Monday, November 29, 2010

My BIG birthday present

So, Saturday was my birthday (39, if you must know), and I was NOT prepared for the HUGE surprise my husband sprung on me!  How I had done cake decorating for years without knowing this particular machine existed before seeing Costco's Black Friday ad, I have no idea.  Because it's AMAZING.

It's called a Cricut Cake. And he got me the Martha Stewart version!  If you've been under a rock like me, it's a machine that cuts creative designs out of fondant, gumpaste, cookie dough, frosting sheets, etc. Basically anything thin and flat and edible. Tortillas even. In case you want some butterfly shaped tortilla chips.

I'm in heaven... I cannot wait to try it out!  I think it's safe to say this gadget may take my cakes to a whole new level of FUN, so STAY TUNED!

More than all that, though, it touched my heart to know that my husband believes my cake decorating is worthy of such an investment.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Green Eggs & Ham

My friend's son requested a Dr. Seuss party for his birthday this year, and he liked a picture of a "Green Eggs & Ham" cake.  I'm hoping he goes crazy for the real thing... Here are some shots from the party.

Even the inside is green!

"I do, I like them, Sam I Am!"

Monday, October 25, 2010

Life at 40's a Beach!

A friend-of-a-friend was turning 40 this weekend, and I got recruited by her husband to make a cake for her surprise party.  He told me that he tasted the cake I made for my friend's daughter (the Tinkerbell's Teapot cake) - OVER A YEAR AGO - and remembered it when he was thinking about throwing this party.  What a compliment!

Anyhoo... his wife loves the beach and loves to read books by the author Jan Karon (ex: The Mitford Series).  So, I tried to incorporate a little of both with the scene on this cake.  Sparkling gel for the ocean water, sand made of Nilla wafer crumbs and brown sugar sifted together, beach accessories made of fondant, beach umbrella made of white chocolate covered in fondant, and a few gumpaste seashells.

Yep. That's about it.  I hear the cake was a big hit, everyone loved it (especially the birthday girl), and there were no leftovers. Always a good sign.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Birthday on the RUN!

So I got a phone call from our good friend across the cul-de-sac who wanted to throw his wife a surprise party for her birthday.  He gave me complete freedom as far as the cake was concerned, so it's a good thing that I know the birthday girl really well.  I did have her kids come over and confirm that my idea was fitting, so after the go-ahead from them, I got down to business.

She loves to go running; she does the 3-day walk for breast cancer every year; she has a treadmill in her house that she actually uses (*gasp!*).  So, now I just had to figure out HOW to present a cake with running shoes.  When I baked the cake, I intended to make the base look like a treadmill.  But, it didn't quite work out because I didn't really want the cake black, and I didn't want to cover it in fondant (because she doesn't really like it that much, and neither do I), plus I simply didn't have the time to make it work.

My brilliant husband, who patiently watches episodes of "Cake Boss" and "Ace of Cakes" and all of the Food Network Cake Challenges with me, has obviously caught on to a few cake decorating tips and tricks (by osmosis, I suppose...), because he suggested making the shoes out of rice-krispie treats - just like the pros do. One advantage to doing this is that the decorations are lightweight and don't sink down into the icing or the cake.

No time to practice, just jump in with both feet!  I baked the cake, made the icing, bought the fondant, and made a recipe of Rice-Krispie treats.  Only then did I realize that they were HOT, and I needed to let them cool before trying to shape the shoes.  Not just because I'd burn my hands, but they were so sticky, and they would melt the fondant as soon as it came into contact with it.

Got the general shape of the shoes, including the hole where you'd put your foot. 
They look a little bit like clogs in their natural state, don't you think? :^)

Just the shoes.  I like how they turned out.
The color scheme came together very well, I thought. 


Here you can kind see the stripes better...

And the birthday girl loved her cake.

The end.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Kirstyn's PEACEcakes!

My middle daughter, Kirstyn, is turning 10 today!  She LOVES anything with a peace sign on it... clothes, jewelry, paper, stickers, artwork, toys... you get the idea.
So, her cake design this year was kind of a no-brainer.  Behold... PEACEcakes!

She wanted me to wait and make her "real" birthday cake this weekend, when my Dad comes to visit, but she also wanted to take some birthday treats to her gymnastics class tonight, so... voila!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Hayden Day!

This was Hayden's first reaction when she saw the birthday cake I made her today.  I know she looks a little scared, but she really was excited!  You see, she had drawn me FIVE different cake designs for her birthday, and finally settled on this one.  It was a tough choice, because she had a theatre cake, an artist's palette cake, a fashion designer cake, a dressing room door cake, and the rainbow cake.

The cake itself is chocolate fudge cake with Nutella filling.  If you know Hayden, you know she is a Nutella FANATIC! So, she was in heaven!

Hayden liked this cake so much, she said she wants to use it as a design to redecorate her room! Uh-oh!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

We all live in a YELLOW SUBMARINE...

My neighbor has seen my cakes on my Facebook profile, and recently decided to ask me to make her daughter's birthday cake.  I was so honored that she would think of me when she wanted such a special and creative cake.  When she told me her soon-to-be-4-year-old little girl wanted a cake resembling The Beatles' Yellow Submarine, I was really surprised!

I must admit, I had to do some extensive research for this one.  I haven't ever seen the movie or the album cover.  I checked out first, and thought, "Goodness! How am I going to make THAT into cake?!"  Then I went straight to to see if anyone else had some cake submarine ideas I could incorporate.  Then, of course, I consulted my husband for the "engineering" portion of the design process. Because he's truly brilliant. (For some reason, it took me forever to wrap my brain around the shape.) And, last-minute, but not least, I had my teenage son fire up the Beatles' Rock Band and show me the "Yellow Submarine" song.

Here are a few photos of the details...

Scrolling on the bow, British flag & propeller on the stern, fondant periscopes on the top.

As far as the structure, this cake was a bit more complicated than most.  The main part of the body was two layers.  I baked a large rectangle cake and a contoured race car shaped cake.  Then, I baked a 10-inch round cake and a 6-inch round cake.  I put the race car on top of the rectangle, and carved them to be the same size.  I also used part of the leftover rectangle pieces to make the triangle-shaped tail.  I cut the larger round cake in half to make the sides, and put the smaller cake on top.  I should've taken a photo of it before I decorated it.  It almost looked like a whale.

Oh, and one last request from the birthday girl.  It has to say, "Happy birthday, RINGO!"

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Lightning Thief cake

My friend's son  is really into the "Percy Jackson and the Olympians" stories, and his 10th birthday was around the time that the movie came out.  Our families were celebrating his birthday together, so I decided to attempt a Percy Jackson cake for him.  (Can I deduct my movie ticket as "research"?)

So, Sam just wanted white cake, and I went with a round shape, because I'm lazy like that.  I attempted to make the sides look like big waves (using a star tip 21), and use Wilton blue Sparkle Gel for the water on top of the cake.  The Percy Jackson figure is made out of fondant, with red icing for piping Sam's name on the back, and his age on the front.  If you haven't seen the movie, that's a lightning bolt he's holding up.

He looked pretty cool when we lit the ring of fire - um, I mean candles - around him.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

on the WINGS of Love...

Here's a REALLY PINK heart-shaped cake I made for our homeschool group's Valentine's Day party this week.  Obviously, it's a heart-shaped, two-layer chocolate cake.  I was feeling fancy, so I used cherry pie filling in between the layers for a "black forest" effect.

I really didn't mean for the icing to turn out that bright, but oh well.  I used Wilton's storebought red icing to do the piping and the flower centers.  Then I added sugar pearls to each flower around the top border for a special touch.

It tasted wonderful, but the top layer was pretty heavy, and the pie filling was under a LOT of pressure!  It kept wanting to bleed through the icing around the sides of the cake.  I had to patch several leaks, and I finally gave up! Also, the top layer kept trying to slide off of the bottom layer while I was cutting and serving it.  Very messy!

Oh, and the corny inscription wording is because our homeschool group is called W.I.N.G.S. (which stands for: "Wise Instructors Need Group Support!")  Even though it was technically a "cake-tastrophe," it got rave reviews and several requests for "seconds" (who shall remain nameless)!