My only struggle was when it came to actually coming up with a design for the cake. I swear I had "designers block" .. (get it? Like writer's block??) ;) Anyhoo, I struggled to come up with a design I liked until the day before I had to make it. I think I was having so much trouble because of the colors I was trying to work with. Her favorite colors are orange and turquoise-y blue. And trying to combine that color scheme with chocolate icing was a bit of struggle for me. I eventually decided on doing orange rosettes and blue ribbons & bows out of fondant. Below is a picture taken while I was working on the rosettes. They are actually pretty easy to make, just a little time consuming. The fondant is rolled out very thin, and then cut in to approximately 1.5" x .5" strips. Then you just roll them up and trim off the bottom edge to make it flat. Once they dry, you can attach them to the cake with a little icing.
I colored some buttercream icing green to make the leaves. I also used this to attach the rosettes to the cake. When it came time to wrap the blue fondant ribbon around the bottoms of the cakes, I had a little trouble getting it on the cake without marring the surface. I guess I didn't realize how hard fondant is to control in long, large strips. But once I got it around, I made sure it was secure and then attached the bows. A few white dots, and "happy birthday" on the top, and it was good to go! It sat in the fridge overnight and was ready for her fiance to pick up the next evening.
No word yet on how the cake went over with her or the guests (I wasn't able to make it to the party), but I really hope she enjoyed the design and the taste.
Happy Birthday Christina!