Hello there boys and girls, it’s time for a recipe-less update!
This past weekend was a surprise party for my aunt, and I got hired to make the cake (wahoo!). When I asked, I was told the theme was “Hawaiian luau”, so that of course led to millions of ideas instantly going through my head. In my first iteration, it was a cake with a lei gracefully draped down the side.
Until I thought it through.
While leis are beautiful, the amount of gum paste flowers I would have needed for this image in my mind was… extraordinary. So… that idea kind of got kicked to the curb of my brain. After that I just started Googling like there was no tomorrow. Unfortunately, when you look up “Hawaiian Cake” or “Luau Cake” under Google Images, most of them look like the creators took every single piece of Hawaiian plastic/decor the could find and stuck it on a cake (seriously – most of them should be on Cake Wrecks, just for the amount of weird stuff on the cake)
Eventually I started sketching out some ideas, and this is what I came up with:
It’s a little hard to see as I sketched lightly so I could erase easily, but it’s just a simple topsy-turvy cake with some Hawaiian accents. I figured this would be easy enough for me to do, as it was my first topsy-turvy cake, and still impressive enough for all the non-bakers out there.
The weekend making this cake was unreal. I only had one of each size cake pan, so I had to waste time baking one layer of each tier at a time (luckily they were only two layers!). It was a weekend and cake full of new things. New vanilla bean recipe, new chocolate recipe, new fondant recipe, and new cake construction. Looking back on it now – I was kind of an idiot for doing this, because had one thing gone horribly wrong, I could’ve lost it (very very easily). In the midst of fondant that kept tearing, I decided it would be fun to break the faucet head off the sink and spray the entire kitchen (seriously – it was a blast! (pun intended)). But after all of the work and craziness, the cake finally got finished. My feet ached from standing, but I was very proud of what I got done:
For this, I made a vanilla bean cake for the bottom tier and the island (courtesy of my friend Paula, aka The Culinary Cheesehead), and found a recipe for a moist chocolate cake for the second tier on Kitchen Addiction (doubling the recipe and switching the milk for buttermilk). I made my own version of a strawberry mousse filling topped with diced strawberries, coated the cake in Italian Buttercream and Michele Foster’s Fondant. I purchased some Mercken’s candy melts and made little chocolate seashells (on top of the green layer) and the flip-flops, flowers, and palm-tree are all made of gum paste.