One of my pastors, Anita, also works for Children's Relief International. She helps to raise money for Tessa Grace Nutrition Center. Tessa Grace exists to help malnourished and under-developed babies in Mozambique. Anita was hosting a fundraising dinner and asked me to make a cake to auction off.
Since the cake was for Tessa Grace, I wanted to make something whimsical and fun. I chose pastel colors because that felt more "childlike." I chose pandas because they are cool and I had some black and white fondant I wanted to use up.
I started by making the pandas.
These are the legs and arms.
I guess I stopped taking pictures after that.
I used this rather useful cake pan that my sister gave me a few years ago. It creates a space in the cake so you can have more filling than just the thin layer you get when you tort a cake.
Each half has the space.
You fill it with something scrumptious.
(The best part of the filling is that I don't use a recipe, I make it to taste, so I have to keep trying it until it is just right. Yum.)
Anita said to make it fancy. So I decided to do a basket weave on both tiers.
If you have never done this before - practice first! I hadn't used this technique for a while, so I made sure I remembered how to do it before I started piping on the cake. Make absolutely certain that your icing has trans fat in it. So use shortening with trans fat or use 2% milk or whole milk instead of water (which you should do anyway because it tastes ten times better). I realize this may be difficult since our government is trying to make food with trans fat illegal, but if you don't, the basketweave will fall right off the face of your cake. I saw it happen when someone didn't use trans fat in her frosting. There is nothing more discouraging than putting all that work in only to see it tumble off the side.
I made button flowers and fondant leaves ahead of time. So now I just had to add everything to the cake.
I love this picture because it's exactly what I was going for. A panda sitting in the midst of all these beautiful flowers. And the little leaf he's holding - perfect touch.
This panda is relaxing on some leaves.