Sunday, May 25, 2014

Happy Sunday! I know I've been away for awhile...last October I broke two fingers on my right hand. Now, because I'm ambidextrous it wasn't a big thing in my personal life but a HUGE deal in my caking life. So I didn't book any cakes for a long time. The other reason is that, when you are a blogger, you have to keep blogging or you get out of the habit of it. So I'm BACK! Today I bring you the cake I presented yesterday and then I'll work backwards over the next few weeks to get you caught up on those you missed.

This is actually my son's 13th birthday cake. He and the guys went paintballing before the party so that became the theme this year. In our family the "big" birthdays are 1, 5, 10, 13 (for boys) 16 (for girls) and 18. So knowing that this would be his last "big birthday" for awhile we wanted to make it a good one for him.  Since it wasn't a huge party (22 people is, sadly, a small party for our family) I knew I couldn't make a huge cake so I used a 10x10 and just cut it in half to make the camo wall cake. 

The cake itself is lemon chiffon with vanilla buttercream filling. But I did something new to the fondant this time. I added lemon extract rather than my normal vanilla extract and it was SO yummy with the lemon cake. I think this just became a new thing for me! LOL! 

Now, about the fondant. You have to be SO careful adding dye to fondant because food dye tastes sort of metallic and if you add too much it can taste really bad. So what I did was divided the white fondant into two pieces, then divided one piece into thirds. I added a bit of brown to one third to start out the "browns" and lighter green to make the base color for the greens. I used these two colors as my main base on the camo and then added little bits of the darker color over it, like a puzzle, so that those pieces that had more dye in them were in lower quantities on the cake. 

The splats were easier to do since I was using the white fondant as base and since I was using the super color dyes it didn't need much to make them vibrant. The cutting out of the splats wasn't so easy. To make the "logo" splats I added a bunch of tylose to the color which stiffens up the fondant rather quickly. This made cutting out the splats with an exacto knife easy. Then I just left them out to dry for a week so they would get rock hard before I "glued" them all together with water and let them bond for another day. But the splats that went on the cake were hard to make. Made of soft fondant they wanted to tear as I cut them out or when I lifted them up to place them on the cake. The main reason there were not more of them on the cake! But I couldn't add tylose to those splats because I needed them to drape over the cake. So just understand going in that those will take more time and effort.

The 13 candles were added at the venue and slicing the cake was like slicing a loaf of bread. I cut down the slice and then laid it down on the cake board to cut the rectangle slices out of it. This was especially a good idea yesterday because the day was VERY hot and the venue wasn't properly air conditioned so the buttercream under the fondant had begun to melt and the fondant to soften up so being able to lay down the big slice and then slice it up into four slices was a BIG help!

Next week I'll share another birthday cake with you all... a Daniel Tiger cake!


Thursday, May 1, 2014

Wedding Cakes!

 Tis the season for the Wedding Cake! Each year I do a few weddings and, for me, it's an honor to be included in the wedding day. The "average" wedding is $23,000 and the wedding cake is 1-10% of that budget. On average. That means that you could spend anywhere from $230 to $2,300 on a wedding cake. A CAKE. Yes, it seems crazy. But when you see what goes into making a wedding cake it suddenly becomes clear that you are not just paying for food but your very own piece of edible Art.
The average wedding has 100 guests but that doesn't mean that if you have much less than that number of guests that you should just have a "grocery store" wedding cake. A cake, like the one above, is $4 per slice and feeds 50. 

 Your wedding cake should reflect who you are as a couple as well as the theme of the day. This buttercream covered cake, decorated with paper pinwheels (matching the decor) is only $3 per slice and feeds 48.
 Your wedding cake doesn't need to be the boring white cake with pearls or rhinestone trim that you seem to see at every other wedding. This is your wedding and it should match who you are. This one was for a beach wedding and the shells were hand moulded and colored fondant. ($3.50 per slice and feeds 48)
 You can do "cute" in an elegant way that will even have Aunt Marge (the Miss Manners of your family) smiling. This fondant covered cake with the custom topper is $6 per slice and feeds 75.
 Are you more "modern" that the fru-fru brides you see in magazines? Maybe your fiance is the cake expert and he wants something a little less feminine? The custom cake artist can match your invitations, as I did with this one, so that your cake carries your theme all the way to dessert. This fondant covered cake is $4.50 per slice and feeds 85.
 But even a small wedding can have a "big cake" punch. This one only feeds 25 but it makes a big statement. Perfect for an intimate "family" wedding. ($5 per slice)
 If you are not the "average" couple with the "average" flowers and pearl theme to your wedding then a "carved" cake may be just the ticket. This is actually the cake I did for our own 25th wedding anniversary. A carved cake costs more because a lot more work goes into the creation of the cake but it definitely will wow your guests. This one would be $8 per slice and feeds 75.
 This past year I worked two very small family events. With just 12-15 guests the happy couples had decided to just pick up a store bought cake or cupcakes. Then they found out that they didn't need to give up the fancy wedding cake just because they were having a small event. This cake feeds 15 at $4 per slice.
 But sometimes the big romantic delicate cake is what fits the bill. If you are a girly girl then the big wedding cake as the centerpiece to your day is just the ticket. This one feeds 100 and is $6 per slice.
 This cake was for a very dramatic Black & White event. The "typical" wedding cake would not have fit the decor. This fondant cake feeds 75 and costs $5 per slice.
 Topsy Turvy is a fun way to take a traditional cake. This one plays on the "Tiffany Box" theme but adds in the Brides yellow roses. This cake feeds 75 and costs $6 per slice with an extra fee of $5 per sugar rose.
 Fun and feminine is the easiest theme for a wedding. Everyone has a mental picture of what they think a "Wedding Cake" is supposed to look like. But that doesn't mean you can't throw in your own personality into the design. For Mom, the bride kept this buttercream covered cake light and feminine but added the black filigree to the cake as a nod to her own love of hot pink and black! (This cake feeds 85 at $4 per slice)
With each client I meet with them three times. Once at a tasting so we can talk about what they want in their cake and get a chance to actually taste my baked goods. After all, a cake should taste at least as good as it looks, right? Then we meet again so I can share with them the sketches that I have come up with based on our first meeting. Finally we meet with the final sketch of what their cake is going to look like on their wedding day. I don't ever "copy" a design. I will work with you to make sure that this is your unique design for your wedding day. You deserve your own piece of edible Art! (this one feeds 60 and costs $4.50 per slice)

A word about finances. Because life can be unpredictable and because I begin working on your cake the moment we first talk about meeting up, I require a 50% deposit to book your date. The other half of your payment is due one month before the event. This is for three reasons. That is the timing I would begin on any sugar flowers or other edible decor that may need to be made and have enough time to dry solidly for your wedding cake. This is also the time I would be ordering and purchasing the ingredients and other items I need to make your wedding cake. Lastly, I won't see you on the day of your wedding to collect the final fee since you will be in the process of saying your vows while I'm in the process of setting up your wedding cake at your reception venue. It is rare that I get to see the Bride and Groom on the wedding day but it's always wonderful if I get the treat of seeing their reaction when they first see their cake.

So here we are on May 1st. The official opening of  "Wedding Season". The majority of weddings occur between May 1st and October 1st. So, while I'll be busy, know that you can always ask me any question you may have about your wedding cake ideas on our Facebook Page! We are always happy to help with any of your wedding questions!