My latest cake decorating extravaganza.
So yes, as you can see, I went crazy and decided to try out decorating with gum paste. It was my first time! We didn’t even get around to learning it in my cake decorating class. I braved it and just went by the Organic and Chic book. The instructions seemed pretty clear and straight forward enough for me to do so. So I luckily received all of the equipment from sugarcraft.com in perfect timing to make this birthday cake for my friends fabulous 29th birthday party! She said she wanted a chocolate peanut butter cake (similar to the one I ordered from Black China Bakery for my birthday) and of course I made it vegan. I doubled the chocolate cupcake recipe from VCTOTW because that is definitely THE BEST no-fail vegan chocolate cake recipe and it’s so easy!
The peanut buttercream was another story though. Of the 15-20 something times I have made vegan peanut buttercream/frosting, it’s only turned out well about 15% of the time. I don’t know why, but the recipe from VCTOTW just fails to make it so it is easy to spread and it’s always super oily with a weird texture/consistency. Bummer dude. I’ve also tried making this peanut buttercream frosting once or twice, and this time I made it and it was a major failure. I don’t know why. A lot of it may be subjective to the type and brand of peanut butter one uses, because that can be the most inconsistent factor across the board. But whatever. Basically I threw out the first batch of that, tried making the version out of the book, and just threw up my hands when it didn’t properly form to the right consistency and said to hell with veganization!–I’m adding in CREAM CHEESE!!! Yes, real cream cheese. The cake wasn’t being served to anyone vegan anyways, so it didn’t matter. And guess what. IT DID THE TRICK. Imagine that. For some reason the icing didn’t do well on the sides of the cake, but the top smoothed out nicely. It gave it some more interesting texture, I suppose. But seriously now, peanut butter, I love you, but trying to make you into a decent, spreadable, tasty frosting? You’re a NIGHTMARE!
As for the gum paste and decorations, I colored and cut out tons of dogwood flowers and butterflies two days ahead of time so they were all dry and ready to go. That took a total of about 2 hours or so, mainly because it was my first time getting use to the ball shaping tool and how fast they would dry out. Once the cake was frosted, I glued the decorations to the cake by squeezing some drops of frosting on the cake so they would stay in place. I painted on the twigs and branches with some brown luster dust mixed in with a little lemon juice. And for the stamens of the flowers, I piped in a little frosting and painted on some metallic gold luster dust also, although it is almost looks identical from the peanut butter frosting, it’s hard to differentiate! Sounds so simple typing it all out like this, but it took a LOT of time. A lot of fun, creative time. It was so worth it though, and my friend loved it. I definitely give gum paste decorating a thumbs-up, although it can come with a hefty price tag. Some of the small metal cookie-like cutters start from around $10 a piece, and can go even higher. But for now, these few will be nice to use when the occasion does come around to decorate another fancy cake again.