My Little Pony Cakes, Part Three: Cutie Mark Cake

IMG_1044This cake is a bit different from the last 2 cakes that I posted here. I wanted to go for a simpler design that used fun colors instead of detailed decorating. Emma is still nuts about My Little Pony, and her favorite pony right now is Fluttershy. I decided to use each pony’s colors to decorate both the inside and the outside.

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The top tier was decorated with pale yellow buttercream to match Fluttershy’s coat, and adorned with a fondant cutie mark. The cutie marks were actually pretty east to free hand.

The insides of these cakes are what I was really excited to decorate. This cake is yellow and pink, with pale turquoise buttercrema to match Fluttershy’s eyes.

 

 

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The bottom tier was decorated in pale blue buttercream to match Rainbow Dash’s coat, with her cutie mark as well. I added fluffly white buttercream clouds to complete the border.

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This is my absolute favorite part of this cake. RAINBOW ICING! I love finding new ways to add rainbows to make cakes. My daughter and I love everything rainbow, so this is something we can both enjoy! To create this look, I decorated between each layer with a bulls eye pattern in the rainbow color pattern. I started with a purple circle, and piped a blue circle around that, then green, and so on. I love the effect, and will definitely be playing around with this method again!

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IMG_1051 IMG_1053   Here is the birthday girl, excited to see her cake!

My Little Pony Cakes, Part One: Rainbow Dash

Hey readers! I haven’t had a lot of time to get back into blogging yet (the kids will be back in school soon, so I foresee lots more blogging time in my future!) but for now I still wanted to share some content. I’ve done lots of cakes in the last year that I haven’t gotten the chance to share yet, so I’m going to start with some My Little Pony cakes! My daughter and niece both love MLP, so I’ve enjoyed making the characters into cake. I love bright colors, and most of all rainbows! So here starts a 3 part series of My Little Pony cakes!

The first one I have is a Rainbow Dash cake I did for my niece.

Screen Shot 2015-08-09 at 10.00.15 AMThe best part of making cakes for people you know is 1: you get to eat it, and 2: you get to see what the inside looks like after all that work!

Screen Shot 2015-08-09 at 9.56.12 AMThe trick to a good rainbow cake is getting nice flat even layers (even here mine aren’t perfect!). To get flat layers, spread the cake batter in the pan evenly with a spatula and bake at 325 instead of 350. The lower temperature keeps the cake from doming. If you do end up with doming (where the cake ends up much thicker and domed in the middle), you can even it out with icing so your entire cake isn’t domed. Add enough icing around the edges of the cake to make each layer level before adding the next layer of cake. You’ll end up with a ton of icing inside the cake, but honestly, if you don’t like icing, you shouldn’t be eating a layered cake anyhow!

Screen Shot 2015-08-09 at 9.55.39 AMThe fondant rainbow dash was easy enough to make. I printed off a picture of her and cut it out with an x-acto knife. I then layed that on top of my rolled fondant and cut around it. When it came to the tail and mane, I cut the tail and mane off of the picture, layed it on my fondant, and cut it out with the x-acto knife. It ended up working perfectly for me!

Screen Shot 2015-08-09 at 9.58.15 AM Screen Shot 2015-08-09 at 9.57.02 AMFor the ruffles, I used a skirting technique I learned at the bakery I worked at a few years back. Maybe some day I’ll do a tutorial on it! So far it’s my favorite ruffle effect for cakes.

Screen Shot 2015-08-09 at 9.56.50 AMThe rainbow was actually pasted to a cardboard rainbow shape that was stuck into the top of the cake. The clouds are marshmallows held together by icing. The also acted as stabilizers for the rainbow.

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And here it is all together. This lucky little girl is coming up on another birthday, so maybe there will be a new My Little Pony cake in the works soon! I absolutely love making these ponies into different cakes, it’s been so much fun!

Rainbow party!


You might remember last year when I made the Rainbow Cake for Emma’s birthday. This year I went all out and threw a rainbow party. She had a blast! I got another shot at the rainbow cake, and this time I made a 7 layer 6 inch cake. It turned out awesome! I can definitely see the rainbow cake becoming a birthday tradition for her. For detailed instructions on how to make the epic rainbow cake, check out my Ruffle Top Rainbow Cake.

My beautiful girl getting ready to dig into her cake!

With the help of my handy dandy Silhouette Cameo, I made this cute rainbow banner.

For the kids, we made this water pad to jump on.

You can find instructions HERE. Be warned, even with LOTS of tape, there’s a good chance it will spring a leak! We double taped ours and the water still managed to get under the tape and cause a leak. We also had some pointy little toes poke a few holes through the plastic which caused a smaller leak. All in all it lasted us a little less than an hour, and we had lots of kids, little and big, jumping on it. It was money well spent! **note: we used 3.5 mil plastic sheets (a 10×25 foot sheet folded in half, the kind you buy for laying down before painting), and we used super heavy duty duct tape. We taped it around the edges once, and then turned it inside out and taped it again. It takes a long time to fill, so we pulled up a corner and duct taped it to a chair with the hose hanging in it, that way the water didn’t leak out while it filled.

The balloon banner was pretty simple to make. I blew up an equal number of each balloon, using all the colors of the rainbow (I think I used 6 of each color, they were smaller balloons but it would work great with large balloons!). Once you’ve got all your balloons blown up, take a large needle (I used an embroidery needle) and some yarn and heavy duty thread, and thread through the ends of each balloon. It went pretty quickly, and took about 25 minutes to make. I think next time I want to use larger balloons and more balloons and make a giant arch around a doorway.

Another activity we did was a kiddie pool full of bubble solution and various contraptions for blowing bubbles. This unfortunately backfired, and we ended up with kids trying to climb in to go swimming, and suds EVERYWHERE! I think if the kids were a little older, it may have worked out better. But at least they had lots of fun with the suds!

Such a nice big sister, making sure Charlie had plenty of bubbles on his head.

My little country boy. 🙂

Matching rainbow toesies (don’t mind the permanent flip flop tan lines)

All pooped out at the end of the day.

If you like this rainbow cake, you should check out the mini rainbow cake I made for Charlie’s first birthday HERE. Who would have thought you could use old bean cans as a cake pan?

Ruffle Top Rainbow Cake

I’m sure plenty of you have seen the rainbow cake before. I mean, the Super EPIC Rainbow Cake from Whisk Kid. I decided to make it for Emma’s second birthday this year. Of course, right now I’m not allowed to have dairy (because of Charlie’s milk allergy), so I didn’t get the chance to use her recipe, but I loved the concept of the cake. I wasn’t sure how it would work replacing the butter in the cake with Crisco (and this wasn’t the time to experiment), so I used boxed cake mix (Meijer brand white cake mix was the only kind I could find that didn’t contain dairy). It made a smaller total amount of batter, so my layers were a bit thinner and the cake didn’t stand as high. For the frosting I used a Crisco/powdered sugar recipe. Now, this cake calls for a LOT of frosting, so I was REALLY sad that I had to use some crappy alternative rather than the delicious Swiss Meringue Buttercream. But I’ve made a promise to myself, I WILL make this cake again, and it WILL have the proper ingredients. Sometime.

Now, I don’t suggest using a Crisco based frosting. Ever. For anything. It’s just plain gross. It doesn’t frost well. Crisco doesn’t melt in your mouth. It doesn’t even melt in super hot dish water (is that good for my drain?) I ended up scraping a lot of the frosting off in an attempt to not make myself sick, lol. So to the people who consumed this cake, I’m sorry for your future artery troubles. At least I learned from this project, never use a Crisco based frosting. It doesn’t frost well, and it tastes like poo. Next time I will use butter, even if I have to cut a slice of cake, stick it in the freezer, and wait to eat it until Charlie is weaned.
Oh, and did I mention that the SUPER awesome Whisk kid (Kaitlin) is only TWENTY years old? And she’s already been on the Martha Stewart Show! I’m not a huge fan of Martha, but she IS legendary. Also, Kaitlin happens to go to college at MSU, which is only an hour from where I live. It’s such a small world! Kaitlin, if you’re reading this, your blog ROCKS!
So on to the cake!
Since I didn’t use the same recipe as Whisk kid, I suggest heading over there to get her recipe. It looks like a kick-ass recipe (and that frosting is to DIE for, I promise). But I’ll post the general instructions here (and tips that I learned from my experience).
Start by making your batter. If you have a scale, you can figure up the weight of the batter and divide by 6 to figure out how much batter to put in each bowl.
If you don’t have a scale, just eyeball it (mine turned out pretty okay that way). Divide the batter between the 6 bowls. Color each bowl of batter: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. Whatever color the batter is, that’s the color it will turn out once it’s baked.
Dirty dishes have never looked so pretty!
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
I HIGHLY suggest layering parchment or wax paper on the bottom of your cake pan. To do this, sit your cake pan on parchment paper and trace it with a sharp knife. This will score the paper and make it easy to tear out. Lay the paper into the bottom of your pan and then grease the pan or spray it with pan spray (I used spray, turned out great). Now, if you have 6 cake pans, that’s great. But most people don’t. So you need to bake them in batches. I only own 2 8 inch cake pans, so I baked 3 batches. By lining your pans with the parchment paper, you’re saving yourself a lot of washing! The bottom of the pan stays mostly clean and you just have to pop another layer of parchment paper in before putting more batter in to bake another round.
My assistant, Charlie; he loves helping mama bake!
Pour your batter into the pans and bake it for 15 minutes. When the cake it done, flip it out of the pan. In order to get the cake to not fall apart, I suggest taking a layer of wax paper and laying it on the cake (while it’s still in the pan). Place your hand on the paper, and flip the cake upside down. It should come out easily, and the paper will help it to not fall apart. Having the paper will also keep the layers from sticking to each other when you stack them (that is, if you’re storing them for a while like I did, I waited until the next day to frost them). I did this step while the cakes were still hot, and they stayed in one piece. Lay them out on a sheet pan and let them cool (I threw mine in the fridge so they were chilled through before I stacked them).
Once you have your cake layers baked, it’s time to start stacking! Start with purple on the bottom. Don’t forget to peel the circle of wax paper off each later; no one wants to cut into that! (and surprisingly, it happened often enough at school in my bakeshop class). In order to keep each layer of cake intact, don’t try to peel the cake from the wax paper, peel the paper from the cake. Don’t ask me WHY I was trying to peel my cake from the paper, but after a few seconds of trying, I realized I just needed to flip it onto the cake stack and then peel the paper off. It worked much better this way (I blame the sleep deprivation). Smother each layer with a good amount of frosting before stacking the next layer. If you want it to look really clean and perfect, use a lot of frosting. My frosting was about as thick as my cake layers (although my layers were a little thinner than the recipe called for, remember that).
Once you have your cake stacked, do a crumb coat. A crumb coat is basically just a thin layer of frosting on the cake to seal in the crumbs. If you’ve ever tried frosting a cake without a crumb coat, you probably know why it’s recommended. Put the cake in the fridge for about 30 minutes to set. You want the crumb coat to hold in place when you do the final frosting.
Now, how you frost this cake is up to you. Whisk kid left hers plain white, which makes it look plain, but that’s TOTALLY cool, since the inside is so awesome; it just adds to the effect. Since this is for my daughter’s birthday, I wanted something fun and colorful. I thought about just caking (hehe, cake) on sprinkles to the sides and the top, but I was thinking it might be a little too crunchy, not to mention I REALLY wanted to do something new. I didn’t want to just throw sprinkles at it and call it good. That’s not why I went to school to learn how to make cakes! So I went with plan B. I got my inspiration from this cake here. (p.s. I also really want to make a cake like this, I was thinking maybe purple ruffles though? I LOVE the fade effect. Anyone need a tiered caked?) The ruffle is actually very easy to do. I used a size 103 rose tip to make mine. I flubbed a little at the beginning, if you look closely you can tell that I used the fat end as the edge for the red layers, but the thin end for the rest. It looks much more crisp with the thin end for the edge. I highly suggest fooling around with this on some parchment paper. I actually took one of my cake pans, covered it with parchment paper (or saran wrap works, too), and doing the entire top in white. I just wanted to see how many circles I would need to fill the entire top. Once I was done, I just scraped my frosting off and colored it to use on the cake (which I might add again, Crisco based frosting SUCKS! I had to wash my bags between each color because I don’t have disposable bags. It took forever.) So anyway, this ended up working out perfectly so I could have 2 rows of each color. I was a little nervous to try something so bold, something that I’ve never tried before, but I think it turned out AWESOME! Here’s the final product.
My chef would totally be cringing at the frosting job I did for the sides. Like I said, Crisco based frosting SUCKS. I gave up on that quickly.
 The birthday girl, blowing out her candles

Mosaic Jello

I saw this recipe on Our Best Bites a while ago and have been looking for an occasion to make it. The opportunity finally came up! I love how you can customize the colors for any holiday (Christmas, Halloween, birthdays, football season, ect). My mom suggested I make it for Easter with pastel colors. I’m thinking about making it for Independence Day with red and blue jello. It was a little sweet, though, so I’m thinking about 1: using sugar free jello next time (although there’s less color and flavor options) and 2: maybe substituting the sweetened condensed milk for something else (like coconut milk?).
What You’ll Need:
4-5 boxes of Jell-O
2 pkgs Unflavored Gelatin (2 Tbps)
14 oz. can of Sweetened Condensed Milk
Before you start: leave yourself enough time to make this dish. The Jell-O takes 4+ hours to set, and it needs to set twice. I started the first step in the morning, and did step 2 later that night. The following day it was ready to cut into squares.
Step 1: 
Boil a pot of water on the stove. You’ll need 4-5 cups (depending on how many packages of Jell-O you prepare), and a little extra to compensate for evaporation while it’s boiling. I just boiled a large pot of water; it was easier to dip my measuring cup into it to get what I needed, rather than pouring it out of the pot.
Prepare your tupperware. Once the Jell-O is mixed, it will be roughly 1 1/3 cups of liquid, so you don’t need anything too large. I used random sizes of tupperware that I had sitting around. Spray the tupperware lightly with pan spray. 
Once your water has come to a boil, measure out 1 cup. Mix in a packet of Jell-O and stir to dissolve. Once it has completely dissolved (I gave it a good 5 minutes, stirring randomly), pour it into one of your lightly sprayed tupperware containers. Repeat this step for all of your packages of Jell-O. 
Place in the fridge to set for at least 4 hours, preferably over night.
Step 2: 
Sprinkle your gelatin over 1/2 cup of cold water. 
Let it sit for 5 or more minutes to bloom.
While that’s sitting, boil 1 1/2 cups of water. When the water comes to a boil, mix it with the bloomed gelatin. Let it dissolve, roughly 5 minutes.
Add in the sweetened condensed milk and stir to combine. Set aside to cool.
Take your set Jell-O from the fridge. Cut each color into cubes. 
Prepare a 9×13 pan by lightly spraying it with pan spray. Dump each color of Jell-O into the prepared pan. Mix the colors by lightly tossing with your hands.
Once the milk mixture has cooled, pour it on top of your cubed Jell-O. Let it set in the fridge for 4+ hours. 
Once it’s set, cut into cubes and serve.