"Hey, I can do that!"

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Happy Birthday, Aunt Mimi: Completed

Happy Birthday, Aunt Mimi!
(+10 skill points -> 190/400)

Yesterday the Wingler and Scannell families celebrated Aunt Mimi's 60th birthday in Johnson City, TX.  When we first received the e-vite, I asked Aunt Mimi if I could supply the cake.  She was thrilled that I asked, but then I got nervous.  This cake had to be special because this was such as special occasion!  Here's the scoop ...

  • 2 tiers: 6" and 8" round
  • French Vanilla cake (Duncan Hines box mix)
  • white chocolate IMBC icing and filling (top tier)
  • white chocolate with Bailey's Irish Cream IMBC icing and filling (bottom tier)
  • royal icing accents
This was definitely a challenging cake; it took about 12 hours to complete.  Earlier in the week I baked, leveled, and torted the cake ... and, of course, made cake balls with the scraps.


 With my last cake for Jenny, I made coffee IMBC (Italian Meringue Buttercream).  For Aunt Mimi, I took it up a notch and made IMBC with a shot of Bailey's Irish Cream.  This was for the bottom tier since it would be bigger and for the adults.

The icing was being a little fussy while I was making it.  I had to throw it in the fridge to firm up so it could stabilize.  When I added the crumb coat to the cake, it seemed rather thin.

Afterward I made the white chocolate IMBC and found that to be much more firm and stable.  It went on smooth and thick.  I then added white chocolate to the Irish Cream icing to see if it would help and it did.  It also made it even yummier!



The cakes went into the fridge to firm up until I could finish everything on Friday evening.  There wasn't much time for me to take photos at the end.  My mother-in-law and sister-in-law came over to lend a hand.  I had made some biege MMF (marshmallow fondant) earlier in the week for the top tier.  The bottom tier was going to use the left over fondant from Halloween's cauldron cake.  The top tier was covered without a hitch, but the bottom tier was a whole different story.  The bottom tier fondant was made with dark chocolate cocoa powder.  We believe that the cocoa threw the whole batch out of wack.  I took it out and saw it was incredibly dry (it crumbled into dusty clumps when I kneaded it), so I added some drops of water and some shortening.  I rolled it out again and tried to place it on the cake: disaster!  The fondant cracked everywhere and looked awful.  Luckily the cake was firm enough for me to lift the fondant back off.  There was no way I was going to make another batch of fondant this late at night.  In my stubborn head it was either this fondant or no cake at all!  Anne and Ashley watched me struggle as I added more and more melted marshmallows trying to save this fondant.  Thankfully it finally loosened up and began to behave.  The bottom tier was covered (again) but this time successfully.

Now for stacking the tiers.  I was concerned about the drive from my house to Johnson City and how the cake could survive the trip.  The cakecentral.com forums provided a lot of information on how to travel with cakes, and I took away some great tips.

The cake sat on a 12" cake drum, which is basically a round cardboard cylinder.  To support the top tier, 4 wooden dowels were cut and inserted into the bottom tier:

Using the 6" round pan, I traced a circle on to the top of the bottom tier.  A pat of icing was smeared within the circle to help the top tier stick.  The top tier was placed on the supports and centered.  In order to keep the top tier in place, another wooden dowel was pierced down the center of the entire thing, including the cake drum.  I eyeball-measured the height of the cake including the cake drum and cut the dowel appropriately.  One end needed to be sharpened to be able to pierce 2 cake boards plus the top side of the cake drum.  I couldn't find my husband's pencil sharpener so I used a knife to whittle a point.  The point wasn't getting sharp enough ... I wasn't going to risk trying to skewer my cake with a blunt end.  I searched for the pencil sharpener again and finally found it.  Anne and Ashley watched me in silence and probably slight horror as I took a hammer and "staked" my cake.  Luckily the dowel went into place without any excessive damage.

The design piped on to the cake was inspired by a logo made by Jan Zabranski.  Royal icing was mixed with brown food coloring and piped using a disposable plastic piping bag.  This is my first time to use the plastic bags, and I must say it was a delight!  I may only go back to parchment if I need a small amount of icing piped.  Anne and Ashley helped make the candy cup on top.  They melted candy bark into Wilton's Cordial Cups candy mold.

On Saturday morning the cake got packed into a large plastic bin.  The bottom was lined with non-slip material (the stuff you put in your kitchen drawers so your dishes don't slide around when you open them).  I made it snug in the trunk by surrounding it with other things I had back there.

The cake made it through the 1.5 hour drive to Johnson City just fine.  When it was time to cut the cake, I explained that some people don't like the taste of fondant, and I wouldn't be offended if they wanted to peel it off of their slice.  Kathy said it was the best tasting fondant she's ever had!  Kim said it was addicting and kept nibbling on it after her cake was gone.  I thought it was ok, but peeled it off anyway so I could taste the IMBC better.

A big thank you to Anne and Ashley for helping me with this cake!  Happy birthday, Aunt Mimi!


  1. Super cute cake and I might have to steal your transport idea of putting the cake in a giant rubbermaid with the no slip!

  2. Hi. Just wanted to say how much I love your site, and am so impressed with your cakes. I've just started my cake making journey (which I similarly hope to document - I think that really helps). Your blog is giving me a lot of inspiration (and tips!)

    So thanks!
    Tanya (from Queensland, Australia)

  3. Thanks, Tanya! I hope sharing my experiences can help and encourage others.


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