Birthday Cake Bonanza – Classy and Elegant

It started with a message – “I need a cake”

When one of your oldest friends needs something, you work your best to give them what they want.  And what he wanted was a classy and elegant cake for his wife’s  upcoming big birthday.

After some photo sharing and discussion, it came down to a chocolate cake, decorated in black and white but no flowers.

This was the result:

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Two tiers of fudgey chocolate cake. White fondant stencilled with edible black shimmer dust.  Rhinestone ribbon to add some bling and sparkle.

Every cake I commit to making is a new learning experience for me.  This cake was no exception.  I have always said that I was not into making cakes covered in fondant.  I don’t like eating it, so I don’t work with it.  But sometimes, some cake visions require fondant.

I decorate my cakes through trial and error and a ton of experimentation.  Though I have taken cake baking classes, I have not been educated formally in the art of cake decorating.  Unless Youtube counts…

This cake stressed me out.  My first layer of fondant cracked and fell apart.  The second wasn’t perfect.  The stencilling was a little messy, but improved with each one I worked on.  I loved the way the ribbon looked.

In the end, I learned what to do or not do.  The cake was yummy.  And I had some happy friends.

=)

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Thanks Ma!

I didn’t ask for anything for Christmas but boy, did I have a nice surprise. My mom gave me a pretty sweet gift – the Wilton Ultimate Decorating Set.

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Basically all the tools one would need to decorate a cake with buttercream, royal icing or fondant and gum paste complete with caddy.

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I have no idea how to use half of these tools yet. But now, I will be ready when I start taking my cake decorating classes! =)

Birthday Shortcake

In the air: Chromeo – Hot Mess http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zm4JVkH0T-E&feature=fvwrel and Shakedown – At Night http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLh37jFFigg and Cicada – The Things You Say http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jblNaRWBUeU 

I am thankful for the people in my life that I can truly call friends.  The ones that have always been there to happily share my highs and comfort me in my lows but are honest enough to tell me when I need to snap out of it and get over myself. 

The least I could do for one of my friends is to bake her a birthday cake.  Not just any cake but her favourite – A Strawberry Shortcake. 

I followed a recipe taught to me in bake class but I had to split the formula because I only wanted to make one cake.  The cake is simply made of eggs, sugar, bread flour, vanilla and salt to taste.  The eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt are whipped for about 12 – 15 minutes, just until the mixture rises, looks fluffy but is firm in consistency.  Once that is achieved, the flour is folded in by hand until well incorporated.  I have one extra step I include, but it’s my little secret.  Perhaps if you are observant you will figure it out.  Let me know if you think you know. 

The batter is poured into greased round cake pans and into the oven they go.  Now, I won’t lie, I had a little bit of a panic attack watching these bake.  At the end of the suggested 20 minute bake time at 200 degrees, the cake was nowhere near done.  I waited another 10 minutes and still the same.  I began to worry that I had ruined the formula and measured incorrectly.  I decided to turn up the heat to 300 degrees.  Success, baked cakes after 20 more minutes. 

I split the cakes in half so that I would have layers to work with.  First layer down, a sweep of simple syrup, a thin layer of whipped cream, a layer of fresh Ontario strawberries, more whipped cream, layer down and repeat.  Finally, I masked the cake with more whipped cream.  Rosettes on top, strawberry garnish.  Strawberry Shortcake done! Happy Birthday Ching =)

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