I made this cake for my friend's 35th birthday party. It was a surprise party and her husband did a fabulous job of pulling off a terrific surprise party for her with lots of friends and he even brought her parents in from Florida! How exciting! It all seemed to go off without a hitch: she seemed to suspect nothing and enjoy it all.
As you can see here, I've been having some trouble lately smoothing my buttercream icing. When I first learned cake decorating, it was something I was pretty good at. Perhaps I've become picky through my years of decorating and since learning to make and use fondant, now I want it nice and smooth like fondant. Well, before I totally switch over to fondant, I think I may try out this handy little trick. And probably try beating my icing a little less (which incorporates more air bubbles into the icing). I know another tip given to us was to let the icing rest a day before using it, but I can't remember if that's to let any icing sugar bumps incorporate into the icing better or if it was to get rid of air bubbles. Regardless, I made this icing the night before I used it and it was still bubbling up all over for me. Very frustrating when you want a nice smooth finish.
The cherry blossoms turned out alright. I don't tend to be too hard on myself with cake decorating, since 90% of the population isn't looking at the mistakes I see. Everyone was very impressed and pleased with the cake. And if I haven't said it before, the woman I "learned to mae fondant from" (or at least her writings on the internet) says, "You're working in a medium that is meant to be eaten." Don't take yourself too seriously. It's a great cure for perfectionism.
This is the cake I made for New Years Eve, even though we just had 2 people come over and we didn't dig in before the kids went to bed. It was way too much cake for 4 people. We ate the rest of it for probably the next week. I made a boxed cherry bits cake mix for this recipe because Z had a friend over and we were making it together. I didn't feel like dragging out all the ingredients for a chocolate cake to make a big mess with them. Turned out cream cheese chocolate icing was not that tasty with the cherry bits cake. I wonder how it would have been with chocolate cake... (seems like cupcakes are in order!)
The decorations are piped white chocolate. It was my first time trying that. I piped them onto parchment (good idea) on the counter (not so good idea). I ended up moving (carefully) the parchment over by the window and opening it a crack so they would set faster. It didn't take long, but it was taking a long time at room temp. I tried to make snowflakes, but my chocolate was too warm for that. These squiggles were the best design I tried. I made some stars, too; they're not bad. I'm keeping them refrigerated in a tupperware container with pieces of parchment between the layers.
I hope you'll forgive me for getting out of the blogging groove over Christmas and the new year. Happy New Year. I hope you all will be seeing a lot more of me soon.
Unrelated: I'm working on making some items for my Artfire shop. It's been unstocked for a while and I haven't been taking advantage of the selling capacity there. I'll post here when I have items available and give you a peek at what they are.