Takes the Cake: Erin makes an adorable owl cake for a baby shower
My friend, co-worker and regular guest blogger Erin Lippitz has a new cake to share with you.
It's an owl cake she made for a baby shower, and it matches the invitation for the shower, which she designed. She used Adobe Illustrator to create the invitation owl, which was inspired by one on a design from the future parents' crib set.
Two days before the shower, Erin made white cake using her favorite recipe. She baked three 8-inch round cakes.
She used a sharp bread knife to shave and flatten the layers and stacked them using her standard buttercream frosting. She stuck a sucker stick in the middle to make sure the layers didn't slide around.
After stacking, Erin carved around the sides of the cake to make sure all the layers were flush. She left ample time between these steps for the cakes to firm up in the refrigerator. (If this sounds familiar, it's the same process she used when making that amazing Cat in the Hat cake last year.)
Also two days before the shower, Erin colored white fondant with food coloring to make light orange, light green, red and blue fondant to match the invitation. (You can see it in the photo above.)
She rolled the fondant and cut out different sizes of leaves, in different colors, with a leaf cutter. She let them dry overnight in a forming tray, kind of like this. This allowed them to dry in a curved shape, which gave the finished cake more dimension.
She also made the owl two days in advance, using a ball of chocolate fondant. She pinched one side to make a tail and flattened the bottom so he could sit on the cake. For the eyes, Erin attached equal sized balls of white fondant to the still-damp owl, and then added smaller balls of chocolate fondant for pupils.
She rolled out a piece of blue fondant and cut it in a circle for the owl's chest.
To make the flippy feathers on top of the owl's head, Erin mixed chocolate and white fondant to make a lighter brown. She made several short, stubby snake shapes and flattened them with her fingers. She added these to the top of the owl's head, using a paintbrush she only uses on fondant to dab on a little water to make them stick. She shaped them with her fingers and addied flips at the ends.
The beak and feet are all made from lumps of red fondant. She stuck a lump on the owl's face, then used her fingers to pinch it into the shape of a triangle.
Erin shaped the feet into triangles with her fingers and set the owl on top of them, then let the whole thing dry together. She transported it to the shower in a plastic food container loosely covered with plastic wrap.
The day before the shower, Erin frosted the stacked cake and attached the fondant tree trunk. She saw the cake's frosting as a sky backdrop, so she used gel food coloring (you can find it at Michael's) to turn it sky blue. She used a rough finish, almost like a spackle.
Right after frosting it, Erin rolled out more chocolate fondant for the tree. She'd previously drawn a tree on paper, freehand, and cut it out to make a pattern. She laid it over the rolled fondant and used a pizza cutter to cut out the tree shape.
She gently placed it on the cake so the trunk touched the bottom of the cake. Erin gently continued placing and patting it until the branches and trunk flowed over the top and sides of the cake. Erin made the fondant tree right after frosting the cake, because it needed to be attached before either the buttercream or chocolate fondant could dry out.
She rolled snakes of lighter-brown fondant (the same stuff the owl's feathers are made from) to make three-dimensional bark on the tree. She also used snakes of colored fondant to write "baby" in a cloud-like font.
She then added the colored leaves to the tree and loosely covered it with plastic wrap. Make sure it's not tight enough to trap in moisture, Erin said, because the fondant will reabsorb it and that causes problems.
When Erin arrived at the shower, she placed the owl on top of the cake. Isn't it adorable?
This cake was accompanied by cupcakes, which Erin and the other shower guests used for a adorable and fun shower activity. I'll include more information on that tomorrow.