Christening Cake for Baby Lucy

No doubt that I needed to make something LOVELY for Little Miss Lucy's special day. The seeds were planted when Vale gave me the 10th Anniversary of O, The Oprah Magazine -- which featured one of the best magazine articles I've come across in a magazine in a long time.  The article "Life is Sweet" was basically a breath-taking photo spread  of 10 AMAZING cakes made by 10 idol-worthy bakers and even included the original, detailed recipes.

Vale and I both fell in love with the look of the one made Gina DePalma, pastry chef at NYC's restaurant Babbo*.

Photo by: Sang An

I fell in love with the recipe for the rich, intricate Lemon Cake made by Elisabeth Prueitt, the --almost ironically-- free-form pastry chef and co-owner of Tartine.

Photo by: Sang An (Who, BTW, cooks up some seriously inspirational food photography.  If that's what you're into.  And let's be honest -- I am.)

Ok, I just realized it might be a mistake to put up the original professional confectioneries in their best light up here before even showing mine.  C'est la vie.

For Lucy's Christening Cake, I decided I would replicate the whimsical, simple style of the cherry blossom cake.  But it would cloak the lemon cake, where underneath the flowery covers, the caramel and creamy lemon and a hint of grapefruit were ready to jump out of the cake like three of Hugh Heffner's girlfriends on his birthday.

I also was really excited when I saw the kitchen notes that the recipe called for... 18 lemonsssss!!    Now read that again, but use your best Oprah intro voice, and then maybe you'll realize why I had to make this recipe.  Just so I could pull that out every once and while while I was baking.   Although, my Oprah voice probably sounds more like Liz LEMON'SSSSS.

Breakdown of Lucy's 3-Tier Cake, from the Top down:

  • Cherry Blossom Flowers - Gum Paste dyed a few shades of pink, and as always called on some help from Cole for the color department.  For the bigger flowers, I used Ateco's Daisy and Round Cutters and the back of a pastry tip.  For the smaller flowers, I used the apple blossom cutters from Wilton's Gum Paste Flower Making Kit (thanks to a care package from my mom!) and a straw.

  • Covering all Tiers, a Marshmallow Fondant, and strips of fondant imprinted a diamond pattern for the trimming.
  • Cake for Tiers 1 & 2 - Lemon Cake with 3-layers instead of 4.
  • Cake for Tier 3 - Three Layered Chiffon Cake (a light, fluffy cake recipe from BakeWise, sans orange) with Fresh Raspberry Whipped Cream with a coating of tempered White Chocolate in the middle.  This frosting was an experiment and while it looked like a hot mess, it was a surprising fan favorite.  I will improve on it in the future and post some step by steps.  But for now, I could not begin to remember what went in there.
  • Cake set upon my engagement present from Mark & Vale, a lovely cake stand and server!  :)

Now forget what you saw above and check out the finished product, and of course, the finishing off of the product.


*Tangent:  When I was working in Manhattan, I remember  one of the Partners that wanted me to make reservations at Babbo for the next day.  I think when I called the restaurant the first available reservation was like in 3 weeks.  I even looked up the restaurant in Zagat and read something like "....though you might break you fingers trying to get a reservation there".  I just remember being REALLY nervous about how to tell him the bad news.  Looking back, I wonder if he might have done that on purpose just to mess with the intern.  Heck, I would have.)