Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Cupcakes and Cake

Before I start on this post, I would like to cheer from the top of my lungs about Portugal's win in the Eurocup 2016 this past weekend! We spent the entire game riveted to the screen, flinching here and there as we volleyed between excitement and terror with a nearby table of French fans at the  restaurant. I grew up with soccer blaring from the television and the love has only grown over the years. This win is a mind blower - especially since the team wasn't exactly burning things up in the matches leading up to the final and the star player was knocked out of the game by injury. What defense! Then that incredible goal in overtime that came out of nowhere! For├ža! 

All right back to the world of confections with this fun Mickey Mouse Clubhouse adventure. It was a basic lemon cake, covered in swiss butteream, and draped in fondant. Each character from the club (Mickey, Minnie, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Pluto, and Goofy) has their own cupcake with a simple topper.
This creation was made specially for my friend's son's first birthday party. I met the father back in elementary school and the wife later on through high school marching band (yes, the marching band). They started dating in high school and have been together ever since!  Even though we're not close, there' something about this couple that I just like. You look at them go - yes, they rock! You don't have to be besties to be giving.

Needless to say, when I saw the wife's inquiry online on where to find a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse themed birthday cake, I threw my hat into the ring. Consider it a happy birthday, feliz natal, and congratulations offering all wrapped into one! To my surprise, they took me up on my offer! Let the planning commence!
Then I heard the chilling word: fondant. I bleeping hate the taste of fondant and tend to peel it off. Yes yes yes... there are alternatives these days to the store bought, bland tasting stuff. You can make it yourself or use one that's marshmallow based but this was my first rodeo. It was too high risk to try making it myself for a special occasion - maybe next time when it's not a gift. Hello Wilton!

I am delighted to report that decorating the cake was surprisingly smooth sailing because I was not alone. The husband jumped right in (yay for marrying an artist) cutting shapes and coloring the frosting while our dear friend Brandon (a huge Disney fan) reviewed the overall look. The cake is covered in Decorator Preferred Fondant.
For the actual cupcake toppers, I discovered an amazing product: Shape-N-Amaze Edible Fondant. This made the creation of the toppers super easy as the fondant is stiff and holds shape. It does have limits so it's best for basic shapes. For example, I couldn't make the bows for Minnie and Daisy the standard way because when I folded the fondant, it cracked on the edges. The work-around was to shape a rectangle and then pinch in the middle. Additionally, rather than buy multiple batches in different colors, I used one white block and colored small portions with concentrated food dye.
The only thing that I regret about this cake is the actual cake. I made three... yes three... different lemon cakes. Crazy right? What I thought was a "sure thing" recipe turned out to be a dud. It was based on a box cake recipe that was doctored up. The reviews were sensational! Unfortunately, since its publication, the box cake ratio had changed.  Fine cake Gods! Shame on me for taking a short cut! Alas, two from-scratch recipes and I still was bitter about the cake. It just wasn't passing my test! I'm a huge lemon lover and it simply wasn't doing it for me. If I could go back, I would do a simple white cake with lots of lemon zest (with more budget, lemon curd would be essential). Know an awesome lemon cake recipe? Please share!
Overall, I would say this cake was a success and a feather in my cap as my first foray in the world of a fondant allover cake. Special thanks to my college confidant and fabulous cake maker Dr. Vashee for all her great insights on cake decorating!