Sunday, March 4, 2012

Bright, beautiful, butterflies!

A few weeks ago when I was at choir practice at church, my friend Jen asked if I would be interested in making a cake and cupcakes for her daughter Madeline's first birthday. Would I? Of course, I'd love to! She said she wanted to go with butterflies so I told her to take a look online and send me pictures of any cakes she liked, to give me an idea. I did some searching as well, during which I found a really cute idea for the cupcakes. Well, two days later, she e-mailed me a ton of pictures, some more intricate than others, and in the end, she decided on a really cute cake with lots of bright colors.

Then came the baking part. Jen requested yellow cake with raspberry buttercream filling. Now let me just say that this was my first time making this particular cake recipe.I already had a good recipe for the filling, but for the cake - every time I'd made a yellow cake from scratch in the past, it came out very dense, like pound cake. Not exactly what you want for a one-year old's birthday. So I looked everywhere, and then I saw a post that my friend Ann made about a new cake recipe she found for yellow cake that was very moist and not overly dense. Jackpot! I asked her for the recipe and she was happy to share (thanks Ann!). Several hours later - I had all of my cakes and cupcakes baked and ready to frost and decorate.

The decorating was so much fun - I have seriously missed decorating with fondant and gum paste, almost as much as I've missed making royal icing flowers. (which will be coming up soon for Easter!).
All of the flowers and decorations on the side of the cake were made with fondant - the butterflies are a fondant/gum paste mix. I originally dried them in a box, each butterfly in one piece, bent in the middle. They dried okay, but then I realized I would have problems putting them on the cake this way. So I broke them in half and pressed each wing into the cake, with the body in the middle. Not perfect, but pretty darn close!

For the smash cake - I knew I wanted to make it simple. Not a lot of fondant, but cute nonetheless. So I put two ladybugs on the sides, a butterfly on top(to be removed before the birthday girl got to work!), and front and center - the initials of her name - MVP (her older sister has the initials VIP!). It's obvious that she liked it, don't you think?

 Finally, the cupcakes were iced by me with a simple swirl and then decorated by the children at the party (I did the rest while the kids went to burn off their sugar rush!). Pretzels for the wings, an M&M for the head, icing for the body, and for the antennae, I took some black chocolate fondant, rolled it into a rope, cut out little pieces and let them dry so they'd be easier to work with. Much more kid friendly than black licorice.

Thanks Jen for allowing me to be part of your daughter's special day - Happy Birthday Madeline!