Thursday, March 29, 2012

Carousel Cake (Happy 4th Birthday, Lilah!)

My baby turned 4 yesterday. Four years old. I feel like I blinked and the time went by so fast. It's funny how well I can still remember the early morning that she was born. It's also funny how I can remember things like that so vividly and not remember a thing that happened yesterday.

Must be the children.

We went a few rounds about what kind of cake she would have this year. I love to do fun cakes that make my kids go "wow, you're the best mom EVER!" (Hey, a mom will take her compliments how ever they come!) Plus, I like a challenge. So this year she waffled back and forth between Strawberry Shortcake and a Pony cake. Finally, on March 1st, I had her choose one, no changing her mind. We compromised on a carousel cake, pink with ponies, chocolate (of course) and "BIG, mommy!" Okay, princess....

And then I took a few liberties, but then, I am the designer, right?  I knew I was going to make 3 layers of cake, so I thought it would be fun to make them "neapolitan" as in the ice cream; with a white, chocolate, and strawberry layer.  So I made the 2 largest layers on the bottom chocolate, the center pieces strawberry, and the "tent" on top white.  I like to bake all the cake a day in advance and refrigerate it so it's easier to frost.

Ah, the frosting....yes, I had some issues with the frosting. I tried a different recipe than I usually use and it simply did not thicken the way I expected.  (Needless to say, I will be trying a different one for my son's birthday in September and if anyone has a great recipe, I'd love it if you'd share it with me!)  But at 10 o'clock at night, you must be willing to either start from scratch, or improvise.

I chose to improvise.

So, I thickened it up as best I could and went for it.  First, I frosted the 2 chocolate layers on the bottom.

Next, I took 9" tall plastic pillars and wrapped strips of fruit roll-ups around them to give them a candy stripe look.

Now, it was my intention to attach them to a base plate and put the plate on top of the bottom layers of the cake, but the 12" plate was too big and the 9" plate was too small. 

But that's okay, we are improvising, right? 

So instead I took the pillars and sunk them directly into the cake.

Which actually made everything sturdier.  Next, I added the strawberry cakes to the center.

And using some dowel in the center and some bamboo skewers on the sides, I anchored it to the lower layers. (It's really easy to see the frosting issue in this photo, make sure you use better frosting than I did so it doesn't sag.) 

I decided to do the top as a totally separate piece, so I took my 2 layers of white cake, put them on their own cake board and frosted them.

Then (to help cover up the unfortunate frosting) I decorated the top with some Twizzlers (in Easter colors) and some candy dots. On the top I added some decorative balloons.

Then I added the horses, which are baked sugar cookies and decorated separately using icing pens. I added some light purple icing and embellished with tiny M&M's on the lower layers, then I put the top on the cake.

Now I wasn't very confident that if I tried attaching the top to the base (especially with this frosting) that I would be able to carry it out to the porch when the time came, so I left them in two pieces and set the top on the pillars when it was time to sing "Happy Birthday".  

But the birthday girl didn't care, she was just so happy to have a pink birthday cake with horsies.

Check out that crazy smile!

Thanks to all the friends and family (near and far) that helped make Lilah's 4th birthday so special!

We love you all!!

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  1. Thanks so much for stopping by Dwell on Joy! What a cute cake! I admire people who have the effort and creativity to put into these tiered cakes!

  2. This is absolutely amazing! I'm definitely pinning this. Thanks for linking up to What I Learned Wednesday! I look forward to seeing more!


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