Saturday, April 14, 2012

Wedding Cake

Last Wednesday, I was informed that I had a wedding cake to create for the 14th. The person they were communicating with was in Germany, and the only information I was getting was through the person who plans the parties for our restaurant. I secured some basic information, but it boiled down to them just trusting me to come up with something. They wanted a round, two tier with no separation, vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream and fondant. Their colors are blues, but we didn't have a sample of WHICH blues. They are getting married on the beach, then coming the short distance to Roy's for their reception. I had a photo of the bride's bouquet.

I browsed online and in cake magazines. This is someone's wedding cake. I wanted it to be special and perfect for their big day. I found a cake that I gathered inspiration from, drew up a sketch, and went from there. The hardest part was that I had to rely on others to acquire the cake base and flowers. It's hard to let that kind of responsibility go to others when the end result has your name on it. It all worked out, though!

I had so much FUN doing this cake. It went smoothly, I had good quality fondant to work with which makes things so much easier, and I had space to work. I can't wait until the next one!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Rango Cake

A friend from school and work approached me about making a cake for his daughter's fourth birthday. The theme was Rango, which I had never seen before. When I went to research the movie, I was a little surprised at the main character.

My friend said that it could be simple, with Rango piped in buttercream. "It's for a FOUR year old. I'm sure whatever you do will be fine." I thought and thought about how I was going to pull this character off until I had a lightbulb moment! I wish I had taken pictures ALL the way through the process. I have a few more but I can't get them off my phone at the moment.

I decided to pipe a circle out of royal icing, flood it, and let it dry. Then I piped and flooded the outline of Rango. Next came the eyes, and then his lizard-y texture. I piped tons of small dots to give him his bumpyness. Then I piped the details on his outfit and his hat. Once all this was dry, I began painting. I had several colors of luster dust and a shimmery silver that I was able to mix with some of the plain colors to give his skin a slightly shiny finish. I was able to blend colors easily with the luster dust. I was able to produce shading for his hat and neck. It was SO MUCH FUN! Sometimes I forget how much I enjoy making cakes. Then I slid the circle onto a giant spatula and onto the cake.

Here is the recipient blowing out her candles.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

My Daughter's 6th Birthday Cake

Harmony LOVES dinosaurs, and she has really been wanting the Ned the Brachiosaurus car for her Dinosaur Train toy she got for Christmas. Dinosaur Train is a show on PBS, for those of you unaware. I keep getting people without young children commenting on my photos on facebook going, "Cute cake, but why dinosaurs and trains? I don't get it." This video explains the premise of the show in a rockin' intro song. haha

So I used her toy train and tracks to surround the cake and added a gift of Ned the Brachiosaurus to the train as a surprise. The cake itself was the scenery from the show, places they visit, with the train station at the base of the cake. There is a volcano in the show, along with the "Big Pond" and a waterfall.

The interior of the cake was two flavors. The bottom layer was alternating layers of devil's food cake with graham cracker swirls, milk chocolate cake, and a layer of melted marshmallows mixed with graham cracker crumbs with mini marshmallows sandwiched between. The top tier was, upon Harmony's request, a mint chocolate cake with peppermint buttercream. It was SO. GOOD. A new favorite of mine, for sure. Here is a picture of the interior of the cake.

I also made her a birthday shirt with a brachiosaurus and a number 6 on it. She picked out the shirt that she wanted it made from. I decided to add a bow to the dinosaur and I LOVE how it came out!!! This was a HUGE week for Harmony, too. Grandma Carleen and Uncle Chris coming in, she lost her first tooth Thursday night, too, AND she finally saved up enough money by doing chores around the house and with her birthday money, to buy this GIANT T-rex she saw at Big Air when we went a few weeks ago. It was $39.99. That's alot of money for a little kid to save up!!! We were so stinkin' proud of her, and she was extremely proud of herself, too. Here she is, in her birthday shirt, lost tooth, with her T-rex.

This girl...this girl is my world. She is why I am doing what I am doing and why I am the person I am today. I love giving her a day where everything is for HER. She is such a wonderful kid and she follows the rules and is polite and SO sweet, I love being able to give her a day where she can eat as much sugar as she wants and can be spoiled by all the people that love her.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Easter Cake

Here is a cutie patootie Easter cake that was ordered from me. I love baking in exchange for free babysitting! It's such a win-win situation!!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Gothic Wedding Cake

Our final for Advanced Pastry was a three or four tier wedding cake. The first week we worked on learning to make flowers for the cake. Then we had one more week of prep and this week was the week to put it all together. I, of course, didn't want to do the same thing everyone else was doing. I just always want to be different. I don't like "competing" by definition. I don't want to be "better" than anyone else, I just want to be different. It's funny. As children and teenagers, the worst thing in the world is to be different. As adults, at least in my case, I have learned to embrace uniqueness. It's what sets me apart. It is what makes people go, "Wow!" I like doing things people don't expect. I like thinking "outside of the box."

With that in mind, I didn't want to do a classic white wedding cake. I had seen a photo of a gothic cake that was my base inspiration. Of course, mine ended up not being very similar at all as it evolved, but this cake was the one that I looked at originally and got the wheels turning.

When I was at work at Doing Dishes Pottery Studio, a photo cube caught my eye.

People paint the cube, then we glue the metal photo holder into the top once it is fired. My brain started churning. "What if I just used the metal part as the cake topper." I began to sketch a plan for my cake. This was the original sketch.

I went on to think as I got more and more into it, "What if I mold something around the topper to look like a tree??" The cake continued to evolve. I love how this happens. My mind just churns and churns and eventually something wonderful comes out of it. I make lists upon lists. I edit, cross out, and crumple up sketches and notes. I plan like crazy. It usually works and this was no exception.

Thomas Hill from Marion Crane and Digital Kill Productions, and incidentally my husband's best friend, came through for us and willingly went with us to take our photos in a Gothic Wedding Photo Shoot for the photos on the top of the cake. Jaime Yeoman also helped out with the makeup and the actual shoot and the cake wouldn't have been the same without them!!!

Wednesday I put the whole cake together. First I put the cake topper on the cake and added the "roots" of the tree. To make the topper I used a mixture of modeling paste and modeling chocolate kneaded together with black food coloring powder. It took several tries to come up with the right ratio, but once I did, I was able to keep making small amounts as I needed it to make the flowers, leaves, and trees. Then I piped the wrought iron fence on the bottom tier with black royal icing and the web on the top tier, and piped a simple border on all tiers. I added the second tree and the leaves, spiders, and flowers. I finished up adding accents of luster dust here and there, and finally added the photos to the tree.

I was so extremely happy with how the cake turned out that I was thrilled when I learned that one of the guys from the photography department at the Art Institute volunteered to take professional photos of all the cakes.

*If you click on the photos, they will come up larger so you can see more detail.

These are the other photos that were on the top of the cake. Some of them were edited to be black and white with only the purple remaining.

I love that these say Husband and Wife:

Thursday, March 3, 2011


Our latest project in Advanced Pastry was a Pastillage Showpiece. We were given certain criteria we had to meet but other than that, it was up to us what we wanted to do. We had to include a swoop, 2 10" circles for a base with something in between them to give them height, and a certain number of butterflies, flowers, and leaves, and "curls". I decided I wanted to make a piece that included an Amy Brown-like fairy.

We made the pastillage last week and made some initial pieces. Once we made the pastillage and I started working with it, I got a better feel for what I could and could not do with it. This made me change my original sketch. I wanted to make a sphere originally, but after working with the pastillage, I decided to change that plan. I went through several design sketches and had several plans "just in case." I made WAY more pieces than I needed, just to be safe.

I wasn't satisfied with all the pieces I made in class last week, so I went in Monday morning and made the box and more flowers. Wednesday we painted and put our pieces together. I was beyond stressed about this piece but I am SO thrilled with how it turned out. I love how I was able to give the fairy a second set of wings and I am loving painting on my pieces. Now that I've worked with it successfully, I feel that pastillage is something I can add to my repertoire.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Advanced Pastry- Hamburger Cake

This week we assembled our hamburger cakes. My plan was to take a kids lunch tray and make a “school lunch” with the hamburger being the main item. I wanted to do more than just a cake and I knew that this would be different than everyone else’s.

Last week I made many of the base items for assembly. I colored all my fondant, made my tots out of rice crispy treats, made the base of my milk container and hamburger patty out of rice crispy treats, made and orange gelee and poured it into a half sphere shape to set up with two plastic play food orange slices on top to give it the real orange look, and shaped my hamburger buns.

Before I came to class this week, I made a list of everything I needed to get done and the order I wanted to do it in. I began by placing the completed items on the tray. I had made small chocolate chip cookies to use as the “dessert” portion of the tray and my tots were also complete. From there I cut and covered my “milk carton” with a single layer of white fondant to give it a smoother look. I put it in the fridge to set up a bit and moved on to covering my hamburger buns. I covered them both with a tan fondant and then brushed a little brown dust on them to give them some shading. I love how it turned out. I think it looked just like a whole wheat bun! I even gave it some little grooves in the top like buns usually have. Then I created my “toppings” for the hamburger- American cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes. I shaped and painted these and smeared some “mayo” on the top bun and it was ready!

I quickly made some “ketchup” from corn syrup, powdered sugar, and red food coloring. I would like to experiment with that a little more because it needed to be a little thicker and as it sat, it started to get some little bubbles on the top.

I then moved back to working on my milk carton. Next time I would shape the carton to have a peak in it instead of just square because the top sunk a little and wasn’t as rigid as I would have liked. This class is all about learning, though, right? Once I had it satisfactorily covered, I painted on it with a mixture of shimmer dust and food coloring. I was able to do this fairly quickly and neatly due to my many years of pottery painting experience.

The milk carton was definitely the hardest part. Once it was done, all I had left to do was cover my “orange” with a peel. I put a little icing on the orange and covered it in orange fondant. I then used a tool to make little divets in the orange skin to make it look more realistic, and painted a white line into the middle of the gelee for the core of the orange. By that evening, the fondant had begun to fall off the orange, so I would probably need to let the gelee come to room temperature and THEN cover it so the condensation wouldn’t turn the fondant to goo.

My friend thought I looked like I was at school eating my lunch while I was sitting and painting so we just had to take a picture when it was finished of me pretending to do just that.

Overall, I was EXTREMELY happy with how it turned out. This class is so much fun!! I love not only creating cakes, but seeing all the other creative ideas my classmates have. It’s amazing to have so much creativity in one room. I think it’s the quietest lab I have ever worked in because we all get pretty involved in our own work.