Monday, December 26, 2011

Princess Castle Cake.

This is what dominated most of my week last week. This was for twins Hadley and Kennedy, both turning 4. They had a huge princess party, where Snow White even showed up for. So for such a big party you need a big cake right? I was shocked at how long the towers/ turrets took me to make. And on top of that, how much fondant it took to cover them. On top of that, this is definitely the most tricky cake I've ever had to transfer. I actually took it in pieces, and assembled most of it there. There is maybe a few little things I would have done differently, but in the end I was happy with how it turned out. Here's to hoping I don't have to do one of those for awhile. :)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Chocolate Ganache cake.

This was my first time making chocolate ganache. I was wanting to do something without fondant, and I wanted something extra yummy, so of course something with chocolate was the winner. I love trying new recipes, and I found this one called too much strawberry cake. So I tried it out and it was delish! So this is my too much strawberry cake, with strawberry filling, vanilla buttercream, covered in chocolate ganache, and whipped ganache frosting. The ganache is actually very easy, for those of you who haven't tried it. You melt chocolate and heavy cream, till it's smooth and the right consistency. It pours out so smooth. And then to reach a frosting consistency, I whipped it up, with a bit of powdered sugar.
For the words and the hearts, I used straight chocolate. (You have to be careful when you do this, they're quite fragile) I mad a few extra names just in case. I got the idea from a friend who said, "Who wouldn't want to see their name in chocolate?" Well I loved it, it was super tasty, and pretty.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Boston Red Sox cake.

My brother in law, is, of course, a Red Sox fan. He lived in Boston for awhile, so naturally is a fan. I myself, have even been to Yawkey Way, and walked by the Green Monster. So when his birthday came up, I of course thought of doing something to do with the Sox.
Cutting out the little sox, and the big B, by hand was a bit of a pain. And could have looked better, I'm sure. But I did my best. I did really like the stitching detail I created, I thought it made it look much more real.
The one thing that bothered me with this cake is the bill. I formed it on top of my own Red Sox hat, but it didn't dry perfectly. And although it was the same color of fondant, it dried looking like a completely different color, I guess because it dried for four days longer.
Other than that, I thought it was fun cake, and I liked the little details.
Go Sox!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Lightening Mcqueen cake

I got a call for this one at a busy time, I was making two other cakes and had an important funeral to go to. The idea of doing it was a bit daunting, but it was for one of my best cake clients, so I had to do it.
This was my first car cake ever, and I was nervous about how to carve it. In the end I like how it turned out. I wasn't sure how much cake I needed to make, so here's a few instructions of how I did it: I used one and a half of my usual yummy chocolate cake recipe. I baked in my 9x13 rectangle, and also baked one bread pan size. (This was not necessary, you could just use the 9x13, but I was glad I had made more than just the regular recipe.)
Once cool, I cut the cake 7 inches wide and added some (using the scraps) for the roof and the back, and then carved to make the car shape.
My husband pointed out that the tires should have been bigger, (in fact, they were really small, and I made them bigger, but next time I might make them even bigger)
I did leave out a few details, because I decided if you know you can't make them look perfect, then don't put them on at all. But I think in the end it turned out great, and it was not scary at all, like I thought it might be.
Hopefully the birthday boy liked it too!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Paul Frank Cake

The other day we had a big day, with two family birthdays, and a funeral as well. But the show must go on, so I of course made the cakes anyway. So here is cake number one for the day.
If my memory serves me right, this little guy's name is Julius. My sister in law, Tayler, as you can see has always been a big fan of the Paul Frank brand. Now I have to say, that she may have moved on a bit in the past few years. But I think she still likes it. (And literally I do not know one other person anywhere with more Paul Frank merchandise than her.) So it's only fitting that she finally get a Julius cake.
I made my homemade vanilla cake, with a lemon buttercream, and a marion berry filling. Of course covered in MMF.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

As Promised

Here's the picture of the yummy pumpkin cake, with cream cheese frosting. Do yourself a favor, and make up a batch, you'll thank me later.
p.s. here is what happens if you leave you platter too close to the edge of the counter......

If you have a two year old that is. Luckily, she only got a few :) Happy baking!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Pumpkin Squares with Cream Cheese Frosting

Ok, I don't have a picture on hand of these, but I wanted to share the yummiest recipe ever, just in time for Thanksgiving. Trust me on this, you want to try out this recipe, you'll thank me later. If you live in the area, this is a take on the pumpkin bars from Old Grist Mill. My friend Chelsie figured this out and now I'm sharing it with you.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

4 eggs
1 2/3 c. sugar
1 c. oil
*16 oz. pumpkin
Beat these ingredients together very well.

2 c. flour
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt

*Most cans of pumpkin are bigger than 16 oz. So my friend said she just uses 2 cups. I have to admit I tend to change recipes a bit, so I use almost the whole can, not the entire thing but almost. I feel it makes it more "pumpkiny," and more moist. So feel free to use 2 cups, or as much as you would like.

Mix well and pour on a greased baking sheet.
Cook for 25 minutes. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

Cream cheese frosting:
1 stick of butter softened
1 8 oz. package of cream cheese softened
1 tsp vanilla
4 c. powdered sugar
whip until fluffy.

The best thing about this recipe, is that it makes quite a lot. Depending on how big you cut the squares, you've got plenty to take around to neighbors, or set out for a christmas party. Try them you'll love them, and you're welcome! :)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Cute Owl Cake

Well, I had my first cake disaster, I was going to take a picture of how bad it turned out. Then I could show how I fixed it. But it was just such a mess, I didn't want to take the time.
Tip #1 If you are sculpting a cake, put a skewer or two down in it, to help it hold it's shape.
Tip #2 Dirty ice your cake and put it in the fridge or freezer for a little bit, to help it hold it's shape.
Confession: on this cake I skipped these steps. And because of that, the cakes inside the fondant started to shift, when I tried to straighten them back up, the fondant wrinkled. Leaving an old, wrinkly, sad, and crooked little owl.
Well of course I'm not going to give a sad looking cake, so remake it I did!

And now look how cute it turned out.
I just love the way owls are all over the place lately, So I had to make one myself. I debated about making it even more colorful, with more stripes or other patterns.
The owl is a super moist carrot cake, with cream cheese frosting.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Turkey cupcakes.

I whipped these out quick for my daughter's pre-school treat. (Note to self, when in a hurry just buy cookies.) I actually had to put the turkey heads in the freezer to harden them up enough, because I was making them so last minute.
If you want to make these, they are super easy. I used the petal tips, 104, 103, and 102. For the Red I used the larger petal tip, then for orange the medium size, and for yellow the smallest. Then I just poked in my little turkey heads,(mmf), (put these on a toothpick for a little added support.) Add the eyes using a small circle tip, a little red gobbler, and a beak. (I used the leaf tip, and pulled it out a bit).
For the frosting I used orange cream-sickle buttercream, which is quickly becoming my fav flavor. Happy turkey days!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Super Cute Halloween Spider

Ok, I love this spider. (Although I have to say, that it was purple and black, and my camera made the purple look blue, just bear with me on that.) I debated all day whether I should put Happy Halloween on the cake board, but finally decided to go without. I just didn't want anything to detract from this cute little guy.
Don't you love the legs, I found out a secrect, that of course I will share. It's called Pocky. What the heck is Pocky? You ask, well, I'll tell you. It is a Japanese stick cookie that is covered in chocolate. (you can get them in different colors as well, like orange, pink, and white, I think.)

My thought is anyone can stick licorice out of a cake and call it spider legs, but this is much cuter, and looks harder. Which in all actuality was not much harder.

Here's what you do:
Cut the extra cookie part off your pocky sticks. Make sure you cut them at an angle. Then melt some chocolate. Use the chocolate to "glue" your two sticks together. Lay them on wax paper. (I put mine in the fridge to help them set faster.) Then wa la! You've got some awesome spider legs. Of course be very careful with them, as you pick them up and put them into your cake.

I was excited about finding these, it gives me all kinds of ideas, I already want to use them as arms for a snowman.

p.s. Pocky can be found at Japanese stores, (I don't have any around me that I know.) I called around to all my local stores, and actually found them at Walmart. And, bonus, they were only $1 for a box. Also the box doesn't tell you how many come in a box. But in my box, there were 21 sticks, just so you know how much to buy.
Happy Halloween everyone.

Monster cupcakes

I know, not a great picture, I literally snapped this picture as we walked out the door of our Halloween party. These cupcakes needed a little more time and attention then they were given, but still a fun little treat.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

GraveYard Cake

Now you can see how it all comes together. The idea for this cake started when, my 4 yr old daughter and I were watching a food network, Halloween themed cake Challenge. She turned to me and said "mom, their cakes are way better than yours, huh?" I admitted that they were, and she decided to sketch me out a cake that would be just as great, and that she would "help me."
So I made all the figures, with toothpicks, so she could poke them in for me. Although it was a bit hard giving the power of the cake over to a 4 year old, especially when you've already spent a bit of time on it. She reminded me, (when I tried to change a few things,) "Mom, this is my cake, and I make the decisions."
There she is, finishing the cake, without my help.
I have loved getting into the hand painting aspect of things lately, I feel like it brings out more details. I was watching The Nightmare Before Christmas, and it was full of wonderful rock walls, so I had to add one last minute, but I think it made a lot of difference.
This is a home made yummy chocolate cake, with vanilla buttercream, modeling chocolate tree, and marshmallow fondant figures.
Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Making Fondant Charachters

These are for a cake I will be making tomorrow. But I wanted to mention a few tips for any beginners who are looking to start trying fondant figures on their own. The great thing about fondant is you can do so many thing with it.
Tip #1 : Get a little dish and put a small amount of crisco in it. ( Pure white, all vegetable)
Tip #2 : Keep a SMALL amount of crisco on your fingers or your fondant will stick.
Tip #3 : If making a bigger figure, make it in separate sections (see my mummy) and put it together later. (The fondant is too soft to try to make it all at once, It might look ok at first, but then can kind of sink.)
tip #4 : Try to do this at Least a day ahead of the time your making your cake. (If you want things to stick straight up, or if your making a bow, you really need a week.)
Tip #5 : Putting toothpicks in them when it's soft, makes it easy later to secure it to the cake, and could save you cracking your figure later, if you try and shove a toothpick in it when it's dry.

(See my mummy? I'll put him together later.
Tip #6 : I put my figures on a clean cookie sheet, or glass plate to dry. If you need something to stay, put it against the edge of the cookie sheet, or use something else to hold it in place.
See on the mummy and the gravestones, I hand painted them. I'm really liking this effect. It gives it more depth and shadowing, and just gives it a little something more than just a flat color I pre-made. Also on the gravestones, I purposefully rolled the fondant to look a little cracky so they would look more old. It's all about the details.

This is my modeling chocolate, spooky tree. I still want to paint him a little to give him some shadowing. The reason why I used chocolate instead, is because he is so big, he'll hold his shape much better.

(Yes I'm aware it's not Christmas, I'm not sure why I put him on my snowflake plate, but oh well.)
See how much fun you can have? The sky is the limit, you can make anything you can think up. So get thinking and creating, and have fun.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

How to make modeling Chocolate

Here's what you need:
10 oz. chocolate
1/3 c. Karo Syrup

Variations : I usually use white chocolate, so I can color it what ever color I need. You can also use candy melts, (although I have never tried it.)

Tip: They say you should use the best quality chocolate you can buy, however, I have used chocolate chips with very good results. (Actually one time I tried to use a really good quality chocolate and for some reason it crumbled all over, and I had to throw it out.) So use whatever works for you.

The steps:
Get your syrup ready, (I like to have a rubber spatula to help scrape it out.)
Melt your chocolate. (Ok now here's where people will tell you to use a double broiler, blah, blah. But I have never had a problem in the microwave. The trick is to heat the chocolate in small increments, and stir it well until it's melted. Be careful or you can burn it.)
Mix your two ingredients together. After you stir for a few seconds it will thicken up to a more clay like substance. As you can see here it will be thick.
Put it in a zip lock baggie, get the air out and seal it up.
Leave it alone for at least 3 hours or so (overnight is fine). I like to leave it on my counter, but you can put it in the fridge.

Now you're ready to make something fun. It will be hard at first, (especially if you've put it in the fridge.) It will warm up in your hands. Form it in your hands just like clay.

Trick - you need to keep things cool or it will be too soft to work with, and the form will not hold. (I keep a little bowl of ice next to me, and cool off my hands every once in awhile. Also you can take a break and set it in the fridge to harden up for a bit.

The upside to using modeling chocolate instead of fondant:
When you make figures with fondant, (especially mmf) it is soft, and they tend to sink a bit. If you are using mmf you should make your pieces days in advance, and make them in separate pieces and put them together later.

With modeling chocolate, your figure pretty much stays how you make it, which is sometimes much nicer. It also gives you the freedom to make things bigger than you might be able to with fondant.

Once you get the hang of using modeling chocolate, you'll love it! You can make fun things and eat them too. Hopefully this helps someone, get out and make something fun.
Happy modeling!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Look out for Mr. Stork

I don't know if it's because we just got our new copy of Dumbo, but when I was asked to make a baby shower cake, I instantly thought of a stork delivering a cute little baby package.
I'm hitting myself for not showing pictures of the steps involved in making fondant figures. Well there will be plenty more, I'm sure. I'll just have to do it on the next one.
See this little baby though, I think she turned out cute. I even made her little toes, and hair with a flower. I hand painted her cheeks. For those of you who are into this, I definitely recommend edible markers, It's really nice for little things like eyes, and plenty of other details.
This cake is my yummy lemon cake with buttercream and of course MMF.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Just a few beginners tips.

So I was thinking every good cake blog needs demos and tips. So since I am a beginner myself, I thought I would put on a few tips that helped me get started. And when I do my next things I'll take pictures of the process and try and show some cool ticks, but for now here are some things you should know :

1- Grease (with crisco) and flour your pans. (Everyone should know that one.)
2- When you're cake is done let it sit in the pan for about 10 minutes. (Don't do more than 10!)
3- Make sure your cake is loose before you try to get it out, then place rack on top, and flip it.
4- (Wait till cake is cool) Then with a serrated knife cut off your dome.
a. Some people use wet towel strips, or Baking strips on the outside of the pan, supposedly that helps there to be no dome. ( I haven't tried that yet, and just feel like I can cut off my dome. But I'm sure it really does help, and promotes even baking)
b. Some people feel you can push the dome down into the cake while it's still warm, I have tried this but feel like it doesn't work enough for me. (Maybe if you have a little dome.)
*make sure you get it flat, or your cake will not look as good. I never knew how people got their cakes flat. It makes your cake look so much better if you do this.
5- This is important to know. Then flip your cake over and use the bottom as the top. Then you will have a perfectly flat top. (It will look much better this way.
6- If you do not have a plate big enough, get a cake circle, or cut cardboard. (turn these over onto some foil, and tape the foil onto the bottom side.
a. If you put your cake right onto cardboard, you're cake will taste like cardboard.
p.s. you can buy fanci foil from Wilton if you want. Or some cakeboards are ready without foil, I like those.
7- one thing I never realized is, to make your cake look good, you really should have two cakes, on top of each other, to make one. Frost in the middle to stick them together.
a. If you're going to fill it with something yummy like preserves, first pipe a dam around the entire edged, this will keep the filling from coming out, and help glue the cake together.
p.s. Once I was in a hurry and skipped this step, and the top cake shifted, even with the fondant on it, and it looked terrible, lesson learned.
8- Also before you put your cake on your plate/ board "glue" it to the board with a good smoosh of frosting, so your cake doesn't slide later.

Most of these tips I did not know at all, so maybe there are those of you who do not as well. If anyone has any questions I will answer any questions, (if I know the answer.)
Happy cake making everyone.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

I missed one.

I am trying to get all my cakes on here, and realized I accidentally skipped this one. I still have yet to figure out where the cord it to get my very first cake on here. I think this is cake number three, not super original, but I love the color of it. This was my first bow I think. Although now I know to let the bow loops harden a few more days. That's why I practice. :)

Friday, October 7, 2011

This little piggy went to the party.

I've been having trouble with my picture taking recently, but I'm going to figure it out. Aside from that, the cake turned out so cute. Who doesn't love a cute little piggy? This was chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream frosting, covered in MMF.

Here's the rest of what I've done so far.

This is part two, of catching up on posting all the cakes I have done thus far. There are a few missing, that I cannot seem to locate. It's fun looking back because you can see how I've progressed, although I still have plenty more progress to go. I hope you enjoy.
These were just for fun, for my daughter's preschool.

I loved this cake, (do I say that too much?) This was my first hand-painted cake. I had been wanting to try that for awhile, but you need the right cake to try it on, but now that I've figured it out I can use that technique for other cakes. Another first with this cake, is that it was my first carrot cake I have ever baked, I used Ina Garten's recipe, (with just a few adjustments of my own, but it was delish.

This picture is fuzzy, but I had to show off the cake anyway. You can't tell but the cab turned out so cute. This was yummy as well, from scratch lemon cake, with a marion berry filling in the middle, with lemon buttercream and of course marshmallow fondant.

I love this angry birds cake I made for my husband. The cake turned out super yummy as well. I used my favorite homemade double chocolate cake, but for the first time teamed it with my orange cream cheese dreamsicle frosting. The slingshot is modeling chocolate, birds and pigs are as well. The fort was made out of fudge covered cookies.

In the end I should have used more toothpicks to secure it. It was fine but I was so nervous about it. I think it's one of my favs.

I was sent a picture of this cake to duplicate, I was a little bit nervous about how technical it was, but in the end it turned out fun. I like the little crabs and life preservers. The ball is rice crispy, at first I had a hard time making it look smooth enough. But here's a tip : Cover generously in buttercream, then cover in a layer of fondant. Then do your finishing layer of fondant, so in total you have two layers of fondant. That makes for a much smoother object. P.S. Sand is graham cracker crumbs, I put some buttercream down first so it would have something to stick to and not be all over the place, it worked great!

Talk about your last minute cakes, I had only a few hours to make this, but overall I like this cake. The birthday girl had just received a cute little green bird of her very own. I was surprised though at how long it took me to cut out the details. For how little this cake is it took me longer than it should have. I guess I just have to keep practicing till I get fast.
This cake has a special story. It was for a sweet baby girl who would be two, but never made it that far. Hopefully it helped her family on what is definitely a sad birthday. Her mom was inspired by the pinkalicious books, she just wanted it to be pink, fun, and very girly.
They had two parties that day. One with a bunch of little girls, so I made up some cute cupcakes, I think they turned out cute, every girl loves a pink flowery cupcake.

I love this cake. I got a call saying I needed to make a fish cake, and I only had about a half a day to do it. Obviously this is not the most realistic fish, but so much more fun.
I love the colors, and I would definitely do this one again.

This was for my bro in law who loves rootbeer. I know kind of a stretch, but still a cute cake. I thought the "ice cream" scoops ended up looking pretty realistic. The cake inside is also a rootbeer cake, I think if I do it again I would add more rootbeer to it.
Just some fun patriotic cupcakes. These were done with and orange cream cheese frosting that was super yummy.
This was my toned down version of a patriotic cake. It was red velvet on the inside. So it was red, white, and blue. I want to try this one again with two levels of cake, because I think the ruffles are so pretty.

I had been wanting to do this cake for awhile, and my friend mentioned maybe her daughter would like a Strawberry Shortcake type cake, and wondered if it would be cute. I immediately said yes I can make that cute! And I think I did. I just love the colors, and the cute little details.
I don't love putting toys on cakes, I think in this case it was ok. Sometimes the figure you have is cuter than anything you could make with fondant, so you might as well use it. Did you notice that I finally figured out that the pictures don't look good with all my stuff in the background? I think it makes it look better.
Happy Caking everyone!