dani’s cake portfolio


MAGICAL BUNNIES October 19, 2008

Filed under: animals,birthday — dani @ 12:00 pm

This cake was made for Anika’s 4th birthday on October 19, 2008.

Design I asked Anika what kind of cake she wanted for her birthday. Without hesitating, she exclaimed, “Bunny cake !!!” I wondered what type of bunny cake a 3 year old actually had in mind, so I asked, “What kind of bunny cake?” She looked thoughtful, so I probed, “Bugs Bunny?” She looked at me with wide eyes and replied, “Yeah !!!” I’m still not convinced, so I asked, “Easter bunny?” She exclaimed, “Yeah !!!” in an equally excited tone. Hmm, this wasn’t helping. So to test to see if she actually had something specific in mind, I asked, “Playboy bunny?” Again she exclaims, “yeah!!!” Hopeless. I realized I was on my own to design this thing. We ended up coming up with the rabbit in the magician’s hat theme, but I struggled with exactly how to make the bunny in the first place. At first I had settled on a round ball pan for the head and would build up the body and paws with carved cake pieces and icing. This approach would give the bunny a more cartoon-like look. Unfortunately, I only had two ball pans, one large and one small and neither size really worked proportionally with the size of the hat. It was either going to be a huge bunny head or several smaller ones like my kittens in a basket cake. However, when I was digging through the cupboards for the ball pans, I hit the jackpot to solve all my problems !! It was an easter bunny 3D pan from William Sonoma that my Mom had given me years before and I had never used and completely and utterly forgotten about. What a huge relief!! That bunny pan saved me hours of time. I was so grateful that I called her in Mexico just to thank her!

Cake This hat is full of magic right?  So I chose a white cake because I wanted dots of color to represent the “magic” inside the hat and needed a light colored cake that would contrast nicely. I also felt that white cake would represent good magic whereas chocolate cake might be construed as black magic. The white cake also contrasted well with the filling and the black fondant so that the color palate was consistent inside and out. I used Dede Wilson’s basic white cake recipe and mixed pink and purple candy sprinkles into the batter just before baking. The candies melt to form dots of magic!!

Filling The filling and frosting is a black raspberry buttercream. Originally we intended to use red raspberries, but they were out of them at the grocery store. The black raspberries produced a bright fuscia purple-pink buttercream which contrasted nicely with the white cake and black fondant and fit the theme rather well.

Icing The magician’s hat cake is iced with black Satin Ice fondant for that satin-like top hat look. The bunnies are iced with traditional decorator’s buttercream.

Decoration The typical magician’s color palate are black, white and red. To make the cake more appropriate for a little girl, I replaced the red with a dark fuscia pink and added flowers and silver glittery things to make the cake sparkle. I also wanted to have “magic” coming out of the hat, but wasn’t sure how to represent magic in 3D. I ended up forming wire into swirls and adding faceted pink glass beads, silver dragees, gumpaste flowers and dots of fuscia pink royal icing. I didn’t really have a design, just figured them out as I went. The flowers, bows and wand are all made from gumpaste. The playing cards are made from color flow royal icing. You’ll notice that the cards are all number 4, one from each suit, to commemorate Anika’s 4 years of life! The handkerchiefs are made from fondant, colored pink, pressed with a pattern transfer mat, and dusted with luster dust to give them a realistic, silky look. Overall, I think that this magician’s hat was a perfect fit for a 4 year old birthday!

Thanks Anika’s Mom and Dad were very enthusiastic about learning the cake process. Her mother, Poorti, came over two nights in a row to help and her father, Michael, accompanied her the second night. They helped make the playing cards, flowers and bows. Blake was also a tremendous help as usual. He did the grocery shopping, washed dishes and frosted the full bunny sitting on the table.