Monday, July 30, 2012

Chuck's Birthday Bash

We were so sad to miss Danny's Grandpa Chuck's 86th birthday bash a few weeks ago, but to make it up to him, I made him a cake when we visited this last weekend.   I asked my mother-in-law, Marcia, what her dad's favorite cake was and she told me that he loves coconut cake.  I'd never made one of those before and immediately began my research.  I decided to use Ina Garten's coconut cake recipe and am happy that I did.  She's never failed me before!  The cake was a dense cake, similar to a pound cake, and the frosting was a delicious cream cheese frosting with accents of almond extract.   There was a little coconut in the cake and then the outside was covered in it.  I think it looked so pretty!

 And here's the birthday boy, with his beautiful bride. 

Happiest of Birthdays to you, Chuck!  We love you very much!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

A "Moo, Moo" here and an "Oink, Oink" there...

Little Miss Ali celebrated her 2nd birthday today and I'm so excited that her mom asked me to make her cake again.  (I made a "Garden Party" cake for her last year and was honored then, too!)  This year, Ali was having a Barnyard-Themed birthday.  Her mom, Mari, gave me full creative power with the cake.  All I knew was Ali's favorite farm animal was a cow and I went from there. 

I thought to myself, wouldn't it be cute if I made a cake that looked like a pig on top of a cow?  And there was the inspiration for this cake.  I think it turned out SO cute!

The inspiration for the cake flavors was the exterior.  My inspiration cow was black and white and my inspiration pig was pink.  I went from there.

The bottom layer of cake was chocolate cake with vanilla and Oreo buttercream and delicious layer of chocolate fudge in the middle!  (This has to be my favorite cake of all time.  No kidding.)

The top layer was a strawberry cake with strawberry cream cheese frosting.  There was a pound of strawberries in that there cake.  And it was scrumptious!

Here's Ali posing with her cake.  LOVE this!

"Happy BIRTHday, dear, Ali!  Happy Birthday to you!"

I hope she made a wish!

My wish is that she has a fantastic 3rd year!  Thanks for including me in your birthday, Ali!  

Ninety-Two Birthdays! Ninety-Two Cakes!

My plan was always to make my Grandma's birthday cake this year.  The original idea was that she was going to come down to my parents' house and we would celebrate her birthday with her.  But, when an unfortunate injury kept her from traveling to see us, I knew it wasn't in the cards that I'd see her for her birthday.  Disappointment followed, but I knew I'd see her sometime this summer and she'd get her cake then.

That is, until my mom came over yesterday morning and told me that she was planning a trip up north to see noon.  What?!  I have to make her cake!  Shoot.  I have another order due.  But I HAVE to make Grandma's cake!

My mom headed off to work and I knew I had 4 hours to get this done so the cake would make the trip.  Mission Impossible?  Why yes...but Mission Accepted.

First things first...I had to work on the flowers.  I made two chocolate cakes and placed them in the oven for Ali's birthday (see next post) and while they were baking, I made most of the flowers for Grandma's cake.   My Grandma's favorite cake is Angel Food with 7-Minute frosting, and yes, I had to make them from scratch which meant another trip to the grocery store (I didn't have an extra 12 egg whites lying around...).  After the grocery store, I picked up my eldest daughter from summer school and I returned home to bake.  I had about 90 minutes left.  The cake took 50 minutes.  The frosting took 12 minutes.  I totally made it work!  My mom fortunately gave me an extra hour because she had to run errands, and I'm so happy she did.  I think this is one of the happiest cakes I've ever seen!  

Grandma, Happy Birthday to you!  I hope you had a great party and I can't wait to see you in a few weeks!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Evan's Baptism

Chelsie called me last week hoping that I would be able to squeeze in a cake order for her son's baptism.  Luckily, I didn't have any cakes due this weekend and was happy to help her out.   She needed a cake to feed between 20-30 people, so we decided on a 10-inch, 2-layer cake.  It was tough to decide between chocolate and yellow cake, so I did one of both.  I torted the cakes and layered them yellow, chocolate, yellow, chocolate with blue vanilla buttercream in between. 

The cake is decorated with buttercream and gum paste/fondant accents.   I hope baby Evan had a beautiful ceremony.  Congratulations to the family!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Cinderella's Chocolate Mountain

Rebecca asked me to do a Cinderella cake for her daughter's birthday this weekend.  Already having a pretty large sheet cake order for a wedding due, I didn't know if I would be able to squeeze that in, but Rebecca ensured me that she just needed an 8" cake and it could be "simple."  I love simple. 

After brainstorming and looking at a bunch of cakes online, I decided to browse the toy store.  I knew I wouldn't have time to sculpt much and that's not really my thing anyway.  I am way too practical to sculpt a bunch of stuff out of gum paste or fondant because where does that go when the cake is consumed?  In the trash...or the daring might even consume it (it IS edible).  But especially for kids cakes, I really prefer toys as toppers.  

So, I was delighted when I came across a little Cinderella boutique at  I thought this would be the perfect cake topper and what little girl wouldn't be DELIGHTED with seeing this on a CAKE?!!

I couldn't just leave the cake frosted plainly.  I made the time to do the basketweave to add a little more interest and I added some little pink rosettes.  My daughter loved the cake but told me I needed to add grass and she's right - it looked much better with the grass. 

This cake is a chocolate cake with raspberry buttercream filling and frosted with a chocolate frosting.  The chocolate frosting was a new recipe for me from Martha Stewart.  It had butter, cream cheese and sour cream plus over a pound of melted chocolate in it.  Seriously.  Seriously...

I hope the birthday girl had a FABULOUS birthday and felt like the little princess she was!   

Wedding [Sheet] Cake

Carmelina and I met when I worked as a Cake Decorating Instructor at Michael's.  She is a great cake decorator and was getting married and wanted to do her own wedding cake.  But she had quite a crowd to feed and needed additional cake and asked me to make some sheet cakes as supplemental cake for her guests.  I was happy to oblige.  Many of you know that I "retired" from doing weddings, but cupcakes or sheet cakes or a small two-tiered cake I can handle.  Big ones, not so much.  So this order was just my style. 

Carmelina and her beau, Garth, requested white cakes with raspberry buttercream filling.  So each one of these cakes is two-layers with a delicious raspberry buttercream filling inside.  Simply decorated as no one will see them!  LOVE this!  (Also, I used 60 egg-whites here...SIXTY!!!)

The only challenge I had with all of the cakes was storage, but my 'fridge turned out to be the hero.  It's very versatile and I held out on grocery shopping for a couple of days to ensure the room! 

I hope that Carmelina and Garth had a fantastic wedding (the weather was BEAUTIFUL!!)!  I wish them the very best!  Congrats!