My daughter’s very first island friend wanted a lady bug birthday cake. Her mother Rita, my very first island friend, started asking me questions about fondant and cake decorating.Rita bakes amazing chocolate cake. She makes amazing jewelry. She paints amazing flowers and bugs on the walls of her daughters’ bedrooms. I knew she could make a lady bug cake. She didn’t seem so sure. “We’ll do it together,” I told her. The day before the party, I showed up to help assemble the cake. Two recipes of chocolate cake, divided between one large and one small Pyrex bowl, came out of the oven as I arrived. While they cooled, we mixed the red and black coloring into the fondant. To get deep colors, you have to knead the color in a bit at a time. If you put in too much color at once, it just spurts out all over the place. Sometimes it feels like you’ll never get the right shade. But we did: perfect ladybug red and perfect ladybug black.
Right before the party the next day, Rita nestled shredded coconut mixed with green food coloring around her. She looked fantastic. I wasn’t sure Rita would let us cut her up.
Fortunately for all of us, she did. Ladybug guts hit the spot.
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