Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas Cookie Tree

This is a Christmas Cookie Tree I made several years ago. Now they sell kits to make these (with the cookies already made), but I actually rolled out all the sugar cookie dough and cut out the star shapes with a set of graduated-size star cookie cutters I bought specifically for this project. I made quick-pour fondant icing to cover the cookies. The snow tips are royal icing with mini-M&M ornaments. Turned out pretty cute, but it was a lot of work, and I haven't made another one since!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I made this cake for a surprise birthday party for my neighbor (Stewart). I copied one I found on CakeCentral because I had never seen The Family Guy show. I guess this baby character is named Stewie, so I wrote, "Stewie's 38! What the Deuce!"
The blue background is all done in buttercream; Stewie's head and body are covered in fondant. It was like making a puzzle, but it was pretty fun. I used Wilton black icing for the outlines, but next time I would use something easier to work with, like black piping gel.
It was hard to get a good photo angle on this cake because of Stewie's 3-D head. Anyway, this is the first cake I've made in a little while, so I felt a little rusty at times, but everyone at the party seemed to enjoy it. I just hate when they make me cut the cake, though!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Star Wars cake

This was my son's 5th birthday cake. It was actually pretty simple. Just a matter of matching the buttercream color to the table decorations. The important parts (Anakin & Darth Maul) were plastic. Gotta love doing a relatively easy cake once in a while!

Monday, October 22, 2007

character cake pans

...vintage Strawberry Shortcake for my niece's birthday.

... the Batman pan re-purposed as "Bibleman" for my son's 6th birthday.

... Barney, of course. "I love you, you love me..."

Sunday, October 14, 2007

2-month anniversary cake?

Last night I ran into the couple who hired me to do their wedding cake in August. I had made them a 3-tier square cake with white scrolling on the sides. It turned out really well, but their cake topper was too large to fit on top of a small anniversary cake layer, so I asked the bride if she wanted me to just make it separately for her to freeze, or if she'd rather have me make a fresh one next summer. She thought about it and decided to just have me make the anniversary cake next August, when they will be celebrating their first anniversary. Then it would be freshly made, not frozen, and it wouldn't take up room in their freezer all year.

Anyway, last night at this costume party, they kindly made a point to tell me how great the cake was, and how much they loved it. I thanked them, and then the bride told me how much her groom was (already!) looking forward to the anniversary cake. She said, "He can't stop thinking about it. He's already been asking me, 'Doesn't she owe us that anniversary cake?'"

Umm... it hasn't even been two months yet! It's a good thing I didn't give them one to freeze, or it would probably be gone already!

Friday, September 14, 2007

This was the first cake I've done for someone that I've never met. A friend-of-a-friend was throwing her husband a surprise 50th birthday party tonight, so she called me a few weeks ago, at our mutual friend's recommendation. (I must admit I was a little nervous. I guess when I make a cake for a friend, I feel like I know what they would like. And even though I've talked to this lady on the phone, in the end I didn't feel like I knew exactly what she was expecting.) She ended up sending me one of the party decorations so I could make the cake coordinate with the theme and colors.

This was a challenging cake to make because it was very large and covered in fondant. I had to do it three times before I got it the right size and shape. But I think overall it turned out pretty good. (I just hope the starbursts don't look too flower-like.) Hope they enjoyed it!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron

The look on Lily's face was just priceless when I opened the box to show her the cake I made for her birthday. She's only 4, but she is obsessed with Spirit the horse. She's been talking about it for weeks, and even cried today at someone else's birthday party because she was just dying to see her Spirit cake. Happy birthday, Lily! Enjoy your cake!

Friday, August 31, 2007

same song, second verse

A friend of mine who attended Nathon's birthday party last weekend asked me to do a guitar cake for her brother's birthday the next weekend. So, I did another electric guitar, but made it sparkly blue this time.

I guess if you're passionate about being a musician, it doesn't matter what age you are - you're not too cool for a guitar cake!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

electric guitar cake

I got lots of inspiration from Cake Central for this electric guitar cake for my son. I ended up just buying the guitar-shaped pan at Michael's. He was pretty excited about it. He picked out the red sparkle gel himself. Wilton makes it now - in red, yellow, blue, etc. It sure was easier than doing all those stars on SpongeBob!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

SpongeBob SquarePants

My neighbor's daughter is having a birthday party this afternoon, so I made her a SpongeBob SquarePants cake. Allie told me months ago what cake she wanted, so I hope she likes it!

There is a LOT of detail work involved in these character cakes! Outlining and tracing and stars, oh my! Anyway, I do believe my favorite part of this cake is the bottom border. I came up with the idea of making waves at the last minute, and I think it turned out really cute. Don't you?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Update your bookmarks! I just got the domain name for this site changed over to:

Like it? Sorry about all of the name changes lately... this is where I'm staying for at least a year. Promise.

Allison's cake

Once upon a time, I had a friend named Allison. She would e-mail me months in advance of her own birthday, just to make sure I kept the date clear for making her birthday cake. She was very specific about her birthday cake demands. Her husband would always nervously call me with these crazy ideas of hers. This particular year, on her 30th birthday, she requested a cake with as much candy, sprinkles, and marshmallows as I could get on one cake. So, I made this 2-layer chocolate cake, filled the middle layer with buttercream icing, mini-marshmallows, and pink sugar sprinkles. Then I decorated the top with more icing, spelling out "Happy Birthday." I spelled out her name and age in candy letters, lined the bottom border with more marshmallows and peanut M&Ms, and topped it with more sprinkles of different shapes and colors -- pink and purple sugar, pastel flowers and pink & white hearts. She absolutely loved it!

And the next year, her cake was chocolate with chocolate frosting, and a giant chocolate-chip cookie between the layers. Yum!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

transfer designs

Sometimes, people make requests for character cakes that I don't have the specific shaped pan for, or sometimes people want a design to match a very specific theme or napkin, or whatever. I'm so thankful to have learned a technique in my cake decorating class called the "transfer." You can basically take any image and literally transfer it onto an iced regular round or sheet cake. Here are a few examples of transfer cake designs I've done in the past:

Interestingly, I find that coloring book pages work quite well for this technique because of their generally simple designs and bold lines. I've also downloaded images from the internet, or used the customer's party decorations as a template. You just have to be able to trace the design onto a sheet of wax paper (or regular paper). I usually use pencil and then go over it with clear piping gel. Then, I flip the paper over onto the cake and gently rub it to be certain that the piping gel sticks to the buttercream icing (or fondant, as the case may be). Next, I carefully remove the paper. Now, I'm able to re-trace the outline of the image with colored piping gel or icing and begin filling in the design with stars, just like I would have done if had used the shaped character pan.

Monday, August 20, 2007

professional photos

(photos by Jesse Garrett)

I think I mentioned in my previous post about this wedding cake that the caterer had put artificial flowers all over it by the time I came back to take pictures with my camera. (Her reaction when I returned to the reception hall was a surprised, "Oh... you're back!")

The way I see it, it was their cake and they're entitled to do whatever they want with it. The bride just never told me that they planned to put flowers on it. It looked fine, though. I was bummed, not because they did it, but because I didn't get to take my pictures before they did it.
But then I remembered that the wedding photographer, Jesse Garrett, was standing right there ready to snap some photos the very minute that I finished piping icing on that cake. I had planned to contact the bride when she returned from her honeymoon next week and ask for his contact information, but I happened to run into him myself on Monday night. And he was gracious enough to e-mail me the pictures he took.

So look! I have professional portraits of my first wedding cake (in its pre-floral state)! Lucky me!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

my first wedding cake

It's finished! After a full week of baking, mixing, piping, and STRESSING OUT! my first wedding cake is finally finished. I've made 3 cakes in a week before, but this was like doing 3 cakes in a day! And THEN we had to transport it, assemble it (NOT an easy task!), and finish the borders and topper. WHEW!

I forgot my camera when we delivered the cake to the church, but I went back about 1/2 hour before the wedding to take some pictures, and they had put lace and greenery around the base, and pink silk flowers cascading down the cake. So, I can't take credit for those. Anyway, here are a few photos:

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Barbie cakes

... I made this cake for a fellow youth leader's daughter. I still have this pan, though, and I love the plastic Barbie face and bodice that you have to decorate into the cake. I love it because I don't have to worry about making the face look just like Barbie, and wonder if the little girl will recognize who it's supposed to be.

... for another fellow youth leader's daughter. How funny! This was early on in my cake decorating career, before I got really lazy. So yes, I did make all of those roses myself!

milestone birthdays

... for my cousin's Sweet 16. The top tier was half of the 3-D ball cake pan. I was only slightly lazy at this point - still made the rose myself, but only made one!

... for my Dad's 50th birthday. We had a 50's theme party, so I made this jukebox cake out of an "over the hill" tombstone pan!

... for my grandmother's 75th celebration. I just loved the color combination on this one.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

baby shower cakes

... for my sister's first baby shower in 1998. It's supposed to look like a mobile, with the letters of her baby's name "C-L-A-Y" dangling from the top tier. Adorable. The top tier was a "dummy" made of styrofoam, because I didn't need that much cake, and I was afraid actual cake wouldn't hold up those sticks.

... for my aunt's co-worker (years ago). I love making the keepsake booties from marshmallows and royal icing. My Aunt Cyndi used to make them for many of her baby shower cakes too. They dry and harden, and they can be kept forever.

...for my other sister's first baby shower in 2000. It was supposed to look like a quilt, but the colors came out much brighter than I had anticipated. I made the little figures on top from candy melts because I hadn't discovered fondant yet.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

clowning around

Both of these cakes were made for work-study students who worked in my office when I worked for Grand Canyon University.

The first one is interesting because I had seen some kind of pattern where you bake a round cake and a square cake to make a clown shape. Obviously, I cut up the square cake for the hat and collar. Then I just had to ice it, put borders on, and decorate with M&Ms (carefully making sure the Ms were not visible, of course).

The second one used the little plastic clown heads, but the clown bodies are made entirely out of icing. They taught us this technique in my Wilton Cake Decorating I class in 1996. That's also where I learned about the klassy technique known as bag striping. You take a paintbrush and stripe the bag with icing color(s), and then fill the bag with white (or another color) icing. When you squeeze it out through the tip, it gives a stripey-swirly effect. And yes, that's the technical term. There will be a quiz later, so write it down.

Awww... y'all know I'm just clowning around!

Monday, July 30, 2007

3-D cakes

These cakes are all examples of cakes I've done with 3-D elements on them. The first is a square cake with a Spiderman head for my sweet nephew's 3rd birthday. I made the head part with an egg-shaped pan, and set it diagonally on top of a square cake. Next is a soccer cake I made for a fellow youth leader. It's a round cake with half of a ball cake on top. He raved about that cake for years. Next, there's a doll cake - always cute. And lastly, there's a golf ball cake, but I can't remember who I made that particular one for. I remember struggling to find some household item with which to make the dimples on the golf ball, but I don't remember what I actually ended up using. Gotta love the green-colored coconut I used for the grass!

pseudo-wedding cake

Here's a cake I made for a couple at our church when they renewed their wedding vows. I'm showing it here mostly because it's the only cake I've made using the Garden Cake Stand that my mom bought for my sister's wedding. She saved it, and I used it for this cake. My dad just brought the stand to me all the way from Arizona when he visited a couple weeks ago. Thanks, Dad!
Also, you might notice that I decorated the top tier of the stand with a coordinating candle and floral arrangement instead of making another cake or a dummy cake to go on top. I thought it was pretty creative.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

coming soon... first wedding cake! I'm very excited (and a little nervous, if I'm being honest) to be doing my first wedding cake next month.

The wedding is August 18th -- just 3 weeks away! Be sure to check back for pictures.

(Oh yeah, and I have two birthday cakes to do the following week!)

Friday, July 27, 2007

cakes of all shapes & sizes!

Today, I scanned in most of the cake photos from my album and uploaded them HERE. There are all types of cakes to see -- bridal & baby showers, kids' birthdays, adults' birthdays, graduation, characters, sports, etc.

You can enjoy looking through the slideshow until I have a chance to get them organized into different posts for each group. Every cake has a story, you know!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

everything's coming up daisies!

Here are a few shots of my newest creation... a bridal shower cake for my neighbor's cousin, Heather. She's having daisies in her wedding bouquet, and her bridesmaids' dresses are a peachy-coral color, so we made the daisies on the cake peach, mauve and green. I like the layered effect - it gives the cake an elegant, but whimsical look.

One other new thing I tried this time - a pastry cream filling. It's like a vanilla custard, and it's really delicious. Sorry you can't see it in the pictures. Hope they like it. Maybe I'll get to do the wedding cake next month!

Friday, July 20, 2007

joining in

Today, while I was decorating a bridal shower cake, Hayden and her friend Allie wanted to join in the fun. I had an extra layer and some leftover fondant from a previous cake, so I let them decorate their own together. Here are the results:

They called it a "Play-do" cake because fondant feels like Play-Doh. They also wrote and drew pictures on the cake with FoodWriters (edible markers). Then we all ate a piece. Cute and yummy!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

bridal shower cakes

These are the three bridal shower cakes I've done in the past. For my sister, my mom's co-worker, and a close family friend.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

dairy-free cakes

Something most people might not know is that I am able to make cakes and icing without using dairy products. My friend in Arizona has a daughter who is really allergic to milk, so she can't just go to the local bakery and buy cakes. They liked my cakes better anyway, and they didn't only have a few designs to choose from. I would do whatever design they wanted. So, twice a year, for her daughters' birthdays, she would give me the party invitation or napkin, and I would copy it.

Here are a few examples:

My two favorites are the butterfly one with the ladybug toddler cake and the Veggie Tales cake. Those ones and the Blue's Clues cake were all done freehand. There's a funny story about the Spirit cake, though. I didn't have a horse pan, so I decided to do a transfer. I made the square cake and spray-painted the blue for the sky. To get the image of Spirit the horse, I had to go to the official movie website and play a bunch of silly games in order to be able to "win" coloring pages to print out! I think there were 4 different designs, and I won three of them before I got one I could actually use on a cake! The things I'll do for my friends...

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Princess Castle Cake

Here's the latest cake I've done. I saw this castle kit on the Wilton website recently, and I've been so excited to get my hands on it and try it out. It was definitely worth the $19.95 at Michael's. I didn't even use all of the pieces on this cake. It has 12 towers with removable turrets, 6 windows, a door, and a main roof peak. I have a feeling I might wish there were more windows someday. We'll see...

Anyway, it was fairly easy to decorate the plastic pieces - just used icing and edible glitter/colored sugar sprinkles.

Oh yeah, and this is what I look like at 2AM when I finish a cake fit for a princess. It didn't really have to keep me up that late, but I am a night owl by nature. I just should have baked the cakes and gotten the castle supplies the day before. Then I could have gotten to the decorating earlier in the day and gone to bed before midnight. The cake actually only took about 3 hours to decorate once I got going on it.
I just hope nothing happens to it when I deliver it! (It's on the same street, several houses down from mine.) Just pray that I don't have a "cake-tastrophe"!! Sorry for the weird lighting issues on the pictures - I don't know what's up with my camera.