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Cake decorating help please...

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I am in charge of birthday cakes in our group of friends, a task that I really enjoy. My dear girlfriend is throwing her first dinner party in honor of her husband's birthday, and she has requested a lemon-flavored birthday cake since that is his favorite. No problem - I will do my favorite white cake recipe (which I actually did for her birthday just last month, with different frosting), fill with lemon curd, and do a lemon cream cheese frosting that I love involving lemonade concentrate. Yum.


How do I make this look like a guy's birthday cake? Everything I can think of involves fruit, flowers, and pastel colors!

Or is there a better lemony birthday-ish cake idea out there that would be easier to make look like a boy?

Thanks in advance!

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Your idea sounds good to me. Why don't you color the frosting green and go for golf, fishing, football, or baseball themes. What does this guy like to do in his spare time?

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Lemon poundcake with confectioners sugar glaze makes a manly (boring) cake..............me, I never assume that the presence of flowers will make a man's testicles shrink. :laugh:

Chrysanthemums in yellow and white around the rim of the cake plate, and tall birthday candles on top?

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So make it a graphic design instead of flowers. Go with a checkerboard pattern or bold stripes...something innocuous that won't be seen as "foo-fooey", if that's your concern.

edited to clarify

Edited by Toliver (log)

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In addition to the ideas above here are a few more:

For simple designs you could do a package cake (made to look like a gift with bow and gift tag). You could also do a polka dot pattern and vary the size and color of the dots although if you are using a cream cheese icing the dots may want to slide.

If you have Colette's Cakes there is a really neat fish cake in her book which is actually fairly easy to do if you are comfortable working with fondant. And of course sports balls using any of the shaped pans.

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Another neutral but very effective Colette Peters design is this shell cake. But it's fondant too (me and my good pal Deborah above are fondant gals). I suppose it can be done with buttercream, but an airbrush would be needed to do the shading. You don't even need a shell pan. I carved it from a round pan.


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How about just decorating with fruit? Raspberries or blackberries would be nice, or even candied lemon slices or strawberries.

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Lots of great ideas already. Also a monogram is very masculine. I like to do scroll decor for a masculine cake. Not the random pattern scroll cakes popular now but a balanced scroll design - scroll borders & stuff. Wheat design border is very masculine. You could use a tan or light brown color maybe a subtle burnt orange worked in.

Also also also - turning leaves would be perfect for a November guys b-day.

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Bunch of great ideas here. So glad you started this thread.

Zig-zag in his favorite colors -- even guys have those. :wink:

Or a sunburst with yellow center flaring out through fall colors in the rays.

Thinking about the checker(chess?)board suggestion -- use fruits as game pieces.

OMG teepee that shell cake is too pretty to eat -- but I bet it was delicious. :smile:

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I have to second the fall theme ideas already mentioned. You can easily pipe fern leaves and maybe adorn it with marzipan acorns or even do real sugared leaves (there are some great colors outside right now).

Also think about shape - guys might prefer a square cake to round.

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I knew ya'll would come through with some great ideas! I wish I were comfortable with fondant, but I have never tried it before. Is it hard? I love the idea of a present cake...

I really like the checkerboard and fall theme ideas as well. I had another friend suggest white chocolate leaves... how would I make those? Can I buy the marzipan acorns already made?

He's an attorney, and his hobbies are movies and music. I feel most comfortable making cakes that look like cakes, and not shapes... I did a cowboy boot last year for this same family's son's birthday, and it about killed me. So anything I can do on top of 3 9" layers is what I'd prefer. Although I do have square pans as well, so I might consider that for something different - good suggestion amyd!

You all have got my wheels turning... any other ideas out there? Cakes for guys are hard!

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I really like the checkerboard and fall theme ideas as well.  I had another friend suggest white chocolate leaves... how would I make those?  Can I buy the marzipan acorns already made?

He's an attorney, and his hobbies are movies and music.  So anything I can do on top of 3 9" layers is what I'd prefer.  Although I do have square pans as well, so I might consider that for something different - good suggestion amyd!


Be careful with marzipan, not because it's a difficult medium, but because (IMHO) you can go from accent to too-much really quick. It's almond paste, essentially, so depending on your tastes, that may or may not go with the lemon you've selected.

Chocolate leaves are fairly easy to make (you might even find them premade in some stores). There are a variety of ways to do it. Depends on how much time you have available. You can cut them freehand or using a cookie cut from chocolate sheets or by painting them on super-clean leaves (lemon or non-poisonous).

Here's the painting method we frequently use....


- 8 oz of baking chocolate, chopped for melting

- 40 or so lemon leaves or alternative (non-poisonous ones, be careful).


- A double-broiler

- An instant read thermometer

- Painting brush

- Baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil


1. Wash the leaves, gently pat to dry. Drop them into bowl, cover, and chill in the freezer until ready to work with them.

2. Melt chocolate in top of double boiler over simmering water, stirring until smooth and instant-read thermometer inserted into chocolate registers 115°F.

3. Brush chocolate over veined side (underside) of 1 leaf, coating thickly and completely.

4. Arrange chocolate side up on prepared baking sheet.

Repeat with remaining leaves and chocolate, rewarming chocolate if necessary to maintain 115°F temperature.

5. Chill leaves until firm, about 45 minutes.

6. Starting at stem end, carefully pull back green leaf, releasing chocolate leaf;

7. Return leaves to same baking sheet.


These can be made 2 days ahead. Just keep them chilled and in dry place.

As an alternative... prep the chocolate as I mention above, but instead of painting on leaves, pour it out onto a flat, parchment lined pan and spread thin (1/8" maybe, tops). You should end up with a "sheet" of chocolate that's larger than the surface of your cake. Let this set (use a freezer if needed) until the surface is cloudy... From here, there are a lot of options. Cut the sheet freehand, stamp it with cookie cutter or similar device, use a cutting tool, etc. Whatever you choose, just run the device under hot tap water to warm it up, wipe it dry, and cut. Repeat as often as necessary as the tool should be melting as it cuts to keep a clean line.

If you were to use white chocolate, you can tint and paint the surfaces a variety of different ways (stencils are slick!). Since he likes music, paint music symbols. Football colors work too.

But for me, though, I am partial to decorative fruit topping on my white cakes and raspberries and blueberries go great with lemon.

Hope that helps, and best of luck to ya!


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I just did a package cake but I can't get the camera to download - anyhow - you could do that easy in buttercream .

Fondant is kina scary until you try it. I mean have you ever rolled out cookie dough or pie dough?? Same same. As inglorious as it sounds marshmallow fondant is super easy and will give you this package effect. Or or or you can purchase already made fondant. All you do is flavor it - color it if you want it colored - knead food color into it.

Y'know what would be pretty without a learning curve??? What about the package cake idea - but for the ribbon - pipe larger size leaves up & across the cake like it was kina 3-d ribbon - if you can stripe your bag of icing to get the turning colors on there y'know - or even solid color leaves - kina broad & straight like the ribbon??? Then put a blob of icing in the middle & cover it with leaves for the 'bow'

But but but I mean you can use a broad leaf tip to make the straight buttercream ribbon. Then you could use a real loopy ribbon bow if you wanted.

Chocolate leaves are easy - gather healthy leaves - wash & dry - brush with choco - stick in freezer on formers so they curve a little - not just flat - like 3-5 mins - peel off - I think there's more learning curve on choc leaves than fondant ribbons like for a package cake.

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