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Wherein you will find posts with humor, photos, reviews, occasional rants and journalistic entries of interest to me alone but that I hope will touch you, the reader, in some way. I remain sincerely yours,
A Work in Progress

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Mom's Birthday Cake or My First Foray into Handpainting a Cake

The cake is for my Mom's 70th birthday party.  Last year was the first time I had done a cake in 20 some-odd years and I made birthday cakes for my Mom and my Mom-in-law.  I guess I got cocky.  So here is the basic plan.

Find a marshmallow fondant recipe that doesn't have huge red flags about what might go wrong if you screw it up.  I think I managed to do that, even watched a video.  I picked up on a secret code which I have added into my version of the final recipe.  It came out really well and is now "relaxing" prior to rolling it out.

 Marshmallow Fondant
16 oz mini Kraft marshmallows
note: these don't come in 16 oz bags so whoever made up these recipes already started with a pain in the ass premise.  FYI, I'm just calling it a bag and a half.
2 lbs confectioners sugar
clear vanilla
enough Crisco to grease a small country
-GREASE microwavable dish and spatula
-GREASE kitchen aid bowl and GREASE dough hook
-put about 3/4 of the sugar in the GREASED mixer bowl
-add 3 tbls water to bowl and microwave marshmallows about 90 seconds, stir, add 2 tsp vanilla
-add marshmallow mix to GREASED mixer bowl and turn on low
-continue adding sugar 1 cup at a time until the mixture is non-sticky (ish) and firm
-move to GREASED surface and using GREASED hands, knead smooth
-put into GREASED plastic wrap and let sit a couple of hours during which time you have to then remove all the GREASE from the entire stinking kitchen.

I made the cakes yesterday so they would be completely cooled to work with this morning.  To make the size pans I am using you need 3 boxes of the yellow butter cake.  That's 9 eggs and 3/4 of a pound of butter folks. 
Cut and filled them with a lovely lemon curd filling.  I bought a really good lemon curd at the market and then goosed it with fresh lemon juice to make it a little more tart.  I wanted a nice contrast to the richness of the cake and the sweetness of the buttercream icing and fondant.  Piped a buttercream dam around the edge before adding the filling to keep things neat.  Here are the two layers dirty iced and ready for fondant.  I know, they don't look like much so far do they?

Get GREASED rolling pin and GREASED table prepared to roll out the fondant. Have GREASE ready for your hands. Yes, you, go do that now.......

Assembled the cake, rolled out the fondant.  Instant issues.  It is WAY more fragile than other fondant but my husband came to the rescue.  He brought me a sheet of thick plastic, we dusted it with cornstarch, rolled it out and easy peasy picked it up and slid it over the cake.  Thanks Mikey, that was a Godsend!!  Let it sit overnight.  Baby steps people, baby steps.

This morning I headed out to my buddy Pam's to to borrow some colors I didn't have, thanks Pam. Got all my stuff ready to go, had the painting I wanted to copy in front of me and began hand-painting my cake.  Finished the dunes and panicked.  Called my friend the artist who lives down the street.  Bless her heart, she literally had 15 minutes to spare and gave me a crash course in watercolor painting.  And the work went on.  Raspberry vodka as a thinning medium for my gel colors sure smelled good!  Got the sides all done and there was the top, blank, white, stark, waiting for inspiration.

So here was my inspiration, the look and feel of this painting reminds me of my Mom and it was my heartfelt desire to find a way to make it happen.  The artist is Carolyn Blish, the book is Drawing Closer.

Now I am no artist, so the child was not happening.  But here is my cake version.  I melted my buttercream a bit and painted it on the clouds, the waves and the surf for texture and detail.

I'm pretty happy with it.  My friend Mike came over and I commandeered his talents into sculpting my gulls, which I then painted,  I did the Sandpiper myself.  Here are a few more detail photos.  I can't wait til my Mom sees it.

Happy Birthday Mom, I hope you like it.


TerriG May 22, 2010 at 9:36 PM  

WOW! Too pretty to eat. I am impressed. I live the stones and sand effect, also. She is going to cry with joy.

tahtimbo May 22, 2010 at 11:19 PM  

You did a fantastic job!!!! I'm sure she is going to be thrilled with all the hard work you put into it.
So, I'm assuming that when working with marshmallow fondant, that we have to grease the work surface and tools :-)
Once again, terrific job!

Erin Wallace May 23, 2010 at 10:21 AM  

This is amazing! I am in awe! I feel fantastic if I take some packaged piping and put polka dots on a cake. Yours is a work of art!

Thanks for visiting and hope to see you again!

xo Erin

Hen Jen May 23, 2010 at 6:25 PM  

oh wow, that is totally amazing!

Broot May 24, 2010 at 4:05 PM  

Well done!! Must have been very satisfying to look on the final product. Good on you for persevering. Well worth it.

Jen June 7, 2010 at 7:40 AM  

Beautiful cake!! Definitely too pretty to eat.

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