Thursday, May 31, 2012

Unicorn Cake

Kenna little friend Libby made a request of me. "Can you make me a unicorn cake, standing up?" Clearly the child thinks I am a magician. No. I can't quite do that, but I can do something...I thought for sure there would be a cake pan I could buy...but no! I couldn't find one! Resourcefulness kicks in...
I used my computer screen as a light board and traced the shape of a unicorn template from online. Then I enlarged it at Office Max by 220%.  Then I cut it in half.

I used the paper as my template to carve the cake

Voila! We have a horse!
Since I have never taken a cake decorating course (and I should!), there are a few key elements I struggle of them is the crumb coat. This time I did an especially careful job of it, and it was the best crumb coat I've ever done. The reason for this was...they requested NO FONDANT. Not even the much tastier marshmallow kind. They wanted only buttercream. I think they might have been trying to give me a heart attack:-)
Crumb coat, done.
For the crumb coat, I thinned down the icing with more milk (about 1T more), to make it less sticky and more "runny", just so it was easier to spread and work with. This seemed to be the key. I also placed it in my new wide garage fridge (blessing!) to "harden" before I applied the top layer of icing.
And she's done!!
I have said before that for each cake I like to buy one new item to add to my cake decor "tools" stash, as each thing tends to add up quite a bit, if purchased all at once. This time I bought CLEAR vanilla flavouring for the icing, so that the horse would be pure white, like all good unicorns are, and not off-white from adding regular brown vanilla to my buttercream.
After completion, and staring at her for a few hours, I though she was a little too plain. So I added a few more details. And I think this is perfect. I'll stop tinkering now.
I wanted the buttercream to be very smooth, and almost fondant-like...not always easy, as you might know if you have ever tried it. This was my first attempt at it, and actually, it took awhile, but it looks pretty good and is very smooth! I used two methods to accomplish this. I kept cleaning off my off-set spatula/spreader, and submerging it in hot hot water. This heated the metal which in turn sort of melted the buttercream into a smooth finish, when you smooth it over the icing. Then I also took a paper towel (Viva brand, as it has no pattern), and gently set it on the top and rubbed it. This definitely worked too. If the icing is sticking to the paper towel, throw cake in the fridge for a few minutes.'s pretty darn smooth! I was proud of that, being my first attempt
So, the top was easy to get smooth, and I promise, even a cake store's cakes aren't this smooth! But the sides were harder to do. Partially because the cake is not very tall, and there are a lot of awkward angles with the legs and neck. I got it "ok". Some areas are perfect and others are a bit lumpier, but overall when just looking at it, it looks smooth, so I left it alone and called it a day.
This is a lumpy section that I couldn't quite get smoothed out. Oh well. Better luck next time!

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