Monday, December 8, 2008

A Gigantic Ladybug

Is this an amazing looking cake? I made it! I couldn't believe it. Made me jump up and down and clap my hands with excitement (just like when I hung my new curtain panels recently in my living room - by myself!). Truly, though, this is the most fabulous looking cake I've ever made. Notice that I said 'most fabulous looking.'

I couldn't take the pictures without Annalee getting in on the act. Thankfully, she had a friend over on Saturday. Otherwise, I'm sure she would have been in my face trying to do the decorating herself.

So, just how did I come to make such a stunning cake, if I do say so myself? Charlotte and Wyatt, my twin niece and nephew, turned three last weekend. My sister, Gerri, had their birthday party on Saturday. Gerri was going to be stuck making two fancy cakes after showing both kids a cake magazine. Instead of them choosing one cake, they each picked a different one they wanted. So, being a good aunt (or good sister, I'm not sure which), I volunteered to make Charlotte's ladybug cake. I think at the time that Wyatt wanted a firetruck. And, that was way out of my league. Heck, I wasn't even sure the ladybug was close to my league as far as decorated cakes were concerned.

There's a first time for everything - and this was my first time doing anything more than smearing icing on two cake layers and maybe sprinkling them with coconut (coconut layer cake is my favorite (as long as it's gluten-free)). I googled ladybug cakes and found a picture that seemed manageable, though mine wouldn't look like it came out of a bakery like that one. Then Gerri supplied me with special red dye that didn't have flavor, black dye and a magazine that had the picture Charlotte saw and loved. I was feeling a little intimidated by then.

Given that I'm gluten-free AND I was going to be making one of the desserts, I figured I'd make one that I could enjoy. So, I headed over to Fruitful Yield and bought a Namaste yellow cake mix along with Cherrybrook (I think) white frosting. Why Namaste? Well, I've made their brownies before - and they were fabulous (I doctored them up a little, but they would have been fabulous without the doctoring). But, I can tell you, I wouldn't buy their cake mix again.

When we cut it open, it was dense...and brown. Ish. It was brownish, like a spice cake. So, Gerri asked me what I made, and I told her - a yellow cake (as Charlotte requested). But, this really was no yellow cake. Then, came the real test - the taste test. It failed. Miserably. Well, other eaters were not so critical. But, I was. I've eaten plenty of gluten-free cakes and desserts, and this one bombed. It bombed so bad in my mind, that the next day I told Gerri that she shouldn't feel bad about throwing out the leftovers - about half a cake. She laughed, almost nervously. I kind of think she already had thrown it out.

While Charlotte stuck with the ladybug idea (as if she had a choice after I volunteered to bake it), Wyatt decided he wanted a speedracer Mach 5 car, or something like that, instead of the firetruck. My amazing sister the baker came up with this car. Chocolate cake, chocolate filling. It was very well done - and loved by Wyatt. That's the most important thing, right?

Here are Annalee (far right), Wyatt and Charlotte (the birthday hats) and their friend (in the middle) checking out their cakes.

So, if anybody needs a ladybug cake, I'm your go-to gal. Maybe Annalee will want one for her sixth birthday. But, given her fixation with dinosaurs, I think I'll be decorating something on a bigger scale than ladybugs.

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