Cake for a Quilter (and one for "Mighty Mouse" Mike)

I delivered these two birthday cakes more than two weeks ago, but blogging about them took a backseat to wedding cakes, several cake consultations (for next summer's weddings), and spending time with my family as Christmas approaches!

The first is a quilting-themed birthday cake, to serve 50 guests. The cake was rich chocolate sponge with cream cheese filling and Italian meringue buttercream frosting. The cake scraps I consumed -- for quality control, mind -- convinced me that cream cheese as a filling for dark chocolate cake is really something special.  It's SO good!

Everything on the cake is edible, including the retro tomato/strawberry pincushion, the embroidery scissors (handcut gumpaste, painted with silver and bronze edible luster dusts), the measuring tape, the thread reels (the 'cotton' on them was gumpaste extruded through a clay gun -- though I don't use it for clay!), and the gumpaste tulip. All the fondant quilting squares that wrap around the cake were inspired by things that are precious to Alice, the cake's recipient. One square features her two sons, another honors her marriage to Larry, one celebrates the Steelers (she has family in Pittsburgh), another (with a doggie pawprint) is dedicated to her little Havanese, and so on.

The next birthday cake was for a Mighty Mouse fan -- indeed, he even has a Mighty Mouse tattoo on his bicep. His particular Mighty Mouse (and, the cake version) is holding a baseball bat, because the cake's recipient was once a serious ball player. The cake was Peanut Butter Cup (chocolate cake, filled with peanut butter frosting and chopped Reese's cups). Mike sent me a really sweet card to say thanks for the cake, and I've been told that before the cake was served, he removed the handpainted Mighty Mouse gumpaste plaque from the top, to save as a keepsake. I love that!

I snapped this pic at night, and my Photoshop skills do not extend to removing the glare-y bits where the camera flash bounced awkwardly off my shiny black fondant and edible paint. Anyone care to educate me on how to do that? Anyway, here's the cake (note the cute baseball-themed grosgrain ribbon I found to wrap around the cake's base!):