Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Testing, Testing, One, Two, CAKE...

One of my best girlfriends has an adorable child who is turning 1 in January.

Rachelle picked out this adorable cake for her daughter's birthday and asked if I would duplicate it and show a step-by-step for her. Luckily, it was my mom's birthday last week, so I had a great excuse to try out the cake. Here is the photo she showed me:

Cute, huh? Butterflies are always a good choice for tiny, beautiful children.

So, here's how you do it.

First, gather your ingredients. You can use any white/yellow cake mix. The point here, (Rachelle and I both agree) is the decorating. No one's going to care that you used a mix once they see how adorable this cake is.

In reality, you'll need only one can of frosting. The other one I got for snacking. Don't worry, it was the Reduced Sugar one.

Pour the batter into two greased 9x9 square cake pans. I only had one, so I repeated the process twice. Follow the time instructions on the boxed mix. I think mine took about 25 minutes.

Flip both cakes out onto cooling racks. Once they're both cool, CAREFULLY move them onto a flat serving surface - I used a wood cutting board, but a cookie sheet would work well. Or a doily. I was told once, 'never underestimate the elegance of a doily.' Good advice.

Next, you're going to cut out the shape of the butterfly. It's hard for me to explain in words, so here's the pictures. I did the top first and then the bottom and then rounded the wings. It's easiest to do this with a small paring knife. SHARP. Don't use a dull knife. Ever.

Divide the frosting into five bowls. I found three-four drops of food coloring for each color - green, pink, yellow and blue - worked really well for the pastel colors. For the purple, use five drops of each red and blue food coloring. Preeeetty. I don't remember the last time I used food coloring. I'll be using it more often.

I found that the easiest way to ice this cake (and believe me, it's harder than it looks), is to start from the inside out. The green "body" of the butterfly should get iced first.
Then, the pink parts of the wings. To frost the cake, I used a small silicone spatula. I think that works the best for detailing and smoothness.

Then, the blue sections.

Then, the yellow and purple edges. Don't forget to ice the edges of the cake, too. The best way to do this without getting crumbs in the icing is to use a LOT of icing at first. this will make sure the crumbs stay put.

I'm not a huge fan of these "spray" frostings, but it seemed to work pretty well for the edging. The original photo shows the little dot tip, but I like the stars much better, don't you? I think it turned out rather well, don't you? If you really hate those spray icings, a pastry bag with a #26 or #30 tip (#6 for the little pearls) will work just as well or better. The star edging is really what transforms this cake into something really cute and special.

Here's the finished product. Remember, it's humid and disgusting in Florida in October, so that's why it looks a little melty. The only things I forgot were the pipe cleaner antennae. But those are pretty intuitive.

My mom loved it! Happy birthday, Mom! Have fun, Shell!