If there are certain times of year Gaga gets to shine in the eyes of the grandbabies, it’s on their birthdays.
Somehow I’ve managed to get myself birthday cake duty (THANK YOU, mamas!) I LOVE doing the cakes – although believe me when I say it’s a labor of love. If I had to do it for money, only VERY wealthy people would be able to afford my cakes, and they would NOT be happy with the imperfections. So I guess I’m fortunate it won’t be a happenin’ thing!
Trust me when I say there are MANY imperfections in the finished products, but no one looks too close, so I get away with them. The kids LOVE them, and that’s what counts!
Today is day before Hannah’s 9th birthday party, so it’s her cake day for me. She ordered a dolphin cake to go along with her swimming party at the local indoor pool, and thanks to the wonders of the internet, I was able to find a dolphin cake pan (I was worried about that one!)
Maybe I should do a quick step by step for those who haven’t followed my cake decorating odyssey?
I always start with a base cake (to feed more people as well as to add a bit of WOW factor!) which consists of two layers – either round or rectangular with frosting in-between.
***side note – I could EASILY make the cakes from scratch, but the kids could care less – mixes are good, and faster. I don’t mind cutting that corner.
For the frosting I use the recipe in the Wilton cake book. It has a disgusting amount of fat in it, and given my feeling that sugar is toxic I really wrestle with the whole concept, but somehow I just can’t bring myself to do a vegan, sugar free, low fat cake, and once you make the first compromise you might as well give in altogether.
Normally Mr. Tattered hovers, hoping there will be extra batter and I’ll make him a few cupcakes, but there never is. Seriously, he’s like a crack addict. He has suggested in the past that no one would care if there was a piece missing from the finished cake… THIS time he got lucky. The dolphin pan is smaller than the Wilton pans I normally use, so he got his cupcakes – except that I didn’t have cupcake wrappers, so I used little ramekins.
He was so funny. He didn’t even wait for them to cool and come out of the ramekin – he slithered in and grabbed one and spooned frosting on.
Back to the birthday cake – the “character” cake goes on top of the base cakes. I toyed with the idea of trying to make the dolphin look like he was coming out of the water, but it has to travel, so I decided to play it safe.
I tinted part of the frosting a pretty light blue and planned to do the whole base that color. But then I decided I could still get the sky/ocean effect by adding some green to the blue frosting and not stirring it very well so it had a variegated effect, and swirled it more on the bottom for the ocean. Then I added a little white to the sky for a bit of clouds.
Next up the dolphin. I used the star tip to cover him. This is the time consuming part – hundreds of little squirts.
I finished it up with an eyeball and a little shell scroll along the bottom. Tomorrow I’ll add candles, and it’ll be good to go!
There are cake decorating classes you can take, but this stuff I’m doing is pretty easy, so I taught myself. If I ever want to do fancy flowers someday, I’ll take a class. But seriously, this little dot stuff , and the shell scroll are simple. It takes a LOT of time, but it isn’t hard at all.
Today I’m grateful for my cozy little house in my nice little community. I really love where I live. As with the rest of my world, it isn’t perfect, but it’s as close as I can (practically speaking) get to my ideal. I am close to big city amenities, although the area still has a small town feel, with plenty of “country” close by. The house is a little small, and really that’s a good thing because the lack of space helps keep my “hoarding tendency” under control. When I look at the space many people in the world have for their whole family, this seems like a castle. I am a lucky, lucky girl, and I KNOW it!