December 2, 2016

Irish Dancer Cookies and Surprise Cake

Little Miss Giggleberry turned 9 (yes NINE!!) on Tuesday. Birthdays are always fun and we make a big deal out of them in the Giggleberry household. There is always lots of anticipation and excitement leading up to the day. This year Little Miss Giggleberry didn't have a party so there was no real 'theme' to her birthday. I had her permission to choose what style cake and goodies I would make to share with her schoolmates.
I little ponder a few weeks back and I realised her birthday actually fell on a dance practice day as well as a few of her gifts were Irish dance themed so an Irish Dance theme was picked and I straight away ordered a cookie cutter from Irish Dance Diva that is the shape of a solo dress ready for a baking marathon.

I started with the cookies (mainly because these can be made way ahead of time and frozen). I made 67 cookies!!! As half were to go to school and half were to be shared with Little Miss Giggleberry's dance buddies.
Once the cookies were cut, baked and cooled. I packaged them up and froze them for 24 hrs. It makes decorating them allot easier as they aren't so delicate. Working with 5-10 at a time I rolled out fondant, in the three colours requested by the birthday girl, and attached it to the cookies with a little sugar water. I then had lots of fun imprinting patterns and cachous onto the little dresses for some fun detail. This was my first time playing with fondant on cookies but I was pleased with the result and will absolutely be using it again.

Little Miss Giggleberry was thrilled to take these to school and dancing class to share with all her special friends.

Then onto the cake! I kept this a surprise, for a few reasons. 1) Surprises are fun. 2) The inside of the cake being a surprise would be ruined if she knew before hand and 3) If I completely stuffed it up she would never know any different!
With a basic butter cake mixture all prepared and divided into three. I used the three colours the birthday girl had chosen for her cookies and coloured it. Then one heaped spoonful at a time I scooped it into the prepared loaf tin and baked it as per usual.

Once it was baked and 100% cooled I sliced it up like a loaf of bread then froze the pieces in a sealed container overnight.

The next day I prepared another butter cake mix then set it aside for a moment while I prepare the already sliced cake. While the slices are still frozen cut out the shape (you can honestly use whatever cookie cutter shape you want - think Christmas tree for the festive season, pumpkin for Halloween, blue or pink star or heart for baby gender reveal. the possibilities are endless) from each slice and discard the off cuts. The below photo is of the 'dress slices' all stacked up on each other.

Alrighty, now grab the greased and floured cake tin and scoop in about 1/3 of the butter cake mixture and smooth out. Then one by one place the cut out shapes into the mixture so they are standing up in a row touching one another.

Gently cover the shapes with the rest of the butter cake mixture and tap the tin lightly to try to remove any air bubbles. Bake the cake as usual in the oven.
Now the trickiest thing about this cake, especially when this was the first one I had attempted, is that you kinda have no idea if it has worked until the cake is sliced! So I crossed my fingers and just kept on.
Once completely cooled I iced the cake with some white icing and a heavy sprinkling of cachous. Added some candles and crossed my fingers it had worked.

After our family dinner we sang Happy Birthday, Little Miss Giggleberry blew out the candles and I handed her the knife to slice away.....

I was so glad and the GASP that came from the birthday girl herself when she saw the dress inside the cake was worth all the extra fuss!!