Friday, February 10, 2012

Llama Mama

About a year and a half ago, we were going to my sil's house for her birthday get-together.  We had been assigned dessert for our contribution to the meal.  No, this is not something that happens with every get together - I do not make cakes just because.  Well, not usually, anyway. :)  Well, because we were assigned dessert, I decided to make her a birthday cake.  The problem was, I only had a few days notice to be able to throw something together.  And, because I wasn't specifically asked to make her a cake, I had absolutely no idea what I was going to do for it.  Then, as I was mulling over possible options, my husband said, "Why don't you make her a llama cake?"  While the thought of making her a llama cake had crossed my mind in the past, I had absolutely no idea how I was going to do this for her, and in just a few days.

I probably should back up just a bit here, and give you the background on this situation.  My sil loves llamas.  I'm not exactly sure why, but she absolutely adores them.  Right now her favorites are alpacas.  We just kind of all go with it.  In 1997, she was pregnant with her oldest son, and drove for a  visit to her parents' (my in-laws) house in Wyoming.  Well, the shortest route between here and there is I-80.  So she and her husband were traveling down I-80 Wyoming bound, when my sil saw a llama.  This is not necessarily unusual, given that there were a few farm-type properties along that road that contained llamas as part of its livestock.  However, she insisted that the llama was walking down the side of the road.  This seemed a bit more strange, but again, not necessarily out of place with the farms near by.  However, and this was the kicker, what did seem strange was that the llama had a back pack on its back.  That's right, a back pack.  Nobody believes her.  And I do mean nobody, including her husband who was in the car with her!  But, she insists, even to this day, that the llama was carrying a back pack.  Now we, of course, have all gotten our jabs in about the llama with the back pack: "Did he have his hoof out to hitchhike as well?  You have to watch out for those llama hitchhikers, you know.  You never know what they might be carrying in those back packs.  It could be the heads of llamas he hitched rides from and then murdered and stole their belongings - and shaved all their wool!"  Yeah, she's put up with crap like that for years.  But she has never changed her story and always insisted she saw a llama with a back pack.  And, over the years, has also developed quite an affinity for them.

So, given her love of the creatures, I decided to go ahead and try the llama cake.  It then occurred to me that I should go ahead and try to make something based on her story - I figured she'd at least get a kick out of it.  I also had been wanting to experiment with a frozen buttercream transfer.  So, I started trying to come up with a drawing of a llama that I could use for this technique.  Would you believe there are no cartoon llamas out there anywhere that are carrying a back pack?  Real pics, yes, (and mostly those are the same type of hauling system used with donkeys or mules.)  But no drawings.  So, I decided to make up my own image.  I did find a drawing of a llama that I really liked, and managed to find a back pack that worked well with him.  Here is the final result:

I know, it's not very fancy or detailed like other cakes I've done.  But the part that mattered is, she absolutely loved it!  I'm not especially fond of the buttercream transer method, though, I'll say that.  It was ok, but I found it extremely difficult to place.  You can't really see where you're placing the transfer, so that it could come out lopsided or off to one corner when you didn't intend that way.  And, when the transfer is down on the cake, there is no moving it.  Also, it is relatively fragile, so they are really meaning it when the instructions say to keep it in the freezer for a certain amount of time to keep it from falling apart. But, I believe it's a useful tool when I need a cake in a hurry that doesn't have to be anything spectacular.  In this case, what started out as a running joke actually ended up "delivering" to her, her llama carrying a back pack. :)

1 comment:

Iguana Montana said...

HEY! You BLOGGED!!! (grin)