Monday, May 8, 2017

It's Not a Party Without Cake

Alright my friends.  This post is for all of you who swear up and down that you can never do one of my projects in your own kitchen because they're too complicated, or take too much time, or require too many tools that you don't have access to.  This project? This one, my friend requires only a grocery store, a craft store, and Etsy.  I know you have access to all of those.  Intrigued yet?

I thought you would be! So, I recently had the pleasure of attending two bachelorette parties.  And you know what?
Yup, from the lips of the cooking Goddess herself.  If Julia Child said it, who am I to disagree?  Of course, there had to be cake. Normally, I would make the cake myself.  But if there's anything I fear more than a party without cake, it's making everyone deathly ill by food poisoning -- and with the fact that the cakes would have to be made in advance, then taken across the country on airplanes with questionable climate control, and then stored without refrigeration in desert and subtropical climates. . . well, I didn't feel up to that kind of pressure.

Here's the secret.  Lean in, and listen closely.  Ready? Okay. . . it's Giant Eagle.  Okay, okay, don't get too disappointed.  No judgy eyes.  The grocery store cake may not be the sexiest pastry out there, but it's just the base.  The foundation.  And -- I know that every single one of you out there has access to a grocery store cake.

Here's where the magic comes in.  It's in something called a frosting sheet.  You know what a frosting sheet is, even if you don't think so.  Ever see (or enjoy) one of those cakes with someone's picture on it? That's a frosting sheet!  It's basically a very thin, compressed sheet of frosting that you can print on.  I've used it in the past, both for the wine bottle cake and for the library cake.  It's perfect for small details and artwork. And it's so very perfect for sprucing up a generic grocery store cake.  And it can be custom ordered from Etsy (for less than $10)! Okay, so now you know what you need from the grocery store and what you need from Etsy.  Lastly -- the craft store.  Just get cake decorations.  Sprinkles, sugar pearls, cake sparkles.  And some structural things -- edible glue, and gumpaste.  But if you're feeling really frugal, you can even skip the glue and the gumpaste.  More on that later.

As I mentioned, these cakes were for bachelorette parties -- so I did a little bit of a Google search and downloaded a couple of darling pictures of bustiers.  I sized them in Word (it's amazing what you can get done in Microsoft Word) and sent them off to Etsy.  Less than a week later, I had itsy-bitsy frosting sheet bustiers in my hands.

The process:

Roll out a piece of gumpaste just larger than the size of the graphic.  Then use a sharp knife to cut out the picture and set aside.  You can use scissors too, as long as they are small enough for fine detail.

Take the backing off of the frosting sheet and put a thin coating of edible glue on the back. If you don't have edible glue, you can use water. Place the cut out picture on top of the rolled gumpaste. Let it sit for about 10 minutes to dry.

Now comes the decorating. Paint edible glue on the details that you want to bedazzle. Generously coat the area with sequins, sparkles, etc, and then gently shake the gumpaste to remove the excess.
Carefully dip one side of the sugar pearls in the edible glue and place on the picture where desired.

Now, finally, cut the gumpaste along the edge of the picture.  Give yourself a little bit of a border to avoid irreparable damages to your piece of art.

After drying, the image should stiffen up.  Place on a bed of cornstarch to avoid any sticking until you place on the cake.

When the cake is ready, place the cut-out onto the cake and press gently to adhere it to the frosting.

And right there -- is the best looking grocery store cake you'll ever see.  😍

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