Looking forward to spring in the middle of winter: it’s that kind of cake. I find myself fascinated with the monarch butterflies….and after checking at the store, I decided to try making some myself…..I needed some butterflies, not just to cheer up a dark and blizzardy winter, but I needed butterflies to come and sit delicately on the yellow and black cake that was taking shape in my kitchen.
So this is what I’ve been working on this week…with no time at all for posting on the blog! A cake, a birthday cake for 2 ladies who are turning 50! I found some inspiration and then went for it. Working with fondant isn’t my favorite… but felt inspired enough to try it again. There’s a great site that explains how to make marshmallow fondant and work with it here. I haven’t used traditional fondant, only made my own…and apparently it’s waaaay yummier than the traditional kind!
First I started out making some butterfiles with royal icing…An enjoyable task…trying to copy a real monarch butterfly with royal frosting. The worrisome part was trying to figure out how to attach them to the cake, since I don’t have any special wire. But Henry came up with a great food-safe way to do it! :) They were fun, and did look like butterflies!! But super fragile! I made extras because I knew I would break some in the decorating process….which I did. Even though it was inevitable, I still felt a little shocked to see the splattered, more like shattered, butterfly on my floor. (The kids wanted to eat it but I said NO for various reasons!)
Then on to the baking, which always takes longer than I think it will. Especially when I’m trying out a new recipe. Make that recipes. The first batch of 3 layers wasn’t going to work, so I had to move on the next recipe…and it’s a keeper. I wanted some pizzazz for inside the cake, so went with some color and citrus flavor. Lemon, vanilla and orange hints inside the colorful cakes. Belive me, I did a lot of taste testing!Next comes the fondant covering….which went ok without too many glitches. I worked on the cake topper, so it would have time to firm up while I worked on the cake. Little swirly roses and “pearls”Covering the layers in fondant takes some time and finicky work, but I think that the part that took the most “brain” work was the structure inside the cake. I like to make cakes and just stack them up, and serve them at my house. But when a cake needs to be transported and arrive in one piece, there needs to be some sort of internal structure. That makes me feel like an engineer, or even an architect. The local craft store didn’t have much to offer me, so I used lollypop sticks (new ones, with no lolly of course!) So the next layer needs to have a supporting base that sits on these internal pegs or whatever the technical terms are.Once I had that all figured out, then comes the fun part of decorating! At the back of the cake, kind of discreetly and hopefully with a bit of class, I added the word “fifty”. Hope that was the right touch. I didn’t know if they’d want a large shiny 50 on top of their cake…And here are the rest of the shots from my rushed, improvised photoshoot. I hurried to finish the cake so I could photograph it in daylight, which disappears very rapidly around here at this time of year… and a few “bonus ideas”