Saturday, July 9, 2011

Boys and Volcanos

So, last month was my little man's birthday and he asked for a volcano cake.  Okay, that's a decent request.  Surely I could come up with something.  I knew what I wanted it to look like but wasn't really sure how to go about it.  I wanted it to have smoke so I knew a container would have to be in the middle... never done that before.  When I did a search for volcano cakes I saw a couple of really nice ones and some cute ones but mostly they just looked like piles of you know what with goo coming out the top.  Yeah...not the look I was going for.  I wanted it to look like a volcano but nothing too boy was turning 5 so cute was a thing of the past.  After a bit of brainstorming and sketching I came up with this for his big day.

Now, at first glance I was overall pleased with the outcome.  But when I started dissecting it I realized that many things could have been done differently...better.  It didn't look as clean as I'd hoped and I think that could be attributed to the grass covering the bottom tier and all the waves.  I couldn't see the words on the cake that I piped using red colored piping gel.  And my writing is crooked...I know...I'm working on that.  That really bothered me.

The second thing was that the height of all the layers was too tall for a good looking volcano.  (sigh) So I needed to somehow hide the bottom 6" layer.  Oh! I know!  I'll cut a section out of the bottom 8" tier so I can fit the volcano in it to hide the bottom, thus shortening the volcano so it looks better!  (big sigh)  Ok, so that worked out ok but could have been avoided.

The volcano was iced in ganache because I wanted a realistic look.  Eh, that looks alright.  I wanted grass so I used my grass tip and piped away.  Eh, that looks ok.  During my research I saw a cake that had waves piped around it and thought, "Cool!", so I checked out her technique from here.  I kind of over did it...just a bit.  Yeah, that will do.

So, two weeks later I had another 5 yr old birthday boy that wanted a "Volcano Cake".  I knew I could do better than the first and was excited to put my findings into practice.  THIS is what the second one looked like.  Complete with cupcakes.

THIS cake was covered in fondant, which make a huge difference in the "cleaner look" department!  The whole cake went together much easier and came out much cleaner.  I used a different cutter for the palm trees that I thought looked better.  I did fewer waves, used bright orange royal icing and made a birthday banner to write on.  The volcano still had a realistic feel to it that I liked better too.

There!  Much better, don't you think?  Here's a picture at the party.
You can kind of see the smoke coming out.  Which do you like better?  Why?

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