Big sisters are the crab grass in the lawn of life.Â ~Charles M. Schulz
And I’ve got two of them. Woe is me!
Actually, Charles Schulz was right when he said that, but somehow, sisters are also the lucky four leaf clovers that are rare and not everyone has. I’ve been doubly blessed to have two of the crabbiest four leaf clovers any lucky girl could ever have!!
How do people make it through life without a sister?Â ~Sara Corpening
It was just girls in my house growing up. No brothers to go out for football or fishing with my dad. Who did those things with him? Well, we did, of course. We would all play catch with him in the clearing behind our house, or accompany him on his fishing trips to the river around the bend. Crystal, my middle sister, had the best arm, though. And she was always the one who kept right on fishing, long after our oldest sister, Heather, and I had grown bored and begun wading, splashing, and swimming around in the river (much to my dad’s unending frustration). While we giggled and scared the fish away, Crystal would follow Dad’s footsteps further upstream to try to get the one fish that we hadn’t managed to scare off. Eventually, even she would come join us, the sisterly shouts too irresistible to ignore, and my dad would keep casting his line, we could tell he wasn’t really trying anymore…all hope of a fish being within a 10 mile radius of our shrieks was lost.
It was like that a lot, Crystal doing her thing, only joining into Heather’s and my mischievousness once the fun really began. Of course, that’s usually when we got in trouble too…and poor Crystal had only just joined the fun.
Today is Crystal’s birthday. Hers is the last of the year, in the heat of the summer. Even though she never got to really celebrate her birthday in school, with classmates, because of summer vacation; I always thought she was luckier. A summer birthday?? That means it’s never spent stuck behind a school desk, waiting for the fun to begin. She always got to have the whole day to celebrate. Plus, there’s so much you can do on a summer birthday…swimming, hiking, camping, hide and seek until the wee hours.
Well, you know I had to make my sister a cake, right? Or several…
When we were little girls, her nickname was Chrissy, or Christy, or some times just Chris. My nickname was Dee Dee (which I despised for some reason, and miss now). I couldn’t pronounce Chrissy, and so she became Tissy. Meanwhile, she didn’t call me Dee Dee. It was Di Di for her. We toddled around calling each other Tissy and Di Di, and although I can’t remember it, it must have been absolutely adorable! Now, of course, we get the names right, but she’ll always be my Tissy. â™¥ That’s why today is all about her. I made these sweet, tiny, monogrammed little cakes to celebrate my sister’s happy day. I hope you like them, and give them a try, but really…well, even if you don’t, they’re for her anyway, aren’t they?
To make these, I baked two eight-inch round cakes (I went with basic, delicious chocolate). Once they were cooled, I cut them in half through the middle to make each one into two layers. You could do this with a sheet cake too, if you like. Once the cakes were cut, I used a two and a half-inch biscuit cutter to cut them into mini cake layers. I got seven out of each layer, totaling 28 mini layers.
Next I whipped up the frosting. I used my favorite buttercream, but swiss meringue works great too. After reserving about half of the frosting, and leaving it plain white, I divided the remaining half of the frosting into four and colored them in shades of blue and green. You can do any colors you like here, or you can stick with all one color.
Once I had all of my colors mixed, I drew concentric rings on the bottom layers of the cakes. I started with white on the outside so that when I frosted the cakes, I wouldn’t accidentally mix a color with the white frosting on the outside of the cake. Next, I added the other colors in a sort of ombre fade.
As each layer is filled, stack another on top and fill it the same way until the cakes are the height you want. I decided on four layers because it made more impact than three, but was steadier than five. Also, four easily divided into 28 giving me seven four-layer cakes.
To frost the outsides of the cakes, I used a Wilton #103 “rose” tip to cover the outside completely, then I just dragged the flat edge of an offset spatula around the entire cake to spread and smooth the frosting. Since the cakes are so small and sort of delicate, they didn’t hold up well to normal frosting techniques, but this was much faster and easier anyway. If you don’t plan to ruffle your cakes, you can repeat this technique three or four times until the cakes are completely covered and smooth.
This is super easy, and you don’t have to learn some crazy hard technique. You just move the tip in a slight up and down motion, or side to side for a slightly different look, and you have ruffles. If you chill these for 20 to 30 minutes while you frost the mini cakes, then when you’re ready to transfer the cakes onto them, these ruffles will have set in the cold and they won’t damage as easily.
For the main three cakes, I made a slight swirl of ruffles all the way around the cakes, with a frilly ruffle around the top (a great ruffle tutorial video can be found here). I did the greens and a couple of white ruffles on the front of the cakes…
…and the blues and a couple of white ruffles on the backs. I didn’t cover the cakes in ruffles all the way around. I thought it would be way too much frosting, but you could certainly ruffle these as much as you like.
The final touch on these three main cakes was to monogram them with my sister’s initials. I drew them with a bunch of little dots to give them more texture, and I used the various colors to give them a faded, ombre look. You could draw these on however you liked, but I like the look of the dots contrasting with the ruffles.
With the extra cakes, I decided I wanted them to be different in some way, so I gave them ordinary, straight ruffles all the way around, in plain white. Next I topped them with ruffly rosettes in the centers and placed candles in them.
Happy birthday, my Tissy. Love, your Di Di. â™¥
Mini Ruffled Birthday Cakes
Makes 6 to 7 2.5-inch cakes (3-inches with ruffles)
1 recipe cake of your choice