Food: Cake baby!
Where: At home and on holiday
Who: Lots of little cake critics
Is it just me, or is the pressure to present your child with the perfect birthday cake enooooormous? Especially that it is her first birthday. For those of us who choose to bake it, why do we do it to ourselves?
I was chatting to a friend about it and she readily admits that she also puts far too much pressure on herself to bake and decorate her daughter’s birthday cakes. She has 3 daughters! The fact that I’m a bit of a perfectionist, wannabe excellent cook and aspirant baker doesn’t help either.
It all started early in August when I decided that GBG’s first cake was going to be a fondant covered cake. No, I had never used fondant in any shape or form before. What was I thinking? I called around to get some icing lessons and during my research stumbled across Luvies Bakery where Melanie, pastry chef and owner, gave me some great tips and assured me that it was a relatively easy process. One of the tips was to make sure I used a cake recipe that would withstand the weight of the fondant icing. So after more research, I had to find the best pound cake recipe and try it (them) out.
Did I mention this was the first time baking in our new home…in an oven I’d never baked in? The oven has one temperature. H.O.T. and so every cake I’ve made has been a total guestimate in timing and temperature. I burnt the first one. No, there aren’t any pictures.
The second cake I tried was the fondant icing friendly cake from The Cook Duke and I swapped out some flour for cocoa as MH wanted a chocolate cake. I was obviously feeling very brave. I then made a buttercream icing as my dirty icing and placed the fondant ever so gently onto the cake, exactly as I saw it on YouTube. At the end of all that I can honestly say that the cake looked and tasted ok but at the time I thought it looked dreadful. In hindsight after my final Jelly Tot cake effort for her actual party, I wish I had stuck with the fondant icing. In comparison it actually looked much better and I ended up using the same cake recipe anyway as it was pretty tasty.
My first Fondant attempt (look at that awesome bow!)
So after ditching the fondant idea I was just going to do a cream cheese frosting on a sponge cake. The cream cheese frosting was delicious, the sponge cake, which was supposed to make two cakes which sandwich together, came out more like a pancake. I was distraught. I then found out that any kid who has been to any kid party wants real icing, and a real sugar high, not this somewhat healthier cream cheese version. So there went the healthier pancake cake out the window as well as my low sugar, preservative free, natural colouring approach to her first birthday cake.
Here is what is left of the original pancake cake
It was the day before I was to bake her actual cake for her first birthday party (which happened to be the first of two she was going to have) and I had NO clue. After three practice cakes, wanting the perfect cake, with the perfect adornment of cutesy decorations on a smooth bed of fondant, I rushed to the shops in utter despair to pick up as many smarties and jelly tots as I could lay my hands on (thanks to MM and a little person who sorted the colours so I could have pink and green) and did my best possible effort on the leaner tower of buttercream icing fondant friendly cake. I show you this picture as it looks relatively upright from this angle…
In my eyes, I failed miserably. What I can say is that it was made with so much love, that it was a hit anyway! Oh and on top of all that I was supposed to do another adult cake, cupcakes AND a smash cake?? I only made her smash cake…
So for her second first birthday party on Saturday, its cupcakes all round. Until next year…
Lots of sugary sweetness