Saturday, March 9, 2013

How To Make An Open Book Cake

I've been wanting to try my hand at a book cake for a while now and I finally had the perfect opportunity to do it!!!  My sweet daughter turned 8 years old the week before last.  She is a BIG reader, so we decided to do a storybook theme'd birthday party this past weekend!!  It was perfect!!  All her darling little friends came over and they each wrote a chapter of a story that we put together and read at the end!  It was all about a princess who trains a dragon.  It was soo sweet and now she has a little storybook keepsake with chapters in it from all her friends!  Love it!

I'll post pictures of the final cake on another post.  This one is just about how to make a book cake...an open book cake that is.  I hope this helps you all when you want to make one.  I had a great time and thought it turned out beautiful.  I did have a few lessons learned which I'll share towards the end. 

 Off we go!
 I wanted the base of this cake to look like a book...meaning, I wanted it to sit up off the board a bit like a lot of books do.  I found a book in our collection (our much loved concordance) that was about the size I wanted for the cake.  And, if you notice in the picture above, you'll see how it sits off the table where the base/binding is.  That's what I wanted!
I decided to build the base of the cake out of foam core.  It's what I had lying around and I can buy it at the Dollar Store!!  So, it's a very economical way to build a base for a cake.  I cut the sides to be 8" x 8", I cut the spine to be 8" x 2" and stacked three of them together, and then I cut little "rib" supports to help keep the sides up off the table.  You could add a few more if you wanted, just make sure to not put them too close to the edges or you'll see them.
 I drew a line down the spine recessed in from the edge about 1/4".  That was my guide line when I glued the sides onto the spine...so, they'd go on straight.
 I hot glue-gunned everything together.
 Here's the completed base.
 Next, I built a template for how I wanted the pages to look.  Again, I grabbed my concordance and put it up against some foam core sitting flat on the table.  I traced the pages onto the foam core to give me a template.

 I cut out the template...above...and realized it was a little too short for me.  I wanted more height.  So, I added another 1/4" to the base of the template and cut out a new one...below.  Notice it's a bit taller.  You could go taller than that, but I wanted it to look realistic and the binding size couldn't hold too many more "pages"! :)

  I cut another template exactly like it so I had two and could look at it together from a few angles to make sure I liked the scale/size. 


 Next, I added a little filling to the board and stacked my cake.  I baked this cake in a half sheet pan and torted the thin layer in half so I could put a little filling in there.  I love filling and will try and torte a layer of cake if I possibly can! :)  I cut a few strips of cake to fill in the binding area.
 Make sure to leave at least 1/4" gap all around the board so you have a place to add frosting in order to create a crumb coat.

 Place your templates and begin using them to carve down the cake or to add frosting where you are a little low.  I had to add a little frosting at the larger hump towards the center and a little at the edge before the pages mitered down. 
 You can see the right side has been carved and the left side has been crumb coated and filled a bit.

 Crumb coat out to the base board.  Don't worry about getting it super smooth at this point.  You'll want to chill it so you can scrape it and get it nice and smooth after it sets up a bit.

 The picture above shows the final crumb coat after I chilled it and scraped it a bit with a flexible scraper.  I seran wrapped a few books in order to get the cake off the table so when I covered it in fondant I could trim the bottom edges nice and evenly.
 Above:  After covering in fondant, I added the page creases with this thin metal ruler and went over the sides with a paper creasing tool that looked like a plastic knife so I could get the paper creases curved like the pages of a book are.

After you add all the pages, you can cut another piece of THIN fondant (mine was around 8"x8") and add it to the top to create a real piece of paper with folded edges...see pictures towards the bottom.

Now, I would stop at this point if you're going to paint the edges of the book or "distress" them...BEFORE you put on the binding.  I put the binding on first, then when I was adding the powders to create an aged look on the book, it got all over the binding and was really hard to get off.  So, before you put on the "cover" or edge of the book, paint...then, when you're ALL done, then proceed here...and add your edge bands.
 For the edging I rolled out some brown modeling chocolate around 3/16" thick and cut 10" bands.  I added some sugar glue to the base of the cake and to the modeling chocolate and began lining it up right at the bottom.  I mitered the corners of the book at a 45 degree so it was a clean edge...below.
 
 Above:  In order to get this worn look, I used some mocha and cappuchino petal dusts (non luster) and dusted the edges of the book.  I then took a damp napkin and rubbed that color out a bit to create more lines and even out the variation a bit.  It worked great!  However...If you look at the pic above, right where the pages meet the spine there is a little white spot from the foam core base.  You'll want to paint that to match the binding, or "lesson learned", cover it with binding material (fondant or modeling chocolate) before you start adding the edges.  Since my edges were dark brown, I just painted it with more brown gel and it totally disappeared.

Now, a huge bummer for me on this cake...
I realized after the first swipe of petal dust (which happens to be too late to change your mind when working with fondant) that I should NOT have distressed the book.  For the past couple weeks, when I had decided I was going to do an open book, I had visions of "distressing" the edges to look worn even though I had no idea how I would decorate the pages of the book...so, that was engrained in my mind I think.  Then, the day before I made the cake book, my daughter and I finally decided we'd make it a pop-up storybook and she could create all the pop-up art for the book since she loves to color and this would be a perfect combo of her loves...books and her artwork!!  

At midnight (when my mommy mind is totally gone and I'm working in auto-mode), when I added the first touch of color to the pages, I came out of my "coma" and realized the cut outs she had made and colored that day, that would be sitting on the book, were too bright, cheery and "clean" for an old distressed book (you'll see on the next post when I show you the finished cake...there is a disconnect between the book and the contents of the book).  I was so worried my daughter would get up the next morning and be upset that the book looked so worn/old compared to her artwork/decorations.  For some reason I had never told her I was going to do that.  At midnight, when I finished distressing it, my poor husband had to listen to me for 30 minutes saying, "Man! What was I thinking?! This is terrible!!  This isn't going to look good!  I should have left it white!  Ahhh!!"  

But, the next morning, she was SO sweet and said, "Mom, fairy tale books are old, so it makes sense that it would be old and dirty looking!"  How sweet is she!? - Wow I am SO blessed to be her mom!  I think she knew I was upset about it and she was just making me feel better! Who's the grown up now?! :) LOL!

Note to self...when doing anything past 11pm, stop and think...and think some more! - especially if it's adding color to fondant!! :)

Here's my angel painting!  My precious girl!!
 
 The cake board is a 1/2" sheet of particle board that was left over from a cabinet project.  It was the perfect size!!  So, my daughter and I rolled out some fondant and cut it into 2" wide strips and laid them in a random pattern on the board.  My daughter helped me paint the fondant to give it a wood grain look  She LOVES to color and paint and it's real hard to mess up wood grain, so I handed her the paint brush and a bowl with some brown gel and vodka in it and said, "Go to town!"  Here she is painting her cake board.  It's really easy...you just paint with the grain back and forth, back and forth layering more and more color until you get the look you want.  

Don't mind the "hole" in the center (above).  I ran out of strips of fondant and decided to be lazy and not put anymore on there since the book would cover it anyway.  Later on I realized you could still see the hole under the book, so I ended up rolling out more fondant, cutting it, placing it and then painting it to hide the hole.  Being lazy NEVER ends up a blessing! - only a curse! :)  When am I going to learn that!?

I LOVED having her help me with this cake...and she had such a ball participating in her own birthday cake!  This was the first time...believe it or not!  This cake was ALL about her...so, it's a fun memory for us both!  I can't wait to see what we'll do together down the road!  I have my own assistant now! :)
 
 
I got ahead of myself and started placing the items on the cake before taking a final larger picture...so, here it is...but with one of the pop-ups fuzzed out.  She designed the top cake to the left.  She wanted it to be turquoise fondant with ruffles like my pink/black ruffle cake I made for my Craftsy class.  So, that was included on the board to give it a birthday feel.

Stay tuned for another post with pictures of my little artist and the final cake!! :)

Thanks for looking! :)



Color Inspiration


I love color!!  
 
 
 It's my hobby, passion and love!  I love how color effects our moods, our minds and energy.  I wrote a 15 page thesis in college on the psychology of color!!  It's amazing!

Yet, sometimes color and combinations of color can be a mystery!  Say your friend loves purple...but you want to create a cake that has other colors on it...what do you do?!!

I head over to this website...Design Seeds.  I love browsing through their pictures.  What I find SO amazing is how many of them come right from nature!!  God is the greatest designer EVER! - and He has made us a beautiful world to live in that's FULL of inspiration!
 
Check it out and be inspired!!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Craftsy Class Cake Design #4: Extruded Rope and Ruffles

I'm loving gray and red!  
What a gorgeous combination of colors!! The flower just pops off this cake!! 

 This is the fourth cake I made during my Craftsy Class.  This cake showcases my signature flower and how to do an extruded design on a cake! - YES! - extruded fondant!  NOT piped with royal icing!!


 I can't pipe a lick!  Well...I can...but it would NOT look like that!!  It would look like a child did it!!  I'm too much of a perfectionist to pipe anything unless I can be guaranteed it'll look good!!  I know what I'm good at...and I try to stay within those limits!! :)  Plus, I really do not like making royal icing and will try to stay away from it as much as possible!  I don't know why...I think it's because I just can't figure out the right consistency! :)


So, using my wax paper technique I show you how to get that piped effect during the class, but with fondant!! - and get it to look GOOD!!  There are SO many things you can do with extruded designs.  The trick is getting them on your cake...but, I show you how!!


 And here are those sweet ruffles again!  I didn't want to do too many different designs during the class because the focus was really on the wax paper technique.  So, I did the ruffles again (see the pink ones HERE) and made them all a solid color...no alternating colors.  It just shows you how versatile this ruffle design is.  You can make it work for lots of styles and lots of designs!  And, by changing the color, you can get a very soothing/subtle effect.  Wouldn't this be amazing in all white on a wedding cake!  Oh my!



I just wanted to thank all my friends out there for taking this Craftsy class and being SOOO encouraging!!  My heart is to share and to help, so I'm so thankful you are all gleaning great info from it that is helping you!!  I hope it's been another tool in your cake decorating kit!!  And remember it's 50% off only here on Jessicakes!! :)

God has been so good to me and I'm so thankful He has allowed me to use this platform to share the talents He's given me!  Praise you Jesus! - for I am fearfully and wonderfully made!!  Thank you for blessing me beyond what I deserve!!  To you be ALL the glory!!

Best wishes sweet friends!!

How to make 3-D cake topper people?!

Have you seen those amazing little pregnant ladies or little babies on top of cakes!!?  I have...and every time I see one I think, "Oh, that is SO cool but if I tried it, they would NOT look like that!"  LOL!

Well, it's because I haven't known how to do it!!  

And, that just changed!!  

Anne Heap from Pink Cake Box...the "mastress" (if that's even a word) in creating 3D people on her cakes, just came out with a Craftsy class to show how to do it!!

I know a few of you have sent me emails or commented that you'd love to know how to do these, so I had to share!!  AND, I happen to have a 25% off link to get you into the class!!  Yippie! - the perks of working with Craftsy!! - it'll save you $10!  

Click HERE for the link!!

Now, go make some toppers for your next cake! :)


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Need some advice! :)

Hi friends!
 
I need your help!  
 
I usually only average a cake a month...or every other month...due to the craziness of being a mom right now.  I have several coming up this year that I know of (mainly my own kids/family member's birthday cakes) and I wanted to get your feedback on some ideas of things you'd like to see me do tutorials of here on my blog!!!  This way, I can plan the designs of these cakes around things that you all really want to see!  I know a lot of you have taken my Craftsy class and are excited to keep learning new things from me and I'm so excited to keep sharing!  I just want to make sure the designs I come up with will benefit the most people and if I can squeeze certain techniques in here and there, I will!! :)

SO, leave me a comment below and give me some advice about the following things:
 
*Perhaps you've seen a design you just love but don't know how to pull off (leave me a link)
*Perhaps you struggle with an aspect of cake construction, building or design that you'd love to improve upon but don't know how
*Perhaps you have a party theme coming up that you don't know how to pull off in a cake design
*Perhaps you'd like to have templates for certain things and you don't know how to create them

Whatever it is...leave me a comment!  
 
I'm not going to be able to get back to everyone, and I won't be able to answer all of these! - but perhaps there are a few common themes that I could help you all out with! :)  Plus, I'd love to see some links or pics or designs that you might want me to attempt this year!

Thanks everyone!! :)  I'm so excited to see what the Lord will do this year and feel so blessed to have the opportunity to help those I can! 

Blessings!

Craftsy Class Cake Design #3: Vintage Silhouette Cake

Since my hot air balloon cake, I've been dying to use this stripe effect again!

I love these vintage style stripes I'm seeing in so many places right now!  I know it looks intimidating to put on a cake, but it's SO easy!! - I promise!  I can roll, cut and apply this design in less than 30 minutes!!  I give you the templates and show you step by step how to pull it off during my Craftsy Class!  It's very very simple!! - and now my class is 50% off here on my blog!! :)  Yippie!!!
 
I love the portrait!!  

It's such a cute way to personalize a cake!  I had so many sweet pictures that I wanted to use there...like this little girl blowing bubbles or a little cowboy on a rocking horse! - oh, can you imagine a pink cake with gray stripes for the little girl or a blue cake with gray stripes for the little boy!?!!?!  
 
OH, if only I had more time...I'd make it!! - but, maybe you can! :) - just send me pictures!!

And here she is on the set at Craftsy!! 

To take this class and learn all the how-tos and to get the templates for this cake, click HERE and head on over! - a 3 hour class for only $20!!  It'll change your cake decorating life...I promise!  :)

Thanks for looking! :) - and make sure to post pictures on the platform at Craftsy so we can all enjoy your creations!! :)

Blessings!





Monday, March 4, 2013

50% Off My Craftsy Class!!!!

If you've been waiting for a Craftsy sale, or a special discount or a coupon code for my Craftsy class it's HERE!!!!!  

Over 2000 students have signed up to take my class and now I have the HUGE blessing of being able to offer you all a wonderful discount I got from Craftsy!!  You guys can click the link below to get 50% off my class!  If you haven't taken, this is the lowest price you're going to find ever! - and you don't have to wait until they run a sale or for Christmas!  Buy it for yourself, buy it for a friend, buy it for your mom!!  Whoever takes this class is going to get some amazing info to help them become a better cake decorator!!


Tell the world!!! Help me spread the news!!!

 I want everyone to know that through this blog you'll get the best price on my class!!  Put a link to this page on your facebook page, twitter it, pin it, post it to Cake Central, share it, blog about it...let everyone know if they want this class, they can come here to find the link to save them $20!!  Now it's more affordable than ever before!!



 Thank you thank you thank you to all the people that have supported me and have taken this class!!  Make sure to post a review on the Craftsy site (hopefully it'll be 5 stars!) if you've enjoyed the class!!  :)   

God bless you all richly!!!  
I praise Him because He is great and worthy to be praised!!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Craftsy Class Cake Design #2: Ruffles and Stripes

 Hello pretty stripes and ruffles!!

I love this cake!  It's so sassy and graphic! - my style to a "T"!  Carrie with The Cake Blog did a fabulous write up on this cake!!  Thanks Carrie!!  You can see it here!!



This is the second cake I created for my Craftsy Class!!  This cake showcases how to create a horizontal design on a cake using the wax paper transfer method.  You can use this method to do horizontal straight stripes or chevron stripes!  You can do wavy stripes, stacked stripes, bold thick stripes or bands.  It's an incredible way to keep your horizontal designs NICE and straight!

The striped cake might look familiar (seen here).  Although this cute striped cake works great on it's own, I've been playing with other designs that work with it too in case you have a larger party!  I love this look!  Bold, yet feminine!






And, then there are these beautiful ruffles!  A stylized look to ruffles.  I wanted something bold to go with the stripes.  A frilly ruffle wouldn't look quite right unless the color of the top stripes was more subtle and neutral.

 I decided to alternate the ruffles with a lighter and darker shade of pink.  It's very subtle, which I love because it looks like the light is reflecting it differently...but, it's different shades of color.  Something you can play with!  

In the class I give you the templates and techniques to create these ruffles and the graphic bow that's up on the top tier.  If you haven't checked out my Craftsy class, click here and head on over! :)

Thanks for looking!!  I can't wait to see what you all create!!



Craftsy Class Cake Design #1: The Offset Chevron Cake


I am going to take the next week or so to share with you all the four cakes I made for my Craftsy Class!!  I want you to see all the techniques you'll learn in the class as well as see the cakes you can create with them.


First up is the Offset Chevron Cake!  

I  know most all of you have seen this cake before (here), but it was the youtube video I had put out last fall that started the ball rolling with Craftsy.  They loved the wax paper transfer method and how cleanly and simply you can put any graphic on a cake!! 

So, they had me fly out to Colorado to shoot the Craftsy class in the Craftsy studio!  I flew in on Sunday, had to repair some cakes (I'll post about that in another post), shot all day Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, then flew home on Thursday!  It was amazing!  This company is SO professional, all the people were amazing to work with!!!

Here are some "in progress" shots!

 It's so fun to see how all the editing worked!  We would stop mid-way through my lesson and they'd snap a few pics, then we'd start back up again!  It was fun seeing how all that worked...my first time behind the camera!! - well...except at home in my own kitchen...by myself...which doesn't count!! :)

 Here is the title card they came up with.  They really wanted the techniques to stand out in this class.  We cover so much, and even though there are four totally different cakes, they know a lot of people buy the classes to learn new techniques! - and this one is full of them!  So, I'm so excited to share it with all of you!!

In the class I also show you how to make my signature flower and include all the templates you'll need to make the flower and the stripes perfectly!  If you haven't bought the class and want to, take this link over to Craftsy and add it to your shopping cart!! 

 I'd love to hear what you think!  If you've taken the class, post a comment below or leave a rating on the class page...hopefully it'll be 5 stars! :) :)

Thanks so much for your support!!!  It's been incredible!!  God bless!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Behind the scenes with Craftsy!!

Before I share some behind the scene pictures with you all, I have to first off say thank you thank you thank you from the bottom of my heart!!!!!!!!!!! 

I have been overwhelmed with emotion these past few days as my Craftsy class went live!!  Soooooo many of you bought the class, emailed me, posted messages on my facebook page and have been SUCH an encouragement to me.  I had no idea how far I have reached some of you and I have been SO blessed to have been apart of your lives and so thankful that you've found help, guidance and inspiration here!!  My class broke a Craftsy record!!  The most sold in the first 24 hours of any cake decorating class!!  It was insane!!  So, thank you thank you thank you thank you!!! 

Thank you for touching my heart SO deeply!!

Now...onto some behind the scene pictures!!!

What an amazing trip this was!  

I had glorious plans to take tons of pictures in order to share this experience with all of you!!  I just wish I would have had my stink'n battery in my camera and it wasn't sitting in the charger at my HOUSE!!!! - yes...it was SUCH a bummer!  I realized that after I went to take some pictures AFTER I got to Colorado!!  And there just wasn't time to buy a new one...so, I hardly got any pictures!! :(

BUT, I did have the crew take a few for me with their camera and they graciously emailed them to me so you can meet them!!!

Here is my crew...the bestest crew ever!!!
 From left to right: Ivana, me, Jarrod, James
Ivana was on the computer doing immediate editing between the two cameras, Jarrod was on the moving camera and James was the Producer behind the center camera.  They were SO fun to work with!  Jarrod was like my brother so he and I had some good laughs (at each other's expense of course)!!  He was from Oregon so we had a lot to chat about!  He is SUCH a sweetheart...I need to find a girl for him when he comes to Oregon to visit! :)  James was SO easy going...I was happy about that because I was so nervous in the beginning!! - well, throughout the whole thing! :)  He helped walk me through everything and every time I said, "Today..." he'd stop me and remind me...we can't say today! :)  "Say, 'In this lesson...'"  It was so funny!  I think I said that a dozen times...or more!! :)  Sorry James!
 Here's Jarrod trying to be all professional!!  Showing you all what he was doing the whole time...what was he doing?!! ;)  Just kidding Jarrod! 
 Here was my view from behind the counter.  Below: James and Jarrod were trying to give me their serious faces...but they never looked like that!
Above/Below: This is how they always looked...happy and smiling!

Below: This was the sweetest lady I met through this whole process!!  Grace was the gal who got me started, helped me form my class, gave me SO much advice and walked me through the whole process!  It was SOOO amazing to finally meet this incredible woman and give her a well deserved hug!!  She is so smart, so well spoken, so sophisticated, so tiny and just so happens to be in my class with me! :) - I needed someone to help me hold one of the cakes during a lesson and she just so happened to be there observing so we roped her into it!! :) LOL!  So, look for my friend Grace in my class!!
 This pic was taken with Grace's phone at their corporate offices.  Stink'n camera battery!! ;)

This company was a class act!  I was so impressed with them from the beginning until the end...well...the end of filming! :)  So far so good!!  Thank you Craftsy for such an amazing experience!!  I hope I get to do it again! :)

Stay tuned for more cake pictures from the class.  I've got a post on each cake with some close up pics and more info about what you'll see in the class.

If you want to jump on over now and take it, here's the link...click HERE.
If you want to know what's in it, clicker HERE.