Monday, November 26, 2012

Beer mug cake

My friend had a 'Cheers to 40 years' party for her husband. We debated cake designs and came up with a beer mug. I made a pinterest board, of course.

Here's the happy guy:

I saw this one and this one & decided to attempt a poured sugar stream to hold the can up.

I had to make the sugar twice, I'm still struggling with getting a hard crack on mine (& yes, I went as hot as I was supposed to). End result, you can see the wire but it held up. And it was a hit.

This was a chocolate cake but next time I would do a chocolate stout cake to be more authentic. Or maybe a vanilla lager one.

Here it is crumb coated:

wire in can. Next time I would use a very stiff wire so I don't get the bend down and backwards in it.

Finished cake part. I felt like I was back in art school, I had some food coloring in a dish and dry brush painted on some streaks so it would have texture and depth. I attempted a poured sugar handle but it wouldn't set so I went with white chocolate.

The finished product!

Everyone was impressed and that's all the matters. But I really need to learn poured sugar!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Butterflies cake

I had a request for a 2 year old's birthday cake (nut free). The theme was butterflies. Since I have a son, I love making girly cakes, since it means bright colors & possibly glitter. Obviously glitter is appropriate for older girls as well (like me).

The mom sent me pics to use as a guide for the cake, and I went to work pinning some butterfly cakes. I love this one but it's a lot to do for a birthday cake. I decided on a tree stump since it would set off the colored butterflies well.

I wanted to do chocolate butterflies but Wilton candy melts and other chocolates are not nut free. So then I attempted to make gelatin butterflies, what an utter failure & mess. I decided on gum paste, since I had some leftover from my Wilton class. That way she couldn't eat it (well, she could but it wouldn't taste good) & I got bright colors like I wanted. I'm no longer intimidated by it & will use it more in the future. I would love to learn how to make realistic flowers. I learned some in my Wilton class, but nothing too detailed, which of course are the ones I like.

I made 4 8" vanilla rounds, stacked 4 high then added some roots & a knothole. It was easy since I had little sculpting to do.

Her Mom says she doesn't have a problem with food colors, but I still wanted to minimize any risk. I used a light & a dark chocolate basic buttercream, that way I knew she would be fine. I raked a fork over it for bark texture and added some circles on top for aging. That was about it for the cake - the work was in the gum paste.

I couldn't be happier with it, I loved it!

Here's the final product:

knothole detail:

I wold up making small & large butterflies, 32 total. Since a 2 year old doesn't need subtlety, I added them all. And I loved it! Here's a butterfly detail: 

Here's a 360 view:

Purple/white interior shot, which is always a hit when the partygoers see it.
I try to make some sort of surprise in every cake.

Another baking success!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

cake pops and why I will never make them again

I had a request for cake pops. I'm not a fan of mushed up cake & frosting covered in some fake covering but I also like a baking challenge. I must've been drunk the day I decided on a price, because I can't even write it here, I'm so embarrassed. I swear on a Bible I looked at other Cincinnati bakeries & got prices. Clearly I got quotes for plain, no decoration ones because I spent wasted HOURS on these.

The client was going to make a life size Angry Birds game and only wanted 16 pops to use as actual birds in the game. I figured, oh, no biggie.

I will never make cake pops again unless someone pays me $10/each. I think I took 5 pics and that was it. Total waste of effort!

My pops - which frankly, came out damn good:

Her cake with my pops:


Lightning McQueen/CARS cake

I had a request for a Lightning McQueen cake for a 3 year old. She also asked for a dozen plain cupcakes to go with it. Me being the perfectionist, I went a little crazy with the cupcakes. This is the cake that made me realize I do not charge enough either. I'm STILl struggling with that.

I made a Pinterest board of ideas, as usual. That site is great for cake inspiration boards! Also helpful for what I can make better. :)

Here is my cake carved & covered with a crumb coat. I put in the fridge to set up afterwards.

I got my inspiration pics out & mixed up candy melts in the correct colors. Then I put in a squeeze bottle and made the shapes. Some required cutting with a knife as you can see with the lightning bolt.

I missed a camera step, apologies! Here is the cake with red buttercream on it. I kept shaping with my hands/paper towels & returning to the fridge to set up. I still can't believe that is buttercream & not that dreaded fondant - I'm very proud how this turned out. My inspiration pic is behind it, I used that for help in carving the shape.

Here's the big cake + a cupcake. ADORBS, right?


 With writing.

The real Lightning McQueen has number 85.
But since this was for a 3 year old, I took liberties.


 A mini fleet of the cutest cupcakes ever.

  The whole shebang!

Ready to go

A closeup of the cuteness!


I love a challenge, and this one was a good one. The birthday boy tried to pick up the cake he thought it was real. Guess that means I helped make it awesome!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Union Jack flag cake

After my US flag cake, I couldn't wait to try this BBC cake for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

This cake was much harder than the US one, because it requires being more precise. I followed the above recipe but next time would make some modifications to the technique.

I used the cake recipe listed on the BBC site & made this recipe for homemade marzipan. I would add almond extract next time, because frankly I do love a little of that fakey almond taste. This recipe makes a delicious natural tasting recipe, which (as usual) is much better than store bought overly sweet marzipan. It also makes a lot, not sure if you can freeze marzipan so I had some waste.

Overall, it's very impressive & I love it!

Pretty blue batter:

Cake cut into 2 rectangles:

I used my normal buttercream recipe here. Here's 2 sides frosted:

add jam to one of those sides & sandwich together, wrap in saran -
freeze or refrigerate until frosting is hard:

unwrap, slice vertically into 2 equal halves:

apply buttercream & jam as before, wrap & chill:

Now slice diagonally, this part gets really messy & where my shape got a bit distorted.
Next time I would cut the diagonal first then the horizontal & vertical cuts. Wrap & chill again.

Roll out marzipan about 1/4" thick, place cake on it.

wrapped & ready

TA-DA! I covered my board with union jack cupcake wrappers my UK Aunty-in-law sent me.

What a beauty. The fact that my diagonals are not perfect really irks me.

Happy Diamond Jubilee, HRH Queen Elizabeth!

mmm, tasty

Friday, June 1, 2012

American flag cake

I saw pictures for a flag cake and decided I had to attempt it. I saw some with 4 or 5 layers, some with more. But I knew if I was going to do it, I wanted to do 13 stripes like the flag.

I saw this pic and tutorial but no pics to show along the way. So I will share with you how I made mine.

I should start off by saying I will not use a box cake. Although I grew up on them, it goes against the joy and purpose of baking, in my opinion. Plus no preservatives & you know exactly what's in your food. That said, my cake was not as dense as it could've been, since the layers were so thin. Need to work on a better recipe for that. I used my standard buttercream and kept in the fridge until a few hours before serving. That's a lot of cake to have to hold up with that heavy frosting.

I made two 9" red cakes and one 9" blue cake. I put the cakes in the freezer for a few hours, it makes slicing cake easier. Using a serrated knife, I cut each red cake in half, then into halves again (4 layers per cake). You need 7 red layers total, so you will have one extra to snack on.

Assembling and slicing the red.
I made one red cake to match the bottom half of the flag (3 red layers)
and one to match the bottom of the stars on up (4 red layers)

You can see how thin the layers are here
(this is the bottom half since it only has 3 red layers).

Note the flag nearby for accuracy. I used a shortening can lid as a measure for my circle.

Cutting out the middle, using a paring knife up & down.

blue cake!

Now cut out the red middle.
Be sure this cake is chilled before you do this, either in the freezer or fridge.

Centers cut out & flipped.

Detail. This was actually an extra cake so I brought to a Sunday BBQ.
Not a full flag but still cool.

This is the cake I wound up using.
You could switch it but I thought a blue ring outside made more
visual sense (thanks art school).

Switched & assembled.

You can see that the blue is not quite as tall as the red since it has frosting
inbetween the layers. I pushed it down some when I chilled it.
I decided to go with piped large stars since it looked more patriotic.
You could frost like normal too - the possibilities are endless.
When using only butter in your buttercream, it will always have a yellow tint.

Decorated with tiny bunting I had printed out & hung on chopsticks.

My festive table!

TA-DA! This was such a hit with everyone - old & young alike, I will totally make it again.

Detail slice.