Well, it seems I’m on a dessert kick recently! Last week I wrote about healthy cold desserts and the week before we wrote about camping desserts! This week it’s cake decorating. I don’t actually make a lot of cakes, and in fact, I was going to buy one this time. Some college friends are getting together and we decided to have a surprise cake for our friend’s 40th birthday that’s coming up soon. I offered to bring one, but I didn’t get a chance to buy it before a tropical storm moved in. In light of the storm, I decided to see what I could make with the ingredients in our house.
I made a banana cake with cream cheese icing that I found on the web. As it was baking, I realized that I really wanted to write it on it “Happy 40th Birthday Melissa” as poking fun at her age was the whole point of having a cake! (She’s the youngest in our group by close to a year.) However, I just couldn’t bring myself to put artificial food coloring on the top of this cake that I had just made from scratch! I was thinking about how this cake has organic bananas, sugar, milk & eggs in it and white whole wheat flour and then I was going to squeeze artificial crap on top of it? That just didn’t make sense to me. However, I also wasn’t going out to the store (in a tropical storm) to get natural food dyes.
As I was icing the cake I had a flash of brilliance (it happens occasionally) Mini-chocolate chips! We could use mini-chips to spell out the words!
I had Jonathan carefully draw the words with a chopstick and then I filled them in with mini-chips. I have a few
tips for trying this at home:
- A chopstick is a good tool for tracing the words, the tip is the right size for mini chocolate chips to sit in and writes more like a pencil than a knife would.
- Block letters come out better than anything fancy – the chips provide the interesting look so script isn’t necessary.
- Mini-chips are a good size if you have a lot of letters.
- Don’t hold more than 4 or 5 chips in your hand as you place them, they start to melt quickly. I used a small bowl to hold them.
- Put them on the cake before the icing fully sets.
- Don’t be afraid to wipe excess icing off the chopstick so it doesn’t smear your words. And be sure to save it for later tastings when you are done.