Spirited First Communion

I can hardly remember the day I made my First Holy Communion. I think the only memories I have of that day are through pictures I recall seeing. I know it was a nice day because I went to my best friend's house and we took pictures together on her back deck in our pretty white dresses. I also took pictures with all my family out in front of our house but I have a hard time digging up the details in my mind... after all it was almost 20 years ago!! Whoa, I'll pretend I didn't mention that and move on to this year's Communion season.
I was asked to make a cross-shaped cake for a very special young lady in my life. I decided to make my own pattern since the store bought shaped pan would only serve 12 and this needed to serve more than 50! I made two double layer 8" square cakes and cut them according to this model:

I shaped the corners to give it a nice dimension and slathered it in buttercream.

Now comes the hard part - rolling out the fondant to cover this big cake. I've never covered a shaped cake in fondant before... and never one this large. I don't have a lot of space in my small nyc-apartment-sized kitchen so I resorted to the glass-top table in my dining area. Turns out, a little cornstarch does not go a long way... I kneaded and rolled out some ivory fondant nice and thin but couldn't remove it from the glass! I had to re-knead the fondant, throw down some more cornstarch and try again. The second time was better because the cornstarch now had a tacky surface to stick to but the fondant was starting to dry out so I got nervous and didn't roll it thin enough. The thickness of the fondant was good to shape the cross with but I created a HUGE mess:

At least the finished product shows no sign of struggle!

If I had better resources I would have made it a bit larger to accommodate all the servings but I did the best I could and definitely learned a lot...
(like maybe I need a better fondant roller and non-stick mat)

This pretty cross idea comes with instructions from Wilton. I just improvised a little to accommodate the larger cake size.


Super Mario (Michellio) Birthday

My co-workers and I decided to have a video game themed birthday party at our office for a fellow co-worker's 30th birthday. We like to poke fun at her for being a gamer although no one is excused from being teased at our office. She had liked some Super Mario Bros. cupcakes she had seen on flickr so I took the idea and made a special cake for her milestone occasion.
After researching some ideas, I found a cake design I liked made by sncakes on www.cakecentral.com - which really is as addictive as the site claims it to be. I thought the idea was super cute and cleverly used a lot of the classic Nintendo game elements. I rendered it with my own version of Mario on top.

The Mario character on top was initially a concern but it made me take my first plunge into making figures out of fondant!
I used Wilton's rolled fondant primary colors multi-pack to make the figure and the cake decorations. I didn't use a gumpaste mixture which is probably recommended when making sturdy figures - therefore the fondant was soft and my little gal kept getting more and more squashed as I put her together. I'm still proud of the way she came out for my first try!

Everyone got to enjoy this vanilla fun-fetti tiered cake at work (except me - I was out on jury duty - bummer). I used an 8" round cake base layer and a 6" cake for the second layer. The warp pipe was made out of rice cereal treats, wrapped in fondant and all the other accents were fondant as well.