The Muffin has turned three!
And, as she is currently completely obsessed with ponies in general, and My Little Pony in particular, this year we had a Pony party, which of course meant a My Little Pony cake.
Other things were also made for this party - there were decorated cookies (ponies, of course), sparkly unicorn horns, Twinklewish Jellies (jelly jigglers set in heart shaped moulds, with pink edible glitter sprinkled on afterward), etc. I actually didn't get photos of everything, but my mum did, so I'll put some up when I get them (and if they turn out well).
But, as usual, the cake was the big deal, and that I do have photos of.
Now, I will just say that I've done something here that I don't normally do. Some time ago, I received the Wilton Romantic Castle kit as a gift, and have been itching for a chance to use it. A Pony party was the perfect excuse! The thing is, this kit involves applying icing to plastic, and I also decided early on in the design stage that my daughter would rather have plastic ponies she could keep and play with, rather than icing ones that would be eaten or thrown out. So for the first time ever on this blog, what you are seeing here is a cake that contains significant non-edible components. Even so, I am still pretty proud of this cake, and after all not everything is plastic. Apart from the towers, door, windows and ponies, everything is edible (my daughter was very pleased with the teapot, which she devoured complete with cups. And table).
One interesting thing about this cake: it is my first ever attempt at ganaching a cake (using the Planet Cake method). In the past I've always worked with buttercream, but I wanted as much stability as possible with the castle kit, so that the towers didn't just fall over. And when it's summer in Western Australia, buttercream doesn't stay terribly solid for long. The night I ganached the cakes it was 30 degrees Celsius at 9pm (yes, in our airconditioned house - we have evaporative), so even the ganache was fairly soft. Luckily the weather was a bit more reasonable the following day, so I was able to ice over the ganache with no problems.
Anyway, I've been wanting to try this method out for a while now (ever since my darling husband bought me the Planet Cake book - big kisses for him!). And wow. Don't get me wrong - I still love my buttercream, and I'll still be using it. But not under sugarpaste. Ever again. The ganache was actually easier to work with (which I was not expecting), and did indeed enable me to get slightly sharper corners than usual. I didn't make a huge effort with the edges on the bottom tier, as I wanted that to look a bit softer, as the green is obviously supposed to represent a grassy hill. But I was quite pleased with the edges on my round cake. I mean okay, they're not super-sharp, but it was my first attempt, and it was fairly warm.
So the cake itself? The bottom tier was lemon madeira cake, layered with lemon curd and white chocolate ganache, iced with the same ganache and then covered with green sugarpaste (or rolled fondant). The castle was dark chocolate mud cake, iced with the white chocolate ganache, and covered with white sugarpaste. The path is made of "Fizzers" lollies. The icing on the turrets and around the windows was royal icing coated with coloured sanding sugar, the leaves/plants were piped in royal icing, and all the other edibles (balloons, flowers, presents, ponies' hats, etc) were modelled in sugarpaste.
As for attaching the towers, I took the excellent advice of someone on a forum somewhere, and used a hot glue gun to attach a flower nail to the bottom of each tower. The kit suggests "gluing" plastic dowels onto them with chocolate, but I just felt that was not going to work here in February... Anyway, the flower nails worked a treat, and I actually found this whole kit very easy to use. Also fun. And it was worth the time it took to see the big eyes and delighted smile on my little girl's face.
Sunday, February 7, 2010
The Muffin has turned three!