Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Sarah's Birthday Cake - Part II

The day before the party
Finding the right recipes for the vegan and regular cupcakes for Sarah’s party was only the first step of my grand plan of Sarah’s birthday cake. I was going to put all the cupcakes on a cake stand and put a 8” birthday cake on top. I found a very useful tutorial from Louise showing how to make a cake stand. I bought all the materials and built the cake stand for the party. It was very easy to make and the end result is pretty impressive.

Then for the cake, I was going to use rolled fondant to cover the cake. But I had never done that. Luckily, I went to Le Cordon Bleu for a two nights cake making class just before party and learnt how to use rolled fondant to decorate a cake. (It was a pure coincident, I didn’t register the class for Sarah’s cake. You can read more about my Le Cordon Bleu experience here.) Also, I needed to be very careful that not to make the whole cake looks like a wedding cake. It was 11:00pm, coming home from the class and trying to finish Sarah’s cake for the next day’s party. I was so nervous, didn’t know what to do. Then I remembered I have a set of “Happy Birthday” candles and I put in on my cake. I was so happy with that idea. Since the cupcakes are pink and purple and the cake is pink, having those colourful candles as part of the cake turned the cake from being romantic to become very princess like.

I forgot to mention one very important part of the cake: Icing! No, no, I mean Butter Cream. I was originally planning to use Martha Stewart’s Swiss Meringue Butter Cream recipe because I had great success with that in the past. However, in the LCB class, Chef Chabert told me that I should use Italian Meringue for making butter cream. It is safer to eat because the egg white in Italian meringue is cooked. Therefore, I used my newly learned technique from the class to make the butter cream for all the cakes.

I probably was too tired when I made the butter cream – I didn’t reduce the amount of sugar for the recipe like I would normally do. Did I ever glad that I didn’t do that. This butter cream is so light, fluffy, buttery and not too sweet at all! After all, it is a LCB recipe!

After using rolled fondant to decorate four cakes – three from the class and one at home for Sarah’s cake – within six hours, I fell in love with using rolled fondant. I didn’t know what it tasted like but it is so easy to handle! (The last time I had rolled fondant was at my own wedding from my wedding cake. All I remembered was a layer of half melting paste liked icing. And yes, my wedding day was hot, hot, hot.) I was worried that the rolled fondant will be very sweet but no, it's not at all. I think it is because of Chef Chabert's trick of using corn starch instead of icing sugar for kneading and rolling the rolled fondant.

When everything was ready, it was already 1:00am…

At the Party
After singing “Happy Birthday”, I gave Sarah a cupcake. She enjoyed it so much. Yes, she made a mess but I had so much fun watching her eating the cake. All that hard work paid back within a second.

Since we didn’t cut the birthday cake at the party, some guests thought that the cake was only a dummy. :)