Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Kim & Will's Winter Wonderland Cake

This is the wedding cake I made for Kim & Will’s snowy Lake Tahoe wedding. The top tiers are Chocolate with ganache and raspberries and the bottom tier is Boston cream pie. 
I had a really tough time finding those pine cones, but it turns out, if I had just waited until we got to Tahoe, I would not have had to think about it at all. 
I also had some pretty phenomenal assistants in the kitchen with me, threatening to eat all of my ingredients. 

I am so happy with how this cake turned out. I wish I could have stuck around to eat some of it. 

Oh, also, the lovely and talented Emily, over at gem photo, has offered to send me some of her absolutely stunning photos of this cake. I am super excited about this. It was sort of the catalyst for redesigning my blog since I wanted a blog that was pretty enough to put professional quality photos on. 

Bridal Shower Cupcakes

I got this cute little cupcake stand as a gift from my sister. I thought it held a dozen cupcakes, but I was wrong. It holds 13, which is a little awkward since muffin/cupcake pans typically hold 6 or 12.

Anyway, big sis and I hosted an adorable little bridal shower for our friend, Kim. And I decided to make some cupcakes. These are lemon cake with buttercream and yummy raspberries on top.

Cake Tasting!

It was a long time before I was able to have a chance to tell you about my first wedding cake tasting. :)

Kim, her fiance, mom and sisters came over to try a few different methods for boston cream pie.  Their other flavor is Chocolate with chocolate ganache and raspberries, but since they’d had it before, they just came over to help me determine the best way to make boston cream pie cake. :)


It turns out, getting married takes up quite a bit of time, so I wasn’t able to get my creative cake juices flowing for a while. As it turned out, it was October - Halloween Time! In honor of Halloween, I decided to host an evening of pumpkin carving, which requires an appropriately themed cake.
This baby is all hand carved and, as per usual, covered in homemade marshmallow fondant. It was so much easier and took so much less time than I expected it to. My husband suggested I make a jack-o-lantern cake and I thought to myself, “He has got to be kidding me.” I was wrong to think it would be so difficult.

A Wedding Cake...or Two

That was exhausting. The flowers were actually easier than the white detail. Next time I have to make one with fondant. I have a feeling that will have a much cleaner look. 
I looooved making the different flavors and stacking them. That was a blast. I made three different kinds of cake - almond cake with champagne buttercream and toasted almonds, chocolate cake with chocolate ganache and raspberries, and lemon cake with lemon curd and strawberries. The lemon was my favorite, hands down. Although, next time I make a wedding cake just for fun, I will have to substitute the strawberries with raspberries. Raspberries and lemon just go so well together. 

White on White

Baby Monkey Shower Cake

Baby shower cake! No drama for your mamma - not really anyway. I just waited too long to get started on this cake and ended up completing around 1am the night before it was getting picked up. Oops!

The elephant is my favorite. No surprise there. 

Mark. Cupcakes

In addition to making cakes, I’m also a Mark. rep. This Sunday I hosted my very first Mark. party. So I figured, what better way to combine my businesses than to make cupcakes for my party? I thought it’d be great to make a cake, but for parties, you really want something that is going to be easy for people to pick up and carry around with them while they shop - instead of being stuck to a table with a fork. :)
So, this was my first attempt at Mark. cupcakes. They’re yellow cake filled with chocolate ganache and topped with vanilla buttercream (and sprinkles, of course). They came out delicious. I was a little worried that the chocolate ganache would be too rich, but it was lovely. If you’re a Mark. rep (or if you’re hosting any kind of party!) and you’re reading this, let me know if you’d like cupcakes for your party! I can customize them to be any flavor and design combination! :)

Just to spell it out for you

A Little Old Fashioned

I think my current favorite cake flavor combination is yellow cake with whipped cream and strawberries. It’s right up there with my all time favorite desserts, strawberry shortcake and cheesecake. 
That’s where I pulled my 4th of July cake inspiration from. I wanted something classically delicious and not so highly decorated that people didn't want to cut into it. 
In honor of the holiday, I brought some blueberries into the mix.  I love love love making whipped cream at home. It makes me never want to buy whipped cream ever again. When you add fresh berries to that, its magnificent - so simple and yummy. 
My husband, who is constantly pushing me to be more inventive and over-the-top with my decorating, complimented me on my decorating skills here, saying it reminded him of a cake that his grandmother spent all day slaving over and that he could easily see it layered and turned into a beautiful wedding cake - which I’m planning to do as soon as I have a little more free time. 

The Little Mermaid; Part 2

After seeing my original mermaid cake a while back, a friend of mine said to herself “I want that”. She’s a mermaid lover, so for her birthday this year, she asked me to make one for her. 
I didn’t have any royal icing flowers to decorate this time so I just used buttercream to make the flowers and it made the cake very Hawaiian looking - all the more mermaid appropriate. 
The hardest part was her face. I didn’t have any toothpicks to do the details, so I used dry spaghetti. It was a little too thick, so she is wearing a lot of black eyeliner. :)

America Strikes Back

My marketing manager, aka my husband, suggested that I add another “pro bono” cake to this weeks’ agenda to help stir business. :)
It would be America; the cake - Part 2. I didn’t know how I would out-do the original, but planning to bake on Wednesday and decorate on Thursday, I figured I could churn it out along with the other cake I was doing that week.
This cake was going swimmingly until I went to make the ganache. I like really thick frosting-like ganache, but that was not what I was ending up with. It was your typical drippy shiny ganache - not what I wanted, not what would give the cake the structure I needed. I tried freezing it, but it was already after 11 and I wanted to go to bed. Finally, I decided to make layered frosting because I’d already put ganache on half the cake and it wasn’t thickening the way I hoped it would. So I mixed some of the ganache with buttercream and end ended up with a lovely chocolate buttercream to help hold the cake together and add a subtle buttercream flavor. 
The next 2 hours were spent painstakingly rolling and cutting fondant into an American flag. I spent half the time telling Tim I didn't think it would meet a high enough standard to be a marketing piece, but IT DID! It did and I am so happy!

P-p-p-poker Cake

No so long ago the girl half of one of our couple friends asked me if I could do a poker themed cake for the boy half’s upcoming birthday party. I immediately thought I should make the cake into a miniature poker table and decorate it with fondant. So, after doing a little online research - I didn’t know if poker tables were octagons or hexagons - I put my sketch together and forgot about it for a while. 
I set to baking the Thursday before the party…and got excited and decided to go ahead and stack the layers and make the fondant that night too. Friday night I carved the cake into an octagon, which was really easy because of the markings that were still left on the cake from the folded parchment paper, and then covered it in black fondant. And Saturday I spent pretty much the whole day dying and rolling out fondant to cut into chips and cards, and then piping all of the detail onto them. 
I accidentally made the piping icing too thick, so I had to take a break after piping a handful of chips because my hand hurt so bad, but I thinned it out and got back to work. The below is the result of one full day and two evenings work.


As I tweeted and posted on facebook, I wanted to make a red velvet cake.
So, in psuedo-honor of my little sister (who lives out of state)’s 24th birthday, I made said cake this Sunday. 
I forgot to take pictures once we’d cut into it, but the cake came out a beautiful rich red color in perfect contrast to the cream cheese frosting, which I actually had a little bit of drama making. 
The cream cheese I had was frozen. Dun dun dunnnn…
I left it out all morning to thaw and by 3pm when I was ready to make the frosting, it was still a block of ice. *sad face* I tried to make the frosting with it anyway. It tasted okay, I guess, but too sweet and not very cream cheesy, plus it had the weird kinda grainy frozen cheese texture. 
I ended up adding an entire package of cream cheese to the mix to save it (and it worked! hooray!), but I had planned on making a whole new batch of frosting if it didn’t work. 
Then I had some fun playing with trendy textures to make the cake a little more festive. 

Strawberry Short-cupcakes

Since I made the graduation cake a few weeks before with strawberries and fresh whipped cream, I’d been wanting to turn it into a cupcake.
I’d never filled cupcakes before, so I was a little scared it wouldn’t turn out well, but I used an inspirational recipe for the “mash” originally used in a Strawberry Cream Cake as a jumping off point and it ended up working really well. I thought it would be too liquidy and make the cupcakes soggy, but surprisingly, it stayed put! Hooray!
We had a little drama with the whipped cream. The heavy whipping cream carton was stamped to sell by 7.25.11…but there was no way that stuff was still safe to consume. It started to come out of the carton in a huge rancid smelling glob. It was quickly tossed and I was without the ingredients to make whipped cream. :(
It was easy peasy to run out to the store and get replacement cream, but I am still befuddled as to how the original cream went bad so quickly.

I want to eat this right now

Tiny Birthday Cake

Not a lot of drama here. My friend told me I didn’t have to make her a birthday cake, but I wanted to anyway. So, I told her I would make a tiny one…except that I don’t have any tiny cake pans. So, I made a half a recipe of lemon cake, baked it in a single cake pan, cut it down the middle, iced it and folded it in half, then cut it into a circle. 

Happy Birthday / End of the World!

I got a request for this cake just a few days after that last one. They wanted a cake that was half red, half white with a halo on the red side and devil horns on the white side. 
My wonderful husband pushed me to use fondant even though I was still sore from my last attempt. He convinced me it would look cleaner than trying to make a perfectly straight line out of icing. 
But it worked! Hooray! I used a pizza cutter to get a perfectly straight line down the middle of the cake and pretty much dyed my hands red getting the fondant that color, but it worked out pretty well. And my hands are getting progressively steadier when I do piping, so the writing came out really well too. 

Hillary's Graduation

Shortly after creating the facebook page for my cakes, I got a message from a family friend that their daughter was graduating with her Master’s from USC and they would like if I made her a white cake with fresh whipped cream and strawberries. 
Now, My husband is a little stumped as to how I went so long without making my own fresh whipped cream, especially since it was pretty much amazing and the easiest thing to make ever, but this was my first time and I was a little scared. 
In a fit of insanity, I also thought it would be a great idea to ice the entire cake with whipped cream and only used buttercream for the decoration. While this way tastes fantastic, buttercream doesn’t like to stick to whipped cream, so the freezer became my best friend while making this cake. It was in and out of the freezer every time I had to make a change. 

Big Sister's Birthday

There was yet another baking hiatus following the Minnie Mouse cake, but I was able to get back around to it when my sister’s birthday rolled around again. 
Tim and I finally got our new house into a somewhat presentable state so we decided to have the family over for birthday cake and pizza… because those are the things we make best. 
I wanted to try something new and I’d heard of a recipe for pistachio cake that I thought sounded amazing…too bad you need pistachio extract, which I could only find online. Not worth it to do expedited shipping. So, I chose another nut; almond. Almond extract is easy to find and makes things delicious. I paired my new almond cake with mocha buttercream. Then my plan was to toast some almonds and use them to decorate the cake…but I burnt them. :( and I didn’t have any more, so I decorated with pecans - don’t judge. 
The cake turned out amazing. If I didn’t want to try new recipes, I would make this one every time. 

Isabelle's First Birthday

Minnie Mouse. This cake was a commission - my first, actually. It was supposed to be fondant, and as you can probably see…it’s not. 
It was a hot evening in September and I was kneeding sticky globs of marshmallow goo that just kept getting meltier and stickier the more I added to make it firm. I rolled out a perfectly light pink slab to cover the cake with…but once I put it on the cake, it was a disaster. There was at least one hole stretched through it and the rest of it was all uneven and gross. Plus now that one side was covered in buttercream, it wasn’t reusable. :( 
So, I reluctantly switched to buttercream and decorated the entire cake with icing. I was worried about how Minnie would turn out since the first time I made Minnie Mouse out of icing was when I was drawing her on a cake, but I think it came out lovely. 

Seeing Spots

There was a while between the last cake and this one where I really just had no reason to bake. It was a little tragic. 
Then I got a call/email/text (I don’t remember which) from my sister’s coworker who needed a cake for her daughter’s upcoming first birthday. 
Delighted with the opportunity to take on a real commission, I also needed some practice. So, I picked up some ingredients and got to work on this cake, which - though adorable - does not use any of the same design techniques as the cake I actually made for the birthday party.

The Mermaid

Mermaids are among my older sister’s favorite things. So for her birthday in 2010, I decided that I would take what I learned from my decorating class and attempt to turn it into a mermaid.
It was no easy feat. I hadn’t ever attempted scales before I decided on this design, but once I got going, it wasn’t so bad. I just had to find my rhythm. Those flowers are made out of royal icing. We used foil to get them to keep those shapes. 
I decided to keep her face simple because I thought too much detail in icing would end up ugly.

Hey, I've Been Turned Into a Cow...

I just realized I did not have a photo of this cake on my old blog. This was no decorative accomplishment, but it was a gift for a friend, so I think it needs to be on here because it fills me with a whole mixture of emotions that I don't need to go into on the internet.

It says, "Hey, I've been turned into a cow. Can I go home?"
I realized very recently that a lot more people share my love for the movie this quote came from than I originally thought, but every time someone new tells me they love it, it makes me smile - like we have something wonderful in common.

Haunted Cake

I didn’t bake this one. *GASP* My mom did. That makes me feel like a second grader, especially since I'm supposed to be the one baking things around here.
I DID decorate it though. So, I take full credit for all those little pumpkins and bats and that little kitty on the fence. This one I did in class. This was one of my last classes since I started a new job shortly thereafter and couldn't fit weekday cake classes into my schedule.
I had to take a break from cake decorating for a while after this, which made me sad, but I think I went out with a decorative bang.

No Reason Red Velvet

I never “got” Red Velvet cake. I went to school in the South, where it’s a huge deal and I never particularly liked it either. I figured out why though. Every time I ate red velvet cake while living in the South, it was some supermarket store bought assembly line cake.
When I finally got inspiration to attempt it myself, I learned “the key” (or at least my key) to amazing red velvet cake: homemade cream cheese frosting. Without it, red velvet cake is just cake made with vinegar (which makes it less appealing to me personally), but WITH it, WITH IT Red Velvet cake is cake and cheesecake combined, and anyone who knows me knows I can eat that all day.

Cornelli Lace

This one hurt my hand. The idea behind this kind of “lace” is that it’s one continuous line, so you’re supposed to do the entire top of the cake in one swoop. It was worth it though, huh? Look how pretty!

Labor Day

This was the first time I ever made my own ganache…or really bothered to learn what ganache is. They say it all the time on the Food Network, but I always just assumed it was just another word for chocolate frosting. That’s not the case. Chocolate ganache is magic. It’s just chocolate and cream.
I also had my husband help me make roses for this one. It was his first time. He’s now aloud to help me with baking and cake designs whenever he wants.

Once Upon a Time...

This was the first cake that I was able to do any “carving” with. As you can (hopefully) see, there’s an indentation at the “crease” and the edges of the book taper out to emulate actual book pages.
The biggest thing about this lesson was that I learned how to make roses. To this day, I probably enjoy making roses out of icing way more than I should.


If I ever drive a VW Beetle, I may have to paint it yellow with pink dots. 


My mom and I signed up for a decorating class together towards the end of the Summer in 2009. This was the first cake we made. We may have gone a little overboard with the colors though - had to be the rebels and make our own designs. 

Colette & Ryan's Engagement Cake

My first tiered cake was for my big sister and her fiance's engagement party. It was cinnamon cake with Mexican chocolate filling and it was so delicious. 

My mom's husky, Blue, standing - er, laying guard

America; the Cake

America; The Cake - Fourth of July 2009

America served a la mode

Father's Day 2009

2nd fondant cake; a soccer ball for Father’s Day, June 2009

Little Sister's Birthday

My first fondant cake ever. The fondant is made of marshmallows and is delicious. Not so bad for a first try.