In Your Dreams Birthday Cake

My daughter turned 11 last month and she had big plans for her special day! Unfortunately for me she has seen the show Cake Boss and as a result she had some very specific plans for her birthday cake. She wanted a homemade 2 tier funfetti cake with cream cheese frosting and fondant. I guess I should take it as a compliment that she believes enough in my skills to pull it off.  I wanted to say sarcastically “sure, in your dreams” but I am not one to say no to a cake request for my daughter so I accepted the the challenge.

I had never made a 2 tier cake but I happened to have several sizes of cake pans so I figured I had that part covered.  I knew nothing about fondant so I did some internet searches and found a recipe for fondant here.  I didn’t know that you could buy fondant already made, I really knew nothing about fondant! Lucky for me a box cake mix fits into my daughter’s idea of homemade so I bought 2 boxes of Pillsbury Funfetti mix.  Unfortunately she was very insistent on the frosting not being from a can so I decided to use my butter cream frosting recipe and just add cream cheese.  So far so good!

Fondant is sugar, sugar and more sugar there was literally a cloud of sugar in my kitchen.  It turns out that making fondant isn’t difficult as long as you have a strong mixer.  My 25 year old Kitchenaid was up for the challenge and my daughter and I kept pouring in sugar and it kept cranking along until we ended up with a big white ball of sugar AKA fondant.  We wanted a couple of colors so we split it up and tried to use the mixer to mix the color in but we found that mixing it by hand “just like on Cake Boss” worked better.  We settled on neon lime green and purple, my fingers were purple for a couple of days.

Next step was to bake the cake.  I had two 9 inch pans and two 6ish inch pans which turned out to be the perfect sizes.  I made my 2 mixes and poured them into the pans and all the stars must have been aligned in my favor because somehow I managed to bake 4 cakes all the same height and perfectly golden brown.  My luck continued when all 4 cakes popped effortlessly from their pans onto my cooling rack.  I let them cool slightly then wrapped them and put them into the freezer, a little trick that my friend Pat swears by. Wow this was going to be easy.  The next day I made butter cream frosting with real butter and added a package of cream cheese and some extra sugar – it was delicious.  Everything was ready.

Now to assemble and decorate the cake!  My daughter and I were getting pretty excited about this cake by now, so when I put that first layer on the cake plate we were almost giddy!  We frosted those first 2 layers and then we were ready for fondant.  We had a plan – the cake would be covered with white butter cream/cream cheese frosting and the bottom tier would have green and purple stripes and the top tier green and purple polka dots.  We rolled out the stripes and started to lay them on the cake.  This was not as easy as it looked!!!  Getting the stripes straight and even wasn’t easy but we finally got the look we were hoping for and were ready to add the 2nd tier.

We got the first of the 6ish inch layers on and then realized that butter cream made with real butter and cream cheese gets really slippery when it warms up and the fondant didn’t want to stay in it’s place and the top tier was looking a bit off center!  I am not one to give up so we kept going.   We got that 2nd layer on and slapped on some frosting.  I was getting worried that this was going to be a major disaster.

At this point we had a new assistant join us, my 13 year old great-nephew, every bakery should have a 13 year old boy to assist. He was delighted when we stuck a wooden barbeque skewer down the center to stabilize the cake.  I was delighted that it actually worked and it started to look like a cake instead of a famous tower in Italy!  The un-used skewers quickly became swords  and there was a lot of silliness, but with the cake warming up we needed to work fast.  We rolled fondant and made polka dots, and cut out letters to spell her name.  My nephew added a final touch with a multi-color layered polka dot to dot the ‘i’.  And the cake was done.  I divided the leftover frosting into 2 red solo cups and the kids sat and laughed as they ate it with skewer chop sticks.

Luckily it was a cold winter day so I was able to put our masterpiece in the garage to keep it cold until it was time for the unveiling.  When it was cake time I proudly carried my daughter’s dream cake into the room and was rewarded with compliments but best of all her happy smile.

The cake wasn’t perfect, far from perfect, but the memories of making the cake are perfect.

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