Sweet Leaf

Finding Beauty through Baking ~by Susan Baxter-Peace

T-Rex Leftovers February 8, 2016

I had some cake pieces, frosting and fondant leftover after the T-Rex cake last week. We ate some of them just on their own, but the rest I decided to make into little treats to celebrate a couple birthdays in the daycare.

I crumbled what cake was left, mixed it with what frosting was left, and shaped them into bite sized cubes – about the size of a two-bite brownie. Then I rolled out some fondant and wrapped each one, hoping to make them look like little presents. The fondant was a bit bulky on the side folds, but I wasn’t going for perfection here, I mostly just wanted to use everything up.

I cut out some flower shapes for a decorative topper and stuck them on with some ‘meringue powder glue.’ They remind me of a less refined petit four – a cute little bite of dense cake with a yummy, decorative coating. A new variation of the popular cake-pop, perhaps?

 

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T-Rex Cake February 3, 2016

Well, here it is, as promised. There was great excitement at the birthday party over the weekend as the much-anticipated T-Rex was unveiled. It took awhile to think through just how I was going to do it, but as the brainwaves circulated, one idea led to another, and I think what I ended up doing worked really well.

After doing some image searches for T-Rex cakes I was originally going to try making a head and claws coming out of the top of a cake, but as I narrowed down my method I decided to do a whole dino.

After considering a few options, I went for a cake pop style. You remember cake pops? (click here for a refresher) Crumbled cake mixed with frosting, shaped into balls and dipped in candy coating. But instead of shaping it into balls, I molded it into a T-Rex; and instead of candy coating, I made fondant. I formed the dino on top of parchment paper so that it would be easy to get off when I needed to transfer it onto the cake. I put it in the fridge to chill so that it wouldn’t get squished when I put the fondant overtop. It all worked really well, although the fondant looked a bit rough around the bottom edges where it had to get tucked into tight places (mouth, arms and legs).

 

I made a regular cake for the base, frosted it with chocolate frosting, laid the finished T-Rex on top, and surrounded it with those little chocolate stones. There was A LOT of chocolate in this cake! I was pretty happy with how it turned out, and I think the birthday boy was too!

 

4th Birthday Party! July 10, 2015

My daughter recently celebrated her 4th birthday, how time flies! You may remember back in February I made a blue race car cake for a friend of ours (check it out here). Well, ever since then my daughter has been saying that she also wanted a race car cake for her birthday, except she wanted it to be pink…5 months of her asking about this pink race car cake! And her biggest emphasis was on the cookie wheels. I think she really just wanted the cake for the wheels. I probably could have just made a whole bunch of fondant covered Oreos and she would have been satisfied. But I digress.

So I brought out the race car design, changed the lightening bolts to flowers, and voila, little girl’s 4th birthday pink race car cake was created. It was kind of nice to do a design I’d already made, a lot less legwork. And I also knew how to improve it. For example, tripling the cake recipe instead of just doubling it, so that the car wouldn’t be quite so squat! It still took a while to make, but definitely went faster the second time around.

I won’t go into a lot of detail, you can read that on the blue race car cake post, but I will post some pictures of the pink race car cake, including the cookie wheels!

You can check out her previous birthday cakes here:

1st Birthday

2nd birthday

3rd Birthday

 

Playing with Food: Bringing Fairy Tales to Life April 30, 2015

20150328_171337My daughter has been really into the story The Gingerbread Man lately. You know the old Golden Book classic, “Run, run, as fast as you can, you can’t catch me I’m the gingerbread man!” She has a pretty high attention to detail, so after reading the story many times she finally said we should make a gingerbread man, “with raisins for eyes, a currant for nose, and a pink sugar candy waistcoat.” She did also say that she wanted a girl gingerbread, but we ended up making some of both 🙂

So one Saturday morning we made the gingerbread cookies together; I helped with the rolling, but she did most of the cookie cutting herself. They cooled during rest time, and I set to work getting all the decorating requirements lined up, with a few additions just for fun. I had almost forgotten the most important piece, but when I went up to check on my daughter mid-rest (I don’t think she actually rested at all!), she reminded me with great excitement “raisins for eyes, a currant for nose and a pink sugar candy waistcoat.” I had about 20 minutes to produce some pink sugar candy waistcoats!

I threw together a mini-batch of fondant by melting some marshmallows in the microwave, mixing in icing sugar, then colouring it pink. It came out perfectly, and there was just enough for the number of cookies we had.

She didn’t seem to mind that we didn’t have any currants for noses, and was pretty happy with chocolate chips and gold dragees as substitutions. Even the raisins only made it on the first one she decorated! But she was very focused and spent about an hour meticulously decorating each gingerbread cookie, making each one unique from the last. And at the end she eagerly picked her favourite one to eat.

On the last page of the story (spoiler alert) a fox eats the gingerbread man, and it reads “that is exactly what should happen to all gingerbread men.” I couldn’t agree more, and I think my daughter does too!

 

Race Car Cake February 9, 2015

I recently started looking after children in our home (in addition to our own), and one of our new friends celebrated his third birthday on the weekend. I had offered to make his cake, and the overwhelming consensus was that he wanted a blue race car cake.

I looked up a few ideas online, looking at whether to do a full sized car, or do a landscape with cars on top, and decided to go for the whole car. Partly because as I was looking I saw one that used Oreo cookies for wheels and thought that was a brilliant idea! As the design took shape I thought that having plain Oreo cookies wouldn’t match the rest of the fondant covered cake, so I experimented with fondant covered Oreos, as you saw in my post from a few days ago.

I baked the cake in a 16-inch round pan, then cut the sides off and used those side pieces to build up the top of the cake (the windows of the car). This worked well because it gave me the curves and contours for the front of the car and the windshield.

I made all the fondant pieces ahead of time, measuring against the cake as I went to make sure they’d fit, so it was pretty straightforward to assemble once all the pieces were done. I brushed on a mix of meringue powder and water to ‘glue’ some sugar glitter on the windows, lights and lightening bolts, and then to stick them to the blue fondant that coated the whole car. The wheels were bulkier, so I made a black royal icing to glue those in place.

I was pretty happy with the results, although the car was a little squat (especially once the wheels were attached!), so if I were to do it again I would make a bigger cake batch to raise it a bit higher. But it seemed to be a hit with the birthday boy, and that for me was the best part!

 

Lagging Behind… February 6, 2015

Filed under: Baking - Desserts,Decorating — sweetleafsusie @ 2:34 pm
Tags: , ,

Clearly I have been preoccupied these days, and I apologize for not keeping up with the blog. I have had a couple posts in the works in my head, but they have not made it to the screen.

That will soon change. I am working on a cake this weekend, and it will involve fondant covered Oreo cookies (which taste AMAZING – I love testing ideas!), and I am excited to share it with you once it’s completed.

Until then, dream of cookies and fondant as you anticipate the results!

 

 
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