Friday, May 27, 2011

What the heck is a Beyblade?

I didn't know either, but I was asked by a friend at work to make a Beyblade cake for her son Jay's birthday.  "ok...sure...I enjoy a challenge!" :)  Luckily, she brought in a couple of samples for me so I could see what these things look like in person.

Apparently there's an arena for them and all sorts of battling that can be done.  Who knew?
Anyway, the basic design seemed easy enough...obviously I'll start with a round cake.
Every now and then the patterning above happens, especially with deeper cakes.  I baked this cake as one round and then cut it in half to create 2 layers.  It's a 14 inch round cake pan, 3 inches deep, so it can accommodate the rising of the batter.  But since the pan was so deep, it took this cake almost an hour and a half to bake through!  When the cakes are in the oven for that long, that's when I tend to get an impression pattern from the parchment paper that I used to line the pan.  Obviously nobody ever sees it because it's covered in frosting.  I'm just including the visual in case it ever happens to you and you think there's something wrong with your cake.  No worries.

Next, a layer of frosting...rough is fine.  You regular readers know what I'm going to do to it next!

My trusty Viva paper towel technique...gets the cake nice and smooth.  Sorry about the shadow of my head...I'm right handed and I was taking my own photo and couldn't get out of my own way!



Next I grabbed a new impression mat, I thought it kind of looked like chainmail a little and thought it might help add a rugged look to the side of my cake.  My plan is to spray the cake with my Kopycake food coloring sprayer and give it a metallic sheen. So I thought some texture might be nice.  *Don't forget to hit it with a little Pam first so it doesn't stick to your frosting!*

This isn't the greatest photo, but you can lightly see the impression from the mat.  At least it won't be boring. :)

And now for some color.  Based on the Beyblades I had sitting on the table next to my cake, I decided to go with a dark metal color, for a little more drama. 


I started with a spray of black.  Let that dry for about a half an hour...
And then start working on the top design.  I was attempting to mimic some of the scrolling pattern at the top of the Beyblade.  Did I get close??
Looking closely at the scroll pattern, I wanted to attempt to make it a little more dimensional, so I decided I would create a sloped edge on the cake design.  I used a small brush and lightly feathered the edges...
Then I gave it a little more black color so it blended with the top of the cake, and then a touch of metallic blue.  I know, the blade isn't blue, but I was worried about layering on too much black and dark silver, and thought the blue might be nice and metallic looking in combination with the black.  Here's a close up:
Next I want to start on the center design and decide I'm going to go with red.  The Beyblade I was looking at had a red center with some paisley-esque shapes inside of it.  So I took that direction.
There's something to know about coloring frosting red.  If you use the food coloring from the grocery store, it will require A LOT of coloring to get a rich red color AND it's going to taste really bitter.  One of the things I love about the Americolor gel paste colors is their ability to not flavor your frosting.  They make a super black and super red to help avoid the problem of getting grey and pink frosting when you start mixing.  Here's what you're looking for:


This color is actually fairly accurate.  You mix it to about this shade and when it dries it'll be nice and dark.  You just have to trust me...
I went with the same paisley pattern.  The birthday boy had requested a fireball of some sort if I could make that work, so first I used a toothpick to trace the design, then I used a food color marker to draw it on. 
I added some more of the design around the outside, and some edible gold glitter to the "fireballs" and decided that was good.  (This picture is out of order, sorry...I just thought I'd throw it in here since I was discussing the addition of the fireballs)

So, looking again at the Beyblade, I am trying to determine what to do to mimic the gold plastic piece on top.  I decided that another texture might be helpful (vs. putting another layer of frosting on it), so I hit the cake with some gold sprinkles.
Not perfect, but a close enough approximation. 
I fanned out the area of sprinkles significantly to make the area larger...

Add some birthday wishes, and a box...and we're ready for delivery.  Hopefully the birthday boy enjoyed it. Thanks for the challenging cake project! :)



Monday, May 23, 2011

Just Ducky

Sorry for the long delay between posts, life has been getting in the way of regular updates (but not baking!).
So, a couple of weeks ago we had a baby shower in my office and the gender of the baby was unknown.  I came across these ducky cupcake wrappers and decided to make some ducky cupcakes for the shower since they were somewhat gender neutral:
My thinking was that I could bake the cupcakes, spray the tops of them blue to simulate water and match the wrapper, and then make some little ducky toppers out of sugar cookies.  So, first, I made the toppers.  Found an adorable ducky cookie cutter at Hobby Lobby for .35 and had my way with it.  I used my favorite sugar cookie dough recipe (see link here: http://howirollwithit.blogspot.com/2011/02/oh-baby.html) and added a tiny bit more flour and rolled with a lot more flour, just to keep the cookies from spreading in the oven.

First, I used my trusty Josef Josef roller (see previous cookie post for details...it's the best thing in the world for getting uniform dough).  And cut out a ton of duckies:


And decided to bake in toothpicks in order to keep the little guys afloat on top of my cupcakes.  It's likely that I could have just wedged them into the pile of frosting and they'd have been fine, but since they're so little I decided not to chance it.  And look how nice and even they are!

Since they were itty bitty, they only needed to bake for about 6 minutes at 350.  You can see below, they poofed up a little, but they didn't lose their shape.  I let them sit for about 2 hours to firm up.



In the meantime, I mixed up 2 colors of royal icing.  The recipe on the Wilton website works just fine, but this time I actually bought a mix out of curiosity, and I have to admit that I thought the flavor was actually much better.  I got this one: http://astore.amazon.com/hoirowiit-20/detail/B003TYA1KS
and used the Americolor gel food colorings to get the yellow and orange needed. I added a #2 tip to my favorite decorating bottles and outlined the cookies first.
And let the outlines dry about 30 minutes, and then proceeded with the same bottle to floor the space in between.  While that flooding dried, I piped on some little orange beaks and let the whole cookie dry for another hour or so.  Finally, I went back with the same bottle of yellow and added a wing.  Since the previous layer of royal is dry, it sits on top and gives the wing some dimension.  The eyes get added last, just a dot of the food coloring marker.
A virtual flotilla of duckies!

The cupcakes got baked and sprayed with my handy dandy KopyKake sprayer and topped with a ducky.

Quacktastic. :)