Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Amy Turns 30

Today is my big sister's 30th birthday.  I am fortunate enough to count my sister as one of my best friends.  Amy is beautiful, smart, talented, amazing, compassionate, fun to be around, dorky, and she puts up with all my issues.  Not to say that she's perfect, but I love her very much.

So naturally, when she said no one had ever made her a fancy cake before, I had to remedy the situation.  Usually my family asks for pie on their birthdays, not cake.  Amy said she used to not really get why people got excited about having cake for their birthdays.  But now she has developed a taste for it.

Let's talk about the cake.  You only turn 30 once, so it had to be a good one.  Trouble was, I couldn't think of an awesome theme.  When we were younger, Amy loved frogs.  But that became the "thing" to get her.  She has so many stuffed frogs, plastic frogs, frog shaped anything that it got a little ridiculous.  So I didn't really want to do a frog cake.

Then I stumbled upon it - the perfect idea.

I did not make this, this was my inspiration.
Amy is a very good piano player.  I mean, she isn't a concert pianist or anything, but she's good.  She is also a very musical person.  So when I found this idea, I knew it was what I wanted to do.  Of course I couldn't just do a piano cake - it would be a two tiered beauty with the piano and girl on top.  But how to make the piano?  I was searching for candy molds for other things when I again stumbled upon something amazing.

That's right, a grand piano candy mold. I wasn't sure how well this would come out, but it looked awesome.  I made the piano a few days ahead of time, just so I'd have time to make another one if the first one failed.

The night before I made the cake, I sculpted the figure.  And I use the term sculpted loosely.  I used red fondant and skin tone fondant.  Note the little purse she's holding.  I'm particularly proud of the fingers on the hand.

I know it looks a little creepy, but that's because I was adding the hair with frosting and didn't want to do that until the next day.

For this cake I made a scrumptious yellow cake.  My intention was to make the two tiers the night before and then do the decorating the next day, but alas, I was ill the day before and could only manage to make the fondant girl.  Imagine my dismay when the next morning I opened the fridge to discover we only had four eggs!!!  I needed nine and the other day I bought 3 dozen eggs because I knew I would be making several cakes.  I guess we eat a lot of eggs at home.  But my mother saved the day and went out and bought some eggs so I could start making the cake and not worry about it.

I was a little adventurous on the filling this time.  For one tier I did my usual, the raspberry whipped cream mixture, complete with fresh raspberries.  For the top tier I tried the same thing but with blackberries.  It was delicious!

Raspberry filling - looks yummy.
The secret to a great fruit filling is to use real fruit.  It really adds a nice kick to the filling.  I just mix some jam with a container of whipped topping.  Then I push the fruit into the filling.  The only problem with this is that it makes the gap between the layers kind of big.  But you can just fill it with frosting.

Green and blue are two of Amy's favorite colors.  So I covered the tiers in green buttercream frosting and did the stenciling in blue.

I also added a blue shell border.  Then it was time for the finishing touches.  First I piped happy birthday onto the piano.

I also added keys with frosting.

Finished piano.
Next I finished the figure's face.

Then it was time to put it all together.

In retrospect, I should have glued the legs of the piano to the body of the piano ahead of time so it could have dried.  When I said this, my nephew said - but then we couldn't have eaten it, it would be yucky!  He thought I meant real glue, not candy.  But we made do with what we had.

I had to put in some extra toothpicks so it wouldn't sink all the way down into the cake, but it stayed up all through dinner.

They took a quick picture while I gathered the rest of the pieces.

 Then I added then bench with the "Amy" figure.

Can't really see the shoes since they are stuck in the frosting.

 My brother brought his fancy camera and took a bunch of pictures for me.

The finished product.

And yes, the piano lid does open.
Of course the figurine did eventually take a tumble off the cake, but it was still pretty cool.

So happy birthday to the coolest sister ever!

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