Hello SnS friends!
My friend Marilyn contacted me a while ago about possibly doing up a birthday cake for her little girl, Faith's, FIRST birthday and of COURSE I jumped at the chance to make not just a cake, but a fancy, frilly, first-birthday-worthy-cuteness kind of cake! Along with the cake request was an order for 60 cake pops! The most I've done...pretty much ever!
I did up 30 white chocolate flavored and 30 milk chocolate flavored pops!
Let me just say, these were probably my BEST cake pops to date though! The beauty of taking the time to read things instead of just jumping into them without my "OBVIOUSLY I know how to make them. I can totally just tell by looking at them!" technique. The difference between these pops and the ones I'd done before...CRISCO!
Of course, once I got the tip, I didn't read further to find out exact measurements, but for each bowl of candy melts I melted, I scooped in a teeny, tiny scoop (probably it was the half a teaspoon one?) of Crisco shortening and it led to beautifully smooooooth melted candy!
It was SUCH an ooooh aaaaah moment for me! I was sitting there totally giggling over the fantasticnesss of these! The other tip that I picked up (from Bakerella's blog, no less!) was that to get the best looking ones, you have to make sure that you're dipping the pops in enough melts that it covers the whole pop. So instead of what I was doing before by using a small-ish bowl and then dipping and swishing my pop around on the stick (which in hindsight, I can now see TOTALLY led to all of them falling off the stick and my having to eat them), you just dip the pop in and if the candy doesn't coat it all in one go, just rock the stick back and forth like a joystick instead of swirling or twirling the pop in the melted candy. I only had ONE incident and I think it was probably done on purpose because I wanted to eat it. And out came these BEAUTIFULLY smooth, unlumpy, non-craptastic cake pops.
Which totally led to this:
I love how just showing photos can totally make time fly by. Let me be more concise...which totally led to this...6 hours later! *LOL*
I did have a little bit of frustration with the Wilton giant cupcake pan (*muttering*). First of all, that it was $50 at Michaels (*more muttering*) and with a coupon it was still totally less at other places, HomeSense, even had them! (*muttering and shaking of the fix*) But that is neither here nor there now, since I have about the same amount of patience as a two year old. What I did have problems with the length of time it took to cook the cake! I had the oven temp lowered, the top part was burning so I turned off the top of the oven and then the bottom part was burning so I turned on both heat wires and then lowered the temperature some more and then it was still jiggly and uncooked and then it was drier on the outside and still slightly pudding-y on the inside. Bah! I guess it was just a whole lot of cake to cook.
Another thing that I noticed as I was getting 'er done was that my fondant seemed a bit odd. I wrote it off considering that I refuse to turn up the heat so it was hanging out in my semi-cold garage for a while. Considering the projects I had on the go, I figured it would be more time efficient to buy my ready-made fondant from my favourite supply store. I've never had any problems with it before, I believe I purchase Virgin Ice Fondant...or something like that, but this time around I noticed it wasn't as elastic-y as I'm used to. I about near killed my arms trying to knead the dough into soft, pliable blobs I could work with and by the time I got to the Superhero cake, I was about ready to throw the bucket out the window. I think maybe that was around...hour 14. *LOL* Needless to say, I was very happy with how Faith's birthday treats turned out. Does it not bode well for me that my favourite thing about the whole project is the candle on the cupcake!? I LOVE that candle! All fondant on a cake pop stick! And of COURSE it goes without saying that the cupcake "frosting" received several coats of lustre dust!
And in direct opposite of girly and sweet, I also had to do up a couple of "Superhero/Comic Book" themed cakes for two special little boys! This one was a slightly surprise request that I couldn't turn down. A friend and fellow church group/choir member and family friend close enough for her to be considered an "Aunt" asked if i had time to make a cake for her nephew and grandson's birthday party. She mentioned that it was superhero themed and that if I didn't have time, I could just make one cake and the boys could take turns blowing out the candle.
Well, my Auntie Luz has an uber special place in my heart, one of the reasons being that when my parents and Bart was away (separately, they didn't all just take off together and ditch me *LOL*), I made a big fuss about starving to death or drowning pitifully in pots of macaroni and cheese (did I mention that the women in my family don't cook?) that she invited me over for dinner and even went so far as to pack food for me. If food doesn't say love, then I have no idea what does! I REALLY wanted to do these cakes for her and since they were going to be two of the same cakes, I figured it wouldn't be too much trouble to turn out!
Ta-DAAAAA! Imagine some superhero theme music here! I THINK I've got the Superman in my head...or it could possibly be the American National Anthem, at this point, I can't even tell you what's going through my head...
OH! Before I forget, let me mention here that I tried Jessica from Jessicakes "Upside Down" frosting technique when I iced the cakes, and lawdy lawd, it. is. UH-MAAAAAY-ZING! If I wasn't already full of myself before, I would totally be after these cakes came out! Sharpest, cleanest edges EVAH! Remind me to talk about it more on another post that isn't alarming in length.
Confession: So...it's about 16 hours since I started the cakes (I did Faith's first since she had an earlier delivery time. I took Friday off, thank GOODNESS and ended up using ALL the time!), with the fondant giving me uber trouble, by this time, it was pretty much hardening and drying up WHILE I was kneading it, I was pretty much feeling really disappointed, dejected and seriously a little delusional and delirious at this point. I finished the one cake and just could NOT get on to the next one. I actually called Auntie Luz and told her I had to fall back on her first request of doing only the one cake and having the boys take turns blowing out the candle. She did not even give me a hard time and just said okay, but even after hanging up, I knew I couldn't let those boys SHARE a cake and candle. It made me SO sad to think that I would put them in that situation. So I re-arranged my plans for the day and with a three hour window, I went and bought new white fondant and added pre-made red fondant as well to save more time, and I laid fondant over the (perfectly) iced cakes that I thought were going to get left behind. I rolled out gumpaste that I begged to dry uber quickly, cut them out, drew the comic sound effects and cut out the buildings and drew on them, thanking my lucky stars that the comic book "look" seemed to call for more squiggly, doodle like lines.
Now each boy, although they had the same looking cake, had their OWN individual cakes with their OWN name and candle to blow out :)
And thank goodness I had my brother with me for these deliveries, otherwise, I have NO idea how I would have actually gotten them to the party with no catastrophes. Although we almost had one when the one cake tipped over and the comic sound-effects signs got knocked over. But if you can't see them from here, I'd consider that a blessing that that's the only thing that happened! I also thought they looked super cute in my matching cake stands! See?! A girl needs LOTS and LOTS of cake stands! Even some that are EXACTLY the same! Obviously.
Alright, I guess I'd better wrap this up. As worried as I was about the fondant and working with, what I'm told, is my propensity to over-criticize myself, I have to say that the cakes turned out okay. I hope the special birthday kiddos enjoyed them and had a fabulous time at their respective birthday parties! I'm really happy and honoured I played a special little part in it :)
As for me...I've got a super fun afternoon planned with my friend Ann tomorrow, who's come up from the good ol' US of A and we're gonna see what kind of shenanigans we can get into. After that, I believe a cake break is in order...after a small-ish cake for this weekend, a drum cake for next and then it seems I just got an FB message for possibly another one on the 28th. *LOL*