Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Day 214

Adam's preschool was celebrating his summertime birthday today, and I had to find time somewhere to make and decorate a cake.  And Adam asked for an excavator on it.  Oy.  

Here it is:

There wasn't time to add the details on the treads or the bucket connector doohickies.  But I don't know that a bunch of preschool kids are going to care, particularly.  With less than an hour to decorate it, this is what they get.  I didn't even take time to write the kiddo's name on it or anything!

BUT I have to share the recipe for this cake and frosting.

I am almost ashamed to admit that the cake recipe is from Martha Stewart.  I put about twice as much lemon zest in it as she calls for.  But the cake is yummer.  You can find it here.

It's the frosting that is to die for, though.  Buttercream frosting always seems so cloyingly sweet to me, yet it's the best kind to decorate with.  A connundrum for sure.  And then I found this recipe from Southern Living.  I use it so much I know it by heart.  It's on line somewhere, cos that's where I found it.  I think under "Almost Homemade Buttercream Frosting."  So get a pencil and a recipe card and write this down.  You won't regret it--and you'll have the best, slightly sweet, frosting ever.  OK.  Ready?

1 16-oz container of marshmallow cream. 
1-1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter. 
5 teaspoons fresh lemon juice. 
1 teaspoon vanilla. 
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar. 

On low speed, beat marshmallow cream.  Add butter in 1-inch pieces, beating well after each.  Beat until smooth.  Add lemon juice, vanilla, and sugar and beat on medium high until fluffy.  And that's it!  Fluffy, beautiful to frost and decorate with, and just a touch of sweetness.  Perfect.

Now, I have to confess that I can't draw.  Seriously?  Worst ever.  When I was teaching, I'd have the students draw whatever I needed onto the board.  It is sad.  My kids suffer, because I can barely draw an apple. Stick people?  Not even they look right.  Yet I've done cakes with lions, alligators, Snoopy on his doghouse, and so forth.  So how to get the picture onto a cake, you ask?  Although it's slightly time consuming, it's easy.  Ready?

Find a clip art or coloring page of whatever you'd like on your cake and enlarge/decrease to the size that you want.  Grab a piece of waxed paper and put the picture underneath.  Tint some frosting black (or cheat like I sometimes do, and did today, and use Wilton's decorator frosting in black).  Using a plain old line attachment (sorry, don't know the technical term!), trace your picture on top of the waxed paper, like this.  It doesn't have to be perfect.  Using the homemade frosting is a bit easier, but it's a pain trying to tint frosting black, thus the cheating:

Then, lay the drawing upside down onto your cake, like so:

Slightly press down onto the picture to transfer the frosting to the cake.  The Wilton frosting is a bit thicker, so it doesn't come off as smoothly, but that's OK.  Don't worry.  You can fill in the gaps.  You just need a general idea.  Be aware that the picture on the cake will be the mirror image of the original.  Just so's yuh knows.

Then gradually peel back the waxed paper.  Do it a bit at a time, so you can use the paper as a guide to fill things in a bit, like I've done here.  With the tube, you're not going to have a really clear line, cos most will stay on the paper.  But it should be enough to do the job. 

Once you've gradually peeled, eyeballed, and filled in a bit, you'll end up with this.

It's just kind of a general outline to go with.  Then you fill it in with frosting.  I usually use a #27 star tip, cos it's small enough to get into the corners.  But sometimes I use a bigger tip, and sometimes I just frost it in normally, using a toothpick, the back of a spoon, or whatever works, to get in the little bits, like for the lion I did for Adam's second birthday.  For today's cake, I used the star tip for the machine, and just frosted normally for the rest. 

This one is pretty bare-bones, because I ran out of time. I didn't do any details, and it lacks a bit of finesse, since I was in a rush.  But hey--at least you can tell what it is, which is better than if I would have tried to draw the thing on there freestyle. When you're finished, go around the whole thing again to outline in black. 

And there you go.

Here's the lion, the very first cake I ever did this way. I think it's my favorite:


Jen said...

It looks perfect to me! I don't think we ever celebrated summer birthdays in school. That seems so unfair. I'm glad your school is doing it.

Sheila said...

Wow, tracing images for cakes on wax paper then transfering them to the cake, what a great idea. I wish I had known about sooner. I could have saved tons of money insead of buying pans I have and will only use once or twice. Nice photos.

Anonymous said...

It must be a blessing having you as a mother. Honestly impressed, I'd like to wish you all a wonderful Wednesday.

Lynn said...

Jen: I know! The funny thing is that I don't think Adam would care either way. But it was fun.

Sheila: I'm not sure where I got the idea. It was a few years ago, and was psrobably from something I came across on-line somewhere. No idea where, though.

Robert: Thanks. I figure I'd best rack up as many brownie points as possible. LOL Heaven knows I'm going to be banking on those points later, when they're teenagers and nothing I do is right. :oD

Anonymous said...

You are so talented! And you make it sound like even *I* could do it! Beautiful cakes and thanks for sharing your secrets!

Anonymous said...

Awesome cake, bet he loved it. hope it was a happy birthday.