Baking

Valentine’s Mini Cake #1: Wild Thing

Wow. It feels like it’s been forever. Which is my fault. I had this grand idea of doing a series of Valentine’s Day mini cakes, but I wanted to have them all ready at once. I thought that would be the most efficient way to do it, sort of assembly line style. However, I kept thinking of supplies I needed and had to wait until I got everything together before I could get started. Then I had to bake all my cakes and make all my fillings and frostings. If I had made them all the same flavor and fillings, that probably would have made things easier but that seemed boring. And I love experimenting with new flavor pairings. I enjoy the artistic and creative process of cake decorating, but in the end, it’s all about the taste. I never want to just focus on looks.

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And once I got started, things still didn’t go smoothly. My Swiss meringue buttercream took FOREVER to come together. Then I struggled with coloring my frosting red. I ran out of red food color and had to wait until I could get to the store for more. Then I tasted the red frosting and it was disgusting. Apparently I had put way too much coloring in and it still wasn’t the red I was looking for. I would not recommend this, but I decided to use it anyway on two of my mini cakes. One was for me and one was for my mother. I just told her to scrape the red off before eating it. Then I ran out of white frosting, and had to take time out to make more. The problems seemed never ending, and not all the cakes turned out the way I had wanted. I think what I learned from the experience is that I work better when I can focus on one cake at a time. I loved having all the cakes ready at once so they could be photographed together, but because I don’t do this for a living, I just don’t have the time to focus on so many different things at once. Turns out I’m a one cake kind of girl.

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So my first cake was inspired by some leopard print heart shaped and sparkly red lip shaped cookies on Bakery Bling’s Instagram feed.  I piped my lips onto my crumb coat first with a small star tip. Then I covered them in Bakery Bling’s Glittery Red Glitter Sugar.

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I did this before piping the leopard print fur because I figured any glitter that ended up on the crumb coat could be covered by the fur. Then I took three piping bags filled with three different frostings: one light brown, one dark brown, and one black. I used Chelsweets black buttercream frosting, but subbed in half shortening to give it a little more structure. For the two browns, I used Life, Love and Sugar’s vanilla buttercream frosting, but added cocoa and a smidgen of brown food coloring until I got two different shades. Using grass tips, I piped the leopard print pattern. You can look at photos of leopard print to help, but the general pattern is dark brown splotches with a horseshoe shape of black around each splotch, and then light brown surrounding. I piped the brown splotches first, then followed up with the black, and then filled in with the light brown.

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I still struggle with the grass tips a bit. I find it hard to get everything the same length so my leopard print is a bit shaggy in places, but hey, practice makes perfect.

The other thing I noticed was that my lips kind of lost definition after being surrounded by the leopard print, so I went back in with my red and piped the outline over again, then piped a line across the middle. Of course, then I had to sprinkle them with the Bakery Bling sugar without getting any on the fur. That was a little tricky, but if you’re very careful, you can do a pretty good job of it.

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This cake was Cake Paper Party’s American Mud Cake. The cake is delightfully chocolatey and is nice and firm without being too dense. I crumb coated and filled this and all the other mini cakes with Cake Paper Party’s Easy Foolproof Swiss Meringue Buttercream. Then I filled this one with Kitchen Kettle Village Fig Jam and Liv for Cake’s honeycomb candy. I only tried a scrap of the cake itself, I did not get to try this one whole as I gave it away to my mother, but I tried all the components separately and I think they would have worked well together.

Overall, I was pretty happy with how this one turned out, although, a few of my leopard spots ended up unfortunately placed and now I can’t stop seeing eyes and a nose above the lips! Let me know what you think and stay tuned for the next Valentine’s Day mini cake!

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