My Grandmothers cake with Handmade Tootsie Roll Roses

I had forgotten about this cake until I was going through some old photographs this week and saw a picture of a double birthday party we had at our home a few years ago.

It was 1996 and we had just moved into a home in the upper Midwest from Tennessee. For the first time in 8 years we lived close enough to family (about 3 1/2 hours drive) that we could hold a family birthday party where Grandparents and Aunts and Uncles could come. We had a 5 year old, our 3 year old (almost 4) and a 9 month old baby. I got my sons Spiderman themed party planned and then found out my parents were going to be able to bring my Grandmother as well! I was so excited, not only to get to see her, but it was extra special because she shared a birthday with my son! It was his 4th and her 82nd.

I wanted her birthday to be just as special as my sons so I whipped a cake at the last minute for her as well. Now, I didn't have much money and I couldn't buy anything at the store so I had to use what I had on hand. When it came to the frosting and decorations I only had a little bit of powdered (confectioners) sugar, but I had heavy cream I could whip to make a delicious frosting to do a 'basket weave' on the cake. When it came to the top decorations though I was stumped. With no money I turned to something we did have on hand... a lot of little tiny midget Tootsie Rolls as we had just attended some parades and local fairs and the kids had a lot of candy leftover.

I didn't really know what I was doing, but I decided to use them to make 'roses' by hand. I started out by working with the candy in my fingers until it was pliable and then broke off bits and pieces, smashing them into flat quarter and nickel sized bits. I would roll each one up like the bud of a rose and then use another piece to careful wrap around the bud and continue with about 5 or 6 pieces until I had a finished rose I liked.

I had previously used royal icing (a couple months before) to make a lot of green leaves and let them dry hard before packing them away in a baggy, so I got out the Ziploc bag, and embellished my Tootsie Roll roses with little green leaves.

In the end, this was her last minute birthday cake. It turned out pretty good (although I realized as we were cutting it that we didn't have any pictures of it - so I quickly snapped two pictures even though it already had a couple slices cut! LOL).

The reason it holds a special place in my heart today is that my Grandmother that I made this for, passed away in November. I dearly love her to this day and I'm blessed that I got to make a special cake just for her.

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