Always Have A Plan B

I made this cake as practice for the birthday cake that I'm delivering this weekend. And by practice I mean practice using the new pan I bought and exercising my creativity to make a cake however I wanted to.

So, don't expect the picture of the cake to look anything like a Georgia Bulldog :)

The 9" x13" cake pan that I bought on Saturday ($5 with coupon!) turned out nicely, although the cake did break, so Dad suggests that I use parchment paper next time. Other than that, the pan didn't warp or do anything crazy like that.

I made some icing (a double batch with 4 pounds of icing! Good thing Mom went to Costco!!), but ran out of Almond Extract!! And if you've ever had buttercream with just vanilla extract, then you wouldn't eat buttercream again. At least, I wouldn't.

So, I pulled out my other extracts: mint, brandy, strawberry, and orange. Of the four, orange was my favorite, so I put a tad bit of orange extract in the icing. The icing is still pretty sweet, but the orange adds a nice aftertaste that I think (I hope!) will taste good with the chocolate cake.

Now to the decorating part. I iced the cake in white, then added a 2nd layer of icing. I think I waited too long after I put on the 2nd layer before smoothing the icing with a Viva paper towel. However, when I did the Cornelli lace, you really can't tell.

Speaking of Cornelli lace (inspired by this cake), it's pretty painful. And by painful I mean I got a hand cramp from squeezing so much icing out of a little tiny #2 tip. I had lots of breaks during that part of the decorating. I think I may have made the lace too tight in some places, but I'll do better next time.

When I did the centerpiece of the cake, i wanted roses. But the icing was too soft. So I tried drop flowers. And promptly decided that I wanted roses. What is a decorator to do? Use fondant!!

That's right, I got out the MMF and colored some pieces and actually made roses! And they turned out waaaaay better than I thought I could make. All free-handed, too! :) What I did was make little cone shapes, then I flattened out the bottoms. I flatted out a long (in comparison) piece of fondant and wrapped it around the cone to form a little peak. I took little pieces of fondant, flattened them into oval shapes, and pressed them against the cone to make petals: 3 petals in the first row, then 5, then 7. A few of the roses only have 1 or 2, not 3 roses, and the little bud only has the little peak, and then some leaves.

Okay, now that I've described the cake, I think it's still to end the suspense and reveal the "practice" cake that I made today: