The first time I met Gina we were dressed to the nines.
And so were our dates.
It was prom.

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Not MY prom, mind you.  Nor was it her prom.  Our dates attended the same high school.  It was THEIR prom.
And my date had a “reputation” I was unaware of.
That reputation NOT being a good one.

And while it’d be nice to pretend that we girls don’t jump to conclusions about each other based upon such things as the guy we’re hanging out with and what everybody (well, ALMOST everybody) knows about him…
we ARE still girls.
And our brains like to make presumptions without our permission, every now and then.

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Gina, she told me later, PRESUMED I was the sort of girl who would hang out with THAT sort of guy.
(Imagine that.)
Fortunately for me, I wasn’t.
(Come on, a girl can make a mistake.  He was cute… and he had a car.  And I didn’t find out ’till later that he was a complete schmuck. Lesson learned.)

I didn’t see Gina again for a long time after that day.
(Her date and my date weren’t, ermm… the best of friends, you see.)
But a year or so later, when I started seeing a guy who happened to have a GOOD reputation, our paths crossed again.

How crazy is it that Good Reputation Guy was best friends with Gina’s boyfriend?
Clearly, we were meant to sisters.
From then on, we hung out together just about every weekend…
for years…

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even after I broke up with Good Reputation Guy and she broke up with her boyfriend.
(Both of which required a BFF sleepover consisting of a grade A chick flick, ample amounts of ice cream, and an extensive sob session which eventually lulled us to sleep and left us with eyes that resembled puff pastries the next morning.)

All very worth it, though.
‘Cause I got to keep Gina.

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Twenty years, 2 husbands (one for her and one for me), seven babies and lots of laughter later, we still have each other.

So when she told me she was pregnant again (after three boys, the youngest of which is 9, and the giving away of all things baby related, long ago) I went directly for the ice cream bucket.
(Though fortunately, there was no need.
She had already passed her freak out moment, and was on to the maybe-a-teensy-bit-excited stage.)

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And when she called me while I was out shopping to inform me that she was finally going to have that baby girl she had always silently longed for, I didn’t even care that the entire department store heard me squeal like teenage girl at a boy band concert.

‘Cause this was Gina.

And for Gina, I’d steal the moon and capture the stars if that’s what the situation called for.
Loud squealing in public places is mere child’s play. 😉

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This is the cake I made for Gina’s baby shower (which, it was decided, she needed to have since round one was so long ago. 😉 )

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Some notes:

Gina’s cake is finished in American, non-crusting buttercream recipe  (Just replace the shortening with more butter)

I used wafer paper to create the pink puffs

The gold dots were punched out of  wafer paper (with my 1/2 inch circle paper puncher and some with my 1/8″ single hole puncher), and painted with gold highlighter or sprinkled with gold disco dust

To see how I got the sharp edges on my buttercream tiers, check out my sharp edged ganache video, here.  (It works exactly the same with buttercream!)

 

How to make wafer paper puffs…

 

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Cut your wafer paper into 1″ strips.
Get your travel steamer out (or you can boil a pot of water and do this technique over the steam that rises from it).
Gently fold your strips of wafer paper, accordion style, bringing it in front of (or on top of) the steam every time you fold and moving it out of the steam for a second or two in between folds.
If you hold the paper too long in front of the steam, it can warp it more than you’d like, so be careful!
(See my wafer ruffle video tutorial for a clearer idea of what I mean.)

Pinch one end of the strip as you go so the paper sort of fans out a little bit.
(You can see how the bottom of the strip in the middle of the upper picture seems to be a bit tighter that the top of that strip.)

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Add just a little bit of water to the ends of one of the strips.

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Pinch the ends together.
This will be the center of your puff.

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Each puff will use three strips of wafer paper.
Take your second strip and wipe the ends of it with a little water.
(Not too much water or it will disintegrate!)

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Now attach one end of the second strip to one end of the last (the 3rd) strip.

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Wrap that long strip around the center wafer paper section and attach the ends to close it up.

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You’ve made a wafer paper puff!
If it doesn’t feel “closed” or tight enough for you, you can wave it in front of the steam again while gently squeezing the bottom of the puff together a bit.
Holding the puff in front of the steam will tighten it up a bit and shrink it just slightly.

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For this cake, I needed a LOT of strips as the top, extra large puff required several small puffs to cover it.
I think I used somewhere around ten sheets of wafer paper for this one.

And because I needed to make so many, I just formed them over the steam that was coming from the pot of pasta I was cooking while making dinner!
Super easy, and no stopping to refill the water in the travel steamer… over and over again.

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To make the extra large puff (on top of the cake) I made a hollow chocolate ball by spreading melted candy melts into a large half sphere pan.
See the beginning of my hot chocolate cupcakes video to see how.

After you have the two halves of the sphere formed, use the hot baking sheet idea, as shown in the video,, to melt the edges slightly so you can stick the spheres together and they will fuse.

Let it sit for a bit, and once it’s completely hardened, gently push (twist while pushing) a lollipop stick into one solid (not where you fused the edges together) end of the sphere.
Push it through the hollow center until it reaches the other end of the sphere.
Push it just slightly through until you can see the top of the stick and then stop!

It should stay just fine that way, but you can always add some melted candy melts to the top of the stick where it pokes through to glue it there, if that makes you feel a bit more secure. 😉

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 I stuck the ball onto the edge of a dummy cake and started attaching the 3 strip puffs by adding melted white candy melts to the bottom of the puffs and then holding the puff to the ball for several seconds until it adhered and stiffened.

Using Chef Rubber’s Magic Freeze Spray to quickly harden the chocolate is always helpful.

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I started attaching them in a circular fashion around the bottom of the ball and worked my way up.

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My ball needed about 14ish puffs to completely cover it.

Fill in any gaps with some extra pleated strips of wafer paper.

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To get the puffs pink, I first pinned them to a dummy cake so that they would be easy to airbrush (but you definitely don’t need to do that.  I also did this so I could play around with the design and see how they would look when attached to the cake in different ways.)

I airbrushed them while they were attached to the styro dummy.
But you can always airbrush the wafer paper first, before you form the puffs.

Or you can just buy precolored wafer paper.

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This cake is finished in buttercream, which made attaching the puffs to the cake SERIOUSLY easy.

I just put some extra mint colored buttercream into a piping bag and piped a blob onto the bottom of each puff as I was adding it to the cake.

Wafer paper stays perfectly fine when attached to buttercream.  It doesn’t get soggy or disintegrate so no worries!

 

 

 

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