Saturday, February 18, 2012

24 Carrot

I've always wanted to do something gold for Cat's birthdays. Well, this was the perfect year to do it! I haven't been making as many cakes lately, but I always set aside time for Cat. Her birthdays always gives me a chance to try new things.

This year (today, actually), Cat turns 24! As I've mentioned before, I knew the cake I'd make her this year would involve gold. And as I thought more about her cake, it hit me that her cake theme should be "24 karat gold." How perfect, right? A few days before her birthday, I mailed her a Valentine's card, and included this clue.

Twentyfour carrots. I was hoping the carrots would throw her off and make her think I was going to make a carrot cake even though I know she doesn't like it. When I saw her yesterday, she told me that she did think I was going to make a carrot cake, because her mom thought of it first. It wasn't until a few days later, as she was telling her cousin about the clue, that it made sense.

My plans for the cake. I was suppose to make a filigree pattern to wrap around the cake, but the more I worked on it, the more it didn't work.

To get the filigree pattern round, I had to find something that would be the same circumference as the cake. I got lucky that our rice cooker pot matched. 

It wasn't tall enough to hold my pattern, so I added paper to add height.

I added wax paper, and piped the royal icing on. Keep in mind that this was my original plan.

My crazy work space.

Did I mention that I was making tiramisu? The past few birthdays I had made red velvet cake for her, but I think she's had enough of it. Time for something new!

Gold luster dust.

Tested it dry on royal icing dots.

Not as vibrant as I needed it to be. To make it more paint-like, I needed to add a clear alcohol. Vodka is usually the alcohol of choice, because it's clear and dries fast, but I don't have anymore (lots of long, hard nights. Kidding. Maybe ;) ) So what I usually use instead is vanilla extract which contains 35% alcohol. My dad got this from a friend who goes to Madagascar often. Here I am thinking that it's exotic, until I see that the company is in Richmond. What the.

A little luster dust and a drop of vanilla extract. I forgot to take a picture of it when it was more liquid-y.

Though it seemed like it would work in my mind, I had never used royal icing. In my mind, royal icing was suppose to harden like candy, and it may have if I gave it more than 7 hours overnight to dry. However, when I got back to it the next morning, it crumbled as I removed the wax paper.

Not to worry, I always have a backup plan. I changed the design a bit. I scrapped the royal icing, and grabbed something I knew would hold better, white chocolate. Instead of making the filigree pattern in two round pieces, I separated them into twelve flat pieces.

Before attaching them, I dusted the top of the cake with cocoa powder.

Hand piped the message.

And arranged the message on top of the cake.

Again, something went wrong. The gold didn't paint as well on the white chocolate. My guess is that the white chocolate has oil/butter fat and royal icing didn't, so the paint didn't hold as well on the waxy-like surface. With some persistence, I did manage to get a few to work. I split those few in half, since I also overestimated the height of my cake, and decorated the cake with them.

My simplified design.

Next few pictures are from Cat's phone.


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