Monday, June 20, 2011

Beach Themed Congratulations Cake

Dan had a co-worker getting married and his team was throwing a party for him. Dan, of course, volunteered me to do the cake. He changed the date on me twice and was not very clear on what he wanted at all. What was nice was that it was a small simple cake that did not take long at all to complete. Dan finally decided on a beach themed vanilla cake with chocolate buttercream, since he was heading to a tropical destination for his honeymoon.

I freely admit I was not the easiest customer, but my coworkers are always asking me to bring in something my wife made, and this was a great opportunity to show off her magic. Of course, she did an amazing job!

I used my usual vanilla cake recipe and baked it on a half sheet pan. I refrigerated the cake overnight and then cut it in half. I made Italian buttercream and this time added melted semi-sweet chocolate instead of sweet chocolate. I think this gave the buttercream a bolder chocolate flavor. The cake was filled, coated and decorated with this buttercream. And it was an incredible buttercream. People were literally scooping the extra buttercream from the cake board off with their fingers after finishing their cake. 

In order to get the beach theme, I got a plastic shell mold from Michael's and made shells with white, semi- sweet and a combination of both chocolates-Ghirardelli, of course. The shells were really easy to make. Just had to melt the chocolate in the microwave and pour them into the mold. Next, I banged the mold on the counter to get the air bubbles out of the chocolate. I then placed the mold into the refrigerator so the chocolate would set quickly. Once they were set I flipped them out onto a piece of wax paper. I marbled some of the shells with a toothpick.

I colored some royal icing light blue for the writing and to attach on the shells. I did run into one problem with the shells. They were heavy causing them to slide down to cake as the royal icing dried. I ended up having to slide them back into place multiple times and then outline them in the royal icing to cover up the damage from the shells sliding. In the end, I think the cake turned out well and Dan said that it was very well received.

Lessons Learned:
1) Leave time when you are trying something new so you have time to troubleshoot when something goes wrong
2) Make sure you know the conditions the cake will be in before serving. Dan had to drive this cake to the office in the morning and have it sit around till the afternoon, so I had to make sure that I had it nice and cold before he left in the morning and that the design was going to hold up to being out all morning.

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