Once Emma decided on a tea party theme for her birthday, I found I was slightly overwhelmed with information and ideas on the internet, but that on follow-through, many of them were pre-packaged kits that were just plates shaped like tea pots, or there just wasn’t enough detail for me. So I’m creating a three-part series filled with information on our party, in hopes that I can be useful for someone else looking to host a tea party. First, I thought I’d go over the steps of creating a tea pot-shaped birthday cake, and then I will go over The Plan, and then The Budget.
First of all, in making a cake for a tea party, I went through several ideas. The traditional petit fours would be an excellent choice (especially if not specifically for a birthday), and I also considered a regular 9×13 cake decorated with a miniature tea set on top, but I let Emma choose, and she wanted a cake shaped like a tea pot (and I’m always up for a challenge!). So this is how I went about creating my tea pot.
In order to save time and money, I bought two boxes of cake mix (strawberry and rainbow chip). The idea was to bake each in a bowl, in order to create the two halves to the circular teapot. I used the largest glass bowl that I have, but if you have a budget that allows it, you can also buy a mold in the shape of a ball, such as the one Wilton sells.
I baked my first cake, and it rose quite a bit, but the top got awfully browned, while the very center remained a little gooey. This was also the cake with pudding in the mix, though, so that may have impacted how it cooked. When cooking the strawberry, I poured some into a small bowl to create the lid shape, and I think having a little less batter in the large bowl also helped it cook better. It did not burn on top, and cooked all the way through. As you can see in the picture, even with less batter, the strawberry cake rose more than the rainbow one (and the rainbow one felt much denser).
Next, I cut off the top portion of the cakes and set the rainbow half on bottom (since it was so much heavier).
Technically, Lloyd did all the cutting, and I was mixing up some buttercream frosting and tinting it to try to get a hot pink. I settled on bright pink, purple, and green (not yet tinted in this picture!).
Next, I slathered a layer of frosting on the rainbow half of the cake, and then stuck the strawberry half on top. Then I covered the whole thing in pink frosting.
As I let the cake sit in order for the frosting to set up a bit, I tried tinting my marzipan for my handle and spout. I quickly gave up that pursuit, deciding it would be better just covered in frosting, and began forming the marzipan into the shapes for a handle, spout, and top knob. I then inserted toothpicks in the ends for connecting the pieces to the cake. *Note* I would not recommend using marzipan. It was much too soft. I think fondant must be the better choice, but I just love marzipan, so I wanted to make it work. It molded quite well, but I was afraid the pieces would be too soft and collapse so I froze them.
Next, I went back to my cake and attempted a technique I had watched here, but it didn’t work as well for me. To make her frosting look all smooth, she patted the cake with paper towels. And while my frosting did get a little smoother, it was left with little indentation marks from my paper towels, so maybe her paper towels were different, or perhaps her frosting was a little different. I’m thinking I may have just had a little too much milk so my frosting was softer and didn’t quite crust up as anticipated (I had made a smaller test batch earlier and it did crust and get shiny, so I definitely think the frosting itself was part of the problem). I then added my top piece of cake and frosted it as well.
After that, I got to move on to the decorating part, which will obviously be different for everyone. I don’t have fancy equipment to make flowers or cool designs; I just scooped my frosting into a Ziploc bag and cut off a corner, so I had to keep things simple.
I then stuck the cake in the fridge overnight and got out my marzipan pieces in the morning. As usual, I was running behind, so I quickly stuck the pieces on, roughly frosted them, and took a picture. Obviously, with more time, I would have smoothed the frosting on the marzipan pieces as well. They were quite heavy, but they still stuck in the cake. Unfortunately, it only took about ten minutes for them to unfreeze and get droopy, and then they sort of slid off, which is why I would not recommend marzipan. Fortunately, Emma is only 4, and it really didn’t bother her.
It was very delicious, and I thought it was fun to make, even with a few things being less-than-perfect. My cake-baking days are not over yet! I’m thinking some cake decorating classes would be fun to take, too.
Stay tuned for more on Tea Party Birthdays…