Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Luau Cake

I got a cake request from a friend for her daughter's first birthday party. She said she wanted "bright colors" and that the theme was Hawaiian/luau. So this is what I came up with. I wanted something that matched this little girls personality: bold, fun, and super cute! I think it turned out pretty good. Except by the time I took these pics, the icing had started to slide down, so that's why the cake looks like it is buckling. But I was happy that the colors matched the decor colors perfectly!
Decorating this cake was a ton of fun! I just made up my own design. I typically draw my cake designs out first but I've never had a time where I follow the design completely...I always make changes. The only problem I had with doing this cake was baking the cake, of all things (Something ALWAYS has to go wrong!). For some reason the cake wouldn't bake all the way through, I think that is because I used bake-even strips and a heating core together...I think. I Can't think of anything else that might have caused the cake not to bake. Because of that, I had to slice off a huge chunk on the top so then it was too short so I had to bake another cake!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sneak Peak!

Here's a sneak peak of my next cake. Don't you just LOVE the colors?!

These are hibiscus flowers. Click here if you want to see the tutorial. They are super easy to do.

These are the balls for the border. I had to make a bunch more. It looked like I had a ton but the amount I made didn't even come close to what I needed!

The Verdict is in! Wilton Fondant vs Marhmallow Fondant

Wilton Fondant:
Pros: Wilton store bought fondant is convenient---as in, it saves time and energy. Easy to work with when making flowers and decorations. Also easy to color with the gel pastes.
Cons: Expensive! $21 at Joannes and $18 at Walmart. Tears easily. Tastes awful.

Marshmallow Fondant:
Pros: It stretches easier than Wilton fondant, so it doesn't tear as much. Better-tasting. Cheap to make ($5 compared to $20!). Super easy to color only if you're making one batch of color at you add the coloring at the right time.
Cons: You have to make it yourself--very time consuming. And its kind of a pain to make.

As you can see, marshmallow fondant is the way to go. IF you have the time. Which I sure don't. So I compromise. I use marshmallow fondant for one-tiered cakes 9" or smaller, and the Wilton fondant for cakes with more than one tier. There's always 40% off coupons!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Thoughts on Cake Decorating

A few days ago I checked a book out from the library on how to make these extravagant, beautiful, most AMAZING cakes I have ever seen. I got all excited and started thinking about how and when I could make a cake like the ones in the book.
But now I am it really worth it? Is it really worth all my time and effort making a beautiful masterpiece only to have it ripped apart and devoured, literally? Perhaps if I owed my own cake business and got paid A LOT to make a stunning artistic cake, maybe. But for my purposes, I simply cannot invest the time, money and effort in creating such elaborate cakes. It's not that I'm lowering my cake decorating standards--I am trying to increase my skills and I strive for perfection on every cake I make--I am just putting things into perspective for myself.
Those of you who know me know I am competitive, a perfectionist, and always looking for a new challenge when it comes to art. So when I see a cake like this (which won a cake competition, BTW) I don't have to feel unaccomplished or inadequate. I can admire it's beauty without comparing my cakes to it because I do not expect the same quality of work from myself. It just can't be done at this point in my life. That's all for now!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Fondant Cutter

Here's another product that is worth investing in if you work often with fondant:
A fondant cutter!
I feel like I'm advertising for Wilton products, but seeing as how they pretty much have a monopoly on cake decorating supplies, so be it. I love this thing! It makes perfectly straight lines which all have the same width. Very important if you want you cake to look neat (as in, not sloppy). Also SO much faster and easier than measuring. This fondant cutter works as an embosser too. Definitely must-have tool when working with fondant!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Daisy Shimmer Cake (Course IV Finale)

Here's my finale cake for Course IV. I already told you about the shimmer dust...I think it really made the cake! I love the daisies too. I admit I just copied the design from the Wilton course IV book, but I did change it up a little. This was butter yellow cake with chocolate frosting.

Shimmer Dust!

A few weeks ago I bought some shimmer dust to use one my little boy's Birthday cake, for bubbles (i.e., round balls) which I ended up not using. I decided (at the last minute) to use it on the daises last night for my finale cake. Let me just say I love, love, love this stuff! It really made the flowers stand out! I love the sparkle it gives; it makes the cake look more professional. Shimmer dust will definitely be a regular in my cake making from now on. They come in tubes and cost about $5 each (much less if you use a coupon). They also come in a variety of colors--all of which I hope to get someday!

Course IV

I just finished course IV (Fondant and Gumpaste) as of last night...which means I have taken all the courses offered! Yay!

Warning: The following paragraphs contains ramblings and venting!

Despite having a great teacher, I didn't care for this course it all. I feel like I didn't learn a single thing! Perhaps its because I've taken several ceramics course--albeit way back in High school--so working with fondant/gumpaste didn't seem as novel to me. I felt like all we did in this class was roll out fondant and cut out shapes...great, but who needs to take a class for that??

When I signed up for the class, I assumed it would end by April, and I had family coming in town then. It didn't end until just yesterday. So I had to miss one class so I could be with the fam, and I think that's the day we learned to make carnations and another type of flower, which I really wanted to learn. Dang.

Also, I signed up for the class knowing I might have to miss a free Chopin concert. But I went anyway...and do you know what we did that entire night? Learned how to cover a cake board, which I had already done in the last course. Was I ever upset! Anyone who knows me even just a little bit knows that a free Chopin concert is a big deal for me. And missing it is likely to send me into fits of rage (okay not really-but still).

I hear they are changing the Wilton courses starting in June, and that there will only be three courses. If they cut out course IV, I don't think it would be a great loss. The class is not worth the time and money put into it.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Lamb Cake

I had bought a lamb cake mold at a thrift store *gasp* way back when and I wanted to use it for my Easter cake. I didn't even bother trying to make the full cake--you all should know by now that me and 3-D cakes do not get along well--I just cut it in half, like I did for the duck cake.

I used cardboard for the base and covered it in blue and green fondant for the background. I tried to make it cute and not like one of these cakes.

I like my idea but the execution wasn't that great. My biggest problem was the lilies--I made 10 of them and they all shattered when I tried to take them off the foil. The Wilton book says to make them with thick consistency royal icing...but that's wrong. Medium works the best I think. My other problem with the lilies was that I used my heavy aluminum foil instead of light foil. Light foil would have made it easier to take them off. Dang. So that's why the lilies look jagged.

Had to post this pic...just had too:

Remind me not to use Red Velvet cake next time. It's just too creepy with this sort of cake! (that sharp knife doesn't help either)

Monday, April 5, 2010

Check Out this Blog!

Hey guys, 
I found this great blog full of helpful tips and tutorials on cake decorating.  Definitely worth checking out!  Click here to see it (its also on my blog list)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

"Basketball" Birthday Cake

Here is the cake I made for my husband's birthday.  I didn't plan on making him a cake because I just assumed he was sick of cake.  But the night before his birthday he asked me if I could make him a cake.  Consequently, I didn't really have a plan for this cake.  I made it orange because its his favorite color, and blue because its a nice contrast to orange.  I originally made this cake to be single tiered.  But with the single tier and the covered cake bored, it looked EXACTLY like an ugly hat so I added another tier.  I just did whatever I felt like doing and the end result turned out looking like a basketball.  I'm ok
ay with that, even though neither Erik nor I are basketball fans.   

The sad story about this is he didn't even eat a single got to it before he even had a chance! 

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Cricut Cake Machine

So there's this new item coming out in April called the Cricut Cake Machine.  My mother-in-law told me about it, so I googled it.  I don't own a cricut machine (I'm sure I would have tons of fun with it if I did) so I'm not entirely sure of the extent of the awesomeness of this new product; all I know is that I want one. 

Think about more little cookie cutters hanging around all over the place!  And better yet, an inexhaustible supply of cute cut-outs to put on your cake!

Being the poor med students that we are however, I doubt I will own one anytime soon.  Seriously, we don't even own a cell phone.  But someday I swear I will own one of these babies!  Ah...the things they come out with.