Sunday, November 20, 2011

Golden Anniversary cake

My friend approached me several months ago about making a cake, and I was already booked on the weekend she needed it, so it didn't work out for me to help her out that time.  She recently called me again about making a cake for her in-laws' 50th wedding anniversary. I couldn't very well tell her "no" twice, so we got together to talk about cake designs.

The couple of honor is German, and Germans LOVE their desserts, so this cake will be the centerpiece among many desserts at the reception.  My friend decided she didn't want anything too fancy or flowery, and she quickly fell in love with this quilted fondant pattern. Only the one in the magazine was white and had colorful flowers on it, so we looked for other options to decorate the top of the cake and came up with a bow. She was fine with the cake being white, but wanted to incorporate gold in the design somehow.

The cake inside was white chocolate with raspberry preserve filling.  I have never had good luck with fruit fillings, and this time was no exception.   I put a few rows of icing around the outside border of the bottom layer before spreading the raspberry preserves.  Then I stacked the layers of the bottom cake (9" round) and put a crumb coat of icing on it. When I tried to put the second coat of buttercream on the cake, it seemed unstable, and the filling was trying to escape and leak out.  The icing between the layers kept bulging out and making the cake look slumpy.  I was so worried that I was going to have to re-do the bottom tier, especially after adding more weight by putting a layer of fondant AND a second tier on top of it.

But, as you can see, the fondant ended up holding the cake together after all.  I used a roller to make the criss-cross pattern in the sides of the fondant. Then, I stacked the tiers, sprayed them with edible gold paint, and piped the white border around the bottom of each tier. Hayden helped me attach all of the sugar pearls. I assembled the gumpaste strips into the bow on top and attached the gold "50" to the gumpaste heart and outlined it with pearls too.  After it was dry, I flipped it over and attached a flat stick to the back with candy melts.

I was really pleased with the way this cake design came together.  My friend was thrilled with it too!  Can't wait to hear how much the Germans enjoyed it!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Masquerade Cake

My friend's daughter was turning 13 and having a fancy masquerade party with all of her girlfriends this weekend.  They all got dolled up in dresses and masks with feathers and sequins.  The birthday girl picked out this gorgeous mask as the theme of her cake. I will admit that I was a little intimidated by the color scheme of black and gold, especially since they didn't originally request fondant. When I said that I wasn't sure that I could accomplish the design they wanted in the colors they wanted with buttercream, my friend wanted to be sure she wouldn't be missing out on my icing.  Once I assured her that there would be plenty of buttercream icing under the fondant (and agreed to bring her a bowl of icing), she said that I could use fondant.

Of course (just keepin' it real...), it wasn't all smooth sailing, especially since this was the weekend that I took on TWO cake projects, and procrastinated on both of them all week because I wasn't feeling well and had no energy.  I finished the bridal shower cake late Friday night, and began making the fondant for this one on Saturday morning. For some still-unknown reason, the powdered sugar would NOT incorporate into the melted marshmallows, and my KitchenAid stand mixer was proving to be inadequately small for the job. So, I ended up running to Michael's and using a 50% off coupon to buy fondant as a last resort. Ugh.

The cake was white chocolate with buttercream filling, and I covered the cake in white fondant, sprayed it with edible gold paint, and added black fondant stripes and border. There is a dome-shaped cake underneath the mask, which is covered in black fondant. I added the feathers for a little extra flair. I wanted to be a little fancier, but was running short on time, so I had to call this the finished product this time.  The good news is that the cake was a big hit and the birthday girl loved it! That makes me happy.

Wedding Dress Cake

It can be really fun when clients have a photo of the exact cake that they want, and want me to re-create it! The photo that my friend Joanna sent me had a pink background, and a plain-er dress, but the bride-to-be's color scheme is black & pink, so I had to find a way to incorporate the black into this very feminine design.  I added sugar crystals to the bodice for some sparkle, and some edible pearls to the skirt for some elegance.  The cake itself was white chocolate with pink buttercream filling between the layers (to match the flowers, of course)!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Girly cake

This birthday girl LOVES anything pink, so I tried my best to imitate the colors on her party invitation. I hear it was a BIG hit!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Photo cake

For my son's 16th birthday, he wanted a cake that represented his swimming.  I found a photo that my dad had taken at one of his swim meets last year, a profile of Nate in his swim cap and goggles.  We took it to Publix (grocery store) on a USB drive, and they printed it on edible paper with edible ink for $8. All I had to do was ice the cake and put the sheet on top and pipe a border around the edge.

I made some edible goggles by pressing some black fondant into a pair of his goggles and painting the front with silver luster dust (mixed with clear vanilla).  Voila!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Quinceañera cake

My friend's neighbor had a daughter who was about to turn 15.  The neighbor is from Puerto Rico, and in her culture, that is the age where they celebrate with a quinceañera.  It's kind of like a mini-wedding because there is a church service where they have a ceremony rededicating the girl to the Lord, as well as acknowledging her becoming a young woman. The ceremony is followed by a big reception celebration.

Joy chose to have a Hollywood theme to her reception, and wanted her cake to reflect that theme with a red carpet and lots of glitz and glamour.  They had purchased the figure in Puerto Rico and wanted to incorporate that somehow as well. Joy brought me several photos of cakes that she liked, and I tried to combine most of the ideas as well as make it her own.

When I delivered the cake to the country club where her reception was being held, the staff raved about it.  I later got a note from my friend who photographed the event and also from Joy herself letting me know how much they loved the cake. That made me feel really good. :)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Wedding cake

This is the wedding cake I did for my friend's daughter's wedding in August.
I enlarged the photo so you could see some of the detail.
Everyone was really happy with the outcome of the design, including me!
This is definitely the largest cake I've ever made, but I was very confident in the structure and support that I used this time. The only nerve-wracking part was transporting it OVER AN HOUR from home to the reception hall!

Don't you just love the beautiful wooden cake stand that the bride's father made?
I think it was the perfect way to showcase this beautiful cake.
I just felt bad for my husband & son who had to carry the cake in from the car, because it was so very heavy! The stand itself wasn't solid, but still probably almost weighed 10 pounds before any cake was added to it. Then, four two-layer tiers of cake, with however-many batches of buttercream icing that I had to make to fill, cover and decorate this enormous cake.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Cake Batter Pancakes

So... my youngest daughter had a birthday recently, and her request for a special breakfast was for me to make Cake Batter Pancakes.  We had seen the recipe (and compelling photos!) on a fun blog called "How Sweet It Is." Those sprinkles were just too much to resist, especially for such a special occasion!

At first, I made the recipe exactly as it was written, but after the first set cooked, they were thin and rubbery, so I added more cake mix and some more milk until I thought it looked right. (Sorry I can't give you exact measurements.) It probably just depends on the type of cake mix you use.  Plus, I wanted to make more than the recipe on the blog predicted it would yield.  I do have a teenage boy to feed, after all.  Oh, and I may or may not have added a bunch more sprinkles to the batter at the last minute. But that's neither here nor there...

Everybody was really pleased with the final results! (...especially the birthday girl!) Definite cake batter flavor, but the actual pancakes were not overly sweet. LOVED the glaze, but it would probably also be good with whipped cream topping.  For some extra-special birthday fun, we stuck in a few candles and sang the birthday song to the birthday girl!

Here is the MOST IMPORTANT thing about making Cake Batter Pancakes, no matter what day you make them:  Whatever you do, DO NOT EVER, under ANY circumstances, omit the sprinkles!!!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Wild Cake

So, my girls decided to have a joint slumber party to celebrate their birthdays this month.  They sent out an E-vite that was purple with leopard print letters.  When we were deciding what kind of activities to do for their party, we discusses lots of "make-your-own" stuff: pizzas, tie-dye pillowcases, cupcakes, sundaes, donuts, etc.  Well, it all started to sound very time-consuming and labor-intensive (for ME) and just-plain-messy, so I tried to steer them away from a few of the "make-your-own" things.  We still did individual pizzas, and tie-dyeing.  But just regular cake & ice cream at night, and make-ahead cinnamon rolls for breakfast.  Thank goodness!

Anyway, in order to further simplify the cake, I asked them if they would like me to use one of the new products from Duff Goldman's line of cake supplies called a "Cake Tattoo."  Basically, it's an edible strip of material with a printed design on it. You wrap it around a buttercream-iced cake and VOILA! You can also use it to top cupcakes or cookies if you cut the strip into circles. 

I found that the hardest part of using the Cake Tattoo was getting it to go on straight.  I was pressed for time, so mine didn't turn out very straight at all, although you can't really tell that in the photo.  But, on the plus side, the tattoo did not affect the texture or the taste of the cake or icing at all, in my opinion. 

It might take some more practice, but I would definitely try using Cake Tattoos again!  It definitely got LOTS of "Ooooohs" and "Aaaahs" from all the girls at the party (and the moms who saw it too)!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Royal Wedding Cake

I didn't watch the Royal Wedding live last night, but I've been having fun searching out clips online this morning.  The bride & groom were stunning, and seem to be a loving couple. I definitely wish them many years of happiness.

I've also been anxiously awaiting photos of the Royal Wedding cake.  I finally found my first glimpse, and can't wait to see more close-ups and hear more details.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Grannymom's Rose Cake

So, at Sam's birthday party (see the giant donut cake in the previous post), many people "Ooohed and Aaahed" about the cake.  So fun! So creative! So amazing! So yummy! So SAM!  My friend Sara approached me and asked if I could make a cake for her mother's 84th birthday the following weekend. She's one of those easygoing people who gave me complete artistic freedom.  No theme, no set color scheme. We talked and decided on the flavors - chocolate cake with buttercream icing. She was afraid her mother had never had fondant and wouldn't like it much.

So.  If you don't know me very well, you might not be aware that decision making is NOT my strong suit.  But, if I see the right idea, I will immediately know it's perfect.  It's like when we were shopping for seating for our home theater room. I searched high and low for just the right sectional - size, shape, color, fabric, cost. But something was always "off." Until December 23rd, when I was walking through Costco. I saw it like a light from heaven was shining down.  The perfect chocolate brown wedge sectional at just the right price. I called my husband over for a look, and the decision was made then and there, in less than 10 seconds. No regrets whatsoever. So happy, but I digress....

I searched all my usual places for Grannymom's cake ideas.  I looked on Cake Central, I flipped through several Wilton yearbooks.  Even thought of doing a cupcake pull-apart in the shape of the number "84." (Cheesy, I know, but I was running out of time!)  Then, out of the blue, a friend in Arizona sent me a link to a blog called "i am baker."  The post that she linked had the most stunning cake of solid roses.  Y'all... it was LOVE at first sight!  I knew this was the cake that I had to make for Grannymom.

And I hear that she loved it, which is all that matters to me.  

By the way... I think this cake design would be just LOVELY for a Mother's Day brunch, a Bridal Shower, or even a Wedding! Couldn't you just imagine tiers of this design all in white, or even different shades or colors? It would be stunning! Know anyone who's getting married soon?


My wonderful friend Holly sent me an invitation to her son's birthday party, and I immediately replied and said I hoped she'd let me make his cake. Sam is such a great kid, and I knew this would be a fun project.  His initial ideas for his cake involved something called Beyblades. He tried to explain them to me.  They're toys (like spinning tops) that battle each other in plastic arenas that resemble a kitty litter box (or so I'm told). Waaaayyy beyond my limited comprehension!

So, one day, Holly calls me up and announces that she has the PERFECT idea for Sam's cake. A giant donut!! Sam LOVES donuts... you don't even know how much.  Anyway, I was very excited about the idea... my creative juices immediately started flowing.  We decided to keep it a BIG surprise. And I'm so glad we did, because the expression on his face was just priceless!  He said, "It's a GIGANTIC CAKE OF AWESOMENESS!!!"

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Jill's Dragonfly cake

Our good friend Jimmy called me up and requested that I make a cake for his wife's birthday.  The only two ideas he gave me were that she's a huge Georgia Tech fan, and she LOVES dragonflies.

I searched Cake Central's website and saw a cake with these beautiful dragonflies with shimmery wings made of GELATIN, of all things!  Long story short, I tried to make the gelatin wings, but they didn't really come together very well. Maybe some other time.

So, I kept looking for other ideas. Found another design on CC that featured dragonflies made of royal icing. Easy enough, right?


I made approximately 30 dragonflies for this cake the night before (so they would dry). They were soooooooooooooooo delicately fragile, too fragile for words.  If I would pick one up, it would break. If I would move one, it would break. If I would touch one, it would break! If I would breathe on one, it would break! If I would so much as LOOK at one, it would break!

OK, so maybe I'm being "slightly dramatic," but I kid you NOT, I was down to 3 or 4 dragonflies from the night before.  I made some more, bringing my total number of dragonflies to around 50, and hoping against all hope that they would be dry enough before the party that they wouldn't break.  Well, I ended up with a whopping 7 dragonflies attached to the finished cake.  One of which I broke when I picked up the cake on my way out the door! Luckily I was able to fix it on the spot, and we had a wonderful celebration.

I would also like to mention that this was my first successful attempt at using my Cricut Cake machine for the lettering on this cake.  I learned a few things from trial and error, and got really lucky this time. I think it looks pretty nice, don't you?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Minnie Mouse cake

A mom whose kids are on the same summer league swim team as my kids sent me a facebook message earlier this week saying that she needed a birthday cake for her youngest daughter's third birthday party this weekend.  So, I asked her to send me the photo of a cake she said she had found online and loved.  I was delighted to see this fun Minnie Mouse theme, and re-create it for them.

This was my very first attempt at MAKING my own fondant, and I have to say, I was really pleased with the results.  I used the recipe from Peggy Weaver's Baking Corner.  I followed the directions exactly for the first batch that I made, and it made good fondant, but a HUGE mess!!  For the second batch, I mixed it in my KitchenAid stand mixer with the dough hook.  Much better!