And so I turned 40.
And to mark this occasion this year I decided to do something different.
I decided to make A CAKE.
But isn’t that what you do anyway, you ask.
Yes, indeed, however, I decided to make ME a birthday cake. Yeah...ME.
I honestly can’t remember the last time I made a birthday cake for myself since I started making cakes 17 yrs ago. And I very well might never had. Don’t remember...hmmm maybe it’s just faulty memory too. But really, nothing sticks to this dear ol' mind. I just never felt that I have to make my own birthday cake, and somehow it just did not seem right.
Oh and it’s a rare occasion too that someone will get me a cake for my birthday. I might have received a couple of cakes from my favorite patisseries and of course, those slices of cake with sparklers brought out by a singing waiters in the restaurant. Being the official cake maker in the family, people are just intimidated in getting me a cake, thinking it won’t be good enough for me.
Honestly, it’s not so much the cake but the thought behind it is what matters. Really people (yeah that’s you dear family member) I like receiving cakes made by others too. I won’t be offended, I promiseJ
I usually celebrate my birthdays quietly and intimately with my immediate family. That’s just the way I always liked it. But this year I decided to do something different. I threw myself a party. I think the age 40 merits it. And of course, a party needs a cake. What’s that Julia Child? You say a party without cake is just a meeting. Heck I want to have a party not a meeting, so there shall be cake. And of course, people are expecting cake and I'm pret-ty sure no one will get me one. So, I shall make one for myself!
I didn't really know what cake to make. And honestly I didn’t even think hard about it. I was browsing through old pictures on my phone one day and out jumped this picture of Flo from the Disney movie Cars. This picture was taken during our family trip to Disney World a few of years back.
I thought this might be a fun 40th birthday cake to make and the name Flo is just very fitting for me at the moment. In the beginning of the year my theme was “letting go”. At the present moment, my word is "FLOW". It means a lot of things - flow of ideas, creativity, love, abundance, health. It means getting into the flow of what the universe has in store for me and stop the resistance to it otherwise. Flow also means being in the zone, as per this excerpt from Wikipedia is so true - “the hallmark of flow is a feeling of spontaneous joy, even rapture, while performing a task”. Yes, I want "flow" in my life.
And of course, I loved the character of Flo in the movie Cars. Yes, I’ve seen that movie gazillion times when my son was younger and I never get tired of it. It is still one of my favorite Disney movies of all time. Flo is sassy, has a lot of spunk and if I was a car I want to be her. And she has dimples too (guised as headlights) just like me. And hello, she’s in my favorite color too, Turquoise!
Okay, let’s finally talk about the cake. I wanted Neopolitan as the flavor of the cake, so that actually means 3 flavors – vanilla, chocolate and strawberry. To make this cake I made 2 recipes of a the yellow cake baked in a 9 x 13 cake pan. I also baked one recipe of this chocolate butter cake in a 9 x 13 pan as well. Then I also made half a recipe of the chocolate cake and baked it in an 8" square pan. I flavored the buttercream with some pureed strawberries.
Here are some of the progress pictures.
After covering the whole cake with turquoise colored fondant, I refrigerated it to let it harden a bit then I added the details like the eyes and windows. I made the car fins in advance to let it dry. I curved it a bit using that part of the cake as the guide. If I could do it again, I would make the tail part bigger and pointier. I attached it to the cake with some royal icing but it was a very humid day and the royal icing was not hardening enough. I added some turquoise colored fondant as extra support on the inside part of the fins.
Looking at Flo's picture she seems to have two full front wheels and half wheels in the back. So I cut out 3 circles from white fondant and cut one in half.
I made the wheels the same day because I was not sure what size of wheels to make. BUT it would be so much better if the wheels had time to dry. Once I put them on, they started sagging and Flo looked like she didn't have enough air on her tires.
The cake board's dimensions were 15"x 21", so I made it easy on myself and cut out 3" square in black and white fondant, it would all fit perfectly. I then brushed on some shortening on the board and attached the squares. The cake was already on the board and I just worked around it. Alternatively, the cake board can be done separately and the cake would be transferred on it.
In my haste I forgot to put one tile in the back side of the cake. I thought I checked all sides, I saw it the last minute and by that time I did not care any more. I'm the client and I say it's good to go. Nobody noticed it anyway.
I took inspiration from Flo's V8 Cafe sign and made a sign to put on "40 Fab Yrs".
I cut out the number 40, the V part and 2 ovals from gum paste and let it dry.
I attached the V and 40 to the oval with royal icing and let it dry. I attached the base to the finished board then I attached the stick to the dried base with royal icing. Note: This the last thing I did to the cake. After adding the sign, I carefully placed the cake in the fridge to let it continue setting from there.
And so there it is folks, my 40th birthday cake! It was the hit of the party. Even the other group next to us in the restaurant ooohhed and aahhhed when the waiter brought the cake out. I kinda felt bad for the guy in that group who was also celebrating his birthday and he got that one slice of cake with sparklers. I should have shared my cake with him :)
And here she is cut up.
40 fabulous years, I've been so blessed! Oh what a ride!
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