My good friend Helen has an adorable daughter named Marni, who I've been making birthday cakes for since she was born! Since her birthday party is coming up this weeked, I thought I'd better get around to posting her birthday cake from last January! (So sorry for the delay, where does the time go?!)
The theme for her birthday party last year was "Animal Kingdom", and it was a five-way party with some of her friends from class. Each child picked an animal to represent them on the cake, and I had decided to make them as flat fondant characters to go around the sides of the cake.
First: Marni chose a giraffe, and I started by tinting fondant with golden yellow gel-based food coloring, and then rolled out and cut my shapes. For the head I used a circle cutter, but for the body and ears I used a knife to free-form cut my shapes out.
For the details, I tinted fondant with chocolate brown for the muzzle, mane, and spots (with which I used a medium round piping tip to cut out), and for the feet and horns (antlers?) I used fondant tinted with chocolate brown and a bit of super black to achieve a darker brown.
Second: Marni's friend Lauren chose a monkey, so I used fondant tinted with chocolate brown. The steps were basically the same as the giraffe, using circle cutters where ever I could, and otherwise using a paring knife to cut out my shapes.
For the face, belly, hands and feet, I used ivory to tint my fondant. And a heart-shaped cutter worked out great for top 3/4 of the face.
Third: Marni's friend Emma chose an elephant, so I used a tiny bit of super black to tint my fondant a light gray color (use sparingly, as the gray can get dark very fast!) Here, heart-shaped cutters worked out create for the ears! (I used this set of nested heart-shaped cutters).
Fourth: Marni's friend Sabrina chose a penguin, so I used super black to tint my fondant, and a combination of nested circle cutters and nested heart-shaped cutters to assemble the penguin with black and white fondant.
For the details, I tinted my fondant with orange, and used a paring knife to cut out my shapes.
Fifth: Marni's friend Wyatt chose an owl, so I tinted my fondant with chocolate brown and a bit of super black to get a darker color brown. I also used white fondant for the eyes, and orange tinted fondant for the feet.
After finishing all of the fondant details and using an edible marker to add eyes and other details, I was done! Here's how all of the animals came out:
Aren't they cute? :)
And instead of writing all of their names on the cake, I made little leaves out of leaf green fondant and a leaf cutter, and used an edible marker to write their names on them.
For the cake, I made 1.5 batches of my favorite vanilla cake in two 10-inch round cake pans (recipe in my book, The Hello Kitty Baking Book!), and after it was baked and cooled I sliced each cake in half horizontally to give me four cake layers. Then I filled the layers with fresh whipped cream and fresh sliced strawberries. (I make this combination every year for her!)
Once the cake was assembled, I whipped up some cream cheese buttercream, tinted it with sky blue, and frosted the top and sides of the cake with it. (I usually do this in two steps - a quick crumb coat to lock in all of the cake crumbs, refrigerate for 30 minutes, and then a final smooth coat).
Then I let the cake chill in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, I added a piped beaded border along the bottom of the cake, and then added my previously made fondant animals.
Then I pipe some plants in between the animals (using frosting that was tinted with forest green), and added my previously made fondant leaves next to each animal.
I also made a second cake, a 10-inch coffee chiffon cake for the adults! This one was decorated simply with rainbow sprinkles surrounding the number "5". (You can read here on how I did this!)
The party was held at the Discovery Museum in Sausalito, which has so many fun things for kids to do, as well as spectacular views of the Golden Gate Bridge.