Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Cake Decorating Practice

The other day, a friend of mine asked me to make the dessert for her daughter's 10th birthday party. I happily accepted a chance to make someone happy AND practice my cake decorating skills. For your amusement, here I take you through the process step by step. I do feel like I'm getting better every time, and I so love this. Making cakes is making edible art. Everything is gone at the end except the memories. Whatever I create will be destroyed, so it is temporary art. Kind of like sushi, I guess. Except no fish. :)

The Design

We met at a local coffee shop and talked about details. What kind of cake, what kind of filling, what kind of decorations. I borrowed crayons from my kids, and used a pad to sketch out ideas. Here's the result:

In case you can't read my handwriting she decided to do a 'springtime' theme; including bugs and butterflies and flowers. The cake would be cupcakes, chocolate with raspberry filling and raspberry icing. The icing would be purple, her favorite color. I also tried to show her in my drawing what the result would look like, hence the blue sketch in the lower left corner.

The Plan

I had done flowers before so I wasn't worried about that, and I had an idea for making caterpillars using a snow-man style method (stacking up balls and squishing down). I was, however, not sure about the butterflies.

In the cake decorating blogs and articles I've read, the hardest thing about butterflies is that you are either going super-realistic or cartoony, but not both. I would have to choose my method before I began.


One way to do butterflies is to be realistic, say, by taking pre-printed edible rice paper and cutting out butterfly shapes. These shapes can then be bent and molded to look like butterflies have landed on your cake. Here's an example from cakecentral.com. I even went to the store and looked at options for edible paper; but in the end, I decided not to go that way. Firstly, it wasn't 'created by me', it would have been someone else's pattern or design. Secondly it wouldn't have worked with the other items I was doing, the caterpillars were going to be more cartoony than realistic. Third, it was for a kid's party and I thought that was leaving 'springtime fun' and moving into 'elegant' which didn't fit the theme.

So I decided to go cartoony. I even got candy eyes and decorated them with chocolate candy dots.

Several hours later.... here's my result.

The Finished Dessert

Again, I had an amazing time preparing this for my friend and seeing the final product come to life. The look on the birthday girl's face was something I'm not going to forget for a very long time. She wanted to know what she could eat (everything on the cupcakes) and which one she could have (I made a special daisy that she chose, you can see it in the center of the larger cupcakes). All the kids loved them. I can tell because they ate both the cupcakes and the frosting, and they came back for seconds. Usually that's a good sign!

Here's a few pictures of the finished product. Note that I included a few toy bugs as supplementary design elements, you can tell the difference because the toys are on the tablecloth/plate.

The mini cupcakes were also chocolate, but didn't have any filling.

Thanks for reading! Please add your thoughts below. Are you practicing a new skill too?


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