Sunday, May 29, 2016

mickey mouse face birthday cake

In addition to the kids Mickey Mouse cake with handmade fondant topper for Marni's 2nd birthday party, I also made this 10-inch cake with Micky's face piped on top! This time we decided on a coffee chiffon cake, since it would be for the adults!

Normally I would bake two 10-inch cakes and then cut them in half horizontally to create four layers of cake, but this time I was making chiffon cake, which is really light and airy and too delicate to cut in half horizontally for assembling. So instead I baked four separate not-as-tall cakes, which I then filled with espresso whipped cream.

I decided to also cover the cake with whipped cream as well, since I didn't think the chiffon cake could handle a heavy dose of buttercream.

After smoothing out the top and sides of the cake, I piped a simple beaded border around the top of the cake.

Then I was ready to pipe Mickey's face on top! I started by using a toothpick to outline Mickey's details, and then went back with black frosting and a small round tip to pipe over the outline. I also filled in his nose, eyeballs, and mouth with the black frosting and the same small round tip.

Then I used a star tip to fill in the rest of Mickey's details - black frosting for his ears and head, ivory frosting for his face, white frosting for the whites of his eyes, and red for his tongue.

And then it was done! Simple, clean, and cute - just the kind of cake I love to make!

I thought the two cakes looked great together on the cake table, and with the homemade oreos as well! And Helen did such a good job with the decorations!

Funny story, when it was time to cut the cake, Helen and I realized that neither of us had brought a cake knife!!! Or any knives for that matter, not even plastic knives! So (to my horror) I ended up cutting the cakes with wooden coffee stirrers. But while the slices were super messy, people still asked for seconding helpings, so (I think) at least it tasted great! And that makes me happy!

Happy birthday, Marni!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

mickey mouse birthday cake with handmade fondant mickey hat

My good friend Helen has an adorable daughter named Marni, who discovered Disneyland and Mickey Mouse a few months before her 2nd birthday. She loved it so much that Helen asked me to make a Mickey Mouse cake for the birthday party! We collaborated on ideas for a few weeks, before deciding to do two cakes - one for the kids, and one for the adults - and this is what we decided on for the kids cake! An 8-inch strawberries and cream cake, topped with a handmade fondant Mickey Mouse hat!

A few weeks before the party, I got started on the fondant hat, since I knew it would need time to dry completely. So I bought some black fondant (to save myself the time and colored hands it would take to color my own fondant), and got to work!

I started by rolling out the black fondant pretty thin, and then used an upside-down bowl to form the shape of my Mickey hat.

Then I used a pizza cutter and a paring knife to trim off the excess fondant.

Next I rolled out more fondant and used a round cookie cutter to cut out circle shapes for the ears. These would fit into little slits that I cut into my hat once everything was dry. (I also used black royal icing to "glue" the ears into the slits in the hat).

For the lettering on the hat, I used white fondant which I colored with golden yellow, and rolled it out into a long thin rope. Then I formed that into my cursive lettering and let it dry for several days before attaching it to my hat with just a bit of water.

Then the evening before the party, I started on on the cake. I baked two 8-inch vanilla cakes (recipe in my book, The Hello Kitty Baking Book!), which cooled and then cut into half horizontally, giving me four cake layers. Then I filled each layer with freshly whipped cream and fresh sliced strawberries.

Once the cake was assembled, I whipped up a batch of cream cheese buttercream, which I tinted bright red before covering the top and sides of the cake with it (first a crumb coat, then a 30-minute chill in the fridge, and then a final smooth coat of frosting).

The next morning, the cake was ready to be decorated!

I added two white fondant circles for Mickey's buttons ...

.. and then came the final touch, my handmade fondant Mickey hat!

I couldn't wait for Marni and Helen to see it!!!

In addition to the cake, I also made homemade oreos (based on Thomas Keller's TKOs), as well as the cake for the adults (stay tuned for my next post!)

The party was at a beautiful park with a playground, and featured dim sum, pizza, a one-man bubble show, as well as a live Mickey Mouse who came and played and danced with the kids! Soooo much fun!!!

Happy Birthday, Marni!!!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

cat cookies and onesie cookies

In addition to the yellow ruffle cake that I made for my friend Bernice's sister's baby shower, I also made cat and onesie cookies as favors! I have made the onesie cookies several times before, but the cat cookies are special. They are based on a logo designed by my dear friends Diana and Gavin (they are the creators of Bumble Ink!). They designed the logo when Diana was she hosting a baby shower for her sister Leona (who loves cats), and I had made cat cookies to look like the cat logo on the invitations. Bernice's sister is apparently a cat person as well, and Bernice thought the cat design would be perfect for her sister!

I started by making my favorite sugar cookie dough, as well as a batch of royal icing (recipes in my book, The Hello Kitty Baking Book!). Once cut out and baked, I outlined each cookie with stiff gray royal icing, and then filled them in with runny gray icing. Then I let them dry for several hours before using stiff white icing to pipe on the details for the face, ears. Finally an outline with stiff gray icing around each cookie completed the look. (For more details on the cat cookie process, see this link on the cookies that I had made for Diana.)

I also made onesie cookies with a yellow border, to match the yellow and gray theme of the baby shower.

The process is generally the same - after baking and cooling my cookie, I outlined each one with stiff white icing, then filled them in with runny white icing. After letting them dry for several hours, I used stiff yellow icing to pipe on the heart and button details, as well as the final outline around each cookie. (If you want to see more details on how I make the onesie cookies, you can see my previous posts here.)

I loved the color combo of the gray and the yellow, perfect for a baby shower!


Sunday, May 1, 2016

yellow ruffle lemon cake filled with lemon whipped cream and fresh blueberries

Speaking of reconnecting with high school friends (which I mentioned in my last post), sometime last summer I also made this yellow ruffle cake for my friend Bernice from high school, who was hosting a baby shower for her sister Tiffany! She wanted to emulate a blueberry cheesecake that was a favorite of her sister's, so we decided on a lemon cake with blueberry whipped cream, similar to this cake. (Although now that I look at the pictures, I totally forgot to make a blueberry whipped cream, and ended up making a whipped cream with fresh blueberries instead! OOPS! I'm so sorry, Bernice!)

Anyway, for the lemon cake I used the vanilla cake recipe in my book, The Hello Kitty Baking Book, and added grated lemon zest to the batter (instead of the extracts). I baked them into two 8-inch cake pans, let them cool, and then cut them in half horizontally (giving me 4 cake layers). Then I filled each layer with fresh whipped cream and fresh blueberries.

For the frosting, Bernice wanted a ruffle cake similar to this one, except we decided to go with buttercream instead of whipped cream since it was going to be a hot day! Since I knew the cake would be covered with ruffles, I only covered the cake with a quick crumb coat of yellow buttercream (recipe also in my book!).

Then I used a disposable pastry bag fitted with a petal tip to pipe the ruffles, starting in the middle of the cake and piping continuous rings towards the outer edge of the cake. (A nice revolving cake stand works great for this! Or, you could use a lazy susan.)

Then I continued piping all the way down the sides of the cake.

Here's a view from the top, isn't it pretty?

I do think that this technique with buttercream gives a slightly different look than when done with whipped cream though, as buttercream gives slightly smoother ruffles while whipped cream gives more textured ruffles. But both effects are still very pretty.

Anyway hopefully the blueberry whipped cream debacle turned out okay. (Sorry again, Bernice!)

Happy baby shower, Tiffany!