Birthday | Five Little Monkeys

| Birthdays


It seems like just yesterday we were baking for Roxana and Al’s baby shower. Now the baby is celebrating its first birthday! Oh, how time flies.

The birthday party theme was based on the Five Little Monkeys Jumping on a Bed nursery rhyme. While I didn’t grow up with that song, there are plenty of cute videos on Youtube and lots of photos online of cakes based on that theme. It was a fun to imagine and create my own version. I don’t typically make fondant decorated cakes, but I enjoyed the challenge!

For this cake, I made a buttermilk vanilla cake, with lemon curd and vanilla buttercream filling. All of the decor was made with fondant, with tiny amounts of royal icing where needed to glue items together. I switched to the higher quality Carma Massa Ticino Tropic fondant for most of my work on this cake, using Les Chocolats Roxy & Rich Fondust (amazing stuff if you haven’t tried it before) to color the dark brown and orange. Carma fondant is much more malleable and moist than, say, Satin Ice fondant, making it more forgiving and less prone to elephant skin, and thus providing a longer time window to work with. In retrospect, I probably would use Satin Ice or something stiffer for the monkeys so that they hold shape better (without any sag), but I made the monkeys a few days in advance and was able to have them dry enough for assembly.


The flooring is a fondant covered cake board, scored to give detail to individual wood planks and wood grain. I then painted them with black, brown and gray petal dust (mixed with Everclear). The natural pooling and wetness of the paint helped create the wood grain colors, and made the flooring a lot easier to accomplish than I originally imagined. The headboard for the bed was the same idea.


With stiffer fondant, I might have attempted a monkey doing a headstand, but with the Carma fondant, I settled for 4 sitting monkeys and 1 standing (which required overnight drying before assembly of parts).



One of my favorite details on this cake is the underside of the quilted comforter, which was a windowpane design painted onto white fondant.


Et voilà!


For the baby’s smash cake, I made a banana cake, using honey instead of sugar, and frosted with honey-sweetened Greek yogurt. With a monkey face of course 🙂


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Wafer Paper Flower Cupcakes

| Featured, Weddings

A couple weekends ago, I made wafer paper flower cupcakes for a Sonoma wine country bachelorette party.


If Pinterest is any indicator, wafer paper flowers are becoming a trendy choice for weddings and events, and I can certainly see their popularity whenever I post a photo of them on Facebook. I’m happy to have the opportunity to gain more experience working with the medium, and I personally love the rustic and light feel of wafer paper flowers as well.


For this party, I made red velvet cupcakes filled with lemon curd and topped with cream cheese frosting, chocolate ganache cupcakes with buttercream, and white cupcakes with passion fruit curd filling and strawberry buttercream frosting.


A dozen of the cupcakes were topped with mix of standard and rolled roses, while half a dozen were simply frosted. The flowers sit a little tall on the cupcakes, so I might explore other sizes and positioning in the future, but otherwise I was pleased with the result. Happy bachelorette and congrats to the bride-to-be!


Photo credit: Sonia Nagala Chang

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Birthday | Trio of Old Friends

| Birthdays

Happy birthday to me! And my friends!

During a recent weekend getaway, I was lucky enough to celebrate my 30th birthday with some dear friends, a few of whom are also turning 30 this year, and a couple of whom share July birthdays with me. So, I made each one of us a cake.

I knew I would have very limited time to decorate, so I made a batch of Italian meringue buttercream, and brought some fondant and piping gel along to the getaway in case I was struck with inspiration. The idea of representing the growth of a long friendship over time came to mind during the drive. So here is our trio of cakes to celebrate old friends:


The first is a green tea chiffon cake with green tea pastry cream and puff pastry layers, requested after I posted about that flavor combination in a previous birthday cake project.

The second is a purple yam chiffon cake with mango Bavarian cream. This one was fluffy and light. Maybe a little too light on flavor in my rush to make it.


The third is a lemon pound cake with lemon curd pastry cream and fresh strawberries. Perfect for a hot summer day!

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