Tuesday, September 12, 2006

50th Birthday Cake

I was asked last week to make a birthday cake for a coworker for just turned 50. The above is what I came up with. I do have to admit, I searched around the internet and found something similar that I liked (and my boss liked) so I went with that design. The one online didn't have chocolate ghosts however.

This was a rush order so I didn't have a lot of time to prep everything so I relied on box cake mix and canned icing. Since I'm not a fan of doing exactly like the directions say, I decided that I would add some extra pudding to the cake mixes. I went to the store and picked up 2 cake mixes (dark chocolate and white), 2 packages of pudding (dark chocolate and cheesecake), and 2 tubs of white icing (I made 1/2 sheet marbled cake). I did a quick check in my head and I was confident that I had everything at home that I would need to make the cakes (eggs and oil). When I got home and prepped to bake the cake I realized that I was short half the eggs. It was already getting late and I knew that if I was going to get the cake done by Friday morning it had to be baked Wednesday night and then decorated on Thursday. So I thought about what I might be able to use to replace some of the eggs and I decided that heavy cream might do the trick. I mixed together the eggs that I had and the heavy cream and split that between the two batches.

The consistency of the batters were pretty similar to a standard cake so I went ahead and baked them. Although a bit on the heavy side, everything appeared normal after baking. After cooling a bit the cake was put into the refrigerator for the evening.

The next night I turned the cake onto a board and started decorating it. I cut two corners off the cake to make the tombstone shape and I tinted the icing grey (which is somewhat blue/purple) with black food coloring. For the writing and the ghosts I used melted chocolate. The writing was done directly on the cake whereas the ghosts were drawn out on wax paper and allowed to harden before being put on the cake. The "grass" around the edges of the cake is colored coconut.

The cake was a big success and I don't think anyone turned it down (nor left any on their plate). The cake was really dense but the mixture of the dark chocolate and cheesecake flavors made it so it wasn't too rich.

So the lessons learned from this cake were that heavy cream can sort of be used to replace a few eggs and that chocolate makes a great decorating medium.

And, I think my skills are getting better with each cake I make, but the writing still needs work.

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