This is my friend Aela. I love this picture of her, because she not nearly as bratty as it makes her look, although she regularly makes this face when I start mimicing everything she says and does. (its the quickest way to annoy 5 year old and its my guilty pleasure)
I’m actually friends with Aela’s mom and was with her when she went into labor with Aela, so I think its safe to say we’ve had a bond since the very beginning. In fact “Aela” almost was an “Ella.”
Aela is a huge cake fan–cupcakes mostly. Infact she loves to decorate “cuppycakes” with “crosting” as much as she likes to eat them. We started talking about what kind of cake I would make her for her birthday faaaaar in advance. She liked being to imagine the design of the cake she’d get free reign on eating and pulling apart.
We started looking through the many picture and pop books she has. And finally we came across How to Find Flower Fairies.
From this point on the cake became a good excuse to test out techniques I hadn’t had a reason to use previously. To date this is the best work I’ve ever done.
In the end I didn’t actually put any fairies on the cake, though I think some Brian Froud-esque paintings on gum Paste would have been cool. The center tree trunk part is 5 layers of chocolate (vegan at that) cake. Between each layer I spread the left overs of dark, semisweet, bitter sweet, and white chocolate. The bark is chocolate curls. Beneath the tree trunk is 1/2 sheet of red velvet cake covered in tons of green buttercream. ( Yeah Yeah I know it should be cream cheese Frosting..)
I swirled different kinds of chocolate on top of the cake to try to achieve rings of the inside of a tree. The Butterflies are made out of runny royal icing. And some of my students might recognize many of the flowers as part of the Course Two and Three Curriculum.
The mushrooms on the cake came from Martha Stewart’s Wedding Cakes. They are made from meringue and are glued together with chocolate.
The best part of this cake, for me anyways, was watching everyone pick it apart. I was like that scene in Charlie and the chocolate factory–you know right before Augustus falls in the chocolate river and ruins everything. All the parts of the cake were edible, but not just frosting. Even the adults were coming back and picking off pieces of chocolate and candy flowers.