Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Crafting with Cake

I haven't posted in FOREVER on this blog, but I assure you I have been crafting. Mostly sewing, that's kind of my "therapy" these days...something goes wrong, take a break at my sewing machine. Of course, John has gotten tall enough and discovered that he can come and grab knobs on my machine - his favorite is the 'backstitch switch', which makes a fun clinking noise for him.

But, I've also done some cake decorating lately. First I decorate one for my brother-in-law Joe, I put pictures up on my other blog if you want to look at it. It was whipped out in less than 2 hours, so it really isn't anything I'm particularly proud of.

And then last Saturday I made a birthday cake for Maddy & John's combined birthday party Saturday night. Preparations for this cake started earlier in the week, and it never would have been this good if my mom hadn't offered to take the kids for me Saturday morning so I could decorate without their "help".

It's based on Maddy's current favorite book..."If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" which is really a cute book, even when you've read it 500 times!

1. "Happy Birthday" made out of sugar and corn syrup boiled together to a ridiculously hot temperature and then cooled enough so that I could handle it. This was very tricky, but I wanted to challenge myself. I ended up pulling out my hairdryer to blow on the stuff while I was forming it to try to keep it hot enough longer, because as it cools it gets hard and brittle. And re-melting changes the color a bit (making it murky yellow rather than see-through yellow; I ran out of stuff though so the last letter Y was murky and the rest were clear.) I also cheated and used a hot glue gun for some of them. Maddy enjoyed eating them (not the hot glued ones!)

2. The Mouse - a very critical part of this cake. I change my mind every time I look at it whether I like it or not. Overall, its not bad for an untrained cake decorator for myself. I'll go into more details about it later.\

3. The Cookies - made of yellow cake, decorated with icing and chocolate chips. I had completely different plans for the Cookie part of the cake, but this worked out nice so I could give Maddy and John their own little cakes.

4. The milk cup (because the story goes "If you give a mouse a cookie, he's going to ask for a glass of milk.) I used the same recipe for sugar/corn syrup as I did for the letter, but I didn't color it and I didn't let it cool very much before I poured it over the outside of a foil covered cup. This was very tricky, and far from a perfect end product. And actually, the first cup I made broke so I had to make a second one. Then I filled it with white icing and stuck a straw in it and called it good. Oh, and the foil didn't all want to come off but I was able to hide it with icing. I guess I've got a ways to go until I can be on Food Network's Cake Challenge, huh? ;)

I had a lot of people (my mom, mother-in-law, sisters, etc.) ask how I did the mouse. Why, using some tricks I picked up from watching cable TV of course!!!

First, I made a wire frame (I used some craft wire stuff that had a coating thing on the outside cause thats all I had, but someday I may invest in some real wire.) Then I filled in the frame with rice krispy treats, forming it to look like a mouse as much as I could. Then it was covered with fondant. I used homemade fondant again, which is kind of weird. I think I'd like to try store-bought fondant to see if I can get a better result.

I also used a toothpick to put marks in the face (eyes, mouth, whiskers, some fur markings) then lightly painted the top with some black gel icing I had. It gave a wee bit more depth.

So, there you have it. Go to my other blog soon if you want to see how my children enjoyed these cakes!

Oh, and I hope to get some posts up soon of all the sewing I've been doing too!


  1. That cake is amazing!!! The mouse is amazing!The letters are amazing! You are very talented. I can't get over how cool that cake looks. I am jealous of your cake decorating skills. Great job! :)

  2. that cake is awesome! i would be so scared to do the sugar letters and cup just for the sake of trying it out! you are oh so brave :) it looks awesome!