Monday, May 31, 2010

A Great Cake Decorating Site

Hey guys, here's a great site with links to tons of cake blogs (mine included!). Click here to see. It's pretty awesome!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Cricut Cakes

Remember how I said I wanted one of those new Cricut Cake machines? Well, I still do!

Look at the awesomeness they can create (click to enlarge):


Saturday, May 29, 2010

Monogram Cake

As promised, here is my latest cake! It's okay. Nothing too amazing but hey, it was just for practice. I didn't get to do everything I wanted to do (like string work) but I did get to try a new technique, called scroll work. Scroll work is drawing intricate designs on the cake with royal icing. I used tip 2, but I wonder if it would have looked better if I used tip 1. I couldn't think of anything creative for the center so I just did a monogram of my last name. I'm not too sure that it works. Oh well.
I also for the first time tried using what's called "moistening syrup." It is meant to add moistness as well as extra flavor. You can used liqueur, extract, or juice. I used apricot juice (I have a TON of them!). I just brushed the syrup on two layers with a pastry brush the before frosting them. I guess my syrup was too thick (it was as if I put jam on) plus apricots tend to have a mild flavor so I couldn't taste much of a difference. I want to try strawberry syrup next time! And I'll be sure it is more runny than the syrup I put on this cake was!

Yum! French Vanilla cake with apricot icing and moistening syrup.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

I'm Still Here...!

I haven't been posting on this blog because I have been taking a {short} break from cake decorating. I plan on making another cake this weekend, just for the fun of it. I checked out more cake books from the library and I'm going to try out some new things that I haven't yet tried:
  • Fruit glaze
  • String work
  • Scroll work
  • Drop flowers

Stay tuned! I'll make another post of my new cake, as soon as it is made!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Kid's Party Cake Ideas

For your info:
Here are some super cute and easy ideas for themed cakes for a kid's party. Click here to see!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mother's Day Mini Cakes

I checked out a book from the library and it gave me a good idea: Mini Cakes!
They're pretty self-explanatory. They're small cakes that serve about 1-2 people. The instructions said I could make four 3" X 3"cakes from a 13" X 9" pan. Nope. My pan has curved edges so I only could make two cakes. Grrr. I gave these out to a few friends in honor of Mother's Day. I wish I could have made more like I planned. So many deserving mothers! I'll have to do something else for them.
Making these cakes didn't take too long at all, mostly because the decorations were simple. However, it was a huge pain trying to frost them. The cake kept moving when I frosted them because their small size didn't allow for much resistance. Other then that they were fairly easy and quick to decorate. They're nothing amazing but they sure make cute gifts!

One of the cakes. 3" X 3". French vanilla cake with vanilla pudding for the filling and vanilla icing.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Cake Composition Guidlines

I have compiled a list of guidelines to follow when planning out your cake composition. Obviously I can't go into extensive detail so I'll briefly touch on each topic. I'm not calling myself an expert on this subject, I simply wish to aid you in your cake decorating using the knowledge I have. Hope this helps!

Planning how you want you cake to look like and actually drawing your ideas out on paper is an essential step in cake decorating. ALL cute cakes require planning! I almost always draw out a draft of what I want my cake to look like, even if I don't strictly follow it.

Theme: Did your costumer specifically request for a polka-dot cake, or Sesame Street? Are you making your cake for a baby shower? Themes can be very easy to come by (depending on how specific your costumer was) or they may require a more substantial amount of time in your decision making process if the description was vague. Sometimes the theme can be as simple as flowers. Sky's the limit; just make sure you choose a theme and stick to it!

Balance: This is what the viewers see first and foremost. A cake with poor balance is like a slap in the face-not only is it offensive, it hits you that hard! On the other hand, if you master balance, you will always make cute cakes...guaranteed! It always helps me to decide firstly where I want my focal points to be (more on them to come). Then I put the details around them in hopes to complement and augment them. Lines assist in augmenting focal points. Lines can be horizontal (they exhibit calmness and peace) vertical (they encourage stamina and strength) or diagonal/angular (suggesting energy and vitality).

Make sure to balance positive and negative space. Fill up the areas with too much negative space but be sure to keep some negative space; you don't want to distract from the focal point(s). Too many decorations is a common error. Simplicity is best. You've heard this phrase before: Less is more. Couldn't be more true. Always look to see if there is something you can take off your cake, instead of adding. Simplify, simplify, simplify!

Cake decorating is more difficult with regards to balance than say, a painting because cakes as you know are 3-dimensional. It gets especially tricky each tier you add. Generally bigger, more substantial decorations go on the bottom and the opposite is true for the top.

Color also plays an important role in balance (more on that later). Check out this atrocity (thanks Wilton-you know I love to pick on you!). What is the deal with the daisys on the bottom? Their color and the fact they are ALL on the bottom make this cake look extremely awkward. Okay, so maybe its not exactly an atrocity, but for being on the cover of the Wilton course book, you'd think they'd come up with something cuter than this cake. I don't care how perfect their flowers are; I just think its a darn ugly cake.

The problem with many cake decorators (and I've personally witnessed this) is that they tend to slap on a bunch of decorations (flowers, cutouts, whatever) and think the cake will just magically turn out looking right. NOPE. They can have the cutest, most perfect flowers created with the prettiest of colors and impeccable technique, but when they arrange them haphazardly, their cakes look nothing short of an amateurish eyesore. I can't stress balance enough!

Color: Color is one of the first things your viewers will see. This makes your color palate an extremely important element. If your customer has not requested specific colors, the burden will be on your shoulders to decide what looks the best. There are numerous color pallets that are sure to please the eye, likewise, there are many that offend. Most artists choose between complementary colors, warm/cool, neutral, or just one color with it's tints and shades. Of course you don't have to rigidly adhere any of said pallets, they merely serve as a guideline as to how your chosen colors will "feel" and of course, look. Depending on which color theme you choose, not all colors will have and equal voice, so choose carefully.

Focal point: With cakes, the main focal point is the topper (as in, what goes on top). Along with the topper there can be several other areas of interest in addition. These focal points are what you will build your decorations around. Lines (as discussed earlier) are an easy way to enhance and lead the viewer's eye to the focal point(s).

If any of you have any input, please feel free!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Castle Cake

A friend requested this castle cake for her twins 3rd birthday party. For obvious reasons it had to be done entirely in buttercream. Which I was actually happy about since I haven't really worked with butter cream since November and my skills were dwindling-this cake gave me a chance to brush up on my buttercream techniques. It's not perfect, but I think it turned out cute. It didn't take me near as long as the fondant cakes and was fun to make! I love to see the smile on people's faces when they see their cake!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Fondant Roller

Joanne's had a 40% sale on the Sculpey "Clay Conditioning Machine" the other day and I bought one. Did you know it also works as a fondant roller? It sure does! And quite well, I might add. I just grease it up good and turn the crank a few times and I get nice, even sheets of fondant. This machine is a huge time-saver. It works wonderfully for decorations in fondant. It doesn't work well if you're trying to cover an entire cake with fondant; it's just too small. I highly recommend this machine (or one like it) if you work often with fondant. For only $15, this machine is a steal.