After a long summer break (we spent the summer abroad), I finally got the chance to make a birthday cake again. The customer requested a special birthday cake for her daughter. I received a picture she found online, I believe in was from CakeCentral.com, and requested a similar ladybug cake. The color theme was pink and light green, which looked so cute. It was a two tiered round cake with a ladybug cake on top. This was the first time doing a tiered cake, so I informed myself how to stack cakes etc. So happy to learn and try something new!
Off I went to the local craft store to get the needed supplies. I was really excited to make this cake, because it gave me the chance to work with fondant again, which I love to do. Luckily, I took the last Wilton class (Fondant and Gumpaste) before the summer, which taught me to properly cover a cake with fondant and make accents with gumpaste.
At home, I mixed up two batches of Marshmallow fondant. I prefer to make the fondant myself. Marshmallow fondant tastes better in my opinion and is cheaper than store bought fondant. Five days before I had to deliver the cake I started to make the decorations. This way they would have time to dry and keep their shape on the cake. I formed little ladybugs out of a fondant/gumpaste mix. I read so many comments online that stated that it was hard to achieve a dark black fondant, but with plenty of Wilton’s gel color it was not as difficult as I thought.
I also formed little and big white flowers out of fondant/gumpaste.
I planned on ordering letter and number cutters, but I did not have time to get them delivered, so I decided to form the letters and numbers myself. They actually turned out nice and I was glad I did not use cutters to do so.
Last, I formed leaves. I used a sharp kitchen knife to cut out leaf shapes. On a thin foam pad I pressed in the leaf’s veins using the blue tool from one of the Wilton student kits. I placed the leaves on the Wilton Wave Flower former, so they would look like real leaves.
For the base a baked two 10 inch round cakes. The top tier was a two layer 6 inch round cake and the ladybug was made out of a half Wilton Sports Ball pan. All the cakes were red velvet cake following a recipe from Paula Deen at Foodnetwork.com (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/grandmother-pauls-red-velvet-cake-recipe/index.html).
The recipe calls for buttermilk and in the past I bought it at the supermarket. This time I made buttermilk myself and it worked out wonderfully: 1 cup of whole milk mixed with 1 Tbsp of white vinegar. Let it stand for at least 5 minutes and you get buttermilk great for baking without any leftovers.
To get a deep red color you usually need a lot of red food coloring, but Wilton’s gel colors are intense. This No-Taste Red tinted my cake a beautiful red without the taste of food coloring. I filled the cakes with a crusting cream cheese frosting following this recipe from Cakeboos.com: http://www.cakeboss.com/CreamCheeseFrosting.aspx. It calls for a bigger amount of powdered sugar with let the frosting crust a little bit and preserves the cream cheese. Therefore it was perfect for using under fondant. Because I cannot refrigerate the fondant covered cake, it was important to have a stable cream cheese frosting that would not melt inside the cake and destroy the decoration. Everything worked out great and I am proud of my ladybug cake.
I loved making this cake and making a tiered cake was certainly a new experience. Happy customer = Happy baker!