Sunday, December 26, 2010
Sunday, December 19, 2010
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 wilton.com 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
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.
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.
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Raspberry Buttercream and covered in Vanilla Marshmallow Fondant
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
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 ways...it 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!
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Sunday, October 31, 2010
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Sunday, October 3, 2010
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Sunday, September 19, 2010
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.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Sunday, September 5, 2010
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Sunday, August 22, 2010
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
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!