Monday, April 20, 2009

Cooking and Kids: Let them Eat Bla Bla

by Designing Mom Jenn

During laundry folding and wedding invitation production, I have a penchant for watching mindless TV. When you have 2,000 corners to punch, hundreds of boxes to build, pages to cut, glue and assemble, there's nothing better than the tv to get you through. At least for me!

Brad, my husband, hates reality TV - which is SO sad - but that does mean that I usually have lots of choices on tivo when I get down to business. My recent addiction is Ace of Cakes. (Shinmin - your work is just as great and if you had a show, I'd watch that too!)
I love watching the team at Charm City Cakes build incredibly beautiful, and sometimes insanely weird, pieces of art out of cake. Charm City Cakes doesn't ship cakes, so my fantasy of having a cake made by them will only be fulfilled if we move to Baltimore (chance of that is slim to none, and slim's on vacation!), but I still love to watch the show and imagine different cake options that I'd like to have them make for me one day. It's sort of the same thing as watching those incredible tattoo shows on TLC and imagining what picture of Lincoln, or Grace, I'd have them tattoo on my body if and when I ever got up the courage to get inked!

But back to cake!

My daughter's 1st birthday was this past weekend and for the last several weeks I've been itching to figure out how to get a cake made of her best friend, her favorite doll: BlaBla. BlaBla is actually the brand name of these gorgeous, hand-knit dolls and Grace's best pal is a girl owl with a striped skirt, named Prudence. However, Prudence is a hard name to pronounce for someone just learning how to talk, so we called her BlaBla when we handed Grace the doll for first time, and it just sorta stuck! Since that first night, Grace hasn't gone anywhere, or done anything without BlaBla by her side. When we put Grace down to sleep, we can hear her talking to BlaBla for the longest time, telling her all the highlights of the day and what she's hoping to dream about! Lately the talking has turned into singing... it's enough to melt your heart.

My original idea was to win the lottery and afford to have Charm City Cakes make and ship me a full-size, 3d BlaBla cake. I would have had enough money to pay for the "no shipped cakes" rule to be broken and it would have been magical. When that didn't happen, my next best idea was to buy a huge sheet cake with none of the icing on it (my oven isn't big enough to make a huge sheet cake of my own!) and then cut out the shape of BlaBla and decorate the cake just like the doll. Well, with only 24 hours before the party and a diminishing budget and time frame, this is what I did:

I bought a cake at Costco. It was just the right size and it was cheap too! For $16.99 at Costco you get a half sheet cake with a variety of icing and filling choices. It is NOT nutritious, but it is most definitely delicious! I asked the Costco bakery to ice the cake just in white and leave off any additional decoration. I then went and bought about 8 different colors of canned icing (in the same sort of canisters as Easy Cheese!) and came home and started to mix my palette and create the perfect cake for Grace's big day.

I was never a fan of primary colors right out of the paint tube, and with icing it was no different. I mixed the colors in bowls and then transferred the altered hues into ziploc bags - squeezing all the icing down into the corner of the bag, and then I snipped off a tiny bit of the corner and used the ziploc bag as a piping tube. I didn't have any fancy tips, but I didn't really need any.

I used a toothpick to sketch out the basic shape of the doll first, and then went over it with the icing - filling in all the nooks and crannies of the design with different shades of icing... trying to get as close as possible to BlaBla the original.

When all was said and done, I was so proud of my accomplishments. I'm usually the first one to have "someone else do it" if it saves me time (which I have so little of) but the hours of time and love that went in to this project for Grace made it so rewarding for me to see the finished product look so good... and when I saw her shove it in her face the next day, and get her first true sugar high, it was even better than I could have imagined! So Duff and Shinmin... as SOON as I can afford to "have you do it" I will, but I will take massive amounts of pride and joy knowing that I tried it this way first and got to experience the sheer pleasure of making something for Grace on my own.


Carrie's Mom said...

great tip (sheet cake!). and oh, someone is having the time of her life with that!

jackie said...

i am very impressed!

Kim said...

what a wonderful job you did on the cake! Bla Bla is my daughter's favorite! They are headquartered in Atlanta and I used to teach their son. Amazing family! And what great product too. You should send them a pic of your daughter with her bla bla and bla bla cake. They would love it!

RookieMom Whitney said...

We have two dolls of that same family (brand) and making a cake of one is about the cutest thing I've seen!

shinmin said...

Hi, cake lady here. I have to say I'm really impressed. You can come decorate cakes with me anyday! I love the doll too!

Rachel said...

It's like I was reading my thoughts! My husband and I watch Ace of Cakes. My son has also been attached to his blabla, "Basil", since birth. He lays in his crib and holds up his blabla and tells him all kinds of things. His 1st birthday is coming up and I have been looking for blabla cake ideas. Thanks for sharing!

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