Dynamite Ideas for Your Party

By Melinda Helton-Cromer

Showers, weddings, Mother's Day, graduation parties, and Father's day...Wow! This certainly is a busy time for all of us. Certainly busy enough that none of us want to worry and fuss over what to take to any of the numerous events that are fast approaching. In today's competitive and fast paced times, the perfect answer would be something quick and easy, yet impressive. All but one of the following ideas begin in a very similar fashion and can be altered to fit various occasions. They also can be created either as an individual cake or added to a round or rectangle cake to make the perfect centerpiece and dessert.

Materials needed:

  • At least one box of cake mix or your favorite cake recipe.
  • At least one container of white store bought icing, or a batch of homemade buttercream icing. (can use chocolate icing in place of any brown colored icing you may use).
  • Powdered sugar may be needed to thicken up icing...especially store bought icing.
  • White chocolate (optional)
  • Food coloring in desired colors.
  • Decorator tips.
  • Decorator bags or parchment paper.
  • Coupler for bags (optional).
  • Cake boards in appropriate size for cakes you plan to make. (For the cakes pictured, 7 inch round board was used for the single rose cake and a 19 X 14 inch board was used for the 3 rectangle cakes).
  • Box for transporting your creations. (optional)

If you are looking for a beautiful, unique gift for a loving mother, the individual rose cake is the perfect choice. However, you can take this same cake and place it upon a larger cake to have the perfect bridal shower cake, or to add additional servings to a Mother's day gathering. When you are ready to cut the larger cake, simply remove the individual rose from the large cake with a butter knife or spatula, and place it on it's own plate or cake board for the Bride-to-be or Mom. They can either choose to eat it then or maybe freeze it as a memento of the special day. For graduations, you may want to present the graduate with their own individual cake, or if you are attending a larger affair, you can also take this cake and place upon a round or rectangle cake to provide the amount of servings you will need. For either of these cakes you will need to begin with a small round cake. A medium or large size cupcake, without the paper lining, will work beautifully. If you intend to create an individual cake, place a small dot of icing on the bottom of the cake before placing it on a foil covered cake board. This will help prevent any sliding while decorating.

For the rose, ice the sides of the cake with a light layer of green tinted icing. If you find that your icing is too stiff in consistency, it can be thinned using a small amount of water or corn syrup. Keep in mind that you will need the remainder of the icing to be of stiff consistency for the rose petals and leafs. Once you have the sides of the cake iced, use a small amount of the color intended for your rose and very lightly ice the top of the cake.

Now you are ready to begin your beautiful, unique rose. You will need to use a large petal tip. I try to use the largest one I can find. Begin by making a small "pile" of icing in the very center of the cake. This is used to begin wrapping the petals around, therefore since it will be covered, it doesn't need to look nice. Let the icing "crust" for about 5 minutes before you begin placing the first row of petals around it. This will help support the petals. The first row should consist of 3 petals that are slightly overlapped on the ends. If you notice your petals drooping or wilting, then you need to add powdered sugar to your icing to bring it to a stiffer consistency. On the same note, if your icing is very difficult to squeeze out of the bag and/or your petals are breaking apart, you will need to add just a few drops of water or corn syrup to thin it slightly. Once you have completed the first 3 petals, begin at the last petal piped, and moving slightly out from it, begin your next row. This row should consist of 5 petals, the next one 7 and so on. Following the same procedure, continue out to the edges of the cake.

Now, use a large size leaf tip to place random leafs around the cake. This would be a good time to hide any crumbs that have shown through the icing or any other flaws that showing on the side of the cake. Another finishing touch that adds a breathtaking effect is to lightly sprinkle edible glitter on your cake. This gives it a "dew covered" look.

Once the icing has crusted on the rose cake, the petals are not nearly as delicate as they look, but excessive movement before the icing crusts may cause the petals to droop slightly. Therefore, if you plan to place this beautiful rose onto another cake, it works best to completely ice your larger cake first. Then place your small round cake onto it after your have iced its sides and top as described above, but before you begin placing the petals on. For the graduation cap, you simply cover your entire small cake with a star shaped decorator tip (Kitchen Krafts DT0013-DT0022) in the graduates school color or color of their cap and gown. Now you will need to make the top part of the graduation cap. This can be made out of either white chocolate (or colored white chocolate) or royal icing. This needs to be a simple square shape. I used a disposable square plastic lid that I had in my "junk drawer" and poured melted white chocolate into the center section of the lid. I then placed it in the freezer for approximately 10 minutes. Once the chocolate has set, it will pop right out. Place the smoother side of the square face up onto your small cake. If you choose to use a similar method, remember two important factors, first, if you need to wash whatever you use to mold your square, it will need to be completely dry before pouring your melted chocolate into it. Even a tiny bit of water can ruin the consistency of chocolate. Second, make sure you do not make your square too thin. It doesn"t need to be very thick, but if it is too thin, it will break as soon as you try to remove it from your makeshift mold.

If you would rather make this out of royal icing, you will need to make it approximately 24 hours in advance to allow time for it to dry. Trace a four inch square onto a piece of paper, then lay a sheet of wax paper over the tracing. I recommend doing this on a cake board or something else that can be moved to an out of the way area after you are finished. Use a medium size round decorator tip (Kitchen Krafts DT0005-12) to trace the lines of the square. Wait about 10 minutes for the icing to set, then use royal icing thinned with water to fill in the square. The part of the square that you are looking at won't need to be perfectly smooth because once it is dry and you peel away the wax paper, the part that was against it will be smooth and that will be the side that you place face up on the small cake. If you are making this for a larger graduation party and are going to place this on another cake, ice the larger cake first, then put the cupcake in place, and decorate as described above. Again, the graduation cap can be easily removed and served to the guest of honor, or saved as a memento. One of the last, but certainly not the least, of the upcoming events is Father's day. It's an old cliche to get Dad a tie for his special day, so how about this year making him a shirt cake, complete with a tie.

Like the above cakes, this cake can be made in different sizes to fit different serving needs, but you begin with a square or rectangle cake instead of a round one. If you wish to make an individual cake for Dad, use a 6 inch square cake (Kitchen Krafts BP3206). If you need a larger cake, a square or rectangle pan will work beautifully. Begin by covering your entire cake with one solid color (light blue or white look best). To add an extra touch to your cake, wait approximately 15 minutes for your icing to crust over slightly, then take a clean dry paper towel and place onto the cake and rub the palm of your hand gently across the towel. When you remove your paper towel there will be a faint pattern impressed into your cake. Repeat this procedure over the entire cake surface. When you remove your paper towel the first time, if there is a little bit of icing pulling up with it, smooth the icing back down with a wet cake spatula, and wait a while longer. This just means that your icing wasn't quite dry enough. Now it is time design Dad's edible shirt. To make the collar, with a round tip, pipe an oval shape at one end of the cake. Use this as a guideline to pipe a second, slightly larger oval shape surrounding the first. Now pipe two triangle shapes to form the collar. Once you have your basic collar shape, continue using the round tip to "build up" the collar area with icing. This will give the shirt a more dimensional look. If you wish, you can texturize the collar with the paper towel in the same manner that you did the shirt. Now add the tie to the shirt. Using a different color than you used for the shirt, use a round tip to draw a small triangle shape at the opening of the collar. Then at the tip of the triangle, begin drawing a second triangle facing the other direction, but do not put the third side onto this one. At one of the points that you have ended your second triangle, begin piping a straight line downward, using your judgement to stop at what you think would be appropriate tie length for the size cake you are using. Repeat this line on the other side of the second triangle. Once you have the straight lines piped, connect them with a third triangle shape to form the pointed end of the tie. Now, you can fill in your tie with a solid color of icing, or you can pipe in a design. When your tie is finished, use the same color icing that your cake is iced in to pipe a square pocket in the appropriate place, and a straight line to form a seam that runs from the bottom tip of the tie to the bottom of the cake. Use a star or round tip to place a border around the bottom of the cake. You can also create any other finishing touches that you desire at this time. For example, any writing that you want to place on the cake, pipe a name tag for Dad, or some other little touch that symbolizes your Dad's personality.

No Matter which cake you decide to decorate for the upcoming events, if you add your own touches to it, everyone will be sure to love your unique, personalized creation.

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