To go along with the carnival animal cookies that I made in my previous post, I also made a 12 x 17 inch red velvet carnival cake. The only other time I made a cake this large was the Superman birthday cake that I made for my son Matthew, and for that cake I had used four 9 x 13 inch cakes (two side-by-side, and two on top of that for the second layer). But I was hesitant to do that again, since I felt like I could see a line down the middle where the two sets of cakes met. So this time I bought a 12 x 17 inch cake pan, so that I could make it the right way!
(Notice in the picture above the size of the 9 x 13 inch pan is on the left, compared to the giant 12 x 17 inch pan on the right!)
I thought since I had the right pan this time, that everything would go smoothly. But since the pan was so large, I found myself extending the baking time over and over again so that the middle of the cake could finish baking. When the middle was finally done and the cakes came out of the oven, I could already see that the edges of the cake were overdone, and even looked crispy! So after the cakes had cooled, I sliced off about half an inch of cake from each of the edges.
After applying a crumb coating over the whole cake, and a second coating over the top of the cake, I started to decorate my sides. I was inspired by the red and yellow stripes of Martha Stewart's carnival cake, and thought the look would go perfectly with this cake. I had brainstormed different ways to make the carnival stripes, but in the end went with the original idea (see below, my brainstorming sketches for the cookies and the cake).
Next, I piped a shell border along the bottom and the top of the cake, and then I was ready to add the final touches to the top of the cake.
To tie in with the animal cookies, I used black icing and a star tip with various colors of icing to pipe the face of a giraffe:
and a lion:
And finally, I added a birthday message with black icing. I had originally also wanted to include fondant stars on skewers or florist wire, but in the end I left it out because I didn't want to clutter the cake. Instead, I bought a little star-shaped candle to go along with the cake (not pictured).
Hope you had an awesome first birthday Jianna!