Sunday, 11 November 2007
100th Birthday Cake
How many of us are fortunate to know someone that is a 100 years old? How many of us that have kids still have our grandparents around? I'm fortunate enough to have a Grandmother that is a 100 years old!
Yes! I kid you not. My dear Grandma celebrates her 100th birthday TODAY. This very day, the 11th of November 2007, my grandmother Ruth Gwendoline Maude Ponnama Navaratnam turns 100. Happy Birthday Grandma!!
A thanksgiving service was held in Church this morning and tonight, there is a dinner party for friends and relatives. I was given the task to bake the cake. Task is not the right word surely - I was given the Honour of making the cake. Yes, it was truly an honour to make the 'official' birthday cake for my Grandma.
I'm not terribly experienced at decorating cakes. Sure, I've done a few for my kids birthdays, but thats really the extent of my decorating skills. And with making your own kids birthday cakes, you know that however good or bad it turns out, the kids will still love it. This was going to be a little bit more difficult as there would be a lot of people at the dinner party. That also meant a Huge Cake!
The picture doesnt quite reflect the size of the cake so let me give you an idea. The cake board had to be specially ordered to accomodate the cake. The board measures 2ft square. The cake itself was about 22 x 18 (inches) and in total weightwise (including the icing) about 7 kilos! Indeed, I had quite a time baking, decorating and icing the cake.
I wanted the cake to be original, simple yet classy. So this is what I decided to do. Firstly, I decided I would create a Monogram to go on the cake. Since my Grandma's first name is Ruth and since everyone knows her as Aunty Ruthie, a Monogram 'R' seeemed the logical choice.
Then I decided on a large '100' in the centre of the cake. That I figured I could do quite easily. For some ideas, I spent one morning at the local Wilton shop and ended up buying stencils for borders and corners. I also bought a lettering stencil because heaven knows I cant write neatly let alone pipe neatly using freehand! I also found some nice sugarpaste flowers at the local baking goods store.
So I had the plan all worked out in my head and I had the supplies. It was time to make the cake.
I started two days earlier with the Monogram 'R'. It's made out of chocolate, slowly piped layer upon layer to make it thick. Once I knew it would set and hold firm, I chucked it in the freezer.
Early Saturday morning (yesterday) I woke up early to bake the cakes. I made two large butter cakes and joined them together. I let the cakes cool and then later covered the entire cake with buttercream icing. I had printed out a large '100' from my PC and I used this as a stencil, marking out the outline with a toothpick on to the firmed up icing. With the '100' done it was now time to rest a while and I also had been invited to my Boss' Hari Raya Open house together with the family.
Later at night, it was time to ice the borders. I used the stencil I bought from Wilton to make indentations on the icing and then piped in the pattern. Then I piped stars all around the top of the cake and shells along the bottom of the cake.
Next, I fished out the chocolate Monogram 'R' and piped a layer of white buttercream on top to give it contrast.
The monogram was placed in the centre of the cake and then the Orange flowers at the side. I realised at that point that the letter stencils I had were a bit too large and there wouldn't be enough space to spell out Happy Birthday.
I had a plan though. I would get some ready made sugarpaste letters after the church service from the Wilton shop. Alas, it was Sunday and the shop was closed. But of course, the lovely wife had another idea. Why not get a cake shop (bakery) to just pipe out some icing on marzipan and stick in on the cake. I knew there was a reason I married the lovely wife!!! :)
We managed to get one shop to pipe out Happy Birthday on to a strip of white chocolate and we placed that on the cake.
The following is to be said in a Yoda like voice. For those too young to
appreciate this, my apologies....
"Hmmmm.... Complete now that cake is. Deliver it we must...."
And so the cake was delivered to my grandmother's house and my aunts, uncles and other relatives that were there thought it was a lovely looking cake. My Grandmother insisted on seeing the cake too and she was delighted.
I hope it is just as warmly received at tonight's dinner party and I hope it tastes as good as it looks!!
But it doesnt quite matter how good it tastes or how well it is received. Not many people get the chance to bake a Birthday Cake for their Grandmother let alone the chance to bake the 100th Birthday Cake for their Grandmother. That in itself is something very, very special!
Happy Birthday Grandma!