Monday, October 24, 2011

How To: Miss A's Owl Cake

Okay, so a few people have asked for a more step by step "tutorial" on how I made this cake.  Because I didn't take pictures for each step you will have to do your best to imagine.  If you have specific questions feel free to e-mail or comment.

Upfront, this is a small cake.  I used a 6-inch cake pan that I got at a craft store.  Yes, it's small.  I used a butter cream frosting and colored it as needed with Wilton cake colors -- far superior than regular food coloring.  Feel free to use whatever frosting you feel the need to use.  Butter cream warms up pretty fast and will lose it's ability to hold form as it warms up in the pastry bag you are piping with.  So, work quickly and take a break to refrigerate your frosting as needed.
  • With my cake on a plate, I crumb coated the cake.  I need to look into what this really entails but my version was just adding a thin layer of white icing on the whole cake.  It gave me a nice clean surface to work on.
  • Then I created the outline for the bird face in the crumb coat.  For the large part of the eye I used a glass tumbler from our cabinet.  For the black part of the eyes I used the alcohol measuring cup -- ahem -- you know it's small and it measures out a pour, etc.  Then I drew the rest out with a toothpick.  When I was satisfied with my template I put it in the freezer for about 15-20 minutes.
  • While the cake was in the freezer I set aside some of the white frosting I made for the owl's eyes.  With the rest I colored to my desired blue color.  When the timer went off I pulled the cake from the freezer and iced the side and the smooth blue areas of the cake.  I have yet to master the technique of an ultra-smooth cake.  Someday.  It was satisfactory for me and gave the owl a little texture.  HA!  Back in he freezer.
  • During this break I filled my pastry bag and pick my decorating tip.  For the life of me I don't remember which number I used.  Basically, just pick what kind of texture you want and go with it.  I let the frosting firm up a bit in the fridge and all was good to go when the timer went off.  I "stippled" in the feather area.  Freezer.
  • Fill in the white of the eyes even though they are already white.  It covers the crumb coat and makes everything level.  I just used a medium sized piping tip (it's just round if you are wondering about that.)  Still working on my technique here.  Freezer.
  • Make the back icing.  Fill in eyes and eyebrows.  I used a yellow cake gel I had on hand for the nose and filled that in pretty fast.  You can use the gel (it comes in primary colors in the baking section of your local grocery/market) or make some yellow frosting.  I didn't have yellow coloring so this was super handy.
That's basically it.  The freezing, for me, helped keep the shape of everything and prevented any of the colors from bleeding into each other.
If I missed something let me know and I will add that into this "tutorial."

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