Friday, March 9, 2012

Birthday Blast!

Yesterday was my one and only nephew's 1st Birthday!  He lives  just barely out of cake delivering range (about 2,150 miles too far)  but that doesn't mean he can't appreciate the thought of a delicious cake made for him... well maybe he can't just yet.

Either way today is all about Adam and  his Happy Birthday Rocket Cake!

 Never again will I scoff at a cake that has slight bumps and lumps in the fondant, nor will I look at a sculpted cake and say I could do that! Shaping and covering a cake rocket kicked my butt! But first lets talk cake.

I found a picture of a cute Martha Stewart recipe that had 6 layers of brightly colored cake with pure white frosting. ( Find and follow all my cake inspirations and finds on Pinterest! There's a link at the top of this page)
Since no one was actually receiving this cake I wanted to take the time to try out some variations on the white cake.  I had success with a recipe from Cake Bible in the past.  This butter rich cake was fluffy and delicious straight from the oven, but once chilled became dense, still tasty but dense with re-coagulated butter.  Each of my 5 layers I changed a few ingredients around to experiment with different combinations of butter and oil and sugar and eggs.

 I tried a different combo of egg yolks, whites and whole eggs  also.  The colored batter made for easy recognition of the different attempts.

Base Recipe:
2 yolks
1 whole egg
1/2 cup Milk
1 tsp Vanilla
1 1/2 cups cake flour
3/4 cups sugar
2 tsp baking powder
5 tbl Butter
1 tbl Oil

Blue layer
2 whole eggs; everything else same
Purple layer:
2 egg whites, 1/2 cup sugar; everything else same
Orange layer:
3tbl butter, 2 tbl oil; everything else same
Yellow layer:
same as base but with added color.

After all that, my findings were not as shocking as I hoped.  The only drastic difference was the purple layer was very flat and dense. The best was the orange, but still not as moist as I hoped.  I'll keep tweaking this recipe to find the perfect cake, but at least I got 5 'what not to do's' out of the way.

Next was layering, frosting and sculpting.  Taking a square tower of cake and trying to visualize a 3D rocket was much harder than I thought.  With no model to go from, but only a picture, it took me about an hour to get something that even resembled a rocket.  How did Michelangelo do it?! (Due to frustration levels at an all time high, there aren't many action shots of the sculpting process)

For the tip I used all the cake scrapes that were cut from the edges, mixed with a little frosting and cake ball modeling clay! It held up really well, especially after being chilled.

  Covering with fondant next.... first it was too heavy and ripped then too thin and ripped then just right and ripped.  

The solution was too re-cover the rocket with 4 large sections which were lighter than one whole piece.This worked, but all the bumps and lumps showed right through. On to decorating to hopefully cover all the imperfections.  

 The wings I traced onto parchment paper then rolled out fondant with a little gumpaste mixed in and cut it from the stencil. ( Adding gumpaste helps the fondant harden when dry, making decorations much more stable) 
My piping skills showed some room for improvement, but  this gave me great practice.  Trying to pipe a steady line over and over is a sure way to improve. 
(Adam's cousin Asher helped me fine tune the details!)

The results were fun! The inside cool! And the marbling from the cake scrapes tasted and looked fantastic! I'm definitely going to use the technique again when sculpting cakes. All in all its a rocket!
(Check out more pics on my Cakes page)

Happy Birthday Adam!!! :)


  1. this cake looks awesome!!! and the marbled frosting cake scrap part is making me drool

  2. Jackie, Michael, and AdamMarch 11, 2012 at 1:17 AM

    We love the finished product. You made a beautiful cake! I also loved reading about your process. That was so clever to color coordinate your test layers. Adam is so lucky to have you as his auntie...a whole lot of love and WORK went into that baked beauty. You're amazing!