Friday, April 9, 2010

Portfolio: Large Owl Cake

Halt!  Whoooo goes there?  Why this lovely little fella, of course:


My friend Julia works for the Y in Buda as a lifeguard and they recently held a fundraiser.  Julia told the gang at the Y that if they met their goal, she'd get them a cake to celebrate.  Well, they met their goal and then some, so to celebrate she asked me to make an owl cake.  Again.  Last year, I made this cake for one of her friends' birthdays.  Because this one was going to feed a lot more people, I decided to change the design a bit.  And it sure didn't hurt that I managed to snag this baking tin on sale for $.50 after Easter.  Yes, you read that right.  FIFTY CENTS, Y'ALL!  I don't know who was looking out for me, but the Sale Gods sure were nice to me!  And I have to thank whoever it was that lost all of the packaging the pan came with...because otherwise, the exhausted Target staff may not have been willing to let me have it for $.50.


Moving on...

This design are very easy.  To make this cake, I baked two 12" round layers out of velvet cake (no coloring was added) and the egg shape out of orange flavored chiffon cake.  I chose chiffon cake partly for it's volume and weight and partly because I had a lot of eggs on hand (which were also on crazy sale...two dozen for a dollar).  I then iced the round cake in green buttercream and added some flowers and leaves to make it look like a tree top or a bush.  I am very proud of myself; I finally managed to only make enough chiffon cake to fit the pan.  Ok.  And a little extra.  But apparently third time's the charm!

The egg shaped cake was perfect for an owl body.  The only thing I needed to add was the ear tufts and a few details that scream "owl!"  I decided to use this picture of Marion's owl cookies as part of my inspiration (Side note: if you have not checked out Sweetopia yet, you need to.  Marion is such a doll and very talented.  There is a link on the sidebar as well!):

I iced the owl in chocolate buttercream.  On the other owl cake I made, I had layered slivered almonds to create the feathery chest.  I wanted a more mod, cutesy look this time, so I instead laid a large circle of lilac colored fondant down for his tummy/chest piece.  I then went over them with chocolate ganache to create a feathered look.  The eyes are also fondant with buttercream accents and the "horns" are Hershey's kisses.  His beak and feet are buttercream.



I really, really, really wanted to be cheesy and write, "Congrats on reaching your g-owl!" but my good sense triumphed and I restrained myself.  And there wasn't really any space or time to write anything.  Although it would have been super funny and cute, IMO.

Julia was DEE-lighted when she saw the cake and so was everyone else back at the YMCA.  I am really proud of this cake for coming together so nicely and being a cinch to make, especially in the middle of the week!  The cake I made was enough to feed about 50-60 people, so if you wanted to recreate it on a smaller scale, you could definitely do so.  You would need to use a different sized pan for the owl body (a 6" round trimmed a bit on the sides or a smaller dome pan would work beautifully) or you could just do the owl out of fondant or buttercream only and have it flat and one dimensional instead.

Happy Baking,

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