Sunday, August 25, 2013

Happy Sunday! Another summer birthday came our way this week. This little beach bag cake is filled with everything Jayne can wish to take with her to the beach. There's sunscreen, her travel journal, her sunglasses and her towel all sticking out of the top.

I learned a great many things making this cake. It is a standard 8x2 inch cake that has been cut into thirds and then trimmed down to 5-1/2 inches across by 6 inches high and 2-1/2 inches wide with the trimmings adding height to the cake. Yellow cake filled with chocolate brownie buttercream is Jayne's favorite combo so that is what is inside the vanilla fondant "bag".  It is staked twice down into the cake board with wooden skewers, one on each side of the cake from top to bottom. Then it was crumbcoated with vanilla buttercream and allowed to set up.

I then started on the stripes. What I found out is that they don't "glue" together easily. I finally took the strips and laid them out onto a parchment covered rack and brushed water in between so they would glue together in pairs of two. Then I was able to put them on the cake, trim them down to fit the cake two at a time. One of the reasons I give myself plenty of time to decorate a cake is due to set backs like this one. It added 6 hours of wait time to this cake. 

Once I had the front strips on and the back strips on and trimmed down I added the white side panels. I mainly let the front semi-hard strips help hold the soft white fondant to the sides since it, like the hard strips, had to stand up, like a bag, but couldn't be stiff because I needed them to look like fluid fabric billowing on the sides. So I brushed water, not just on the cake but also the fondant edges of the hard front and back strips and then smoothed the side fondant on pressing it gently to the front and back wet edges. 

After they were dry and allowed to set up for a bit it was time to do the cording. I have an extruder that I simply love. It has many different screens with different size and shaped holes so I can just change out whatever I need to whenever I need to do it. The screen for today is the one with three small holes in it that allows me to make long thin "snakes" of fondant. I made white and blue snakes and then just twisted them together. Then I brushed on a thin line of water to act as glue and ran it along the edges of the front and back panels. I used just one strand of white to edge the top and bottom edges of the side panels.

I used this same screen to make the snakes I needed for the braided handles for the front and back. You have to work really, really carefully or the snake will break and you will have to start all over again. Once the braids were done I set them aside, the U shape of a handle, to firm up. While they were drying, I made the "grommets" for the bag. Just cut out with a piping tip and then punched with a smaller tip, I just painted these silver and let them dry.

While everything was drying I began working on the items to go into the bag. Keep in mind that they are supposed to be peeking out of the bag so you do not need full sized items. The panels stick about an inch or so over the actual cake so you only need a few inches of the item to stick out. The towel is only 4 inches long, the sunscreen is only about 2-1/2, as is the book. The sunglasses are fronts only with one partial earpiece folded under. For the book I took a block of white fondant and then rolled out a marbled piece of blue-green fondant really thin to cover it. Lastly I used my xacto knife to score the "pages". The towel is a thick piece of pink and white marbled fondant that was rolled and then texturized using scrunched up plastic wrap. Both the sunglasses and the sunscreen are just hand molded until I thought they looked right.

The last touches were painting the SPF 30 on the sunscreen and Jayne's initials on the journal in silver paint and then adding the grommets and braided handles to the bag. The grommets went on quickly but I did have to use toothpicks to hold the braided fondant onto the cake. I put them through the folded over braiding and then pushed them into the cake gently, making sure to hide the tip of the toothpick. The sand is just gold sanding sugar that I sprinkled onto the board using a small spoon.

Smaller cakes are sometimes the most challenging but being a "Beach Baby" myself I was very happy to do this cake! 

Next week is time to Party with Barbie! See you then!


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Nate's Propane Tank Birthday Cake

Happy Sunday! It is always fun when I get to do a family members cake! Today is Nate's birthday. Nate is my son-in-law and one of the best guys you would want to know. Nate also owns a propane franchise. Thus the propane tank cake! LOL!

Making this cake wasn't the easiest but I did find out some pitfalls along the way. Making a carved cake can be challenging but the first issue I had was making the collar and the nozzle for this tank. Since it had to dry for several days I made it before I had actually baked the cake. Well, when I baked the cake I found out that the collar and nozzle were too small! So I ended up making it again. I was very happy that they were dry enough when it came time to top the cake with them.

The cake is 3 four inch layers. This feeds 10 people which was perfect for our guest list. I leveled off two of the layers and left the dome on the top one, just trimming off enough to give me a flat surface for the nozzle. Lastly I carved into the bottom tier so it would allow room for the bottom collar. In retrospect I didn't carve in enough so the collar doesn't look as recessed as it should. It is vanilla cake filled with chocolate brownie buttercream...and yes, it was very yummy! I stacked the cakes and then took a wooden skewer and nailed it through the top of the cake, slightly to the side, into the cake drum below. Then I covered it all with a crumbcoating of buttercream and let it set up overnight. 

Now it was time to cover the whole thing with fondant. It is a strange shape for a cake so I had to go very slowly and carefully with the fondant, smoothing it out one small section at a time until it was completely adhering to the cake. When this was totally smooth I nailed in another skewer into the top of the cake (also to one side) and down into the cake drum below. We had to travel 200 miles with this cake and with it being much taller than it is wide, it meant it could topple easily and I didn't want that going anywhere!

This is when I added the bottom collar and the middle roll of fondant. I use an extruder to make the long snake of fondant but it's still a real challenge to get it so it looks even around the middle of the cake so I brushed the roll with a mist of water and then put it on the cake and then adjusted as I needed before it set up on the cake. You only have seconds before the sugar bond occurs so you have to work fast!

I then set the collar up on the top of the cake where I wanted it to sit and marked the cake in three places. I removed the collar and piped in a layer of royal icing. This not only sets the collar up above the cake like a real tank but also sticks the collar to the cake securely. I went back a few times and piped more lines on top of the first lines to build it up, letting it dry between layers. Finally I set the color up on top of the last wet layer and then used the royal icing to smooth it out so it looked like the welds on a real tank. Next the nozzle was put into place with a toothpick and some water to hold it into place.

The last part on the cake was the hand painting. Now the logo of his company is something close to this one but you can't put a trademarked logo on a cake so I just changed it a bit. I cut the arrows out of blue fondant using two sizes of circle cutters. The I cut the circles in half and then carved the arrows with an exacto knife I have just for cakes. Then it was time for the hand painting. There really is no easy way to hand paint. You just dive in and hope for the best. Over time and with practice you do get better at it...I'm not quite there yet but I'm working on it! LOL!

Finally there was the writing on the drum. It's royal icing because I wanted to be able to paint on it and you can't do that with frosting. So I piped out the letters in white and then let them totally dry. After I made sure they were totally dry I started coloring them in. 

The birthday guy was very surprised by the cake so it was great! We all enjoyed eating it too! And there was the last challenge. How do you cut a cake that's not shaped like cake? I'd love to say that there was a tried and true method but there just isn't. With this one I removed the toppers, grabbed an extra paper plate, then just cut the cake right down the middle. I carefully took one half of the cake and put it on the extra paper plate and laid down the other side on the drum. Then I just cut the appropriate sized pieces which worked out perfectly to give cake and a bit of filling to everyone. 

This upcoming week brings another carved mini-birthday cake! I'll share with you on Sunday!


Sunday, August 11, 2013

Broach Wedding Cake

Happy Sunday! This week brings another wedding! My last of the year...and a very simple but lovely wedding cake that is decorated by a replica of the Bride's Great Grandmother's broach. But there is a very special story attached to this broach and to the small wedding cake for this Bride and Groom.

You see, the Groom is being deployed in a few weeks. While he's going to be on the "back lines" and they don't fear for his safe return, they did want to be married before he left. So, while planning the big "To-Do" for next Fall after he returns next Summer, they decided to have this small wedding, including wedding cake right now. The broach is a symbol of how love can endure the separation of War. The Bride's Great Grandmother wore a beautiful crystal studded broach on her wedding day in her hair at a small ceremony before her husband was deployed. He returned home safely and now they have been married since 1942. the math..that's 71 years happily married! I'd say that was one good omen for this new Bride who is about to send her new husband off to War as well. So the Bride found a replica of the broach for her own Wedding Day! We can only wish such a long marriage for the two of them as well!

The cake is just a 10x4 square Lemon Chiffon with Raspberry filling cake covered with vanilla fondant and then decorated with piped royal icing. The icing actually mimics the pattern on the wedding invitations for the ceremony next year so I can't share them with you yet. I piped royal all around the cake as trim and then added the little fondant flowers.

To make the fondant flowers I just rolled the fondant thin as a dime and then used a plunger punch to make the flowers similar to one of these. 
When you press the punch onto the fondant and push the plunger down you not only cut out the flower but emboss it at the same time. I cut out about a hundred flowers and then, using a flower sponge and a mini ball tool, I made the flowers into little cups. I let those dry for a bit before brushing them with ivory luster dust. 

Finally I attached those to the cake with royal icing and then added the little candy pearls. The broach was the last thing to go on the cake. It was attached with royal as well and will easily be removed from the cake and easily cleaned up afterward for use in her bouquet or on her cake next year. 

Best wishes to the new Bride and Groom and our hopes that he will return quickly and safely to his family at the end of his tour.

Next week is a "carved" birthday cake! See you then! Of course you can check in for our daily tips and tricks on our Facebook Fan Site where we still have a "Sharing" contest going on! Just head over once a day and "share" the tip, trick or photo of the day and you can win!


Sunday, August 4, 2013

 Happy Sunday! This past week brought us a wedding with two Brides! Together for over a decade this couple decided to tie the knot right after the Supreme Court ruling and we were delighted to be involved!
 The custom cake topper was simply perfect for this fun loving couple. A great sense of humor, sense of playfulness and colorful joy was clearly represented by these funny flamingos!

The cake was an 8x4 inch square tier with a 6x3 inch round tier. Vanilla chiffon cake with strawberry filling was one of the Brides favorites so that became the flavor of both tiers. The outside is just vanilla buttercream. I then piped what are known as "Swiss" dots in their wedding colors of light green and aqua blue.

Swiss dots look complicated but they are actually very simple. Just start your dots going straight down the side of the cake. Space them an even amount apart as you go from top to bottom. Now, start your second row at the top but put the first dot even with the space between the first row dots. For this design I ended up with 4 dots of green and then 3 of blue, then 4 of green and 3 of blue for the top tier. Then I just put a candy pearl into the center of each dot to give it the Bridal look. The final detail was the trim and then writing their names on the cake plate.

As far as cakes go, it wasn't terribly difficult to do but it was wonderfully perfect for the couple celebrating their new marriage! The top tier feeds 8 and the bottom tier 32 so just enough for a small wedding such as this one.
For this small "at home" wedding reception the cake fit into the decorating plan perfectly! And speaking of that....I'll be featuring the details of this reception tomorrow on our Cherry Party Blog! So check back tomorrow there to see how this cake table fit into the entire reception plan!

We were very happy to be able to be a part of this small, last minute wedding plan and are very happy for the newlyweds! Thank you both for letting us be a part of your special day!

Lastly, there is a CONTEST going on over on our Facebook Fan Site! So stop on by, share one of our tips or photos that we post between August 2nd and September 2nd and you are entered into the contest! The person who shares the most tips and/or photos for the entire month wins their choice of one of 3 gift cards! So stop by every day, share that days tip or photo and you can win!