Tuesday, June 26, 2007

practice cakes

These are a couple pictures I found of the cakes I made for my Wilton class back in 1996. They taught us how to do transfers and different flower techniques, including roses and rosebuds/sweet peas. Looking back, I guess I didn't do too badly on the flowers at the time, but I'm SO out of practice ... that was 11 years ago! I have avoided doing these more difficult flowers whenever possible. I really need to start trying them again. I'm supposed to do a bridal shower cake next month for my neighbor's cousin. Lord knows I have plenty of leftover icing from this weekend to practice with! I suppose I should put it to good use.

The transfers can be fun, and they're surprisingly easy to do. If you have an image (like from a coloring book or something), you can trace it with piping gel (I usually use clear, just in case I mess up), flip it into position on your iced cake and fill it with stars (tip 21) to make it look like whatever character you transferred. You can then re-trace the piping gel in black (or any other color) gel or icing for a more defined image.

Monday, June 25, 2007

How I got started...

As far back as I can remember, my Aunt Cyndi (my Dad's sister) used to make the most deliciously beautiful cakes. She made birthday cakes, graduation cakes, holiday cakes ... cakes for just about any occasion. She even made my wedding cake in 1993. But Aunt Cyndi had cancer, and she passed away in March, 1996. Shortly after that, our family had a dilemma: Now that Cyndi was gone, who would make cakes for our family gatherings to celebrate birthdays and other life events? Sounds silly, I know, but it was a real problem for our family because we had been so spoiled in that area. We couldn't bring ourselves to just go to the grocery store buy a cake with zero personality.

So, later that year, I took a cake decorating class at Michael's with my Mom and my Aunt Trish. I think it cost about $10, and it was 4 sessions. We all learned the basics, but in the end Mom & Aunt Trish decided that I was going to be the new designated family cake-maker.

Now I have a whole album full of pictures of cakes I've made for my friends and family. Even some for money. And as frustrated and stressed out as I get every time I make a cake, it's still a creative outlet for me. My edible multi-sensory art. A unique creation to be enjoyed. And, I know that just like every person, every cake has a story. So I thought a cake decorating blog would be a perfectly fun way to share those stories with others.

Anyway, I started the cake blog today, but there will be other posts that appear earlier and later than this date. If I can remember, I may make the post dates coincide with when the cakes were made, so they'll appear in chronological order. Or maybe I'll categorize them according to who they were made for. Not sure yet. So, stay tuned ... and feel free to browse around. I hope that you enjoy watching my adventures in cake decorating!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

here's what 10 pounds of powdered sugar looks like

I was slammed with cakes this weekend! Both of my daughters had birthdays this week, as well as my neighbor's son, Chase (my son's best friend). If I don't see another cake for a while, I'll be fine.

The first one I did was for my daughter, Hayden Beth , who turned 5 on Monday. She wanted a Strawberry Shortcake cake, chocolate on the inside. My in-laws were in town and we had the neighbors over to celebrate with us. Hayden was hanging around the kitchen all day long trying to get a taste of the icing! I took this picture thinking I was finished, but it was just wishful thinking. I'm so goofy that way. I'll have to post an updated picture later (when I find it) with the hair and freckles added. For now, this one will have to suffice:

The second cake I made was for Chase's 14th birthday party on Saturday. He chose a golf-themed cake from my Wilton Idea Book (2006). I modified it a little because I figured teenagers wouldn't like a fully-covered fondant cake. So, for the blue sky, I used the recipe for Wilton's Quick-Pour Fondant (p.111).

(I had major writer's block about the message.) Nothing better than chocolate cake and buttercream icing!

Last but not least, the third cake was for my other daughter, Kirstyn, who turned 7 on Sunday. She had chosen an Ariel (Little Mermaid) cake. I like the way it looks, and it was very yummy. (Kirstyn chose Lemon flavored cake - one of my favorites, especially in the summertime.) But I must say that character cakes are not my favorite thing to make. The stars get a bit tedious for me. I actually made the red icing this time, since I needed a bunch of it. I used liquid red food coloring (lots of it!) and a little orange paste coloring. When I quit mixing it, I had to add a little more powdered sugar so it wasn't too thin. And it wasn't quite as bright as I wanted it to be, but it did brighten after it dried, as I hoped it would. Here's the finished product:

Kirstyn said, "I want a piece with her flower."
Hayden said, "I want part of her bra!"

Now this weekend just seems like a crazy, sugary dream with a bunch of happy kiddos. My kitchen is cleaned up (miraculously)! Except for a couple of decorating bags and tips. So I'm not complaining.

UPDATED TO ADD: I finally found a picture of Hayden with her finished Strawberry Shortcake cake. Really, the hair and freckles make all the difference. We couldn't have a bald SS now could we? I know y'all were dying to see it. Here you go...