Car Cake Failure

I hesitate to write this post. I’ve written about the things I’ve messed up but I think this one takes the cake (no pun intended). I was asked to make a cake in the shape of a car. Again, this was a last second cake so I had no time to try and do a practice run. I really wished I had a practice run.

I spent a day or two looking at pictures and trying to find blue prints for the car that they wanted. Specifically, a BMW X3. It didn’t seem too hard to do,  but… I’ve never carved a 3D cake before. I did that tooth cake some time back but that really isn’t the same thing. I was prepared for my kitchen to be a disaster with the carving. I know my kitchen is big, but I feel like the counter space isn’t placed out correctly. Having a kitchen island would be great.

carfailpic1Anyway, enough with my complaining. I’m going to bite the bullet and just write this post out. Below is what I baked. I used a metal flower nail in the middle of the pan to generate heat so the outside wouldn’t burn before the middle was cooked. I figured three would be a good side for an SUV. Looking back on it I should have made it safe with 4.

carfailpic2I used a new recipe. A vanilla pound cake. I was worried the usual vanilla cake that I used would be too soft and wouldn’t carve. Everything I saw online said to line up the picture with the cake and just carve it.

carfailpic3I had issues with it sagging on the sides too. Now the picture below is with the cakes frozen so you don’t see any sagging on the sides, but the cakes did seem much firmer and easier to work with. The picture on the bottom is after my carving attempt. I don’t think I had enough of blueprints to really work it out well. The back was too flat but I felt the top had the correct height and slope. My cutting was sloppy, but at this moment I thought I really had something good going on (though looking at it here I should have used more of the 3rd cake for the roof).

carfailpic4The next step was to crumb coat it. I was moving fast since I wanted the cake still frozen when I did this. I didn’t move fast enough because some parts started to fall off. I should have put it back in freezer for a half hour after I “carved” it.

carfailpic5So I filled in the holes and finished covering it. I then left it out to settle. I thought it looked decent here, maybe a little too boxy but I figured the details would fix that issue.

carfailpic6So here is a picture of what I thought would be my pride and joy… “The Mat.” I’ve heard many things about this apparent “miracle” mat. It was a birthday present. I watched the video on how to “season” the mat. I had some serious issues with using the mat with pockets forming on the fondant and it was hard to roll out. I couldn’t worry too much about it since I had to get moving on covering the car. I must have rerolled out he fondant a dozen times to try and get it to cover the car correctly.

carfailpic7You can see in the bottom picture that I finally covered the car. I definitely rolled out the fondant too thick and put too thick of a coat of buttercream on the car. It almost completely removed the slope on the car. I didn’t have time to redo the entire car since the cake was due in a few hours. I picked up some silver mist spray from Michaels. The didn’t have the silver in the Wilton spray so I picked up the pearl color, and then the silver in the Duff brand. You can see the color difference between the two. On the left is the pearl, and the right the Duff silver. I went with the pearl color. You can see it completed with the spray on the bottom (with the too thick fondant).

carfailpic8After the cake was covered I took out more pictures of the car and pulled up a chair. It was time to add all the details. I was hoping with the details it would make the shape look like a car. I wanted to remove the wheels and cover them completely in fondant. The videos I was watching showed that you push the cookie cutter into the cake and pull out the shape. Yeah, that didn’t happen. So I was going to have to make due. In the future I think you should cut out the wheels first. It just popped into my head, but I should have used a spoon to scoop it out.

carfailpic9Believe it or not, I spent a few hours putting all the details below on the cake. I broke out the pasta machine to make the small and window outlines. I tried to follow the lines of the car exactly. I used edible marker to color in the BMW sign and the license plate.

carfailpic10Now here is where I made a big mistake. I went to bed after I finished the few details on the car. When I woke up, I got the lights ready to push into the car. I got them at a party city (I had to call over a dozen places online to find someone that had it). They are small LED lights that lasts about 8 hours. I pushed them right into the cake… but the fondant had already dried so it immediately caused cracks. I thought about not using them but then they cracks would look insane. I just kept with the lights.

carfailpic12Here is a picture of the car with the lights off and on (obviously). From far away it doesn’t look too terrible.

carfailpic11Now here is the bad part. I dropped off the cake after keeping the air conditioning blowing on it all the way there. When I dropped it off I told them to keep it cool and be careful with it. Clearly something happened to it. It just looks flat! I know the cake I made was on the flatter side, but it was no where near this bad. I honesty have no idea what happened here.

carfailpic13Overall, I was severely disappointed with this cake. I hated making it, I hated it when I was finished and I was embarrassed to give it away. I was going to have a backup cake but it took way too long to do.  Oh well. Here is my car cake fail. My shameful, shameful cake.

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Wilton Course 3, Lesson 3: Complete!

Another day, another lesson! For lesson 3 there really wasn’t much to go over. Below was my work station for the day again. I know I’ve said it before… but seriously. No buttercream and royal icing to cart with me? Amazing! Below is all I need to bring.

course3lesson3pic1I didn’t take too many pictures for this class because my phone was next to dying. We started with finishing up the carnations that we started in the first class. The base that we made needed to be completely dry in order to stack the next layers of the carnation. Basically, the book tells you to cut out 5 or 6 circles and fluff them up with the veining tool and stack them on the carnation base that you started. Now I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was using fondant and not gum paste so it wasn’t drying as fast as I wanted it to. It still worked (and dried a few days later), but it didn’t get as fluffy as I wanted it to get. I also used 9 additional petals to get the final result below. It clearly looks like a carnation and is very simple to make. The only thing the book didn’t say is to wait a minute or so between attaching each layer. If you fluffy and shape the circle and then let it dry a bit, the next layer won’t flatten it out (as you can see on the bottom of mine). But overall, I don’t think it matters how many layers you have, it still looks like a carnation.

course3lesson3pic2The next two flowers we made were the daisy and the mum. Both used the same cutter. The daisy was two simple shapes and then taking a little bit of yellow 50/50 covered in sprinkles smashed into the middle. The mum was just 6 layers of the same thing (two sizes) covering the mum base that we made in week one. You can see them both below in the flower forming cups. I think the mum could use a few more layers spaced out better.

My big issue with the two flowers was the cutter. No matter how hard I pushed on the cutter there were still thing scrapes between each petal. I tried to cut them out but it still looked sloppy. I would have to find a better way to cut it out correctly or just be patient to cut away all the excess.

course3lesson3pic3The last thing we did was make a layered ruffle and a ruffled swirl using the “straight scallop cutter” that came with the Ultimate kit.

The long ruffle is used to cover cakes with a long layered look. The swirled one is supposed to be pretty on top of a cupcake or something. I think it just looks awkward. But, the ruffle was easy enough which is good to know for the future. I may try and cover a cake layer with it.

course3lesson3pic4So that finishes the third lesson in course 3. This lesson went by fast. I finished a bit early too. Mostly because once the instructor starts reading out loud from the book, I just read ahead and do it. I figure I rather screw it up and then ask why so I know for the future. Mostly because (as I’ve said before), I won’t be using what I make in class on anything. The dirt in the room alone is insane.

For the next and final class we have to bring flowers already made with us and a cake design. This is something you have to do at the end of each course. If you look back on my lesson 4 of each of the previous classes I, (1) shared with my friend for one, and (2) didn’t bother to bring a cake with me. The women in this class seem to take it a bit more seriously than the previous one. Plus, it is easier to just make the gum paste flowers and bring them in. It’s not like its royal icing that could melt and needs a more delicate handle or it will crack.

One thing I have to keep in mind is where I’m going to take the Course 4 classes. The place I’m at now doesn’t offer it. In fact, no store in my county offers it. Wonderful, right? I really wanted to make sure I could keep up this blog until I finished Course 4. I tend to half ass things and never finish them. I’ve been told most of my life that I was good at something and then I would eventually walk away from it. I’m half good at a bunch of things. I really want this to work. Maybe I’m being crazy. But anyway, I have to find Course 4 somewhere!

Wilton Course 3, Lesson 2: Complete!

A couple of days before the second lesson I had to make the 18 loops for the bow we were going to make in class. I also wanted to remake the carnation base that I didn’t like in the first lesson.

In the picture below, you can see how gross the 50/50 was. Fondant, gum paste, 50/50 picks up every particle of dirt that floats by. This ball in the picture went to and from the Michaels store so I expected it to get a bit snarly, but this happens all the time. Aside from getting a air proof room that is vacuum sealed, I have no idea how to keep dust out of this. Especially when its white. Dark colors can hide the bits of dust that float around, but not white. Look how obvious the bad things are in there!

course3lesson2pic1But anyway, I made everything I needed before class. Again, I really like how I’m able to spread out more. I think it has to do with how the tables are set up.

course3lesson2pic2From this angle you can see how the tables are set up and the size of the room. It is made for small groups of people. In my opinion, it should always be no more than 7 (8 maximum) in each class. It makes it easier for the instructor to go to each person. This also helps if someone is late. They can at least catch up faster.

course3lesson2pic3Moving on, I’ll start with the big bow that we had to make the 18 loops for. Since Wilton did the overhaul of their lessons they changed how they did this big bow. Now, after doing this bow it seems clear to me that they really rushed this new program. What they tell you to do is to take a big ball of gum paste and stick all the dried loops into it. Really? Just stick them in? Well that doesn’t work. Well, it does, kinda. You stick the loops in (I eventually had to add edible glue to make them stay), but then the other loops start to move out as you move the gum paste ball around. I made the 18 the said but you can clearly see the large ball of gum paste in the middle. It just looks sloppy. Maybe if I added 10 more loops it would distract it, or if it was in color? I don’t know, but this is a bad way of teaching this. The “old” way was to make two circles. You would place the circle on the bottom, then the loops all around the edge. Then take the next circle, put it on top, and add more loops. I’m sure you would see the edges of the circles, but at least not this huge ball of gum paste. I hate to be a Negative Nancy, but I can’t help but think this is their way of making you go through gum paste faster so you have to buy more. This was just horrible looking. I threw it out.

course3lesson2pic6The first flower we worked on was the calla lily. To be honest, I wasn’t very interested in making this flower but it’s so easy, and it looks so awesome when it’s done. I like the idea of putting sprinkles on the center to help it stand out. I would definitely make more of these. To make them, all you need is a heart shaped cookie cutter and a cone shape. Wrap the heart around it, and then fluff up the edges. Very simple, and very cute! As I write this I’m considering making step-by-step photos of the gum paste flowers. It would be easier to do a tutorial of these than with buttercream or royal icing. I think everyone should know how simple it is to make these!

course3lesson2pic4The next and last flower that we made was the rose. We had to use the rose base that we made in the first lesson (tear drop shape). One of the things that bothered me was they had to make the base in white, not referencing that it would show in the center of the rose. So as you can see below, my white center is showing. I would suggest you make sure they match, or you make the base very small where it is completely covered by the petals. It pretty much looks like a rose, but only because of the color. I think adding the calyx to the bottom helped.

course3lesson2pic5So that was it for the second lesson! I took a picture of my two completed flowers and the new carnation base I made before class (much more fluffy).

course3lesson2pic7 One of the things I mentioned previously was how we never went over cake designing. We don’t do it in this class either. Well, the instructor does talk about the pictures in the books which technically you should be able to do after finishing the class, but that’s about it. Again, so far I like this class much better than the previous Wilton ones!

Wilton Course 3, Lesson 1: Complete!

So I finally started Wilton Course 3: Gum Paste and Fondant. I took course 1 and 2 at one location. I’ve complained enough about how long it took between courses (sometimes even between classes) and the location wasn’t offering any more classes. So luckily, the Michaels location closer to my house was starting up Course 3. The room lay out was much better. Since I took this class by myself I had much more room since the spot open to me was, well, open. So here we go!

class3lesson1pic1One of the first things we discussed is the difference between fondant, gum paste, and 50/50. Fondant is best for covering cakes and simple decorations for cakes. 50/50 is exactly what it says – 50% fondant and 50% gum paste. It tastes like fondant but is pliable like gum paste. Gum paste alone is great for flowers (dries quickly and can be spread paper thin). So to begin, we made 50/50 and had to cut them into strips. Apparently Wilton did an overhual of the courses during the weeks I was at the other location. Course 3 now wants you to cut out the ribbons using a ruler instead of their strip roller. I already had this since it was in the Ultimate Kit that I bought at the beginning. I didn’t feel like setting it up (and I wanted to follow along with everyone else), so I used the ruler. It is a pain to use a ruler to cut all the lines. As you can see below, I didn’t really care how things turned out. I didn’t make the lines exactly the right length and some of the widths were off. But as usual, I care more about what I get out of the class to use at home than what we do inside the class.

class3lesson1pic3So we had to make 18 loops. I only made what you can see below and the rest we were supposed to bring for the next class. The strips were just folded with some gum glue to make a loop.

class3lesson1pic2Next thing we did was made these simple bows with tails that you can see below. My 50/50 dried out a bit so it wasn’t very pliable so I couldn’t form nice loops in the bow (as you can see below, it was flat looking). If done correctly, I think this is a great way to make fast and easy bows. Though I think you should scrunch the ribbon a bit, and make sure to angle the tails to look like an actual bow. I saw that someone in the class overlapped the loops to force a “fluffy” appearance. That may be something I’ll try in the future.

class3lesson1pic4The next thing we did (with more of the loops we made) was work on quilling. Quilling is a thing I’ve seen that is pretty popular with paper. You can make very pretty and intricate designs with it. On my Pinterest binges I’ve noticed people starting to do it on cakes. Since it is very pretty, I was mildly excited that we would be going on the technique in class. Below, is my sloppy attempt. After looking closely at the pictures in the book the reason why mine looks so bad is because the layers shouldn’t be meeting all together at the end. Each layer should end further down and then be pinched closed. I also thing since I didn’t pay attention to which strips I was grabbing (and didn’t make sure they were the same size), they were very off. But you get the idea behind it.  One very important thing for this technique is to make sure all the strips are even. If you don’t, each layer will be bumpy and it just doesn’t look right.

class3lesson1pic5Next, we worked on leaves. A leaf cutter came in the kit, but it doesn’t make an impression of the leaf. You use the veining tool to make an indent down the middle and then the veins on the leaves. Maybe because I used white fondant I wasn’t happy with how it looked. I’ll try again using green, but I think I would like to get a leaf impression mat for them. We shall see.

class3lesson1pic6The picture below (that looks like a white nipple), is actually a carnation base. We’re suppose to save this so it completely dries for lesson 3. Basically, you take a ball of fondant, roll out the nipple part and then push out the circle. You cut it with a circle cutter then fluff it out. I didn’t like how this one came out (it tore), so I threw it out after class and planned on making a new one before we needed it.

class3lesson1pic7Below is everything we had to make for the first lesson. Those two yellow sticks? Yeah, those are pieces of spaghetti to hold the mum base (just a small ball) and the rose base (tear drop shape, but make sure its at a point, not a rounded cone like I have). If you are taking this course, please use a toothpick. The spaghetti breaks with any pressure. I know that Wilton wants to make sure everything is edible, but this is crazy.

class3lesson1pic8So that covers the first lesson in course 3! I like this course better so far than the other two because there is so much less mess. With the buttercream in course 1, and the royal icing in course 2, it was just a mess. I hated coloring everything and bringing it in containers. So much easier with the fondant and gum paste to just throw it in a bag and be on my way.

The only negative I would say is that the instructor mostly reads directly from the book. I feel like I’m complaining too much though. The previous instructor at the other location didn’t explain things all the way, which makes me wish I had this instructor for the first two courses. But then again, I do get a bit bored just reading step by step. Oh well!

Ballet Shoes & Cupcakes

For my nieces last day at dance class I made cupcakes for her to give out to all her classmates at their class party. If you refer to my previous post, I rush made these cupcakes before my final class for Wilton Course 2. I don’t have any pictures of making the cupcakes because they are my normal vanilla cupcake with my normal buttercream. I added some coco powdered into the buttercream and then struggled to get it back to a pink/red. It ended up becoming a lovely color, but after 12 hours it went back to brown. Test failed! Moving along…

Below, are the boxes I ordered. I thought they were very cute and simple, and worked with the pink theme I was going for the cupcakes and ballet shoes.

dancecupcakes1I broke out my pasta roller to make the ribbons for the ballet shoes. I rolled out the fondant and put it through part of the pasta roller to flatten it out, and then through the linguine roller. Below is the pile it fell on. After ripping apart the fondant to separate it, I broke it up into smaller pieces and then put it back through the machine. I broke the pieces up to the length I needed and saved it in a tubberwear. If I ever make these again, I would do this step last to keep the fondant as pliable as possible for setting them up on the ballet shoes. Live and learn!

dancecupcakes2I cut out circles and rolled them out with a toothpick to make a ruffled appearance. This is something I’m going to have to work on more. I struggled to get the fondant to “fluff” the way I wanted it to. I tried rolling it out with a ball tool first, and then using the toothpick but it didn’t work out. After about an hour of fighting with it I got into a groove that I was comfortable with. It would have been a hell of a lot easier to have the ballet shoes resting on a flat fondant circle, but this way it almost looked like it was resting on a ballet tutu. If I do these again though? Flat surface for sure.

dancecupcakes3To make room I put all the fondant toppers on an upside down cupcake/muffin pan. This made sure they didn’t slide around and didn’t bump into each other. Made things easier to carry too!

dancecupcakes4I’m sure there is a nicer way to make the ballet shoes but I just took a ball of fondant and rolled it oval, and then stuck a round tool into it to form a loose shoe. Almost looks like a soap dish in this picture.

dancecupcakes7Lined up they almost look like ballet shoes. I was banking on them looking better when they were all decorated. I should note that this process took me a very long time. I also added little fondant bows to each shoe to tie in the look. I only have one mold so I had to freeze each bow so it would pop out without tearing (it was so small) and wait a few minutes in between. 48 bows needed to be made, and I had to wait about 5 minutes between each. It was a long night.

dancecupcakes6After the bows were on, I used royal icing to glue to ballet shoe ties to each slipper and then used more royal icing to glue the shoes onto the cupcake topper. I tried to place the ribbon as nice as possible without having it break. This is why making these ribbons should be the last step! It would also give the other parts of the topper time to dry.

dancecupcakes8As I final touch (as you can see in the bottom right shoe), I added some luster dust to make it shimmer. I should have made the shoes a different shade of pink then the bottom. They were blending together and looked like a big pink blob. Adding the shimmer made it stand out more. I should also note that it was very hard to take a good picture of these toppers. dancecupcakes9Below was the pretty color icing. This is when it was starting to turn brown. By the time it got to where it needed to be, it looked like chocolate icing. Oh well! I just wanted a light chocolatey taste.

dancecupcakes5Inside the box you can see the contrast a bit better. I originally put a pink ribbon on top of each box to dress it up. It looked silly. I took off all the ribbon. The box itself and the little note attached to it was all it needed. Sometimes simple is better!

dancecupcakes10I finished the toppers 12 hours after I started them. I had to work through the night. I was so tired that I didn’t take many pictures. My dog also took a cupcake topper and ran away with it which led to a semi-breakdown. They are usually locked out of the kitchen when I work, but I was finished and let them walk past. Big mistake!

You can see the little message I had tied to each box. I found the dancer picture from a Google image search and just added it on. Tied it together nicely! Below that are three more pictures of the toppers. I put a filer on one to show the shimmer more since it wasn’t coming up well in the photos.

dancecupcakes11I wasn’t there when they were given out, but I heard people liked them. It was hard work, but hey, if people liked them I guess that’s what matters.

Wilton Course 2: Complete!

Today was my final lesson in Wilton’s Course 2: Flowers and Cake Design. Now I’ll say this… There is no way in hell this course teaches you anything about cake design. Okay, maybe I shouldn’t say that. Maybe it’s different depending on who teaches it or something. But really, we just made some flowers each week. I usually was able to leave after the first hour. I could have stayed the second hour to practice flowers more, but as you’ve seen from pictures and from my complaining, there isn’t much space. Since we don’t have a sink really available it’s a pain to keep switching bags and filling things up. I’m constantly cleaning when I’m home. I also don’t care if I make a huge mess either in my house since I don’t have to pack things up and take them home.

The day after my final class I had to have 24 cupcakes made with ballet shoe fondant toppers. I figured since I had to have a cake ready for class, I might as well get the cupcakes baked and iced before I left that way all I had to do when I got home was make the fondant toppers.

I made the cupcakes, and then made a large batch of buttercream. I added a dash of coco powder to give a light chocolatey flavor, then tried to dye it pink. This left me with the color you’ll see below in the pictures. Almost like a mauve color (after about 12 hours, that nice colored turned brown, so don’t try to replicate it at home with coco powder kids!). The bad thing is after I iced all the cupcakes I didn’t have enough to fill and ice a cake. I had a cake in the freezer ready to go. So I said screw it. I knew the cake I was going to mess around with in class was going to go straight into the garbage so I didn’t even bring one. I had no time to make more frosting so I gave up. Oh well!

For class, we spent some time working on a reverse shell boarder and the basket weave. I think the reverse shell is actually easier than the shell boarder itself.

course2class4pic1For the reverse shell you need to alternate your direction for every shell. You build up with buttercream, then make a half heart drawing for the rest of the shell, then do the opposite for the next, and then keep going. I hope with more practice I can get the hand motions down quickly.

In the picture below if you look at the top and right side of the worksheet, you can see that I was practicing a regular shell boarder. The peaks are a bit high, but I need to practice more. In a pinch, these would be usable I think. Now I had a hard time when we worked with a shell boarders in the first Wilton course. For this class, it clicked in my head because the instructor showed how to do it quickly, and did an entire row. My friend that I take the course with just looked at me, and it clicked for her too. I wish each flower/design was demonstrated this way. But that’s beside the point.

course2class4pic2The other thing that we worked on was the basketweave technique. Below, isn’t perfect. I would have to measure it would better to make sure it was a tight weave. I’m torn about what I think about the weave. On one hand, it’s a clean look for the side of a cake and making a cake look like a basket of flowers is something very pretty to bring somewhere. On the other hand, is it outdated?

course2class4pic3This only took about 30 minutes of the class. The rest was supposed to be decorating the cakes that you brought in. Here is where I think the class should be a bit different. You’re supposed to bring in an iced cake, and a bunch of flowers. So you’ll spend over an hour putting more icing on, and placing your flowers. I guess this would make sense if you were using dummy cakes, and learning how to arrange flowers for the best kind of placement.

Since I didn’t bring a cake with me, I sat around talking about other cakes and such. I’m glad I didn’t bring one since I usually just mess around with it and throw it out. I have to look into when Course 3 is going to happen, which is fondant and gum paste. I was going to try and switch to a different location for it, but the next course for it isn’t until the fall. I have to hope the instructor does another class. Guess I’ll have to wait and see! Until then, I really should practice my flowers. Get them down pat.

Last minute birthday cake!

After the cake pop fiasco, I was happy to be home and able to relax. I was looking forward to getting a good nights sleep. As I sat on my front porch after taking my dog for a walk, I got a text from my sister. A teacher of my niece’s wanted to see if I could make a birthday cake for the next day. I thought she was kidding me at first. No way, right? But yeah… Way… While I sat there for a moment wondering if I could do it, or if I even wanted to do it… I decided I had to. But then I remembered it would probably be easy! I had cakes in the freezer! A 6″ chocolate, an 8″ chocolate, and about 5 pounds of buttercream. I was told the person ordering wanted to try something different (usually orders vanilla with vanilla buttercream). So I figured I could make my normal vanilla cake, but maybe try a custard. If that was the case, I really didn’t have much to make! Easy peasy! Let’s go for it!

ImageI’m not sure why I haven’t learned by now. Disaster traveled with me the rest of the night. God. Will it ever be easy? I started the evening off with making the vanilla cake. I made it like I always do. I put the bake even strips on, oiled the pan, put down the parchment paper, everything normal. But for some reason, they didn’t rise correctly. And then when I tried to pull the parchment paper off, chunks of the cake came with it! I was baffled. No idea why this was happening. I didn’t trust making the cakes with these, so I started over. But again, flashing forward another hour and a half, the very same thing happened. No idea why! Why would it stick to parchment paper? Why? I still can’t figure it out. Just looking at these pictures makes me upset about it all over again.

ImageAfter I had my broken vanilla cakes sitting all sad looking on their wire racks, I set up my chocolate cake. My plan for the birthday cake was a two tier: 8″ and 6″. Since I already had an 8″ chocolate and an 6″, I just cut the 8″ down to a 6″ so I wouldn’t have to make another chocolate cake. Bonus!

ImageI made a chocolate buttercream for the filling in the top layer of the cake. I figured this would be different for them, but I was told that someone at the party hates chocolate and I wanted to keep all the chocolate in one layer.

Below, you can see my attempt at filling the bottom layer with a vanilla custard. I found a recipe that seemed easy to make. It took an extremely long time to cool after I finally got it at the right consistency I needed as a cake filling. It tasted okay, as I expect a custard to taste. I piped a buttercream dam around the edge. A little voice in my head told me I should make a bigger dam (in fact, I should get a bigger round tip, going to make a note of that). Anyway, I filled in the cake and I knew it was already a bad idea. But I figured, hey! Maybe I’m wrong. Let’s stack it and see.

No, no no. Horrible. As you can see in the picture below the buttercream dam started to push outside of the crumb coat. I waited longer to see what would happen, and the custard began to leak out of the cake. I was very upset. I tried plugging the holes, and wiping away the custard, anything that I thought would work. Things were going wrong one after the other and at this point and I was again questioning why I do this to myself. I should admit, I even threw a spatula across the kitchen at one point. I was pretty angry.

14bdaycake4So here is where a slightly positive thing happened. I had to toss the cake with the custard. There was no way I could hope the custard would stay in place so I had to make a new bottom for the cake. Now earlier in the day, I made an extra two vanilla cakes because of that parchment problem. So luckily I was able to level and fill those extra two cakes and fill them with buttercream. I really wanted the custard to work. But if I think about how things ended up, maybe it was a good thing all these bad things happened because I was told that the custard and cake didn’t taste great. I’ll have to work on that at some point. On weeks that I don’t have anything to do, like this week because I had a canceled cake, I should be practice more cakes. Ah well, soon enough I suppose.

Anyway. I used a 1M tip and piped swirls on the cake. I made a ton of purple buttercream and then the two lighter colors. I took purple fondant and cut out two circles and a heart. Shaped it with a toothpick to make a little dress. I decorated it with royal icing and a flower. I set it up to dry until right before I had to deliver the cake. The dress was easy to make actually. I should make more of these for simple decorations.

14bdaycake5Below is a closeup picture of the little dress I made. I wasn’t sure how to use it as the cake topper since I didn’t want the bottom to sink into the buttercream. I ended up making a large ball of fondant and sticking it into the cake, then taking a toothpick and attaching the ball inside the cake, and the ball under the dress (that was helping to shape it). This held the dress just above the buttercream.

14bdaycake6I then took another piece of fondant and wrote out happy birthday on it. I’m not a big fan on my handwriting, but if I had more time, and more fondant I would have practiced this more. Also, this would be good to add to the cake before the buttercream crusts so it doesn’t make any of the flowers crack.

14bdaycake7The cake almost made it there without fault. I didn’t think to “glue” the bottom cake board to the larger board. It ended up sliding into the large box I can it in and smashing a flower. So, something else I’ve learned is to make sure that cake is glued with royal icing, or buttercream, or both! Just make sure it can’t move.

It ended up being a very long night for something I thought I could do in a few hours. Oh well.