An Auntie’s Duty

As the aunt of an spunky, energetic and complete hilarious 3 year old I have a sworn duty to get him completely chocked full of sugar and let him run utterly wild. I do these things because I’m a caring aunt. 
Grandma and auntie traits are similar in that way – ply them full of bad stuff and hand ’em back to their parents. It’s brilliant!
That cute little dude up above is the one this baking adventure is for. It’s a time to exercise my baking bone and make my very first tiered cake. 
And as is appropriate – bake it in a theme that only a three year old (and Ben) would love…Thomas the Train!! Sorry, I just spilled the beans on Ben liking Thomas the Train. Whoops. But too late it’s on the blog now, can’t be deleted!
To begin at the beginning it was a mess to gather up all of the supplies. Whew, I am single handedly keeping Wilton in business with all of the loot! 
It started with 5 boxes of Funfetti Cake mix. Sure, I could have used a scratch recipe, but c’mon at the end of the day who doesn’t love a box mix? It’s comfortably consistent and unchanging. 
Not to mention – cheap. I snagged up these boxes for 89 cents each. Woot!! 

Then there are the cake boards. 

The color gels. 

The bamboo supports for ensuring the top tier doesn’t all out fall into the cake below.

The pattern book is my savior – making sure that all of my cutouts and decorations are perfectly proportioned and designed. Life. Saver.

Of course this being a tiered cake means it is going to be hefty. Reinforced layered boards are imperative. Can’t have it falling through my hands now can I? 
How could I forget the cake pans? 10″ and 6″ pans were required here to give me a top tier proportional to the bottom and enough space to add in the decorations. And who doesn’t love new pans? No, just me? Okay.
Now for the decorations, I am using fondant. Feel free to roll your eyes. Other than looking pretty and refined on a cake there isn’t much this product has going on for it. But for me, in this instance, I want to have nice smooth decorations that actually resemble the cartoon – so fondant is where it’s at.
The whole cake isn’t going to be covered in fondant – for that I’m using blue buttercream frosting – but the decorations, trees and rolling green hills will be cutouts. 

I set to work dying my first found of fondant to wrap the heavy duty cake board in. Now this isn’t an essential step, but in the end it sure does give it a finished and refined look. Sure my nephew won’t care one way or the other, but I’ll know… This is where my OCD kicks in. Bear with me. 

For the 14″ cake board, 18 ounces of fondant was sufficient. 

Kelly Green gives off the most fantastic shade of green for a grass look. And after rolling it out to 16″ in diameter and 1/16″ thick I laid it across the board with a little decorator’s gel to make sure it stuck. 
If you haven’t dyed any fondant before or done any extensive decorating, let me tell you it’s an arm workout. By the end of your project you will be rocking a serious pair of Angelina Jolie forearms. All muscley and veiny. Can we really call her muscley? That’s beside the point.

With the extra fondant hanging over, I took a spatula and began trimming away the excess and making sure it all stuck to the board – sans air bubbles. Like I said, it’s an extra step – but when the whole cake is resting on this, it’ll just shine.

By tomorrow night I’m hoping that this whole adventure will be complete. With the board covered and the clouds made, I’m right on track and ready to tackle this tomorrow. 
Below is what I’m determined for this cake to look like. How could a three year old not love this? Heck, I’m sure Ben (at 28) would jump for joy at this one! Right hunny? That’s what I thought. 
Oh – and I forgot one important tool in the lineup. 
A nice glass of wine. Catharsis.