As my Sunday gift to you, there will be no typically long-winded post to accompany my photos today (collective sigh of relief.) You work hard enough as it is, so trying to figure out what on earth my ramblings have to do with the recipe title is probably the last thing that you need.
This cake was one that I made yesterday for a friend’s baby shower. The hostess had asked for non-fondant baby blocks, and the rest was up to me. Those of you who have worked with fondant know that while it is definitely less forgiving and more expensive than buttercream, it also has a much cleaner finished look. So my challenge was to create several small block layer cakes that had uniform sides and that did not resemble the leaning tower of Pisa. This is much easier to do during the cooler winter months in Las Vegas, when the buttercream remains nice and thick. During the summer? Fuhgeddaboudit.
I used three half-sheet pans, which contained a double recipe of my favorite chocolate cake, for this project. After searching my entire house for the perfect square-shaped object with which I could trace the block layers, I finally settled on sheets of paper from my new Dog-A-Day calendar, which measured just over 5-inches per side (laminated.) Each half-sheet pan produced six squares, but I found that I only needed five squares per block when they were layered with the white chocolate buttercream. No, the blocks didn’t end up being perfectly even, but they were close enough.
To decorate the blocks, I enlisted the help of a few cookie cutters from my collection: A, B, C, 1,2,3, baby onesie, baby bottle, and Mr. Duck. I found that piping on an outline yields a much better result than when I (foolishly) attempt to do it freehand. And yes, that object on top of the “C” block is supposed to be a baby bottle. That one didn’t turn out exactly as I had planned, but it was still remotely recognizable.
I also decided to adorn the almost-too-large-to-fit-in-my-car fabric-covered board with some simple decorated sugar cookies, since the finished blocks were looking a bit lonely. After cutting out the I-T-S-A-B-O-Y letters, along with a few other shapes, I discarded the excess dough. Not until I positioned the letters on the board did I realize that (D’OH!) I needed an apostrophe for the I-T-S. Out of desperation, I unwrapped a blue raspberry Jolly Rancher (we always have Jolly Ranchers in our pantry), and turned it into punctuation.
Overall, I was pretty happy with the results. Yes, the blocks could have been more square. The buttercream could have been smoother. The bottle could have looked less like the Empire State Building, and more like a bottle. But hey–those are all things to strive for next time around. At least I didn’t trip carrying the board into the shower. That was the biggest accomplishment of all