Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Joe vs. the Volcano cake

I was called to make a 30th birthday cake for a guy whose favorite movie is Joe vs. the Volcano.  Great movie and a fun cake to make.  The biggest problem with it was trying NOT to make it look like a pile of poo.  I did the best I could----here it is:

not a pile in sight........oh, it is a devils food cake with chocolate/kahlua icing.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

roses and ruffles cake

I have been wanting to incorporate both the ruffles and the romantic roses for awhile now but haven't had the cake to do it on.  So- cake dummies to the rescue!  I had some cream cheese frosting left over from a cake in the fridge so I pulled it out and used my new ruffle tip (see post below) and my 1M tip to make the roses.  The only problem with the cake dummies is that you cover them with plastic wrap and if you don't wrap them really tight the plastic tends to "droop" away from the sides.  When that happens the frosting will pull away from the sides and slide down (which it did repeatedly)!!!  I actually had to quit because I got so frustrated last night....... I finished it this morning and here it is.  I am going to make this cake for my mothers 80th birthday party cake but with another tier on top with lacy, "embroidered" icing. I think it is really,really cute and would be a fantastic wedding cake for a shabby chic wedding.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Halo cake for Chase age 5

I normally do not do sheet cakes but our neighbor's kid Chase is turning 5 today and they asked me to make a Halo cake for him.  I had No Idea what Halo was so I am glad she brought me a picture.  Chase picked the image out himself.  Once I uploaded it to Photoshop I realized that the image wasn't a really good size for printing out but couldn't find the same picture larger....and even though there were similar pictures- the body armor didn't look exactly the same and that made me nervous because I know that Chase probably is Very Knowledgeable about the series and would spot the differences immediately.  So- thank goodness for Photoshop, I re-sampled the picture, found a free Halo font online-downloaded it, added the text, and printed it out on my edible image printer.    A very simple cake- fun to do and I hope Chase likes it!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Dummy cakes and ruffly ruffles (say that 5 times fast)


So now that wedding season is over and things in my kitchen have slowed down a bit-I have time for experimenting.......But I really do not need to have cakes lying around here that do not have a home to go to.  Cakes sitting around here tend to get eaten (by me).  Since I think that my elliptical is a form of torture and necessary evil and the thought of having to stay on it longer because of the piece of cake (okay, 2 or 3 pieces) I just ate is just abhorrent, I bought a Dummy Cake.  What is a Dummy Cake you might ask?  Well, it's just an educationally challenged torte.  Just kidding- it is a cake of any shape made out of styrofoam for either practicing on or for using when you want a BIG LOOKING cake but don't want That Much to eat.  You add dummy cakes to the stacked cake and make them look edible.  
I bought them for practicing my piping skills.

I found a tip for making ruffles a while back and for my dummy cakes Maiden Voyage- tried it out. 

 I covered the dummy in plastic wrap and taped it to the turntable with my handy- dandy carpet tape.  Carpet tape is a must in the decorating industry.  Covering the dummy in plastic makes for easy clean up. Taping it down keeps it from flying off the turntable as it is really light weight!

I then frosted my "cake" with buttercream - not really worrying about smoothness since the ruffles will cover the base.
The long opening points Down.

Here is the tip.  Weird looking huh?  It is specialty tip# 070 -I bought it from Amazon

When making your horizontal ruffles, make sure to use a toothpick to mark even lines to follow when piping so that your ruffles do not look like this!  I figured this out with my last ruffle cake that had vertical ruffles but wanted to show you how bad it looked without lines to guide you. 

Lightly drag the tip along the line while squeezing with a moderate pressure to adhere the icing to the cake.  The long straight opening points down. It is quite easy to pipe with your right (or left-for you lefties out there) hand while slowly turning the turntable with the other. 

If you mess up, just gently scrape off the icing with a small spatula or butter knife and try again.

Here is the second tier of ruffles (looking much better) and you can see the line above ready for the next row.

Again, much straighter!

make sure to keep the tip touching the cake for the icing to stick-otherwise it will droop down over the ruffle below.

slowly turning.....

and turning.....let the pressure off of the bag to stop, while gently pulling the tip away from the side of the cake  and done!

For practicing purposes I did not go all around the cake but you would want to start and stop in the Back of the cake since where the ruffles meet it is not pretty.  Thanks to my husband for photographing me while I was piping! 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

my sugar cookie tips and tricks----flooding, overbaking and all.

So it is that time of year when my cake making slows down to a trickle-most weddings are over and done and the Holiday Season is upon us.  Folks are doing their own baking for their families and this gives me time to try new things.   I was asked to make some sugar cookies for an event and even though the order didn't come through I wanted to really get my sugar cookies with flooded icing perfected.  As my husband always says "third time's a charm"  and it was true for these!  I was Very Happy with the third attempt.  The first attempt was good but hubby thought I should have made them thicker.  Second attempt, was Too thick (this is very Goldilocks and the Three Bears sounding) and the Royal icing didn't quite work out.  The third attempt was the best.  Here it is-

Roll out your CHILLED dough on parchment paper and bake it on parchment paper.  The paper makes it really easy to "flip" the cut out shapes onto your hand and the onto the cookie sheet without distorting it. I keep the unused dough in the refrigerator until I need it to keep it from getting sticky.  And don't use too much flour or the dough will get tough and dry. Note the ruler in front, I use this to make sure that the dough is a uniform thickness.  I use a plastic one so I can pop it into the dishwasher when finished. My perfect thickness was 1/4 inch. 
Place the cookies about an inch apart on the cookie sheet- Bake at whatever time/temp.  your recipe requires.  I keep a close eye on the cookies at whatever the shortest time is.  You can use a spatula to gently lift up the edge of the cookie to check for a golden bottom.
The bottoms of these were golden brown with a touch of gold on the bottom edge.

If you use a dark finish cookie pan- the bottoms brown WAY too quickly!  I forgot and left these in the same time as my aluminum pans----oops! Here are my burnt bottoms.

Here's what they need to look like.....Firm, with a golden edge or bottom. Here are my perfect bottoms!
For chewier cookies let them cool on the pan for several minutes after baking before transferring to a cooling rack.

For crisp, crunchy cookies, let cool on the baking sheet for just one minute before transferring to a cooling rack.

After the cookies have cooled I piped a "dam" around the edge with royal icing with a size 3 tip.  Once it dried I flooded the inside with a runnier mix of the same.  Now- the first time I flooded a cookie I had the royal icing Way Too runny.  It flooded Over the dam and all over the counter.  
I added more powdered sugar until it was the consistency of sour cream---and that was Too thick.  
I then made the icing the consistency of yogurt.  That works.  The cookie in the back is sour cream thick and the one in front is yogurt.  Look closely- the one in front looks satiny smooth, the one in back looks, well, Not. 
My other great tip that if you mess one up (or two) - just eat it.  No one will ever know!


Sunday, November 13, 2011

ruffle cake

This is my second shot at a ruffle cake.  I saw this cake technique on Pinterest (my guilty, time-consuming addiction) and have been wanting to try it.  They are sooo pretty!  Last week I tried my first one and the ruffles came out cute but not all were totally vertical and the top wasn't as level looking as I wanted it to be-kinda looked droopy.  Droopy cake=Not Cute At All.  So this time out I lightly marked vertical lines in the frosting all around and used them as guidelines to keep my ruffles straight up and down.  I also came all the way up with the ruffle almost past the top of the cake so that the top ruffles would have something to "sit" on. Ta daaa! 
I like it.  I like it a lot.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Lane's Pirate cake

I do love Pirates.  After teaching at Pittsburg Junior High for 11 years (mascot=Pirate) I have a definite warm fuzzy for all things Pirate.  So, of course, this was a fun cake to make.  This one has a buttercream finish with gumpaste and rice krispy treat hook, fondant details and edible images.
Things are slowing down here for me since wedding season is over which is kind of nice so that I can work on other projects (jewelry) and also work on other decorating techniques.  I spend WAY too much time on Pinterest pinning cake ideas and now I have the time to try them all out.  I would say that Pinterest is crack level addicting.  I try to stop, but I can't.  I need an intervention.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Ranger's cake for Dalton's 8th

Well, it would have been really nice to have been able to have added "World Champs" to this cake but.......well, you know.....
*Big Sigh.  I had it ready. Just in case.  It ALMOST made it on.  Dalton really liked his cake anyway.  He almost didn't get his cake because mom and I were making the cake "drop" at Brookshire's parking lot.  I meant the one in Pittsburg, she meant the one in Daingerfield.  Oops!  So, instead, I took it all the way to the party in Mount Pleasant (not too far out of the way for either of us) and met her there.  So much for good communication.  The cake and the birthday boy made it in time for the party.  So all's well that ends well. Still, it woulda been nice to been able to add World Champs to the cake......(oh- white cake with buttercream finish, gumpaste, fondant and edible images)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

White Oak 10th reunion cake

White cake bottom tier- red velvet top tier with buttercream finish--fondant and edible image details.  Delivering this to the Martini Bar located in downtown Longview.  I sure do like these deliveries because I always end up eating dinner downtown on those days.  Good food (fried pickles at Willie G's).  Good drinks.  More good drinks.....Oops! there went any cake profit.  Oh well. Worth it. :D

Monday, October 17, 2011

butterfly wedding cake

This was a fun cake to make- the flowers and hand painted butterflies were all made ahead of time and the cake went together really, really fast.  Which was a good thing since I temporarily lost my mind and agreed to all those big cakes in one weekend!  Most people I know would probably agree that me losing my mind is not possible since I had misplaced it Long Ago.  And then I forgot my camera when I left for deliveries. Par for course. 

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Red the Dog groom's cake at the reception---Longview Museum of Fine Art

Red's in the back....

What a time I had with this cake! For some reason my cream cheese frosting is not cooperating with me.  I spent almost 2 days trying to smooth this cake out and finally did scroll work around it to cover any "wrinkled" frosting. MAN! Sometimes you just have to roll with it and go with plan 'B'. Smoke and mirrors-smoke and mirrors! 
 I love this frosting recipe but it seems like lately I only have a 50/50 chance of it smoothing.....But it came out really nice in the end and Red looks caught in the act! I am pretty dang happy with this cake and hopefully they will be too (tee tee on their cake and all)! The reception was set up really really nice-Very Unique. Love the artichokes. 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Baby Finley's cupcakes

I can't stand it these are so cute.  Found the ruffled liners at Wal-Mart (Wilton), they are perfect for little baby girl cupcakes especially when you add pink satin ribbons. And they are strawberry with cream cheese icing - can't miss with that! I really enjoy making fondant toppers for cupcakes- they are pretty time consuming but I usually watch a movie while I am rolling out the fondant and cutting the shapes.  It is relaxing.  And- they are so adorable on top of a cupcake!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Red the Dog

I have a groom's cake (red velvet with cream cheese icing) due Saturday and the couple wanted their dog Red on it.  It will also have a Texas Tech logo on it.  Or as my husband always says about Texas Tech cakes- they have teetee on the their cake. *sigh

So I made Red out of gumpaste so he is edible (though you'd break a tooth on him). I hand painted him with edible coloring and vodka.  He looks guilty because he will be caught eating the cake.  I was told he always eats things he shouldn't.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

baby T's cupcakes

Baby 'T'.  Name to arrive later I think.....I love making these baby shower cupcakes.  So adorable.  Time consuming- but adorable.  I have a dozen for a little girl later this week so I am breaking out the pink fondant and I think pink ribbons too.  Photos will come later!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Stormy's Wedding cake and a bike show

This was a fun cake to make.  All red velvet with cream cheese frosting.  It was for a former student of mine so that made it more special.  I got to make my first gumpaste lilies.  I think they came out pretty good.  We delivered it early this Saturday morning - an hour and a half away.   The really fun part was the last 3-4 miles was all dirt and gravel and bumpier than 'youknowwhat'.  So we are driving along at 4 miles per hour hoping that at the end of the drive the cake will be in one piece and a SQUIRREL runs up alongside us and PASSES us!  I think the last 4 miles took a half hour.  But the cake made it beautifully- the bride was happy and we took off to Jefferson Texas to a motorcycle contest (did I mention that the trailer was hooked to the back of our SUV?)-----here we are....

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

How to make a fondant rubber ducky-first step

First step- make round ball for body with yellow fondant.

Shape body into "comma shape. tilt end (duck tail) up and to a rounded point.

Make 2 round balls about the size of the ducks rear end for the wings.

Flatten the balls.

Using a toothpick or a needle tool (found in the clay section of a crafts store), press down to make three indentations to mimic feathers.

Gently pinch the ends of the balls to form a rounded point.

Add a bit of water to the wing to stick it to the side of the ducks body.

Repeat on the other side.

Roll a ball of fondant for the ducks head.  I rolled 3- one is too small, one is too big, one is Just Right. Hold the head to the top of the body to check that the size is correct.

Attach the head to the body with a little bit of water.

Roll a small ball of orange fondant for the ducks bill.  Shape the ball into a slightly flattened rounded triangle.

Affix the bill to the duck using a bit of water, pushing it on gently and tilting the end up slightly as shown above.

Add 2 small balls of white fondant with water, pushing them down flat to form the eyes.

Using a small ball tool (also found in the clay section of a craft store) or a tiny brush, add black dots for the center of the eye. And- you are done! You can add a tiny bow on top or a flower on it's neck for a girly duck or, for even more fun- add a pirate patch or some devil horns!  Have fun with it.