Monday 19 January 2009


A Winnie the Pooh Chocolate Birthday Cake: not a bad likeness, I must say!

Parents, I am sure you have been to one of those "play palaces" where kids have their birthday know, with the wall to wall slides, pneumatic foam ball launchers,padded obstacle courses and requisite screaming kids? This is where we hosted Bib's 2nd birthday party a couple of days ago.

What happened to the good ol' days when you went to your friend's house for cake and a rousing game of "Pin the Tail on the Donkey" or "Heads Up 7-UP"???

We never had play palaces when we were kids
We didn't receive loot bags
or get manicures and mini-facials at the spa
There wasn't take-out pizza for eats
or places that would host craft parties
and athletic centres and music schools hadn't yet realized the earning potential of catering to moms and dads hungry for kiddie venues and professionally supervised celebratory activities outside their pristine homes
Clowns that performed magic shows and gave out balloon animals were not the norm
Bouncy castles were yet to be invented
and yet
we kids were breathless
and euphoric
hearts pounding in our ears
running hiding laughing

aaah. the good ol' days.

I was a tad busy this past weekend making Bib's 2nd Birthday cake.
whoo. piping buttercream "Pooh Gold" stars: not for people with mamby pamby hand-eye coordination

I decided on chocolate cake...that's a no-brainer in this household. I know Bib likes dogs but I had a brand new Winnie the Pooh cake pan that I had yet to use and though I'm not so fond of piping stars, I did it anyway. It's repetitive and tedious, and that carpel tunnel syndrome thingy starts to happen to me each time--it was quite a pain--similar to the piping of royal icing dots for hundreds of fondant flower centres (remember Ariel's Castle Cake?)
You can buy sets of gel paste colouring by Wilton for the tinting of your buttercreams so that the character cakes will have "authentic" colouring. I went this route because I hate trying to match the colour of the buttercream to the shades I know they should be because the names on food colouring labels are never what they sound like they're supposed to be. I ended up having to add a whole lot of colouring to get the depth of colour I wanted. For Pooh's red collar, I used up to almost half the little bottle of Red (no taste) food colouring. I wonder why they label it "no taste". Who'd want to buy food colouring that gives any weird taste anyway? why give us the option?
Pooh's fur was "Pooh Gold". Love it. ha ha! what a perfect name for the colour. I ended up using a third of the little bottle. However, I also had made too much buttercream for his fur and ended up with leftover Pooh Gold-coloured buttercream. It's now sitting in my fridge and I have no idea what I can make that would look good enough to eat with a buttercream of this ghastly pooh shade.

Making black buttercream is my least favourite task, always. When I start making it, it always appears to be grey. I keep adding a little bit of food colouring until I think our tongues would be stained forever. However, as usual, if you let the buttercream sit a bit, the colour eventually deepens and darkens. I stopped adding colouring when it still appeared greyish while I was mixing and after sitting a bit, the buttercream darkened to black.
Bib was happy with her cake. I admit that nothing will quite top the oohs and aahs of Bebe's 5th year Ariel Castle Cake (nor do I want to be taking on the challenge again quite so soon). When Bib starts talking and is able to express herself well enough to convince me to make her some monstrosity of a Disney-themed cake of her dreams, I'll probably do another one.

Until that time, I'll be sticking to these 2-dimensional cakes. They're pretty easy to make and no-brainers!

It's all about having fun in the play palaces after all ;)


Snooky doodle said...

HOW CUTE !!HIS LOOKS LIKE MINE WINNIE POOH CAKE HOWEVER YOURS IS MORE PERFECT :) I put alot of liquid colour in mine to achieve the right deep colour and used whipped cream to cover it . everyone ended with a yellow tongue and hands :))

Y said...

Amen, to the "good old days"! ;) That cake looks absolutely stunning. I feel tired, just thinking about the amount of piping that was involved. Hats off to you :)

Mary said...

happy birthday bibs ...this cake is very nice and beautiful !

Cannelle Et Vanille said...

what an adorable cake. great job!

gharkness said...

The reason the red coloring says "no taste" is because back in the 'bad' old days, red paste coloring had a decidedly bitter taste. It was a constant battle to try to get the icing red enough without having to taste the bitter of the red (and the red almost always won).

Even though I don't do cakes any more, I am still glad for those of you who can get a nice deep red without the bitterness.

Nice blog!

Cherie said...

Every child's dream cake. I can't believe how real it looks!

Clumbsy Cookie said...

How cute! Love the Pooh expression!

Dana Treat said...

I so hear you with the birthday party thing. I am a summer baby so I always just had friends over and we slept outside in our big family tent. Now it seems you can't spend less than $500 for any kind of "fun" party. Yikes. My younger son is turning 2 in a couple of weeks and we decided to just do dinner here with some of our closest friends since he can't ask for anything different yet. :) I will be baking a cake but it won't look anything like this masterpiece!

Manggy said...

Oh, goodness. Are you kidding me? That is just too awesome. I certainly would not miss any games or loot or whatever if I had a cake that adorable. (By the way, spa parties for kids are the creepiest things ever. NOOO.)
I certainly hope you used a multi-opening tip to speed up the piping! And for black frosting, you might like to start with a whipped ganache or dark choco buttercream so you don't have to add as much coloring next time.
If you're still up for something pumpkin-themed, Pooh Gold will still work as an appropriately colored frosting :)

Maria said...

That is the cutest cake!

Nurit "1 family. friendly. food." said...

That's a lot of work. And yeah, those kiddies birthday parties are totally out of control. What would they expect when they are sixteen? I don't want to know... I try to keep my kids' parties as simple as possible, at home, with only a bunch of good friends. Heck, I didn't have THAT.

Dianna said...

I just have to say that my two-year-old would adore that cake. I try not to think about the mess that his second birthday cake was. Luckily, he didn't care. :)

gaga said...

Wow, you did a ridiculously good job! Not a bad likeness at all, in fact it's perfect! I am such a winnie the pooh fan and I adore your cake. Can you make me one for my bday too? :)

Cakebrain said...

Your character cakes are always inspiring to me, you know! Coloured tongues are part and parcel of kiddie cakes, I suppose!
I'm glad I'm not the only person thinking this way about the good ol' days!
Thanks for the kind words!
Your words mean a lot because I admire your work!
thank you for that information...I kind of knew about that bitterness thing in the past but I didn't realize you could still buy red colouring today with a bitter taste. Who'd want it if you had a choice, right? You sound like you know your stuff about cakes! thanks for visiting!
I thought it amazing that I caught Pooh's likeness too!
It's all in the magic of the cake pan!
I hope you have a wonderful time with your 2 year old and I'm sure you'll be more relaxed than I was in preparations for the celebration! I wish your little one a Happy 2nd Birthday too!
remember, I'm just an English teacher. I don't have a multi-opening tip. I didn't want to invest in one either because though I love gadgets, I thought I'd be a wuss if I got the multi-openings! Besides, Pooh's face isn't exactly flat and I don't think the multi-openings would work on all his curves. BTW, have you ever been to a spa? it's not for the kiddies, but it sure is fab for adults!
thanks! Pooh has that quality, doesn't he?
I never had a kiddie party EVER. Maybe I'm trying to make up for what I missed in the past?
Mrs. Mordecai,
2 year olds really don't care what their cakes look like! They just want to lick off all the frosting, don't they?!

Anonymous said...

This is absolutely adorable.. all full of cuteness and I bet sure tasty too!! I can't wait to see you next post!!!

Anonymous said...

This is SOOOO cute, and absolutely spot-on perfect! I'm a huge Pooh fan, and I wish I could just hug this cake!

Happy birthday to Bib! :)

Anonymous said...

Your piping is perfect! How did you not make one mistake! And how did you get the Pooh gold color to be so perfect? Did they really label it Pooh Gold? Nice job.

the decorated cookie said...

Too cute! Winnie has so much personality. My 16 month old will so have the kind of b'day part I had, where dropping a clothespin in a milk bottle was the funnest game (I don't recall needing more). (PS,Red is always a problem, I remember in ceramics, even, true red w/o lead was tough. I use Americolor soft gel pastes, I think available internationally. They're amazing. You can use half the bottle and still no taste.)

Erin said...

Love it! and I'm with you regarding the over-the-top birthday celebrations...we've deliberately gone back to the "old ways" with our three children...they don't seem to be suffering too much!

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful job - fantastic... it really looks like Pooh! I love it.

Cakebrain said...

Girl J,
thanks...Yup, it was cute, but more importantly, it was yummy!
Bib had a blast at the play palace and inhaled all the buttercream!
I cannot tell a lie: there were plenty of "mistakes"! I'm just a pro at covering them up!
Chic C.,
oh, 16 months! that's a wonderful time...the terrible two's haven't hit yet! enjoy it! I've never played the clothespin/milk bottle game! I must have been deprived as a child!
I ought to try simpler things, too. I can't promise I'll be able to right now though. For sure when the kids are in school, I'll cut out all the parties and showy cakes. I lament the past but have succumbed to peer pressure in the present! help! save me!

Sara said...

How adorable is that? Happy birthday Bib!

Unknown said...

Very beautiful!!!!!! Compliments

test it comm said...

What an absolutely amazing looking cake!

Larissa said...

Cute cake!

I always loved kid birthday parties for the goodie bags :)

Cakebrain said...

vale, Kevin & Larissa,
thanks! I hope to make a 3-D cake next time!

Helene said...

I wanna!! Yep, the good old riding bicycles like maniacs and stopping with the tips of our shoes....not so great for mom though!

RecipeGirl said...

He's quite a handsome little fellow. Turned out perfect :)

giz said...

Awww how absolutely cute is he. And that piping - how sore is your hand? I love Winnie - he comes from my home town.

Ivy said...

Happy belated birthday wishes to Bib. The cake is so beautiful and so labour intensive but it was worth all the effort.

The Chic Cakery said...

Too cute! Winnie the Pooh is one of those characters that instantly transports me back to childhood. Ahhh... those were the days!

Anonymous said...

That's right. We always went to someone's house.
But my kids did not have parties at those places. We could not afford them. So we had them at our house and all the kids loved it.

Roberta e Chiara said...

Beautiful cake and... happy birthday Bye Bye Roberta

Anamika:The Sugarcrafter said...

Wow, winnie looks so cute and the smiley is cute. well done, dear !

Coco Cake Land said...

i agree-- i really think kids just love doing anything that involves games and a treat-- cake, a cupcake, a small glass of soda as a treat...! kid parties these days are out of control BONKERS! PS... cute winnie the pooh! i have a winnie the pooh cake pan that my mom used to use to make us birthday cakes! can't wait to use it!

Cakebrain said...

Hey Everyone,
Thanks for all the comments! It seems as if you're all with me concerning the over-the-top kiddie parties! Let's revolt and go back to the good ol' days! We can keep the cake part though, right?

Kathy said...

You're so right about how kids parties have changed over the years. You also happen to make beautiful cakes, I'm so impressed. I've bookmarked you and I'll definitely be referring my readers to your site because we just don't have any pooh fans in our house but my readers are always asking for pooh things, great job, it's awesome.

Cakebrain said...

thanks for the comment! I checked out your site and it looks like such a useful reference! great going!

Tree C said...

Hi Ms K
your Winnie the Pooh cake looks awesome. Can't believe you take all the pictures for your blog by yourself! they look so professional.

My sister's birthday is coming up in a couple of days and my mom is thinking about baking a cake for her. Any suggestions?

Cakebrain said...

Tree C,
You can borrow my cake pan if you wish! It's fairly simple. Just bake a cake mix. Then pipe stars in buttercream all over it! You can buy all the frostings (and Winnie the Pooh) colours (in a set!) at Michaels (there's a new store on West Broadway). Use your 40% off coupon. If you don't have a coupon, ask me for one because I always seem to have one! If your sis is older, bake a layer cake!


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