Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Birds of a Feather - Part III - Celebrating Adoption

After making the nest and the birds - waiting a few days so everything would be nice and fresh......it was time to bake the layers of the cake. I didn't take too many pictures of that. The bottom layer was my favorite - Carrot Cake - the middle was a from scratch Strawberry Cake (I get to learn new things from others choices) - and the top layer was a Coconut Cake (another newbie to me). All done in two cakes to give a little extra height. And yes.........I warned them they would have enough cake to feed all of the community.

Iced........the Carrot got Cream Cheese (of course) - the Strawberry received a Buttercream coating (which I whipped and it made the icing all crunchy.....won't be doing that for decorating under fondant again - makes the fondant bumpy) - the Coconut received a Cream Cheese with some Vanilla & Almond flavoring in them........yummy.

Then came the fondant. Practice Makes Perfect.......Practice Makes Perfect..........Practice Makes Perfect.......Rolling fondant out is super easy (in a building your bodies upper strength kinda way).......but not having the right tools makes the event super challenging because even if you get it all right on the counter - you still have to pick it up and put it on the cake.

The other day I hit this blog site about cakes - a supposed novice like myself doing cakes for fun and documenting them. Her cakes looked FABULOUS and were titled "My first fondant cake" - PERFECT - "My second fondant cake" - MORE PERFECT - "My third fondant cake" - FREAKING AMAZING......in my head - "well if she can do that me too!!"
While it certainly looks like I have that all under control.......this is where photography can create an illusion and where I began to wonder if the person on the Internet claiming to be so fabulous the first go round was telling the truth - because looks can be deceiving......

Flip my cake around and this is what you see..............AHHHH!!!! Sure it rolled out great - in theory all you have to do is roll it onto the rolling pin and you will be golden.........Sure......"My first fondant cake" (not really mine....just channeling the cake site hit).
This is where having children is helpful for me. After crying out loud - like seriously finally breaking down and crying (for about 15 seconds) and having my children stand in shock watching.........I picked myself up - looked them in the eye and said, "There is always a way to make things better." and then something along the lines of, "Never be a quitter."

Then I started to get creative. The other day I also watched a video on YouTube about making fondant bows. While I had never tried to do this before I figured.......it can't get worse right? Did the bow fix the problem? No not really -but it was a good start and I did still have all that beautifully colored fondant left to find a way to decorate the cake with.
Color on a blank pallate can change everything..........and distract the eye. So the night prior to the final fondant I had spent some time making different types of flower and things to place on the cake. Remember the only real design element that was asked for was color - nothing about how to get it into the design - just that it existed in the final product. These colors all matched the Bird Family.

As I began putting the flowers and leaves onto the cake and around the areas of the un-sightly fondant - I began to notice that I no longer really noticed the gaping fondant mistakes that were part of the cake.
I also began to realize why so many fondant cakes have either a real ribbon around the base of the cake - or they have a fondant strip in a color that is made to LOOK like a ribbon at the base of each tier. Things are becoming clearer to me. Those perfect cakes may be more of an illusion - and it may be why so many of the photos are not taken as "up close" as my photos are. Smart bakers.

Still all the added color and the bows did take care of the truly tear inducing look of my fondant covering. At this point in the decorating I was feeling like announcing - with happiness - "My first fondant cake - I am AWESOME!"

and there was one side of the cake that DID look close to perfect - it was the BACK SIDE - where I was able to leave just a few flowers so that all the eyes were pulled forward into the camouflaged area.
Personally I quite like the back.

The nest and the cake.......notice the nest is darker now? Yes, as I said earlier - once the cake was covered I noticed that the white fondant and the light tannish color of the original birds nest really kinda washed out compared to the colorful flowers and the colorful bird family. So a quick fix was in order for the families nest. Darker worked much better.

The Final Cake. I was so happy to have this done and looking really really cute. Yea Me!!
Even more so - Yea the Family that has built a Nest so loving that they could add 5 children to is in less then 1 year. Our family is very proud to have them as our friends and we were so happy to be part of their special day.