The Dolphin Birthday Cake

 I was so happy to make this cake for a sweet little friend of the family.  I haven't made a cake for anyone, other than my own family members, in years.  Claire is such a sweet girl, but it was a really generous act for her friends in her Sunday school class that convinced me to make one for her.  It also inspired me to go back to this 5 years dormant cake blog!

So, I have to tell a little story about how I ended up making a cake for Claire.  A few weeks ago, my daughter came home from church with a gift card to Build-A-Bear.  When I asked her where she got it, she said that Claire brought it and she won it in a raffle.  I sent a text to Claire's mom to see if she knew that my child now had her daughter's gift card.  She told me that Claire really wanted to do something nice for her friends, so she decided put all of her friends' names in a hat and draw one, with the person whose name was picked receiving a surprise gift from their friend.

I just thought that was such a sweet idea, and it reminded me that one of the most important things I can teach my kids, is that kindness and generosity, shouldn't be thought of as things you give in return, but what you should offer freely instead.  It seemed like the perfect way to also introduce the idea of paying it forward.  When I talked with my kids about this, they quickly rattled off a list of organizations, such as a local women's shelter, and people they'd like to bake cakes and cookies for.  That seemed like a great idea, so we decided that we'd use baking as something we could do to spend time together, and share what we make with others .

 I talked with Claire's mom about doing this with me to teach our kids together.  It also seemed like it might be a good idea to document our projects on that dusty old blog, in hopes of inspiring others to do something similar.  Since I hadn't made anything for anyone else in years, I told her I would need to brush up on my skills and try to make more cakes.  What better way to start, than with Claire's dolphin themed birthday party!

She wanted chocolate cake, but she doesn't like icing.  I paired it with cream cheese buttercream, because it doesn't taste as sweet.  It was covered in buttercream fondant, and hand painted with food coloring.  The sea life embellishments on the side were made from fondant and modeling chocolate, and the sand was just brown sugar.  The dolphin on top was sculpted using modeling chocolate, and the heat made that trickier than I cared for.  All of the pieces were in and out of the fridge to firm up the entire time.  In full disclosure, it was such a stop-and-start, back-and-forth thing, that I actually forgot to attach the last piece... the dorsal fin!  The one you see was actually added after the fact!  It's not out of character for me to slip up, especially when my kids are running around, so it made for a good laugh.

All laughs aside, it was a great day, a great party, and she is a sweet girl, so I'm glad that I got to make this cake for her and her family!  Happy birthday, Claire!

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