Umm. I hate to tell you this but…

“…your cake is off-center.”

That would have been a dagger to my cake-centered heart of hearts, had it not been for the fact that it was an intentionally topsy turvy cake.  You know what I’m talking about.

But for those unfamiliar with the variety within the cake-world, yeah, it could be a little weird. Like, seeing the leaning tower of Pisa for the first time and wondering why everyone’s all gung-ho about some structure that’s obviously got some architectural flaws in it.

Anyways, this was a birthday cake for Miss Megan, who has always wanted a topsy turvy, “mad hatter” cake. The team brainstormed and decided to play on her girliest traits- pink, glitter, pretty shiny things, etc. The more over the top, the better 🙂 Megan isn’t a girly girl on the outside, but it’s surprising how much little ballerina tutus, my little pony, and the current issue of the American Girl catalog can brighten her day.

Grab your tiara, jump on the fairy train and buckle up, we’re off to pretty pretty princess land!

First things first… the color of the cake! This is the melted marshmallow base that I’ll knead into fondant. I tinted it PINK!

Next, determining the flavors. Strawberry shortcake for the biggest layer- fresh and sweet! White cake, swiss buttercream, and fresh berries.

Add layer 2, and fill in with buttercream. To be honest, the topsy turvy wasn’t as hard to achieve as I thought, thanks to my uneven oven!

The next two tiers were made from a round 6″ and 4″ pan. Not strawberry, but chocolate fudge cake with a nice chocolate ganache.

This is how I contoured the 2nd tier to have a very uneven top.

Apply the buttercream and toss it in the freezer- a trick that helps me ensure the layers are smooth and firm prior to fondant.

I skipped a few steps (i.e. covering each tier with fondant) but that’s tedious. Here’s the exciting part: building! I cheated, that’s not a dowel, just a really long lollipop stick.


All Stacked up! Topsy turvy indeed!

Time to decorate. Little white fondant spheres lined the transition point between the layers, along with some silver dragee’s for a little bling. Here we started on some daisy cutouts.

Skip ahead an hour- yep, only an hour, as we had 5 pairs of hands working diligently on cutting out shapes, “gluing” with piping gel, applying glitter, and assembling the details.

The bottom layer has polka dots of various sizes, some adorned with tiny hearts, other with blue or purple glittery princess gel frosting. The middle of course is all daisies of various sizes and colors, each with a silver dragee center. The top, however, was personalized to appeal to Meg’s love for sports. Yes, she’s a girly girl through and through, but don’t you dare get in between her and her sports teams, events, or games. As unique as the cake, Meg can pull off both :). This is the girl who’s favorite color is pink, but will keep cable just for ESPN.

Another view- the giant glittery “M” with silver rockstar dragees along the edges. (That’s edible glitter too!) At the top, there’s a hand-drawn Penn State logo (edible markers on white fondant) and a Penn State jersey. Guess who she roots for?

After dinner, we disassembled the cake for some eating. We joked that she should keep this top layer for next year- freeze it like they do the top layer of wedding cakes. Here’s my shameless plot to get you to check back on this blog next year to see if she’s really done it. 🙂 Oh, the suspense!

Nomnom, here’s to another year, some rich chocolate cake, and a terrific birthday Megs!

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Monday night activities…

I’ve realized what a sporadic blogger I am, in addition to the wide range of topics that my entries cover. I think I’ll try driving this in a more consistent direction, instead of the “hit-or-miss” random entry style of word-vomit that usually develops.

Similar to other blogs, like “Cupcake Project,” or “52 cupcakes,” I’m going to do this Julie & Julia style and work slowly towards a goal. Not quite the most original idea, but rest assured I’m sure some random tid-bits will find their ways in, especially with all the holidays coming up. Plenty of opportunities to bake!

Anyways, my friend Karen is getting hitched in January and I’m making a cake for her… as mentioned probably 5 months ago. I have been researching and reading up on things, trying recipes here and there, but now is crunch time! Here goes nothing!

Today’s experiment is marshmallow fondant. I’ve used store-bought before (Wilton brand), and it doesn’t taste good, but is pretty user-friendly. I’ve heard some great things about this marshmallow fondant and it seems to be pretty easy. Thanks to some super googling by my friend Amy, I followed this tutorial: Cakexperiment on WeddingBee

To be honest, my experience was a bit different than described in pictures. To keep it short, my fondant was much drier- not sticky at all after adding the powdered sugar, and I actually ended up having to add quite a bit of water and Crisco to get it smooth and elastic. However, some success was to be had, as I used it to practice covering a fake tier.

I started with two fake tiers: 10”x 4” and 6”x4”. Didn’t want to be too ambitious so stuck with covering the 6”… and since I bought some pretty thick dark blue ribbon (matches the bridesmaids) I opted for the 4” thick. Other supplies are pictured below, and include:

  • 2 little mounds of marshmallow fondant
  • A brand new bottle of silver dragees (little silver decorating balls)
  • Quilting and embossing tool for fondant
  • Domo Cup from 7-11 for moral support

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Didn’t include a photo of the fondant roller, but that was pretty essential. Here are a few first-time covering photos, including my quilting pattern that was obviously eyeballed for accuracy. First time, I’m allowed 🙂

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Since it’s a winter wedding, Miss K suggested a snowman topper, so I played around with that. It turned into a somewhat whimsical and childish play-dough experiment, but fun nonetheless. I have to figure out how to better mark the eyes and small features. This time ‘round I used skewers and Wilton food coloring. Not a good idea, as I look like I got in a fight with a rainbow and it won, plus it’s difficult to control color application.

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Oh yeah, the little figure at the bottom is their puppy 🙂

Here’s the final product (a few views/shoddy photos). My camera was pretty much covered in Crisco by this point. I also only took photos from one view because the other sides were pretty craptastic… 🙂 The fondant was really lumpy where I coverd the Styrofoam with saran wrap so I could re-use it, and my quilting pattern definitely was off. Overall, not too disappointed with a first try… I just have to keep practicing. Next will be the 10” diameter layer, and perhaps some piping.

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Whomp whomp… it’s going to sit there until I get tier two done. -___-