In late December 2019 I started to think about ice cream cake. I tried to make it once a very long time ago. It was an epic fail. I didn’t read anything before my attempt. I simply made a chocolate cake, added some layers of ice cream and served it. The cake was impossible to eat and the ice cream was melting. Worse yet we were enjoying this on New Year’s Eve with friends. It was embarrassing! I’ve never really enjoyed commercially made ice cream cakes, but really didn’t have motivation to figure it out on my own, until now.
I decided I wanted to make ice cream cake to celebrate my in-laws’ birthday. We were celebrating then together because they have birthdates very close to each other. I found some how to pages, decided on flavors (coffee and mint chip) and went for it!
In the meantime
I might not have followed through with this plan had Genna not written. In January I lost my mom. It was not unexpected but not exactly expected either. She was sick with stage 4 cancer but her treatment had been working well. Unfortunately suddenly it just stopped working. She became very sick and we learned that her cancer had spread. January was filled with shock and sadness, but I knew the only way out was through. Genna wrote that her daughter Clara wanted to have an ice cream cake. Is this something I offer or would be willing to try? She totally understood if I wasn’t up for it. I was able to say, “Yes actually this is something already on my plan. I’d love to try it!” Clara’s birthday wasn’t until mid-February and we were celebrating Ed and Jean’s birthdays prior to this. I’d definitely make one ice cream cake before Clara’s cake.
Who doesn’t love an owl cupcake? It is such a great theme for a baby shower! Recently I had the opportunity to bake owl cupcakes for a baby shower. I talked with the person ordering on the phone and I formed an image of owls in my head. I spent some time making a Pinterest board and shared the ideas I found with her.
She thought the ideas were cool but her daughter in law already had a plan. She sent me the picture of the cupcakes that she was looking to have.
Langston asked for a camping cake for his birthday! His mom sent some pictures and I jumped on the theme to make his cake dreams come true.
Genna sent some idea cakes that Langston liked for me to base the cake on. he really liked the idea of fire and a tent. I liked the idea of involving gingerbread for the tent and the “dirt” since he wanted to go with a lemon cake and lemon cream filling. I thought it would be a nice taste to have the contrast of the ginger instead of chocolate. The trees are the thing that I’m most proud of for this cake.
Make the gingerbread
For the gingerbread I used my vegan gingerbread cookie recipe. It is a delicious taste and because it is a naturally crumbly dough it works really well to make dirt and rocks. I crumbled it up on a cookie sheet and baked it. For the tent, I made two pieces of gingerbread and put them together with royal icing. In hindsight, I would have made a 3rd for the supporting pole down the middle. I was a little worried when I gave the cake to Genna and realized she had to drive home with it!!
How to make royal icing evergreens
The royal icing evergreens were SO much fun to make! You need to make a batch of royal icing and tint it green. You’ll need straws to form the center of your tree and a #21 piping tip. My trees have a little bit of a Dr. Seuss feel to them. I think they add a lot to the cake.
Start with a thick royal icing and put it into a piping bag. Put a cut straw into a styrofoam base (take care to have some parchment between the styrofoam and the start of your tree).
Use your #21 piping tip and start to pip out evergreen branches from the center trunk (your straw) of the tree. Continue and get smaller and smaller each time so that your bottom branches are the smallest and the top branches are the smallest.
Repeat for as many trees as you hope to make. You can make different heights of tree and should make several extras to account for any breakage.
Let dry for several days and then gently remove the dried trees from the styrofoam.
Transfer them to the cake, using the part of the straw that was in the styrofoam as a support in the cake.
Here is another group of camping inspired cakes that I really enjoyed making!! This cake was for Boden’s 9th birthday and it was based on his invitation. I love my fondant mountains, cute little tents and fire.
The teepee cake was my very first camping cake. The teepee is made from fabric and sticks but all the other parts are edible.