Monday, August 15, 2011

Happy 8th Birthday, Son #2!


Today is Son #2's birthday and that meant cake! He, of course, wanted a Harry Potter cake. The library does not have the Harry Potter cake pan (which is OK, because it's kind of lame) so he chose the open book pan. Over the week we brainstormed ideas about what kind of book it could be: a spell book, the Half-Blood Prince's potions textbook, etc. We finally decided that it would be fun to do the story within the story: Beedle the Bard's Tale of the Three Brothers from The Deathly Hallows. I was thinking I could make the book like an old illuminated manuscript--the question became how to do it in buttercream. I knew planning was involved so I made a life-size sketch to work out the word spacing and picture placement. Even so, you'll notice I had to leave off the title because I ended up enlarging the picture on the first page, and some words ended up taking up more space in frosting.
The cake itself is a quadruple vanilla cupcake recipe with the oil reduced by 1/4. This made for a fluffier cake that baked up nicely in 45 mins at 350. The icing is a single recipe of buttercream. But, at first I did not add any soy milk--this became the foundation icing for the pages. I wanted something thick and durable. I coloured about half of it with orange, yellow, and brown to make it look like aged paper. I spread it on and let it dry for 20 mins, then flattened the icing by pressing on it with a piece of parchment paper. I added some soy milk to the remaining icing for the text and pictures.
As for the pictures, I made cutouts of the figures and pressed them into the icing by gently pushing along the edges with a toothpick. I think this was a great method because it allows for fine detail and sharp edges. Basically I filled the depressions with icing (#1 tip again) which is easier than trying to keep a steady hand all the time.
The text icing is a mix of red and black and was piped on, letter by letter, with a #1 tip. I guess all that calligraphy as a kid paid off. The shading around the figures is done by thinning the colouring gel with vodka (a tip from one of my Facebook followers) and painting it one with a brush. I love this technique. The alcohol evaporates off and you get a wonderful watercolour effect. I also used this technique to colour in the brother standing at the back. I'm not sure if you can tell from the picture, but his figure is depressed into the icing and has no buttercream. So you get a sense of depth in colour and in actual relief. I used a mix of blue, purple, and black.

The vines are moss green and piped on using a #3 tip. The page edges is the leftover moss green and blue shadow icing mixed together.
All in all, this was a very fun, but pretty hard, cake to make. I liked the artistic challenge of making something more original and it certainly got a lot of ooohs and aaahs from the neighbours we invited over to partake.

34 comments:

Josh said...

amazing. If William Blake would have been a cake designer...

Carla said...

(vegan) dad of the year!

Amanda and Wes said...

This looks amazing! I recognized the figures right away. Great job!

K said...

AMAZING! What a fantatic job! You must have a very steady hand to have attempted all that writing :)

Niki said...

This is incredible and possibly the best birthday ever! Happy birthday to your son!

Michele said...

That is AWESOME! Can you make me one for my birthday?!

You are crazy talented.

Rebecca said...

That is pretty awesome. Your son is lucky to have a dad who goes to so much effort. He must have been thrilled with that cake. It looks so intricate and detailed.

Michele said...

unbelievably amazing!

Thessa said...

It's really amazing! You did a wonderful job, your son must have been very happy with his cake!

Joy said...

you are such a wonderful father. Your son is so lucky!! brilliant work! :)

Sam said...

This is awesome! Brilliant and original idea for a cake. I bet it taste good too!

Nari said...

You, sir, are a genius. This looks like so much fun - I bet your son loved it :) What a lucky boy.
Nari X

Jodie said...

Wow. That is amazing. I hope your kids appreciate all of your hard work!

Jessica said...

That is the most amazing thing I have ever seen Vegan Dad. AMAZING!!!

Marcia said...

Wow, that is AMAZING!!

kauyer said...

That is a truly awesome cake, I never received my hogwarts letter, this would be the next best thing.

Deb said...

Maybe the most awesome cake ever! Thanks for sharing!

Jesse said...

This is cake he'll never forget! How incredible and special - your son must have been on cloud nine!

Unknown said...

Wow! That is amazing!

Nay Nay said...

So So Cool and very creative

Penny said...

Ooh! That's amazing!!! Love it! I would never ever be able to cut into it though :D

TreeGoddess said...

Merlins beard! This is truly *amazing*. As a huge Harry Potter fan (as are my children ;') I can appreciate the work and love that went into this beautiful cake. I'd pay good money for a cake like that because I don't have your talent or patience. lol I'm going to share the link to this on FB because I want my friends to see this too. You really have a talent. :)

~Your friend in Magical Michigan

Neeli said...

Honestly, this is one of the best cakes I have ever seen. What a great memory!

Becky said...

Holy Crap! That is amazing. It makes my hands hurt just looking at it. Definitely have to remember the vodka trick. It must have been hard to let somebody cut into it!

The Original Wombman said...

Amazing! :)

Don't Get Mad Get Vegan! said...

this is nothing short of spectacular! nice work! (and I love your blog!)

susan said...

These cakes you make your family are AMAZING! I never comment but your blog has some of my favorite recipes.

Evan said...

WOW! That is pretty incredible!

dani said...

I would absolutely die if I got this cake for my birthday.

VeganBeats said...

What a beautiful cake! Wonderful job! I love the detail and the creativity, your son is super lucky ^^*!~ Happy belated to him!!

navygreen said...

This is amazing, and I adore your attention to detail! :-)

vegga said...

This is a super late comment, but I just have to register my admiration! This is absolutely gorgeous and amazingly well done!

Colleen said...

You are the coolest dad ever. If we weren't probably the same age, and I was still a child and eligible for such things, I would ask you to adopt me.

The Leafy Cauldron said...

Absolutely amazing!