We start a few days before May with my dad's birthday. He had a milestone 75th birthday, so I wanted to celebrate with a special cake for him. It's my faithful chocolate buttermilk cake recipe with a buttercream frosting. I couldn't find the frosting recipe I usually work with, so I used one from the Fannie Farmer cookbook. I thought it was ridiculously sweet, so I don't think I'll use it again, but it worked with the lightly sweet chocolate cake.
It's supposed to be a Spanish cuatro, but it ended up as a regular guitar. I need to get a better set of decorating tips for my pastry bag. And yes, I know the hole is too low. The first cake of the season tends to have these issues with detail. You can't tell from this photo, but the adjustment knobs are chocolate chips.
The second cake was for my anime/manga loving youngest. She wanted Kyubey. Kyubey is from Madoka Magica Puella Magi, the Magical Girls series. SPOILERS: Kyubey is a bad guy...cat...fluffy creature. The cake was buttermilk chocolate, but this time I opted for a whipped cream frosting. I sawed off pieces of ice cream cones to form the neck and ears, used chocolate covered pretzels for the rings and strawberry slices for the eyes. The mouth is just melted chocolate drawn on with a pastry bag. The separate cupcake was to give a place for the candles. Thirteen this year.
|Kyubey cake back|
|Kyubey cake front|
The third cake was an octopus for my oldest daughter. It nearly destroyed me. The velvet cake recipe I used usually is reliable. This time the cake came out fluffier and ended up breaking when I took it out of the pan. I originally tried to make a creamy chocolate frosting, but it never set. It looked like an octopus that got caught in an oil slick and died a horrible death. There were tears the night before her birthday. I went to bed exhausted and got up early for work the next morning. Home from work, I set out to fix my mess.
Several applications of chocolate whipped cream frosting later and it looked much better. The tentacles are all spiral slices of cake and the anemones were cake donuts filled with whipped cream. The eyes are chocolate chips. The original frosting never solidified completely, but instead formed a fudgy layer that made this one of the best tasting cakes I will never make again.
The last cake of the season was for my son. He wanted a Cthulu carrot cake. I did the head and shoulders. Cthulu is a monster from H.P. Lovecraft. My theory about the monster cakes is that my kids feel less guilty about cutting into them. When my son was younger, he would leave the room when an adorable innocent cake needed to be sliced. The carrot cake recipe was from a kids' baking set. I quadrupled it to allow for the fact that I wasn't using mini cake pans. I used my own eyeball-the-ingredients cream cheese frosting, first spreading a white layer and then tinting it green. The eyes are strawberry slices, the wings are sugar cones, and the tentacles are carrot peelings and frosting.
In spite of a challenging, extra busy month, I think the cakes turned out well. And every one of them was delicious. For me, that is the most important part of baking homemade cakes.