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Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Pickle Cake

A friend of mine came to me and explained that her daughter was turning 9 and had requested a pickle birthday  party.  At this pickle party, they were going to eat all kinds of pickles, can their own pickles, and play a bunch of different pickle inspired games.  I love a good themed birthday party probably more than most people, so when she asked if I could come up with a pickle cake I was happy to help her out.
My friend gave me complete creative license with the design of this cake. The only requests were that it needed to feed 12 people and that they would like it to be made from chocolate cake.  In the planning process for this cake, I decided that I would try to make the pickle as realistic as possible and then quickly realized that this plan would either turn out great or turn out very, very badly. There was a definite possibility that the cake could turn out as awesome as I imagine it could be in my head or it could turn out to look like a big, green, unappealing blob of a cake. Oh geez!
I went to work baking, carving, covering and worrying...and then I decided that maybe the key to a fabulous pickle cake would be in it's color, or rather it's range of color, depth and realism.  So, I got out my rarely used airbrush.  I rarely used it because I am mostly afraid of it.  I have not used it very many time and know that once you airbrush a cake you can't got back, you can't remove it and it is extremely hard to remedy without starting over completely.  But, I went for it anyways and I am now in awe of the airbrush's awesome abilities.  Starting with a very light avocado green colored base I layered shade of green, yellow and warm brown to achieve almost exactly what I had imagined.  I love it! 
When I delivered this pickle, the birthday girl was not only surprised by how real it looked but also by it's size. You can't tell from the picture, but i grossly over-estimated the amount of cake I would need and this cake was huge.  I could easily fed 40 people.  
So, three cheers for a super huge pickle cake.  I'm sure it tasted better than it looked (because that is a lot of pickle).
***Another funny pickle cake story:
I saw my friend who ordered the pickle cake the week following the party and she had great things to say about the cake.  She then went on to tell me that since she didn't actually get to have a piece of cake at the party (and since there was so much left over) she decided to have a piece after dinner that night,  When she took a bite of the cake, she was surprised to find that the chocolate cake not only have a slight pickle flavor but was a tad crunchy.  Needless to say, she did finish her piece but still wondered if I had intended for the flavor of the cake to include the cake's theme as well.  The next day, after a little super sleuthing, she came to find out that her 4 year old son had come by some of the sprigs of dill that were left over from the party's pickle canning activity and had decided to place the sprigs inside the holes the candles had made in the top of the leftover cake. So, there was at least one piece of cake that actually tasted like a pickle.  Too funny!


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