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Too Nice To Slice, #004 -- A+ Back To School Cakes
August 07, 2008

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Get inspired, be desired. I'll find you all the best cake ideas to keep you ahead of the pack and give you the info you need to 'do it yourself'.

August 6th, 2008
Issue #004

It feels, to me, like summer gets shorter every year. I always think I'll get so much done when the kids are on vacation. Who am I kidding? What with play dates, sleep overs, pool parties and summer programs it's all bit of a blur really.

Here we are again with just a few short weeks until school's back. Since this will be the first school year in our house with a 1st grader I'm feeling the need to celebrate - and that, of course, means cake! There's lots of cool 'back to school' cake ideas for you this month.

need great back to school cake ideas?

So summer vacation's over and the kids aren't thrilled about going back to school. Make one of these cool cakes for their first day back and they'll be happy to get back to it...well, happier anyway :-)

it's all about the crayons

it's all about the crayons

For the little kids, school is all about the coloring fun. Celebrate that in a bright, fun crayon inspired cake.

How to get the look:

Think giant crayon box here.

  • Trim a sheet cake to shape and add a half thickness piece to one end of the box to act as the box flap.
  • Frost with golden yellow buttercream and add details to the box with green buttercream. Use a real box of crayons as your guide.
  • Paint some small waffle ice-cream cones with different colors of melted Candy Melts for the crayon tops and attach to the box with frosting
  • make a cake board covered in lined notebook paper and clear contact paper with some letter and number combinations written on it (e.g. 'abc' '2x2=4' etc) for a great way to present your 'crayon box' cake.

the write way

school pencil

A pencil cake is great for beginning readers and writers.

How to get the look:

This is a simple stack and shape cake. Super cute and super easy.

  • stick some semi-circles of cake made from 6" round cakes together with frosting to form a long half cylinder and trim one end to a point for the tip of the pencil.
  • frost the pointed end in white, the middle in yellow and the bottom in pink.
  • Add a chocolate frosting 'tip' to the top of the pencil and a zig-zag band between the pink 'eraser' and yellow 'body'.
  • Use the same presentation as for the crayon box cake and you're done!

the wheels on the bus...

school bus

All the kids love this classic 'back to school' favorite!

  • Trim a loaf cake to get your basic bus shape.
  • Frost in yellow buttercream
  • Add the doors, windows and trim in black frosting.
  • Decorate the cakeboard to look like a road, add some mini-donut wheels and you're on the road to success.

a new spin on a current trend

designer backpack

This is one for the middle/high school girls. Instead of the super popular 'handbag' cake, why not a designer 'backpack' or 'pencil case' cake.

designer pencil case
  • Stack two loaf cakes and trim to get your basic backpack or pencil case shape.
  • Frost in pink and add the details in green and black (or whatever colors you choose).
  • Add straps to the backpack or trim to the pencil case made from fruit leather.
  • For an extra special presentation, stack some old books together to use as a cake board and cover the top one in clear contact paper.

Your Questions Answered!

Q: Hi Michelle,

I recently have been experimenting with ganache, and I find that whenever I make it, it stays a liquid and doesn't firm up at all which would make it difficult to use as a frosting or filling. What could I be doing wrong? I used your recipe yesterday and ended up with the same problem. I had to thicken it using cocoa powder to avoid throwing it's now not a ganache...bummer. Any suggestions would be much appreciated! Don't know if it matters, but I used Godiva chocolate yesterday. Thanks and I look forward to hearing back from you! Stacy

A:Hi Stacey,

Once in a while my ganache won't set up for some reason and the easiest fix is to add more chocolate. Just throw in another 1/2 cup choc chips or 2-3 ounces of chopped chocolate or even cocoa powder. So actually, you did the right thing and it's still considered ganache with cocoa powder added. If this happens to you regularly try this tip:

use a ratio of 2:1 for the recipe. That's 2 parts chocolate to one part liquid - so 16 ounces chopped chocolate to 8 ounces cream. That will give you a firmer ganache to work with. Also, if you have the time, try not refrigerating the ganache. Let it set at room temperature. This will take much longer but is often more successful.

I hope this has helped. Let me know if I can be of any further assistance. Thanks for taking the time to write. I love to hear from my visitors.



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