Asking The Impossible?

Decorating By BekaLynn Updated 20 Apr 2012 , 3:03am by vonnie222

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BekaLynn Posted 16 Apr 2012 , 7:17pm
post #1 of 14

Hi all, got a question I hope someone can help me with. I have to make a cake for a family birthday party in a few months and I need some ideas. Ordinarily I would just browse through all of your wonderful pictures and come up with ideas on my own but this time is a little different. Here's the thing, my extended family has rented a house on the beach for a week and they want to celebrate everyones birthday one night on vacation. Getting the whole family together is a rare occasion so we want to celebrate birthdays while we can be together. Now, I am more than happy to make cake for my family when they ask, but honestly they don't really understand how much time it can take. I am going to be traveling out of state, by car, and there will be limited room as far as luggage goes. I'm not going to be able to lug all of my usual cake making/decorating equipment with me, nor do I want to spend several days of my vacation trapped in a kitchen while we are on a beach. (call me crazy) I still want to make something, not to mention I've already committed to it, but I don't know what to do. It needs to be simple, but I don't want it to be boring. (a lot to ask I know) Any ideas or advice would be awesome! Keep in mind that the cake will have to be for about 12 people, guys and girls, something fun and simple, less time spent in the kitchen the better, and I won't have my usual supplies. I may be asking for the impossible, but, help!

Thanks in advance, Rebekah

13 replies
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jgifford Posted 16 Apr 2012 , 7:37pm
post #2 of 14

Personally, I would do this:

As close as time to leave as possible, make a 1/2 sheet or 2-3 tier (as big or as small as you need) and decorate it in the beach theme (what else?). Box that little darling up and freeze it as frozen as it can get. Put it in the freezer immediately upon arrival. First night everyone's there is when we'd be celebrating.

My advice is always to do as much ahead of time as possible. Cuts down on the stress and allows you to have a vacation, too. Good Luck!

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yums Posted 16 Apr 2012 , 7:43pm
post #3 of 14

If you really feel like you need to do the cake......I would buy iced cakes from the store. You can take a pastry bag and make up some decorations and take along. Why not do a little beach theme? Most stores sell icing, or you could make and take. I wouldn't ruin my vacation putting together a huge cake.

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mom2twogrlz Posted 16 Apr 2012 , 8:04pm
post #4 of 14

For 12 people you would only need a 8 or 10 inch round. Bake at home before you leave, torte, level and freeze it. Make your frosting and filling at home too. Then transport everything separate to the vacation and assemble on site. That way you don't have to worry about your beautifully decorated cake being ruined on the way. Decorate the first day there and celebrate that night. That way you get it out of the way and you can enjoy the rest of your vacation with the family, instead of watching them have all the fun while you stress over their cake. Keep the decorations simple and make any gumpaste details before you leave too. A beach scene would be super easy. Some cream colored buttercream, graham cracker crumbs for sand, and a pre made adirondack chair or two an a sign.....Happy Birthday to the ______ Family. Done. Good luck and keep it simple.

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BekaLynn Posted 17 Apr 2012 , 9:20pm
post #5 of 14

Thanks for the quick replies, not sure though that a pre-baked cake will last 14 hours in a hot, packed trunk. I may have to bake it there. I will keep in mind the beach theme though, thats a good idea. Any thoughts on how to achieve a 'traditional birthday cake' look with a twist? (just something going through my head) Keep the ideas coming thumbs_up.gif and thanks again!

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Apti Posted 17 Apr 2012 , 9:55pm
post #6 of 14

It will keep if you pack it in a styrofoam cooler and surround it with dry ice. I've put meat packed like that in my car and driven 1600 miles and it was still frozen hard as a rock. (The family had butchered on the farm and wished to share the bounty. That's why I packed meat.) You can take a frozen cake and frozen buttercream with you.

Look at the post from BlakesCakes on how to wrap a fondant cake for freezing on this thread:

"Freezing a wedding cake 2 week in advance?"

You can bake/fill/frost (or cover with fondant) at home. Make your fondant or gum paste decorations now and carry them in a separate, NON-airtight box. Once you get to your vacation destination, follow BlakesCakes directions on defrosting the cake, pull out your defrosted buttercream (if needed), and stick on your decorations.

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BekaLynn Posted 18 Apr 2012 , 2:08am
post #7 of 14

My biggest concern now is space. There will be three or four people's luggage crammed into our car's trunk as it is, kind of hard to pack a cooler on top of that. I would attempt it if I was traveling alone but that is not the case.

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denetteb Posted 18 Apr 2012 , 4:30am
post #8 of 14

Just buy a cake and enjoy your vacation. Frankly, all your efforts and plans and time to make this special cake really won't be appreciated enough to justify all the hassles. A grocery store cake will be devoured just as well and will still allow you to celebrate your together-ness. And if you are stressed and spending lots of your time in the kitchen, you will miss out on the more important time with the family there.

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Apti Posted 18 Apr 2012 , 6:15am
post #9 of 14
Originally Posted by denetteb

Just buy a cake and enjoy your vacation. Frankly, all your efforts and plans and time to make this special cake really won't be appreciated enough to justify all the hassles. A grocery store cake will be devoured just as well and will still allow you to celebrate your together-ness. And if you are stressed and spending lots of your time in the kitchen, you will miss out on the more important time with the family there.


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AnnieCahill Posted 18 Apr 2012 , 12:34pm
post #10 of 14

I agree with the previous posters. Buy the damn cake! Enjoy your vacation!

But, if you REALLY want to make it, here's my suggestion. If you bake from scratch, prepare your "mix" as much as possible, store it in a zip-loc, and then buy the dairy and eggs when you get to the beach. Bring your pans and if where you're staying doesn't have a hand mixer then just use a whisk (for this reason, I would choose a recipe that doesn't involve whipping the whites separately).

Honestly, I would just do one of those cakes where you only need one tip to decorate, such as a rosette cake (1M), ruffle cake (104) or the "smeared dot" cakes LOL (where you pipe a vertical line of large dots, smear one side with a spatula, then repeat until you cover the whole cake). That way, you bring one giant icing bag and only one tip. No need for all that other stuff. Or, if you wanted a "beachy" theme, ice it smooth and make some white chocolate seashells up ahead of time, dust them with pearl or luster dust, and use them to decorate the cake with some crushed graham crackers for sand. Easy.

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BlueRose8302 Posted 18 Apr 2012 , 12:46pm
post #11 of 14

I say, at some point--the rest of the family is gonna have to make some room for you to bring this cake. Someone else may have to take some of that luggage down if they want this special birthday cake that you are taking the time to make.

I would bring it frozen just like everyone said if I could. If not--baking doesn't take ALL that long, but it would be a downer with the sea calling to you.

I would make some white chocolate shells for that beach scene!

What kind of twist did you have in mind?

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DragonFly2333 Posted 19 Apr 2012 , 5:24am
post #12 of 14

ok...when I read the OP I thought she was looking for decorating ideas. I know the trend is over, but the M&M's cake w/kit-kats is cute and I personally always wanted to make mini ones with my nieces and nephews. Wouldn't it be fun if you all decorated your own cake; if there are kids, they would love it. Really easy and you could wait for a rainy day to make them.

Also the spaghetti cake/cupcakes...although that trend has passed too, that cake still gets alot of talk in our family and you can make that cake fairly easy.

Honestly, if your family love your cake, I bet a few of them would totally pitch in and help. Find an idea for few hands. The book Hello Cupcake has really cute ideas, some of them are super easy, but most of them are pretty time consuming.

Good Luck and let us know what you decide on.

edit to add: You Angry bird cake is AMAZING....must of totally fell thru the crack in regards to being tagged as favorites. I see your oreo cupcakes.....something cute and fun it exactly what I am suggesting in my post.

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BekaLynn Posted 20 Apr 2012 , 2:18am
post #13 of 14

Thank you everybody for all of the great ideas and advice. I at least have somewhere to start from now! icon_smile.gif I would be so lost without this site.

Thank you DragonFly2333 for your lovely compliments, it means a lot! icon_smile.gif

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vonnie222 Posted 20 Apr 2012 , 3:03am
post #14 of 14

Call the owner of the place you'll be staying at and ask what the kitchen is equipped with. Ask them or go online to find where the closest grocery store's are that have a bakery. Call them up and ask if they will sell you an unfrosted cake. Many bakeries will. If they will, pack a couple of bags, some tips, and any other beachy themed deco items. You can buy flip flops, sea creatures like dolphins, fish, crabs, male and female dolls in bathing suits, etc. You can use raw sugar for sand, any leftovers can sweeten your coffee or tea. A tub of frosting will fit in the same cooler as your drinks and snacks.

If the rental doesn't have a mixer, ask another relative to bring one or stop at the closest wally world to the rental and buy the cheapest one you can find. Leave it there or donate it when you leave. It may not be a cake you baked, but you will be the one decorating it. A little blue frosting for water, sugar for sand, a few fishies on it, a few palm trees, a pair of flip flops. Quick and easy.

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