Cat approached me about making her mom's birthday cake a couple weeks ago, and of course I was happy to make one for her! This year is her mom's big 6-0, and the 60th year is also known as the diamond anniversary. That, of course, became the theme for her birthday. Cat and I emailed each other back and forth and came up with the design below. The cake will be a two layer red velvet cake. The bottom tier will be covered in acrylic diamonds, the top layer will be hand piped with a damask-like pattern, and the topper will be a 6 and 0 made out of white chocolate.
I baked two 10 inch red velvet cakes for the bottom tier. I forgot to take pictures of the bottom tier cake baking process, because I had too many things on my mind and to take care of. Plus, The Sound of Music Live was on!
Here I had just washed and dried the diamonds (2,000 of them!) that Cat had ordered. The silver cake board was purchased from Michaels, and Ronnie helped me attached the black glittery ribbon around the board as a little embellishment while I was making the cakes.
While the cakes were cooling, I whipped up some cream cheese frosting. When the cakes had cooled completely, I trimmed the edges, leveled the layers, and began assembling. I put a pat of frosting onto the cake board to help keep the cake in place.
Before I placed the first layer onto the board, I added wax paper to keep the board clean.
The first thin layer of frosting is the crumb coat. You know how when you want to frost a cake and to make it as perfectly white as possible, but the crumbs just start mixing into your frosting? Well, starting with a crumb coat will fix that.
After letting the crumb coat covered cake chill (alliteration!) in the fridge overnight (well, a few hours), I continued with a generous frosting.
Since this was going to be a two layer cake, I grabbed some boba straws to be used for stability.
I stuck the boba straws in the approximate spot that the second layer will sit. Looks like it's someone's fourth birthday.
Then I trimmed the excess.
It was kinda early in the morning and I needed to buy more sugar and grab some coffee, but before doing those errands I wanted to also throw some diamonds onto the cake. Originally, I had wanted all the diamonds to be facing up, but to do that I would have had to place them onto the cake one by one, and that would have been way too tedious and time consuming. So I just grabbed small handfuls and carefully placed them onto the cake and flipped some right side up whenever I could.
A general covering of diamonds before I left to do my errands.
Once I had gotten my coffee and more sugar, I whipped up another batch of cake batter to make the top tier. Since I don't have cake pans smaller than 10 inches in diameter, I used a glass dish that was 9x12 inches, and planned to cut it in half.
While it was baking I continued adding diamonds to the bottom tier. I am loving my Snow Day candle from Bath and Body Works :)
After the cake was done baking, I let it cool for awhile before cutting it in half
and shaping into two circular pieces.
This tier needed a cake board, so I drew one onto some cardboard,
cut it out and covered it in plastic wrap.
Then I went about frosting it the same way I did with the bottom tier.
While the crumb coat covered cake was in the freezer (to speed up the process since I was short on time), I melted some white chocolate to make the topper.
I piped the chocolate numbers on top of skewers. Since it's been very cold, the chocolate solidified faster than usual, so.. I had to work a lot faster, and wasn't able to smooth it out. Ignore the unsmoothness for now.
Once the top tier had chilled enough, I gave it a final frosting.
Tiers one and two are ready to be assembled.
I placed the top tier onto the bottom tier, and filled the little space between the tiers with more frosting.
I bought myself the smallest decorating tip Michaels had to pipe the damask detail.
It still wasn't fine enough for me, but I worked with it. I made black frosting by adding food coloring to some chocolate frosting. Because I was short on time, I had to really simplify my original damask pattern design. My piping could have been neater. I was also just finishing up my coffee at this point, and I could tell it was kicking in, because I was (oh, so horribly) belting every song off of NYSNC's Christmas album.
I fixed up the topper by covering the 6 and 0 with some frosting and sprinkled it with some clear sanding sugar. It would have looked nicer in silver, but it was a last minute decision and I didn't have any silver sugar on hand. To use up the rest of the diamonds, I sprinkled them onto the space between the layers and at the very top. I piped the birthday message onto the cake board as the finishing touch. I am quite proud of this!
Here is an all around view. The diamonds definitely give it that BLAH-DAOH factor Cat and her mom love.
When Cat dropped by to pick up the cake, she was telling me about how her mom has really been treating her birthday as a 60th diamond anniversary and has been saying the phrase "shine bright like a diamond" from Rihanna's song. So I added it to the other side of the cake board.
Transporting the cake was our biggest concern, but with some thinking and excellent driving, it made it to South San Francisco safely, and was a huge success!
I know Kevin loves the artwork by Joe Ledbetter, so I designed his birthday cupcakes based on one of Joe's painted objects. Kevin also likes zombie things, so I literally typed "Joe Ledbetter zombie" into my search, and this bunny came up. What a cutie. I really like the whole outlined look of his art.
I was also going to make some graveyard cupcakes to surround the bunny, but couldn't decide on how to go about making them. So I dropped that idea, and just kept the entire presentation simple. I figured the bunny would look best on four cupcakes. Though.. as I drew my circles for the cupcakes, I realized the placement was a little.. phallic-like. I couldn't unsee it! Nor did I want to change it, because it was the best arrangement for the design. So, what I ended up doing to sort of avert the attention was arrange some cupcakes around it. (Though, the four bunny cupcakes will probably be eaten last, so.. it'll just show up anyways.)
The recipe I used for these cupcakes is called "Chocolate Wasted Cake". It was my first time trying this recipe, and I thought it turned out well. The cake was chocolatey without being too sweet. The only thing that went wrong was the chocolate chips I had added to the cake ended up sinking to the bottom :(
My one photo of the cake making. I sang Jingle Bells as I sifted my dry ingredients. Mmm, brown snow.
I had to try a cupcake while they were still warm. So. Good.
I decided on a grey frosting as the background, because I wanted a clean, modern look.
Before icing the details, I mixed all the colors I'd need and placed them into piping cones.
My only process shot. Whoopsies. How I usually go about this is I start by piping a shape, and then fix using a toothpick.
Once I'm satisfied with the outline, I fill in with color.
The face took the longest, as you can imagine considering all the detail. While I was frosting, I kept thinking it looked like Stitch.
I'm really happy with the outcome! And thanks to Phil, they were delivered earlier today. Even though he had a ton of cupcakes the night before, birthday boy still really enjoyed them :)