Monday, February 27, 2012

 Happy Monday! So sorry this one is a day late but last night was, after all, OSCARS! We have a party every year and celebrate it up big. More on that later. 

Speaking of celebrating every year. This was my second year making a birthday cake for this special client! It was fun to sit down with her and let her design her heart out when it came to her cake. She loves Tiffany Blue and she loves Sterling roses. So I came up with this ultra feminine version of her favorite colors and her favorite flower. 

The cake is a yellow vanilla cake filled with fresh strawberries and vanilla buttercream. Then I covered it with Tiffany Blue fondant and piped on dark purple filigree which I then embellished with candy pearls. Finally I added on a 75 petal sugar Sterling rose. She was simply delighted. 

I love to feature cakes like this one because, while it IS an "average" 8 inch cake, it didn't have to be the "average" piped buttercream with shell border cake like you would get from the grocery store. The fun part of going to a cake designer is that you can have your "average" birthday cake be anything but average. There will be Big Birthday's in your life and for your loved ones, where you will want the Big Cake but every year you have your birthday and there is no reason to settle for an "average" cake when you can have something made especially for you!

As I mentioned, last night was our Oscar Party! This meant I was following a theme for the night. This year was "Night at the Movies" so the cake part of this had to fit in. What's better than Popcorn Cupcakes? No, that's not really popcorn. It's mini marshmallows! 

I made the this case just simple yellow cake cupcakes...and then I started on the marshmallows while waiting for the cupcakes to cool. The only baking tip here is that I knew I had the Cupcake Collars to go on these to cover up the actual baking liners but when people eat them they remove the collar and you do want a liner to match so I baked these in red and white baking liners. 

Now the marshmallows. This is another one of those labor intensive decorating tips. I used 20 marshmallows per cupcake so it would look like a crowded box of popcorn. Each marshmallow was snipped with an X about 3/4 the way through it. I then "smooshed" each one so that the four corners of the marshmallow would shape more like popped kernels and finally dusted each of them with yellow luster dust. When I had all the marshmallows done for that cupcake I put a little bit of buttercream on it and randomly placed the "Popcorn" on top. 

When I arrived at the party location I added the collars and set them out on the table. The guests had no idea that this was dessert! They just thought it was another form of popcorn holder! I have to say, that's one of the most fun parts of my job. When I can take cake and make it look like something that is not cake and have everyone believe that it's not that's FUN!

To see more Oscar Party ideas check out this week's Cherry Blog:

More fun coming up this week. We are working a baby shower this weekend and I'm doing the cake as well! SO cute! Can NOT wait to share this one with you!


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Happy Sunday! This week was, as you can imagine, full of Valentine's Day can see more of that tomorrow afternoon at our "Cherry Blog" . But this week, today actually, is also our younger daughters birthday. She is my partner in Cherry and also a caker so it can make it pretty hard to surprise her with new and unusual cakes for her birthday. Happy Birthday TORY!

This year I made her a Cherry Pie cake! She loves pie so I thought I'd make her a birthday cake that looks like pie! The cake is just a yellow cake that I baked in a pie pan. Then I covered it in vanilla buttercream and let that crust up for a few minutes. Then I tinted a little bit more buttercream with burgundy gel color and spread a very thin layer of that on top of the white buttercream. Next I used red decorating gel to put a thin film over the burgundy buttercream. Then I started working on the "cherries".

The cherries are simply red fondant that I added just a touch of violet gel color to darken the red up to a more natural cherry color. I rolled out enough fondant balls to pretty much cover the top of the "pie" making sure to vary the sizes and shapes and adding a little indent where the stem would be on a real cherry. I placed them one by one on the "pie" to get enough coverage and I placed them each at different angles.

I then put some of the red decorating gel on each of the "cherries" so it would look like they were swimming in the cherry filling. I added strips of fondant to make the lattice top and a fondant rope that I pinched (which is not as easy as it is with real pie dough!) at regular intervals. The last part was the handpainting. Using brown gel color mixed with vodka I painted on the first coat. The second coat I added in a little of  yellow gel color to the brown and painted on another layer of color, making sure the edges were darker so it would look like it was a real baked pie. 

The fun part was that I pretty much fooled her when she walked in the door and saw it. From a distance it truly looks like a real pie. It wasn't until she got up close enough to the pie that she realized something was "off" about it and it dawned on her that it wasn't a pie at all! LOL! That is truly the fun of my art when I can, even momentarily, have someone thinking that the purse, toolbox, tv, or, in this case, pie, isn't really anything but cake after all.
 The Valentine's Day treats I made were actually a trio of desserts for the dinner party. The first of the three was a cupcake that was "pierced" with a fondant heart arrow. This is actually two fondant hearts cut out with a mini cookie cutter and then, while still soft, put onto a toothpick.
 The next of the desserts is a White Chocolate Covered Strawberry. Temper your white chocolate and then dip your strawberries in and let them dry on parchment paper for a few minutes. Then, using a piping bag with a small writing tip, drizzle more white chocolate back and forth on the each strawberry. The final touch is gold large grain sugar. The perfect touch!
The last of the trio is a S'more Tart. I made graham cracker shells in these mini tart pans and baked them for a few minutes. Then I turned off the oven. I put three pink marshmallows into the shell and let them sit in the oven till they puffed up and slightly melted. Finally I put on a teaspoon of white chocolate and a little fondant heart into the center. To eat them you simply break them up with a fork and eat it like a cookie!

To see how the trio was presented on the table, and all the other decorations and treats for the Valentine's Day Dinner Party, make sure to check out "Cherry" tomorrow afternoon! Just go to:

Also, though most of you have found this blog from our "Cherry" Facebook page, for those who haven't found us there you can visit by going to . There are daily tips, photos of all the cakes along with occasional treats given away. So stop on by and make sure to "Like" us!

See you next week here or tomorrow on our Cherry Blog!


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Happy Sunday! With Valentine's Day just a few days away this Bridal Shower cake was a shoo-in for the Bride who loves Pink. I loved the fact that she's using mirrors on her table for the candles so I was able to use one of my surplus mirrors to display this cake! 

This 8 inch Strawberry cake was filled with fresh strawberries and vanilla buttercream. I bet it will be gorgeous when cut and set out on her pretty pink, red and white heart decorated plates. What I love about this cake is that while it has the rose on top and hearts on the sides it's actually quite the architectural cake. So it wasn't just this little fluffy piece of pink, it actually has shape and structure. I love that. 

It was, however, one of those cakes that takes tons of prep time. Days to make the petals for the huge rose and then dust it with pink luster dust and then more time to make the squares, which had to be totally dry and hard in order to put them onto the cake and then make the hearts and let them dry so they can be placed on the cake. But I have to say that I loved every step. It was fun to see how each piece came together on the finished cake. 

Ok, so the tricks to share. The squares are cut using a square cutting set. Most people would cut out the big square and then use a smaller cutter to cut the inside out. But, for me, it is easier to cut out the small square and then use a bigger cutter to cut out a more even outside shape. Then I let them dry exactly where I cut them so that they will not lose their shape. The braids were made by using an extruder to make the long snakes of soft fondant then they are braided together and put right onto the cake with a little brush of water to hold them in place. You do not want to wait till these are dry because you want to be able to form them around the cake. The stripes are also put on while still soft so they can be placed over the edge of the cake smoothly. With those I brushed the line of water first and then laid the stripe down on the line of water.

Next week I will be able to share with you more Valentine's Day goodies! A few different types of desserts along with tutorials on how to make them!


Sunday, February 5, 2012

Happy Sunday! This week we feature a beautiful little cake that could be for a Bridal Shower or maybe the top tier for a Wedding Cake but is, in fact, a very girly girl Birthday Cake for one of my favorite girly girl clients! 

This 6 inch dark chocolate cake is filled with fresh buttercream icing and then covered in the same buttercream and decorated with 75 sugar Hydrangea leaves. Just enough cake for a small celebration of friends and family.

It seems like a rather simple cake but, of course, making the flowers started a week ago. It is a many stage process that starts out with fresh fondant being made for the flowers themselves. Once the fondant is ready, and there is a 12 hour waiting period before it's ready for use, I rolled out the sheet of fondant and used my hydrangea cutting set to cut and press the petals. These then have to set up for 12 hours and then I was able to gently fold them a bit to give them some movement like real flowers. Then they set up another 12 hours and I can finally begin the dusting process. In person they are a bit glittery but I used mat dusts to create the purple and blue colors and just a touch of the pink pearl dust to add the splash of pink and a little sparkle.
Each petal was first dusted with the pink in the centers. Then I went back over them with the purple and then the blue. This photo was taken right as I started the blue layer. I then went back over them again with purple here or there and finally finished them off with more of the pink. The wonderful thing about hydrangeas is that they are not all colored the same from petal to petal. The color variations is one of the reasons I find them to be so beautiful. They range everywhere from white to pink to blue to purple and every mix in between. I went with the purple variation. The next step is using water to set the candy pearls into the center of each petal. These set up again for about 6 hours and I was finally able to form them just a little more before letting them dry for 2 more days till solid. This turns them into fondant "candy" and they are, oh, so good!

Finally it was time to fill and crumbcoat the cake and let it settle overnight. At last the top coat of frosting went on, was allowed to "crust" up so I could apply the quilting pattern sheet. This, for me, is just a light impression.  This is, for me anyway, easier to do on fondant than on buttercream so you have to be very careful to press lightly with the pattern sheet. Press too hard and breathe too hard at the same time and you have suddenly ruined your finish. Then you have to start the final top coat of frosting all over again. I  use a rolling cutter to go over the quilted lines so that they are deeper into the cake and more noticeable.

I used a leaf tip, tipped to the side, to make the ruffled edges and then I put the first layer of petals onto the cake. Then, using more frosting, added the rest of the petals until they were all in place. The last touch is the candy pearls set into the joins of the quilting. 

This little cake took 75 hydrangea petals. Can you just imagine how many would go on a full 3 tier Wedding Cake!?! Fortunately I can just imagine how gorgeous that Wedding Cake would be when it was all stacked and finished. Just remember that if you do choose to go with a multi-flowered design that each flower adds to the cost of your entire cake. This cake, without the flowers, would cost $45. But when you add the flowers it takes the cost up to $82. That is due to all the hours that go into making the flowers look real but edible. Since hydrangeas are toxic to humans, this is the only safe way to have them on your cake.

This upcoming week brings another shower cake...can't wait to share!