Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Slumber Party, or Where's the Cake?

Remember when you were turning 10 years old (two digits!) and you were beyond excited to have your closest friends sleep over to celebrate your birthday??  How you didn't want to go sleep because you were having an amazing time with your best pals and tried to keep your eyes open until they were so heavy you needed to pry them open?  And how your pesky little siblings always tried to join in the fun, and your mom made you let them in, but you still kept them out of the way?  Well that's exactly what this cake is trying to capture, in order to help Skyler, a vibrant and gregarious girl, celebrate her 10th birthday!  What?  You can't see a cake here?  Well look harder!!

I had a blast making this cake.  The cake itself is a perfect-for-spring combination of lemon cake with raspberry buttercream filling, covered with creamy lemon swiss meringue buttercream.  This certainly isn't your typical birthday cake, however -- the cake layers are disguised as the mattress and thus hidden from direct view!  Instead, what you see are figurines of Skyler, the birthday girl, looking very content in the center of her bed, surrounded by two of her BFF's (that would be Best Friends Forever), one of whom has dozed off after reading the magazine which was casually tossed to the end of the bed.  Meanwhile, Skyler's littlest sister, who is two, is lying on a sleeping bag on the floor by the foot of the bed, and she's just discovered the box of popcorn that spilled all over the floor.   The middle sister, who's about 6, sneaked under the covers at the foot of the bed, and she's come out to see what little sis has done now.

Almost everything you see is edible.  The bed and its coverings, the girls, the lavender slippers by the bed, the yellow overnight bag stuffed with clothes, and the little one's pillow and the popcorn and box are all made of fondant.  The wooden floor is painted with food coloring so technically it is food safe too.  Only the little one's zebra sleeping bag, the bed's headboard and the flags above the bed can't be eaten!  That's it.

Skyler was thrilled when she saw the cake.  She quickly identified herself, her sisters and her best buddies, and said I captured their personalities in their figurines.  She couldn't believe it was a cake, and neither could her friends, who came rushing to see the cake as soon as they arrived.  Skyler told me it was like Cake Boss's cakes, but this one was just for her!  Happy 10th Birthday Skyler!  I'm glad I was able to help make it a special day for you!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Shyla's Little Pony

Shyla's 5th birthday was quickly approaching, and her mother wanted to surprise her lovely and sweet daughter for her birthday.   Luckily, Shyla's love of all things My Little Pony related proved to be an inspiration for her mom.  A My Little Pony cake was the answer:  she requested a yellow (vanilla) cake, filled with chocolate frosting and decorated with a My Little Pony theme, with lots of pink and green on the outside.  But most important of all, the topper on the cake was to be a custom-designed version of My Little Pony's Princess Celestia.  

I had heard of My Little Pony, but I really didn't know much about it.  A quick look online and I found lots of little ponies with somewhat short and stubby legs and big, brightly colored hair.  It made me think of the 1980's (not in a good way, if you know what I mean), but I digress.  But I learned there are lots of ponies with different personalities, and each one has a unique identifier or brand on its hind quarters.

Today, as is the case for many toys, there are cartoon and website tie-ins and new characters (My Little Pony has been around for many years, and they've modernized the image).  A fairly recent introduction is the character Princess Celestia, who is a grand pony with wings and a crown.  She's taller than the other ponies too, with much longer legs  -- though that brightly colored big hair is still there.

Shyla's mom came up with the idea for a special, custom version of Princess Celestia for Shyla's cake, based on things Shyla liked.  Specifically, she wanted a Princess pony in turquoise with pink and white hair, with a brand on its hind quarters that looked like cotton candy on a white paper cone.  

After baking and filling the cake, I covered it with bright green swiss meringue buttercream and made icing "grass".  I then decorated the cake with pink, purple and white flowers made of fondant.  The Princess pony figurine went on top.  The last thing Shyla's mom requested were fondant cut-outs of some of Shyla's favorite ponies around the side of the cake.  At right are two of the four cut-outs I put around the side of the cake.  Shyla recognized them all instantly!

The final touch on the cake was the bunting or flags hanging above the cake.  Without the words "Happy Birthday", a child's birthday cake is not complete.  Since My Little Pony includes a lot of rainbows and bright colors, a rainbow "Happy Birthday" bunting seemed to be a nice way to finish the presentation.  And I was even more impressed when Shyla took a look at it and read it perfectly!  What a smart girl (after all, she was only turning 5)!

I got a nice big hug from Shyla.  I hope it was a very Happy Birthday, Princess Shyla, and that you have many more to come.