Because crafts are like crack.

There is a reason cake decorating is not my “mane” hobby September 25, 2011

Filed under: Cooking — Casey @ 2:36 pm

When you are the “crafty” person in your group of friends, you often get called upon to assist in all sorts of creative endeavors… even those for which you have no real talent.

I first took a cake decorating class when I graduated college and I found myself with many free evenings. This was more than ten years ago and before cake decorating and other crafts became trendy. I learned alongside a bunch of granny-types and eventually dropped out when all of my roses ended up looking like unicorn poo. I did keep my icing tips though and even learned a couple handy tips along the way.

So my friend’s little boy was getting ready to turn one, but she couldn’t find a bakery anywhere that would accommodate his egg allergy. Every little boy deserves a smash cake that doesn’t result in anaphylactic shock so I took on the challenge.

Our first obstacle was finding recipe for our little bubble boy. In a light bulb moment, we realized that anything vegan would eliminate two of the more common allergens, milk and eggs. But often they substituted soy, which could also be a problem for over-reactive immune systems. Our answer finally came from the domestic diva herself.

Her Divvies Chocolate Cupcakes are nut, dairy, and egg-free and delicious to boot!

Step two was finding an icing recipe. This was surprisingly more difficult than I thought it would be. I think that decorating class I took finally paid off when I dug out this recipe I used in my decorating class.

The birthday party was to be animal themed which did make our decorating a little easier. After a couple hours on Pinterest, a lion seemed like our best chance for success. We used one of the Wilton Sports Ball cake pans to give our animal head a better shape.

I am not sure if our cake recipe was not robust enough, but it is a very good thing we were not planning on making a ball. However, if ever I need to make a cake for a bachelor party, I will definitely be using this pan again.

We then had a lot of fun dying our icing.

Even if it did look a lot like pub cheese.

I have always been bad at doing crumb coats. But once the base coat of frosting was smoothed out with some wax paper, it looked a little better. But still like a cheese ball.

The key to the mane was the multi-opening decorator tip.

So the finished project was a little off looking, but still kind of cute.

In retrospect, I would say he could really use some ears. Fortunately, my primary audience was only one. Happy Birthday Will!


Decorating Frosting

Filed under: Baking — Casey @ 12:33 pm

This is the recipe I learned from my first decorating class. It is a little different from anything else I could find on the internet, so I thought I would put it out there. Milk may be substituted for the water, but then it has to be refrigerated. This can theoretically sit out for quite a while.

 Decorating Frosting

  • two cups solid vegetable shortening
  • 2 lb bag confectioners sugar (8 cups)
  • 1 Tbs vanilla flavoring (clear for true colors)
  • 1 tsp butter and/or almond flavoring
  • dash of salt
  • extra liquid

1. Cream shortening until very smooth. Combine the flavorings in a measuring cup and add enough liquid (water or milk) until there is a total of 1/3 cup liquid.

2. Add salt and water, blending slowly.

3. Gradually add sugar using medium speed until thoroughly mixed. Blend an additional minute or so until creamy. AVOID OVERBEATING!

You want smooth, but not fluffy icing. If it is not too stiff, it will come off on your finger when touched. If it is not to thin, a spatula will stand up in it and it will stay divided when you run a spatula through it.