Friday, March 28, 2014

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Chocolate Cake

I'm very active on social media.  As I post more and more cake photos, friends and family have started sharing some viral cake photos and things from Pinterest with me.  One friend jokingly shared the cake pictured below and asked if I'd make it for her birthday.
That cake is big enough to serve several hundred people, at least.  But it sure is a beauty, isn't it!  And those strawberries are really quite tempting.

I decided to make a smaller  version of the cake (i.e. an 8" three layer cake) to help her celebrate her birthday.  I chose a classic chocolate cake recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks, and whipped up a batch of fudgey frosting, plus some vanilla buttercream to do some writing.

But, you see, I really suck at writing with frosting on cakes.  Seriously, I'm really bad at it.  But I need to get better, and practice makes perfect.

In the meantime, I bought the Cake Boss Letter and Alphabet Fondant Stamp Kit.  It looks fairly intuitive. You figure out why you want to say, and then you slide the letters into the holder and press it against the cake.

At least it would seem intuitive.

No, that's not a mirrored picture.  I'm just that discombobulated.  Eventually I figured out how to fix it up though.  Glad it was just on frosting and not fondant or I would have had to pull off the fondant and start again!

Once I figured out the right direction for the stamps, I just filled in the indentation with some frosting in a different color.  I chose a vanilla buttercream to contrast with the brown of the fudgey chocolate icing.

As I circled around the cake, I discovered that I had imprinted backwards the very last letter of her name.  So, that side isn't pictured.  I just iced over it and pretended it didn't happen.  Nobody really seemed to notice :)

Since the design was based upon the cake in the first picture, the next step was to make chocolate covered strawberries and stack them up on top  and around the sides.  I didn't do a cascade down the side because it would probably look silly with just one layer, and the cake needed to be transported in a tupperware box that wouldn't find side decorations like that. 
These were so delicious that I made a few extra in case some of them 'went missing.'
I didn't have any space left in the fridge to give these guys a quick chill and harden the chocolate shell, so I left them on the counter overnight.  They ended up being really juicy as a result, which wasn't a major problem.  But if I did it again, I would definitely fit them in the fridge.

The cake was very well received, and I even got a second thank you message a full week later!  
Happy Birthday to my friend!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Pretty pink cake!

I've got a request to make a wedding cake for some very good friends. To make sure that it goes smoothly, I wanted to practice making a tiered cake ahead of time.

Luckily, my niece was turning 16 at the beginning of March, an occasion that warrants a beautiful tiered cake!

The party was Asian themed and I cooked a whole Chinese buffet worth of food (as a side note, I need more dishes!).

To match the theme with the cake, I decided to make cherry blossoms to decorate the cake.  My niece asked for pink frosting and white cake with strawberry filling.  I did this for the bigger, bottom cake.

I used a trick I found online to make the icing pink.  Instead of adding water to the frosting, I added strawberry juice.  This also puts flavor in the icing and makes it extra yummy!

For the top layer of the cake, I bought Matcha Green Tea powder and used it to make a green tea cake.  I added some lemon curd to the frosting and then tinted it pink with ready for this?  Pink lemonade frosting!

Somehow I managed to get both of the frostings in a similar shade, plus the cherry blossoms.  To bring in some variety, I used chocolate fudge icing for the tree branch and accent coloring.

I squeezed 16 roses onto the top of the cake.
My boyfriend says it was my prettiest cake so far!  I am quite happy with the final product, and so was she!
Happy sweet 16 honey!