Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games is the first book in a young adult trilogy by Suzanne Collins.  The books have been extremely popular among the middle and high school set, and so it is no surprise that the movie, which opened a week ago, has become the must see film of the spring.

I received an order from Michael's mom to make a birthday cake for his Hunger Games themed birthday party.  The kids were going to see the movie, then retreat back to Michael's house for pizza and a surprise birthday cake.  The plan was set - I was to make a cake with the logo (a "Mockingjay pin") on the cake.  The pin appears on the cover of the book, and plays an important role in the plot.   (My husband joked that a Hunger Games cake was an oxymoron.  I think he's got a point, don't you?)

The first step was to make the logo pin, as it needed to dry a bit in order to hold its shape.  Everything was sculpted by hand - every feather on the wings and tail, the body and head.  Then the whole thing got two coats of food-safe gold paint, which also needed time to dry.  (This may be a sculpture, but everything is 100% edible!)  Just before the cake was ready to be delivered, the Mockingjay pin logo finally was placed upon the actual cake.  

The cake was a delicious yellow (vanilla) butter cake made from scratch, filled with oreo frosting and chocolate buttercream.  The outside was covered with more chocolate buttercream, which has a delicious chocolate flavor and is ideal for those who really like chocolate but aren't card carrying chocholics like me.  The whole cake was then covered with black fondant (sugar dough) and a black ribbon was placed around the bottom edge of the cake.  I took this photo before I put the cake on the board I used to transport and serve it.  I'm sorry I don't have a copy of the whole thing on the cake board because it looked cute.  I put writing on the board in the same font that is on the book's cover saying "Happy 12th Birthday Michael! May the odds be ever in your favor".   (That's a quote from the book, and I thought it was appropriate for a birthday celebration).   

I hope Michael and his friends enjoyed the movie and the party and that Michael liked his cake.  I wish Michael the happiest of birthdays.  May all his wishes come true. 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Flower Power

I just got back from a fabulous gum paste flower class given by the extremely talented Jacqueline Butler of Petalsweet Cakes in San Francisco.  I've been admiring her work for a couple of years since I first saw it online.  She makes the most fabulous sugar peonies, hydrangeas and a variety of other flowers - her work is truly sugar art.  The two-day class focused on one of my favorite flowers, the peony, as well as the French tulip, with its frilly petals.  Not surprisingly, these beauties are labor intensive, but I think they are worth it.  I'm thrilled with the flowers we made and can't wait to use them on a cake, now that I know how to make them.  Jacqueline's style is to use a very soft color palate, and I think it is beautiful, but I'm not limited to that.  Wouldn't a bright pink peony be just amazing on a white cake?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Early Spring Wedding Cake!

We certainly are having an amazing March, with spring-like weather even though the calendar still says "Winter" for a few more days.  Influenced by this nice weather and thoughts of my yard bursting into bloom in the coming weeks,  I was inspired to make another display cake full of flowers.  This cake is covered with white, lavender and pale green roses, deep purple ranunculus, and reddish purple carnations, complemented by shiny green leaves and bare brown branches. The cake also shows a trend in cakes these days: tiers with different shapes and heights.   The purple tier is a hexagon sandwiched by round tiers, and the base tier is a square.

All the flowers on the cake were made by hand, petal by petal, out of gum paste (a type of sugar dough which hardens as it dries).  It is a time-consuming process, but well worth the effort. The flowers are technically edible, but I'd say you probably wouldn't want to eat them as they're very dry and brittle.

I love spring, and the flowers and colors on this cake make me happy.  I hope they make you happy too!