“Evie… what do you want for your birthday cake?” Boy, was I going to be kicking myself for that question later because she had a vision in mind! I’ve mentioned previously how Evie had a huge part in planning her birthday party, this included her mermaid birthday cake. She wanted the ocean, she wanted sparkle, and she wanted pink… lots of pink! I was determined to figure out a way to go about making a birthday cake for a mermaid party.
Over the years I’ve collected several different sizes and shapes of cake pans, I’m very thankful for it because I’ve had a lot of fun being able to make the cakes for my girl’s birthday parties. With Pinterest on my side, I surely can figure out how to make the odd cake or two for themed birthday parties.
That is just what I did, I took to Pinterest and started getting ideas together. I decided on doing a 2 layer cake out of 4 slabs of vanilla cake that was coloured pink and purple and had sprinkles mixed in. The last cake I made before this was for Addie’s birthday and it resulted in my being really frustrated and sending Jason out to get more stuff for baking at almost 10 o’clock at night. I was hoping to not repeat that.
To try and save my sanity I baked the cakes a couple days before the birthday party and put them in the freezer. I find working with cold cake to be the best for me. I don’t get as annoyed with crumbs or the cake being too soft. This allowed me to level the cakes and stack them very easily. I kid you not, I have a mini level I use when doing this.
I put a little bit of icing on the cake stand to hold the bottom layer in place and then went to stacking after shaving off some of the cake from the top both cakes flat. I piped out some icing on top of the first cake before putting the next layer on top and then squished them together a little bit. Checking to make sure it was level as I went along.
Thanks to watching way too many baking shows on the Food Network I have learnt that the key to cake decorating is to dirty ice your cake. Basically, you are putting a thin layer of icing on your cake so that it holds the crumbs in, it’s not pretty but it sure makes all the difference. After doing this I pop the cake in the fridge to get cold again.
The ocean part was the easiest. I made up two shades of blue icing with gel food colouring and I had white. I just plunked icing all over the bottom layer so that the different colours of blue and the white were all over. I then smoothed it out with an icing spatula. Making sure it wasn’t too smooth and had some texture to it, this helped the white to almost look like white caps in the ocean. I knew I was on the right track when Evie came into the kitchen and declared “Mommy, I love the ocean you made!”.
What about the mermaid layer? I stumbled across a petal technique where you pipe your colours of icing onto the cake in a row and then press it flat with a spoon. I was guessing as to how this was done because I could not find it written out anywhere. I did a vertical row of alternating pink shades of icing and then pressed it down with a spoon.After two rows I knew I needed to change something I wasn’t liking how it looked.
After two rows I knew I needed to change something I wasn’t liking how it looked. I boiled some water and filled a mug with it and grabbed three spoons to use. Using a hot spoon when pressing down the icing made all the difference. I rotated through the spoons as I went to each blob of icing on the cake. It pressed the icing down smoothly and made it a bit shiny.
To add a little bit of sparkle to the cake I used round metallic sprinkles and popped them in in a pattern on the mermaid layer. The finishing touch on the cake though was the Ariel toy I used for the cake topper. I couldn’t find a cake topper I loved, but I found a toy set that contained an Ariel that my daughter really liked. I knew instantly it would be going on the cake!
Don’t ever be afraid to try something new and give making a cake a go! Just have some fun with it and know that icing really is forgiving. Now, I wait to hear what my daughter has in mind for next years theme… I’m guessing unicorns or super heroes.
Do you make your kid’s birthday cakes?