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!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

This post is part one on trying to get all my cakes on my blog, I don't know what happened to the pictures of my very first few cakes, but here's from about cake number 5 on up.

This is my garden cake. Chocolate cake, covered in cream cheese frosting, crushed oreos on top. Veggies are modeling chocolate and mmf. I love the little veggies on this one.

This is and Phineus and Ferb, and they're little platypus, they like to hang out under their tree. A lot of work went into this cake, characters make me nervous, but in the end I think they turned out good. Both boys and the tree are modeling chocolate.

This one turned out a little too real, when we were eating it, it felt like you were about to accidentally eat an olive on your cake. But I love the way it turned out.

This cake was for a baby blessing, that was on easter, that's why there's little easter eggs and grass on the side of the cake. I loved the little feet and toes on this one.

This one was super cute and just fun. I love the cute little bees.

This cake is complete with matching smash cake. The balls on top were modeling chocolate. The downside to this cake was, I thought I was making a 12 inch cake and a 10 inch cake. I think the bottom cake must be and 11 in, so in the end there wasn't enough difference in the two. But I finally figured out how to start making my cakes shinier at this point.
I loved this cake! This was for and Alice in Wonderland tea party. The teapot's spout was hollowed out so we could put dry ice to make it steam which was so cute.
These are simple, but go along with the theme. If you eat these, they might make you change size!
This one was fun, the cake is covered in cream cheese frosting. The "noodles" are fondant, I put it through my pasta cutter to make it look more realistic. The "sauce" is strawberry preserves, the "meetballs" are extra cake, smooshed into balls. The one thing with the "grated parmesan" that I didn't love is I couldn't find a big piece of chocolate so I could make the peices bigger. The best I had that day is white chocolate chips. But I thought this was fun. This cake also marks when I finally perfected my cake recipes and now they're really good. This was my homemade super moist chocolate cake.

This is the biggest cake I had and have ever made. I could pick a few things about this cake, but overall it was fun.

This was a little treat for the super bowl. It's a homemade Oreo Truffle. These are super easy to make. Crush a package of Oreos, mix with 8oz. of cream cheese. Roll into balls, or in this case football shapes. Refrigerate for about 45 min. Then dip in chocolate. ( I usually like to swirl white chocolate on the top, in this case I did the stitching to look like a football.) Also you can switch it up and use white chocolate instead of milk for the entire thing.

My husband's Grandpa was born on Ground Hog's day. Much to my surprise he had never had a ground hog cake before. I thought my little version of Puxatony Phill (I'm not sure if that's spelled right) turned out cute. And yes, he saw his shadow.

This was the top for a Rapunzel cake. The tower is rice crispy treat. I then covered it in fondant, and then made rocks, shingles, vine and flowers. And of course I had to make a little pascal, and Rapunzel's hair. There's a few little issues with the roof, but as you can see I was starting to do better.
I wanted to make the base cake pretty simple. Since the tower already has so many details. So I tried not to have too many things going with that. One thing you'll notice with my cakes is sometimes I may have a few too many details. I apparently do the more is more kind of look. On top of that I like dark colors, I don't usually do light subtle colors, that's just my personality I guess.

This was a smash cake. I love this cake, who doesn't love a humongous cupcake.

This was not my favorite cake. I tried to make some characters, and put a few toy characters on the cake as well. The colors just didn't go well, The i was my first crispy treat trial, and it did not exactly work the way I had hoped.

This one was for Thanksgiving of course. I liked the was it turned out. One thing that bugs me with these first cakes is that I couldn't figure out how to make them look shiny. You can see too much powdered sugar, at the time I knew it, I just didn't know what to do about it.

For this cake, I tried to do something a little too hard for my skills at the time. On top of that I did this cake from start to finish in just a few hours. As you can see, that is not enough, the cake should have time to cool as well as the fondant having time to set. Lessons learned.

I really loved this cake. And it was pretty good for the level I was at. I should have gotten a better picture, but it's too late now. The cake was a pumpkin chocolate chip cake, with vanilla buttercream, and marshmallow fondant.

These are not cakes, obviously, but I decided to figure out how to make homemade doughnuts. They took pretty much all day, but were so good.
This was cake number three, I was trying to figure out flowers and bows. There's a few too many things going on with this cake, but still kind of fun.
This was my second fondant cake. I made it for a client's mission farewell, You can see some of the issues with it. But for a second cake not so bad.