A Knitted Decorated Birthday Cake

This is my last post that highlights some of the details of the big family gathering for my mother-in-love’s 95th birthday party!

If you’ve been reading along you’ll know her family is pretty much in awe of this special lady. At 95 she is still very active and gets around and is tech savvy! She is on Facebook, writes emails and prints her own photos. She might even do Facetime with her great-grandchildren, it wouldn’t surprise me.

We celebrated her big day on her actual birthday which also happened to be on Thanksgiving day this year. Her entire family was present – 3 sons, 8 grand-children, 3 great-grandchildren, 1 brother and all the spouses and significant others that come along with the package, 27 total!

Jean has a love and talent for knitting. At her residence she founded a knitting group where the ladies donate their time and talent to Knots of Love, an organization that gives persons going through medical treatments knitted hats to wear so I knew I had to step my my creativity on her cake.

knitted decorated birthday cake

As luck would have it, I recently found a “knitting” mold by Marvelous Molds. This helped to inspire me to make a cake that looks like it was hand knitted.

For the bottom tier I repeated the mold pattern and also decorated it with knit buttons from the same mold line.

To give the cake a touch more elegance, I added gold powder mixed with vodka to a paint consistency and painted it on to the cable knit trim and knit buttons.

What really made this cake special for me is that my son who flew in from NJ for the party greatly helped me out when I hit a major creative snag. Originally, I made the top tier covered in the sprinkles I had decorated the mini pumpkins with, which I loved, but it looked terrible. There was such a disconnect with the understated elegance of the bottom tier against the bright colors of the top. As I scraped off all the sprinkles into the sink we both agreed the sink looked like a clown had thrown up. It was very funny at the time. Maybe you had to be there. 🙂 This knitted cake was a faux cake using cake dummies because no one in our family likes fondant and would eat it so my other son made 2 of his famous award winning chocolate cakes as requested by the birthday girl but unadorned. My guys are great in the kitchen. Well trained, if I say so myself. 🙂

Anyway, I was so disheartened that my original design did not work out aesthetically so we started over on the top tier design with a fondant base. This is where my son’s stellar math skills came into play designing and calculating the spiral spacing and angles. You’d be amazed how much exact planning went into this second tier to get all that perfect. I was also reminded why I don’t make cakes like this on my own anymore and why I have so much admiration for those who do. 

knitted birthday cake

For the topper, I was completely stumped. This was day 2 now. My son thought of a ball of yarn and knitting needles. Genius! We tried different ways to make the yarn ball. You wouldn’t think it would be that hard but it was. We tried covering a baseball, a styrofoam ball, and just making a big fondant ball (such a waste of material) and all my ideas. Finally he said let’s just try wrapping up the long strips of fondant that we made using a clay extruder and wind them up like a ball of yarn. Why didn’t I think of that? That was the solution and it worked perfectly!

For the knitting needles, we used kabob sticks that I had in a drawer and painted them with the same gold “paint” used on the cake. For the caps on the knitting needles, we used thumb tacks since this was not an edible cake.

knitted decorated cake

To top it off, I had found numbers that were sparklers. Had. To. Get.

knitted birthday cake

Another benefit to making a showy faux cake like this is that it can have many lives that a real cake can’t have, for instance, Jean wanted to show this cake off to her knitting group so we took it over to her place so she can bring it to one of their meetings. She plans on keeping it so when they have an exhibition of their work the cake can make an appearance for a conversation piece and little fun and whimsy.

But for my sons and me it was just a labor of love to show how much this wonderful person means to us.

Happy 95th birthday, “Jeana”… and many more! xoxo

95th birthday party jeanapalooza95

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