Most people like to be pampered on their birthday… so, every year on my birthday, when I tell people that I make my own cake… without fail, their response is
To me, it just makes sense! I LOVE baking, so making my own birthday cake is license to not only explore new skills and heights… it takes the pressure off a little. At the end of the day, I bake to please the customer, which means normally I am VERY strict and critical of my work; making sure absolutely everything tastes and looks amazing! Well, when it’s MY birthday, I get to try the crazy ideas I have in my head and if the cake topples over in the end (heaven forbid)… I can just whip up a batch of cupcakes or something. After all, “It’s my birthday and I can Bake what I want to!”
Plus, there is a sort of freedom that comes with baking your own cake! I know I will love it no matter what, because my present to myself is the actual baking; the end product is just a bonus. A strange phenomenon happens when you make your own birthday cake… usually when people pick up a cake from me, they tell me how much they love it and are so excited about it… but I always, ALWAYS want to make sure they are completely satisfied. Which means I second guess reactions sometimes; wondering and searching for a hint of confirmation that, indeed the cake is perfect. (now I sound like a perfectionist… but bakers HAVE to be, to some extent). But when I make my own birthday cake, I have that confirmation that the customer is completely satisfied, and the reactions of friends and family who see the cake just make the experience all that much better!
My favorite aspect of being a baker is the reveal (as you probably could tell by now); I LOVE hearing the excited screams of the 5 year-old birthday girl who is surprised with a perfect Hello Kitty Cake, or seeing the face of a proud mom and knowing she is imagining her sons reaction when he blows out the candles on his Superhero cake; the busy party planner who knows her best friend will LOVE these Onesie Sugar Cookies at her baby shower, and knowing they saved her so much time and effort… the list goes on and on…
All this to say… my 25th Birthday, a quarter of a century… I knew I had to make a pretty spectacular cake. I spent weeks and weeks coming up with the concept and the plans for this Sleeping Beauty Cake… and it paid off! Not only did the final product turn out AMAZING… but the process in itself boosted my confidence and gave my baking a firm foundation!
Here are a few images from the Sleeping Beauty scene that inspired my cake… if you aren’t familiar with the story, I’ll give you a brief explanation… the three fairies are trying to plan a surprise birthday party without using their magic; and the cake is whipped up and frosted, but the fairy forgot to bake it… so she tries propping it up with a broom… but the candles slide down the broomstick…
By Far, this cake is STILL my favorite cake, I am not sure I would EVER be able to top this one!
Wondering how I did it? Here is my Step by Step process…
First, I bought a wooden baseboard, cut it to the correct size and covered it with black contact paper.Then, I had to screw three sturdy wooden beams (or dowels, as we call them in the baking world). Ok, I didn’t do that part… I recruited my handyman brother to make sure they would actually stay in place… thanks Jon!! Next, I put my first layer of cake down through the dowels and onto the baseboard… I chose two flavors of cake: Chocolate with Peanut Butter Swirl, and Red Velvet! I decided to use the more sturdy cake (chocolate and peanut flavor) for the bottom half, which prevents sinking and wobbly cakes…
As I built up the base of the cake, I needed to give the illusion of the cake falling over… without it actually FALLING OVER… So I did a series of layers and tricks… the key was to keep a flat surface by cutting into the angles and placing the next layer INSIDE the topsy turvy layers. This was my first EVER attempt at a Topsy Turvy design… and was definitely a learning experience… It’s always good to make yourself the first ginny-pig! To complete the bottom and be able to go CRAZY on the top portion, I (or Jon) screwed in a platform to create stability and peace of mind (on my part).
Next, the broom stick was screwed on and I simply added the Red Velvet cakes! I tilted them to make the “falling over” illusion. Throughout the whole process I made sure to “glue” the cake together with Buttercream Frosting… it works wonders, and hardens nicely when refrigerated!
We are getting close to the finish now… I whipped up some Turquoise Royal Icing (which is liquidly, but hardens). This was the most challenging part of the cake! I wasn’t sure if it would work, so it was kinda a shot in the dark! I was able to pull it off though, and create a dripping effect!! Next I cut out a few yellow fondant circles and pinned those on with real candles, “sliding” down the broom! Lastly, I made the broom base out of fondant and sprinkled the ENTIRE cake with Rainbow Disco Dust… the fishing touch to any fantasy cake!!
So there you have it… Dreams Do Come True!!! And, guess what guys… my birthday is coming up soon… stay tuned to see what cake I’ll come up with on February 24th to commemorate “Another Year, Another…Birthday Cake”
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