This is my first cake commission. A friend's mom asked me to make a cake for the birthday dinner she was planning. I was happy to make something for my friend Alex but a little worried because I'm not (as I've mentioned) really an experienced baker.
The design idea came to me almost immediately. I'm terrible at making the layers even and the frosting on the sides look smooth. So, I added the Pirouette cookies and ribbon to try to mask my lack of frosting skills. The cookies also remind me of birch bark so they fit in with my theme.
Making the white "chocolate" leaves on the top (side note: I wouldn't normally use white chocolate, as I think it is pretty vile, but I know Alex doesn't like dark chocolate and I thought the colors would show up brighter on the white) was the most challenging part of the cake. Originally, I was going to paint the chocolate onto real leaves and peel it off once it cooled (another side note, the instructions that I found on the web advised against using poison ivy or poison oak leaves! Um, isn't that just common sense? Who would make a poison ivy themed cake? Maybe for someone you hate....) However, it was warm and humid earlier this week so I wasn't sure if the leaves would be sturdy enough. So, I cut leaves from a sheet of white chocolate using a cookie cutter and then painted them with colored chocolate.
I once again used cake mix for the layers - chocolate and yellow. I would normally have added a layer of orange curd or perhaps a cinnamon filling, but Alex is a SuperTaster and can be quite finicky. So, I stuck with the basics - chocolate and vanilla. I'm still worried that the cake was too sweet, but Alex and her mom both seemed pleased with it. I guess that is all that really matters.
Since cake mixes do tend to be very sweet, I am planning to try out some simple cake recipes to see if I can find one that is (almost) fool proof. I just haven't had very good luck making cakes from scratch.
Next up is a cake for my friend Laura's birthday party on Saturday. I won't be able to post anything about it until then as the theme is a surprise :)