Let Them Eat Cake!

For my 27th birthday this year, my sister and brother-in-law gave me a free ride to a Wilton Cake Decorating Class. Which was really swell of them, considering I’ve always longed to be able to make the cakes which I bake for family birthdays look more appealing than they usually do! Of course, Sandra wasn’t going to send me on to class without a buddy, so all through the month of May, we have the fun of “going to school” together! Which is sorta neat b/c she was five years behind me in regular school, so we didn’t often run in the same circles. Or even really in the same schools, come to think of it.

This week we brought home our first cakes. Certain of us in the class worked SO long on smoothing our icing that we were stuck with “homework” to finish the decorations!!  I don’t have pics of Sandra’s cake, but it was really pretty. I was especially impressed with her creative use of color.

Here is my little creation (note: the pink appears a tad bit more florescent than it actually was in real life!). The cake is pink and brown, not black.

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I don’t have photos of the insides, because we used it to help a friend celebrate her birthday, and then sent it on home with her.  But I can vouch for the fact that it was tasty!!  It is a Hershey’s Chocolate Cake Recipe, and I brushed the layers with Bailey’s Irish Cream, and filled the middle with Chocolate Buttercream (real buttercream, not that Crisco stuff we had to use for the icing this first week).

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Those in the know inform me that using shortening in your icing helps achieve a smooth finish, and makes the stuff easier to pipe and work with. Maybe so, but I still don’t love the taste, never mind that it grosses me out just a little to think about eating spoonful after spoonful of shortening piped atop my dessert!! I did put some actual cocoa powder in the icing I used for the brown centers of the flowers, etc. Gave it a fun little kick!!

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This next week I hope to frost the cake in buttercream made with real butter, and use the Crisco recipe for the decorative parts only. We’ll see how that works out.

Of course, they tell me we’ll be learning how to make clowns next week…when my kids heard this, the six-year-old asked, “Hey Mom, couldn’t you maybe make a Darth Vader and a Luke Skywalker instead? And you could have them fighting with light sabers on top of the cake. Now THAT would be cool!”

Yes, my boy, that would be cool. Very cool.  And a heck of a lot less scary than those freaky-looking little clowns!

5 Comments

  1. Mom/Ruth
    May 15, 2009

    I bet if the children will draw the characters for you, you will be able to duplicate them on a cake! This is such a fun skill to learn. Regretfully, I never went beyond the very basics. And I always balked at the use of Crisco in the icing!

  2. Meredith
    May 15, 2009

    What a great gift idea! I think I’ll stick with plastic action figures on our cakes. I don’t think I could copy your cake for the life of me.

  3. Nana
    May 15, 2009

    Beautiful cake! (and I too say nooo to Crisco in the icing, yuk!)

  4. Tricia
    May 15, 2009

    Thanks, Ladies!

    Mom, the challenge with making different piped icing bodies than clowns is that one can actually buy clown heads, which are placed atop the piped bodies. Sadly, one cannot buy other types of heads. There is an option to make a head with a gum paste mold, but I believe that is a skill for another class. Which prompts the question, “Why clowns??” I think you had it right when you made the point that a few YEARS ago, clowns were rather “hip”. :-)

    Meredith, you could SO do this, you are a thousand times more creative than I! Truly, a week ago, I would not have dreamed I could turn out this cake, as “simple” as it probably looks to any seasoned decorator! Thank you for your compliment!

    Mom – thanks! I’ll let you know how the non-Crisco icing works!

  5. Peter Brunone
    May 27, 2009

    Once again, Nicolas gets to the heart of the matter.

    I’m sure you have some Lego Star Wars characters who wouldn’t mind lending a head for a few hours…

    Like everyone has already said, nice cake! And yuck to Crisco!