Last year, I had the chance to take the Wilton cake decorating classes, and I fell in love. Now, when someone offers me the chance to bake for them, I jump at it. This baby shower was no different. I mean, a chance to flex my creative muscles and try a new technique? Absolutely I’ll take it!
The big things to keep in mind for baby showers are these: What does the mom-to-be love to eat, and how can you make those things finger-friendly?
In this situation, the mom-to-be was a woman after my own heart. The only thing to work around was her allergy to apples. Considering some of the allergies other friends have, apples are a walk in the park!
The mom-to-be also requested a red velvet cake with whipped cream frosting instead of the traditional cream cheese frosting. Red velvet cake is easy, but the whipped cream frosting worried me – it’s testy at the best of times, and it can be fragile.
Fortunately, the internet is an awesome place, and any problem I have, some other home cook has had before. In this case, the very first result for whipped cream frosting was for a stabilized version! It’s still not shelf-stable, but it won’t collapse on you.
Stabilized Whipped Cream Frosting (from http://www.food-pusher.com/2011/06/stabilized-whipped-cream-frosting.html?m=1)
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 tsp unflavored gelatin
4 Tbsp cold water
4 Tbsp confectioner’s sugar
Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water.
Scale 4 Tbsp of the cream, then pour over the water/gelatin. Mix until gelatin dissolves. Then refrigerate 10-15 minutes.
While that is cooling, start whipping the rest of the heavy cream and the sugar. You want it to get to where it forms soft peaks.
That’s when it’s time for the gelatin. Whisk your cream/gelatin mixture until it’s smooth, and add it to the whipped cream. Beat until stiff peaks form.
I also got to try a new decorating technique. I can’t draw a straight line with a ruler, but I can trace like a crazy fool. So I did what any self-respecting crazy fool would do: I made royal icing, printed out some pictures, broke out the parchment paper, and got to tracing. About three hours later, because royal icing is finicky and I only have one tiny piping tip, so I had to change it out every time I was ready for a new color.
I also traced the lettering. Then I sat back and let it all dry while I made my whipped cream frosting, frosted the cake, and covered it with fondant. I used the Wilton decorator preferred this time because I got it severely on sale recently. I would love to try my hand at making my own, but I just haven’t had time yet. The Wilton doesn’t taste awful, but it’s still not all that great. I used a lot of frosting underneath so ten guests could peel off the fondant and enjoy the cake and frosting.
Transferring the traced drawings onto the fondant was surprisingly simple, just a matter of shifting the parchment paper and using more royal icing to glue it on, but the letters were simply too delicate for my fumbly fingers. As a result, I had to go back and do all the lettering by hand once the other decorations were finished.
It was something of a tedious process, but the results were really quite impressive. I know not everyone likes royal icing, but it never ceases to amaze me what I can do with it and how simple it is to make. So I’m definitely a royal icing fan.