Thursday, September 9, 2010

Make it Yourself Monday-on Thursday!

I think you all know by now I am not the most consistent blogger, and I started school this week which is making me even more tired!  Yes I started school on Tuesday, I am going back to college to be a pastry chef!  I am so excited! 

Anyway the picture above is from my niece's 5th birthday party.  She loves Strawberry Shortcake and I offered to make her cake.  I looked online for ideas and found mostly character cakes made from character pans but I wanted something different.  Between the two of us we settled on a cake that looked like a strawberry with a Strawberry Shortcake doll next to it.  I decided to surprise her and make Strawberry's house.  This is not an exact replica, but she knew what it was and she loved it, and I had fun making it for her. 

Not to discount my work, but it was not very difficult to make.  I spent about 5 hours on the entire cake- including the sheet cake underneath(more pictures to follow).  I decided to make the strawberry by cooking a cake in a glass bowl - you can use a mix or make it from scratch.  This actually came out quite well, he cracks on the top as the cake cooked naturally formed the cake into a fat little strawberry shape.     Then I bought a small bucket of red fondant from Michael's, and I used those 40% off coupons in the paper.  Also, every time I make a purchase it seems to spit another coupon out, and no one seems to have an issue with me going through the line a few times.   Fondant is not as hard as I thought- you warm it in the microwave according to the package directions and roll it out- I used a regular rolling pin, not a  special fondant pin.  I made sure it was large enough, and laid it over the strawberry, then I cut excess off the bottom,  and smoothed lines with warm water.  I used a simple leaf cookie cutter for the leaves, and rolled yellow fondant into tiny seeds with my fingers- that took the longest!  Then I just let my imagination get carried away! I used candy from the dollar store and from my sister's stash to decorate.  All I did was look up a photo online of the toy, and used my niece's toy as a model, and did my best.  I used little raspberry candies for bushes, and tiny butterfly sprinkles in different spots on the flowers and leaves.  Tootsie Rolls cut in half and dots are the walkway.  Next to the house I rolled some blue fondant into an uneven shape and laid it out as a pond.  I made a little fish from yellow fondant, and a lifesaver raft.   I also took a stick of gum, rolled it on top to make a headrest, and made a raft for Strawberry Shortcake to swim in her blueberry pond!   I am not quite comfortable yet making characters out of fondant or frosting, so I used my niece's doll as a decoration. 

Are you still scared?  Don't be.  This is a great way to wow your child and you do not need to spend a lot of money.  If you keep a well stocked pantry of  ingredients or cake mixes bought with coupons you can save money right from the start.  My sister keeps a basket of all of the candy the kids get from parties and goody bags, and you can do that too.  You can purchase frosting and other items at stores like Michael's, Joann's, and AC Moore with weekly 40% off coupons.  It takes just as much preparation in advance as it does to shop your regular weekly store deals.

As for fondant, I discovered this past week that if I have trouble molding it myself, I can use a cookie cutter, or a candy mold.   

This past week I made a Winnie the Pooh cake for a baby shower.  I was really stressing about the Pooh Bear.  What I decided to do was buy a large 3 inch teddy bear cookie cutter for 99 cents and color fondant with food coloring, and not roll it out.  I used the cookie cutter to cut the bear thick and then I added more fondant for his tummy and his snout.  I used the bear cutter again to cut some red fondant left over from the strawberry to cut out Pooh's red shirt.  I used left over yellow to make tiny bees, just by rolling them with my fingers, and placed them on with a toothpick.   I used black writer icing for the stripes, and some white fondant to make wings.  I used a giant cupcake pan to make the beehive -I just used the top part of the cupcake and frosted it yellow! 

Now, had I thought a little more in advance I learned I could color my fondant with frosting coloring, and pop it into a candy mold to make flowers, leaves, etc.    That is the point of this, you learn as you go!  I encourage you to try some fun, creative new ideas for Halloween or the Holidays, and use the Wilton website for inspiration and assistance.  I will post more cakes and ideas as I go....good luck!

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