Monday, February 28

Guess who’s 60?


My momma, that’s who.

While I was making the cake,
she was sewing up some cushion covers for a corner dining bench 
– with storage underneath – that she’d just finished building
for my older brother and his family.
This woman can do anything!


We had such a fun party.
My younger brother had the idea of setting out a bunch of photos of her. This collage was my favorite!
The center image is one of four from a photo booth strip.

5x7 Gl.series

More details about the actual construction of the cake here.


Happy birthday, Momma. So glad we could spend the week with you!


How To Construct a “Sixty” Cake


One of my favorite things to do as a child was to help my mom make shaped cakes (rockets, numbers, animals, etc) out of regular cake pans. I loved the puzzle aspect, the challenge of using every piece of cake, the final result that looked nothing like what we started with.

While there are obviously countless combinations of cake pans one could use to form a six and a zero, I used an 8” square pan (used once) and an 8” angelfood cake pan (used twice), putting about five cups of batter, or one cake mix, in each pan.


If you didn’t have a ring, you could also use a round pan with a small can (both ends cut off) placed at the center to form a nice clean hole during baking.

After baking one square cake and two ring cakes, I trimmed all three to be 2” tall. Here are paper cut-outs of the cakes…


(When making odd-shaped cakes from regular-shaped pans,
I often practice first by cutting out papers in the shapes of my baked cakes, then cutting them up and rearranging them until I get the new shapes I want. I keep the tape handy… or am ready to cut out additional shapes when I completely mis-cut the first ones.)

To show you the “big picture” first, I cut the cakes like this…


…to form this:


If you want more details of the cake cutting, read on…

Measure the width of one side of a ring. Then from the square, cut two tall rectangles equal to the width just measured. img010

To make the “zero,” cut one of the rings and one of the rectangles in half. img006-spl

Then move the ring halves apart, and put the smaller rectangle pieces in between. And there’s the “zero.”


To make the “six,” from the remaining ring, cut off and set aside an “offset quarter.” (The vertical cut is to the left of the exact middle, tangent to the inner circle; the horizontal cut is below the exact middle, and also tangent to the inner circle.) img006-quarter

Place the remaining tall rectangle into the empty section, then cut away the excess at the top, shown in darker pink below.img008aaa

Moving the “offset quarter” piece into position, cut away the remaining little point, extending the curve of the quarter piece.img009aa

So there’s the “six.”

Put them together, add some frosting, etc. and you get this.


Some other notes and hints:

  • I highly recommend that you make a custom cake board for each number instead of putting them next to each other on a larger surface right away. This will allow you to move and work on each cake independently; otherwise, it’ll be very difficult to nicely frost the areas of the numbers that are nearly touching each other (the right side of the “6” and the left side of the “0”).


    To make the boards: put each cake on a piece of cardboard, trace around the number about 1/4” from the sides of the cake (to leave room for the frosting to be added), then remove the cake and cut out the cardboard shape, including the inner hole. (I also covered mine with foil.)
  • Putting the cake pieces back on the cardboard, I slathered some frosting between each cut – like sticking bricks together. Then I gave each number cake a crumb coat and a final coat of frosting. I also added designs to the sides, particularly the sides that I knew would be unreachable after I put the numbers next to each other. Finally, I piped the border along those sides as well (visible in next photo).
  • Since I couldn’t fit my pastry bag in the holes from the top, I piped a border along the bottom edge of the holes by coming in from underneath. You’ll probably need someone else to hold the cake up…


    …someone trustworthy!  : )

Friday, February 25

Little Owl’s Owl Birthday Cake


My Little Owl, Sophie-kins, turned six last week! Which meant it was her turn to spend a night and a day with Mama and Daddy and nobody else.

And the plan was that her two sisters and Omi would make her a birthday cake while we were gone. She’d requested something “with an owl, sitting in a tree” and Heidi had the idea that the leaves should be heart-shaped, since her birthday is on Valentine’s Day.

But they only got as far as baking the cake. Didn’t even turn it out of the pan. So while my mom was cooking up a quick spaghetti dinner, I sketched out a plan…


…and got to work. I’m rather surprised at myself that I mixed up this many colors (four!), but the design kinda dictated it. And I gotta admit, I was having fun, even in my time crunch.


While I did use a coupler and metal tips for the pink, for the rest I just used parchment triangles with the point snipped off. Easy peasy. I’ll have to do that more often… when a fancy-shaped tip isn’t required.


We had to laugh at how well Soph coordinated with her cake:
pink headband, green pants, and a shirt covered with
pink, yellow, green, brown and owls!!! : )


Happy birthday, my sweet, creative child. You are so precious to me!

Thursday, February 17

Irving Meets a Giant

(continued from here)

Coming back inside, Irving eventually came upon Anna, the Drooling Giant.


She greeted him with a slobbery kiss…


…tried to bite his crinkly ears…


…and tickled his soft belly.


And then she discovered his trunk. (It looked a lot like her momma’s index finger, but was much softer.)


She promptly put in her mouth. Again and again and again.


With his foot being squeezed and his trunk being gummed, Irving tried to imagine the future that lay ahead of him if he stayed with this giant. The drooling. The dragging. The squeezing. The squealing.

And thinking about these things, Irving was happy. So very happy. He had found his purpose.

The End

P.S. Anna’s mother’s finger was very happy too.

* * *

(Many thanks to certain family members for the
use of your Christmas gifts and your arranging expertise.
Also to my sweet girls for your enthusiastic help with the story.)

Wednesday, February 16

Marriage Adventure “Wedding” Cake

The cake for Al & Mary was my first wedding cake.
And I said it would also be my last.

I lied.


A friend asked if I would make a cake for the
Marriage Adventure Weekend Retreat she was helping to plan. 
I couldn’t say no – my fingers were itching to make
another tower of tiers.


A friend who was at the retreat sent me some photos titled “before”…


…and “after” (two tiers were chocolate, one was yellow cake).


Someone asked how long it took to make…

That’s hard to say.

Do I count just the baking and frosting time?
What about making the frosting?
And shopping for all the ingredients?
And going out again because I didn’t have enough shortening?
And going out again because I thought of more stuff I needed? 
What about the cutting and gluing of the cake bases and spacers? 
And the time spent figuring out how to make it so it would be easy to transport and assemble (since I wouldn’t be doing that part)?

I probably spent as much time with a glue gun and utility knife
as I did with a pastry bag and spatula…


…which is just fine by me. : )

(That weird collection of cardboard rectangles above
is the box I outfitted to transport the top two tiers.)

Irving Goes Out

(continued from here)

Hearing about Hannibal and the snowy alpine elephants, he decided to head outdoors. He journeyed far.


He journeyed high.


He found a fort. And journeyed in.


It was deserted. And so he journeyed back out.


He climbed up high and surveyed all that he had overcome. It was impressive, especially for such a small soft elephant such as Irving.


But despite his accomplishments, he was not happy.

(to be continued)

Friday, February 4

Irving on the Water

(continued from here)

Soon Irving came to the shore of a large carpet ocean. A band of pirates – the jolly, misunderstood Captain-Jack-Sparrow kind, not the horrible, cruel, cutthroat, evil, real kind – invited him to come away with them.


Like the little critters before, these marine marauders were welcoming and loving and made him feel right at home. But again, he felt somewhat cramped…


…especially when he went below deck.


He finally found a spot he loved. Perched at the bow of the boat, with the wind ruffling his ears, he had a grand view of the sea ahead of them.


Unfortunately, anyone weighing anchor did not enjoy their view as much. (Nor did they enjoy the “wind” that occasionally ruffled his tail.)


He felt like he was always in the way. And he was very unhappy.

(to be continued)


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