Monday, May 12, 2008

Mother's Day Cake Mayhem!

Well, yesterday was Mother's Day. I hope you remembered to call your mom! If not, lemme tell you from past experience: a belated call today is 1000 times better than no call at all.

My fiance's parents live in a small, 2-stoplight town way up north in our great New England state, and my folks live about 20 minutes away in a suburb of our city. Being that both families are within driving distance, we have had to employ some creativity over the last 2 years in deciding which part of what holiday weekend to spend with which set of parents. Mother's Day was no exception to this quandary!

This year we drove the 3 hours north to spend Saturday evening and part of Sunday with my fiance's family. My mom graciously agreed to postpone her Mother's Day celebration until this evening, so we'll be heading over there for supper tonight. I decided to do a surprise cake for each of our moms to celebrate their special days and - of course! - get some much needed practice for the wedding cake.

A couple weeks ago, I bought a 6"x3" round cake pan that I'm going to use to make the top layer of our wedding cake. I hadn't experimented with it yet, so this weekend gave me a chance to test it out not once, but twice!

I figured that one standard cake mix would probably make enough batter to do the 6" round plus about a half dozen cupcakes, so my plan was to make a cake with a theme for each mom and display it surrounded by cupcakes that matched that theme.

I started my theme-scheming with the cake for my future MIL (Mother-in-Law). She has been driving the school bus for their small town for years and years, and looooooves to tell stories about the bus. It's kind of a running joke in the family that you can't have a conversation about anything with MIL without her bringing the bus into it somehow. So I thought it would be fun to make a bus-themed Mother's Day cake for her with a fondant road on buttercream "grass", fondant buses, road signs and traffic lights.

Here's how it came out:

Since the decorations were all bright primary colors, I picked out a funfetti cake mix to coordinate the color scheme with the cake itself. I took a break from filling the cupcakes this time around and instead split the cake into 2 layers and frosted between them with the green buttercream.

The writing on the buses and signs was made using Wilton FoodWriters. I used a candy mold to get the buses the right shape, but everything else was fashioned by hand and I mixed all the fondant colors myself.

My only big challenge on this cake was getting the cake itself to bake evenly in that tall pan. It took about 40 minutes for the entire cake to set, and the middle had sunk a little due to my impatient poking and testing (I was afraid it might burn!). Thank goodness frosting covers a multitude of sins!

Despite the fact that it was less than perfect, I was very pleased with the results. The best reward, though, was how surprised MIL was. She took about a dozen pictures, and although the cupcakes disappeared quickly, by the time we left yesterday, that darn cake was still intact. She didn't want to cut into it and ruin my hard work. I kept telling her that it was meant to be eaten, not saved! I wonder if it will still be there the next time we go up to visit? Oh well!

One down... on to the second round! Come back tomorrow for part 2 of this post!


evil cake lady said...

wow, nice decorating job! hopefully your MIL has broken into the big cake by now...

so how about your mom's cakes? *patiently waiting*

CaraCakes said...

It's here! It's here! Just posted. Sorry to keep you hanging!