Friday, July 15, 2011

Stained Glass First Communion Cake

My neice, who is also my Goddaughter had her first communion earlier this spring.  My sister had a small family party to celebrate the special event and of course, I wanted to make a cake.  I thought about doing a traditional cross or bible cake, but felt that was cliche.  Also, I wanted something that would be more specific and unique to her.  Her father is a proud Papa, and he loves the artwork his two girls create.  He sent along a photo of something Erin, my goddaughter, had created as part of the first communion activities.  It was a felt artwork to represent her first communion.  She, with her mother's help, created a cross with "stained glass" behind it.  It was very unique and colorful compared to many of the other kids creations.  Can you tell I'm biased?

This is the photo of her artwork.

I decided to try to recreate this artwork in cake.  I made a two layer 13x9" vanilla cake with strawberry filling.  I covered it in a vanilla buttercream.  I used an unflavored Knox gelatin and used white grape juice to flavor it.  I split the gelatin into four 8x8" pans and colored each a different color.  I made a pattern of triangles for the glass and used a pizza cutter to cut the gelatin while it was still in the pan.  Then I tried to peel it out of the pan.  The first color came out great.  Nice and easy, giving me a false sense that this was going to be really easy.  To make a long ordeal short in print, the rest of the colors didn't come out of the pan that easily and it ended up looking more like broken stained glass.  I just piped a thin line of buttercream in-between the breaks and it actually looked fairly good.  Or at least not awful, which is what I strive for.

My family is Irish (among other things) and my sister is into Celtic crosses.  So I found a cross and tried to reproduce it in chocolate by piping it ontop of the pattern covered in waxed paper.  It didn't look as good as I wasn't flat and smooth, until I turned it over.

All in all I'm fairly pleased with how it looked.  But of course something always goes wrong.  I finished the cake the night before the party...Late.  I had to be up early because I had agreed to french braid Erin's hair.  After the communion service I went back to my house to pick up the cake and my family to bring them to the party.  I get the cake out of the fridge and open the cardboard box...There are puddles of liquid sitting at the base of the cake.  I think something in the buttercream frosting was reacting with the gelatin and making the gelatin weep.  I freaked out a little...Then just sopped up the liquid, took this photo and closed the box.  It was fine.  It tasted good and everyone liked it.  My niece thought it looked cool and that's what mattered.

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