If you read my recent post ‘Return of the Blogger’, you would know that towards the end of last year I joined a gym called Max’s Best Bootcamp. Each month they hold a membership appreciation party called First Friday with clean eats, fun games, a bit of craziness and a bit of party punch too! Back in January I learned that the following month was Max’s (the owner’s) birthday and we’d be celebrating it at the February First Friday. I’m not even sure how we got on the subject of cakes, but I said I’d make the cake because obviously I have a thing for cake making. I sort of remember getting all excited and almost screaming at Max: “I’m going to make you a kettlebell cake!” (That was probably the party punch altering the volume of my voice). I’m not sure he realized what I was thinking or even that I was serious about making a cake, but my hamster wheel brain started turning and I was doing this. I was so ready for another creative challenge.
As I got to thinking, I remembered I had a ‘ball’ cake pan made by Wilton from Myla’s 1st birthday that would be the perfect start to a three dimensional kettlebell cake. I just wasn’t sure how I was going to do the rest. But… once something gets stuck in my head, I’m always determined to figure out a way to make it work… so off I went.
I experimented with my favorite cake recipe which I know holds its shape well. I discovered that regardless of how perfect I was able to make those two half spheres, that I was going to need an extra layer between the two halves. Once the cake was baked and placed in the freezer (an awesome trick to sealing in moisture and it makes it easier to frost when it comes out) the cake compacted down a bit. By making an extra 6 inch round cake, about an inch high, that I placed between the two half spheres, I got the perfect sphere shape. I also made another 6 inch cake for the kettlebell cake to sit on - which would soon be covered in green buttercream ‘turf’.
Then for the toughest part to figure out… I wasn’t exactly sure how to make the handle. Using fondant alone wasn’t going to work - I would have had to let it dry for several days to harden up enough so it wouldn’t collapse and I felt that was taking too big of a risk. So, I took a trip to Home Depot and found some really thin pvc piping. I wrapped some fondant around the straight pieces (after thoroughly washing and scrubbing it of course) so it evened out with the elbow joints. I gave that a day to dry and stiffen up. Since no one was going to be eating that part anyways, it didn’t matter that the fondant would get a bit hard. Then I covered the entire handle with the gray colored fondant and let that dry out a bit too before assembling the rest of the cake.
I began by covering the round cake in a crumb coating of buttercream and placed it in the fridge for about 30 minutes to stiffen up. Then I smoothed the rolled out fondant around it. I’m so glad I did a practice cake, because I learned quite a bit about how to get the fondant to fit over a sphere cake without it folding or falling apart. My test cake had some issues near the bottom as you can see. Definitely tougher than it looks - I’m pretty sure I held my breathe the entire time and demanded complete silence in the house. (And maybe even threw the kids out of the kitchen despite Myla asking to help - next time sweetie). Then, I created the lower portions of the handle completely out of fondant. I had to rework them slightly into the proper shape after adding the fondant-covered pvc handle to them. Once it was all set, I placed it onto the fondant covered ball cake.
As a side note... Max told me his favorite kettlebell was the red one - after I insisted to know so I would know what color to make the cake. So red it was. And although I believe the red kettlebells at bootcamp are of some other brand, I chose to imitate the CFF FIT logo as I thought I had come up with the most brilliant way to write Happy Birthday… "HBD MAX"… and instead of the normal (32 kg) numerals that should have been on there… I had to make it 38 for his age. At that very moment, I felt like a creative genius. Ha! As a side note, I was able to make the white logo pieces a few days ahead of time and store them in a sealed container until they were ready to use - made for less stress on the day of putting the cake together.
It was so awesome to see this cake come together - I absolutely love when an idea that pops into my head, can actually be made with my own two hands. However, I wasn’t completely thinking straight when I decided I was making this cake (darn that party punch)... because I was left trying to figure out how in the world was I going to transport this VERY top heavy cake in the car. It also happened to have JUST snowed that evening, so the super hilly and curvy roads I needed to take to get there were also slippery. It was an adventure getting there and again, I might not have breathed the entire way there... ever so cautiously stepping on the gas and brake pedals. Luckily, I did happen to find a tall box to transport it in and after the drive, the cake only had tipped to the side a little bit - I never did claim to be a professional cake maker, so it’s OK. I’m just thankful it arrived in one piece.
In addition to the cake, I decided to make some cupcakes too - Because seriously, what else would this OCD, over-thinker do? (I DID forget to take some pictures though - doh!.) I felt so bad that I was going to be bringing a “super carb-filled, bad for you, refined sugar, white flour” cake to a “clean eats party” that I wanted to make some “cleaner” cupcakes too - paleo ones without gluten, refined sugar, or dairy. It was fun to experiment with those recipes too as I did find some healthy alternatives that Myla liked and which are definitely better for her sensitive belly. Not to mention - they are super delish and I feel better about myself indulging in them… Currently I’m thinking about the almond flour, vanilla cupcakes with dark chocolate frosting. Mmmmm.