Thursday, October 16, 2008

Clam Shell Birthday Cake

I have been so busy with the baking lately that I have not had the time to create a blog. Well, about time I did then don't you think? :)

Last week, my godsister messaged me on Msn and she said she had seen the cakes I had posted on FB and she thought it be great to have me design a cake for her good friends birthday party. So I said, "Hey babe, I'm no pro but I'll see what I can do. Got a pic?" (its sort of like my verbal disclaimer so ppl know im not some big shot pro like Tracey from Something Special). So she passed me the visual and when I saw it I thought ...... can I? This is really difficult and the design part is up to me so thats even worse because my brother is the artist in the family - not me! But hey, if I don't dive in and start on these novelties, I would lose out alot on those happy faces when they see the outcome of the product. So I plucked up enough courage and I replied "Yeah sure! Of cause I can." Later, I smaked my forehead real hard! LOL.

To cut a long story short, I got to work. I thought of what would be best and how do I arrange it out and I finally decided to work with yellow and orange fondant for shells. I took out my Shell moulds (thanks to Shanee who got it for me for my birthday!) and I started moulding. I put a white pearl in the center and it some how did not have that 'wow' factor I was looking for so I had a yellow pearl for my orange shells and I alternated the same with my yellow shells. They looked cute, so I put those aside and I started on the main clamp. This was difficult as I had to hand sculpt it and its difficult to do that in a country thats known for its HUMIDITY (It is difficult to work with fondant under humid conditions)! So I sat under the aircond directly and some how I managed to pull through - barely perfect but it looked like a clam alright. I allowed that to sit and dry and I helped it stay held up with a pearl that had both the orange and yellow tones in it. That should make for a striking look I thought to my self. Well, pretty satisfied, I let those sit in the fridge to harden.

Next on the list was baking the cake. I needed to make my special choc moist cake so I set to doing that immediately. The cake was fairly large and the one batch I made had fit the entire 13" round cake tin perfectly (usualy this one batch can fit into a 9" square tin and a 6.5" round tin). No worries there, done and baked, I took it out, let it cool down and then started frosting it. I just did a basic crumb coat - which reminds me, I NEED TO GET A TURN TABLE! It was so difficult geting the frosting around the edges without having those lil turntables. After the first thin layer, I put the cake into the fridge to chill..... and I SLEPT - it was nearly 2am and I had work the next day at 8am!

The next day,I rushed back from the office and started immediaty on the cake. I needed to deliver it to the club at about 11pm and I had barely 1 1/2 hours to work on the cake (the jam in KL is horrible! It really really is getting worse!). I took my cake out, whipped up some fresh butter cream and I spreaded another layer onto the cake evenly. Back into the fridge it went to chill for a bit. Then it was time to work the marshmallow fondant. I decided in my head to cover the cake in white fondant and place the shells on it. But it looked plain in my imagination, so I decided to make blue waves to cover the sides for that extra colour. I rolled out a big sheet of white marshmallow fondant and I took my cake out from the fridge, smoothen out the edges, and draped my white marshmallow fondant onto the cake. Covered it as neatly as possible and since I did'nt have the fondant smoother thinghy's, I used my spatula instead. Once I was happy with that, I took the remaining white fondant and coloured it blue. I rolled it into a long snake and flattened it then tried my best to make the waves - and then I covered the sides with it gently trying my best not to break it as it was really really soft despite my aircond and fan running at full blast!

Once that was done, I placed my little clams on the cake and I sprinkled ground almonds on top to resemble sand. With blue icing I wrote "HAPPY BDAY LALA LIAW" and the cake was done. Or was it? It looked good but I thought something was missing. What could I add to make it even nicer - pearls? Could I maybe add in some pearls around the edges of the cake? Hmmmm... I stopped thinkin too much due to lack of time and the humidity problem, and I finally decided to roll out tiny pearls with my remaining orange and yellow fondant. Then I lined them up at the bottom of the cake - and yay! I was satisfied - partly, for it was not my satisfaction that I was in search off, it was the customer! So I prayed a silent prayer. Blessed the cake and into the box it went.

The very next day, I got another message on Msn. "Anne! The cake was awesome!!!!! Damn cun! And it was yummy!" I breath a sigh of relieve. I was so excited she was excited. My first fondant cake was a hit and now im FULLY satisfied. :)

Pics of the final outcome.

I had to take the pic with my mobile fon so its not so clear. You can see that the cracks were slowly starting to form - that was due to the temprature change and the fondant was between drying up and melting. If this happens to your fondant, just rub a little bit of shortening on it to hold it together then slowly smoothen it out. At the bottom, I lined the pearls around the edges.

The tiny clams. I took a paint brush and lightly brushed on some colour for the effect.

The sand is made from ground almonds. I just sprinkled some around the clam shells.

So all in all, it was good. Everyone loved it and I was glad they enjoyed it!

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