Sunday, June 30, 2013

Happy Sunday! This past week brought an animal themed, specifically Giraffe themed, baby shower cake! This 8 inch by 5 inch high and 6 inch by 3 inch high cake was vanilla cake on top and red velvet on the bottom. YUM!

The challenge in this cake was the bow. It was made from chocolate fondant which is a very soft fondant so I actually ended up making the bow 3 times before I got one I really liked. The other challenge was the figures. I couldn't find a cookie cutter that I liked so I ended up just rolling out the fondant and then cutting the shapes out with an exacto knife. 

To do this easier I mixed the fondant with a little bit of tylose so it would dry up firmer faster. After just a couple of hours the shapes were fairly firm and by the next morning they were very hard. This was very important for placing them onto the cake because I didn't want them to bend at all.

A really tall cake like this one takes a bit of time and effort to cover smoothly with fondant. The weight of the fondant wants to drag it down and then rip, tear or "elephant" skin. None of the effects you want in a nicely covered cake! So you have to cover it very carefully and smooth it down as quickly as you can. 

The zebra stripes were hand cut out of squares of rolled out fondant. I just sort of let the knife swoosh down the square and then applied it with a bit of water on a cake brush to stick that to the cake. The giraffe shapes were a bit different. I actually used a small square cookie cutter and cut a whole bunch of squares out of rolled fondant and then cut off the odd edge or three and then smoothed the sharper edges before placing them onto the cake.

I added the trim and draping ribbons to the cake and then the bow. The last items were the plaque and the giraffe figures. I used butter cream to apply them to the cake and then piped the design on them while they were on the cake. 

A word about structure. The bottom cake is set upon a cake round and then dowels are placed into the center of the cake. For an 8 inch cake and smaller I use 4 dowels. I then pipe a bit of buttercream into the center of the dowels. The top tier is also on a cake round and that is what touches the dowels. It doesn't really touch the cake. It rests on the dowels and is held in place by the buttercream. The last step before placing the bow on top was the insertion of a center dowel that goes all the way from the top of the cake to the bottom cake board. This holds the cake steady so that the top tier can not slide off of the bottom tier. This stability isn't so important if you are not going to travel anywhere with the cake but if you are driving anywhere you will want that security measure in place. The rule of thumb is place a cake round and dowels for every four inches of cake. However, I have to say that even if you are stacking a 3 inch cake on top of a two inch round I would still use dowels to make it more stable.

The cake was a hit in both looks and taste and that is always my goal. Make the cake taste at least as good as it looks! I have seen many gorgeous cakes that didn't taste like much of anything or actually tasted bad and it really doesn't make a great impression for the guest. I'm happy when I see empty plates coming back to the cake table asking for another slice. Then I know I've done my job well!

Next week I'm going to be featuring cupcakes!  These make for easy outdoor summer treats that are not only easy to make but to take to the park and to eat. In the meantime check out our Cherry Party Blog tomorrow to see a gorgeous baby shower and, as always, get lots of ideas each day on our Facebook Fan Page! See you then!


Sunday, June 23, 2013

 Happy Sunday! One of the fun cakes this month was this "background" cake for a Justin Bieber Birthday Party for a very special 7 year old. A background cake is one that will be decorated with licensed merchandise at the party. 

The Mom saw a cake similar to this one and decided to have me put my own touches on it. The fondant is just tinted purple and then the keyboard is actually a very long strip of white that has been divided evenly with little line imprints. The black keys were cut out of black fondant and just glued with water on top of the white. 

Cookie cutters were used to make the stars and the notes and they were added to the cake making sure to leave room for the decorations to come after delivery. 

The one cool discovery this time was the cupcake cups! They are new from Wilton and they are called Color Cups. The inside of the cup is lined with foil so that, during baking, the outside of the cup keeps it's color and design which is usually washed out by the moisture of the baking cupcake. So the purple swirls on the cups retained their vibrant color and you could really use them as a decor item! Awesome product!

I got lucky and the client emailed me this photo of the final display with JB on top and the cupcake display made for a really wonderful presentation at Hailey's party!

Next week I'll share with you the baby shower cake I did this weekend! Tomorrow make sure to check out our Cherry Party Blog when we will share a wonderful Construction Party Plan!


Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Sunday and Happy Father's Day to those of you in the USA! Each year we bake something special for the Dad in this house so I thought I'd share the last few years of cakes and treats! This year's cake is a nod to his love of golf but the outside edge and inside filling are nods to his love of Pistachios! The cake is a yellow cake but the filling is this amazing Pistachio Creme I found in Sicily. I posted a few weeks ago how you can make your own but there are also places to purchase it online but it's very expensive. Then I covered it in vanilla butter cream and used crushed pistachios to coat the outside edges. The top is just colored butter cream piped on with a "grass" tip with a fondant "putter" and a wooden skewer flag pole and scrapbook paper flag.
Last year was a nod to Science Fiction and Steampunk for my husband. He has always been a huge Sci-Fi fan and a fan of Jules Verne books and movies so I created this gear and metal octopus themed cake just for him. The small hexagon cake is covered in fondant that has been hand painted with edible silver paint. The octopus arms and the rest of the metal looking components are also painted with silver, gold or bronze edible paint.
 In 2011 we celebrated at our younger daughters house with her husband and son so I made the cake for both guys who are definitely Star Trek fans! This is also just hand painted fondant covering the cake. What I do is mix a small bit of clear alcohol, like vanilla or vodka, with a metallic luster dust. I only mix enough liquid in to make a thick paint texture being careful not to make it too thick, where it would be lumpy, or too thin, where I would have to paint several layers on instead of just one or two.

We had a wonderfully relaxing Father's Day just sleeping in, hanging out and watching baseball. Hope yours was wonderful too!

Check out the Party Blog tomorrow for a super fun Surf Board Birthday Party and if you get the chance stop by our Facebook Fan Page for daily tips and tricks for all of your party planning!


Sunday, June 9, 2013

Happy Sunday! This was one of "those" weeks that proves to me that my summer season is definitely here! I had 3 stacked cakes, 5 dozen cupcakes, and 1 birthday cake. Yes, I am exhausted! LOL! So, over the next few weeks I will share all of those with you starting with the Hibiscus cake.

This two tier lemon cake was covered in butter cream and then decorated with hand painted sugar shells and fondant hibiscus petals. The cake itself was the easy part. Baked it, filled it, crumb coated it then put on the finish layer of butter cream and piped the pretty swirls onto it. It is the rest that took the time.

The shells are from plastic molds. You dust the mold with powdered sugar first and then push the fondant/gumpaste mixture into the mold. I let that sit up for about a half hour and then unmold it. Then it has to set up till rock hard for painting. Depending on what your ratio of gumpaste to fondant is you could have to wait a few hours to a few days. The more gumpaste, the faster it hardens up. However, in my opinion, the more gumpaste the worst it tastes so I try to avoid that whenever possible. These were dry after 2 days. Then I used a combination of luster dust and gel colors to get the depth of color for each piece. I painted on a light shade of the pink and then a darker pink shade after that had dried just a bit to give it a water color look. When that was almost dried I dusted with a light pink luster dust and a dark pink luster dust to bring out the texture in each shell.

The flowers are another matter altogether. As a caker you don't always have the perfect tool for the job and have to make do. Now what I wanted was a hibiscus petal cutter but what I had was an azalea cutter:
The one on the right is the one I used to make these petals. I just cut out the shape and then rounded off the tip and used a ball tool to spread it out to look like a hibiscus petal. Then I used a pointed tool to make the marks in the petals. 

At this point I could have shaped the petals and let them set up to dry but I wanted them to be nice and soft for the cake so I carefully placed each petal, overlapping in the center, onto the cake. When both flowers were on the cake I used a #4 tip to make the pistal in yellow and then a #1 tip to make the anthers in orange. 

This is actually a graduation cake but many remarked at the event that it would make a beautiful wedding cake so I decided that tomorrows party plan on the Cherry Party Blog would be a wedding to match this cake! 

Next week is Father's Day! Look here for this years cake as well as those I have done over the past several years! And, as always, check out our Facebook page for daily party tips and crafts!


Sunday, June 2, 2013

Happy Sunday! And it is a VERY Happy Weekend for me and for Cat's Cakes. One of my cakes is featured in Cake Central Magazine! We are THRILLED!

A few months ago I received an email from the magazine asking me if I was interested in submitting a cake for consideration for the magazine. At first I thought someone was punking me. Seriously. ME? Then the legal paperwork followed in two other emails and suddenly I realized that the offer was REAL! The cherry on top of this wonderful surprise was that the theme was Beatrix Potter! 

Around here Beatrix Potter is a big deal. I own the whole set, my younger daughter is a Peter Rabbit fan (ok, Super Fan) and collects nearly everything she can find of that character, and for each of my babies a Beatrix Potter book was the very first book I ever read to them. So to say I have a fondness for this theme is putting it mildly. 

Each artist invited was given tear sheets with a character called Johnny Townmouse and asked to create something for a Baby Shower. We had to submit it by March 10th and then we had to wait....and wait...and see if we made the cut. I was beyond honored to be asked to submit a cake much less be in the magazine so I was even happier to find out that I had made the finals. This message came in about a month ago....and then came the wait to see if I actually fit into the layout of the magazine. Yesterday I found out that, yes, yes I did! I am over the moon! So here is my cake, page 65, in Cake Central Magazine! (click on the photo to see the full image)
The cake is covered in baby blue fondant, trimmed in white fondant and then decorated with hand painted leaves and vines, fondant leaves and vines, fondant strawberries and fondant figurines.
 Here is the artwork I chose to work with in the end. This is the little guy who is the topper on the cake and...
the little guy on the bottom of the cake with his strawberries and leaf umbrella. I have to tell you, the leaf umbrella was the hardest part of the cake. I finally ended up wiring the stem and adhering the larger leaf to the actual cake for stability.
This is the cover of the issue that my cake is featured in. You can download the digital copy of it at Cake Central Magazine for only $2! It is also carried in cake supply stores and in craft stores in a paper copy but if you have a tablet, computer or color e-reader then the digital copy will be wonderful. This issue is PACKED with some really amazing cakes so even if you are not a huge Beatrix Potter fan but just love to look at gorgeous cakes then this will be perfect for you! I'm on page 65! (Yup, still THRILLED!)

And if you are thinking it couldn't possibly get any does. I have been invited to submit again for future issues! How totally cool is that! Yup, very cool indeed! So this may just be the first of several cakes to be featured in this wonderful magazine. But, for the first one to be Beatrix Potter makes it simply perfect. 

Next week I will share with you a wedding cake! In the meantime check us out on Facebook where we are giving out tips and trick for your baking and party plans! And take a few moments to check out the Cherry Party Blog tomorrow to see this week's party plan!