Sunday, 11 November 2007

100th Birthday Cake

the 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.

the 100th Birthday Cake

Next, I fished out the chocolate Monogram 'R' and piped a layer of white buttercream on top to give it contrast.
the 100th Birthday Cake

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 100th Birthday 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!!
the 100th Birthday Cake

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!


Julie said...

It looks wonderful!!! You and your grandmother are both lucky people!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Happy Birthday to your grandmother! Hundred years old, that's a venerable age!



MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Beautiful cake. Really like the way you put together the decorating.
100 years yes, that's plenty special! H B!!

marye said...

DHARM! It is AWESOME! Great job!
Do or do not, there is no try.
You obviously DID.
Love it.

Julius said...

Dharm ~

This is a very grand, special cake!

Congrats to you and your grandma.



Tartelette said...

Congrats Dharm! It looks awesome! I am sure you guys had a great time and how special for Ruth that you made this cake. Happy Birthday to a grand lady!!

Annemarie said...

thanks for detailing the efforts you made - it helps the whole thing sound manageable to the rest of us. Very happy birthday to your grandmother, too.

Jen Yu said...

That is just fabulous. I am so impressed with your labor of love and even more impressed with your grandmother's longevity. I sincerely hope you both celebrate many more birthdays together. Congratulations!

-jen at use real butter

Judy said...

The cake is lovely. You may have a second career waiting for you! Best wishes on your Grandmother's 100th birthday.

breadchick said...

What a wonderful tribute to your Grandmother. As someone who is lucky to have had Great Grandparents who lived into their 100s and just recently having lost my grandfather (he was 92, his mother was one of my over 100 great grandparents. I had 40 years of joy with him), I know how lucky those of us in our late 30s and early 40s are to have these wonderful connections to our family past are. Enjoy your time with her and Happy Birthday to her

glamah16 said...

Great Job Dharm. Its looks wonderful.All those Wilton tools can become addictative, but they are so useful. Your grandmother is a very lucky woman.

Gabi said...

Dharm- you are a lovely man! What a nice-of-you thing to do for your Gran and how lucky you are to have her still around at 100!
Happy Birthday to her! and congratulations on a beautiful cake to you!

Quellia said...

Nice work! I'm sure your grandmother, and all the other guests, were quite impressed!

Cynthia said...

Your grandmother will be proud and very pleased with this cake. Please pass on my sincere wishes for continued good health and happiness. You are indeed blessed.

Anh said...

This is so special! happy birthday to your grandmom!

Elle said...

Happy 100 years to your grandmother. I'm very impressed with the cake and your wife is a genius to figure out how to add the Happy Birthday part. You are a special person to do this and you did such a great job.

culinaryprincess said...

Very impressive Dharm! Good job :)

Jules Delicious said...

Fantastic. Great planning. can you send me some fedex?

Dharm said...

The cake tasted great too and it was enjoyed by all!! I'm still tired out after being stressed about the cake....!!

Julie, Rosa, Tanna(kitch in half,
Thanks for the lovely comments.

You know your thumbs up means a lot to me. And I SO like your keeping with my Yoda theme with the Do or Do not bit....!!

My Grandma was very happy. Thanks for your wishes.

Helene (Tartlette)
for you to think my cake looks Awesome means so much!! The stuff you bake is amazing - so thanks so much for the compliment!

Anne Marie,
The cake isnt really all that difficult - just time consuming and that also because I'm not especially experienced with cake decorating. But it does get easier as I decorate more cakes!

Jen Yu, Judy,
Many Thanks for the kind words! Not sure if I can make it a career yet, but yes, I do hope to one day do something more with it!!

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

Wow Dharm! That is amazing! It looks beautiful and I am sure your Grandmother really appreciated it! Happy belated birthday to her! :)

Meeta said...

Dharm this is truly a great birthday. Incredible. Please convey my warmest and sincerest wishes to your grandmother. Lovely cake!

Ginette said...

Happy Birthday to your grandma. Very, very nice cake, you are great on decorating. I like it very much !

Lavinia said...

Anna, the cake was absolutely-wonderfully delicious............ You did more than did fab!!!

priya.dharshini said...

dharm.........what can i say......simply amzing. I like the bit on the "lovely wife". Such a sweet touch to it all :)

Happy cook said...

Belated b'day wishes to your grandmother.
My husbands grandmother is 96 yrs.


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