One of my college roommates/friend was recently diagnosed with cancer. My heart broke for her and her family when I heard the devastating news. It hit so close to home for me because we are the same age, we got married to boys who were also college roommates within a couple of months of each other, we each have four kids with similar ages, and we even have the same kind of dog. I couldn't help but place myself in her shoes and imagine how I would have felt if that was me going through her similar situation. When I visited her in the hospital, she had mentioned that her baby was turning 1. I jumped at the chance to make her little guy a birthday cake since she would still be in the hospital during his birthday. What birthday is complete without a birthday cake? Am I right?
As I write this blog post, my friend has been released from the hospital after a 48-day stay and is able to be home with her sweet little family for the time being as she continues her fight against cancer. The doctors are still trying to find her a match for stem cell donation so that she can continue her recovery. If you would like to help out, go to bethematch.org and join the national registry. This is how it works: Join the registry at bethematch.org, they send you a swab kit, you send it back to them and they do the rest. If you are a match, they will call you and you can be somebody's miracle! I have recently joined and have done the swab test, which, by the way, does not take very long at all. The kit is in the mail. I'm awaiting the call to be the match for somebody! After you get all registered on bethematch.org, come back and make this cake because it is delicious!
ITEMS YOU NEED
- Chocolate Cake Recipe
- Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting Recipe
- Modeling Chocolate or Brown Fondant
- Orange Fondant
- Fondant Giraffe (video tutorial coming soon)
- Party Banner
Make the chocolate cake recipe above. It can be made ahead of time and placed in the freezer for 3 months. The Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting is a basic vanilla recipe, but we want it to be chocolate. Follow the recipe completely and then add 1/4 cup of melted chocolate chips that have been cooled to room temperature. Mix the frosting until all the chocolate has been incorporated. You can add more if you want a deeper chocolate flavor. This recipe can be made ahead of time as well and kept in the refrigerator for 5 days or freezer for 3 months. (If you freeze it, make sure to thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and then let it sit on the counter to come to room temperature. Revive the frosting by whipping it up until it becomes smooth again.)
Spread some simple syrup over the cake to add moisture to the cake. Fill a pastry bag full of the buttercream and fill, crumb coat, and final coat the cake. Use a icing scraper to get smooth sides and top. Move on to the spots.
I used modeling chocolate on this cake for the spots, but if I were doing this design again I would definitely use fondant. The modeling chocolate sets up hard and doesn't quite conform to the cake like fondant does. If you want to go the modeling chocolate route, make the modeling chocolate ahead of time.
Whether you are using modeling chocolate or fondant at this point, the directions are the same. Roll out the dough. Use varying sizes of round cutters to get different sizes of circles. Shape the circles into giraffe spots and then place the spots on the cake so they look like the giraffe pattern. I used alphabet cutters and cut out the name and placed it on the cake.
Using the orange fondant, roll out two long snake strands. Place them next to each other and wind them together to make a rope. Wrap this rope around the bottom of the cake. Place the giraffe (video tutorial coming soon) and birthday banner at the top of the cake. Voila, you are finished with a cute giraffe birthday cake!
As always, keep it creative, and I'll see you in my next video!