Jewels: This week is both Tatjana’s and her boyfriend, Aaron’s birthday, so you can imagine how excited I was to receive this timely guest post from premium member Lane Buckman. Her son “Thor” as we have come to know and adore him, also celebrated his 7th birthday last week, so Happy Birthday boys and girl! I usually
bake Tatjana a homemade birthday cake, but decorating is far from my forte (it requires patience and a steady hand, both of which I lack). I’ve only ever done one I am truly proud of for Tatjana’s 4th birthday, so I applaud Lane for bravely conquering yet another of her kitchen phobias.
Lane: I’m always talking about how Julie Anne’s Personal Chef Approach™ has made my life so much easier. Over the last week, I’ve used the time the PCA™ saves me to bake cakes. You see, I have always wanted to be able to make my child a fancy birthday cake. I have all these friends who bake and decorate, and make cakes that put the Cake Boss to shame, but my skills topped out somewhere around the level of Easy-Bake Oven. Thor’s 1st birthday was a special occasion, so I made and decorated a cake for the grown-ups and a tiny cake just for him. It was pretty much a disaster. He cried and tried to throw it away (click here to see for yourself)! For the past five birthdays, I have let Chuck E. Cheese make the cake. For his 7th birthday, though, I decided to go back into the trenches and make a cake he could enjoy, and that would not make him cry.
I tried two different recipes to make my own fondant and ended up with a bad burn on my thumb (if you microwave marshmallows, make sure they are cool before sticking your hands into them), and a powdered sugar mess all over my floor. For entertainment value, you can’t beat watching someone try to make fondant. At least, that’s what my husband told me. I had all but given up on making the cake myself, when I found rolled fondant in the cake section of my grocery store. I bought a couple of batches and got to work. Test cake #2 fell apart, so I only had one layer to work with. I used food coloring to turn a batch of fondant yellow, rolled it out and made a little flat cake for my husband. I painted the words on using blue food coloring.
For test cake #3, I used a 12″ cake pan to give me more space for a racetrack. I used green food coloring to color the fondant, which I was using to cover the whole cake. To make the racetrack, I mixed red, blue, and green food coloring to make black, then painted that onto the cake. I colored small batches of fondant with red and blue food coloring, and used tiny cutters to make seven little stars. I served this cake to Thor on his actual birthday, with little racecar candles, and promised him we’d have an even better one for his upcoming party.
I finally got down to real business to make the party cake. I bought a little cake sheet and box at the party store, and also found a non-stick rolling pin–you need this if you are working with fondant. To my great delight, I also found black fondant. This saved me form making my own food coloring mess.
To roll out fondant, you want a large, flat surface. Dust a major amount of powdered sugar over the area, covering the space in the shape you need. You’ll need a lot of sugar. If your fondant sticks, you’ll have to tear it up and start all over again. Make yourself a little patty of fondant; think hamburger. Then, starting from the center of the fondant, use your sugar-dusted rolling pin to roll in outward motions, as though you are following the spokes of a wheel. Once you have it the correct size, roll the fondant onto the rolling pin and set aside.
Once your cake is cooled, go ahead and cover it with frosting. You’ll want something for your fondant to stick to, and it helps you smooth out your fondant surface. Carefully roll your fondant onto your cake.
I used a damp sponge to clean the excess powdered sugar from the black fondant. I had a couple of tears, so I used my fingers to moisten extra fondant pieces and patted them gently into place. I made some green fondant, rolled that out, and used a cereal bowl to cut out infield for the racetrack, moistened the bottom of it and laid it in the center of the cake.
The rest of my frosting went into a ziplock baggie, and I took a tiny cut out of the corner. Using that as a decorating bag, I made the lane stripes on the racetrack. Then, I put some frosting on the bottom of tiny car candles and stuck those onto the racetrack, and used the baggie to write in Thor’s name and birthday number.
And just like that, Thor’s cake was made! It’s probably going to be another 7 years before I want to bake another cake! But, Thor is happy. He said he thought the cake looked “amazing”, and he is excited for his friends to see it.
Jewels: Very happy belated birthday wishes to Thor, and thank you Lane! Happy birthday Aaron, and to you on Thursday Tatjana! Click here just in case you forgot all the birthday cakes I’ve lovingly made for you over the years. Many fabulously happy and healthy returns of the day. I love you.