32 years of imagining, and then converting into one of my hobbies... I hope you'll enjoy it... (^.^)/ , by Marina

April 18, 2012

Aikido Birthday Cake

A big week is ahead of me. My Aikido dojo is celebrating 13 years this Saturday, and I'm making a birthday cake for over 40 people.
It wouldn't be me if I didn't make a challenge out of this one as well :D.

Take a look, this is my plan :) And how it's currently working out ;) And of course, let me know what you think about it

(^.^) /

19.04.2012.  Day two over...check the progress...
                     Today - tonight, it's baking time!
20.04.2012.  Big night over :) 3 cakes are almost ready for decoration...
                     Check my comments further on :) Guess how long I slept tonight? :D
21.04.2012. DONE!!!! WUUUHUUUUU :)))) My lovely assistant and I were awake till 4 a.m.
                     but in the end we managed to finish it and fit in the fridge (^.^)/.
                     And it doesn't look so bad :D There's always room for improvement thou ;)
                    In the end not all the "Happy 13. birthday" fit, the letters were too big and
                    the cake too small for it all. Thus we have now only:
                    "Juusan Otanjoubi" - "13. Birthday"
21.04.2012. The Cake was a big success :) Everybody loved it, ate it and took some as doggy
                    bag :D
                    Sensei was pretty happy :) Senpai proud :) Me finally sleeping :D 

More details and pictures ready to view :)

Meant as a three tier cake, I'll be trying to achieve the most complicated design I tried out so far. Wish me luck!! :)

As for the inside:
- The First tier should be made of: crumbled cookies, mascarpone cream, cheery cream and cherry spread
- The Second tier is a delicious almond and hazelnut cake with 3 different creams. I dare to say it's the best layer :)
- The Third tier is a coconut cake with vanilla and coffee cream

All the decorations will be hand made, either from icing (just the white of cranes probably, it's too sweet otherwise), marzipan (homemade, the bought one is too expensive ;) ) and chocolate. Of course all tasteful and naturally dyed, since I'm not a big fan of sugar and artificial colors :).
Now I just have to resist the temptation to use the leftover wax green leaves I have at home, which are non edible of course. I don't like non edible or not tasty additions on my cakes :).

Notice there are cranes, sakuras, writings, symbols and aikido stances/techniques involved... I really hope it will look as I'm imagining it to look like....

Here's the link to the album. And further below you will find the log as it's happening :)



19.04.2012. Red fingers alert :)
As soon as my own marzipan was ready I started molding it into sakuras and petals.
Managed to make over 30 pieces as well as an Aikidoka before I had to leave for keiko (training). I'm still not sure if I will be using the guy or not, it was in impulse of inspiration and I said to myself - oh why not? :D

They were almost dried when I returned home, it would have been better if I let them rest overnight before coloring, but too late now...
Took out my baking sheets and started the meticulous chocolate decorations. I really hope it will work out...

It was over 1 a.m. when I finished them, and about time to start coloring the flowers.
Unfortunately my wish to stick to a naturally dyed sakura remained a wish. The white chocolate with red root juice wasn't what I was looking for, so instead of pink flowers there are now crimson red sakuras. Still not good enough, so added there just a sprinkle of chocolate to make them look more realistic. Thinking of adding some white spots as well...what do you think?

20.04.2012. Impressions after a long night...

Uf.... what a night :) I was up till 4am baking, mixing, spreading and breaking eggs :D. Somehow I wasn't tired at all, it was in fact a pleasure and almost a refreshment :).
With a steady heart and calm spirit almost everything went smooth. I just got a bit too hasty and managed to break the top pastry of the first tier. But noth serious, it's all nice and firm, so no problem there ;).

First Cake
It's a bomb! :) Fruity and creamy, pink and white, njum njum njum should be just the right amount of sugars and fats a bunch of martial artists need after 3 hours of intensive training.
In layers, bottom to top, looks like this:
- Biscuit and egg pastry
- Mascarpone, milk and yogurt cream
- A layer of biscuits previously soaked in milk
- Wild Cherry Spread, a bit sour in taste
- Sprinkled with Maraskino (Croatian liqueur made from cherries, similar to Cherry Brandy)
- Sprinkled with crumbled digestive cookies (Mc Vitties)
- Cherries
- Masrcarpone, milk, yogurt and cherry juice cream (pink cream)
- Biscuit and egg pastry
It's nice and firm. It should be able to withstand the other two cakes :). It's not as high as I'd like it to be thou... Hmmmm...

Second Cake
Now this one should be a star! I just tasted the creams and mmmmmm..... cannot be bad! I was sorry it wasn't as big as the first layer!
The pastry is very simple: egg whites with sugar, one spoon of flour and even amount of ground almonds and hazelnuts, both previously baked for about 10'.
The creams used are essentially two, plus a third one as a mix of the the previous two :)
- Almond Choko Cream: ground baked almonds, dark muscovado sugar, dark fine chocolate, egg yolks cooked on steam, butter
- Hazelnut Vanilla Cream: ground baked hazelnuts, light muscovado sugar, vanilla cream (egg yolks, milk, vanilla pudding powder and vanilla essence)
- Mix Cream: even amounts of previous creams plus few scoops of the base milk cream (milk, corn starch, jelly, a bit of sugar, vanilla beam)

Third Cake
Now this one is a question... not sure I will be able to use it. Maybe the cream is too soft, and the pastry too elastic to be cut easily. Will check it when I come home. Fortunately I have left over cream, and I can make a new pastry in half an hour tops :)
The pastry is made of egg whites, some sugar and dehydrated coconut. Maybe it was too dehydrated, since it sucked all the whites and ended up being thin and a bit gum-like
The creams used are basically vanilla cream (egg yolks, milk, vanilla pudding powder and vanilla essence) with some whipped butter. The middle cream has some coffee in it as well :).

Now I just hope that the 3 hours of sleep won't get back to me in the most crucial moment - decoration and assembling time! Keep your fingers crossed!

21.04.2012., 04:00 a.m. Done!

It was well late in the morning when we finally finished it, but it was definitely worth the effort! :) This time around I had a lovely assistant ;) to help me out, and I must say I couldn't have done it without him. Especially the cake transfer, which was done without breaking!

So, first of all I redid the 3rd layer. I wasn't satisfied with the results from the night before. Then I finished all the decorations, and the cover - which has been made out of milk cream, with the addition of some sour cream, yogurt and whipped butter.

Before coating the whole cake, I did a crumb coating first which is used to prevent crumbs on the final layer. That first cream passage covers up all the cake, fixing together all the crumbs. Let it rest for an hour or so, and you can continue with the rest .
Each layer has been placed on it's own carton plate, after being properly covered with cream. Just before the assembling I placed the first layer on the serving plate. Since it turned out to be rather heavy I used for this purpose a flat glass plate from my sink. Thank you Blanco! :) Even thou it seemed pretty concrete and solid, I preferred using some support, and for that the easiest and cheapest solution was using straight straws. Stick them in the cake, cut out the what was peeking out, and placed the laxer on it. Worked like a charm! One more layer, and done! The three tiers were all up and standing!
High five!  (´.´)/ˇ\(`.`)

After assembling it all up, it was time to fix the cream, and cover the difference in layers. A bit of spatula here, a bit there and there fixed! All that was left to do was put on the decoration. Which meant making the tree out of marzipan, cover it in chocolate and place all the rest. It was actually much easier than I thought :).
Look at the results..

When it was finished it barely fit in the fridge :D Few more cm and I would have had a huuuge problem :))

Here are some MISTAKES I made in the process:
  • As it turned out I didn't have enough place for all the kanji, plan it better next time.
  • I didn't use all the sakuras, actually I already put too many flowers - next time less! Also, never place them on the cake and leave it overnight. The cream and fridge will moisten the colors and it will start spreading on the cake.
  • Another mistake was using cream over the chocolate figures, as it's background. The cream shrank, moistured the chocolate and made some cracks in it. It had to be pretty frozen before detaching it from the baking paper and placing it on the cake. But whit a lot of care I managed to fix them properly.


  1. Wow, you really made it.. Congratulations :)

  2. Holy crap! :)
    That's quite a piece of work.
    I still come to this site for the cheesecake recipe, I'm glad to see it has finally been updated in 2012 :)

    1. :D
      Glad to hear there was still someone checking it :)
      Well, you know what they said, 2012 is the year of big changes! :)
      I just hope to have some time soon to fill it in some more ;). I have a great update for the cheesecake you like - with pumpkin and dark choccolate. Coming soon... (^.^)/**

  3. Thank you for taking the time to publish this information very useful! aikido

  4. Thank you! :) A lot of work went into this cake :) Even though it didn't turn out perfect :D
    But every day you live and you learn :)


Thank you! (^.^)/***