This weekend was our daughter's 3rd birthday! We had a great time celebrating, and I especially had fun making her special birthday cake. This year I asked her what she would like on her cake, and amid the dozen or so different ideas, she kept coming back to "animals".
I looked at a bunch of different animal cake ideas online, and while a bear or a monkey or a fish were all cute (and I'm sure she would have loved it), I wanted to do something a little more specific and personal. I found a video with instructions for a barn cake with farm animals on Betty Crocker, and the idea was born...Charlotte's Web!
We read Charlotte's Web aloud this past year and she really enjoyed the book. I made a special Wilbur cupcake for her. (I made the cake from scratch using this chocolate cake recipe from the Frugal Girl. And I bought canned icing...priorities!)
I made a number of changes to the instructions to make it fit our needs, specifically I omitted all of the coconut! Instead of coconut hay and grass, I just used colored sugar sprinkled on the barn. I also added a spiderweb to the open door of the barn, along with a secret message from Charlotte...can you see it?
The barn was simple; I made 4 cuts in the cake to create a slanted barn roof. Then frosted the whole thing and dragged my offset spatula from top to bottom to create a slat effect for the barn. The red frosting was a little tough to get right. I used a red gel in white icing and followed the tip in the video of adding a little cocoa powder to get a better red color. It was a little more of a faded red than I had hoped, but it still worked well. I used graham crackers for the roof and the barn doors, and pretzels for the doorframes.
For the pigs, I used pink M&Ms in the snout, chocolate chips for eyes, and rolled out fruit leather cut into triangles for the ears.
The sheep were supposed to be covered with mini-marshmallows that were cut in half. My cutting in half didn't work great so I opted to squish them flat instead. I also squished marshmallows into rectangles for the sheep ears instead of gumdrops.
The chicks were rolled in yellow sugar...I love the sleek and clean way they look! I used an orange Starburst candy for the beaks - flattened some with a rolling pin and then cut into little beak shapes. Chocolate chips for the eyes again here.
Check out last year's cake also...cupcake train!