The Horse in Striped Pajamas, Part I

So I was finally able to decorate that cookie cake that I made on Saturday.  Of course, this is just the practice cake, so I hope that the finally version will look a little more cleaned-up than this cake.

Let me begin with the zebra, since he is the center piece of the cake (cookie).  I had a wax paper cutout that was traced from a computer printout (I just googled "zebra coloring page"), and traced it onto the cookie (cake) with the white buttercream.  When I lifted the wax paper up, some of the outline came with it, but fortunately, enough of the outline was preserved that I just free-handed it.  I piped in all of the white first with a #5 tip (I think next time I'll use a #3 or #2 for the outline) and then I free-handed, based on the picture, all of the stripes, facial features, and tail.

I used a #3 tip for the black detail, and next time I'll use a #2.  I just didn't have the control that I wanted with a bigger tip.  I might even use a #1, but that tip is so small, so probably not.  Also, the black buttercream was too thick (I added cocoa powder to dark the icing up), so for the "real" cake, I'll make sure it's thinned down.

(A helpful hint about making black buttercream:  I always add cocoa powder, usually dark, to the buttercream before I add the black gel, and a little bit of liquid.  And I mix it until it's a dark gray color.  If you're not sure if your gray is dark enough, take a little bit and hold it up to something white, like a napkin.  Even if the icing seems too light while you're mixing it, when it's compared to white, it looks black enough.)

The musical notes were made with a #5 tip, which I will certainly not do next time.  Probably a #3 tip would be best, although I'll do a few practice notes first this weekend when I make the real cake.  They will also be blue, not white, but I was just too lazy to change out my tips.  Also, I'll put "Happy Birthday" on the real cake, but as this practice cake is merely for my own family's enjoyment, so I didn't worry about the words.

I would really like to do the star/shell border with a #32 tip, instead of the #21 that I used this time, but unfortunately, it got smushed.  I'm not sure what happened, but when I opened my Box O' Cake Decorating Supplies, I was aghast to see the #32 star tip all dented in.  I know Wilton makes a tool to help fix a problem like this, but I am not currently in possession of that aforementioned tool.

I'm really excited about making the real deal this weekend.  I got the practice cake done, so hopefully that means I got all of the mistakes out of the way.  The only problem is that I have to get the rest of this week over with before I can enjoy this weekend and the cake.  I'm getting my wisdom teeth out tomorrow. :(

It's definitely a busy month for baking, because next weekend I'm making another anniversary cake, and the weekend after that is my sister's birthday, and between those 2 cakes, I'm making a third cake for the Sociedad Honoraria Hispanica induction ceremony, so that should be fun.  And definitely busy!