Oh, Hi! I am still here. You've probably been wondering where I've been. Well, you know I've just been really busy working a lot of loooong hours at my real job. Not all of us "bloggers" can write on our blogs every day, or every week... sometimes not even every month.
But I'm back. I've even managed to bake a few things in my absence.
One of those things was a cake. A cake! You're shocked, aren't you? I know. It's weird.
So, I made my first round/3D/ball cake.
My friend Aubrey's son was turning 3, and he really loves balls (get your minds out of the gutter people-he's 3!) like beach balls, bouncy balls, basketball's... you know the kind you play with (ok, stop, please stop!) so she asked if I could make a Beach Ball cake. Like with sand, and a full on 3D beach ball made of cake. She wanted a fun cake on the inside too... so we decided on a rainbow cake. What could be more fun than cutting in to a cake shaped like a beach ball and having it be a bright rainbow on the inside? Um, I can't think of anything more fun.
We did keep the flavor simple though, vanilla cake, with vanilla buttercream and vanilla fondant.
Her idea was to have a beach themed party, with little kiddie pools, a sand box, bubbles and lots of balls. She even sent out these incredibly cute invitations. A mini beach ball that you had to inflate to read; she had written all the party information on the ball. SO freaking cute!
I knew for sure that it was going to be a challenge, I always welcome a challenge because I love trying something new, so how could I turn that down?
She wanted to come over and help me decorate the cake so she could learn a thing or two, it was really nice to have the help, and it was nice to spend some time with her. We both have pretty busy lives, her with her (almost) 3 year old, and me with my baking. So you can see, we don't really get to spend a lot of time together.
I started out by baking 5 cakes. 4-10" rounds, and one 11x11 cake. All rainbow of course. I let those sit overnight in the fridge to set up.
I first frosted the 11x11 cake with vanilla buttercream then Aubrey and I covered it with graham cracker crumbs we'd mashed up in the food processor. It looked just like sand.
Then we started on the 4 10" rounds. Layering each layer with vanilla buttercream, until the last layer... then the carving began. Oh the carving. Trying to make 4 10' round cakes look like a ball is hard work. The top layer of the top cake was flat, of course, so trying to make that round without carving away too much and having to start over was difficult, I had a hard time seeing how it would turn into a ball. Luckily I had Aubrey and my boyfriend there to help me see it. With Aubrey's help carving half of the cake, while I carved the other half a tiny bit at a time, we were in business. We had a ball!!
Then I covered it in buttercream and let it set up in the fridge while I rolled out the fondant I had made the night before.
As I saw it, I had two options for covering the cake in fondant. The first was to roll out a huge thing of white fondant and cover the ball with that, then layer on the 3 colors (red, blue & yellow) to give it the beach ball look.
The other option was to cut out each stripe or layer of color and put those on individually. I decided on the first option, I thought it would be the easiest and best looking.
I was wrong.
I didn't really think that placing a huge piece of white fondant over the ball would be as diffucult. But because the top of the ball was larger than the bottom, once I put the fondant on top, the bottom of it just got all wrinkled and torn. It looked terrible. I thought for a minute that I could cover up the wrinkled and torn bits with the colored panels. But I knew it would look terrible.
So I let it sit for awhile like that while I decided what to do... do I take off all the fondant and start over, (that included making more fondant) or do I try the second option of cutting out each panel of color indivdually and place each one on seperately?
I finally decided on that option, at this point I had nothing to loose, because if it didn't work I knew I had to make more fondant anyway.
Luckily, measuring and cutting out each panel individually and placing them on the cake one by one, worked even better than I could have imagined. It looked perfect. Just like a beach ball. In fact one of the party goers didn't realize that it was cake until we cut into it. He thought it was a real ball. Success!