A Pony at a Party

Here is the result of what a bit of bullying and some faith can do. Lil Lassie’s classmate invited her to her birthday party. Her Mum was and is in the midst of settling in the happy chaos that are one month old twin boys, making her the ma to four kids under six years of age. She has my complete admiration! While chatting with her, she mentioned having to scramble for a cake as the woman she asked previously couldn’t do it. The words were out before I could even think, ” Would you let me make her cake?”.

She had only ever seen Lil Lassie’s birthday cake last year and so didn’t have much of an idea of what she could expect. But, being a gentle and gracious woman, she gave in to my enthusiastic pleading. The only stipulations were that it had it to be vanilla and have a pony on it.

I knew exactly what I wanted to do. Thing is, the whole project would be a series of first-time tries for me. Somehow though, I quite relished that challenge and decided to give it a go.

Four 20cm vanilla sponges were baked, coloured in varying intensity of, what else, pink. A standard vanilla buttercream helped sandwich the layers and cover the cake, ready for the sugarpaste.

Covering a 5 inch plus cake with sugar paste proved pretty tricky and there were some cracks in places. Luckily a dark green, cut out grass border covered a multitude of sins. Next the brand new Wilton moulds were dusted with cornflour and put to good use to create cherry blossom trees and branches as well as birds in flight. Teeny flower cutters created blossoms in two shades of pink and royal icing helped them stick as well as provide them with simple white centres. The same shades of fondant were used to cut out the lettering required.

The pony, bless him, was hard work! There is a delicacy of touch required to do figurines I found out and I only got to grips with it on the third attempt. This ‘pose’ of pony or indeed any animal figurine is by far the easiest style to do. Since this is my first go, I thought I’d stack the odds in my favour and not get too ambitious. I loved his face and white muzzle. Anatomically, he is complete incorrect, but I am going to call on artistic liberties in this case!

Then came the lettering…I tried putting it every which way across the face of the cake. It just looked messy. If I had thought things through before hand, I would have probably covered the cake board with fondant so that the lettering could run round the bottom of the cake. But, the fact is, I am so glad I didn’t because this bit of a lightbulb moment came to me, with the clouds. I didn’t have time to make it out of fondant and have it dry sufficiently, as it was now, the night before the party. And it would have been far too heavy. But I did have foam board! I cut out cloud shapes, covered both faces with fondant and shoved a bamboo skewer into the middle. The  lettering was pasted directly onto there and the whole  placed carefully in the cake.

I was extremely nervous taking the cake in. Her mum had given me complete design liberty, I could do whatever I wanted. What if she didn’t like the cake? What if the girlie wanted more ponies? (I would have liked to have gone down that route, but didn’t have  enough time) And the cake? Would it be too dry? Not vanilla enough? Did the cake colours work properly? OH, Goodness! Did I stack the cake in the right order?

Panic while trying to carry a 8 inch high cake box on an escalator is terribly inconvenient.

Their response was so touching. Birthday girl’s dad was genuinely touched and her Mum loved the design. The girl herself, threw her arms round me for a long, looonng cuddle while saying ‘thank you’, ‘how much she loved the cake’ and ‘could she eat the pony?’ Lil Lassie was terribly proud when all her friends asked her if her mummy made that cake and she could say yes.

That huge hug was the best part of the process. It really gave me all the satisfaction I wanted out of this project. And thanks so much, to the Mum, for running with a grain of faith. She didn’t need to, but she did and for that I am grateful.


41 thoughts on “A Pony at a Party

  1. Sarvani @ baker in disguise

    Oh my gosh… you have 4 people at home just gaping at the screen right now!!! very very impressive… you are just getting better with each cake.. you have a beautiful colour sensibility…and the ‘less is more’ principle when it comes to decorating..(we saw it earlier with your white meringue buttercream roses and the one with pink blossoms).. calls out to me!! You really have talent… absolutely love the cherry blossom trees, the clouds (love the idea) and of course the shading of the 4 layers.. bellissima!!

    1. The Patterned Plate

      Thanks Sarvani! I had a chuckle at your enthusiasm, it’s lovely to hear (I am a vain creature!). I really enjoyed doing this cake and have to admit, being a novice, I’m happy with the result 🙂

  2. The Spicy Saffron

    My my, Carie!! WHAT A CAKE!!!! I absolutely…. absolutely LOVE it. The pony is the cutest 🙂 I can imagine the responses of people at the party, great job!
    I have a question, though. How does fondant stick over fondant, is it with royal icing?

    1. The Patterned Plate

      Thanks Shalini!! Yes fondant can stick over fondant. Because it’s basically sugar, it gets tacky when water is brushed on it. All the tree work and grass work was stuck on simply by brushing the underside of the strip with water and placing it on the fondant on the cake.

      With the flowers, it’s royal icing (you don’t have to worry about consistency too much) as you want a really firm, solid grip since the flowers are curved. Also, it’s perfect for icing the centre of the flowers.

  3. To Markt To Markt

    You are such a talented cake designer… absolutely love this colorful creation! What a cheerful photo for a Monday morning 🙂

  4. Rushi!

    Carrie can you please move to France or London that way I could pay you to make cakes for me. This is such a cute and original cake, wow! I’m so in love with it. In fact I’m in love with all your cakes. That little pony is so adorable. You have such talent. 🙂

    One little question when I try to stick my cakes up they tend to look a bit like the leaning tower of pizza, how to you manage to get them to not slide? I know I always have a question or two, he he he 😀

    1. The Patterned Plate

      Wouldn’t I just love to move to France! Wil have to contend with the desert for the moment 😉

      And no problems with the questions, I quite like getting them and will try my best to answer properly.

      I actually wrap my completely cooled cakes in plastic wrap/cling film and place them in the freezer for 20-30 minutes to firm up…that way, it isn’t squidgy when you are trying to press a side down to even things out and it stops it from sliding as much. Also, you don’t need to exert much pressure when spreading the buttercream, that’s what can make it slide around. Here is where the consistency makes a difference, it should be soft to spread easily but not sloppy.

      Have a look at this video, it shows the technique so well. I tend to also get down to eye level with the cake and fix leanings…it’s a matter of practice for sure, but a firm cake really helps things along. A small, lightweight spirit level can help too, before you buttercream the top.

      After all the layering and coat the cake goes in the fridge to firm up before the fondant work begins. I have to, cos it’s so warm here in Doha.

        1. Rushi!

          I think I’ll abduct you for a week or so 🙂 lol.

          Yup I do have a turntable, I borrowed my mom’s and never gave it back. I stuck the cake in the fridge after the crumb coat which made life a whole lot easier. Thanks for the tips, I guess I need to practice more now that I’ve gotten over my fear of piping bags and nozzles, will slowly move on to fondant.

  5. Julie

    It looks fantastic! And delicious! Love the colors, the birds and trees, and of course, the little pony. The cloud idea was brilliant, too!

  6. girlinafoodfrenzy

    Stunning!!! I’ve no doubt there were amazed expressions all round, I’m not sure I could have eaten this incredible artwork though! Hugs really are the best currency with kids, lol 🙂

    1. The Patterned Plate

      Haha! I know what you mean! The staff woman at the place the party was being hosted, was rather cackhanded and just mauled at the cake, which pinched a bit! But, at the end of the day it is meant to be eaten, so I cant get too precious about it 🙂 And oh yeah, cuddles are the best.

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