Tuesday, February 26, 2013

I'm an official Craftsy Instructor...as of NOW! :)


Now you can all see what I've been working on these past 4 months in secret!!  I can tell the world!  I am apart of Craftsy and an amazing group of talented and wonderful cake designers!!

You can log on to take the class ANY time.  If you decide to buy it today, tomorrow, next month or next year, I'd love to have you come back here and use this link (see below) to purchase the class.  I get a little love from Craftsy...so, mama can get some new boots! :) LOL!

Log in after you click HERE

If you want to pass out my special link and share it on facebook or your blogs, here it is for your copy'ing and pasting needs: www.craftsy.com/cakedesign

Incase you are not familiar with Craftsy or want to know how it works, you create an account with a user name and password.  Then, you add the classes to your shopping cart...just like you're buying a movie.  At that point you'll pay for it and it'll be apart of your account.  The class remains in your account forever!  You can watch it a hundred times.  You can watch it today, then not watch it for a year and it'll still be there.  You can skip ahead, pause, leave video notes, watch only the lessons you're interested in and more.  It's a pretty amazing program and website!

Now, I want to share with you what the cakes look like that will be apart of the class!!  I'm going to do a separate blog post to chat about each one, but for this post, I also wanted for you to see what the cakes look like...what you will be able to make when you're done!  

Cake #1: My infamous offset chevron cake that I've modeled my logo after.  This design represents my style beautifully!  Clean, graphic and sassy! :)  I show you how to create the flower and give you all the templates and an entire lesson to creating this graphic on a cake.  This is the first way you use the wax paper transfer technique I showcase in my class.

 Cake #2: Ruffles and Stripes
This is the second way I teach how to use the wax paper transfer technique.  You use it to create beautiful, clean horizontal stripes of any type.  So, from chevron zig-zags, to straight horizontal stripes, to wavy stripes and more, I share with you how to get those hard horizontal graphics onto your cake without your fondant tearing, bending or stretching!!  I also show you how to create this stylized ruffle and give you the templates for that too!  This ruffle design is SO versatile and can be used with so many other designs.

Cake #3: Vintage Stripes
I didn't have the right pedestal at home for this cake, so I'm using the Craftsy picture to show you this sweet cake!  I love that you can totally personalize this cake to ANY party or person!  I'll show you my ideas on how amazing this cake could be for your parties in the post I have coming up on it.  Stay tuned!   
Now, this stripe would normally be SO difficult and time consuming to pull off...but with my template and the wax paper transfer technique it can be done in less than 20 minutes!!! - start to finish up and on your cake!!
 Cake #4: Extruded ropes and ruffles
I love this cake!!  I used the ruffles again because I didn't have time to teach another design during the class and it works beautifully with the extruded rope design I teach in the class.  Yes...that's extruded fondant!! - NOT piping!!  I cannot pipe to save my life, but love that look!!  You can do any kind of complex extruded design using the wax paper transfer technique (I'm going to call it WPTT to save my typing).  I'll give you the templates and walk you through exactly how you do it!  No royal icing, no piping, no buttercream!  Easy peeeesy! :)

That's it for the cakes!  I also show you how to make marshmallow fondant, modeling chocolate, how to crumb coat a round cake with buttercream, a square cake with ganache, how to cover them both in fondant and get super sharp top edges.  I also have the templates and show you how to make my signature flower and bow.  It's full of info!!  I can't wait to share!  No matter if you've only made one cake or you've been making fondant cakes for decades, you WILL learn something new that will change the way you design and decorate your cakes!!

So, to head on over to Craftsy and get 50% off my class by clicking HERE and get ready to learn! :)  And, make sure you come back here and let me know what you think!!  

Thank you again for helping me get the word out and for all your support, encouragement, blessings and prayers!!  I LOVE you guys and am so thankful for this amazing cake community of wonderful people I am privileged to be apart of!!

Happy Caking! :)

Monday, February 25, 2013

CakeFu + Jessicakes = Fun!

Hey guys!

I'll be on Cake Fu this Wednesday at 1:30pm chatting about my new Craftsy class!!  

Click HERE to head over there for more info.

Now...if you're going to listen, you have to promise not to laugh!! :)  
This is my first interview...so, be nice!!! :)  

Chat with you on Wednesday!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Jessicakes + Craftsy = LOVE

I can finally announce that I have been working with Craftsy these past 4 months!!!  

Can you believe it!!??

I can't!  I am among a GREAT family of incredibly talented and amazing people like Mike McCarey, Elisa Strauss, Joshua-John Russell, Marina Souza, Colete Peters, Lauren Kitchens, James Rosselle, Nicolas Lodge and more!!  These people are LEGENDS!!! - UBBER famous...and now...they're my Craftsy family!

Someone pinch me! :)  I don't deserve it!!!

SOOO, I am excited to tell you all that my class launches next week on Wednesday, February 27th!! - my daughter's birthday!!  How crazy is that!? 

Now, the reason I'm telling you all this early is to ask a favor!  

Craftsy gives instructors a little extra love when students buy the class directly from the instructor, so if you're going to buy my Craftsy class, please come back here to my blog (Wednesday morning at the earliest) and I'll have a link for you to use to head on over to Craftsy and sign up for the class.  This helps them track how many people I steer to their site and to my class.  Once you get there it'll be business as usual...you'll sign in, put the class in your shopping cart and buy it.  You'll be supporting me, my work, my heart to help you all out there in blog-land, this site, and, well, mama needs a new pair of boots!! ; )  Also, if you would be able to share the link for this class on your facebook pages or on your blogs (especially after you've taken the class and found it helpful), then please use my link (again found here on my site next week) and not the generic Craftsy link.  It would just bless my heart to know you all can help me get the word out so that other cake makers know about it too!

Now...what are you going to see in this class!?!! - A TON!!!   I'm going to be making marshmallow fondant and modeling chocolate the Jessicakes way! ;)  I'm going to show you how to crumb coat a round cake with buttercream and a square cake with ganache using two different methods.  I'm going to cover both cakes in MMF and show you how to get RAZOR sharp corners in no time!  I'm going to show you how to create four different cakes using my wax paper transfer method.  There are three ways to use the method and I explore all of them and show you step by step how to create simply beautiful cakes!!  At the end I'll show you how to make my signature flower, a sweet graphic bow and how to put it all together!! There are lots of recipes, 5 or 6 pages of templates and a list of all my favorite tools and gadgets!

It's called "Clean and Simple Cake Design" and hopefully it'll be a valuable resource for all of you!! - no matter your skill level, no matter how long you've been decorating cakes, I promise you'll learn something new or your money back!  I feel like this class is a perfect combination of everything this blog has been about for the last few years.  I'm so excited to help, to teach and to share with everyone what has worked for me and how you can create beautiful cakes for your friends and family!!

Over the next few days I am going to share with all of you pictures of the cakes I create during the class, pictures of my time on set, stories of my adventures to Colorado and tales of trying to ship 16 tiers of cake from Oregon to Colorado!!! :)  

I'm so excited to tell you my story! - so, stay tuned!!

Have a fabulous weekend!!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

My sweet girl and her rice krispie cake

Here's my beautiful, almost 8 year old!!  One week and she's turning 8!  I can't believe how fast time goes!!  One of her sweet friends turned 8 today and she wanted to make her something special...and only have a few hours to pull something together before her friend's school let out we had to get creative!

A rice krispie cake!!  I had JUST enough rice krispies left, JUST enough marshmallows left and JUST enough powdered sugar left to make a tiny batch of frosting!  God is good!! 

And, thanks to homeschooling my girl, we got to spend lunch and nap time whipping up a little cake for her friend!!  She helped me make the rice krispies, cut/stack it, pipe the frosting in the layers and make the flower.  She was so cute and wanted me to pipe the top so it would be just right for her friend!  Sweet girl!  

Now, what to put this sweet little cake on?! - a cupcake stand!!  Marcella from Just Sugar Coat It sent me a few amazingly cute items...one of them being this darling little stand.  I've been waiting to make something that would fit on it and this was perfect!  So, Marcella, thank you!!!


Great job sweet girl!  I'm soooo glad your friend enjoyed receiving it as much as you enjoyed making it!!  I'm learning daily how talented you are and how much more I need to include you in my cake projects!!  You are growing up so fast!! - Stop it! :)  And, now you know why mommy loves making cakes for my friends!!  It's SO fun to bless them and to see how much joy you can spread with the talents God gives us!! :)  I love spending time with you, I love seeing your talents unfold before my eyes, I love seeing your face light up as what you create!!  God will continue to use you to bless those around you as you keep your eyes on Him!  I love you with my whole heart! 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

How many bubble straws do you need???

I heart bubble straws!  

I use them whenever I stack a smaller cake on a larger cake or if I'm making a tall barrel cake...I'll use them for inside support.  There are tons of options out there for supporting your cakes, but for me, these are so economical, easy to cut and pretty! - they come in lots of colors!! :)  

The other thing I love about bubble straws is that it doesn't displace your cake.  When using dowels that are solid, they will push the cake out to the side...and if you have a lot of supports going into the cake, that's potentially a lot of bulging that can happen.  When you put a bubble straw (NOT a drinking straw) into your cake, the cake goes inside the straw and doesn't get pushed around  The GREAT thing about that is when you pull out your bubble straw supports before cutting the cake, you have a cake filled straw someone needs to suck out so that yummy goodness isn't wasted! - that's my favorite part! :)

Now, there can be some potential pitfalls to using straws...things like your cake falling over! - that's kinda the major one! :)  But, they are usually always user error...not the fault of the bubble straw! - don't blame the bubble straw!   So, if you want to insure success, then there are a few guidelines you need to remember when using them...

1. Make sure they are the big fat BUBBLE straws...not skinny or bendy drinking straws!
2. Make sure when you insert them into the cake, the bottom is flat...meaning you might have to cut it flat because bubble straws come with slanted ends.
3. Make sure you put the first straw into the cake to measure how long to cut it...then cut them all the exact same...thereby keeping the stacked cake level.
4. Make sure you put the bubble straws STRAIGHT into the cake...not at an angle
5. Make sure you use plenty of them!!  See my charts below...
6. Make sure you only use them in smaller cakes (up to a 10")...and don't stack more than 3 high using bubble straws!  Any larger of a cake or any more than 3 small tiers should have a center dowel/support and larger dowels used...like these ones, click here.  Make sure when you use solid dowels/supports, you cut out a small circle from each tier for each support dowel so when you slide in the supports, it won't displace so much cake.

If you can follow all those steps, you'll be golden and loving bubble straws like I do!!  They are so economical and pretty!  Plus, they're plastic...not wood...so no worries about splinters or sanding or special tools to cut them.

Now, since I think the biggest pitfall to using bubble straws is how many you use and where you place them, I decided to draw up a little diagram for you to use when you're stacking your cakes and inserting bubble straws.  These guides are to scale, so when you save them on your computer, they should print out to scale, exactly the size of your cakes.  I made templates for a 6", 8" and 10" cakes...the ones I use most often.  You want to make sure you don't span more than 2" without a straw...that's the guideline I try to follow...most of the time! :)

What I would do is print these off and cut out the circle (either the dashed or the solid/actual cake size line), then cut out the holes where the straws will go and laminate it!  That way they'll last and last!  After you laminate it, there should be a spot right in the middle of each bubble straw hole that you can poke a needle or a hole punch through...then, when you lay it on your cake, poke a hole in your cake through the template and that's where you'll put your bubble straws! :)  Easy peasy!!  - or you can just print one every time you make a cake! - whatever is easy for you!!

 The 8" diagram and 10" diagram shows only half the cake so you can still print it to scale.  So, make sure you mirror the diagram on the line.  Mark the bubble straws on one side, then flip it over on that imaginary line and mark the bubble straw spots on the other side.

Now, you might be asking, what if I'm doing a sculptured cake?!  Well, just remember...you don't want to have more than 2" of cake without a bubble straw support.  Use more than you think you need...that way you never have to worry about it! :)

I talk a little bit about this in my tutorial video that should be out in the next two weeks or so!!  I don't actually show you the whole step by step, but I do talk about the proper way to use them!

I hope this helps you all!!!  Have a fabulous week!!!

DISCLAIMER:  Now, I know there are crazy people out there who might want to hold me responsible for putting this diagram out, following it and then having a cake fall over!! - but I claim no responsibility that this will work for everyone and advise you to use common sense and more bubble straws rather than less!!  By printing and using these "guidelines" you understand these are only "guidelines" and will not hold Jessicakes responsible incase of a bubble straw or cake failure!! 

Enough said! :) 

Happy bubble straw building!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Buttercream Frills (or Ruffles) Cake

 Happy Birthday to my sweet sweet friend Alyssa!!! 
 You are SUCH a joy to me and I have treasured our friendship over these past years!!  I pray immense blessings upon your life and the lives of your sweet girls and wonderful husband!  You are such a light, have such a generous heart, love the Lord with all your soul and desire to bless those around you!  Thank you for being in my life, for your sweet smiling face and your "squishy" hugs!  Thank you for blessing me in so many ways!!  I am so lucky to know you!
Alyssa and I just returned from a Mom's Heart Conference in southern California last weekend!  It was an AMAZING experience and I look forward to sharing more with you in posts down the road.  I'm learning SO much about the plans the Lord has for family and how IMMENSELY important my role as a mom is in the lives of my sweet kiddos!  I have not had the joy I should in caring for my kids!!  They are these amazing gifts from Heaven and I get to influence their lives forever! I get to inspire them to live lives of excellence and share with them the love of Christ! - what a calling...what a responsibility! - and what a JOY it is when I do it with my whole heart!!  Thank you Sally Clarkson for the conference and for all the wonderful speakers!  I was challenged and feel refreshed and recharged with a beautiful vision for what God has called me to be...
a whole-hearted mom! ;)
 So, what does all that have to do with this beautiful buttercream frills/ruffle cake???  

Well, I'm not sure! :) - I just am sooo happy right now and because my sweet friend Alyssa was with me, I had to mention it because this is her b-day cake after all!  Although...it sorta turned out looking like a wedding cake!! LOL!!  Oh well...it's the heart that matters!  I wanted her to have a b-day cake tonight for her big family dinner...and because I'm trying to do my best at being a whole-hearted mama and spending lots of time loving on my kids...I can't make a big ol' fondant cake! :)  But, I wanted it to still be beautiful, like my friend, and I've been wanting to try doing buttercream frills because I knew it'd be SO much faster than fondant frills!! - and it WAS!!!  I LOVE the look of it and I was able to do the actual ruffle part in less than 45 min!  WAY faster than fondant!
 See...it looks like a wedding cake! :) - sorry Alyssa! :)  But, it still is pretty and feminine just like you! :)
How SWEET are these ruffles!!  I love how it turned out!! - and so did my daughter!  She was hovering in the kitchen watching me do this and kept saying, "Mom, I love it!" - and so she became my photographer in the how-to pics!!  I couldn't hold the piping bag, turn the table and take pics...and she was so excited to help!  So, the following how-to pictures are brought to you by my sweet 7 year old!!  
Thanks Raquelle!!  Mama loves you!!  :)
 In order to pull off this design, you need a petal tip!  I used this one...the Ateco #104.  Wilton also makes one just like it.  Now that I've used this smaller one, I'd love to play with a larger one!  I'll have to go shopping!  I also used Swiss-meringue butttercream for that beautiful piped creamy yummy goodness! :)  This is a 6" round cake with 6 layers of cake and 5 layers of filling.  I used about 30oz of buttercream frosting in case you wanted to know! :)  You'd want to make more to have enough for scraping and smoothing, but that was how much mine weighed out to be exactly.  

 I crumb coated the cake using the upside down frosting technique.  I'm so excited because I show you how to do this in my upcoming video! - should be out the end of February! :) - stay tuned.  

Once you crumb coat the cake, I chilled it so that it was nice and firm.  Notice I didn't spend much time filling in any little air bubbles or making the crumb coat perfect because it's all going to be covered by ruffles. Just make sure the top is nice and smooth if possible.
 Start your tip at the top, keeping the fat part of the tip pointed down and slightly against the cake and the skinny part point up and away from the cake...that will be the ruffle part.  Now, I don't have the steadiest hand, which is actually great!  The more you wiggle, the better your ruffles look!  So, don't worry about it.  I supported my right elbow/arm on the counter and rotated the turn table keeping my right hand steady thereby creating a pretty level line.  Then, move the tip down so it's half way between the line above and start another row.  Keep going all the way to the bottom.
 I added a little pearl border at the bottom to cover up some of the full ruffle.  It needed a little something down there! :)
Now, if you want to add a little bow, all I did was stop after the fourth row of buttercream, added a fondant band and continued with the piping.  Super simple! - and gives you a splash of color...especially on a taller cake.  I would have loved to have created some beautiful flowers for this cake, but alas...I'm busy being a whole-hearted mom! :) - well...trying...between buttercream ruffles - got to love nap time! :) hehe  
Now, if you need a "quick" and beautiful cake for a friend...you can try this one!  Happy ruffling with your buttercream! :)

Hugs to all my sweet blogger friends out there!  Now, go hug your kids!!! :)