Happy Monday – it’s cake time!
This past weekend was a christening in my family. I’m not exactly sure of the link – it’s my dad’s cousin’s son’s son… is that my second cousin once-removed? Something like that… I think… but regardless – this new lil guy is my cousin! 🙂
Trying to figure out what to do for a christening cake was a feat unto itself… try googling it. Seriously. You get everything from cross-shaped cakes to cakes with teddy bears to cakes with booties and balloons. Basically, it seems like whatever is blue works well, and most people seem to shove the religious part by the wayside. After spending days and days searching for something to give me inspiration, I gave up, feeling no more inspired than when I started.
Then I ran across a forum post on Cake Central (if you are a baker, check it out, it’s awesome!). For billowing fondant.
And I was hooked.
One thing I love about baking all these cakes for people is that most people seem to give me full creative reign, and that means I get to try out new techniques. I never go into it blindly, I tend to spend time making sure I understand EXACTLY what I need to be doing to make the cake look beautiful, but it sure is fun trying new things (especially when they work out!).
I decorated this at my parents’ house, and you should have seen their faces when I first started the billowing. I had put a couple of pieces on, and the looks I got were in between utter confusion and dismay that I wanted to do something that looked so weird. Well – I could envision this beautifully finished cake even if they couldn’t so I kept plugging away. And the result (in my opinion) was awesome!
After spending a lot of time staring at the stacked cake with my mom standing next to me, I decided to go with her idea of polka dots. For some reason that I couldn’t envision, but the minute I started putting the dots against the cake (to test the idea), I got hooked on that too, and I’m sure glad I did, because it gave the cake a fun kid-like feel (while I feel the top tier, with the billowing, gave the formal church-like feel).
The blocks were another story. I had the block idea right from the get-go, even though I wasn’t sure how to incorporate it into my cake. One of my favorite recipes that both my mom and I have been baking for years is a cream cheese pound cake – some days I wish I could do nothing but eat that cake. I figured the dense texture of pound cake made it perfect for blocks, and it did work perfectly after I finally got it cut perfectly (with help from my Happy Helper – aka my dad).
Just like with my luau cake, I again made my own fondant from Michele Foster’s recipe – it’s amazing how easy that stuff is to work with, much better than the other fondant’s I’ve dealt with. Tastes good, rolls easy, doesn’t give the elephant-skin appearance… just wondrous.
For this cake I was asked to do strawberry filling, so instead of doing the strawberry whipped cream mousse that I had done previously, I instead made a Strawberry Italian Meringue Buttercream with diced strawberries sprinkled on top. The bottom tier of the cake was a Chocolate Chocolate Chip cake (I will post the recipe for this later this week), and the top tier was Vanilla Bean. Both layers were coated in Vanilla Italian Meringue Buttercream.
God Bless little Steven Jonas! 🙂