Happy Birthday Joey

In my eyes, my brother deserves the world. He’s someone I can talk to about anything and has been my protector for as long as I can remember. I look up to him a lot for all the things he’s overcome in life and how he still goes through life with the ability to make people around him smile. I’ve never met someone who didn’t hit it off with him once they gave him a chance and I think that will get him far in life.

What we’ve always bonded over the most are video games, anime, puppies, and other random tv shows or interests along the way. Basically, if you meet my brother, you wouldn’t expect him to be the huge nerd that he is. So what do you get someone who has nerded out with you your whole life while you’re trying to save money?

You DIY! Well, in my case you bake or cook something because you’re not even kind of an artistic person when it comes to crafting and you barely have an eye for design.

What I’m really getting at is I decided to try and be like the cake queen herself, Yolanda Gampp from How to Cake It, and took some of her tips that I’ve watched over the years and obsessed about. I’ve always wanted to try and use fondant in baking because there are endless possibilities of the pretty things you can make. So why not give it a shot now?

Below I shared some pictures about how my first attempt at fondant resulted in this:

I finished these at about 3am so I’m definitely not saying to follow my process
It started with a perfect base. I used How To Cake It’s Ultimate Vanilla Cake but my brother is lactose intolerant so I opted for vegan butter and lactose free milk. I added imitation butter flavoring to the recipe because vegan butter has a mild taste compared to real butter.
I used the same mini dome pan I used for Pax’s birthday. It’s silicone and I got it off of Amazon.
Once cooled, I cut the caramelization off of the top and evened the half spheres out using a sharp, serrated knife so they would be a more round circle once stuck together. Don’t worry, my brother and son went to town on the cake scraps while they waited!
Here I roughly frosted the half spheres together and put a thin layer on the outside. I put them in the fridge to set for a half hour before continuing. For the buttercream, I used vegan butter, again, and did a 1:2.5 ratio of butter to powdered sugar with about 1 tsp of vanilla flavoring, 1 tbsp of lactose free milk and a tiny dot of orange gel food coloring. The result wasn’t too sweet which is what was good when adding fondant.
Of course, the craft store didn’t have orange fondant so I used gel food coloring to dye it and kneaded it for a long time to make the color was even and not streaky. My hands suffered from the dye because I can’t imagine gloves not getting in the way while doing this, but it’s worth it to get the fondant warmed up and easier to work with.
Of course I was repping the show while baking. My focused face is because fondant is really hard to understand at first. It’s an art I haven’t mastered but I look forward to trying more in the future.
From left to right, you can tell they got smoother as I figured it out. I rolled the fondant out thicker and smoothed the edge of the frosting with a plastic card before putting the fondant over it.
Of course I made things more complicated for myself by deciding last minute to mix “food grade alcohol” aka vodka to the gel food coloring and painting the spheres after they had set a little bit so they had a more shiny look to them. The bottom is without being painted and the top is the shiny result.
For the stars, I tried to use a template to cut around them. When that didn’t work, I tried cutting little circles of the same size into stars but ultimately hand shaped tiny fondant pieces into the stars. They aren’t very uniform but it was the best result I got! I even added two dots of white to have an animated shine which was my brothers idea and a great addition! After painting the vodka and dye mixture over the stars to make them shiny as well, I was proud of how it turned out!

I think my brother enjoyed it as well!

Day 17: Ornament


Art by Rhett Backstrom | Twitter | Instagram

Untouchable. Practically unreal.

He lives everyone’s dream and gets paid to be beautiful. He has teams of people there to make him look perfect. How could someone not want that?

The lights, cameras, fans, money. You wonder if he has time for meaningful relationships. He looks like your best friend. It’s a one way relationship where you obsessively know everything about him, but he will probably never even be in the same room as you.

Being human is considered relatable, but is there really anything in his life that parallels yours? He’s so cute, you forget to consider, “Does he even have a real personality?”

The camera turns away from him and he gets to peel off his mask at the end of the day.

How can someone sleep knowing they will be a headline over night simply for existing?

He doesn’t. He obsesses all night. The blue light of his phone screen illuminates his face until the sun rises. When he finally crashes with his phone in hand, sleep is short-lived and he has to take a pill when he wakes up in the morning. He needs that extra pick me up when strangers will likely film him the second he leaves his home.

He smiles. He has to. He is an idol. He can’t have a flaw or a bad day. What would they say if he was rude to a fan? If he’s lucky someone will defend him today and he won’t look like a bad guy. He wishes he always had a bodyguard.

He spends hours at the gym per day. They have his routine down to a science where he looks fit, but thin and not intimidating. He sweats at the gym then goes to work and learns a routine that he has to perform in a few days. He sweats a lot under the pressure of perfection and sometimes forgets the carefully calculated meal that sits in his fridge. He’s so hungry his body forgets to remind him.

Something goes wrong at their performance. Despite his constant exhaustion, he’s unfairly criticized and can only say he will do better even though he’s spread so thin he feels like a piece of unhealthy hair that could… split… at… any… moment.

You treated him like an ornament. He is found hanging like an ornament.

"All women can do wonders when put to the test" – Wonder Woman