Friday, April 10, 2009

Baby Sprinkle Cake

So what makes a baby sprinkle different from a baby shower? I have no idea. I couldn't make it, but I did send a cake on my behalf.

Okay, so I'm being a little self-indulgent. My friend asked me to make a cake for the party. Lucky for me, she didn't care what it looked like - so long as it was cute. And vanilla. She didn't want kids at her house eating chocolate cake (which wouldn't have been something that I would've thought of since my only child walks on four legs and is covered in fur).

My original idea for the cake was a little more elaborate than what I ended up doing. The problem with the first idea is that it would not yield enough servings, so I had to compromise. Final design idea would be a quarter sheet cake decorated to look like baby blocks with letters spelling out "BABY" and numbers zero through 9. Let's say it together: awww!

Two Days Before Delivery: Made the royal icing decorations. I printed out letters, numbers, and a safety pin clip art graphics (since I would have two baby block "sides" that would otherwise be empty). My friend made these adorable invitations, which were teal and green so I decided to make my cake colors match the invitation colors as much as possible.

As always, the hardest part of this project was getting the colors right. I started with some white royal icing that was extra from a previous project, and first added some kelly green food coloring. That was too green, so I added some yellow. Then it was too bright, so I brought it down with just a touch of blue. After comparing with the invitation, I saw that the green on the invitation was a little on an army green side, so I added a little brown to the icing. See what I mean about getting the color right? It can be tedious. I've even seen cake decorators on those Food Network Challenges get colors wrong. I feel like mine was the right color, but a shade too bright. I didn't think at the white to add some white coloring to bring it down a tad.

One Day Before Delivery: Baked the cakes. I've really enjoyed working with the vanilla cake recipe that I found on It's just wonderful. But disaster did strike when I took the second cake out of the pan (see what happened in the picture above?!?). I think that from now I will always line the quarter sheet cake pan with parchment paper. The hole in the cake wasn't devasting...just frustrating. Luckily, these cakes have been baking up pretty level, so I could forgo leveling them.

Day of Delivery: This was a very busy day since I (obviously) had to finish everything. First thing I did was reduce some strawberry jam over the stove, I probably put in a cup (maybe a little more) of jam in a small pot and let it boil for a bit...maybe about ten minutes after it came to a full boil. Afterward, I let it cool on the counter while I made a triple batch of American buttercream icing. The fist layer of cake was the one with the chunk of cake missing from the bottom, with the top side down so I could fill the hole with strawberry cream filling.

Mmmm...Strawberry cream filling. How do you make that? Easy. Take the reduced preserves and stir as much American buttercream as you like. I probably used about a cup and half of buttercream. It was delicious!

After filling, I placed the top layer, crumb coated, placed in the fridge for about 3o minutes, got a snack, and put the final layer of buttercream on the cake. Then back into the fridge while I colored some buttercream teal. This buttercream is delicious because it's all butter (no shortening). However, because it's all butter, that means it's sensitive to temperature so putting it in the fridge to chill helps it stay stable while decorating. Sometimes I'll even put my bowl of icing in the freezer for five minutes if it starts to get too runny.

The next part of the project meant marking my lines for the baby blocks, so out came the ruler! The cake was 13" long (even with the icing, which I wasn't anticipating) so it made it easy to mark out 3.25" for each block. Done. Next was to make some lines so that way no block edges would be slanted (how embarassing would that be if it happened?). I used a flower former to imprint the line (yes...I could've used the ruler, except I really used a tape measure and didn't want that touching the cake).

After marking out the lines, I took a star tip (Wilton #18) and did the boarders of the blocks making sure to double the lines (since baby blocks always have a band of color for each face). Placed the letters and numbers then stood back and took some pictures. The final touch was a trio of rubber duckies and I completely forgot to take a picture of the cake with the rubber duckies. I'm currently trying to procure some pictures from a friend. Oh, what was I thinking? I suppose I wasn't.

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