Posts Tagged ‘flowers’

Baby Shower Topsy-Turvy Pastry Creme Abyss


Made in two nights for the baby shower of a good friend, to match the crib set she chose and the party decorations at the same time. Sizes are supposed to be 10-9-8, 8-7-6, 6-5-4 inches, though I don’t think I carved out that much from the bottoms. Bottom tier is chocolate with roasted hazelnuts Kahlua ganache, w/ Kahlua simple syrup and espresso to enhance the chocolate flavor of the cake layers (yes, of course the mom-to-be was made fully aware of the potential harmful effects the miniscule trace amounts of liquor and caffeine per slice could have on the developing baby – blah!), middle is vanilla with pastry crème (completely safe!), top is alternating chocolate and vanilla with pastry crème and buttercreme. Covered in SatinIce.


Some more details about this cake, and a picture of the abyss for desert:


… And this is what happens when a 3-tier topsy-turvy gets pastry crème as filling in the middle tier… Bottom was rock solid in its chocolate cake ganache – I think it would have supported the top layers even without the dowels, and the fondant went on as smooth as it ever could! But even while I was filling the vanilla tier, nicely mortared (!), I knew it wasn’t going to survive – I think my pastry crème layers were too generous even with the mortar, and the weight of it all shifted the carved bottom tortes off balance. Still, it survived long enough for pictures…


But that’s not all that went wrong with this cake – or rather this one tier:
— I had to bake one of the vanilla layers twice, as I did cake mix (Dr.Oetker Organics) plus extender, but was on the phone with a friend, and I forgot to add the butter for the extender (!) so it only had the vegetable oil for the mix and its texture would be very wrong – I realized that 5 min into the baking, as I saw my nicely soften butter on the counter – on the bright side, it was ready for the redo, and now I still have two frozen rounds waiting their turn for cake truffles.
— The milk for the pastry crème curdled when I heated it up (with an exp. date 9 days ahead) which threw me completely off schedule as I couldn’t run to the store that instant, in fact not until 4 hours later.
— The white SatinIce was a nightmare… It kept tearing, overstretching, and doing all kinds of weird things, and after the third roll, I decided it was going on the cake regardless – as you can see, it looks like a cheese cloth all over, not like fondant…


Our guests were terrified of losing the cake and wanted me to take it apart right away. I knew its structure had the strength to hold on for a few more minutes, even with the abyss widening, and I was very amused to see their fear of not getting to taste it should it fall over… Well… for a second topsy-turvy (my first was only two tiers) I think it did ok…


Moral of the story for me: I should stick with ganache and buttercream for the topsy-turvies, pastry crème is too much of pain for them, dam and mortar and all, and still a mud slide in the end… But there’s nothing that goes so nicely with vanilla cake as pastry crème, is there?! Maybe next time I’ll throw in a couple of sticks of butter into it, it’s going to keep it firmer, and butter cannot possibly spoil a cake, can it now?! 🙂 


Topsy-Turvy with pastry creme abyss!

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Flower Mound

Flower Mound


I was in a flowers mood, so decided to play around with some flowers for a 3-year old princess’s birthday, who’s not very much into dolls and frills. Those were some contemporary girlie colors I already had and needed to use them up creatively… Carved the top alike the ballerina skirt cakes just to add some dimension, unfortunately not that visible from this angle…7″ round, 3” thick vanilla cake in 3 tortes, with cream cheese filling and fresh banana slices (yum!), covered in fondant, with flowers 50/50 gumpaste/fondant. It was so much fun to make, I hope she liked it as much as I enjoyed making it! Now that I’ve mastered those flowers… next?!

Title is pun… We used to live in a town called Flower Mound, in fact right behind the so-called place of interest, which while a mound, all right, had very little flowers to speak of, more like an alfalfa meadow, securely fenced off save someone would disturb the town’s namesake… I like my little pink-teal-and-brown rendition a lot better!


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My *Very* First Fondant-Covered Cake w/ Flowers


A friend of mine was “officially”, or rather “ceremoniously”, getting married – the “unofficial” signing of papers had already taken place almost a year ago – the wedding several thousand miles away, and to my biggest disappointment we were not going to make it to the event… There was the plan for a bachelorette party in Vegas, too, which for a list of reasons – or rather a single reason – no time! – didn’t materialize. So I figured, a fancy double-date dinner (with our two little thunder gods and the baby-girl asleep) at our house was in order instead. Any excuse for a cake would do in my world! Plus I was dying to try out fondant.  

Cake is “Death by Chocolate”, of course, with chocolate raspberry Chambord ganache filling.  

When I stacked the two tiers on top of each other, I had no idea they were supposed to have been supported by dowels, the top layer on its own cake board… or that when one would slice a tiered cake, the knife would only go through one tier… Duh. The things to learn! My flowery concept for it did not include those chocolate fondant bands around the layers, but I couldn’t get the fondant perfectly smooth on the sides of the cake… The bands made the cake look like a silly hat… It was still cute, nonetheless, I was pleased with the lack of disaster at this first fondant attempt – the luck of the beginner it is said, the ganache is what has spared me in my cake-decorating ignorance this early on. As a side benefit, my friend was wowing and ahing over it, so she must have liked it…


Note: While back-dated to August – when the cake was made – this post was actually written in November, after I decided to offload into cyberspace my newly-discovered obsession with cakes…

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