With as much as I love baking, I will admit that I am not the best cake decorator out there, but I am working on it. Lately has been so stressful in my life that I have taken some time this week away from the computer, away from my blog, away from my emails to focus on other things. One thing that I have learned about myself is that while I may not think that I am a decorator, I proved myself wrong. The kids and I are going to be in Texas in July for some family events and one thing that I really wanted to do was to surprise my family with some things that I have learned from Wilton. With July 4th in play, I really wanted to do something out of the ordinary, yet out of celebration for our country and for our family. My mother’s birthday is in July, as is my son’s. With Texas summer weather, I think ‘gorgeous, beautiful, pool, grilling out, having fun’, so I wanted to do a test run on a cake that I will be recreating in July. Introducing my Luau Birthday Cake! I started out with two white cake mixes, and two Wilton baking pans.
Once baked, I cooled on a rack, then put them in the fridge over night. What? I have kids and had a ton of things going on, so I baked one day and decided to decorate the next. I pulled the two cake rounds out of the fridge, looked at them and decided how I wanted to stack them. I didn’t stack them evenly, they were off level. I then used Wilton’s White Ready-To-Use Decorator Icing – 4.5 lb. Tub to start icing. To be honest, I didn’t even level the layers. I know, shame on me. With this particular thought, I really didn’t care about the cakes being level. Shhh don’t tell cake decorators I said that! With these uneven cakes, I started to *cough* unevenly layer in icing.
I had all my gear ready, can you tell?
While I learned this later on, I did a couple of things out of order, but hey – I was flowing off a picture that I saw, so I think I did pretty darn good! I bought some graham crackers and crushed an entire package in a zipped baggie with my Wilton rolling pin. Previously, I’ve simply crushed via hammer. What? I am remodeling a home, it’s what is on hand.
I got the graham crackers crushed and on the iced cake, but if you plan on adding a ‘waterfall’ to the cake like I did, you may want to block off that area (see below for pics), otherwise keep going with your bad self.
For the bottom layer, I iced all the way around, then I placed Pepperidge Farms Pirouette Rolled Wafer Cookies. I broke them in to different sizes so that it would look like bamboo.
I then used Wilton’s Leaf green dye to color the White Ready-To-Use Decorator Icing. This was to be used for the top section of the cake portion for the grass…. (which I obviously need to learn how to get better at.)
If you were to start this, you need to make sure that you cut off that section that will be the waterfall. Well, I didn’t think about that, so with my area being iced and already graham cracker’ed, I just slid away that area that I was going to make the waterfall. Was super easy!
While in my pictures, there is some graham cracker areas that showed through, I can assure you that nothing showed through after. Using this method works for me. Everyone has their own way to ice a cake. Once my Wilton decorating bag was filled, I was ready to roll. For the waterfall, take Wilton’s Piping Gel and mix with Wilton’s Sky Blue Icing Color and put it in a decorator bag. You can mix as light or dark as you want the water to be. When I fill a Wilton disposable bag with a tip, I like to get the bag and tip ready, fold it over, then place the entire bag in a tall cup. I personally like my hands to be free while I fill my bag. I am sooooo not multi talented, so I take this route. It works for me. Everyone has their own techniques that work for them.
For the waterfall, I did a zig zag motion with the piping gel, then I went back with a spoon and went over it to make the waves and to blend in the piping gel. The white icing under really makes this look like actual water.
Next, I took Wilton Ready-To-Use White Rolled Fondant and mixed it with a little bit of black color, rolled in to different shapes to create rocks around the waterfall.
Next, I took two tall pretzel sticks and put the in the top layer to create coconut trees.
Who can make a coconut tree and not have coconuts? I took some Ready-To-Use White Rolled Fondant and colored it with brown coloring, rolled in to balls, put on the cake, then used the end of a decorator paint brush, I twisted and stuck in the coconuts to create the hole.
For the leaves, I used Ready-To-Use Gum Paste, colored with Leaf Green, rolled out then used a small heart shape cutter to cut leaves, then cut the heart in half & used the end of the painters brush to draw lines in for the veins of the leaves. To get the leaves to curl while they dried, I placed the leaves on a Flower Forming Cup. Once hardened, I used leftover green icing as glue to put on top of the pretzel sticks, then I took it a step further and added some coconuts under the leaves.
Here is the finished cake. I added some flowers made with Gum Paste, as well as a cookie in the shape of a surf board that I iced and put in the sand.