Of Mango Buttercream and Fruity Shields

product_117Okay, it’s official: le Jam Cannery has a new flavour! Thanks to my sister’s interest in cake decorating, I’ve developed an interest too and I think that warrants a new category. So welcome to the first post to be under the label of pineapple jam (so chosen because I was surprised to find out there was such thing just as this cake decorating interest surprised me).


 

Bad me, I didn’t post any pictures of Mom’s birthday cake. And her birthday was a month ago…. IMG_0008

So, bit of backstory. My sister asked me about a week before Mom’s birthday about making a cake for her. I asked her how she wanted to do it (what with our having made Dad an Olaf cake last year). She didn’t know. Maybe flowers or balloons or something. So we figured that we’d figure it out in a couple days. Well, in thinking about Dad’s cake, I started thinking about doing a two-layered cake for Mom too, but what filling should we try? So I looked up some stuff on the internet and found a recipe for mango buttercream (which is basically just normal buttercream with a few spoons of pureed mango mixed in). As we had a lot of mango in the house IMG_0013at that time, I told my sister about it and she agreed.

The result? Two round layers of plain white cake separated by mango buttercream and chunks of fresh mango, all slathered over with more mango buttercream! The mango buttercream naturally is yellow, so in order to make borders and lettering stand out, I mixed in some orange food colouring (I did the lettering and my sister took care of the borders). And, for a little extra flourish, we each made a fondant rose (they’re squished in the picture because they were just a little too tall for the cake cover…).IMG_0011

I’ll have to play around with the buttercream recipe since it was too sugary, but this is definitely a cake I’ll have to make again. 🙂


Almost a month after that delicious cake (if I may say so myself), I made another, this time a Captain America cake for the Fourth of July. But wait, I’m Canadian. Yup. A Canadian that made a cake for Independence Day. Well, technically, I just wanted to make a Captain America cake and the Fourth of July was just a good excuse. Okay, so a Canadian who made a Captain America cake. Yeah, because I like Cap! But I made something for Canada IMG_0026Day, right? Heh-heh, nope, ’cause I’m weird like that. 😀

This cake has backstory too. I was inspired by a Captain America cake tutorial that I saw on a YouTube channel called “Nerdy Nummies” (she has cool stuff; even if you’re not into the fandoms that she makes things for, they’re still really fun to watch). However, I wanted to tweak what she’d done: her cake had loads of fondant and I didn’t want that, so I went with strawberries and blueberries instead. But in so doing, I started searching cakes that had fruit toppings. I found one that had a strawberry-and-cream-cheese-type filling and thought that sounded good. Which means that I abandoned all thought of making the American flag inside the cake IMG_0045(watch the video in the link; you’ll see what I mean).

Or did I? Well, I attempted to use strawberries and blueberries to achieve that image within the filling, but I’m not convinced it quite worked. Whatever, it tastes good! 😀

And I have to put in a disclaimer here: yes, the cake is two layers and yes, the cakes themselves are kinda short, but that filling is tall! I think I have four layers of fruit in there!

IMG_0019Now, for the toppings. This was my first attempt at homemade whipped cream, but it was fun and I’m quite pleased with it. Strawberries and blueberries are pretty obvious, so I’ll skip on to the white flakes. My original idea was to just use shredded coconut. But my sister isn’t really a fan of coconut, so I shredded up some white chocolate, mixed it with the coconut, and sprinkled it over the whipped cream (and the cake tray… maybe we should invest in a couple cake boards). And then the extra strawberries and blueberries along the bottom are there to provide colour to all that white (and extra flavour: no such thing as too much fruit!)

The original plan had been to leave the top of the cake as you see it: just a basic version of Captain America’s shield. But when I told my coworker about my plans to make this cake, she suggested that I make a Captain America cake topper out of icing or something. At first, I just dismissed the idea because what could I make him out of besides fondant? But in thinking it over, I realized that I’ve seen videos that used rice crispies to make these types of things. So I made a rice crispy IMG_0501IMG_0504Cap! I’d attempted to make a full-body Cap, but I’d made his top half so big and heavy that legs wouldn’t have worked at all, so I’ve just got the top half of him in a sort of running pose, looking to the side. (He was supposed to have been facing forward, but I disfigured the head some, so it looked more like his head was turned.) (And yes, that’s a toothpick sticking out of his shoulder. I obviously didn’t assemble him firmly enough, considering that he looked like Venus de Milo for part of the colouring process and then that particular shoulder threatened to fall off too.)

IMG_0502I considered a couple IMG_0503ways of colouring him: adding food colouring to the rice crispy mix itself or covering it with fondant. As the whole point of the rice crispies was to avoid the fondant, I dismissed that idea right away. I might have gone with trying to dye the rice crispies if I hadn’t had the bright (hahaha, not-so-bright) idea to just coat him in coloured marshmallow. Again, not so bright. Do not repeat my mistake! That stuff is way stickier than I though it’d be, even after being frozen for a couple days. Not worth it. If I do something like this again, I’ll either try dyeing the rice crispies or just frosting it.IMG_0511

Bonus item: due to the cake and crispy-Cap being so tall, I was unable to keep him on the cake and put the cover on. Since I still want to eat crispy-Cap and preserve the original star on the cake, I melted some more white chocolate and fashioned a little base for cripsy-Cap to sit on, made to the same size of the blueberry portion of the top of the cake. Because I made Cap rather big, you end up not really seeing this base on the cake, but I think having him on top makes it fairly clear that the cake’s top is his shield. (When Captain America throws his mighty shield, All those who chose to oppose his shield must yield. If he’s lead to a fight and a duel is due, Then the red and the white and the blue’ll come through When Captain America throws his mighty shield! (Sorry, it’s been in my head all day….))
IMG_0048At any rate, all of those hours of edible art were fun. The sponge cake has a bit of lemon zing to it, all of that fruit really helps to balance out that heavy cream (what Dad’s calling “artery-clogging”) filling, and the whipped cream… well, that’s just icing on the cake. 😉

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