Saturday, November 08, 2008

Nov. 8 2008 - Grattitude Post Challenge Day 7

Today I'm thankful that I was able to pull off making my niece's birthday cake without any major disasters and that it looks really good for being made by a baking and decorating amateur.

Later tonight Greg and I will be joining the rest of my family at my sister's home to celebrate my niece's 13th birthday. She turned 13 earlier this week.

My niece has been looking forward to the transition into becoming an official teenager by turning 13. She has been planning the details of her party for quite some time now. I'm talking every tiny little detail! One of the most important things she has focused on as she's planned this party is her birthday cake.

She's been telling everyone for several weeks all about the birthday cake she wanted for her party. She had very specific ideas and details when it came to the cake. She even had a drawing sketched out of what she wanted and a detailed list of the flavors and fillings she wanted.

This cake she had in mind was pretty spectacular for a 13th birthday. She wanted it to be 3 tiers stacked on top of one another and covered in fondant. She wanted the bottom layer to be strawberry flavored cake with vanilla filling covered in white fondant with pink polka-dots. The middle layer was to be vanilla bean flavored with white buttercream filling, decorated with pink and black fondant diamonds with a pink polka-dot on each black diamond and a black polka-dot on each pink diamond. The top layer was to be chocolate cake with chocolate filling, covered in pink and black diamonds.

She has gone on and on about this cake, it's pretty much been the most important thing she has wanted at her party.

My sister is not one to spend much time in the kitchen. Baking is definitely not one of her specialties and when it comes to being creative and crafty, I win hands down. Even she will say that.

I'm pretty crafty and creative, and I've done my share of baking, but I wouldn't say it is one of my better talents. My mother-in-law and my grandmother-in-law are the family cake bakers. Both of them professionally make wedding and party cakes for a living, so I've learned a bit from them, but I have a long way to go to reach their level of talent.

I also have a really bad habit. I tend to spout off at the mouth, blurt things out, and agree to do things for people before I really think about what I am saying. I've done it many times in the past. That's what happened again two weeks ago when I told my sister that I would make my niece's cake.

I've never in my life made fondant or decorated a cake using fondant. I've never in my life made more than a one tier cake covered in frosting and simply decorated, but I spouted off that I would make this very specific 3 tier birthday cake. The minute I heard myself say it I was thinking, "Am I crazy! How am I going to pull this off."

I'd heard that normal fondant is horrible tasting and hard to work with, but I also remembered a post on ScrapShare one time when a few girls mentioned that marshmallow fondant was really easy to make and tasty. So I got on Google and went in search of a marshmallow fondant recipe. I found one and read the directions. It sounded easy enough so I printed them.

As back up I asked my husband's grandma to help me with the cake baking. I baked the cakes and she helped me fill them and put the initial layer of buttercream frosting on them. I made the fondant night before last here at home. It was a messy process but I was surprised how easy it was to make.

I was starting to feel a little more confident that I wouldn't disappoint my niece with a totally horrible looking cake disaster.

Yesterday I took the fondant over to grandma's house so I could finish decorating the layers. We did have a little bit of trouble with the fondant tearing on the bottom layer and wrinkling a bit, but we were able to fix it up pretty good. I'll just put that side toward the wall where no one will see it. The middle layer and top layer turned out really good for a first time fondant amateur. Even grandma, who has never made or covered a whole cake in fondant was impressed.

All I have left to do is deliver the cake to my sister's house, set up the top layer and run my frosting borders around the top and middle layer and it will be done.

The cake is not exactly like the sketch my niece drew, but it is pretty darned close.

I am just so thankful that it came out as good as it did and that I was able to pull it off. I can't wait for my niece to see her cake tonight. I know it's not perfect, but I hope it meets her specifications and that she is happy with the way it turned out.

I'll have to post a photo of it later tonight once I get it all set up and in it's finished state.

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