Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Jake & Rachel's Rehearsal Dinner Cakes

Over a year ago, I took the order to do Jake & Rachel's rehearsal dinner cakes. Jake is my brother-in-law and Rachel is now officially my sister-in-law. :) After looking through many cake pictures and trying to find one that truly represents Jake (zombie-themed, comic-themed, bacon-themed), he came back and said that he would rather have a cake decorated simply; no fondant.

Okay. I could do that. I would take his simply decorated cake and raise him THREE simple cakes AND a dozen cupcakes.

He folded. I won.

The first cake pictured is a red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting. It's a traditional groom's cake and one that I have a delicious recipe for.

This next one is a Strawberry Spiral Cake. It's a vanilla sponge cake with the most amazing strawberry buttercream ever, decorated with cookies. Yummy! (Jake's favorite.)

The next is a chocolate cake with caramel filling, chocolate buttercream frosting and pecans on the sides. You know, Turtle Cake. (MY favorite.)

The last is a dozen dairy-free cupcakes. Chocolate cupcakes with vanilla bean frosting. There's nothing better than actually seeing the flecks of vanilla bean IN the frosting. MMMM!

Here I am posing with the desserts. Yeah. That's me.

Jake and Rachel - Thanks so much for letting me be a part of your very special weekend!

Chocolate & Peanut Butter = BLISS

My husband's work colleague ordered a chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting for a work meeting last week. He didn't want anything fancy, just a simple cake.

I have to tell you, though, that this flavor combination is about the best one there is. I'm a huge fan of the salty/sweet combo and this one delivers!

I hope that the work meeting was made a little "sweeter" because of this!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Mickey Mouse and Horses?

These will be the only cakes Tammy will be ordering from the Cake Mama. Why? Because she's one of my students in class right now and will be able to make these herself in a few months. Sometimes, I just have to teach people "how to fish", which unfortunately depleats my customer pool. LOL!

Anyway, I was SUPER happy to make these two cakes for Tammy's daughters. The first is for Maggie who is turning 3. Like most 3-year olds, she's in love with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and wanted such a cake for her birthday. This will mark my third Mickey Mouse Clubhouse cake and I'm really happy with the way it turned out. It's a white cake, dyed yellow, with red buttercream filling.

I was trying to make Toodles from the show. I asked my daughter, who is ALSO a fan of MMCH, who that yellow/blue/red figure was and she screamed out, "It's TOODLES!!!!" I knew I accomplished my goal. :)

Tammy's other daughter, Paige, was turning 7. I think they were having a joint birthday party with family so two cakes were in order. Paige loves horses and this was what we came up with.

This is a mint chocolate chip cake (Paige's favorite ice cream flavor) with chocolate buttercream filling.

Happy Birthday, Maggie and Paige! I hope the party was a huge success! It was a special treat to do two very different cakes for the same party! I love that idea. :)

Buzz Lightyear: A New Hope

My friend Scott requested a Buzz Lightyear cake for a birthday party last Saturday. I had already done a Buzz Lightyear cake before and was at least familiar with the work that was involved with such an undertaking. This one, you may recall, requires seven different icing colors and whole lotta stars. It's a "fun" cake to do, but also a lot of work.

The last time I made this cake, I was SO mad at Wilton because I thought the instructions were faulty. The insert in the pan that has the picture you're suppose to follow for colors and lines actually became inverted once the cake was out of it. So what you end up working with is a mirror image of the cake you need to create. I panicked when I discovered this, but my brother came to my rescue. He scanned in the picture from the pan and did a mirror image print of it for me. It totally made things a little easier, but my husband also helped me out by etching the lines of the image into the buttercream for me. I'm artistic in a sense, but my art is really limited. I can't free-hand draw to save my life, but I'm happy my husband can. I think the cake I made for Dylan last year turned out very well, all things considered.

So, when I was asked to do this cake again, I knew there would be a lot of work involved in getting it done. I baked the cake. I had it filled and crumb-coated and asked my husband to help me out again by free-hand drawing Buzz's image to the buttercream. But as he was doing it this time, I realized that what we were doing was completely insane and unnecessary. I'm a Wilton INSTRUCTOR for crying out loud!!! I KNOW better that this! A piping gel transfer was the answer I was looking for.

I took the paper insert that came with the pan and placed a piece of wax paper over it. I then began tracing the image onto the wax paper, like this:

When it was done, I took the wax paper, flipped it gel-side-down and carefully placed it on the crumb-coated cake. Then, I took a paint brush and lightly traced the pattern onto the cake, like this:

(The picture of Buzz you see in the background was the one my brother made for me last year. It's the mirror image of what comes with the pan. )

After all of the tracing is complete, I carefully removed the wax paper and was left with this edible image on the cake.

After doing all of the outlining and filling in with stars, Buzz turned out like this:

I had some extra batter and frosting and threw in a few cupcakes as well.

I hope the birthday party went well! And I hope that the next person who tries to tackle this cake, finds this blog. Seriously...the piping gel transfer made all the difference!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Birthday Celebration Cake

My husband's team asked me on Monday if I could make a cake for their coworker, Michelle, on Wednesday who was celebrating her birthday. It's a significant milestone for Michelle, but one I'm not to speak of. :) I was happy to accomodate their request and given that this was in the middle of the week, not the week-END, it made it all the more possible. Weekends for me are usually pretty crazy, with at least one, if not two cakes to do. (This weekend I have THREE - stay-tuned!)

I was asked to do a cake with colorful flowers because Michelle is an avid gardener. They also requested that "Happy Birthday Michelle" was on the cake.


The top tier of this cake is chocolate with buttercream filling and the bottom tier is is vanilla with buttercream and raspberry preserve filling. The cake is covered in fondant with fondant flowers and dots. The writing is done in buttercream.

I hope that Michelle enjoys her birthday and I hope she and the team enjoy the cake!

A Week Off

For the first time since February I actually had a week off from making cakes. A little wierd for me, as I've always had SOME occasion coming up. Birthday, baby shower, anniversary, just-because, wedding...but this week, I had nothing. So, I thought it was a great opportunity to improve some of the advertising at Michael's for the Wilton classes. In doing so, I created THREE cakes to demonstrate to prospective students the cool things you can make by taking these classes. I teach all three and will be teaching project classes (stacked cakes, gingerbread houses, cake pops) shortly. In addition, early next year I'll be teaching a fourth class called "Advanced Gum Paste Flowers" which I get trained on next month at a 2-day seminar. VERY exciting!

Here's the demo-board I made for my Michael's store classroom. I really like the way it turned out. (The other cake decorating instructor still hasn't gotten me her personal information, but when she does, it'll go right beneath mine; hence, the empty space.)

The top cake is a final cake that students could make after taking the first class, Decorating Basics. We focus on buttercream and basic cake construction during this class. My students decorate 2 cakes, cookies and cupcakes and learn how to do the shell border, the riboon rose and other decorating techniques. SUPER fun class!!

The second cake is a final cake that students could make after taking the second class, Flowers and Cake Design. In this class we work with royal icing, gum paste and fondant and learn the basketweave technique - which is really fun (and easier than it looks!) and the Wilton Rose, among other royal icing flowers.

The bottom cake is a final cake that students could make after taking the third class, Gum Paste and Fondant. In this class we work with gum paste and fondant, create many flowers, learn how to cover a cake with fondant and believe it or not - that bow is actually made the first night of class!

These cakes on the demo board are all made of styrofoam covered in either royal icing or fondant. They should keep for a long while. :)

I'll be starting to teach classes at my local Ben Franklin Crafts starting in October. I've been asked to make some demo cakes for that location as well. Hmmm...when's my next week off? :)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Delta, Delta, Delta can I help ya, help ya, help ya?

Greg requested a cake for his fraternity get-together at the Brewer's game last weekend. He was a member of Delta Chi (in my head it was known as "triangle X"). He wanted a cake in the shape of a triangle and one in the shape of an X for the occasion. He informed me that the colors were important and forwarded this logo to me:

After talking a few times, I offered to make him some cake truffles (cake pops have sticks, these did not) with the excess cake that I'd cut off to make the shape of the triangle and X. No argument from Greg! He gladly accepted them.

Here's how the cake and truffles turned out:

Obviously the triangle needs to be rotated counter-clockwise, but this was the only way that I could fit both into the same cake box. The Delta (triangle) was a chocolate cake with buttercream filling. The Chi (X) was a yellow cake with raspberry preserve filling. Both are covered in fondant and the buff colored Delta and Chi were made out of gum paste.

I hope Greg had a fantastic get-together with his fraternity brothers!

As for the title of this post, the moment Greg asked me to make a cake for Delta Chi, ALL I could think about was the Delta Delta Delta Girls from Saturday Night Live in the 90's. I.LOVED.THEM. And in case you have no idea what I'm talking about, here's a video.

(This video is rated TV-14...due to language.)

I'm sure Greg and his buddies don't talk like this, but if they did, it'd be awesome. :)