By LORA WEGMAN
Cake-baker extraordinaire & City Editor, Columbia Daily Tribune
I’ve been aware for a while that my colleague Jodie was preparing to rename himself Grandpa. What with the “I love Grandpa” ties and the daily blog reminders, it would have been hard not to notice. He was so excited, I felt flattered when he asked for my help in a small way – making a cake for mom-to-be Kishia’s baby shower.
“The theme is onesies,” he said, and he brought me a blank invitation, a cute little onesie-shaped card. The rules were simple: Make a white cake that fits the shower theme and feeds 30.
I decorate cakes as a regular hobby, so I had most of what I needed – a pan large enough to cut the onesie shape from, fondant for decorations and my airbrush machine for coloring them. I drew a template by tracing the invitation and enlarging it. Then I baked my cake, cut the shape and covered it with white buttercream. (There was quite a bit of cake left – co-workers can expect to see cake balls emerging in the newsroom soon with the leftovers).
I cut fondant for the “elastic” around the arms and legs and used a tool to score those pieces like stitching. Then I sprayed them pink from my airbrush, shading a little lighter or darker for different areas of the onesie. I topped it off with a bib – “K” for Kianna, of course. With scraps, I created a rattle and block to round out the board.
For you bakers out there, here’s the recipe I used. Jodie and I have a cupcake-baking co-worker who would frown on this, as it starts with a cake mix. But I find that when I’m making a cake a couple of days in advance like this one, those kinds stay moist longer. I doubled this to fill out my large half-sheet pan; it’s written for cupcakes but can adapt to other pans.
White on White Cupcakes
(From: Cupcakes! By the Cake Mix Doctor by Anne Byrn)
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 box white cake mix
1 cup whole milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
3 large egg whites
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Melt white chocolate chips in microwave; stir until smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.
Blend cake mix, milk, oil, egg, egg whites, vanilla, and melted white chocolate with electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds. Stop scrape down sides of the bowl. Increase speed to medium and beat 2 minutes more.
Bake until lightly golden; time will vary by size of pan, but start with 20 to 25 minutes. For cupcakes, bake 17 to 20 minutes.
I made my delivery to Grandpa the night before the shower, and I trust he got it home safely. This was one of the most fun cakes I’ve created — sure, it was a cute theme, but knowing how pumped Jodie and his family are about the baby made it exciting.
I don’t believe I’ve ever met Kishia. But if she’s anything like her dad (and I don’t doubt that), I’d be lucky to know her. For now, I was just honored to create a small piece of the celebration.
Sorry you didn’t get a taste, Kianna, but if you ever need a birthday cake, just say the word.