Hello Every body,
Today’s post has an element of fun about it. The school my son goes to selected a group of students last year to design a new playground! The school is really pushing forward with the new STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) programs and this was one of their projects. The students were required to work together to research and design the equipment, layout, landscaping, budget and a number of other challenges along the way. Unfortunately they didn’t get everything they wanted but I’m keeping my fingers crossed for them that one day they might get the climbing net they so desperately wanted. My son was one of those selected so I guess I’ve been a little more invested because of it.
The big day finally arrived this week with the grand opening and I was privileged to be asked to make a cake to honor the event. I thought I’d have a bit of fun with it and recreate what the kids had designed (kind of).
Let me just start with “I had delusions of grandeur” thinking about what I could do for this cake. In my list of things I want to try is modeling chocolate. Of course not just any modeling chocolate, stuff you make from scratch. So it seems pretty simple, melt the chocolate, heat up the glucose syrup, mix together, let it cool, start to mold it into shape. Well I panicked when the glucose started to form a skin, even knowing full well just seconds before my brain exploded that the syrup was way to hot for the chocolate I still mixed them together and you guessed it, it seized. Thankfully I had a backup plan. I’m not sure if it was the fact I’d been out the two nights before but this wasn’t the only brain fart for the cake build but more on that later.
The cake was a single layer 11 x 15 slab cake which I made using 1.5X my normal butter cake recipe. If I was layering the cake I would have just used one batch.
I gave the cake a quick crumb coat and marked out the the playground area. I mixed up my green buttercream and then things when wrong again. I been to the shops a few days before to buy a Wilton #233 grass tip and they didn’t have any which was fine. I was going to the next town over a couple days later and there were a few place I could try. Except in the rush of trying to do everything else planned for that day I forgot. I did have one option and that was to buy the Wilton master kit. The way I saw it, it had everything I’ll need in the way of piping tips for a while so it was a smart investment. I had to rush to buy it because again I forgot about it and the the shops were about to shut, so I grabbed it and ran. Unfortunately it seems that someone else needed the very same tip as me but weren’t willing to pay for a whole kit to get it.When I opened it up there were 21 not 22 tips, I couldn’t believe it by this time the shops had shut and the cake was for the next day.
The job was then given to a trusty star tip to create the grass like boarder.
To represent the soft fall bark chip I crushed up some biscuits and poured them on. That was the cake covered.
Now on to the playground. I had planed to make some of the equipment from the modeling chocolate but seeings that ended in disaster I fell back on Kit-Kats and wafer straws. I cut the 2 platforms and melted a bit of chocolate to seal them back up again, I worked out where I wanted them to sit and pushed the wafers into the cake to form the legs. Insert Brain fart No.2. Pushing a hollow wafer straw into a cake with no preparation will result in broken wafers. No.3 Trying to stick the platform to the hollow legs using the melted chocolate requires you to fill the Tubes first. Some days I think I must go out of my way to find the hardest way possible to do something, don’t get me wrong I love to challenge myself and try things I’ve never tried before but this was never going to work. The sad thing was, until I was at my wits end I never even thought just to use the buttercream that was literally with in arms reach of me.
I used some sour strips to make the slide.
Chopped a licorice log for the stepping logs, a few tufts of green for the Mondo grass and the cake was done.
All in all I think it came up pretty good and from what I understand they were all pretty happy with it. It wasn’t an exact replica but I think I got kinda close.
Not real sure whats on the cake horizon for the next couple of weeks but I do have a graduation cake coming up so keep an eye out for that one. I have a few things I want to try for that one to make it a little special which should be fun. I also have some non-cake bakes I want to try so we’ll see how we go they may even turn up here.
Thanks for Readin’