Saturday, September 4, 2010

Grandmother Tribute Cake

This cake was a very special one that Laurie made as a tribute to my wonderful Grammy, who passed away last November. Our family was getting together and my Mom asked if Laurie could make a special cake as a tribute to Grammy and all of the things she loved best.



I found this cake very challenging. The main issue was how to make a cake that honors such a wonderful, loved woman. The other problem was transporting the cake to Pittsburgh (about 5 hours away). To solve the transportation problem, I covered the cake in fondant and made sure the cake was done a day before so it had time to get really cold in the refrigerator.

The cake was alternating layers of yellow butter cake and chocolate butter cake. It is filled and covered with Italian Buttercream.

The decorations pay tribute to my wonderful grandmother. She was from Pittsburgh and a big Steeler's fan, so Laurie made a Steelers' jersey and laid it across a football field for part of the cake. That was all made out of simple fondant, rolled out and colored, with the field lines piped in royal icing. She put on a cruise ship in an ocean since my Grammy and Poppy always went on cruises. The ship is sculpted fondant, detailed with royal icing. The ocean was done with colored piping gel, which came out great. The beach scene recognized how much my Grammy loved going down to Atlantic city and reading books. The sand was light brown sugar, the book and towel were sculpted out of fondant, and the umbrella was, well, a little drink umbrella--sorry, not edible! The last part on the top was a grass yard (royal icing piped with a grass tip) with a family photo album (fondant), and finally my grandparent's beloved chocolate poodle Ollie, sculpted out of modeling chocolate and detailed with royal icing.

Around the side of the cake were the names of my grandfather, my Mom and Dad, my Aunt and Uncle, and all of the grandkids. My grandmother always wore a charm necklace with the little "stick figure" versions of each of her grandkids, so Laurie used some gingerbread man and woman cookie cutouts to look like the necklace, piped on the names, and then piped the chain to connect the cutouts. She added the hearts in between to recognize Grammy's other most important people--her husband, her daughters, and her sons-in-law.

This was a really wonderful tribute cake that blew away our whole family. It quickly became the centerpiece at our dinner table and people had a hard time cutting it when it came to eat dessert because it was just so special to all of us. But it was also REALLY delicious. Once we finally did cut it, everyone enjoyed it not just for its beautiful look and loving tribute to our Grammy, but also because it was a great dessert!

LESSONS LEARNED:
1) Fondant really helps keep a cake together for long rides.
2) Sweeter butter (such as Land O'Lakes) really helped boost the flavor of the buttercream.
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1 comment:

  1. Grammy would have loved this cake and been so amazed that you did this to honor her memory. Even though we didn't want to cut into it, it was delicious- moist, rich, but not too sweet. What a great idea too. Personalized cakes for birthday's, anniversary's, or just to remember someone very special.

    Sally Weinstein Shapiro

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