Archive for the ‘Cakes’ Category

Mad about a 4th Birthday Cake

Monday, March 31st, 2014

              Cake details

As Ashley’s 4th birthday approached and I ran various cake ideas through my mind, I recalled reading on WL’s FB page about how K, her goddaughter, had asked for a princess themed birthday party at age 4.

Even though Ashley had been going through the same inevitable “I want to be a princess (despite my best efforts explaining to her that a princess isn’t a real profession) and I want everything in pink” phase, I tried to stir her towards something other than a pink princess themed cake.

              Ashley's 4th birthday cake

My hopes were raised when she first said, “I want a horse cake.” Then came, “I want the horse to be pink.” And I thought, well, at least there hadn’t been any mention of the other “p” word.

Then 3 days later, while we were in the car, she said, out of nowhere, “Mummy, I want a princess cake for my birthday and I want it to be pink.” I expressed my dismay to WL, who laughed and then told me, why not indulge her?

              Ashley's 4th birthday cakeJ

So rather than fight it, I went all out. In keeping with the pink theme, I decided on a ombre (pink, of course) raspberry butter cake with raspberry italian meringue buttercream. For the exterior, I very briefly toyed with the idea of some sort of castle, but decided against it in the end.

              Ashley's 4th birthday cake

I think the final design is probably more suited for an older child, what with the very frilly ruffles (I hadn’t planned on the ruffles looking that frilly) and gilded buttons on a pillowy tier, except for the cartoony fondant princess figurine. I think if I were ever to make another fondant figurine, I’d go with a simple round nose, smaller eyes and less scary eye lashes. But A seemed perfectly happy with her cake and didn’t have any complaints.

              Slice

And neither did I, as I enjoyed my slice of cake in peace and quiet, the day after the party.

Mad about Cakes and Baby

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

              Rachel @ 7 months old

I’ve always marvelled, with great envy, at how other mothers manage to find time just after having a baby to cook/bake and update their blogs with beautifully taken photographs. Clearly, I am not one of them super mothers, as I find myself dusting the virtual dust off my blog and asking H to delete the 280,000 odd unmoderated comments that have accumulated since my last blog entry 8 months ago (I had gone into labour the night of my last post). There was no way I could have gone through all those comments to sieve out the spam from the genuine ones without pulling my hair out in the process. If you had left a comment or enquired about macarons or classes and I’d deleted it, I am truly truly sorry!

              Petal Cake

It’s not that I haven’t been baking between the diapering and night feeds, just not very much and there’s been nothing fun or interesting to write about until now.

The petal cake is something that I had come across previously while looking up rainbow cakes last year for A’s birthday. It looked like a design that would be cool to try out, so when I had leftover layers of devil’s food cake from making H’s birthday cake this year, I did.

              Inside Petal Cake

There weren’t quite enough cake layers left over to make a tall enough cake, so I decided on a blackforest cake filling to make up the remaining height I needed. The recipes for the whipped chocolate cream filling and soaking syrup for the pitted cherries came from PH’s Chocolate Desserts book.

              Rainbow Layers

The rainbow cake pictured here was requested by my sister’s friend, B, for his friend’s birthday. I haven’t taken any cake orders in a long time (read tired and sleep deprived mother) but B was such a nice and considerate guy that I didn’t have the heart to say no. I didn’t have much time for an elaborate cake, so I sent him 2 suggestions. I was glad he picked the rainbow cake; I couldn’t help feeling all happy and cheery just looking at the bright colours.

              Birthday Cake

The 1st batch of whipped chocolate ganache curdled because I was too impatient and didn’t let it thaw long enough. The 2nd batch was better, but was much more difficult to spread and pipe than usual. I think it had to do with my having substituted the corn syrup with honey. :( The end result was a less than smooth finish on the cake and piped shells with jagged instead of sharp edges. Still, I am glad I managed to make the cake for B’s friend and I hope he had a great birthday!

Mad about a 3rd Birthday Cake

Saturday, March 30th, 2013

            Completed Cake

I hadn’t actually planned on making a cake for Ashley’s 3rd birthday this year. H was vehemently against the idea, wanting me to get as much rest as possible, given my far from stellar state of health in the last months.

But as her birthday drew closer, I knew that I really wanted to do it. Mostly for myself, if I were being truthful. I had been feeling really down as the month of March approached and needed to do something that would bring all of us some joy.

            Close up of cake

It wasn’t difficult to settle on a theme for the cake; I picked one of Ashley’s favourite TV shows. If you had asked me 2 years ago if I knew what “Team Umizoomi” was, I would have gone, “Huh? Team what?”

I’m glad to say that I’m now better informed (about children’s TV programs, that is) and can tell you confidently that Team Umizoomi is a mathematics themed cartoon series, created by the Nickelodeon channel, featuring concepts like counting, shapes and patterns. You know, the kind of things that typical Asian parents want their progenies to excel in. :D

Gumpaste Team Umizoomi

Coincidentally, there are 3 main characters (Milli, Geo and Bot) in the show, which I thought was pretty appropriate for a 3rd birthday, no?

I started off with a tentative sketch of the cake and then searched for images of Milli, Geo and Bot. I was disappointed that I couldn’t find any images of the characters in a suitable pose, so I drew all 3 by hand. Each character took about 3 hours to make since every piece of gumpaste had to be drawn and cut by hand.

            Pastel Rainbow Cake - Top tier

For the cake I wanted to try a something different from the dark chocolate cake I normally use for fondant cakes. I had been particularly drawn to the idea of a rainbow cake in pastels after seeing WL and C’s gorgeously vibrant version, even though baking each layer individually would obviously take more time and effort than a single cake. I also hesitated, knowing how certain family members would balk at consuming cake with food colouring, no matter how tiny an amount, but I figured since I had already spent all that time just on the external decorations, I might as well go all out on the inside as well. Besides, this cake was about making Ashley (and me) happy, so who cares what anyone else thinks about food colouring!

The look of sheer delight on Ashley’s face (her eyes literally widened in surprise) when she came home from school and saw the stack of freshly baked cake layers arranged on the cake rack was worth every minute (and every bit of food colouring) I had spent.

9" bottom tier

I had initially considered going with the obvious numbers and shapes theme on the cake itself, but I couldn’t shake the feeling of how utterly boring and un-girly that would make the cake.

Ashley enjoys her trips to the aquarium (as well as Bubble Guppies, another Nick Jr. channel program and Finding Nemo), so for the bottom tier, I went with an underwater theme with waves in various shades of blue and bright orange fishes, complete with bubbles.

            Rainbow cross-section

The theme for the top tier was more or less random, I have to admit. I chose it for the contrast that shades of green and purple would give against the pretty canary yellow background and to bring in colour that would match Milli’s dress.

            Slice

I’m utterly pleased with how delightfully pretty and colourful the cake turned out and how the entire process, while time consuming (because I had cut every single piece of gumpaste and fondant on the cake by hand without the use of cutters), gave me a sense of accomplishment. I can’t wait for the next occasion to make another fondant cake!