The Cat Cake – and a Steak, Too

Hello, hello, hello.

I was gone all last week, and this is why:

Cat Cake

Presenting The Cat Cake, jewel-tone cascading blossoms and all.

It’s 6″, 7″ and 8″ round tiers on top of a 10″ square tier of French vanilla cake with white chocolate ganache, covered in fondant.  The blossoms are made of gum paste.

Here’s a better look at the topper:

Cat Topper

The cats are modeled after the happy couple’s own pets, and I’m not at all displeased with how they came out.  They are made from Wilton Shape ‘N’ Amaze edible modeling dough.  It was my first time working with it, and it held up much better than fondant but I think I’m going to try my hand at modeling chocolate for sculpting 3D figures in the future.

There was also a groom’s cake (which used to be a uniquely Southern tradition):

Steak Cake

The groom is not only the son of our beef farmer, he also works for our butchers.  He asked if I could make a cake that looked like a big steak – if only all requests were that easy. This cake was red velvet, filled with a cream cheese buttercream and covered with a dark chocolate ganache and then with fondant.

The thing I liked most about making this cake was the opportunity to hand paint the top of the steak (like the cats, the cutting board is air brushed).  I’ll tell you, it gives me a huge appreciation for people who do this and do it well – it’s not the easiest medium, but I am fascinated with the process now.

A word about fondant: I’ve used Wilton products in the past.  Their traditional fondant is more or less easy to work with, but tastes like plastic.  Their new stuff tastes much better, but is a nightmare to work with.  I’ve worked a little with homemade marshmallow fondant, and while it tastes great, it tends to dry out very quickly; if you’re not very experienced working with fondant it will start to develop what they call “elephant skin” before you’ve got your cakes covered.  This time I ordered this fondant, and all I can say is “SCORE!”  SO easy to work with – while it sets up beautifully, it stays nice and pliable for quite some time so you can take your time.  It also tastes every bit as good as the homemade marshmallow fondant and is reasonably priced.

As with every cake I do, I look back and think of a million things I could have done to make them better, but the bride and groom were pleased so that’s about all I can ask for.  I learn something every time I work with these new mediums and techniques and I’m just loving it, even if my hands ached and ached all day yesterday.

I’d also like to take this time to say “Thank you” to Beloved, who not only made sure I had the time to do all this by taking over dinner and other chores, but also cut the dowels to the correct size to stabilize the tiers and constructed the boxes that allowed us to transport the cakes practically worry-free.  Thank you so much dear, not only for the loving help during this process, but everything you do for me every day.  I don’t express that nearly often enough.

The Ninja Turtle Cake

Well, you had to have known there was a party and a cake in my future after Friday’s post.

The G Man is all about two things these days – Legos and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  So, naturally, he had a Ninja Turtle birthday party.  Meema and Papa got him some TMNT Legos, as well as a couple of Lego Movie t-shirts because I haven’t had that damn Everything Is Awesome! song stuck in my head nearly often enough.

Ahem.

At any rate, a Ninja Turtle cake was my challenge for the party.

It was the first time I had covered a cake in ganache instead of buttercream underneath the fondant and I immediately recognized the advantages – especially because I ran out of ganache and ended up covering the “sewer pipe”  topper (which was made from rice krispie treasts) in the classic chocolate buttercream that I used for the cupcakes beneath the fondant.  Which was a mistake, because by the time we got the party and I set it all up, it looked as if it were, well, melting.

In hindsight, I also should have made the “weapons” from gum paste, which would have dried into stiffer shapes.  I also discovered that the new Wilton Decorator Preferred fondant is a nightmare to work with, and wish I’d covered the cake with the homemade marshmallow fondant that I used for the sewer pipe and other decorations.

Ah, well, live and learn.  Besides, The G Man and his friends were very impressed with it, and that was the point, right?

Ninja Turtle Cake 1

Ninja Turtle Cake 2

Ninja Turtle Topper 1

Ninja Turtle Topper 2

Pizza Cupcakes

Pizza Cupcake Closeup

I was particularly pleased with the pizza slices for the cupcakes (because if you know anything about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, you know their favorite food is pizza).  I just took circle of white fondant and airbrushed them orange and brown, then covered them with a slightly smaller circle of fondant that was a mixture of red, orange and brown fondant (because pizza sauce isn’t a bright, primary red), and cut them into wedges.  Then I drizzled them with a white confectionery glaze that I’d colored yellow and left them to dry overnight.

Bingo – cheese pizza.

I was also very, very happy with how the Ninja Turtles themselves came out.  They were sculpted from Wilton classic fondant because 1) it holds up well to molding and 2) no one was going to eat them (the stuff tastes pretty gross).

All in all, not a bad endeavor.  I learned a lot in the process and the cake was a hit with the party goers, especially the Birthday Boy – which is really all that matters.

The G Man Turns 5