Sunday, February 13, 2011

Purse, Money & Cupcakes

Last night my husband's school, St. Thomas More, held its annual fund-raising auction at a beautiful location downtown Portland. Last year I had created the Latin Lady cake for their themed event and raised $600 for the school! This year they asked if I'd take part in the dessert portion again, so of course I was thrilled to say YES!
The theme this year was "So You Think You Can Bid" and the whole event was based on reality TV shows. I wish you all could have seen the was beautiful! They put on an amazing auction!! - I'm sure it's the best in Portland!
I decided to go a bit smaller scale this year (compared to the 42" tall beauty I made last year) because I'm a bit busy raising up a baby and all! :) So, I decided to create a purse, some money and 24 cupcakes to continue the theme of the night.
I was SO happy with how everything turned out!! The money was quite impressive!! I had edible images printed so it really looked real! I made some rice crispy treats, covered them in white modeling chocolate, scored the sides, then placed the edible images on top and whaallllllah - stacks of money!!! So fun and VERY tasty!! There ended up being six stacks of money!
The purse was a bit of a challenge...I truly didn't decide on what I was going to do until the day before the auction!! I had made two 9" layers of chocolate cake to use, but didn't know what I wanted the purse to look like. I was having a ginormous brain block! Then my sweet husband said, "Hey, have you prayed about it?!" I thought nope...I should do that! So, Friday I decided on a shape and began carving it. I then spent the day asking the Lord what in the world it should look like!? - the decor and colors. Then, later that night as I was searching etsy for inspiration, the very first thing I saw on the main page was a really cool vintage suitcase that was a robin egg blue and had this funky tree detail on it and BOOM - I thought, that's it! I knew I wanted to hand paint something, I just couldn't figure out what - or how! So, I tinted the fondant a vintage blue and hand painted the trees to finish the look. I really loved how it all turned out and think this is probably one of my favorite cakes to date. Thank you Lord for being sooo kind and so faithful!
I also had an epiphany while making this purse...I don't think I'll ever be on a Food Network challenge show because it takes me forever to do anything!!!! I work so slowly because I just want everything to be perfect! It literally took me 1.5 hours to cover the cake with fondant!!!!!! I ended up having to do it in four pieces because of the shape of the cake. Note to time before creating a shape, ask yourself how you're going to cover it in fondant! :) I wanted the seams to be perfect and tie together, so it just took me a while! I'm SUPER happy with how smooth and flawless everything looked, so I guess it was worth it! :)
Here is the purse before fondant during my brain block! :)

And, here is everything together on the dessert table awaiting bids. I guess the purse looked pretty realistic because right before I set it on the dessert tray, it was sitting off to the side and a woman came over and put her purse and coat right on the table next to it...a little too close - I thought she was going to hit it! So, I grabbed it and said I was going to move it because it was a cake and she flipped out!!! She totally didn't know and thought it was my purse!! :) LOL! It was pretty funny...she was soo surprised!
The cake was a rich chocolate cake with chocolate hazelnut buttercream and dark chocolate ganache. The cupcakes were red velvet filled with cheesecake and topped with cream cheese buttercream. The coconut cupcakes were filled with a white chocolate coconut custard and topped with a white chocolate buttercream.
Now, onto what it went for...a very impressive $1400!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was beside myself with excitement!!! was amazing! I was soo thankful that all the time I spent on this cake set was able to raise such an impressive amount of money for the school!!
Again, the Lord is faithful!!

Thanks for looking!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Holt International Gala Cake

I had the privilege to take part in the 55th anniversary gala event for Holt International. I made a cake that they will be putting up for auction tomorrow night! :) Holt International is a wonderful adoption agency that has been finding homes for children for the past 55 years!! We have several nephews and a niece who have been adopted, so adoption is near and dear to my heart!! I was delighted to help out!!
How did I get connected with Holt?? Well, it all started when earlier this week at my daughter's school a parent of one of my daughter's classmates saw my blog and the cakes I make. She sweetly asked me if I'd be willing to put a cake up for auction for this weekend! Whew!! - not much time!! I only had a few days, so I had to keep the design pretty simple and also make something that would be finished and sitting out for a few days. So, I made my yuuuummmmy dark chocolate mudcake (which tastes like truffles) filled with swiss meringue vanilla bean buttercream and dark chocolate ganache. The bottom tier is four 6" layers and the top is two 5" layers. All the black decorations are modeling chocolate colored black...and it tastes weird! I can't stand the taste of food coloring and for some reason I had to add quite a bit of it to get it black, the flavor is off. But it smells good!! :)
The logo on the front is Holt's new logo and the hand painted saying on the top tier is their new slogan, "From your heart to your home". It was a fun, and quick, cake to make!!

OH, and I also made a new fondant and LOVE LOVE LOVE it!! You can find the recipe here...I've made it before but it seemed complicated before...however I do remember liking it. So, I tried it again and truly adore it! The steps were easy to follow (I used milk instead of cream), although I totally ruined my first batch by trying to make it in the kitchenaid mixer. The next time I mixed it/kneaded it by hand and it was perfect!! It is SOO much less sticky than the marshmallow and it doesn't sweat when you take it out of the fridge. It was just so easy to work with! Next time though I will only add about 3 pounds of powdered sugar, let it sit up a bit, and then add more if necessary. I got a bit of elephant skin around the bottom when smoothing it...probably user error - I added too much powdered sugar.
So, try it out and see if you like it! It's wonderful!!
Thanks for looking!