27 Oct

When you give a soon-to-be 7 year old creative control over a birthday cake theme, you know exactly what you’re in for. Better yet, expect the unexpected. My girl had quite the vision for her birthday cake, and I can’t back down from a challenge. I foolishly thought that a few edible paper butterflies scattered around a frosted cake would be The vision my daughter had for her birthday! A fool was I. So short sighted! So stunted in my creativity! No. My fierce first grader had greater plans… soon I was hearing a whole Monet’s Giverney being described! Stems surrounding the entire base! Flowers in oh so many colors! Butterflies!

I got to work by creating the actual cake part if this whole ordeal. I used my trusted Add A Pinch chocolate cake recipe for the layers (run, don’t walk, toward this wonderfully rich & moist cake recipe). I applied a vanilla/milk soak to the layers to ensure things stayed nice and moist, as I prepped the cakes the day before. For the filling, I whipped up Russian buttercream for the first time. This is literally just sweetened condensed milk creamed with softened butter. It is surprisingly delicious and could not be easier.  Once stacked, I crumb coated with some American buttercream and chilled overnight. I was too lazy to make a whole other batch of American buttercream and wanted to make the initial batch stretch. So, I essentially made up my own rules in how to try to do this, by folding in freshly whipped cream (soft peak) to the rest of my buttercream. This resulted in a “whipped cream-forward” frosting, I’ll say. I was not mad about it, given its light texture which actually kind of nicely balanced out the richness of the chocolate cake.  

Finally it was decorating time. I was in a bit of a Covid-booster-stupor the morning I set out to decorate, so my slight headache and soreness may have contributed to my laissez-fair approach.

I really tried to pipe and swirl and dot the best I could. There were some successes and some… less than successes. I was most proud of the little leaves using a special piping tip (it’s the small things). I mounted some wafer butterflies onto cake pop sticks for height and a 3-D effect. I also chose to add some real roses, dipping the stems and bottom petals in chocolate before placing them on the cake. The chaos eventually came to resemble somewhat of a magical butterfly bursting garden-scape.

The final result was definitely something! Colorful, explosive, and butterfly-rich! The cake itself was very yummy, so I will take this whole project as a WIN! 

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