Sunday, April 28, 2013

 Happy Sunday! And Happy 12th Birthday to our son Jack! We had a small family birthday party for him today and he chose a Minecraft theme. Minecraft is a computer/video game that he plays with his friends on the computer and on Xbox. 

Surprisingly enough there isn't much out there with party supplies available so the cake was a major help in the decor area of the party. I'd love to say it was simple to do but it really wasn't. I will tell you what I did do so if you do decide to try it yourself you will have some idea of what you are getting yourself in for before you actually start. 

I started with a 10x10 layer of cake that I leveled. I then cut that into four pieces and stacked them 2x2 with filling in between. Then I froze them.  When they were completely frozen I cut the levels into them with a serrated bread knife. Then I crumbcoated it all with buttercream and let it settle over night.

The next day I made all of the colors of fondant by using gel colors and white fondant. Except for the black and red which were made from Duff's fondant. I rolled the balls of fondant out on a cutting mat and then cut half inch long strips and then cut them half inch wide to make the squares. I let those dry on a mat for one hour so the fondant would firm up a bit. 

After of the squares were set I started placing them onto the cake one or two at a time trying to replicate the way the video game looks with the dark brown, light brown, black, tan and light grey squares. I have to say I used my son for reference as well along the way to make sure I was at least getting close. The last step on the cake was the "grass" area which are 2x2 inch squares. 

Finally it was time for the characters. If I were making this for a client I would need to use the plastic licensed characters so I could sell the cake. But, since this was for my son, I was able to make them from fondant.  I made the "creeper" first since I had used this character to make the invites and it was on the water bottle labels as well. Once again it was a process of working on the piece and then asking my son if I was getting close, work a bit more and tweak the design a bit until he was happy with it. Then came "Steve" which is the main character in the game. I made him section by section, put the sections together with toothpic pieces and then let it dry flat for a few hours to firm up. Then I stuck him onto the base drum with toothpics in the feet and then used toothpics to attach him standing up onto the cake. I did the exact same thing with the pigs and the TNT. I used the leftover colored fondant to make the cubes and just set them onto the one terrace. Finally I cut out a bit of the "grass" and placed the candles, securing them in with the same black icing I used for the lettering. The lettering was last. might ask how long it took to make this cake...7 hours. Yup. 7 hours. It is very very labor intensive and time consuming. Here is a photo of the cake table. My son and his friends were very happy with the cake and thought it was really cool and funny.
For the next two weeks I will be on vacation so I won't be posting here until I get back. When I do I'll be telling you all about a very special program I'm involved in and a Princess Cake I finished this week. See you then!


Sunday, April 14, 2013

Happy Sunday! And Happy 2nd Birthday to our Grandson Parker! Parker is a huge fan of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and a Super Fan of Mickey Mouse himself. 

To get an idea of what a huge fan of Mickey our little man really is, here is the photo of the first time Parker and Mickey met (click on the photo to see the larger version):
Parker was only about six months old and, yes, Mickey obsessed even then. So when it came time to decide upon what design of cake to make for his second birthday, the first birthday he would really be a participant in celebrating, we just knew it had to be Mickey Mouse themed.

As I have mentioned before, you have to be careful when it comes to Disney items and copyright law. Now for this cake I'm pretty safe since it's for my own grandson but I still used a plastic licensed character for the top of the cake and didn't make one out of fondant. Just to be safe.

The cake is lemon chiffon, Parker's favorite cake, with lemon curd butter cream filling. The filling is so good I swear we could just eat it like a dessert pudding all by itself! And it's incredibly easy to make. Are you ready for this top secret recipe? 1:1 ratio of lemon curd to butter cream. Yup...that's it. I use the lemon curd you find near the jam in the grocery store. You could, of course, make your own and then determine how strong you want the lemon taste to be in your filling.

I started out by covering the tiers in fondant. The bottom tier is covered in light blue colored homemade vanilla marshmallow fondant. The top tier is covered in Duff's brand of red fondant. For any really dark color I choose Duff's because it tastes good and the color is a really true color without a chemical dye taste. On this cake the red, black and green are all Duff's fondant and the rest of it is my homemade fondant.

Then I started on the bottom tier. Now I will tell you that this cake took me about 5 hours to finish. There is just that much detail to it. I used round and oval cutters to create the clubhouse as well as the trees and clouds. The trees and clouds started out as ovals that I used a tapered fondant tool to dent the sides and then I stretched the shape to make the tree and cloud shapes. 

The hand was not so easy. I had to hand cut that one out with an exacto knife. It took me forever. Seriously. I had to trace it out on the rolled out piece of fondant and then cut it out and then, using a ball tool as well as a tapered tool, I smoothed out the edges. Yes, it was a pain but I'm really happy with how it turned out so it was worth the extra time and effort. It was then time to stack the top tier onto the bottom tier. 

The top tier included the stars on wooden skewers. Yes, those were done a few days ahead of time. I cut out double the amount of stars needed for the name letters as well as extras for the top tier and then, using water as glue, pressed the two  stars together around the skewer. I waited till they were totally dry and then piped on the black Disney Font lettering. 

Here's a trick behind the lettering. Yes, you can use Google and find the Disney Font. But the best version of that for this is actually the "stitched" font. You can see how the letters actually go together better and it makes it easier to pipe. 

I piped the yellow lettering onto the top tier and then added the stars, which I made at the same time as the ones I put on the skewers and allowed to dry, to the red fondant. For me this wasn't an easy thing since the stars didn't want to stick easily. I ended up holding them pressed onto the red fondant for a minute each to make them adhere. Yes, my patience was wearing thin by this point! LOL! Next up was rolling all of those little balls of yellow fondant for the upper tier trim. When those were all rolled I ran a bead of the yellow butter cream around the tier and placed the marbles all around. 

Last touches were to stick in the skewers and place Mickey in his place of honor...after sticking the long center skewer from the top tier to the bottom tier and into the cake drum on the base. Then I used butter cream to stick Mickey into his spot and the cake was done!

Needless to say my grandson was simply thrilled when he saw the cake! Check out the Cherry Party Blog tomorrow to see the entire Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Party Plan!


Sunday, April 7, 2013

Happy Sunday! Today brings Garden Party Cupcakes! With so much Spring in the air (finally IS in the air for those on the East Coast of the US) there are lots of outdoor parties being thrown. Parties for Birthdays, Bridal Showers, Baby Showers and even for our upcoming Mother's Day on May 12th. We figured this was a great time to point out how you can use after holiday sales for something other than the holiday!

 Forgive the cell phone photo here. This was taken at my local Raley's Superstore. I looked at this adorable kit a week before Easter and thought, "Wow, that's SO cute!" Then I looked at the price...OUCH! $12.99! That is when I thought, "hey, the day after Easter these are going on sale for 50% off! I'll come back then and see if they have any of these kits left." Sure enough. I went back on Tuesday and they had a whole bunch of them in the 50% off bin! 

Every holiday has lots of cute things you can use for parties at other times of the year. Valentine's day Heart candy for wedding favors for your Spring wedding. Pumpkins for your Harvest themed wedding.  Beach themed decorations after Memorial or Labor Day Weekends. Even sales on twinkle lights after Christmas. You can take total advantage of these sales and save lots of money.
The other idea behind these cupcakes was to show that you don't have to be a master cake artist to have something pretty to eat on your table. I have a weakness for pretty plates. I have a whole bunch of single plates that I now use as dessert serving plates. None of them match but they are all loved. This one looks like a big pink flower so I though it was perfect for today.
For some reason I seemed to remember that I had paper doilies somewhere in my stuff. Turns out I was wrong. So I took some paper coffee filters, scalloped the edges with my scissors to make them decorative and smaller, and lined the plate with them. Yes, paper doilies would have been easier but this worked in a pinch.
Part of the decoration was also the liners. There were two types of liners with this set, the ones with the green zigzag lines and the ones with flower. Because they didn't have an Easter Chick design on the outside edge, though the green ones did have bunnies on the bottoms, I knew they would work well for our theme.

Sadly, purple doesn't photograph well. The icing on these is actually quite dark and vibrant but I just couldn't get it to photograph that way. Anyway, I used a large open star tip and piped "roses" on the top of each cupcake. For the video tutorial of this just click here for the Rose Tutorial Video.
Finally I used the pretty picks that came in the kit to decorate and finish the cupcakes. Everyone loved them and not one person mentioned Easter!

I'll be putting up a Garden Party Plan tomorrow on the Cherry Party Blog so I hope you take a few minutes to see how easy throwing a Spring Themed party can be!

Also, check us out on Facebook. We are giving tips and tricks for Brides and Grooms for the next two weeks!

See you next week when I bring you a very Disney Themed Party Cake!