My Cake Decorating Gallery

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

How To Make a Harley Themed Birthday Cake

Do you have any Harley-lovers in your family and you'd love to make them a Harley-themed celebration cake? Well I do too and I've taken some pictures of the Harley cake I created for my father-in-law's 70th surprise birthday party last summer, so hopefully this helps you also.

Despite several challenges - a broken oven, and The Husband being gone for 9 days on a fishing trip waaay up north, a 7 month old under foot, and a full time job - I was able to pull off a decent looking and decent-tasting cake, plus 30lbs of smoked pulled pork for dozens of people.

I only have one picture that I took prior to the cake being finished - but you can see that I practiced the design on a piece of cardboard and used that as a stencil to carve out the top layer of cake. Now the cake was shorter than I had planned due to my oven having been broken (and not having knowing it before putting the cakes in there while it said 350 degrees but was more like 225!), but it still tasted OK - just sorta shorter than I had planned.

It was super duper hot out in mid-July so I had planned on using a special temperature-resistant buttercream but I didn't like the way it tasted and ended up using my normal Wilton's decorating buttercream instead. I used half high-ratio shortening and half butter and it held up fine in the weather. Instead of using black, which is unappetizing, I used a chocolate ganache as the final topcoat to the top layer of the cake. The bottom layer was just left as white buttercream.

To create the chocolate plaque that was placed on top of the cake, I just stenciled out on some parchment paper the size of the Harley logo and then filled it in with melted chocolate chips. It hardened up nicely and I was able to trim the edges with a knife to give it a sharp look. I used tinted buttercream in orange and also white to pipe on the details on top of the plaque. Also the final cake got a border of flames as best as I could make them with buttercream - I researched a ton about how to make different kinds of flames but decided against the fondant borders that are pretty common. I used yellow, orange and red buttercream for the flames.

It was a great party, a lot of work was put into it and it was a fun surprise. I'm glad to have been a part of the festivities!

Coach Insignia for our 5th Anniversary

At the top of the Renaissance Center in Detroit is a first class restaurant - Coach Insignia. It does not revolve as a restaurant in this location may have in the past but it does reside on the 71st and 72nd floors in the Marriott tower. I had never been there before but we did have a Groupon (I like using coupons, I'm cheap like that) for a good deal at the Coach. Grandma was going to watch the little one and we headed downtown for an early dinner to celebrate our 5th Anniversary on a Saturday in early August last year. (Yeah... this post is a little out of date)

The Husband's cousin recommended one thing in particular - the lobster corn dogs. It may sound sorta strange but after having been big fans of lobster when we visited our friends in Maine, we could not pass up this appetizer.

We were seated in a comfy booth looking out across a few empty tables and a wall of windows overlooking some of Detroit's skyline and the Detroit River. Soon enough, two skewers of juicy meaty lobster that had been doused in a light and airy batter and deep fried until crisp arrived on a long rectangular plate, along with some sweet mustard drizzles and napa cabbage slaw.

They were to die for and we each got one skewer and not a bit of the lobster, slaw or mustard sauce were left behind. I believe these Maine Lobster Corn Dogs are typically on the menu and though pricey, it's worth it - try them yourself!!

I don't remember getting any other precursors to the meal, no soup or salad, guess I was trying to make up for the fact that we got the corn dogs and a glass of wine! I do remember that I ordered the filet with caramelized onions on top with Detroit's finest zip sauce as an accompaniment. We also ordered some horseradish whipped potatoes and hollandaise-doused asparagus for sides. It was delicious!

For dessert, I can't really remember but it sure looks beautiful - looks like some kind of ice cream in a waffle cup with a lovely orchid on top (see top photo) - yum! Anyway, our visit to the Coach was a nice trip to downtown Detroit and I highly recommend it. An early dinner seating on a Saturday was very pleasant.

Coach Insignia
71st & 72nd Floor
GM Global Renaissance Center
Detroit, MI 48243
Ph. (313) 567-2622