Fun Birthday Cakes

Debs Birthday Cake
Credit: Copyright 2013 Introspective Pics/DebW07 All Rights Reserved

Fun Cakes You Can Make

Two for the Price of One

Have you ever seen a beautifully decorated cake and thought to yourself, “I can do that.” Or have you ever watched as a professional baker decorates pastries? The speed and precision of these talented men and women give the false impression that decorating is easy. That's what I used to think until I took a cake decorating class.

It was several years ago, I remember convincing my mom into taking an evening course twice a week at the local community college with me. We bought the required materials ahead of time and were prepared to master the art of cake decorating, or at least I was. My mother had a more practical idea of what she would gain from the course. Being the wise (and thrifty) woman that she is, my mom was looking forward to a couple of evenings out of the house each week, some quality time with her daughter, and maybe learning a new decorating trick or two. But, what she was really looking forward to was asking the instructor to help her decorate one of her delicious homemade creations for an upcoming birthday.

Well, you can imagine her delight when, after asking the instructor for help, he offered to decorate her homemade cake for her! She got a professionally decorated birthday cake for the price of a homemade one, sort of a two for one deal. Needless to say she was over the moon.

Moms Madea Birthday Cake
Credit: Copyright 2013 Introspective Pics/DebW07 All Rights Reserved

Easy as Pie - Er . . . I Mean Cake

While my mother was enjoying the benefits of a free decorated birthday cake, I was learning that decorating was not as easy as I imagined. One of the toughest classes for me was the rose making class. I struggled with my little "flower nail," a tool with a flat round surface and a small nail like tip that you hold between your thumb and index finger and turn simultaneously while piping a frosting rose.

 No matter how many times I tried or how many times my instructor tried to help, I just couldn't get the hang of it. When the course was over I found that I had a new respect for the art of cake decorating . . . and my mom, well, she got everything that she anticipated, time away from the house, quality time with me, she learned a couple of new decorating tricks, and she got a professionally decorated homemade birthday cake.

Although the reality that I was not going to become a professional decorator quickly sunk in, the desire was still deep. Knowing just how difficult decorating was and the skill level involved was a tough pill to swallow but I could not drop the idea from my head that I wanted to decorate cakes.

Although my enthusiasm was not as high, I practiced. I found new techniques and used other mediums such as candy. I used gumdrops to make the most beautiful roses, finally mastering the art I could not master with frosting. In addition, when I first came across fondant I was excited. It was just like working with Play-Doh. These new techniques lit the fire within me and brought my decorating bug back to life. I wanted to decorate again!

Bevs Homemade Cake
Credit: Copyright 2013 Introspective Pics/DebW07 All Rights Reserved

Whimsical Cake Decorating

In addition to finding new ways to decorate, I continually searched for decorating inspiration. Throughout the years I've purchased many books and tools. One of the books that I found to be most influential and instructional was The Whimsical Bakehouse: Fun-to-Make Cakes That Taste as Good as They Look! I have the hardcover edition and it is one of my treasured books. The illustrations are fun, bright, colorful, and motivating. I want to make every cake pictured exactly the way it is! The instructions are thorough and easy to understand and every level, from beginner to master baker, can benefit from the direction and tips in this book.

Part one covers all the basics, such as the necessary tools, working with chocolate, color and the basics of cake assembly. In part two you will find decorating instructions for some of the most creative and magnificent looking cakes. There is an "Ode to Jackson Pollock," "Starry Night," "Crazy Swirls," "Winter Wonderland," and several others. Part three covers tiered cakes. Not only are there instructions on how to assemble, but you will find the most amazing, whimsical, and awe-inspiring cakes that you have ever seen. There is a "New York, New York" cake that will have you wanting to go to the Big Apple. In addition, there are cakes for baby showers, birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, and any other occasions or non- occasions.

Mother Daughter Time

At the time I purchased the The Whimsical Bakehouse I did not know that the whimsical creations were developed by the mother and daughter team of Kaye and Liv Hansen. These two outstanding professional bakers are living the professional life that I secretly dreamed of. I use to imagine myself being successful by decorating cakes with my mom. However, that dream never materialized for me.

It's been several years since my mom and I took that decorating course and we still talk about it now and then. I think we both have an appreciation for  the art because we know how difficult it is to create. Having that in common with her is something that I enjoy and throughout the years I've attempted to decorate cakes for her. This past year, my mom celebrated a milestone birthday and while I did not make her birthday cake, I purchased a very special one for her. I wish I had the skills to decorate it because that is the only thing that would have made it perfect.

Moms 80th Birthday Cake
Credit: Copyright 2013 Introspective Pics/DebW07 All Rights Reserved

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