As I mentioned a couple of posts ago, I had several birthday cakes to do for the same date. One of them was for my nephew, Calvin.
Now, because I’m like I am, I have to state, before I show any pictures, that I wasn’t 100% happy with how this one came out, but I should really just shut up about that because they’re all learning experiences, and I already know what I’d do differently if I were to do this one again.
I decided to do a chili pepper because every time Calvin and his sister, Natalie, are at our house, my husband asks Calvin if he wants to eat a chili pepper, or some sort of really really spicy fiery hot sauce or something, and because Calvin is male, he says yes. It’s become a tradition to set your mouth afire at our house, and he seems to look forward to it. I think it’s some sort of male rite of passage. Once he eats enough chili peppers, he’ll grow a full beard and his voice will drop 8 octaves. He’ll be a MAN. Just like my husband, the MAN. The two of them sit there and eat tiny bites of a fresh pepper from the garden and then make panting, "hoooooooo…haaaaaaaaaa" kinds of noises, and their eyes water profusely, and their faces contort in pain. Then they take another bite. And try to coerce me into joining their little testosterone competition and then sneer at me because I’m too sensible to join in.
Male bonding. It’s a beautiful thing.
Anyway, to get this cake made, I took two boxes of spice cake mix and left out the oil called for and substituted a 14 oz can of pumpkin puree. I baked this in 4 loaf pans of various sizes, and they were my raw clay, so to speak.
Actually, I only ended up using 3 of the 4 loaves.
First, I sliced each one in half through the middle and slathered on some canned chocolate frosting.
Then I trimmed them a bit and laid them out on the pan in the basic chili pepper shape I was copying. Here’s the pepper –
And here’s the cake –
I used a plastic straw to support the part that sticks up over there. It didn’t really work well, but oh well, that’s one of those learning experiences I mentioned.
Next up – coloring the fondant. I chose green over red because I’d have needed an entire little jar of red to get the right shade, and I didn’t want to spend an eternity kneading the color into the fondant.
By the way, Julia wanted to help, so I gave her some green fondant and a rolling pin and let her go to town.
I rolled out the green fondant into a long, sort of sock-shaped piece…
and draped it over the cake. Now, the problem was that I had more fondant than I needed, and I really hadn’t thought about the logistics of the end part of the pepper that curled up. So that’s where I ran into trouble. First off, the straw poked through the fondant, so I took that out. But that end of the cake was so fragile that I couldn’t really do much else other than to wrap the lengths of fondant around it and try to form the pointy end. And here’s how it ended up:
I sort of camouflaged the wrinkled end with "Happy Birthday Calvin" – but unfortunately I didn’t take a picture of it at that point.
I am, however, rather proud of the stem end:
And that’s the story of that cake.