Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Birthday Cake Expectations

When I asked my son how he wanted his birthday cake decorated, he said, "I want a cake with puppies and kittens having a picnic at the beach...and I want a shark chasing a puppy in the ocean."


I wanted the ocean water to look special and after hunting around online, I came up with the idea of using piping gel...but it was a little expensive and I didn't know if it would be delivered in time for my son's birthday. So, then I had the bright idea of looking to see if I could find a recipe for homemade piping gel online. No surprise, I was able to find one! Thank you World Wide Web and thanks to the wonderful blog that posted such a useful recipe! You really have to check out this blog. It has so many amazing ideas! It's called Craftsy.com.

Piping Gel


1/4 cup cold water
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 tsp. clear flavor extract (optional)
Gel food coloring (optional)


Combine the cold water and cornstarch in a heat-proof container. Whisk until no cornstarch lumps remain. Whisk in the corn syrup until combined.

Microwave for 2-3 minutes on high, stopping ever minute or so to stir. The mixture will bubble up and boil before thickening to the consistency of hair gel. Watch carefully, to avoid boiling over. If it looks like it is about to boil over, remove it from the microwave, stir it, and put it back in the microwave until it has reached the right consistency.

Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature before adding flavoring or color.

If the piping gel becomes too thick, add a tiny amount of water until you achieve your desired consistency. Store piping gel refrigerated in an airtight container for up to three months.

Source: Craftsy.com. You can find the original post here. Be sure to check out this link (and to explore their site). There are amazing cakes to look at as well as some great ideas for how you can use piping gel.

Notes: The piping gel worked great! It didn't taste that amazing by itself, but when paired with the layer of blue frosting I had on the cake underneath it, it was a delicious combination. It helped me get my ocean water just how I wanted to look.

On the other hand, my son clarified that he wanted the shark to actually be eating the swimming puppy, not just chasing it. :) You can't win 'em all, I guess. However, everyone loved the cake and gobbled it up pretty quickly.

Above: We used cut up Fruit by the Foot to make beach towels for the puppies and kittens. I crushed some vanilla wafers in my food processor and sprinkled it on top of the frosting to make sand.

Above: I ordered the toy puppies and kittens from Amazon. We had the palm trees from a play pirate set that the boys already had. I ran them through the dishwasher before using them on the cake. 

Above: The sharks are closing in on that poor puppy. 

Above: If you're like me, you will imagine that the puppy made it to land before being devoured. If you're like my son, the puppy didn't make it. :) I love how kids' minds work...especially my sweet little boy's mind.

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