The Chick in the Mead: an Over-in-the-Meadow Birthday Cake

Over in the meadow,
Near a pond in the sun
Lived an old mother duck
And her little duck one
“Quack!” said the mother;
“Quack!” said the one,
And they quacked and were happy
In the pond in the sun

(from the rhyme Over in the Meadow)

Ok, there’s no little duck involved in this post (as you may guess from the post title) and I know I should have replaced the mother duck with a more appropriate mother hen, but the rhyme suits so wonderfully that I had no heart to change it whatsoever.

Those of you who happen to read this blog now and then may remember that my baby boy has just turned one. Yep, a year’s passed (so swiftly?! Time flies at the speed of light…). Some of you may recall Lapo’s brithday present, that is a special book (have a look here, here and here) written by me and illustrated by my friend Christina. Well, beside this pretty gift, Lapo had his own birthday party with his own special cake. This one.

For those who remember a little of the book, the chick you see is one of the characters Christina llustrated: Moses the Chick. Isn’it it cute?

Of course, the making of this cake was a serious matter. It took an entire afternoon (and the patience and skills of three people) to decorate it. I will never know how to thank my friends Laura (she’s the real cake artist and she’s the one who did the “dirty job”) and Christina for helping me with the decoration of The-Chick-in-the-Mead Birthday Cake. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

The making of the buttercream icing - La preparazione della crema al burro

The base for the meadow cake was a dairy-free chocolate cake, while the chick was a buttermilk white cake (recipe will soon be published, I hope). For the buttercream icing we used Laura’s long-tested and super-successful recipe you can find at the end of this post, colored with Decora food colors (the Italian brand name for Wilton products). Also the fondant used to make the white fence and Moses the Chick’s orange legs, beak and wings was a Decora ready-to-use product (I had no time to make it at home, I’m not ashamed to confess it!).

Starting to decorate the cake - L'inizio della decorazione

Decorating the meadow - La decorazione del prato

We also made some cute chicken cupcakes, like the ones you can find here, to match the chick-theme party.

Chicken cupcakes - Cupcake-pulcino

So, how do you like it?

Buttercream icing

Ingredients

1 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar
2 tablespoons milk

For 3 cups of icing which should be enough for 24 cupcakes or one regular size cake

Cream the butter with an electric mixer. Add vanilla. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.

For best results keep bowl in refrigerator when not in use. It can be refrigerated in an air tight container for up to 2 weeks. Rewhip before using.

Il Pulcino nel Prato: una Torta di Compleanno Giardiniera

Chi di voi bazzica ogni tanto questo blog, si ricorderà che il mio bimbo ha appena compiuto un anno. Eh sì, è già passato un anno (così veloce?! Il tempo vola alla velocità della luce…). Alcuni di voi si ricorderanno anche del regalo di compleanno di Lapo, cioè un librino speciale (date un’occhiata qua, qua e qua) scritto da me e illustrato dalla mia amica Christina. Beh, a parte questo regalo delizioso, Lapo ha avuto la sua festa di compleanno con la sua torta speciale. Questa.


Per chi di voi si ricorda qualcosa del libro, il pulcino che vedete è uno dei personaggi disegnati da Christina: il pulcino Giosuè. Non è carino?

Ovviamente la preparazione della torta è stata una faccenda seria. C’è voluto tutto un pomeriggio (e la pazienza e l’abilità di tre persone) per decorarla. Non saprò mai come ringraziare le mie amiche Laura (è lei la vera artista della torta e quella che ha fatto il “lavoro sporco”) e Christina per avermi aiutata a decorare la torta Pulcino nel Prato Grazie! Grazie! Grazie!

Placing the eyes - La collocazione degli occhi

The making of the legs - La preparazione delle zampe

La base per la torta-prato era la torta al cioccolato senza latticini, mentre il pulcino era un buttermilk white cake (la ricetta verrà pubblicata presto, spero). Per la copertura di crema al burro abbiamo usato la ricetta collaudata e famosa di Laura, che potete trovare alla fine del post, colorata con i coloranti alimentari Decora. Anche il fondente usato per la staccionata bianca e le zampe, becco e ali arancioni del pulcino Giosuè era quella già pronta della Decora (non avevo tempo di farla a casa, non mi vergogno a dirlo!).

Abbiamo fatto anche dei cupcake-pulcino, come quelli che trovate qui, per seguitare con il tema-pulcino di tutta la festa.

Allora, che ve ne pare?

Chicken Cupcakes - Cupcake-pulcino

Crema al burro

Ingredienti

1 tazza di burro ammorbidito
1 cucchiaino di vaniglia
4 tazze di zucchero a velo, setacciato
2 cucchiai di latte

Per 3 tazze di crema al burro (bastano per 24 cupcakes o per una torta di media grandezza)

Sbattere il burro con le fruste elettriche. Aggiungere la vaniglia. A poco a poco aggiungere lo zucchero, una tazza alla volta, sbattendo bene. Grattare il fondo della ciotola bene perché il composto si amalgami. Quando lo zucchero è completamente incorporato, la glassa risulterà un po’ asciutta: aggiungere il latte e sbattere finché il composto non risulta morbido.

Per avere risultati migliori, tenere la crema in frigo quando non la si usa. Si può conservare in frigo in un contenitore ermetico per circa 2 settimane. Rilavorare con le fruste elettriche prima di riusarla.

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19 comments
  1. Happy birthday to sweet lapo..
    An amazing cake..it is really beautiful and that chick is super cute..

    • Rita said:

      Thank you! Moses the Chick would be glad to know you think he’s cute… :P

  2. My wife and I are childless, but she was telling me the other day about these things called smash cakes that are popular now. Apparently, you make a nice cake for guests and give the toddler one they can smash so they don’t make mincemeat out of the nice one. I always thought that was the whole point! Great work, it’s so creative and the icing is gorgeous.

    • Rita said:

      The idea of using smash cakes is great!! I think I’m going to use it next year… :P

  3. Oh I love it!! How gorgeous is the little Ducky beak and legs! What a genius you all are!

  4. Yvette said:

    Buon compleanno Lapo..Tanti Auguri! A super cake..I bet he loved it…sooo cute! Your party table looks like a FUNtastic time!

  5. Tandy said:

    compleanno benedizioni! You are very talented :)

  6. Cindy said:

    Happy birthday and what a lovely cake :)

  7. That is so cute! How would you eat such a thing? If thats mine I will just decorate it :)

    • Rita said:

      Honestly, my husband cut the cake into slices. I couldn’t watch… I refused to watch… after all that work… But the cake was worth it!! :)

  8. Happy B-day Lapo!
    Congratulations for the cake it looks amazing!

  9. Sally said:

    The little cupcakes: adorable! But I am sure little Lapo is so much cuter. Happy Birthday to Lapo and congratulations to his proud parents for making it through this wonderful year of firsts for you.

  10. Rita said:

    Well thank you all my friends for all these birthday wishes for Lapo!! He’d be so happy! If this blog is still here when he can read, I’ll let him read all this comments. I’m sure he’ll be glad! :)

  11. Holy moly. That cake is epic! Lucky little boy!

  12. Amanda said:

    Oh Rita, what a special job you have done – both the large cake and the small ones look beautiful. I’m a little worried for you, now, though. You are setting the bar very high for future birthday celebrations!

    • Rita said:

      Yeah, I know. I’m afraid guests will have great expectations… :P

  13. …and you thought he will always be your baby. ;) he still is! congrats! and the dessert looks so cute!

  14. oh that is one fantastic cake! I’ll bet the little fella’s eyes nearly popped out of his head :-) Very impressive.

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