A Ladybug Rainbow Cake for Niece’s Birthday

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I think it’s time to get started working on my blog. And I have chosen this to be my first post ^^ Slowly, I will try to start posting my previous bakes and dishes. I think I have 600 recipes in my FB album to clear, and if I do not start blogging them, I am forgetting the recipes ><

Do pardon me for the slow progress and I have been tied up lately with Jae’s changing new nursery and the girls’ upcoming examination! Arghhh!

Niece’s birthday was coming and brother mentioned that he wanted a rainbow cake for her. Why a rainbow cake? ^^ Well, she is going to sit for her PSLE soon and brother wanted to wish her passing her exams with flying colours! I told him I would bake for her and in fact had already been thinking what type of cake I wld want to do. Did a panda cake last year for her birthday, together with some panda macarons, so what “character” or “theme” should I do this year?  Ladybug! Since ladybug also symbolizes good luck! So that began my weeks of conceptualizing the design of the cake … …

I did not have much experience with fondant but decided to take up the challenge. Learnt from a baking buddy, Diana, before that she had used rice krispies when she did her owl fondant. That was a brilliant idea as I did not want to end up with a heavy fondant figurine that would weigh down the cake. Here’s my ladybug made from melted marshmallow and rice krispies.

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It was rather simple to make this. I melted some mini marshmallow over small fire and when they started to melt and became flowy (but sticky and thick) fluid, I turned off the fire and stirred in the rice krispies which I have ran them in a blender to make them finer (as I heard this would help prevent your moulded figurine from being too lumpy to cover with fondant). I stirred them vigorously to mix well. And I could start shaping the krispies. It was warm to the touch, not burning hot. Using hands, I moulded the lump together to fit into a bowl which I have greased with some shortening. After pressing the lump tightly into the bowl, I placed it in the fridge to let it set. I did this a week beforehand.

5 days later, the krispies shape would have set. I removed it from the fridge and let it sit in aircon room while I started preparing the fondant and the various cutouts to place over the krispies mould. This is how the end product of my ladybug looks like. Should have done the feelers a few days beforehand to let them dry and harden. I did the feelers only like a day earlier before doing up the ladybug, hence they were still a bit soft to hold up the “curls”. Added a polka dot ribbon for the ladybug. Thought it looks sweeter with the cutesy ribbon ^^ After doing up the ladybug, I kept it in an airtight box and placed in room temperature. DO NOT put the fondant ladybug back into the fridge!

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I also started the whole project by making these figurines 5 days prior to the actual date, to allow them to dry out.

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These caterpillars proved to be a hot fav among family and friends! Hehe …

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More mini ladybugs.

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I personally love these bubble bees! Thought the vibrant colour is very cheery.

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These toadstools are popular too. However I could have done a better job (_ _) I should have done the stem parts earlier to let them set before adding the mushroom caps as I noticed the weight of the caps caused the whole toadstools to “shorten” and “slide” a few days later.

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I can’t miss out the important message brother wanted to convey to his girl, can I? ^^

Next was to start on the cake. I baked the cake on Thursday (i.e. 2 days before the actual day), and it was a long process of baking each layer individually. It took me a while to decide on the recipe to use too. I could not use a cake that is too soft to hold all the weight. Came across Cheryl’s recipe in her Baking Taitai blog and found it suitable (and healthier! Cos only egg whites were used and not whole eggs). I reduced the sugar to 200g though to suit my family’s liking. My cake was going to be huge! 23 cm by 33cm and 6 layers of it! I spent around 4 hours in total for the baking.

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After the cakes were baked, I chilled them in the fridge. Took them out the next day, to start my crumb coating and frosting. Since I had a bad experience previously with using buttercream for a fondant cake, I decided to stick to ganache. I used 1.2kg of dark couverture chocolate and 600ml of dairy whipping cream for the ganache. It wasn’t as easy to do a smooth side for this cake as I did not slice the sides, hence they were a bit uneven. I also did not want to load too much ganache to the cake.  I left the cake in the fridge overnight for the BIG challenge the next day – the covering of the fondant! ><

Woke up early the next day and skipped my daily swim and gym. I huffed and puffed rolling the fondant but it proved an impossible task to roll out a thin sheet that size! The cake was simply too huge, bigger than any of my pastry mats and rolling pins. I knew I couldn’t use the conventional way of covering the cake >< On the verge of giving up but I told myself I shouldn’t. Almost there! Hence I changed my strategy and adopted the method I came across in some blogs. I Had to cover a side by a side, and then the top. Luckily this cake wasn’t supposed to look classy and elegant like how a wedding cake should, so I should not mind so much if the finishing wasn’t going to be that smooth.

After sweating it out for 4 hours, I could finally present the cake! By then it was time to transport the cake to MBS. And it was yet another challenge. There isn’t a box that big and tall to store the cake. Hence I improvised using 2 boxes instead. Not just the rolling of the fondant that I had a good workout, it was yet another back-breaking experience carrying the 18kg cake to the hotel ^^

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However, however, when I saw the twinkle and sparkle in my niece’s eyes when she saw the cake, I knew all the efforts paid off.

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Happy birthday, our dearest Yen Yen! Have a sweet 12th birthday! We all love you!

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