My mom is an Angry Birds addict. I’m not sure if there are any Angry Birds competitions out there, but if my mom entered, she would surely win. She plays on her iPad, on the TV (through Roku), and if she knew that she could download it on her phone, she would probably play there as well.
What do you give the best mom ever on her birthday? An Angry Birds red velvet birthday cake, of course!
I missed her birthday last summer because I was off traveling in Greece. Terrible excuse, I know. To make up for it, I totally surprised her this year with this massive cake. I usually ask her ahead of time what kind of cake/pie/baked good she wants for her birthday, but I was silent this year. I’m sure she knew something was up. Moms seem to have a sixth sense about these things. Anyway, she was super excited and all smiles when I finally unveiled the cake.
We had a little party yesterday to celebrate. Even Charlie was invited and included in all the festivities. You can also spot him lurking around in the back of the previous photo with my mom. He can be such a creeper, but his cuteness and adorable personality makes up for it.
It took me two afternoons to make this cake. I begin every cake project by sketching a draft of the cake. Then I make a list of all the fondant colors I will be using. For much larger cakes, like wedding cakes, I also set a timeline to keep myself on track and on pace. I like to use cake dummies and cake pans to visual the size and feel of the cake. Sometimes, a design may look gorgeous on paper but translates poorly once its on a three-dimensional cake. Doing a set up like one above helps me visualize the final product and feel more confident in the design.
I usually color my fondant two days before construction. I have learned that certain food gel colors do not play well with certain fondant brands. There are times when my freshly colored fondant mutates into a completely different color overnight. For this reason, coloring two days before gives me enough time to color more fondant (or buy new gel colors) if such things happen.
Decorating the outside of the cake is fun and all, but building the actual cake inside is what I look forward to the most. I find building and frosting cakes so relaxing. Some people play golf or go shopping to calm down, I frost cakes.
Everything on the cake is edible except for the string attached to the slingshot. All the exterior decorations are made with colored fondant.
I drew out the birds by hand and used a sharp knife to cut them out of fondant. I used water to glue the fondant pieces onto the cake and on to each other. To get the special design of the sling shot and wood panel pictured below, I used textured mats. As for the grass below the sling shot, I merely used scissors to cut the top portion of a band of fondant. The hardest part of this cake was making the birds, especially the small blue birds.
Happy, happy birthday MAMA!
You understand me more than I understand myself, sometimes. You are my best friend, my confidant, and the reason for my existence. Thank you for being my biggest fan (and reminding me everyday how proud and happy you are to have had me). If every one had their own cheerleader/life coach like you, the world would surely be a happier and calmer place.
I can’t tell you enough how lucky I am to be your daughter. Everything that is good in my life comes from having a mother who has cared beyond what it ever expected of parents. For all the ways your love, wisdom, and laughter have made a difference in my life, I thank you and I love you more than you can ever imagine.
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 12 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened, room temperature
- 1 tsp fine sea salt
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 6 Tbsp red liquid food coloring
- 3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 5 tsp distilled white vinegar
- 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, softened
- 5 cups confectioners' sugar/powdered sugar, sifted
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease three 8-inch cake pans and line with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together butter, sugar and salt until smooth. Add eggs one at a time and mix until incorporated.
- In a small bowl, combine cocoa powder, liquid food coloring, and vanilla extract to make a thick paste. Add paste to mixing bowl. Mix on low speed until paste is incorporated into batter.
- Alternate adding flour and buttermilk to mixture. Add 1/3 of flour, followed by half of buttermilk. Start and end with flour. Mix until batter is smooth.
- In a separate bowl, combine baking soda and vinegar. Add mixture to batter and mix until combined.
- Transfer batter evenly among bake pans. Level out batter to ensure even layers. Bake for 20-25 minutes, rotating pans halfway thru baking. Let cake cool in pan for 10 minutes before unmolding. Allow cakes to cool to room temperature before using.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add sifted powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, mixing on low speed until incorporated. Add salt and mix until smooth to desired consistency.