Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Red and White

This cake was made for another graduation party - white cake with fresh strawberries and white chocolate buttercream. The stars were made from gum paste, painted with white sparkle luster dust.

I hate square cakes.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Red Sox

This cake was made for a birthday up at Tango. The birthday day boy this cake was for is really into sports and played baseball in college so I asked Rodney to find out what his favorite team was.

I decided to try a different type of cake this time - I was given no specific instructions as to what kind of type of cake it should be. So, knowing that the birthday boy is also a fan of chocolate, I came up with the Oreo Cookie cake. It's a triple chocolate cake with oreo filling (oreo pudding mixed with whipped cream --- DELICIOUS!) and vanilla buttercream. Rodney and I both sampled this cake as well and it's one of my new favorites. It tastes just like an oreo cookie and when you cut into it, it looks like it too.

I made the Red Sox logo using the frozen buttercream transfer technique. This is the second time I've attempted this but this time seemed harder for some reason. I was REALLY unhappy with the way this transfer came out, a lot of the lines are pushed together and there was some bleeding as well. The day that I made this cake was a tough day for me - things were crazy around here and all I wanted to do was get this cake done. By the time I got the transfer on this cake, it was nearly 9pm and I hadn't even gotten Rylee ready for bed yet. (Rodney had band practice that night) It was too late for me to start over so I had to leave it, even if I was miserable with the results.

Rodney said he loved the cake, he said he thought the logo was absolutely perfect (and this is the guy who would know) and couldn't believe I had done it. I guess that means it was a success, even if I didn't think so. Please excuse the crappy picture, I was upset with this cake and didn't really care about making the picture look nice.

*On a slightly different note, I applied online to be a Wilton Method Instructor today and received confirmation that my application had been accepted. Basically what happens is, you apply online - they accept you (or not) and then place you at a store that has an opening. They keep your file active for 6 months for openings during that time and at the end of the 6 months, you can resubmit your application to be put on file again. I looked yesterday and they have two openings in the area listed. My application has been accepted so now I'm just waiting to see if someone wants me! I think it's a really good opportunity for me, I really enjoy teaching and I'd be doing something that I love at the same time. Plus, it's a great way to get some extra practice and I'd only be working a few hours during the evenings/weekends. Just a little extra money, but it's better than nothing! Fingers crossed!

German Chocolate

This cake was made for a going away party. I had a hard time deciding whether or not I should cover the entire cake with the coconut-pecan filling or chocolate bc. I think covering the cake with the filling might be a southern thing, my parents have always done that. It seems like a little much to me but you know, there's a reason why Houston is the fattest city in America. (please note that I don't live in Houston but I'm almost positive that the rest of this state is not too far behind) Also, my parents are CRAZY about pecans and coconut. I think my mom would put them both into everything if she could.

ANYWAY...like I was saying about the German Chocolate cake. I went with the filling on top and in the middle, chocolate buttercream on the outside. I had a little cake left over and I made a sample or two to try, you know, to make sure it was edible and all...I made Rodney take a bite. That's right, he took a bite. Now, if you know my husband, you understand his hatred for both pecans AND coconut. He actually loathes them both. He usually can't eat desserts at my parents house for this very reason. He tried it though and he actually liked it. This was a good sign. If the dude that hates coconut and pecans likes my german chocolate cake, I must have done something right!

Double layer german chocolate cake with coconut-pecan filling and chocolate buttercream. I added the chocolate drizzle on the sides because I thought it was a little too plain. I also made a fun-foam plaque that had a goodbye message on it but I had already photographed the cake. So,use your imaginations.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Diploma Cake

This cake was made for my good friend Ryan's graduation party. (yay Ryan!) The inspiration for this cake came from a fellow poster on cake central and wilton's sites, which is typically where most of my inspiration is drawn from.

Half of this cake is milk chocolate and the other half is vanilla. The entire thing is covered in vanilla bc with fondant accents. The UNT logo was my first attempt at a frozen buttercream transfer. Seriously, the last two weeks have presented me with a lot of new "firsts." I wanted to do it this way because from what I have seen, FBCT's come out smooth and clean and they look a little better than the pin prick method. I think there's a time and place that each of these methods work appropriately.

So here's what you do - print out an image in reversed form in the size that you want it on your cake. Tape the image to a cutting board or piece of plexiglass. My cutting board was too big and I didn't happen to have a piece of plexiglass laying around, so I used the back of one of my Magic Line pans (9x13). Tape a piece of wax paper on top of that - WAX, not parchment. Pin prick method use parchement - frozen buttercream transfer, use wax paper. Got it.

After that, outline your image with buttercream in whichever color you choose. Some people choose to outline in black, but I choose to make transfer exactly like the logo and that did not include black. Tip - it's a good idea to wait a few minutes after you do your outline. This allows your buttercream to dry a bit and will definitely make it easier when you are filling in. Fill in your image after the outline is complete. I read a lot from other posters on the sites I frequent to get a good idea of which tips to use that would make the process easier and most girls went with a #4 or 5 tip (Wilton, I haven't used Ateco but I really want to at some point). I used the #5 and some parchment triangles to fill in my transfer. I choose the the simplest logo that UNT had thinking it would be the easiest to replicate and the quickest considering the cake was ENORMOUS and was going to take me a while to ice. Despite what I thought, it wasn't easy. Okay okay, it was easy, just tedious and very time consuming. I think I spent almost 3 hours on it. Once you have the colors filled in, you should then put a layer of white icing over the entire thing. This is to ensure that the colors won't bleed onto your cake.

After the transfer has been filled in, put it in the freezer for a minimum of 90 minutes. I think I left mine in for 3 hours or so.

After you have iced your cake and made sure that it has crusted appropriately (you can only use a crusting buttecream when doing transfers), take your transfer out of the freezer and off of your flat surface. Flip it onto your cake and pull the wax paper off - voila! You have a neat and smooth image on your cake!

The transfer came out well, I think. It was my first one so I didn't expect anything spectacular. I got what I was going for and everyone could definitely tell that it was a UNT logo. I'm sure they will get better and better.

This cake was insanity to ice. Pure insanity. They do not make sword-like spatulas and a sword-like spatula I needed. Though, if they do, please point me in the direction of this place so that this may never be my problem again. Anyway point is, it was hard for me to use my spatula on this cake - it wouldn't reach far enough and kept leaving handle marks on the sides. Also difficult, the fact that I didn't have enough space in my kitchen to put the cake board. I don't have a ton of counter space anyway so this was definitely not working out. I had to ice it on the dining table which now seems a lot shorter since Rylee can just put her hand up there and grab for things. I had a few close calls with the infant cake swiper. I managed though.

I think everyone enjoyed the cake. They seemed to anyway. The party was great and I didn't have a lot of time to notice if people were enjoying it or not.

I also made 50 diploma cookies for this ocassion but they are the same ones I made for the tea two weeks ago, no picture needed.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

The 3rd in 3/Cheesecake Cups

So, it's been a busy weekend for me. I had two pretty involved cakes due Saturday (see lower two posts) and an order of cheesecake cups due today.

These are really fun to make -- and really easy to eat! (note to self, there is a difference in tasting things you make and actually devouring them. do not make extras if you want to stay un-whale like.) (another note to self: you are becoming partially whale-like, stop all tasting immediately)

There are six dark chocolate cups and six white chocolate cups. I used Guittard chocolates this time instead of the Wilton ones that I typically use and WOW is there a huge difference!! Those are some amazing chocolates, hats off to you Guittard!

I used the cordial molds to make the cups and my own very special cheesecake recipe for the filling. Cherries on top to complete the look!

I really like using candy molds. They take some time and some effort but I love the end result. The cordial mold is such a good thing too, you get to eat the whole piece and that's always good. It's kind of like art. Edible art anyway.

Camo cake

This was a fun cake to make. The little boy this cake was for is really into army stuff so they requested a camoflauge cake with military decorations on top. They asked me if I would put some plastic-type toys on top of the cake but I convinced them to let me make some decorations of my own.

The cake is chocolate with vanilla buttercream. The army hat is made from half of one Rylee's little foam balls she's got lying around here, covered in a gum paste/fondant mixture. The "top secret" envelope and the dog tags were also made from the gum paste/fondant mixture. The dog tags were painted with silver luster dust and the necklace part of it was put together with edible silver dragees.

I'm pretty pleased with the outcome of this cake. It was slightly time consuming, with the different colors and the method of placing them on one at a time and flattening it all out with a fondant smoother -- but definitely worth the effort.

I just love using the dragees wherever I can. Seriously, I actually LOOK for different ways to use them. Using them as the necklace on this cake was perfect!

Elmo Cake

This is my first REAL character cake. I was slightly apprehensive about it considering I had never done one before, but I knew I would have to tackle it at some point so it might as well be now! It's a simple vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream. I made the elmo using the "pin-prick" method which was also something I had never attempted. So YAY for trying new things. (sarcasmsarcasmsarcasm) I wasn't really sure this cake was going to happen. I had the most trouble with it. It didn't completely rise the way it's supposed to, the icing was a DISASTER, and the pin prick method...well, it was a learning experience.

Basically you print an image out that you want to use, tape it to a piece of parchment, and poke little holes all around the outline and details of your image. Then, after the icing on your cake has formed a nice crust, you lay the parchment down and slightly push it in. When you remove the parchment, you have a perfectly outlined version of your image. All you have to do then is fill and ice it!

Not as easy as it sounds. First, you really HAVE to use parchment. I'm not sure why I thought wax paper would work but it DEFINITELY DOES NOT. Second, you can't put your cake in the freezer before you lay the parchment on it. You just really cannot do that.

Also, when the power goes out in the midst of making a batch of icing and there's a severe thunderstorm over your house with circling tornados...you should probably expect things to go wrong. (yeah, the power was out for over 3 hours. sucky)

I had some other issues but in the end, it turned out decently. The customer was VERY happy with it, so I guess it wasn't as bad as I thought. I have a tendency to loathe everything I make.