Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Kai-lan says "Ni Hao" to Cara

Ni Hao, Friends and Followers!  :D

This cake features another one of our Nickelodeon favorites. During the same day that Leilani's Luau cake was due, I also had an order for a small cake from my sister, Cherlyn Mae Farol.  Her goddaughter, Cara was turning two years old and was having a Ni Hao, Kai-lan themed party. Cherlyn only ordered a small cake to serve as a topper, but along with the cake, they were also serving other small dessert treats like cupcakes and cake pops from The Perfect Treats. Cherlyn automatically knew I'd be a perfect candidate to make this cake especially after seeing this picture of me...  :)

At first I thought about doing a sculpted, dimensional cake of Kai-lan's head, but I thought about the cake cutting....I didn't like the idea of cutting into Kai-lan's head, and I didn't think 2 year-old Cara would've been too happy either :/ So instead I found an image of Kai-lan that I liked and replicated it to fit on an 8x8 inch square cake.  I also did a little bit of personalizing with the Ni Hao, Kai-lan logo which I think added that special touch.  
I first covered the square cake with a light blue fondant to act as my blank canvas.  To work on the art, I printed out the Kai-lan images I found to use as a template....I laid them over my rolled fondant and with a corsage pin I outlined the main shapes (the same technique that's used to carve pictures into pumpkins). I then tinted some fondant to go with the various colors. I started on the flesh tones as the base, then worked my way to her hair, clothing, flowers, and eyes. 
This was my first time using this technique, but it was quite simple. The hardest part was probably getting the colors to come out just right. It was like piecing together a little puzzle. What really made each piece come together and POP was the black icing outline and the meticulous details...it's what made Kail-lan come to life.
 Now all that was left was to box it and get it ready for delivery...

I was very pleased with how this cake came out and I think Kai-lan is the cutest thing! Turns out, the size I made this cake fit perfectly to top off the cupcake stand. Here are a couple photos of the party that I borrowed from Cherlyn...
I'd like to thank Cherlyn again for allowing me to make Cara's special cake! And don't forget to check out The Perfect Treat's website... super cute little treats for your next party [www.theperfecttreats.com]. Until next time...thanks for stopping by.

~Abs of Cakes~

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Leilani's Luau

Leilani turned 10 years old this August and was having a Luau to celebrate her milestone birthday. Her mom, Roselynn contacted me over a month before her party to inquire about cakes, so I knew she wanted Leilani's cake to be extra special for her eldest child. I had a few ideas in mind as far as design and colors; luaus have so much imagery to work with....but Leilani knew exactly what she wanted! Leilani and Roselynn both dance Hula, so they wanted a Hula Girl on top of the cake with some flowers. Leilani also really liked the waves from my Cherry Blossom Cake, and wanted something similar with dolphins jumping out of the waves. So essentially, my job was to tie it all together onto one cake and make it work. 

 Like most of my cakes, I started with a small rough sketch of my ideas keeping Leilani's requests in mind. Since she really liked the waves, I decided I would make them the bottom tier.  I drew from the concept of the Lilo and Stitch cake I designed, where the bottom tier represented the "moana" or ocean and the top tiers represented the "aina" or land...each of which are often depicted in hula dances.  
 While doing some cake research, I came across some new techniques that I really wanted to try with this cake. One was Chocolate Painting! I instantly fell in love with this technique...it is fairly easy to accomplish and can look more realistic than fondant characters. I started by printing out an image of a hula girl that I liked. This is the image I used...
I then melted some different colored chocolates in separate pastry bags, and began "painting" away! I painted over wax paper with the hula girl image right underneath as my guide. Each layer of colored chocolate collectively turned into the Hula Girl cake topper.
Unlike painting with acrylics and oils, this type of painting requires you to start with the highlights and elements in the forefront then work your way to the body and background. What is closest to the wax paper is what the final image will look like. So the final product ends up being the mirror image of the original.  After I was done painting, I flooded the figure with more chocolate to act as a base or foundation making it stronger and thick enough to stand on its own. I allowed for the chocolate to harden for a whole day before releasing it from the wax paper and seeing the final product.
Keeping with the chocolate decoration theme, I also used this method for Leilani's birthday greeting.  I designed a circular arch that said "Happy 10th Birthday Leilani" on it.  Again I had to work backwards...meaning the words had to be mirrored.  I deliberately made it this form to create some dimension and depth on the final cake design. It was to be placed on the top tier where it framed the Hula Girl like a halo. This form would also represent the sun or a rainbow in the sky.  
I had this really cool paper that worked well with the Luau theme which I used to cover the cake board.  The colors of the paper also went well with the colors I used for the cake.
Once the cake was colored and stacked with the waves added, it was ready for some details.  I worked on a few dolphin figures that would be attached to the middle tier and look like they're jumping out of the waves. They were actually half of the dolphin, because the figures were flat on one side so that they would lay flush with the side of the cake.  Now if only I had an airbrush to add some highlights and color variations on those dolphins....
Not only did Roselynn order this cake, but she also ordered four dozen cupcakes. Again, I used chocolate to decorate them.  I piped colored chocolate into the shape of a hibiscus flower to be placed as cupcake toppers...I imagined the cupcakes to look like busy Aloha Print around the cake. 
Once I completed the cupcakes, I finished the rest of the cake decorations and details. I worked on a few fondant flowers to place on the cake.
I left the birthday greeting arch and Hula Girl to be placed at the very end once the cake was delivered.  I did not want to risk any type of damage to those fragile pieces. 
 I hope you learned a thing or two from this blog. Chocolate Painting has become one of my new favorite techniques so don't be surprised if I use it again for another one of my cake creations. Thanks for stopping by.

~Abs of Cakes~

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