Saturday, June 27, 2009

My first Topsy-Turvy cake

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY NEPHEW RYDER!!!!! He had a Mario Kart themed birthday party complete with two Wii machines set up with Mario Kart on them. It was a GREAT party!

Onto the cake! - This was the hardest cake I've ever made!!! - and the FUNNEST! It felt like at every curve, something went wrong!! It was weird! I guess it was good because I got a serious dose of humble pie on this one! It all started with using yuuuummmy oreo cookie butter cream! :) I should have kept it in the fridge on and off while I was working on it because the more I worked, the softer the buttercream got and it started to bulge...lesson learned. I'm making sure that won't happen again!!! So, fortunately there were lots of decorations to hide some of it...but especially the blue layer got the worst of it!!
Then, another lesson learned...never cover a cake with fondant that hasn't been kneaded for a while. I only kneaded the white fondant a little while and it was still pretty firm but I thought, oh this will be great, it'll give me a firm layer and a nice shape - WRONG! It cracked and tore like crazy! So, that was the issue with the white layer. Now, the blue tier had issues too...lesson learned here too! :) I had to knead the blue color into it for what felt like hours!! I honestly was sweating - it was dripping down my back after 30 min. of adding color, kneading, adding more powdered sugar, kneading, adding crisco, kneading! I totally got my work out in - and so yes, I'll have another bite of cake! :) That wasn't the problem though...that was to be expected when trying to achieve that royal blue color...the problem began when I didn't let the fondant rest...I put it straight on the cake...bad idea. Again, lots of tearing and elephant skin!! It's crazy how many lessons I learn on new cakes/techniques!! But, it's good...my next one will be 100 times better - hopefully! :) Don't get me wrong, I loved how this turned out (decoration wise), it's soo fun! - just not technically - technically it was a mess! :) But I'm sure on future cakes, you won't see these same mistakes...lessons learned for sure on this one! :)

A few more pics:

Everything was edible except the cars and the chain on the chomper dude. I loved the bananas and how the chomper guy came out! The little items were fun to make. The mushroom base was rice crispy cereal/marshmallows and the top was chocolate cake with ganache filling/coating. So fun!!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Burger anyone???!!!

Happy Father's Day to all you dads out there!!!

I saw these adorable burgers on Bakerella's blog and had to try to make them! They are super easy and deceptively good!! She even gives you the templates to make the baskets and french fry holder!! SOO cute!! I already had the brownies in the freezer, so all I had to make were the boxed cupcakes (I used a yellow cake mix) and sugar cookie french fries. Whalllah, yummy burgers! Much less greasy then McD's!! I took them to Salem for Father's Day this morning and everyone thought they were so cute. My husband bit into one last night and said they were great! - although it was weird watching him eating it because it looked like he should be eating a burger...but it was sweet! That's why I said, deceptively delicious!!


Thanks Bakerella for such a fun idea!!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Happy Birthday Flower Pot Cake


Today is my sweet friend Jen's birthday!! She turned 29 again for the 9th time! :) Hehe!! Happy Birthday Jenny!! We love you!!

This was my first time making flowers!! They were "ribbon" roses...because you don't make each individual petal (as the pros do)...you basically create a thin thin ribbon from fondant and roll it up and then roll the edges back with your finger to give it the petal shape. It goes MUCH faster than making true to life fondant roses and has a more funky look to them (not the older/more traditional rose look). So, I liked how it turned out. My first flower pot cake. I copied this from one of my favorite cake people...Cupcake Envy. They make AMAZING mini cakes!! Including the flower pots.

The cake is brownie with chocolate ganache filling/crumb coat. The outside is modeling chocolate rolled thinly...although, it needs to be thinner and more fondant like to cover smootly. This batch I made was more for modeling, and not for fondant/cake wrapping...a little stiff...but, it all worked out. I made the roses (all 40+) last night as we watched Nacho Libre'! :) LOL! It was fun to pass the time.

Happy Birthday Jen!!

Monday, June 15, 2009

A few past cakes

Hi all! I thought I would put a few past cakes on here since this blog started after I had made 5 or 6 cakes. Here they are...it's fun to see the progression...as I learn, I'm tackling harder things...It's SO fun! :)

This was my second fondant cake...a baby shower cake for a friend. I made the mobile out of jewlery wire! I should have added some flesh color to the baby's skin...she looks a little pale! :)
A sushi cake for my brother in law. The sushi is rice krispie treats wrapped in black fondant. I made the little rice and avacado/crab from fondant. I hand painted the cake brown/wood grain...that was fun!

I think this tea pot was my fourth cake...and for my daughter's 4th birthday party. It was my first sculptured one.

I made this one right after the tea pot...obviously a birthday cake for a fellow Lost lover! :) I had a template and cut out the design in the fondant and then poured melted chocolate into the design. I could have flooded it with black royal icing to get a really smooth surface, but it wouldn't have tasted as good! :)

And dice cake for a game night!! Brownies with buttercream...YUM! :)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Butterfly Baby Shower Cake

I had the pleasure of creating this butterfly cake for a sweet sweet friend! WOW, I have been so blessed with the most amazing, wonderful, talented, loving and gracious group of woman in my life...I praise God for that! My friend Mindy is expecting her second baby, and first little girl! She is so excited to have a girl with all the bows and frills to go along with it. So, I created this butterfly cake for her. It was carrot cake with white chocolate ganache on top, and brownie with white chocolate ganache on the bottom. Those were her two flavors of cake that she loves...so, that's what she got!! :) It was SO yummy...but incredibly rich!! We love you Mindy and are soo excited to meet Anya! - hence the "A" at the top of the cake.



A little learning thing for next time I do a cake with the creeping/cascading effect...make one row with the direction I want and then add a second or third row around it. I started putting butterflies on and once you get them on, you can't take them off because it ruins the fondant. But I had a hard time doing the cascading thing after I stuck a few on...so, lessons learned! :)


Mudcake Recipe

A few people have asked for the mudcake recipe I talked about in the last post. Here is the one I used. I liked it because you can do so many variations...and she gives you the direction on how you can mix it up (lemon, carmel, etc). I used coffee in place of the water! After the cake cooled and had a day or two for the flavors to gel, you couldn't taste the coffee...it just intensified the chocolate flavor!! :) YUUUUUMM!

This recipe states to use one 9" pan, but I actually used one 9" and two 6"...I only used one recipe to make all of Easton's cake! So, it probably would make two 9", nice thick layers...not one! :) So have your pans ready!

Oh, and speaking of having your pans ready...here is a simple video on how to line circular pans. I hadn't thought of doing it this way before.

Enjoy! :)

Saturday, June 6, 2009

My son's 2nd Birthday cake

I can't believe my baby is TWO! WOW, time flies!!! I made him a cake FULL of everything he loves!! I had GRAND plans for this cake, but due to the fact I'm a mom first and don't want to ignore my children, I had to "downscale" the plans just a bit!! :) I'm sure you're like, WHAT?! - downscale...but I intended to have a carved road wrap around the cake (see plan below). I might try that on the next one that has some kind of road, but I didn't have time to carve it all. I have another cake due Tuesday night, so, this was plenty for me this week!

I was going to put a train on the track, but I liked it better without! :)
Yes, I know whales don't live in lakes...but I just thought it'd be fun!

Here's a little video of the cake...I put it on a turn table so you get the whole look. And, yes...late last night I forgot the word "blow hole"...I was having a brain fart! :)

video

A few lessons learned (incase you're still reading)! :)
1. I made a new recipe...mud cake! It's an Austrailian cake that is awesome for a mommy who likes making cakes, but wants to be a mommy too! It's actually better (so they say...we'll be tasting it later today) the 5th day after you make it. So, it gives you plenty of time to make it, decorate it, stack it, etc!!!! It made my life soo much less stressful, because now I can make the cake on Monday, carve/stack it Tuesday, frost/ganache it Wednesday, Fondant it Thurday and decorate it Friday! And it's done for Sat but without staying up until 1am in the morning!!! So, from now on...I'll be making variations of mudcake with either white chocolate ganache filling or milk chocolate ganache filling. I've found what works for me. As a mom who is doing this for fun, these options allow me to still be a mommy! :)
2. Another thing I discovered is that when using the black edible ink pens, wait until the last minute to write on the cake/decorations. I made the banner (with the airplane) on Tuesday and wrote out the "Happy Birthday Easton" on it before I put some tissue under it so it would dry rippled. However, as the days went on and the gumpaste dried, the ink started spreading a bit, not giving me the crisp writing I had before. It would have been hard to write on it rippled, so, I'm not sure how I would have done it different, but if you're writing on a semi dry (but not completly dry surface) it will smear/run just a bit!
3. When you make ganache and want to keep it slightly warm to spread but you need to take a break (to be a mom - haha), don't put a lid on it until it's competly cool! It was nice and warm the day before yesterday so I put the ganache outside, but put a lid on it (so bugs and such wouldn't fly into it). When I went to get it and touch up the cake, the chocolate had seized because the moisture/condensation dripped into the chocolate! So, I couldn't touch up the cake because I was too lazy to make another batch! :) HAHA But, it turned out fine, so I'm not going to worry about it!
4. When making decorations for your cakes, even if out of fondant, make them a few days in advance! I had made all the decorations ahead of time and it was so easy to put them on the cake because they were nice and stiff (and easily hid imperfections in the cake). I didn't make the purple mountains ahead of time and it was so much harder to get them on the cake without warping/moving all around...and they allowed any imperfections in the cake to show through. So, next time I'm going to try and make as much as possible ahead of time because it's so much easier to work with. Oh, and even after the gumpaste has dried for a few days, it's really easy to trim up/straighten thereby giving you better angles.
5. A little trick I discovered...when putting fondant/gumpaste decorations on the cake, instead of using a paint brush with water, use a q-tip! The q-tip stays moist giving you the perfect amount of water (so it's not dripping like with the paint brush at times), and, if it gets dirty or gets color in it, throw it away and grab another one! That was a easy, time saving thing I discovered!! :)
6. I don't know what's up with me rolling out fondant, but I keep doing it TOO thin!!! The blue was like 1/8" again!! The brown was much better, and looked better!! I need to remember to ROLL IT THICKER! :) Also, regarding marshmallow fondant, you CAN overcook the marshmallows! I got sidetracked and didn't stop it after 30-40 seconds to stir it. When I did stop it, it was all funky looking! And got really thin. I still used it because I had to, but it make the fondant a bit stiffer. So, don't get side tracked...stay with your marshmallows as they cook! :)

All in all I'm really happy with the cake! I got great edges, nice and crisp! I carved all the sides down a bit so I had a nice smooth cake to ganache! It would have been nice to have put another coat on (of the ganache), but hey...it's for my son and he didn't care!! I think I'm obsessed with this...I had to get out of bed last night at midnight just to look at it again!!!! LOL! I just love it...it's like all my joys wrapped up into one hobby!! I get to build, design, do artwork, take pics of it, and make people smile! It doesn't get better than that!! Thank you Lord for bringing the cake world to me!!

Oh, and here is the original plan for the cake...you can see the street wrapping around it...would be fun to try sometime!!