This is the funnest, most colorful cake I have ever made! Needless to say, it is also bar none, one of the most challenging cake that I’ve ever worked on…
For those that follow my blogs (thanks a million), last week I gave you a little preview of this cake that I was working on for a family friend. Her first grandchild would be celebrating his first birthday and I felt so honored that I got to make his birthday cake. Yey! Hopefully this would be a beginning of many more cakes that I would be making for him (no pressure there…;p).
His proud grandma had sent me a picture of a 3-tiered circus cake and asked if this is something that I can do and of course I said yes! Now if the question had been, was this something that I had done before? Then the answer would’ve been no ;p but, I welcome the challenge and was so excited to work on it, that for once, I actually started way early in advance before the actual event. I told myself this time, since I am making such a “happy” cake, that I should make it completely stress-free as possible, and that is saying a lot coming from an amateur baker such as myself.
To begin with, I knew that the clowns would probably be the hardest part to make and probably the most time consuming so I decided to tackle them first. I wanted to make the decorations for this cake all edible, just in case little Nathan decided to grab one of the clowns and stuff them in his mouth like most babies would probably do (I was tempted to do this myself, and how old am I???), so instead of using toothpicks, I used dry (uncooked) spaghetti to connect the different parts of the clown. I watched a YouTube video to pattern my first clown, experimented on a design for the second clown, and by the time I got to clown#3, I felt like a true pro.
Next up, circus animals! I mean, what’s a circus without a lion and an elephant, right?
Some of you may wonder, how did I get those hair to look stringy? Here are a few options: garlic press (just make sure it is washed thoroughly because who wants a garlicky taste on their cake? Not me…), cheese grater, or clean (unused) Play-Doh squeezer.
I decided that I will get all the baking parts done today. That way, I only need to run my oven once. Yep! I like saving energy, plus it also guarantees that our house would not be too warm while I’m working on frosting the cakes. Also, here’s a little tip which I found out by accident: if you bake a cake and wrap them up before they are completely cooled, and store them in the fridge, they tend to be more moist than if you let them sit out to cool and frost the same day. Like I said, I learn something new every time I bake. Sometimes I learn the hard way, but…c’est la vie a wise old lady used to say to me.
I needed a home for my elephant so I thought he’d fit perfectly in a circus tent!
The base of the tent was made with 2 layers of 6-inch red velvet cake, coated with cream cheese frosting, and covered with red and white fondant. The roof of the tent is made of Rice Krispies which I thought would be more stable than using cake.
Time to prepare the main cake. This is a 2-tiered, 2-layer cake with the larger base at 10-inches and the top tier 8-inches. The bottom tier was banana bread filled with fresh bananas and custard:
The top layer was chocolate cake with strawberries and cream filling:
Remember when I said on my very first blog that I would try to include my “fails” in my projects? Well, it’ll save you a ton of time and hair pulling if you make sure to “dam” the cake with buttercream frosting when using soft fillings like cream and custard. The dam must be sturdy enough and thick enough to hold all your filling in place when you put on the top layer of your cake, otherwise, the fillings would squeeze out from the side of the cake. Also, make sure that the cake is always stored refrigerated to avoid the frosting from melting. The fondant can start to breakdown when there is too much moisture in the filling.
Once each tier of the cake has been frosted, store in the refrigerator while preparing your fondant cover. Before placing one layer on top of the other, make sure to use a cake board for the top later and hold them up using sticks or straws ( I personally like to use straws because they are easier to cut to the right length).
Whew! I see the light at the end of the tunnel :)! It is time to put the final touches on the cake.
I wanted to make this cake really fun and colorful so I used different colored fondants to decorate the cake. I used different sizes of the round cutters to create different color combinations.
Aside from these solid circles, I also used some of the circles with holes on them for variety.
For balloons, I inserted gumballs into olive picks:
I also used some twirly lollipops for additional colors and decorations for the cake.
Last but definitely not least, mixed chocolate and vanilla cupcakes, buttercream frosting and decorated with either lollipops, popcorn, sprinkles or jelly beans to complete our circus experience!
Goodness! I actually finished! Just in time for Nathan’s birthday party…
Hope you guys enjoyed this post as much as I have enjoyed making it.
Til next adventure…