Raiding the larder of ideas.

What one family eats, plans to eat, dreams of eating. Plus, other food and kitchen-related stuff from the home of steak-and-potatoes, pie and fresh green beans from the garden.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Sculpting a White Rabbit Carrot Cake with All Sorts of Extras…

I made my last solo effort for a friend's year, she will be turning thirteen, and will help design and construct her own cake, pooling our resources. This year, though, she got a rare bit.

I based the form (very loosely) upon the Tenniel drawing from Alice in Wonderland,
and, knowing my own abilities were VERY limited, I simplified more than a little, and still had a major project.

So, she had a magic-themed birthday party, with a white rabbit, playing cards, some Butterbeer...but that's another story. The Cake is what we're all about.

So, to introduce the cake:

It's a hare off-kilter, but that's life.

I'm betting you didn't know the White Rabbit's real name was Julius Caesar. This guy got et, too.

I know, I know – the poor hare looks like he's in the middle of an acupuncture session. I did try, initially, to build a ruffled collar which would also hold the candles, but the royal icing and the meringue options failed, so I was forced, at the last minute, to make a swirly, somewhat lace-topped disc of white chocolate, and didn't have the time or skill to place the candles in it without trashing them in transit, or to put dots of royal icing on it to receive the little sticks of wax upon their arrival at destination. So, we had a poor pitiful pincushion. 

But I imagine he looks quite spiffed up with flames surrounding his adorable meringue bunny ears (they didn't crumble the way so much else of meringue does when I'm under pressure).

For the record, there is quite a variety of foodstuffs involved in the making of this project. I made two cakes: one, in a giant cupcake mold, is a carrot/pecan/cranberry cake. His torso, legs, and head were those parts, carved up a bit to meet the needs of the design. He's leaning against a wall of more carrot cake – this time, gluten-free (substituting Bob's Red Mill All-Purpose GF Flour for the regular AP flour in the Bat's basic recipe) and fruit-free. He is assembled using two frostings: lemon royal icing (the glue), and lemon/cream-cheese/buttercream frosting (the decoration), both whipped to a fare-thee-well.

His collar is white chocolate, plain and simple, straight from the supermarket, melted in the microwave oven, and shaped on a turntable before chilling. His ears, arms, and trumpet are lemon-flavored meringue. The cards fanning the wall he's leaning upon are chocolate sugar cookies with a basic vanilla royal icing. The large placard is a tender gluten-free chocolate shortbread with a chocolate-cinnamon-Cointreau royal icing. Decorations on card and placard are done using meringue powder wash (a teaspoon of meringue powder mixed thoroughly with 3 tablespoons water), painted on, and then sprinkled with colored sugar.

I did also "spray paint" a few features: the trumpet and the hearts on his jerkin (torso parts). Wilton has some very nice edible paints in cans, and I have enjoyed taking advantage of them for occasional use. I suppose I could have gone over the top and bought some pearl dust, but…maybe next year. They carry a nice, wide variety of decorating products at my favorite boutique, but if you don't live in my region, you can find them all at Hobby Lobby, Michael's, or, of course, Amazon.

In the interim, I hope to eventually get the proper posts up, including the Bat's recipe for carrot cake & the cream cheese frosting, the chocolate shortbread cookie, and the chocolate royal icing. Let me gather my notes and energy, and I'll get right on that.  

Meanwhile, I ended up running out of steam by the end of the day.  My chauffeur (hi, Bat!) arrived a little before the celebrants were ready to approach the cake (they had hot dogs, chips, beans, and a few other picnic foods), and I, having had a very long week, opted to come home right away, rather than to stay and watch the candles lit and blown out. Besides, the party really was for the roomful of tweens. I'd have been the one basking in the glory of the evening, instead of making it about her.   If her grandparents share pictures of the cake or her face all lit up, I hope I can post them, too. 

For now, though, I rest my weary self and enjoy the evening, and hope you'll do the same with your time.

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