Sunday, December 26, 2010

White Birch Yule Log Cake. Yellow cake with vanilla buttercream
filling covered in handpainted vanilla marshmallow fondant
and decorated with a sugar pointsettis and fondant mushrooms. All edible.

One of the great things about being a cake artist is when the holidays hit you get to make a great cake just for you and your family. The only time schedule you have to follow is your own and the only artistic input needed is your own imagination. This week's cake is the one I made for our own huge family Christmas dinner.

When deciding what to make I took into account the other holiday cakes on the books and suddenly knew I wanted to do a very different type of cake for our holiday celebrations this year. A Buche Noel, or Yule Log, Cake is usually a rolled sponge cake that is covered with chocolate buttercream icing that is scraped to look like a wood finish. The mushrooms are usually white to stand out against the chocolate coloring of the log and they are usually made out of meringue. Well my son is not a fan of chocolate and my youngest daughter is 6 mos pregnant and chocolate is just not part of her palate choices right now so I wanted to make something very vanilla for my kids. And, yes, if my other daughter had been here this year she would have appreciated the anti chocolate theme as well. Go figure, eh? LOL. So while the usual choice for a yule log cake is chocolate buttercream I chose vanilla fondant instead. So my thought was to make it look like a white birch log which is one of my favorite trees. Then, having just seen The Nutcracker this year, I thought why not make the mushrooms the red capped variety so they would stand out against the white fondant as well as represent a favorite thing to do with my kids during the holidays, which is see The Nutcracker. (For those who have never seen this ballet, there is a certain part where lots of red capped mushroom children fill the stage).

The work began weeks ago when I made sugar pointsettias for a client cake. I made an extra one just for us to use on whatever cake I decided upon. Then a week ago I formed the mushroom caps and stems and set them aside to dry. They need to be totally dry before painting. Getting a bright red is not easy to do so I handpainted the caps with several coats of red gell color mixed with vodka. This took a few days to get the depth of color I wanted. Everything else with the cake has to be done last minute so I could get the fresh taste and texture I wanted for the final result. Now the secret of the week comes with the cake. I bake all of my cakes a few days before I need to decorate them then I wrap them well and freeze them. After I take them out of the freezer, unwrap them and fill them with whatever filling I am using I then "crumbcoat" them with buttercream and let them thaw out for several hours before the final coat of buttercream or fondant goes on. The freezing captures the moisture inside the cake making for a wonderful moist cake when you finally do cut into it. The crumbcoat seals in that moisture as well. Once the cake comes out of the freezer it doesn't go back into it or the fridge for more than a few minutes to set up icing coatings, nothing more. The fridge will actually dry out your cakes! So there's your tip of the week...just make sure to wrap the cake well. My wrap of choice is Press and Seal. LOVE it!

For this cake it was just a matter of looking at what a real white birch tree looks like and try to copy the look of the bark on the cake. And I have to say that once you get to the finishing touches like piping the "grass" then setting the mushrooms into place, it all starts really coming together and what started out as a vision in your mind comes to life in cake. It truly feels amazing.

Today began our holiday celebration of Kwanzaa and it goes on till New Years Day so the only cake in this house will be cupcakes my son and I will make later this week for New Years. I'll post what we come up with next Sunday! In the meantime I hope you are enjoying your holidays and HAPPY NEW YEAR!


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Yellow cake filled with Raspberry Buttercream and
decorated with colored vanilla marshmallow fondant and buttercream!

Another Holiday Cake to share with all of you this week. This cake was for an office party and rather than do a typical sheet cake we decided to do something a little more fun. There is a home craft out there called a "Brick Santa" and it's made by taking a regular brick and painting on a face, belt and buckle then using a special acrylic "snow" to make the beard and fur for the hat and pom pom. So I figured with this cake I could do that same thing using edible materials.

The cake is a standard 10x10 size cake that's been leveled and then cut directly in half then stacked upon eachother to make a 10x5x4 inch high cake. This feeds about 25 people. For the fondant I started out by coloring white fondant with a brick red gell coloring. Then I painted it with a vodka and Christmas red gell coloring mix and quickly textured the surface with a net bag to make the appearance look more like a real brick. After waiting a short while for this to dry I then was able to create the face and finally finish it all off with the swirled buttercream! Such a fun little cake to present to the office full of people.

The "secret" on this cake is that you could just use colored buttercream that's been almost smoothed out for the covering of the "brick" and then use regular buttercream to create the face, beard and fur. This would be a wonderful beginners cake for any inspired baker. My only advice would be to go onto and look up how to make a true Christmas Red. It's hard to dye either fondant or buttercream any vibrant color such as red, black, dark blue or purple. But the result is worth it!

This upcoming week I have another holiday cake. My own twist on a Buche Noel! Have a Very Merry Christmas and I'll see you here the first day of Kwanzaa!


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Holly Berry Cake. Double chocolate cake with Raspberry buttercream filling covered in
fresh vanilla buttercream and decorated with fondant holly leaves and chocolate candy berries.

This week was a busy one so I have 3 cakes to show you! The holidays are usually filled with home cooking, home baked cakes and cookies so for a cake artist it is usually the slow time of year. But, recently, it has become a trend to take a pretty cake or cupcakes to a party as a Hostess Gift so this year I'm a little busier than usual. The Holly Berry Cake was fun for me to do because I don't work a lot in buttercream and I love to play with fondant. This gave me the opportunity to do both! Being Disney fans, and that's putting it mildly, it was also a chance for me to create my own "hidden Mickeys" on the cake! So this ended up being a very nice Hostess Gift for my client to present to her friends.

Mom's Birthday Cake. Double chocolate cake with Apricot filling covered in
fresh vanilla buttercream, edible transfers and topped with a sugar yellow rose.

This next cake is, as the title says, Mom's Birthday Cake. Every year I make my mom something special for her birthday. We have a family dinner and the cake tops off a wonderful meal. It's a challenge to come up with something new each year and see if I can top the year before! This year, and this weeks "secret", I got some of Duff Goldmans edible cake "tattoos". What you do to apply these is just put on the final layer of buttercream and while it's still "wet" you smooth on the edible transfer. And just like that your cake is decorated! You can find these at Michael's Craft Stores in the cake decorating section and they are really just that easy to use. You do have to be careful to place them exactly where you want them because they are just sugar. Once they touch the buttercream the sugar melds with the buttercream and you will not be able to move it. Then it's just a matter of adding a trim to your cake and some candles! In this case my Mom loves yellow roses and requested one for her cake this year so I made a huge yellow sugar rose and placed the wired flower into a coffee stirrer. The stirrer was just a teeny bit taller than the cake so that the rose didn't actually sit on the buttercream. This meant that she could remove the rose easily and be able to keep it as a keepsake. Sugarpaste, or "gumpaste", dries rock hard and you can keep it forever once it is totally dry.

Holiday Cupcakes. Gingerbread cupcakes topped with fresh
vanilla buttercream, colored sugar sprinkles and a chocolate candy berry.

The last "cake" of the week is actually cupcakes. I love baking these cupcakes because the smell of gingerbread brings back all my childhood holiday memories. As I mentioned above, these would make wonderful Hostess Gifts if you are going to a party or potluck dinner. These were treats for a senior community. Helping those who can not bake for themselves have a little taste of home baking at the Holidays. The Seniors eyes lit up at the site of these gingerbread treats and it was wonderful payment for this caker and her son.

This upcoming week brings another holiday cake. This time a 3D one! Can not wait to begin work on this one since the theme is such a fun one to bring to life. I'll post it next Sunday!


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Double Chocolate Cake filled with Chocolate Fudge and covered in
Vanilla Buttercream and decorated with sugar Pointsettia flowers

Happy Sunday! Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We certainly did and I enjoyed having a whole week off. Having a full work schedule is surely something to be grateful for but a week off from work is certainly wonderful too!

This week brought a Christmas Party Cake for friends. They throw this amazing party each year and so I created this cake as a centerpiece for their event. Now, I've made it fairly clear that I'm not a buttercream fan, more of a fondant girl here, but this turned out so pretty I was thrilled to be able to present it at the party. Unfortunately 150 rough graded freeway miles had a different idea for me and my creation. Delivery is the worst part of this job in my opinion (others would say it's cleaning up from this job but I think delivery is horrid!LOL!). You spend hours upon hours working on what you hope is just this side of perfection only to take a huge risk that your edible work of art will end up in a pile of cake rubble. Fortunately, for me, cake rubble wasn't quite how far it went but about 75 miles into our trip I saw that the buttercream was literally sliding off the top tier of the cake in a nice neat line. Think of rolling down a window...only with icing slowing revealing the cake underneath! Having delivered cakes for a few years now I always carry a kit with me and knew that I could fix what needed to be fixed when I arrived. Once we did arrive I seperated the tiers, found out that only the bottom one was needed (the top tier was frosted and used as a treat in leftovers), removed the damaged front pointsettia and the damaged trim and gold decorations, reiced the whole cake, retrimmed with buttercream and new gold decorations and placed the pointsettia cake topper on top of the now single tier cake. I added a few new decorations on top and...

The final version of the cake.
Fortunately, in this case, the cake was for friends and it wasn't a set design but rather left up to me and that there was plenty of cake still for their guest list. Sometimes as a cake artist you have to think quickly on your feet because it IS cake and anything can happen. I do have a fancy cake delivery case which prevents toppling of a cake but nothing can prevent vibration damage. You just have to learn how to work around it when the damage happens and worse comes to worse??? Apologize and refund if the damage is total and you have nothing to deliver but cake rubble. Thank goodness I was able to put a beautiful finished cake on the table for this event, their guests none the wiser!

This upcoming week brings two smaller cakes. One is for a birthday and the other is a simple holiday cake. I'll share those next Sunday!


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Kali's Castle Cake. Vanilla Chiffon Cake filled with Vanilla
Buttercream and covered in Vanilla Marshmallow Fondant. All Edible

Kali's Curly Q Cake. Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cake filled with
Raspberry Buttercream and covered in Vanilla Marshmallow Fondant

Vegan Chocolate Cake filled with Apricot Buttercream and
covered in Vegan Buttercream. All Vegan except fondant flowers.

This was one busy week for me and for my client! All three cakes went to the same client for family events. The Castle cake is based upon a drawing by the 6 yr old birthday girl. She drew it out and colored it and I did my best to capture her design in cake. The look on her delighted face was all that I needed to know that there was a happy ending to this Castle Tale. This was for the kids bounce house party. The "secret" to this cake isn't much of a secret. The turrents are actually cut down sugar cones. Normally I would just fold food grade cardboard into a cone and cover it with fondant but I wanted it to be as all edible as I could make it for this charming little girl. Even the crown on this cake is made of fondant with candy jewels adorning it so that the birthday girl could just take a bite out of any part of it if she wished! She promptly called the figure and the crown as her own!

The second cake is the Curly Q cake. Now this cake was for the family dinner celebrating both the birthday girl's day as well as her grandmother's birthday. So while the Castle Cake was for the little girl and she got to pick out the flavors and filling for that cake, the Curly Q cake was more for the adults of the family so her mom decided a little more grown up version for the family dinner. The chocolate chocolate chip cake is a rich moist cake with little pockets of chocolate all through the body of the cake. Add that to the rich taste of fresh marshmallow fondant and you have a decadent dessert that the adults just loved. The kids loved all the candy curly q's! They are the "secret" to this cake. For this effect all you have to do is use wooden skewers and wrap strips of fondant around them, swirling from bottom to top, and then let them dry till firm. Then, using coffee stirrers to hold them up securely in the cake you just slip the curly q's right over the stirrers and stick them into the cake!

The last cake was my biggest challenge. The birthday girls grandmother is a vegan. Now, no dairy can mean no cake but there are ways around this and you still end up with a tasty dessert. Using some caker contacts I found a great recipe for dairy free chocolate cake and for dairy free buttercream. The cake turns out to be more like a brownie in consistancy. So moist but very dense. To me the buttercream was the bigger challenge. How to make something based from dairy products taste like it has dairy products when it doesn't is a huge challenge. Thanks to one caker friend who suggested using Vanilla Almond Milk I was able to get buttercream that is vegan and tastes amazing! It got rave reviews from not only the grandmother but also from those who didn't think a vegan cake could taste good!

This week I will learn how to make a new flower. I have a Christmas cake coming up next week so this week I get to learn how to make sugar paste poinsettias. I'll post my results next Sunday. In the meantime have a great Thanksgiving. I am personally thankful that I get to use my art to create such yummy masterpieces!


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Lemon chifffon cake filled with lemoncurd buttercream. Covered
in handpainted marshmallow fondant and trimmed
with fondant candy pirate coins.
All edible except center coin, keys and cake topper.

Happy Sunday! This was a busy week for me. Lots of baking went on in the kitchen followed up with a whole lotta decorating! First up is the Mickey Pirate Cake. The rum cask is made up of handpainted "wood" panels trimmed in edible gold painted straps. The coins were the fun part of this project. Planned months in advance I was able to pick up certain items when we visited Disneyland in April in order to make this cake work. The cake topper is actually a frame. I simply removed the plastic photo holder and replaced with with the handpainted scroll. The coins were made from fondant circles that were embossed using the collectors pin in the center of the cake. Once they were embossed they were allowed to dry overnight then sprayed with edible gold paint, allowed to dry another day before handpainting them to bring out the texture of the embossing. The "sand" is just ground up graham crackers. Normally I'd use ground up animal crackers because they look more like sand to me but I wanted the color of the grahams this time. The real "secret" to this cake is how it's baked. I used two small 2 cup pyrex cups from Pampered Chef to bake the cake in. These are made for baking so check first to make sure yours can hold up to the heat of the oven. Once they are fully baked you can trim off the dome and then invert one upon the other. You do need support for every 4 inches so put a piece of cake board inbetween and dowels in the lower section. I even put a long dowel into the top going all the way to the bottom for more stability. This worked in two gave more stability and helped hold up the topper! To cut a cake like this you simply remove any extra embellishments and then seperate the layers. It was a real hit with the birthday guy!

Dark Chocolate Cake fill with Raspberry Buttercream and covered in
vanilla marshmallow fondant. Trimmed in sugar roses and silk flowers.

The second cake this week is a wedding cake for Diane and Mike. They will be married today in a local venue which is a renovated barn. The sugar roses match the ones that will be in the Brides bouquet and the silk flowers match the flowers she is using in the centerpieces for the table. This is a wonderful way of incorporating your bridal style into your cake. Remember if you use real flowers to make sure they were grown organically or that your Cake Artist is using the proper tubes to insert it into your cake. More flowers than you know are actually toxic to humans or are sprayed with insecticides that you don't want anywhere near your cake. Silk flowers are a nice way to get the look. Just wash them carefully and let them dry thoroughly before placing on the cake. These are actually placed on top of buttercream piped around the bottom tier so that if any of the flower touches the cake it's only a petal or two. The sugar flowers, which are on wires, are inserted into food grade coffee stir sticks and then into the cake so that the wire doesn't touch the food. Check out the website later today for photos of this cake on the cake table at the venue! Http://

This upcoming week brings three cakes! This client has a family birthday party for her daughter plus a friends party at a jumphouse party place plus her mom's birthday as well! All in the same weekend! So I'm making three small cakes for those occassions. I'll share those on Sunday!


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Yellow cake with dark chocolate buttercream topped with
candy corn and trimmed in chocolate filled cookies

As mentioned in a previous post, rain makes working with fondant a chore and things go much slower than planned. The flowers for the wedding cake for next weekend are taking forever to make because of the high humidity making the petals very slow to dry. So I will be able to share those with you next week on the actual cake. Since I can't share something new with you I thought I'd bring out a cake from last year that is not only a huge hit with the clients but is an easy one for you to make too!

Known as a "barrel cake" this is a crowd pleaser that is quick and simple to do if you know what to do! First bake whatever flavor cake you like. Make two layers, fill them, frost them and don't worry about leveling the top layer or how pretty your frosting is on the outside. At this point, while the frosting is soft, place the cookies around the outside. You will want to measure the first cookie so it is only tall enough to clear about a half inch above the edge of the cake. Then use that measurement to trim the other cookies. Once they are all around the entire cake use a pretty ribbon (wired works best) to tie around the cake and "hold" the cookies into place. Finally, top with whatever candy you'd like. It only takes a thin layer to "fill" the barrel. The really cool thing about this cake is that it's easy to make for any holiday. Use candy corn or halloween colored m&m's for Halloween, red and green m&m's for Christmas, heart shaped candy for Valentine's Day, chocolate eggs for Easter, etc. Just tie with ribbon that fits your theme! You can also use anything long and thin as your trim. Use the pirouette cookies like I did or Twix candy or Lady Finger cookies. Anything long and thin will work to create the "barrel" effect. Take this to a holiday party and see everyone go crazy over it!

Coming up this week is a 3D birthday cake as well as the 2 tier wedding cake to go along with the sugar flowers that I will continue to work on over the next two days. See you next Sunday!


Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween Mini Cupcakes. Dark chocolate cake filled with raspberry buttercream or yellow cake filled with lemoncurd buttercream and topped with either vanilla or chocolate buttercream and fondant decorations.

This week brings Halloween! This is a major holiday in our house and we are big party people so Halloween is the perfect excuse to have a big party! As an event planner as well as a caker I always feel the pressure to make the party even better than the one before so when it came time for dessert I knew we had to have some form of cake but we were also going to have a chocolate fountain so it couldn't be alot of cake. This is what makes the mini cupcake so perfect. You can have just a bite of cake on the plate along with the other treats on a dessert table or for a dessert bar.

The secret this week is the little decorations that go on the cupcakes. Every year you see the mini cookie cutter sets. These are perfect for tiny decor like these little fondant bats, skulls, pumkins and ghosts. All you do is cut the shapes from different colored fondant and then add the tiny details such as eyes or stems with edible markers! This is especially easy to do with the new cupcake wrappers that are popping up everywhere. No longer are you stuck with blue, pink, green, yellow or you can have bats or spiders or Christmas trees and holly for cupcake wrappers! When you pair the fancy wrappers with the little edible cutout shapes on top you get a wonderfully special effect.

This upcoming week brings more sugar flowers. I will be making a few very large peonies for a wedding cake due mid month. I'll share the results next Sunday. Happy Halloween!


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Disco Birthday Cake. Disco ball is lemon chiffon cake filled with lemoncurd
buttercream. Green tier is white cake filled with lemoncurd buttercream and blue tier is chocolate cake with raspberry buttercream. All is covered with colored vanilla marshmallow fondant.

This week's cake was a challenge. Humidity can make fondant very hard to work with so with the rain in Northern California this week I was challenged to the point of frustration. Add in the fact that the can of silver food coloring spray malfunctioned and suddenly I had to handpaint all those tiles..well, it was a frustrating day. BUT, if you keep with it, keep your patience, take needed breaks and come back to the project then you will be able to finish it and have it make you happy.

The secret of this week's cake was supposed to be the silver spray on food coloring but since it didn't work and I had to handpaint them all I don't really have a "secret" to share. So I'll share a tip instead. When working with fondant that you want to stand up, like the stars and numbers, you want to make sure you assemble the pieces a few days ahead of time so that the fondant has time to set up. If you try to do this last minute the stars would just flop right over. So I cut out two of everything using cookie cutters and, using water to adhere the pieces together, I sandwiched the two pieces together with a stir stick in between. Then I let them dry for two days. The stars are grey fondant that I then painted silver after they were totally dry. The numbers were painted with white sparkly luster dust mixed with a bit of vodka to a paint like consistancy. So there you go...if you want to make cute little pieces to stand up on your cakes or cupcakes it just takes a little planning ahead!

Speaking of cupcakes! This week is our annual Halloween Party and I have cupcakes to design and make..wish me luck! I have made cupcakes before for our Halloween Party so I have to come up with something completely new for this year. Cupcakes are always a challenge for me since you have this tiny canvas to work on. I'm making mini cupcakes this year so the canvas is even smaller!LOL! So, yes, wish me luck and I'll post the results next week!


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Fern Wedding Cake. Top tier dark chocolate cake with fudge filling.
Middle tier yellow cake with fudge filling. Bottom tier lemon chiffon cake
with lemon curd buttercream. Covered in vanilla marshmallow fondant
with handcut and placed fern leaves with a fondant waterlily cake topper.

This week's cake is a wedding cake for two dear friends of ours. Working out the design for a wedding cake that didn't really look like a wedding cake was challenging for both me and the bride. In the end she wanted a modern look without a frilly feel so the Fern cake seemed to fit the bill perfectly. For a change the sugar flower cake topper was not the hard part of this cake. It was the handcutting of each fern leaf and then placing them onto the cake that was painstaking work and worth every minute I put into it for the final look.

The secret about this weeks cake is actually the cutters I used to make the fern leaves. Gumpaste cutters often look pretty much like cookie cutters. Often they are just the shape you want them to be but more often than that they are parts of a whole puzzle that you must cut out, shape and piece together. This is a fortunate thing for those of us who look for shapes that will fit what we want to do rather than always completing the "puzzle" the way it's meant to be. I had seen fern molds and just didn't like the way that they looked so I went on a hunt for cutters that I thought would make the shapes I needed in order to make the fern leaves look the way I wanted for the final look. So in the end I ignored what the cutter are supposed to be used to make and just started to look for the shapes I wanted and was able to find them at one of my favorite websites:
The other secret of this cake is the filling for the top two tiers. I often make a chocolate fudge buttercream filling but the Groom loves fudge so I actually made the candy fudge as a filling. Very firm it made for a wonderfully rich filling. Sometimes a non-traditional filling is the right fit for a non-traditional wedding cake.

The last part of this story ends with some luck. Wedding cakes, or tiered cakes of any sort, are a construction project using wooden dowels and cardboard rounds to provide the structure. In other words, your cakes are not really sitting on eachother, they are sitting on the cardboard which is sitting on small wooden dowels. One of these dowels slipped inside the cake somewhere along the way and, thanks to my cake safe, the cake held together all the way to the venue over 2 hours away. Once we set the cake on the cake table we saw that one part of the structure had begun to lean but were lucky enough for it to hold all the way to the cutting of the cake looking like it was tilting just a bit but it did not collapse. I was very thankful for that! Once I dismantled the cake I quickly found the tilted dowel and realized that it was only because the other dowels held up that my cake didn't collapse. But when dealing with cake you have to remember that it's not a solid medium, things move and shift and sometimes it's luck that sees you through to the finish line. The Bride and Groom loved the cake so at the end of the day it was worth everything.

This week brings a Disco Fever Birthday cake for a 10 year old girl. I'll share it with you next Sunday!


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Dark Chocolate Caramel Cupcakes

Well, once again this week didn't turn out quite like I thought it was going to work out but that's ok, I got to do something new and make someone very happy at the same time! The cutters for the demo cakes water lily flower didn't show up till late in the week which is ok since it's for a demo cake and not for a clients cake but it was still disappointing. BUT fate stepped in and gave me a cupcake order instead! And I was given full reign with it as long as it was chocolate and had some sort of caramel decoration. The photo above shows the outcome and the client was blown away.

The best part of cupcake orders is that there are always a few left over for the rest of us after packaging up the client order. Most of the time with a cake I get to taste the components that go into it but not all together. With cupcakes you always get to sample! YUMMMM! So my family always enjoys it when I get a cupcake order. It's not often since cakes are the focus of my business so it's a sweet treat for us all when I get one!

The secret about these cupcakes is the caramel. Not only is it drizzled on top but it's actually inside the cupcake too! I have a tool that allows me to inject the filling right into the cupcake so when you bite into the cupcake you come away with a gooey yummy center surprise! So for these I injected the caramel sauce into the cupcake and then drizzled more caramel sauce on top and then decorated it with handpiped chocolate candy. The cool thing is that you don't need the tool in order to get the same effect. You just take a teaspoon, scoop a little of the cupcake out of the center, pour in the sauce or filling of your choice, and then replace the scooped out cupcake. Then frost to cover the area you dug out and just like that you make your cupcakes even more special!

The demo cake keeps on getting to wait because I have a very special wedding cake coming up next week! See you Sunday!


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Poured Sugar Tiles

Happy Sunday! Due to the fact that I was off this weekend photographing a friends wedding (got into the wedding biz this way) I knew I wouldn't have much "cake" time between the day job and the time spent away at the wedding. I have a demo cake coming up next weekend and I wanted to use sugar tiles to decorate it. Now, as explained with the sea horse cake, I really haven't worked in sugar much. Anyone who DOES work in sugar can take one look at these tiles and agree very quickly that I still don't really know what I'm doing! LOL! If I DID know what I was doing these tiles would be completely translucent and look like clear glass, not have a million champagne like bubbles in them. However, this is a happy mistake as far as I'm concerned since I think the bubbles make the tiles look sparkly...perfect for a wedding cake!

As with all of cake making there is a steep learning curve. As an artist I want to push my skills with each cake that I make. Trying new stuff all the time is one of the fun perks of the job. However these are learned skills and you don't really learn to do those things overnight. They take practice and lots of it. So I'll keep working on my sugar. I'll find out why there are bubbles (especially if I want to repeat this "mistake") and learn how to make them clear as glass but I'm sure I'll have to spend many more times hunched over the stove melting sugar. And, really, as "dreary" as I'm trying to make that sound, working with poured sugar is actually a lot of fun. Sort of like magic how you can put together sugar, corn syrup and water along with some gel color and come up with something so beautiful when it sets up. Oh, and you can add flavoring so it tastes yummy too!

I had mentioned last week that I was going to learn how to make a water lily. Well, that was held up because I found out I couldn't purchase the sugar paste cutters locally and had to order them online. So this week I will get the cutters and you will see the finished product on the sugar tile decorated cake next Sunday. Have a great week!


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Dark Chocolate Cupcake topped with Vanilla Buttercream,
drizzled with melted chocolate and topped with a peanut buttercup!

This week brought two new tests for me. One was playing with a new look for cupcakes and the other was learning how to photograph the results. When you think about it, there's not much you can do with a cupcake. It's basically a really small cake that you add frosting to and hope it's a good balance for whoever gets to eat it. Fondant, while great for the larger cake, is really hard to eat on a cupcake so it's not a favorite of mine to use. But buttercream lends itself quite well to such a small slice of cake. But decorating can get a bit boring..swirl on frosting, sprinkle with something and pack it away....over and over again. But just like my big cakes I want my little cakes to look beautiful and tasty at the same time...make you WANT to take a big bite of it. So, being a huge chocolate fan, I thought what a better way to celebrate chocolate in a little form but to make my dark chocolate cake, top it with more chocolate and then add candy to push it right over the top! Of course, you have to cut the chocolate a teeny bit so I used vanilla buttercream just so it's not chocolate on chocolate topped with more chocolate...although as a chocolate freak that doesn't sound so bad to me! BUT this order was for a Breast Cancer Fundraising Event and I wanted everyone in the room to enjoy their afternoon treat so I held back a teeny bit of chocolate and went with the vanilla buttercream instead. They were a huge hit with the group too!

Now the second challenge...photographing them so they would look as yummy to everyone who would not get to see them in person as they did in real life. For years I worked as a Nature/Wildlife photographer, took a spin as a wedding photographer and thought photogaphing food wouldn't be too hard. But as anyone who has ever tried to photograph food knows, it's REALLY hard to do! So Google and YouTube came to my rescue again. I swear you can find anything there, really you can! And after an afternoon of education I used my new found tips and techniques and took the shot. I'm pretty proud of how the cupcake looks and that it looks as yummy as it did in person!

Next week brings a whole bunch of prep time for a new Demo cake. I'm learning how to make poured sugar tiles as well as water lilies so I'll share with you my results next Sunday!


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Gift Box Birthday Cake. Lemon Chiffon Cake filled with Lemon Curd Buttercream and covered with Vanilla Marshmallow Fondant and topped with a sugarpaste Magnolia Blossom.

Happy Sunday! This week's cake was a gift to a special friend so it was a special joy to spend the time I did making it look like a gift wrapped box. Lemon Chiffon seems to be a favorite of my clients. I, personally, think it's less about the cake and more about the lemon curd buttercream filling! This slightly tart filling sets off the sweet lemon cake perfectly. A combo that's worth the extra effort in order to create. Coloring fondant can be a tricky bit of work. Gel food colors are added to the fondant a teeny bit at time until the right color is achieved. However when it comes to bright colors or dark colors this becomes a more tricky proposition. Food coloring does have a taste to it and since you have to add a lot of it to get some of the bright or dark colors you have to be careful not to disturb the taste too much. Otherwise you end up with a pretty covering that doesn't taste good. And, for good reason, a lot of fondant already has the bad reputation of not tasting good. Fortunately, fresh marshmallow fondant tastes wonderful and with a little flavoring manipulation it still tastes great even when it's been colored! With a layered fondant design such as this one, that is one important detail. I always want my cake to taste at least as good as it looks so taste is a very important detail to me.

If you've been reading this blog then you know this flower has been in progress for about a month now. Working on the individual petals as well as the handpainting and drying times in order to make it look like the real deal takes time. Mainly it's drying time. The petals dry fairly quickly but each layer has to be glued together and fully dry before adding the next layer and that takes about a week with each layer. If you were to glue all the petals together at once the center of your flower would be very wet and soft which would not support the petals. They would fold over and break, not stand up and look the way the real petals do. So it takes time and patience but the end result is always worth it. The more time you take to make it look real the more it does look real and creates the perfect topper for the cake. The fact that the person of honor gets this as a keepsake is a bonus. These pieces last for forever so they can, indeed, be saved as decoration after the event.

This upcoming week just brings a cupcake order but those are always fun. It's a challenge to come up with something pretty and creative for such a small "canvas".

See you next week!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The "Leslie" Wedding Words Cake. Covered in Vanilla Marshmallow Fondant.
All decorations edible.

Happy Sunday. As promised the second of the six Display Cakes for 2011 Bridal Faires is done! Yellow is a very popular color for this upcoming Spring and Summer Wedding Season so I thought I'd do a more modern take on this theme. The light Canary Yellow is accented with pure white accents as well as the white detailed trim on the bottom of each tier. The middle tier has four sides filled with words you would hear at a wedding like Love, Honor, Cherish, Family, Blessings, Happily Ever After. Each side carries three of these important words. Setting off the yellow and white theme are sugar paste yellow and white handpainted plumeria flowers. A perfect romantic compliment for this very romantic cake.

The "secret" on this one is that all of the pieces that decorate this cake, with the exception of the trim, had to be cut out at least a week earlier in order to have them dried solid before placing them upon the cake. Fondant starts out as a soft dough. Think of the consistancy of rich bread dough or pizza dough and you will know the feel of fresh fondant. When you cut out something like a circle it's very soft and will become oddly shaped the moment you touch it so you have to carefully cut them out, move them to another sheet and reshape then dry them hard so when you go to decorate the cake it's not so hard to have round circles. The words are exactly the same issue. The letters with stretch and break very quickly until they are rock hard so you have to do the same thing with them as you did with the circles. Then you need to just be careful when placing them on the cake. I always cut out two of each letter, thinner letters get three each cut out, in case of breakage...and yes, something always breaks! The trim is another matter. Those layered circles have to be cut out of fresh fondant and then immediately placed upon the cake edge. Layering so many of those circles took, literally, hours but the effect is so worth the time! It makes for an interesting texture without sacrificing a modern look for this cake.

Next week brings another birthday cake! This one is a 3D cake so there is carving involved as well as trying to match an item that exists in real life. Those are always hard because you want the person to walk in and think it's a real tool box, or a real hat, or a real teapot and it takes some planning and work to come up with a design that translates to cake without sacrificing realism. I'll share the results with you next Sunday night!


Sunday, September 5, 2010

Double Chocolate Cake with Vanilla and Chocolate Buttercream filling
covered in Vanilla Marshmallow Fondant with fondant candy accents
as well as a sugarpaste orchid!

This week brings a birthday cake for a repeat client. This is fun and challenging at the same time. When you have created something original for someone and then they come back and want the same or better, well, it's exciting, flattering and all of a sudden a huge challenge to top what you did the year before! As with the last cake I created for this client I had full autonomy when it came to the creation. This is also a double edged sword. What is fun about that is the freedom to come up with a design that you think will please the client but what is nerve wracking is not knowing you had succeeded till they come to pick up the cake. As with last year, this year's cake was love at first sight for the client and tons of fun for me to make. Definitely a Win-Win senario!

The "secret" this week has to do with all the circles you see surrounding the middle of this cake. They are pure fondant. Usually when making hard decorations for a cake you need to either use sugarpaste or mix sugarpaste or tylose into the fondant so it dries hard and sturdy. This, pretty much, makes them inedible. You "could" eat them but you probably wouldn't want to due to the taste which is a bit like biting into cardboard. Because I didn't want the client to have to remove each and every circle before serving I decided to make the circles out of pure fondant and then let them dry up. This means preparing for it days ahead and then letting them sit out lightly covered to keep out any debris or dust for at least 2 days or longer to get them hard enough to use on the cake. When they are totally dry they become a sort of candy. Very similar to the candy used to make "candy cigarettes". The great thing is that they can then be served with the cake rather than removed before serving.

In the upcoming week I will be using the extra circles and dots to create a completely different look for my next demo cake! The design of this cake actually came to me last night in my dreams. I knew I wanted to use circles and dots for the next demo cake so I cut them out at the same time as the ones I needed for this weeks cake but I had no clue at all what I was going to use them for until this morning. I popped out of bed and grabbed my sketch pad and colored pencils and drew it all out! Inspiration for cake designs often hits like this and I keep a sketch pad of some size with me everywhere I go just in case. You just never know when you will see a pattern that will make a cake design pop into your head!

See you next Sunday!


Sunday, August 29, 2010

The "Tory" Seahorse Wedding Cake. Covered with Vanilla Marshmallow Fondant.
Trimmed with sugar crystals and topped with a Sugar candy Cake Topper.

As promised...the Display Cake! This is the first of six I have to have done by the first bridal faire in January. I am very pleased about how this turned out. Most of the time an artist sketches something out and then tries to recreate it in sugar and it doesn't quite turn out the way you imagined. This turned out exactly how I imagined! The topper is my first venture into sugar work. Since then I have played quite a bit with it but this was my first time and I was very nervous about it. It turned out just like I wanted it to on the very first try and I feel like I'm pretty blessed that it did. The seaweed and seahorses are all made of fondant. The seahorses are molded in a candy mold and then after unmolding, trimming and allowing to dry, they are handpainted to look more lifelike. The seahorses and topper are the two reasons this cake takes a bit longer to make, they require the drying time in order to make them look right.

However, with a display cake there is no actual cake there. This makes my family sad since there are also no trimmings, no leftovers, no goodies that Mom is bringing home from the kitchen! So, in order to play with a new technique and give my family cake, I decided to make cupcakes that, I think, would look adorable at any baby shower. They could be used in place of a cake or packaged up to give away as favors!

Lemon Chiffon Baby Shower Cupcakes

The next few weeks brings some special birthday cakes to share with all of you. The only clues I'll give are that one is a more modern girly cake and one is a 3D cake. Hopefully both women will be delightfully surprised!


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Yellow Cake Cupcakes with Milk Chocolate Buttercream topped
with spun and hard caramel sugar candy as well as chocolate
and graham cracker toffee pieces.

So being on "vacation" is a relative term. While I didn't have to deliver any cakes this week it doesn't mean I didn't find myself in the kitchen or working on any projects. This week brought cupcakes for a Girls Night Out gathering as well as work on a sugar flower for an upcoming project.

The cupcakes were designed with the clients in mind who said that their favorite cake combination is the old fashioned yellow cake and chocolate icing. But just because the taste is old fashioned doesn't mean the presentation can't be a little edgy. Spun sugar is not a new medium for cakes but it is a new medium for me so playing around with it is fun and the learning curve is steep! I knew that one of the girls is a caramel fan so plain spun sugar wouldn't cut it for this project so I made it taste like caramel by adding in brown sugar with the white sugar to add that molasses taste to the candy. Worked like a dream. The spun sugar had that wonderful amber color and the hard candy had the strong caramel taste. Topping the milk chocolate buttercream off with the chocolate and toffee graham cracker pieces just gave another layer of flavor to this old fashioned treat.

Now your secret of the week has to do with the sugar flower I am working on. Most of the cake shows on TV will show the completed flower or will show the artist working on the flower...and usually thats the last step of coloring the flower, but they don't really show how much work goes into these wonderful creations. First you have to study the flower that you want to copy and figure out how to go about breaking down the pieces and how to make those look like the real flower. Then you make the sugarpaste or fondant. I acutally use a combination of the two most of the time because sugarpaste dries very quickly, sometimes too quickly to get the form or impressions you need for the particular flower. By adding in fondant at a 50/50 ratio you buy yourself a little more molding time. So there is the cutting out of the pieces, molding them as I go, the letting them dry and finally paint the pieces that need painting to look like the real flower.

The flower I'm working on now has 9 petals and a very interesting looking stamen in the center of the flower. Now often sugar flowers are assembled using something called gumglue. This is, simply, water and sugarpaste that has been blended to a glue consistancy. Because the 9 petals are at different layers I had to glue one layer together at a time, let it dry for a day before doing the next layer. So, doing that math you can figure out it takes 3 days to have a fully assembled and dry flower for the cake. When finished and completely dry the guest will have a very beautiful keepsake of their special day. Now you understand why sugar flowers add so much cost to a cake. I only need one for the 8 inch birthday cake I am making but a wedding cake could use up to 15 of these large flowers. At a cost of about $15 per flower you could easily add up to an extra $200 for a wedding cake.

Next week I hope to finish my display cake and be able to share it with all of you!.


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Dirt Bike Helmet Birthday Cake. Yellow Cake filled with LemonCurd Buttercream.

The first cake of the week was quite the challenge for me. A gift to a dirt bike enthusiast husband from his loving wife, I had no idea what one of these helmets actually looked like in real life. Fortunately, for me, Google came to my rescue and I was able to look at several different views of this type of helmet. At least enough to be able to replicate it well enough that the Birthday Guy not only knew what the cake was supposed to be but was fascinated enough to ask me how it was made. Success! Now onto the second cake of the week, my grandaughters 1st Birthday Cake!

Top tier dark chocolate cake with dark chocolate buttercream filling. Bottom tier lemon chiffon cake with lemoncurd buttercream filling. Covered in vanilla marshmallow fondant and decorated with a fondant owl and real ribbon trim.

The theme of the party is Look Whoooo's One! So I decided to sculpt an owl out of fondant to match the owl on the decorator plates. Since this is also a party our event company was working, and my oldest daughter the hostess, I had access to all of the party decorations well ahead of the party so plenty of time to design the perfect cake for the decor. So the secret to this cake is that the owl was made two weeks ahead of time from fondant and then allowed to dry in place before the party. The tiers are covered in pink fondant and then covered again with the white scalloped fondant. This second layer had to be thin since you don't want the amount of icing to effect the taste of the cake inside. It's also a heavy medium, something that the lemon chiffon cake almost couldn't handle and if you look closely you will see that one side of the cake settled after decorating a little bit more than the other side making the cake a little bit crooked. A nice reminder that when decorating cakes you have to remember that you artistic medium is CAKE and it can move and shift and compress way after you are done decorating it. Oddly enough the tiers were level but just not straight up and down on the sides. All in all though, we were all very pleased with the cake. The guests were amazed and it tasted SO good that most of the guests went back for more. Always a good sign that the inside was at least as good as the outside. And that is an important goal for me in my work...not just to look good but to taste fantastic!

Next week is vacation for me after a long summer FILLED with cakes. The week after could also be vacation but I think I'm going to give that demo cake one more try and hope life doesn't step in the way so I can share it with all of you!


Sunday, August 8, 2010

End of the Year Basketball Cake~ Marble cake covered
in vanilla buttercream and topped with handpainted fondant
Court. Figures not edible.
Well, as what happens in everyone's lives, this week didn't quite go as planned. First off I thought it was going to be a kickback week. No clients scheduled on purpose to give us a week after my son's basketball season was over to recouperate and have everyone at home. So I thought I'd work on a demo cake for an upcoming Bridal Faire. Well, it just wasn't to be. I was able to get started on the decorations and then my son's team made it to the Post Season Play Offs. To top it off he came down with a really bad cold so all week I've been home taking care of him and watching my free time drift away. So then came Saturday and our Play Offs became Semi Finals so, of course, all of a sudden a team cake was in order and a celebration, winning or losing, was in order. My Saturday night and Sunday morning became all about getting a cake out of the door for the kids. And it was SO worth it. Our team didn't win but the kids got medals for making it to the Semi's and the cake was a hit.

No real secret this week. Standard sheet cake, and I don't do a lot of those these days, one layer of marble cake covered in vanilla buttercream. The only really fun part of the cake was the court. It's fondant, rolled out and handpainted. No time to make sugarpaste figures so I had to be content with the Decopac variety. These cracked the kids up because of the obvious difference in the size of the players and the size of the hoops. If I'd had time to make them I would have but about 12 hours didn't give me enough time.

This upcoming week brings one small party cake and one Baby's 1st Birthday cake. The latter I'm deeply attached to since it's for my Grandaughter's 1st brithday! I'll be sharing those next week. When the demo cake is going to get done....well, that's up in the air for now.


Sunday, August 1, 2010

1st Anniversary Cake. A copy of the top tier of their wedding cake, this confection features handpainted sugarpaste roses and lilies that match the flowers in the bride's boquet. The cake is a lemon chiffon cake filled with lemon curd buttercream and covered in marshmallow fondant.

This week was a bit lighter than the one's before due to a family Cub Scout commitment. I kept my calendar clear with the exception of this 1st Anniversary Cake for a wonderful couple. Last year I did the Bridal Shower cake for this same bride and she was very happy to have me do up a copy of their wedding cake for them this year.

The secret to this cake is the flowers. Roses are a pretty standard sugar flower but I had never made lilies before so this was a new skill for me to learn. One of the surprises is that it takes a few days to make lilies due to the many parts and painted styles needed to assemble the final flower! The other secret is the brown swiss dots that adorn the outside of the cake. They are actually dark chocolate buttercream but since they are so small you don't even taste them while eating the lemon cake! But the newlyweds wedding theme was leopard colors so we kept it in the same colors for the anniversary cake.

This upcoming week brings only fun. I have a wedding faire coming up in January and have to, during my "free" weeks, make up the faux cakes that will highlight my decorating on our faire tables. So I have BIG plans for the first of these cakes and can NOT wait to share them with you next Sunday!


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Handpainted Sugarpaste Plumerias cascade over this three tier wedding cake. Lemon Chiffon Cake filled with Lemon Curd Buttercream as well as Dark Chocolate Fudge Cake filled with Raspberry Preserves were the choices of this Bride and Groom. Covered in Marshmallow Fondant over a layer of Vanilla Buttercream.

This past week was a busy one for me since it included a wedding cake. The theme was Hawaii and beaches and the flower of choice was yellow Plumerias. They were used on the tables as well as in the bouquets and hair decorations so, of course, they were needed on the cake as well. I spent over 15 hours handcrafting and painting 50 large and small Plumerias for this cake. This does increase the cost of your cake but the effect is priceless. Even the Groom was stunned by the cake and thanked me multiple times.

The cake itself is a favorite of mine. The Lemon Chiffon Cake with the Lemon Curd Buttercream is almost a signature cake for me and next in line is my Dark Chocolate Fudge so how lucky was I that the Bride picked out these two cakes to make up her dream wedding cake? Baking a cake such as this takes a lot of time. Each tier has two layers and each layer takes over an hour to bake so that means that there is about 8 hours of work that goes into just baking the cakes.

I often hear the question "why do wedding cakes cost so much". Well, here is a quick break down of this cake for you. First comes the designing of cakes for the client to look at and pick out the one sketch that fits her dream cake. Sometimes I don't get it on the first try when I sketch out four cakes and have to add or subtract or combine features from one cake to the next to create the final sketch of what their cake will look like in the end. In this case the Bride wanted Plumerias cascading down the cake on one corner...lots and lots of Plumerias. But I did get the cake with my first set of sketches and was able to make the final sketch which turned out exactly what they wanted. Then comes the making of the flowers. As I mentioned above I spent about 15 hours just making flowers, then another 8 just baking the cakes. Add in there the time needed to make the fresh fondant as well as fresh buttercream, lemon curd and raspberry filling and then add the actual construction of the cake (another six hours of work) and you have about 35 hours of work that went into the making of this cake. Lastly you need to add in the cost of ingredients to make the cake taste as wonderful as it looks and you may be getting an idea of why custom designed wedding cakes are so expensive. A lot of work goes into make your one of a kind creation that no other Bride and Groom will have on their cake table at their wedding. Your own personal work of edible art.

As an artist the payment reaches much father than what was printed on the check. To be able to take a design out of my heart and head and put it down onto paper and then create it in cake and sugarpaste is a thrill. Then I get to present it to my clients and the look on their faces, their reactions are the highest payment I could ever hope to recieve. It is the most wonderful feeling in the world to have your art delight another person..but especially on what is such an important day for your client. You get one chance at making it perfect for them and when you do it's an incredible feeling.

So once again I get to say Congrats to the Mr. & Mrs. and be proud to have presented them with their dream wedding cake. Quite the honor for me.

See you next week!


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Tiers of Chocolate Cake filled with Apricot Preserves
as well as tiers of Yellow Cake filled with Dark Chocolate Buttercream

This weeks cake was a special one for a friends 50th Birthday Bash. For this dear friend I wanted to make her something that would really WOW her on her special day. So this five tier cake idea was born. The Guest of Honor is definitely a "Bling" girl so I wanted to give her a lot of it on her cake. So each tier not only had edible gems but also "cake jewelry" which really adds sparkle to the whole cake. I made her a "chandelier" topper that also had cake jewelry hanging from it to top it all off. She was very very thrilled when I arrived with it today as they were setting up for her party.

As with every cake there is a secret to share and for this one it's the use of cake dummies for the black tiers of the cake. It was a way to add a lot of drama without making too much cake for the number of guests that were invited. They add structure to the cake as well making it a more sturdy construction than if I had used real cake to separate the larger tiers. So while the cake looks like it could topple easily it was, in fact, very sturdy from the top to the bottom.

This upcoming week brings two cakes for me. One is a 3D for a Mary Kay Consultant and the other is a wedding cake that I've been spending many of an hour working on over the past month. It requires 50 sugar paste flowers that cascade down the side. Now I get to make the cake that these flowers will adorn!


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Dark Chocolate Cake with Dark Chocolate Buttercream Filling
covered with handpainted Vanilla Marshmallow Fondant. All
embellishments are sugar paste and edible.

The project for this week was one where I had to prepare well in advance for the embellishments on the cake and some of those didn't work out so I had to also think fast on my feet. The cake itself went as smooth as butter. It was for a friends 40th birthday and, as such, was fun to make. My own design, my own choices and my own art project. Those are always lots of fun.

In making a tool box there are plenty of, old, what color, what size, what shape, what tools to embellish with and lastly what cake to make to under all of that. Well, I knew our friend loves chocolate so that was an easy choice and decided to use my death by chocolate cake recipe so it would be really moist and have a deep chocolate flavor. And just because you can never have enough chocolate I decided to top it off with dark chocolate buttercream for the filling!

The measuring tape took shape over about 3 weeks. From making and painting the box shape to making and painting the tape section and letting each step dry a few days after each adjustment. The hammer was a last minute creation because the tile snips I attempted to make just fell apart when I tried to glue them together in the end. Sometimes no amount of work on pieces for a cake can make those pieces into something that fits together and looks like it's real life counterpart. So I grabbed up some sugar paste and started moulding and shaping the hammer, trying to give the handle the look of real wood before painting it. Since I had not considered a wood look embellishment that meant I had to rethink the color of my old fashioned wooden toolbox. So instead of an Oak look, I decided to make it look like varnished Cedar instead. This way the hammer I hadn't planned on would stand out on the tool box. All of the silver embellishments had to be sculpted and then painted after they were dry. This is done with gell color and clear alcohol. The alcohol allows the gell color to go on very smoothly like paint and then the alcohol evaporates very quickly allowing the color to dry rapidly. On fondant this makes a wood effect very easy to achieve.

The Birthday Guy was really surprised and really happy with this cake. I usually get to taste the cake in pieces...cake top from trimming, a taste of the filling to make sure it's right, but this time I got to taste it in it's full form and it was a dark moist chocolate dream. The compliments from the guests were nice but how it made the Birthday Guy glow was priceless.

This upcoming week brings a 5 tier cake for a special 50th Birthday. Can't wait to share!


Sunday, July 4, 2010

White Chiffon Cake filled with Raspberry Buttercream
and covered with handpainted Vanilla Marshmallow
Fondant. All pieces are edible.

Happy 4th of July! I was lucky enough to deliver the cake posted above to a very pleased daughter. Her mom means the world to her and collects Muscial Jewelry Boxes so it was a given that her cake be the same thing.

Making this cake was trickier than you would think. It is 4 inches deep by 8 inches long by 6 inches high. This means the base is smaller than the height and whenever that comes into play you have to make your inside structure very stable to hold up the cake above or it will come toppling down or squish the cake below or both! For this type of design you have to make panels of fondant and then handpaint all of it once it is constructed. For this cake the top of the box is it's own little unfilled cake..enough for four. The bottom is a two layer filled cake topped with the buttercream "fabric" that you see poking out with the pearls. Inside the bottom cake is a set of dowels that sit up just a bit over the cake to hold up the top cake which has a cake board on the bottom of that so it can sit on the dowels and not the cake. Serving this cake is easy. Just remove the top cake, cut into four pieces and serve. Then with the bottom cake you would remove the dowels and simply slice it lengthwise down the center and then crosswise in 1 inch slices, giving you 1x2x4 inch pieces of cake. Perfect!

The fondant accent pieces have to be made a day or so in advance so they have time to dry a bit before placing on the cake. Most of them had to be painted with edible gold paint which also takes time to dry. So on "cake day" it's really a matter of covering the actual cake and then placing the dried/painted pieces onto the cake using a teeny bit of water as glue. I'm very pleased with how it turned out.

This week brings a special birthday cake for a friend of ours who is turning 40. Our gift to him is a very special 3D toolbox cake...can't wait for him to see it at his party!

Have a great 4th!