thin it even more. The taste was suffering by then, and I still wasn’t happy with the consistency, but I went ahead and made do. The last couple of times I made this icing, I cut back on the sugar by about a 1/4 to a 1/3. I think I should go back to that, as it keeps the icing thinner. I love the consistency of cream cheese icing, but I don’t know how to get that with buttercream. I really want to try a different type of buttercream (like Italian) but I’m terrified when the recipe calls for two pounds of butter. I can feel my heart exploding already.

All icing issues aside, the cake went over well and was liked by my friend and that is what matters! And believe it or not, this was the first time I actually hauled my Kitchen Aid mixer up from the basement and used it. I’m in love. It lives on top of my refrigerator now – easy to reach for my next cake, which incidentally, will be for this coming weekend!