Saturday, June 23, 2012

A Korean Birthday Cake

One of my sweetest, most beautiful mommy friends turned 40 this past week.  It's crazy that I'm nearing 40 too...what's happened!  I thought I just turned 25 last year!! :) LOL!!!  I guess 40 isn't old at all...because we're not getting old...just classically wise and beautiful...right?! :)  40 must be the new 30 because I remember when my dad turned 40 I thought he was so old! - my 40 is not as old as his 40 was!! :)

A few friends of ours threw her a fun party last night and I offered to make some "cupcakes" or something for the party a few weeks ago.  But, to me...after thinking about it...cupcakes just weren't enough for Alice!  I wanted something more "her"...sophisticated, beautiful and personal.  Alice is Korean and her culture is very important to her.  So, I knew I wanted to use that as my inspiration for her cake.  I also wanted to do some kind of geometric pattern because Alice perfers the modern to the frilly.  I found this pattern online and my wheels got to turning!

I started making sketches and then decided to up the personal aspect by writing in the Korean language little sayings that describe what an amazing woman Alice is.  Here's what I came up with thanks to Google!!

신뢰할 있는 친구: Trusted Friend
헌신적인 아내: Devoted Wife
축복받은: Blessed
그리스도의 추종자: Follower of Christ
미인: Beautiful Woman
어머니를 사랑하는: Loving Mother
마흔: 40
I also wanted to put a single flower on the cake because I remember seeing a beautiful picture of Alice in Hawaii with a big flower in her hair...she looked stunning! I looked up Korean's national flower and it's the Rose of Sharon...which was a coincidence because it's also a symbol of the Jewish people and of our Lord in the Bible...something we both believe strongly in.  I later found out that she had the Rose of Sharon flowers in her wedding!!  God is soo good! :)  I love those little touches!
I then turned all these ideas into the following sketch and based the colors on her 3 favorite colors: turquoise, red and black.

 It truly came out exactly as I had imagined it!  When I showed up to the party and placed the cake, Alice literally froze in place, stunned and speechless!!  Seriously that is why I make these cakes for my friends...for those moments...to watch their face and their eyes fill up with tears of joy and a full heart of love!  Yes, they're an enormous amount of work and I'm always so glad they're over and I can finally put my feet up! - but it's such a huge blessing for me to be able to HUGELY bless them as much as they have blessed me!  And what better way to do it than in a scrumptious piece of edible art!! :)  She started to tear up and began reading the inscriptions on the cake.  She could hardly talk she was so blown away at the personal beauty of the cake.  It was probably one of my favorite cake experiences to date!  We were both overflowing with joy! :)

Here's my gorgeous friend with her little cake (it's an 8:6:4).

 I had to post this picture of Alice because she's STUNNING!  I'm soo blessed and inspired by this amazing woman and so glad the Lord has placed her in my life!  She is such a sweet, dedicated wife and mommy of four beautiful kids that love the Lord with their whole heart!  She radiates God's love and beauty!  Thank you Alice for your friendship!  I'm SO glad the cake blessed your heart because you have blessed mine!

Now, one thing you crazy cake people might have noticed is the black pearl/bead border at the bottom and on the bottom of the top tier was not in the drawing.  I really wanted the cake to be clean with clean lines and everything was going beautifully until I began sticking the tiers together!!  This red cake plate I used has a recessed center that was BARELY smaller than my bottom tier.  So, I had to stick another cardboard cake board on it to raise it up enough to stick the bottom tier on.  Well, the glue dried before I realized when I put the bottom tier on it was crooked!!  UGH!  So, I tried "popping" it off and the cake popped off it's actual board taking the fondant with it!  It tore the fondant and wrinkled it in other places...and the board was still stuck to the cake plate!!  AH! ;)  So, I put it back and adjusted the second tier with a wedge to make sure it went on straight, but the damaged had been done to the bottom tier.  SO, I had to use a border to hide the damage.  I actually liked how it turned out though...it made the cake a bit more feminine with the pearls.  So, I guess it all worked out...like it always does...despite being more work! :) LOL!!!

Onto a fun tip!
Getting flat cakes from the oven:
I saw this tip years ago, but have never posted anything about it on my blog (I don't think I have!?)  I hardly ever get flat cakes right from the oven.  I also don't like to waste cake by cutting off that dome.  So, the trick is as soon as you pull your cake from the oven, lay a wet paper towel (double thickness...use 2) or a wet clean dish towel over the pan and press down to flatten out that dome.  Careful because it's really hot and the cake releases steam when you do that so you can burn yourself if you're not ready for it!!  So, use your fingers and press down all around until your cake is totally flat.  Then, let cool for a few minutes and pop that baby out onto a rack to cool the rest of the way.  And, you'll have a flat cake ready to be iced or torted! :)
 Out of the oven (above) with dome
 Pressing carefully with wet paper towels
Flat top cake after squishing! :)  Perfecto!

I've not noticed any change in my cakes...as far as density is concerned.  Although, I like a dense cake! :)  But I use this technique on ALL my cakes from the oven so I don't waste cake by cutting off that dome!  - saves a step - and my waistline! :)

I guess that's it for now!  Thanks for looking!!!



43 comments:

  1. WOW....this cake is stunning! And so is your friend. Lovely, how all these neat little personal touches came to be.
    Thank you for your tip for level cakes. I have actually never heard this one before.
    One question, how did you get the writing so neat and evenly around the cake? Are the letters cut out from modeling chocolate?

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  2. You are truly an amazing woman of God and reading this post made me cry. Sometimes when I'm making cakes I am so stressed out but when I see the happy customers, it makes it all worth it and you just helped me remember that. The cake looked AWESOME and thanks for the tip about the domes!!

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  3. Regina: I actually have a tiny paint brush and painted the Korean characters around the cake. I sized them like I wanted, then put them up on the cake and lightly drew over the letters to leave a indention in the fondant a bit so I had a guide for painting them.

    Thanks!

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  4. Amazing cake! I have to say I adore your cakes and all the wonderful information that you share. You are a wonderful resource. Thank you!

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  5. Really amazing, like all of you cakes! I'm not surprised your friend was stunned, so was I and surely all of your readers, no doubt. Many congratulations to youand the birthday girl. PS- welcome to the 40's decade, its really not that bad ;)

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  6. My sweet beautiful sister, I'm in tears again reading this post. I'm always WOW-ed with every cake you make, but this one blew me away!! I was shocked & overwhelmed with love. Knowing just how much love, time, and effort you put into this made me feel undeserving & special at the same time... like how Christ makes me feel. Thank you for pouring His & your love into my heart through this amazing piece of art. I'm especially amazed my white girlfriend writes Korean better than me!!! :))) As hard it was to cut into the cake, I'm glad we did, because the taste was OUT OF THIS WORLD!! It made me wonder if cakes in Heaven taste like this. Thank you my dear friend. Your heart to serve and love on others is beyond inspiring. I don't know how you do it all, but one thing is for sure.... You do everything with such a cheerful heart! YOU are a gift to all those who know you!! Love you!!

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  7. Wow, you're an amazing daughter. We love seeing your creative cakes, the site is so much fun. Your gifts and talents are of the Lord. Bless you for blessing so many!!!! Your Dad

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  8. Rosalinda: You are so thoughtful and so generous with your words! Thank you for blessing me with your encouragement!!! I pray the Lord's richest blessing on your life as you continue to encourage others! :)

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  9. Wow...double wow. And, I totally agree with your friend and your father...you ARE amazing! No one would ever guess that you go through the same 'mini-little-struggles' (mini? lol) that we all go through when we make a cake and strive for perfection (yes, perfection agghhh!!)--
    You made the most beautiful cake for your beautiful friend and that is definitelly a labor of love and so...you!!!!!
    Thank you Jessica for sharing your beauty and talent with us. You friend Alicen is very lucky :)
    Gosh, I've never met you in person but I feel like I already love you :)
    God bless you always!!!

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  10. Jessica, like the previous messages, I'm WOW; and reading thru your post and other's messages I can feel how GREAT is our GOD and LOVE to hear/read when people give all the glory to him. You are truly BLESSED!!! Hope to do something like this some day. You should open a school for cake decorating, I will love it. Many blessing to you and your family. =:)

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  11. That's what i do too! altho, i use a jelly roll pan and press that on top of the cake...or i flip the baked cake pan upside down...does the same thing...

    Your comment from your dad made me tear up. I lost mine in a drunk driving accident in 1991, so it's always nice to read posts from dads..!

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  12. Jessica,

    Is there a section on your blog where you talk about stabilizing the layers of your cake? My layers seem to always look lopsided.

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  13. Patricia: I'm so sorry to hear about your father. I can't imagine ever fully recovering from such a tramatic experience! :(

    I'm not sure what you mean by stabilizing layers. Can you expand on that? Do you mean leveling them and stacking them straight?

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  14. What did you make the "40" out of on this cake? Do you have a preference of which material you use to do Monograms, numbers, etc? Also, what do you usually use to support them?

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  15. You make such beautiful cakes! Would love to see a few tips on making those tall tiers of yours - I just love the look!

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  16. Anonymous: The "40" is cut out of modeling chocolate. It pretty much stood on it's own once it was dry so I just used a little melted chocolate to stick it to the top of the cake.

    I usually always use modeling chocolate because it dries hard. I just make sure it's thick enough to support it's own weight. Depending upon the letter/number I'll stick some toothpicks in them while they're drying so there is more stability to it.

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  17. I love your cakes and use your blog many times as an inspiration when I'm looking for something unique to add to a cake. Your work is so flawless and amazes me every time. I use the press down method on warm cakes too. It eliminates having to slice the tops off of cakes and having a crumbly surface to deal with. It does make the cakes a bit dense but from what my customers say, that's what they like about my cakes. The upside down frosting technique helps to get them level if they're a little crooked. Thanks again for sharing all your awesome tips. Do you make cakes for paying customers or only family and friends?
    My facebook page is cakesational by Amy.

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  18. This cake is absolutely amazing! I love the original design and colors! Thank you for inspiring me to become a better cake decorator and I've learned so much from your blog!! I'm like you who just does it for friends and family but I highly recommend you that you find some clients from time to time. Your originality and clean execution of your cakes will take you very far if you ever decide to make this a career. I have my first paid cake this weekend and I'm really excited. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and I hope life continues to bless you with many wonderful opportunities!

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  19. Beki: Thank you for your sweet words! :) I actually don't want to make this a business right now. I'm enjoying being the one to design the cakes and to make them whenever I want! - no pressure that way!! :) :) Thank you for your blessing! I wish you much success on your upcoming cake! - congratulations!

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  20. I love your cakes and their styles awesome

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  21. Amazing. How do you cover your double barrel cakes with fondant? Do you use the wrap around method?

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    1. It depends...sometimes I wrap if the design allows to hide the back seam, but lately I've just been laying it on like the "old fashion way"! :) So, this one is the standard fondant technique, not the wrap.

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    2. They are covered so perfect. Mine always get the folds when I get to the end. So frustrating.

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    3. Oh mine aren't perfect...they have little creases/folds too sometimes! - especially the taller ones! - I just hide them well with decorations and make sure those are in the back!! :)

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  22. Jessica I want to make a double barrel cake. The client wants buttercream. Everywere I read about double barrel's they're ganached and I read that with buttercream they buldge. You seem to use buttercream successfully. Should I be worried to use buttercream? I can't afford buldging as the design is a quilted fondant with beads.

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    1. Jass28: You might be able to give the client what they want, and get what you want. You could tell them that you can fill the cake with generous layers of buttercream, but that your crumb coat is going to be ganache...that that's just how you do it.

      The bulging comes from not letting the cake settle enough before covering it in fondant. You get trapped air in there and when it heats up to room temp, it expands causing bulges. After you fill your cake (using a cake plate and bubble straws in the middle to help with support), put a weight on it (say 2lbs or so) and let it settle at room temp over night or in the fridge. Then, cover it in buttercream (if that's what you need to do) and then fondant. That should work. You just need to press down on that cake and get all the air out of it! :) - and make sure there is no air under the fondant.

      That being said, if it was me, I would just say the only choice for the crumb coat is dark chocolate or white chocolate ganache...which one would they like! :) I hope that helps! ;)

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  23. To eliminate dome issue I wrap my pans with damp kitchen towels or Wilton's pan wraps. I turn the oven temperature down to 300 degrees and bake the cake 5 to 10 minutes longer than normal until the cake starts separating from the pan. This prevents the edges of the cake from baking faster than the center and allows the edges to rise.

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  24. You are just SO talented, beyond words! Such a great inspiration to little old (young?) me in New Zealand!

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  25. wow! is all i can say! i am a newbie cake decorator from india! LOVE LOVE LOVE your work and your blog! Shocked to read that u dont sell your cakes!?? y so? any reason?

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    1. Thank you!

      The market where I live is horrible for high end cakes...so, I would be frustrated all the time I think! :) Plus, I'm a mommy and wife first and enjoy committing my time to my family...not working my family around cakes. So, because I make cakes as a ministry and for gifts, I can decide when I make them and how big they are to be! :) - and I get to design them...not someone else! :)

      Thanks for touching base! Blessings to you in India!! :)

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  26. Thank you so much for the tip on domed cakes. I love how nice and flat my cakes are now. Your work is incredible by the way and I visit your blog all the time. I've learned a lot from you. Thanks!!!

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  27. Hi Jessica, I'm in love with your work, yu have such an eye door detail! How did you make the flower? Is it modeling chocolate, also is the teal fondant Wilton brand?

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    1. The flower is 5 shells shaped "petals" cut out and laid in a slight curve to dry. I then painted the red on with edible gel colors mixed with a little vodka. It didn't work so well because the petals were modeling chocolate and you need to use candy colors for chocolate...not gel colors for fondant. It ended up beading up a bit and I had to keep going over it again and again to get it right. If you look closely, the red is not very nicely done. But, I didn't have chocolate candy colors.

      The teal fondant is my marshmallow colored with a combo of teal, green, blue and some gray I think. I don't remember! :) - I just kept adding random colors until I got it right. If you have a paint sample with you, it's easier to color fondant because you can compare the colors and see what shades you need to add.

      Blessings!

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  28. Wow this is sooooooooooo lovely. Please how did u get to place the geometric pattern onto the cake? Please kindly tell me. Thanks

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    1. Thank you! I laid out the cut rectangles onto a greased up piece of wax paper, then once I got a few rows on there, I wet the backs of them, then turned it over onto the cake, pressed it on, then peeled off the wax paper. I call it the Wax Paper Transfer Method. I'll have a tutorial video coming out soon to share with everyone on all the ways to use it! :) Stay tuned!

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  29. OMG, this post had me crying.. I took the class. Thanks for this.

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  30. Hi Jessica. Just found your site from Cake Central. I love this cake. You are so talented. I am also a cake decorator, although on leave till December since I have tendonitis in my dominant hand. OUCH! I am amazed how many creative people the Lord has put on this earth and yet, we all have our own style. I am older than you, however, you are the more talented, I think. :0) God bless and hope to see more of your work. I enjoy it immensely.

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  31. Hi Jessica. Just wondering how did you do the geometric pattern. I bought your latest craftsy class. So informative. Thank you.

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    1. Thank you! I cut the rectangles from modeling chocolate then laid them out on wax paper using the method from my class. I laid the on the cake in panels using a skewer to line up each column as I made them. I hope that helps! ��

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  32. Jessica i enrolled myself in several Craftsy classes. I love love love yours. I learned so much and my cake is now on the table with razor sharp edges. Your designs seem so hard, but in the class you make it look easy, and with your step by step guidance we get the confidence to do it too. You are a blessing. Thank you. -Claudine from Manila, Philippines

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    1. Oh girl that blesses my heart!!! Thank you! May the Lord be praised!! I wish you the best!!!

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