Saturday, October 31, 2009

Topsy Turvy cake - Take II

A few weeks ago, I tried my hand at making a Topsy Turvy cake for the first time. It didn't turn out as Topsy or as turvy as I would have liked...and it was the total opposite of everything I was trying to accomplish, but it was fun and the Birthday gal liked it so mission accomplished!!

Kiddo turns 7 tomorrow, and when I asked her what kid of cake she wanted, she said a Topsy Turvy cake! Damn! :( lol

Well...the lessons I learned from last time are;

1. Mixes are evil - you need a more stable batter.
2. You need 3 layers per tier. Torting 1 tier into 3 does not work.

So - this time round, I used a modified mix recipe.

2 - boxes of chocolate cake mix
2c - flour
2c - sugar
1 1/2 tsp - salt
6 large eggs
2tsp - almod extract (I only use 1tsp)
2 tsp - vanilla
2 2/3 c - water
2c - sour cream
1/4c - vegetable oil

**note** If you want to make a white version of the same cake, replace the 6 large eggs with 8 large egg whites. **

I LOVE this recipe cuz it always works out perfectly! You mix all the dry ingredients in 1 bowl.

(I sift everything together, including the mix) You mix all the wet ingredients in another bowl - mixing very well, combine the two and mix thorougly, pour into your pans and bake at 325 until done.

So - back to my cake. In the tutorial I found, she mentioned that I could avoid excess trimming by using diffent size pans. I used my 3" deep pans and made an 8" round and a 6" round. For the 3rd layer I used a 2" deep pan and made another 6" round. In theory - that was a good idea.

The lesson I learned from this cake, is that I should use my standard 2" pans. The 3" pans are too deep and make the tiers too high. It still worked out - it juts means that it feels a little top heavy and tippy - but it will be fine by the time I'm done! It's a lesson learned for next time! :)

I followed the instructions and angle cut the 8" round, and spun the top half to give me the crooked look. I frosted all 3 layers together, then trimmed it to give it the Topsy Turvy style. so now, I've got the cake assembled, and ready to frost and decorate. Trouble is...I'm out of frosting and out of shortening and icing sugar!! Crap!!

maybe kiddo won't notice if I don't frost her cake;) LOL Off to the bulk barn I go! :) I'll post pics later - promise.

I have since frosted and fondant-ed this looks absolutely ridiculous!! lol I trimmed it too narrow at the bottom, so it tipped over in the fridge. I had to use frosting and animal crackers to shimm it upright again!! LOL Plus - the colors are ridiculous cuz I rushed it, and didn't plan a damn bit - but - kiddo FREAKED OUT over it!!! LOL
I guess it's a darn good thing that 7 year olds have reeeeely low standards!! ;)
Here's hoping that the 3rd try will actually work out!! ;)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Bonus with Purchase!!

On sunday I noticed that we have "Christmas Store" where Cottage Industries used to be. DD and I went it to check it out and it wasn't all amazing, but we did find a few fun things for cheap. One thing I found was a set of these little numbers that I've wanted forever. I was pretty excited about my purchase - especially since they are the mini ones!! how adorable!!! $4.99 even the price was mini! Tonight I noticed that the 2 plant in my scrap room were a little thirsty! So - I grabbed my two Aqua globes, filled them up and ran downstairs...cept...I wasn't expecting to find my bonus with purchase...
I'm not sure what species it is and I reeely hope it's dead! :( Now I'm worried that it had living friends in the box that I left unattended on the dining room table! :(
They are now drying out in the window of the bathroom in hopes that it will fall out once it's dry. I was too much of a woose to take the pic myself so I got kiddo to take them for me...

yeah...happy feeling gone.
Today, I went back to the store and told the girl about my bonus. She said - "Bring it in and we'll gladly exchange it!" YAY! Then I found out that the only reason she was exchanging it was that she wanted to see the bug!! LOL
Oh well - I bought another box too! (But I checked for critters before leaving the store ;)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Is more less??

I've been posting a ton of baking stuff lately - so life stuff just seems weird and out of place. I never really meant for this to be a baking blog...but it's kinda turned that way...but what about a "general stuff" blog?? I'm trying to decide - do I split it and have 2 blogs? 1 for my cake-ventures and one for life stuff?? Or keep it all in one?

Help - I can't decide...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

DIY - Baking cone!

I bought the Wilton Baking Cone a few months ago, and am happy with it. The trouble, though, is that it's tapered, and closed on the bottom, which makes it a PITA to grease, and to clean!

Recently, I found an idea for a DIY baking cone that suggested using a soup can instead! I was intreagued, and gave it a try. I am happy to report, that my new baking fave is my DIY baking cone!! Check out the level-ness of this cake!! AND because it's open on the bottom, you can't even tell it was there when I put it back together!! YAY! (ok - maybe you can tell a little - but because it's the same size from top to bottom, the cake goes together way better and way more easily when torted!!)

I also need to point out that I'm still WAY in love with the bake even strips too (see him wrapped around the pan in the 1st pic?)! They're a perfect match for my soup can! lol If you don't have the strips - gettem! And the next time you bake a cake (bigger then 10") pop a can in the middle of that bad boy and watch what happens!! :)

Not-so Topsy Turvy Cake

I had planned to make a Topsy-Turvy cake for Le-Sly's Birthday. all went from bad to worse fast and what was supposed to be fun & whimsical turned out more like something from the tail end of oompa-loompa land! lol

I found a "how to" on Topsy Turvy cakes at Cakes by Rosa. I would like to point out - first and formost...Rosa - goooood cake maker! Hollee - baaaaad cake maker!! lol Her isntructions are great! I did have a few questions, though, but didn't realize that until I was underway - without her demo in front of me and no access to a working computer! (Thanks hubby)
My first mistake was using a mix...yeah - bad bad bad cake person!! Mixes are evil! Aside from tasting like sponge - they don't hold up at all!! (insert kicking myself smiley here!)

The other problem that I had was on scrimping on the layers. I thought that torting 1 layer into 3 would work...yeah - not so much!! (insert kicking myself smiley here!) So - halfway through the 2nd tier, it starts to - we're talking WTF crumbling!! So - 3 tiers of whimsy and wonder went Ploomp! Straight into the trash!! And now we're down to 2 tiers!!
I did follow her instructions for cutting the tops etc. But aside from that, I would have had much better luck if i had actually done what she said to do. Mental note - listen to Rosa!!! I'm a BAD cake-maker!!

It's probably best that I did not catalogue the entire - and very painful process that resulted in my WTF Cake! I will try again...but first, I'll have to see if I can wrangle a "Mud Pie" recipe out of Rosa!! LOL
In any case, here is my Sweaty (Hotel staff put it in the freezer! ugh!) Oompa Loompa cake! LOL It was (thankfully) still pretty yummy - and we did have lots to go around...but it's a very good thing that I was only going for "funny" and nothing else cuz that's about all this cake was!! lol

October Scrap-athon!!!

What a great weekend! Everything about it was terrific and I must admit that the one thing that really jumped out at me was just how badly I've been missin my gurls!! Seriously - we need to do this waaaay more often!

Looking back, the only thing I would do differently is the 2 Wedding cakes right before our crop! That made for some busee times!! Thursday afternoon I could feel a bug coming on. I tried to dose myself with vitamin C but by Friday morning, my throat was on fire and it felt like I had sucked up a balloon! Not awesome! :( Sinutab got me thru till Sunday - but I've been in bed pretty much non stop since then.

Rewind - Friday morning 8am...crickets chirp as I sit alone in the crop room...YAY - MEL'S HERE!! Mel was the first to arrive - she was a great help at re-arranging all the tables to make loads of space for everyone - Thanks Mel ;) Not long after, the rest of the crew filter in one by one...Jay showed up with the yummiest of yummy chocolate covered oreos...mmmmm - yup - let's say that again! Chocolate Covered Oreos! Soon after, the room was filled with lots and lots of scrappin! I was actually quite happy with myself for getting as much done as I did! Normally, I wander and take over other peoples layouts but I'm proud to report that it didn't happen even once this weekend! :) (Ok - not true - sorry Le-Sly)

So Saturday night, I'm sitting at the table...I don't really remember who all was there with me, but Mel points out that the only person in our group who has never been "pranked" is Jay! (spidey senses tingling) What I was thinking is - Dude! I made her a Barbie Bucket! But what I said was "Yeah - but anything you could do to rattle her would just be mean!" Mel agreed and scrapping continued. A while later, Lorinda (Hotel Gawdesse extraordinaire - who'm I've known since the 4th grade) comes to get me. On my way out of the room, I noticed that Nola was eating take-out, so I figured she was coming to tell me that we couldn't have outside food in the scrap room. Nope - not even close. What she told me was that the church group who has the room the next morning at 9am was sending Service Master in to steam clean the carpets at midnight because they thought they were disgusting. My first thought was "they do have a point"...but I deal with crap like that at work all the time so it wasn't a huge deal. She seemed to be freaking so my instinct was to stay calm. I mean realisitically - how many scrappers do we have in the room after 2am?? I kept offering to go talk to the gurls...but she kept saying no-no let me make some calls. (spidey senses still tingling) So I went back into the room to collect my things...I was about to break it to them gently but figured I'd let Lorinda make some calls first - afterall - no need to cause a stampede until we need to. Back to my room I head. That's when things started to get very tingley - Mel shouts after me to find out what room I'm in cuz she wanted to reach Lesley...huh?? Weird!! Ok - I'll bite! "212" I shout. So I get to the room, and tell Le-Sly that I think I'm proud of myself...but I'm not sure yet...then the phone rings. It's one of those weirdo one sided yes-yes-yes-no she's not - yes -yes conversations that is clearly about me. So I figured I'd go talk to Lorinda. At that point, Mel is at my door..."YOU SUCK!!" Is what I was thinking...but 2 can play at this game ;) So - I bolt down the hall ignoring her - headed straight for Lorinda...the second I see her I say "I've known you since the 4th grade" and she immdiately replies with "I'M SOOO SORRY!!!" A-HAAA! Thank you spidey senses!! By now, Mel has followed me down to the lounge!! Thinking way too fast, I ask Lorinda if she'd be willing to kick me out?? She looks scared so I assured her that I wouldn't cause a scene with her kids at the bar - "Look Mad!" I told her - then I shouted something about this sucking etc. and I think that we'd never be back...I bolted passed Mel and the crowd that we had attracted. By now, everyone was trying to convince me that it was a joke...but I was on a mission. I know that to let them know I knew wouldn't be as effective unless I had some distance so off to the crop room I headed. I was ignoring everyone and am happy to have found out that I didn't physically shove Amy into a tree like I originally thought - pfeuf!

With distance between Mel & I (she was still trying to convince me that it was a joke) I shouted that "I've put too much into this!!" bla bla bla and I bolted in, slamming my stuff onto the table and filling my pockets to leave. I think I must have done a great job at looking mad cuz everyone looked really worried! lol Finally Mel hollers "IT WAS A JOKE!!!" from the other side of the ball room...I stopped, smiled, turned around and politely told her "I knew before I left the room!" And THAT is how it's done!!! ROTFL I'm pretty proud of my performance...but now that I've posted it - I think I'll have to let it go, or I risk rubbing it in too much! lol

All things considered, I think Mel was a good sport about it! Lorinda has refused to be a part of our groups shinanigans anymore cuz we "freak her out!" It was fun to have it flipped, though, for a change ;) With any luck, maybe it will take the focus off of Scope for a bit and give Mel a chance to live that down first?? lol

The rest of the weekend was a blast and loads of scrappin got done! It was great to have most of our "herd" together again...let's aim for April ladies! I'm missin yawl like mad! :) ((HUGS))

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Franken-Bird and Dog puke!

Nothing says Thanksgiving like the smell of dog vomit!! Yess-er-ee boy! After reading about wedding cake and frosting for the last zillion posts, I'm guessing that swept you back on your feet quite nicely!! Lol

Thanksgiving was quiet this year…Hubby and I took kiddo apple picking, but there wasn't much left to pick so it didn't take long. One of the highlights of the trip was a little boy (about 4) who was running down the path from the horse paddock screaming "DAD! DAD! I GAVE THE HORSE AN APPLE AND HE MADE APPLE JUICE!!!" Ok - eww - but it totally cracked me up!

I bought my turkey (frozen) on Thursday. Did my Turkey math and it's now Monday - I'm good to go! GREAT BIG FREEZIN WRONG!!! Who knew that 4 days in the fridge will NOT thaw a turkey! Well…now I know! By the time it was done, it looked like Franken-bird (ooo - visual!) but it was cooked at least. We had to take almost all the water out and cut off the legs, but still…it only took 5 hours to cook!!

In the process, though, hubby thought he'd make nice with the dog…all 120lbs of her! Yup - he fed her breakfast twice…nice! Then fed her half cooked turkey guts!! Yummm!!! Had I witnessed his lapse in judgement, I probably could have avoided the $8 cost of getting oldest kiddo to clean it up! Honestly, though - it was a steal! No way would I have done it for free!! Especially since it took at least 3 dust pan loads and half a pack of bounty big napkins, just to clean up the first pile!! Ewwww!!

Once the bird cooking and barf cleaning was done, though, I think we all enjoyed a great Turkey dinner and the kids totally had a blast looking at the dog puke so overall, I think we had a pretty good - all be it interresting Thanksgiving!

And now I'm off to make another cake! Groan

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Marshmellow Fondant 101

Fondant is a funny bird! It looks great and is fun to work with but can taste gawd awful! Marshmellow fondant is a yummy alternative that is easy enough for the average "Joe" (ie: Me!)to make. I'm no expert, but I've had good luck with this method. I won't make it if it's raining out because the result can become...unpredictable. I'm not sure why, but when I mentioned it to Mom she said that she can't make fudge (Hers is better then sex - btw!) when it's raining cuz it doesn't turn out. I figure, there must be some connection.


1 bag of small marshmellows.
1 bag of icing sugar (I always keep a 2nd on hand just in case!)
1 tsp clear vanilla
2 Tbsp of water
Butter - for greasing your bowl (adds a tiny bit of flavour too)
Shortening for greasing your hands.

I start with my "fondant bowl". I love this bowl - it's one of my favorite things! It used to belong to Nann (God I miss her) and it works perfectly for fondant! It's heavy enough that it holds the heat in and when I grease it first, the marshmellows slide right out! :) Sooo - step 1...grease the bowl. I have a rubber pastry brush that I use to brush the entire inside with butter. As Mom would say..."It's a Dandy!".
I normally use the small marshmellows. They melt and mix more evenly. For this batch, though, I had a small amount left over from another bag of big marshmellows, and needed a bigger batch so I added the big ones to the small ones. I also pour about 2Tbsp of warm-ish water over them before putting the bowl into the microwave. That's why they look a little sweaty. Oh - You'll also want to butter a rubber spatula or scraper'll need it to stir them as they melt. Do it now cuz once you get started, everything goes really quickly!

I put the entire bowl in the microwave for 1 minute. With my original recipe, I was only in about 30 second increments - but - I'm using a really heavy ceramic bowl so 1 minute increments works for me.

While the marshmellows are melting, I sift my icing sugar. I can NOT stress how important sifting your icing sugar is. You MUST MUST MUST sift it!! Don't believe me?? Try to skip this step and you'll quickly realize (the hard way - like I did) why it's so important!! If you do not sift it, you'll get these little hard-ish bits of icing sugar lumps throughout your fondant. These little hard bits poke through the top...then crumble leaving a gaping hole with powder poofing out! Not awesome!!! PLEASE sift your icing sugar!!

Most recipes I've found call for greasing your counter top. I'm sure that works great...I just found it more messy then I needed so I simply sift a HUGE amount of icing sugar onto my counter and make sure the melted marshmellow doesn't touch the counter.

I also make sure I have my sifter full of icing sugar at the ready. Like I goes fast once the mellow's are melted.

Keep nuke-ing your mellow's 1 minute at a time until they're melted. About the same as you'd use for rice krispy squares. I take them out after each minute and stir them. It usually only takes 2 minutes - but sometimes 3. Not sure why?? Once your mellows are melted, stir the crap out of them - like - your life depended on it - get a great arm workout stirring (this too will help prevent those little awful powder lumpies)...then grease your hands. Butter is not enough - use lard or shortening. I use a high ratio shortening and it works quite well. Keep more at hand, though - this can get really messy!!!

Pour the melted marshmellow out onto the island of sifted icing sugar. It's going to travel, so act quickly. I typically start by coating the entire surface with another layer of sifted icing sugar so that my hands don't touch the bare mellows. Believe me - even shortening is no match for bare melted mellows!! lol

Once it's totally coated in icing sugar, I start to kneed it. I start by folding the side in on top of itself, then pushing into the middle. I repeat that over and over until it forms a dough. About halfway through, I pour 1tsp of clear vanilla over the almost kneaded fondant. It adds flavour and helps with the kneeding. Because my hands were coated in mellow goo - I couldn't take any of the "kneeding" pics...sorry! (Thankfully - hubby consented to take a few during the kneeding process of the next batch!! - Thanks DH!) Continue kneeding until it's firm, but not streatchy like silly putty. If it gets too hard - add water a drop at a time (literally). If it's still too streatchy - add more sifted icing sugar.
When you're done - your fondant will look like this. Clean and white and firm and fun!! Now - wrap it wicked tight in plastic wrap and set it aside for a couple hours to set up. You may need to add more icing sugar later, but you're done for now! :)

(*note - all recipes I've found call for setting it aside for a couple hours...I have no clue why cuz I never have...I'm sure there's a reason...I just haven't figured it out yet! lol )
(*UPDATE!!!* Cake making is a learning process - every time I make a cake, I learn something new!! In this case, I actually DID wrap my fondant and set it aside for later! Guess what??!! There IS a reason for it!!! The reason is that it sets up better and rolls out nicer! It gives it a firmness that makes it MUCH easier to work with! So...although you CAN use it right away - it pays to let it set up for a bit! See!! I'll admit when I don't know everything!! ;)
Now - if you want to color it - toss it into a plastic bag with some coloring gel and smoosh the heck out of it until it's colored. Using a plastic bag will save your hands from becomming an unnatural shade of whatever color you are using!.

To apply it - roll it out to about 1/4 inch thick. Be sure to flip it over after each roll. It keeps it from sticking to the counter and keeps it rolled evenly.

Lay it over your cake when it's big enough. You can use either the warmth of your hand to smooth it out or Wilton has a "Dandy" of a spreader that I couldn't live without! Use a pizza wheel to trim the edges off and voila! Oh - the sticks are to suppor the top layer - check out my post about the wedding cakes and you'll see what I mean. :)

Now - for some important points...

1 - SIFT SIFT SIFT!!! Can't stress that enough!
2 - Please don't FREEZE! Freezing is bad! Why? cuz it sweats when it thaws out and sweaty fondant can not be fixed.
3 - You cake must be iced smooth to accept the fondant. I read somewhere that it's like putting on a spandex dress...every dimple and bulge will show.

4 - air bubbles can be popped with a very thin pin and more smoothing.

5 - fondant will not stick to dry frosting.

6 - fondant will successfully send the average 6 year old on a most excellent sugar rush that will last much longer then the patience of her mom!

So - that's what I know about fondant. Hope it was helpful and feel free to hit me with any questions. I might not know the "right" answer - but I'll be able to tell you what has worked for me! :)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Wedding Cakes 101 - Part III

Well...She's finally done! I picked up the flowers at 9am this morning and was at the hall at 9:30...where I waited until 10:30 for somebody to let me in! *sigh*. (My own fault, though...I was being a keener;) I wasn't sure what to expect for flower work, as I was only told that I'd be given an assortment of "Fall Flowers". I was pretty sure I wouldn't be given a potted Mum...but othewise was in the dark. So - I picked up the topper (which is adorable btw - check out it's cuteness!) and a bundle of loose flowers to work into the cake design. It was a little more of a challenge then I had expected, but it was a super fun one too! With the assortment I was given, I managed to work it into 3 separate arrangements that I worked around the cake.

1 was a lilly arrangement...This was made up with the flowers that were left over from the other 2 groupings. It's at the "back" of the cake.
The other 2 were made with Gerber Dasies, roses and fillers, but I love how they turned out too!

I'm always a little unsettled when I drop off a cake - but I think that is probably my que that it turned out well. If I walked away pleased as punch with myself, I've probably gotten too confident!. I do think, though that the cake turned out very well. I absolutely adore the flowers, and think that they make the cake!

So - are you ready to see her?? :)

I have to say...I think it's one of my favorites to date. :)

Wedding Cakes 101 - Part II

Where did I leave off?? Oh yeah - frozen cake and all baked.
So the first step was to "tort" each layer. I got the coolest little cake slider by Wilton! It's got a wire that runs from one side to the other for cutting. As MOm would say..."It's a Dandy!" Well - you can kinda see in this pic that I've sliced the top tier (the 6" cake) into 4 thin layers.

I took all 4 layers apart, and load them with frosting as I stack this tier back together. It helps me to keep it level as I rebuild it.
Then I fill each layer with loads of yummy buttercream frosting!! Yummm!! I know - it looks gawd awful, but it gets better I promise!! (remember it was midnight at this point!! lol) This batch of frosting, though, turned out reeely well for some reason?? It was very tastey!! Once the 4 layers are stacked back together with frosting, the entire outside layer is coated thinly with more frosting in preparation of the fondant. (note* I'll do a separate post on fondant). This needs to be repeated for all 3 tiers.

Once I have all 3 tiers torted and frosted, it's time for fondant. Sadly - I missed pics of that process cuz my hands were coated in it and as it is, I'm not sure that I'll ever get all the icing sugar out of my camera! UGH!

Fast forward to Cake Building 101...

A Stacked cake is wicked heavy! It would shock you to feel the weight of a simple 3 tier! I'm sure that this one weighed over 20lbs! All that weight, needs support - soooo - here's how it's done!

Normally, I use wooden dowels. For this one, though, I used white sucker sticks. why?? Cuz somebody used my wooden dowels for a craft project and I was desperate!! grrrr! So - you put in about 5 or so. See how the ends are sticking up?? well, the cake marks how tall they need to be! Sooo - dig out the wire cutters and snip snip snip! Once they're cut level (with a tiny bit sticking up - like a hair width above the fondant) - you're good to go! Repeat for the next supporting tier.

Once they're all supported, you can stack your cake. I like to use royal icing between the tiers. It hardens and acts as a good glue!
Once the stacking is done, it's time for clean up!! There are a few things to notice...1st - my kitchen is trashed! that's what happens no matter how hard I try! 2nd, there's frosting all over the bottom board. I try to keep it clean, but it does tidy up nicely when it's done. 3rd. The bottom of each tier is ugly! It's almost impossible to get that gap perfect and seamless...but that's why there's ribbon and frosting!! I have a terrific Wilton fondant smoother thingie - I highly recommend it if you're going to try fondant work!

This is the stage where you need to take a close look at your cake. Make sure that each tier is centered on top of each other - check for any tilts or jogs and line them up as best as possible. The goal is perfection, but when that's not possible (oh like - EVER) then you aim for balance and as many awesome sides as possible. Huge sins can often by covered by ribbon, frosting or flowers.

Accessory time...

This cake was to be simple. Knowing that I would move it fully assembled, I used royal icing for my piping. I LOVE that stuff! It hardens like edible rock, so if you bump or rub it a little, you don't get a frosting smear!!

I used my #5 tip (a little bigger then I probably should have) and piped tiny dots all over - wrapped the ribbon around and secured it to itself using glue dots. The bottom dots are also piped using a #5...Once all that was was time for flowers!!!!! But that will have to wait for another post! My hands are still tired from this morning!! lol

Thursday, October 8, 2009

More cakes from days gone by...

Butterfly cake for Megan - this one was almost as cute as the Birthday Girl!! :) Made using the Umbrella Baby shower cake pan by Wilton!

Bee cake!!

Flash back to a cake of the passed! I hadn't exactly meant for this blog to be a "cake blog" but it's kindof been in that zone lately.

Kiddo's BFF is nick-named "B" so it was only fitting that "B" get a "B" cake for her B-Day!
I had such a great time with this one!! My fave part was totally the stinger!! lol

In addition to the big "B" cake, I also made little "B" cup-cakes for the kiddo's...why you ask?? Well - cuz I wanted to be sooooper awesome!! AND cuz the "B" cake was made without a dairy element that kiddo's auntie was allergic too.

How adorable are THOSE??!! there was one for each kiddo! They were a HUGE hit! and sooo easy to make! (*note: they look like Borg-Bees in the pic with their stark white eyes...but they actually had bright blue eyes with a tiny white dot...can't see that in the pic though - trust me! *)

The big "B" was the star attraction and the B-Day girl LOVED her! YAY FOR BEE CAKES! :) It was made using the sports ball pan and took less then an hour to decorate!! I used my cricut to cut out folk art hearts for the wings! ;) Sneeky - I know!

Anyway - I have a few other cakes to post, but that's all for now!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Life of a Wedding Cake...

Making a Wedding Cake can be super simple if you follow 1 simple rule...Don't screw up! ;) I will admit that they do freak me out...but it's just enough stress to get me through! ;)

I figured I'd post the steps for a basic 3 tier cake, to show how it all comes together. The real key is to start way ahead of time so that you have time to fix those "suprises"...Like...a cake that falls cuz your kids don't listen and played leap frog through the kitchen...grrr! So - with that in mind, that's how the life of this Wedding cake began.

This particular cake will have Marshmellow Fondant with frosting dots and a simple irredescent ribbon. Sizes are 14", 10" & 6". Because I delivered another wedding cake last weekend, I had enough batter left over to also bake the 10" that I was going to need for THIS cake - YAY! The recipe that I use will make exactly enough batter for a 14" & 6" so it all works out perfectly!!

As I type this, my 10" is sitting comfortably frozen in my freezer! I wrapped it in several layers of plastic, because it would be there for a few days only. Any longer, and I'd have it in tin foil too.

Tonight, I had to bake the 14" and the 6". Because I'm delivering on Saturday Morning...I wont' have any time at all on Saturday to finish up...that means that the bulk of my work will happen on Friday night...and since I can't put Fondant in the fridge...I'll also be up bright and early on Saturday morning...up to my alligators in Fondant! (Groan!) All that means is that all baking MUST be done by tomorrow!
The 14" pan takes a ton of batter, and needs a baking cone (that's the funky thing in the middle). I'm not sure why my cake cracked...I think I need a new element! Anyway - this is the cooked 14"...the 6" is baking. As you can see - I'm also making great use of my even-bake strips! Have I mentioned how much I LOVE these things lately?

When it was done, I flipped it onto a cooling rack and sliced off the cracked top to level it out. I bought the Wilton cake saw last week and it sucked!! Seriously! The blade sloped upward and there was nothing level about the results it produced no matter how hard I pressed down with both hands - so for $34.99 - It went BACK!

A smart cake maker would have waited till it cooled to slice off the top...but I've never been considered smart so I grabbed my knife and had atter!! ;) Here she sits cooling...Don't let the crumby appearance fool you - it's level! And when it's all covered in yummy will be beautiful!!

Once it's all cooled I'll tort it and move on...but I'll also post pics as I go.

So - till then...this is the life of a Wedding Cake!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The life of an electric guitar cake

A guy I work with commissioned me to make a cake and asked for an electric guitar! Cool!! I've never done a guitar cake before! Normally the idea of a different cake doesn't intimidate me much...just enough to get me through. This one, though, is kindof scaring the hell out of me! See...guy from work is really into music, and knows what the twisty bits on a guitar are called!! Once that notion kicked in - I was reeeeely kinda freakin! So much so that I actually dreamed, last night, that I didn't deliver it because I was away or something and my entire dream was my tear filled apology in an office that had been re-arranged and taken over by another offices employees...and his wife wouldnt' speak to me!! lol In any case, I'm due to deliver it tomorrow, so I had to start somewhere.
1st stop - Bulk Barn! He had provided this photo as an example - pointing out that the "fetter bar" (I think that's what the note says) looks like chocolate bars and the gold buttons resemble worthers. So - chocolate bars - check! Werthers - check! I also picked up a few other odds n' ends to help take care of the other hardware. For the strings, I'll dig into my jewellery making kit...but I'll get to that later.

By the time I got home from town, the cake was done. I didn't have a mold, so I had to improvise. I hand sketched the outline on the back of the e-mail that he had given me...cut that out and used it as a template to cut out the cake!
And that's where I'm at right now...patiently waiting for it to cool, so that I can tort it and start the process that ends with it looking like a frosting guitar!! lol

5:21pm...Ok - The cake has cooled and is now "torted" - meaning I sliced it into layers to fill with frosting! Yumm! then I had to build the arm and the end thingie. (Note to guy who wants the cake - I have no clue what the "end thingie" is called) Once I had all the pieces - it was time to assemble the guitar cake...when I was done, it looked like this!

One request that he had was that when you get reeeely close to it, it would look like wood-grain. Holy crap!! How do you do THAT with frosting??!! lol Well...I piped wood-grain onto it with frosting, then filled in around. I don't know if it looks like wood-grain or not, but it is definately starting to look more like a guitar! What didn't help is when hubby walked by and asked if it was supposed to have "streatch marks"! Thanks guy I married - you're a jerk!

So - Now, all that is left is to finish icing the end thingie, install the twisty bits (again - no clue what those are called) and add the strings! Then I have to figure out what to do with the sides...?? Anyhoo - I totally think it's lacking color...too bad I hadn't discussed color with him before hand. 6:40pm...Well...finishing this bad boy was interresting!! lol It wasn't the cake that kicked up the fuss but rather hubby who came unglued at the idea that I would use wire for the strings!! OMG! I think he visualized a gaggle of 2 year olds frollicking around the cake when all of the sudden 9-1-1 is called to extract a guitar string or twisty bits from the wee sprog! In any case - (sorry guy at work) I opted to compromise with the man I married as he whynes more then the guy at work! No strings - but I didn't budge on the twisty bits! Which brings us to our finished electric guitar cake!!

So - Here she is in all her glory. I hope he's happy with her, afterall...looks aren't everything! lol It's what's inside that counts!!
And friends is the life of an electric guitar cake!!

Worth their weight in gold!!

I recently took on the task of making another wedding cake. Whenever I take one on, I ise the income to invest in more supplies. This time around, I picked up a set of Wilton Bake-Even Strips! They're these fab-O inventions of heat resistant fabric strips! You wrappem around your pans and voila!! Perfectly even, non ant-hill resembling cakes!!

The key behind them is to soak them in cold water first. I crinkled them a little and rubbed the water into them to make sure they were good and soaked! (I had read on-line that they can charr after a half hour and was expecting the small of burning fabric...but...Mine rock!! I think the secret is to make sure they're thoroughly soaked because they naturally repel water. Once they're really wet, pickem up and run them between 2 fingers...just enough to get the excess water off and wrapem. Mine have worked beautifully and the result was AMAZING!!!

This is the cake that funded the purchase of these little gems (but sadly not much else...not cuz the strips were expensive...I brutally under-charged!) I LOVE her topper! She got them at AC Moore! Anyway - another cake success under my well as several inches of growth due to frosting consumtion! lol