Sesame Street is a popular theme for a baby's birthday cake. Check out these two different designs for a tiered Sesame Street birthday cake. One uses fondant and the other is made with buttercream. Which do you like better?
Cakes are not my thing.
I'm speaking mostly about celebration cakes. I keep saying that but it seems that I am not taken seriously.
Can I make cake? Yes. Do I enjoy decorating cakes? Yes. Do I love that it makes people happy? Yes. Okay, alright, so it's sounding like cakes could be my thing.
What turns me away from cakes
Hmm...let's see...the amount of time it takes to design the cake, pick flavors and materials, worry about how its going to hold up in the refrigerator or on my counter top or outside in 90 degree weather, or in transport.
So stressful! Oh wait, and don't forget the baking time, decorating time and clean up. Honestly, I don't know how the professionals do it when they have more than one cake order in a given week.
My baby's first birthday cake
He was clearly in love with Elmo so our birthday theme was obvious. But I spent hours surfing the web for cake ideas. Unfortunately, I kept finding the same boring cakes over and over.
Also, there was something very creepy about Wilton's big Elmo face cake or a big Elmo popping out of the top of the cake.
The cake was vanilla with chocolate ganache filling. The entire cake was covered with fondant and fondant cutout decorations. I made the cakes in advance and froze them and then spent the entire day before the party decorating the cake.
Although exhausted, I was definitely pleased with the unique outcome and was mostly thinking: TAKE THAT Elmo face cakes! Mission accomplished!
Then along came Mia's cake...
A few weeks ago, some friends asked me to make their daughter Mia's first birthday cake with almost free range to make whatever I wanted.
No problem. Wait, it must be a Sesame Street birthday cake? I started having flashbacks of how long it took me to come up with a Sesame Street idea the last time.
How will I make this one look different? Then I started to think about materials. Fondant or buttercream? What tastes better? What's easier to make? Which will hold up better? Well, once again after hours of surfing and researching the fondant buttercream debate I finally came up with a plan. (And thanks to a little design help from my sis too!) Here was the outcome...
This cake is all vanilla Italian meringue buttercream filling and frosting and all the color decorations are made with fondant. The eyeballs and mouths on the monsters are done with black piping gel.
FYI, Piping gel does NOT work well on fondant! Elmo's mouth was falling off so I replaced it with black fondant. It did not look right (as you can see) so I ended up replacing it with piping gel at the party site.
I did not think I was going to be able to make something I liked better than my first Sesame Street birthday cake but I think I succeeded! Even better, I got the cake over to the party without having a dreaded summertime buttercream disaster.
Now that I've written about this maybe it is mostly just the worrying part of cake making that bothers me. After stressing over a cake and being meticulous over every detail, it really is satisfying to see the smiling, excited faces at the party.
Who knows? Maybe the stress and worry will disappear with more cakes under my belt (but hopefully no more Sesame Street!).
By the way, I just discovered Cakecentral.com while working on this project. Tons of cakes to look at and great tips on all aspects of cake making! Do take a look at this site if you need cake making help.