Sunday, August 23, 2009

Alex's Animal Print Cake

My daughter turned 13 this month. I usually start asking my kids what kind of cake they want several weeks in advance so I have time to plan. When I asked Alex what she wanted to do for her birthday party and cake she told me she didn't want a party (though couldn't tell me why), and that she was too old for a themed cake. Wha?? Is there an age when you're too old? I tried to change her mind about the party. No luck. I gave her several ideas for cakes I thought would be really fun. Nope. We finally decided on an animal print cake (she's animal crazy to the core). I actually thought the idea was a little mature for her, but it was all I could get her to agree to.

She doesn't like chocolate cake (how she can be my offspring, I have no idea), so both cakes were yellow, and I filled and frosted them with buttercream frosting before covering them with fondant. I use Satin Ice fondant, because it doesn't taste horrible and it's easier to work with than Wilton. What's amazing to me is the Satin Ice, which tastes like marshmallow, only costs a few dollars more than the awful Wilton fondant, which tastes like rancid oil. My guess is people who make cakes for fun and shop for their supplies in the cake aisle at their local craft store, buy the Wilton because that is what the store has. It's how I started. Then I was asked to make a wedding cake for a friend's brother and they wanted fondant. I knew there had to be something better than Wilton fondant, and after some digging, I found the Satin Ice at a store called Gygi's in Salt Lake City.

For a foodie, Gygi's is a wonderland. They sell every food/kitchen thing you can think of: baking supplies, cake supplies, restaurant supplies, dishes, accessories, giant popcorn makers, even giant grills you could fit my 6 year-old in. It's always a good day when I get out to Gygi's :)

I loved hand-painting the zebra stripes and leopard spots (though looking back I'd do the spots differently--darnit). I used full-strength paste food coloring and was a little worried we'd all end up with black teeth, but it wasn't too bad ;) I made the letter "A" out of dark chocolate I melted and then piped onto waxed paper that was over a pattern. Some black ribbon and we were in business, though it took some time figuring out the bow for the top (looks so innocent, doesn't it?).

We had dinner at an Italian restaurant called Mark Anthony's. Alex loves their seafood ravioli and she's been deprived of it since I started Weight Watchers and my husband had to start watching his blood sugar a couple years ago. Dinner was as scrumptious (naughty) as I remembered. Alex had her seafood ravioli and I had a dish called Hazelnut Chicken; garlic, shallots, mushrooms, and chicken in a sweet hazelnut cream sauce, all served over fettuccine. Gracious, it was divine...I'm thrilled to have leftovers waiting for me in the fridge.

The best part of dinner (besides the bread-on-a-stick that enticed my 2 year-old to sit in her chair for 5 minutes) was when our table of 13 started singing Happy Birthday, and the table of 10 or so next to us, and our server, joined in. It sounded like the whole restaurant was singing. Of course, she was the color of Crayola Red, enormously embarrassed, and loving every minute. Happy birthday, my sweet girl!


  1. What a beautiful cake!!! The zebra stripes are so perfect!

  2. Alex is such a beauty!! Your life may be crazy but it sounds like you are extremely happy!! Was it really forever-ago that you and Trista caused me such angst!!!

    I AM REALLY ENJOYING YOUR BLOG and will recommend to my friends, Tiffany. Take care.
    Becky Vega


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