A few weeks ago, my friend Kim in Santa Cruz sent me an email saying that her good friend had moved into a home just down the street from me, and Kim was going to come for a visit to see the new home and her friend’s new daughter. She said that if I was going to be around, she would like to stop by and see me.
I suggested that I should bake a cake for her to give to her friend, and Kim said that would be nice. So, I set about deciding what the cake should be. I was looking through my Wilton School book “Decorating Cakes; A Reference & Idea Book” and they had a cake they called “Welcome Neighbors”. I stopped looking and decided that I could use their cake as a guide. I took a few liberties in implementing the cake, but overall, I think it came out well.
I am showing three pictures of the final results; the overview, the top of the cake, and the side of the cake.
Most of the decorations are made ahead of time using Royal Icing. That includes the bird house and birds, and the flowers. The vine, and its leaves are butter cream, as is the wording, and the borders on the top and bottom edges of the cake.
I started with 10 inch layers for the cake, but trimmed them a bit because as they cool in the pans, they pull in differently at the top of the layer versus the bottom; I wanted to start with vertical sides on the cake, and a flat top. I also had to trim the tops of the layers so they would be flatter. A few months ago, I got tired of using toothpicks and thread to split and trim my cake layers and bought a special tool for doing that. I am not happy with that slicing tool as the knife on it seems to be too loose and not give me the straight through cut that I bought it to make; the cut seems to rise as it goes across the cake layer.
I sliced the layers so that the final cake would be a tort, and filled one layer with apricot glaze, and the second layer with dark chocolate ganache. Between the layers, I used pastry creme. That makes the three fillings similar to the tastes found in napoleons, those scrumptious French pastries that were one of my original baking experiments some 45 years ago. I learned from Julia Child and even made my own puff pastry.