Monday, June 20, 2011

Claira's Cake

It's busy baking season.  Ask anyone who bakes regularly, and they'll tell you that June is intense.  Since I am not a professional and bake mostly for requests from friends and family, the impact is not as intense for me as it is for the pros.  Still, for the past month or so, I've been baking an average of three cakes a weekend, and next weekend will be busy as well.  There are special cakes lined up for graduations and also for a bridal shower for a very special young woman I've known since the day she was born, Teresa Loviza.   I'm very excited about that one and will provide a step-by-step photo journal of its creation.

Sometimes, looking forward toward a busy baking weekend, I wonder  how I'll be able to get it all done.  Days before, the creative process kicks into gear and I begin to build a cake in my mind.  I spend days with inspired motivation, mentally revise the cake a few times, and ultimately sketch out the final design.  Even then, the cake can take on a different design as it is being created.  I really never know what the actual cake will look like until it's done.

This past weekend I made a birthday cake for Claira, my 5-year old great neice.  Claira is a beautiful little girl, with dark brown eyes, warm chestnut hair, and a shy smile.  Her mom, my neice Louise, called Saturday to ask if I was planning to make Claira's cake.  The week had gotten away from both of us, so a cake wasn't planned but I was very happy to make a cake to mark this first "big" birthday, even with one day's notice.  Five years old is a big deal.  I remember when I turned 5.  That morning I woke up thinking I was taller and that I could definitely run faster.  It's the first milestone birthday that a child will remember.  I wanted Claira's cake to be something she'd remember along with her special day, to join in her memories of her first big-girl bike (a 2-wheeler, pink and white, with all the bells and whistles).

Birthday girl Claira - with self-applied
make up (washable!)...

Henry checking out Claira's
new birthday bike!

Louise said Claira requested a chocolate cake with choclate frosting, and for the design..."just something pretty."  I went to my standard Hershey cake recipe, for both the cake and frosting (found on the back of the cocoa tin). I decided to make a cake with flowers, and a bumble bee, and a few lady bugs.  Louise is an outdoors-type mom who has always loved nature and growing things.  I figured Claira would appreciate the same.  So, I got out the fondant and food colorings, and went to work.  It took a couple of hours of creative energy, and I made a big mess in the process and was glad to be finished,  but when I saw the look on Claira's face as she first laid eyes on her cake, it was all worth it.  It's always worth it!

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