Friday, June 1, 2012

Brown Bear Birthday Cake and Treats

Posted by MamaWa at 5:24 PM 1 comments
About the same time last year, a friend of my sister's called me about a jungle themed baby shower cake.  I remember that cake like it was yesterday, and it still brings a smile to my face.  This year, that baby is now turning 1 year old!  Wendy called me about the big event for Lucas, and we went over the details... down to the cake stand she wanted to use.  The idea behind the theme was inspired from the book, "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see?".  Wendy felt that the illustrations from the book were not as inviting as she would like.  So why not create a cuter version?!  Using my background in graphic design, the cute little creatures on the cake were born and brought to life.

This cake was my first attempt at creating edible plaques and decorating a cake with edible images.  I created custom animals in Illustrator and printed them out on edible wafer paper with edible ink.  Please do not attempt to print on edible paper with any regular printer.  They are not food safe, and we don't want anyone getting sick :(  The images were then attached to a sheet of gumpaste that I rolled out 1/8 inch thick.  I brushed on a thin even coat of clear piping gel to the back of the printed image, and then gently smoothed it onto the gumpaste.  A tip for edible images is to not over wet the wafer paper or the printed image can bleed into the surrounding icing.  With the aid of a sharp exacto knife and a steady hand, I cut out each of the cuties and allowed them to dry completely.

Wendy loved the last cake I made so much that we duplicated the flavors in this cake.  The 10" bottom was a chocolate with chocolate bavarian cream, and the top 6" was a french vanilla with buttercream.  The two cakes were crumb coated and blanketed in a smooth layer of white vanilla fondant.  Once stacked, colorful and playful edible images were used to decorate the cake.  I chose the Luck's Happy Tall Variety Designer Prints because they matched the setup pictures sent to me by Wendy.   I dampened a clean paper towel and gently ran it along the sides of the cakes to attach the edible images.  This moisten the fondant enough for proper adhesion without over-wetting the images.  Carefully aligning the strips with the bottom edge of the cake, I wrapped the edible images around the cake and smoothed it down with my hands.  Make sure you hands are dry when handling these, or you can run into some sticky situations, literally.  The cute edible plaques were then attached to the cake with the help of some melted white candy coating.  For two of the animals in the front and the brown bear on top,  I dipped wooden popsicle sticks into the candy coating and attached them to the back of the plaques.  This allows for a cleaner looking backside once they were inserted into the cake.  Some people like to pipe on a glob of candy to secure the stick, but that looks too lumpy for me.


Oh, but the fun did not end there.  In addition to the cake, Wendy wanted 5 dozen animal cake pops as centerpieces for the tables, and 2 dozen push cake pops as favors.  To tell you the truth, I think the cake pops were harder than the cake itself.  There was so much detail that went into these little guys.  They just looked too cute to even eat!  Starting with chocolate cake, I formed 1.25" balls of yummy goodness and chilled them in the fridge before working with them.  I melted the five colors of candy coating and dipped each one and tapped off the excess before attaching the appropriate candy or nonpareil.  The fun was being able to use different candies and be very creative with it.  The green frogs had their candy necklace eyes,  candied sunflower seeds made up the red birds' beaks, the brown bears got their M&M ears, chocolate chips for the purple cats, and the black sheep was covered in black candy pearls.


The push cake pops were a good surprise for the guests - young and the young at heart!  The two chocolate mini cakes nestled between fluffy layers of green and blue buttercream are delicious and fun to eat!  Just push them up and into your mouth!  These bake up in a mini cupcake pan in about 15 minutes.  Using a #1M tip, I dot a bit of buttercream inside the push up container to hold the first cake in place.  A swirl of buttercream goes in between before the second cake, and a nice swirl tops it all off.  Enjoy!


 

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