Thursday, June 8, 2017

Pseudo Pinterest Fail: Luca's "Boo" Birthday Cake

For my daughter's 9th Birthday "Puppy Party", she wanted this adorable "Boo Puppy" cake by "A Pocket Full of Sweetness" that she found on Pinterest.
INSPIRATION: Adorable Perfection!

Of course I immediately called my girl, Winter Walker (@WinterCakes) who makes the most delicious and BEAUTIFUL cakes, and asked if she could do a version of this Boo Cake, but she is unavailable this year (waaaa!) is in town visiting -- she can bake a mean cake...and I'm pretty artistic...maybe I could decorate it?

I ran to Michaels and bought pretty much everything I would need to decorate the cake (which would be fine if I were going to do this again...which I don't think I will...again...EVER!):

  • White Fondant for "Boo" and the Name Plate
  • Colored Fondant: Sweetshop has some pretty good colors for the cake decor: Pink, Lavender, and Blue; and Wilton has a "Natural Color Multipack" which includes Light Brown, Dark Brown, Dusty Pink and Black (all used for "Boo")
  • Name Plate and Letter Cutters (I wasn't going to attempt to write the name!)
  • Roller Pin
  • Cake Leveler
  • Fondant Tool Kit
  • Ribbon Cutter Kit
  • Edible Adhesive
  • Parchment Paper
  • Buttercream Icing (picked up at a chef/baking shop)

I watched a billion YouTube videos how to work with fondant in the days leading up to the big day...
     I think I can do this. 
     No, I can't....
     I am in way over my head! 

I start frantically calling bakeries for a "base cake" that I could work with....but it was too late....I was on my own (for the decorating at least).

Mom-in-law started baking the yummiest chocolate cake ever, while I started to sculpt Boo. Here are photos of the process:
Form the body, stick a tooth pick, let sit for 2 hours
Shape the head, snout, ears...I couldn't figure out how to keep
his head round...when I set him down, he would flatten a bit 
OMG! So cute! I added the eyes (dark brown, black and white fondant),
nose and tongue. He looks adorable! Feeling good at this point!

Added a big bow...a little complicated to make, but turned out cute! Proud mama.

Now....I wanted Boo to while I worked on the cake "shell",  I put Boo in the refrigerator to harden: BAD MOVE! Although he hardened initially, once removed from the refrigerator, he began to sweat and soften...and started to wilt :(  

I shoved a collection of toothpicks and bbq skewers inside him, determined to prop him up, but nothing worked. With the A/C blasting, he eventually dried out in his new found squashed look. I created a lavender pillow for him to place under his butt to help prop him helped a teeny bit.

When the cake was done and cooled off (I don't think it cooled off enough), I covered it in a layer of Buttercream (what I learned is called the "crumb layer"). Let it cool again, then another layer of Buttercream to create a smooth base.

I prepped a lot for the individual strips of pink and lavender to create the chevron pattern. What a pain in the #@$! I measured the height and outside diameter of the cake...divided into 6 equal panels, and laid out the entire chevron pattern on the parchment paper. I used the ribbon cutter to make equal strips. I got it to lay out perfectly. I was so happy. Then, I went to apply the strips to the cake. I had seen tutorials where the cake designer lifts the panels with the strips all at once to adhere to the cake. That didn't work. I had to lay the strips out one-by-one, applying the adhesive to each piece and getting it to stay. The problem is, the strips stretched each time I applied them to the cake, so by the time I got to the end, my last panel was too small. By this time, it was 2:00 AM (the day of the party), and I needed to finish the dang cake. So I created 3 vertical strips in the left over space. It looked fine.

I found a flower shaped cookie cutter in my kitchen drawer, so I used that to quickly make flowers. I rolled pink balls, and used a toothpick to create creases and dimension.

BUT...the chevron strips kept buckling. I have NO idea why or how to prevent it from happening...but at this point, I had to move on. 

I created the pillow for Boo, then assembled everything. Squishy, but still kind of cute. Not perfect...and for someone who strives to be a perfectionist....I was disappointed in the buckling and wilting. Especially since it took me around 15 hours to do! Ugh. 
My final cake...a little squishy and buckling, not as beautiful as the inspiration...but still kind of cute. 
Troubleshooting: I added vertical strips when chevron paneling failed. I ran out of
white fondant, so I made a lavender pillow for Boo to lay on to prop him up a bit.
(Indentations are where I shoved additional toothpicks for support)

The sides buckled, and Boo wilted....but everyone loved the cake anyway! I am still not sure how to avoid the problems I
encountered during the process...BUT... I am proud of my Pseudo Pinterest Fail for my first ever fondant cake decorating.


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