December 8, 2009

Happy Birthday Lucas!!

This past weekend was a friend's son's First Birthday. So we had a cake smash photoshoot for him and of course his birthday cake.
The cake smash went.. well smashingly:) Lucas devoured the cake, made a huge mess and Mom got some great pictures to treasure.

His birthday cake was another story.
Wait, I shouldn't say that..

His birthday cake was a huge hit, even though I thought I would never be able to pull it off.
His birthday was a "knights of the round table" theme and they wanted a castle shaped cake. Not too hard I didn't think, especially since Wilton has a Castle Kit which makes the turrets and towers easier to do. They just get covered in fondant, and then you make the cake up and cover that as well.
However, this kit doesn't make for easy covering of fondant, nor does it make it easy to place these on the cake to look like a castle.
After spending a few hours drilling holes in the towers for flags, covering them in fondant, stamping out individual bricks, letting it all dry, baking 6 layers of cake, covering them all in buttercream, stacking, covering the cake in fondant, stamping out individual bricks, and then trying to figure out how to assemble it all, the final result mae it all worthwhile.

I have jokingly said I will never make another castle cake again..
Ok.. not joking.
I never will!

Happy Birthday Lucas!! It was a great day!

November 3, 2009

HoHoHo.. is it already that time of year?

So it is now November, and of course, Christmas starts on November 1. The malls have changed over their decor.. they are now counting down until Santa shows up, and the commercials are all about the presents..


But who I am to talk? I decided to start trying to make some Holiday cupcakes.

I have been debating about whether to offer these up for sale this season. I have a few more ideas for some cupcakes to do, but so far the wreath is all I have had time to do.
So if you are in the Calgary area, and would be interested in some of these, click on the contact me button and send me an email:)

On a side note, I am currently awaiting word on whether my local Michaels is keen on hiring me to be a Wilton Instructor. I am still impatiently waiting by the phone for the call...

October 24, 2009

Course IV - Grand Finale Cake

I am a little sad.
This is my last Cake for my courses. No more night out a week to decorate a cake, and get out of my house..
I know all I can know from the Wilton books right now, although I have been told to "keep my eyes open for June for something new and exciting!"
Yeah yeah... June is too far away!!

Anyways, our final cake..This one had to show off our gum paste work and fondant covering. I must say I was very pleased with my final result.
But first, some of my flower work.

We had to learn gum paste Carnations and Daisies as part of this course. As a Daisy lover, of course my final cake had those all over it. And even though I am not a fan of carnations, I was quite happy with how these turned out. Its amazing just how lifelike they are!

Kind of neat eh? Don't they look real?

I am actually liking the way the carnation looks. I do hope to be able to use it in another cake design to see what I really feel about it.

And of course, my final Cake..

So there you have it.
4 courses over 5 months. 10 Cakes that had to be created for the classes, and numerous attempts on my own time. About a dozen different kinds of ways to do flowers, the basket technique, fondant work, gum paste, creating from my head, coloring, buttercream recipes and countless boxes of cake mix.

Now what???

I have actually applied to become a Wilton Method Instructor and am awaiting news on whether my local Michaels store will take me on or not. I am not getting my hopes up as it seems to be a bit hard to get into, but I think it would be a lot of fun to do.
So who knows!
For now, I will continue to create cakes for the heck of it. Birthdays, Special events, just because it is Thursday and we'll see what comes out.

October 17, 2009

Gum Paste Drapes - Fancy Schmancy

We finally got to have our second class for this course. Thankfully the weather cooperated this time and we successfully learned how to do the draping effect for our cakes. What I didn't know what just how much fondant and gum paste you require to make these things! I think I might go broke doing these!!
Anyway, we learned how to mix fondant and gum paste together, how to make gum paste glue and how to finish off these cakes.

Exciting I know...

So of course, my cake for this week

I'm beginning to realize I need to play more with my colors and try out some new ones. I am finding I am using the same colors over and over again. Guess it doesn't help that I make way too much icing or fondant at a time and am left with the excess to use.
Oh well.. I promise, my final cake will not be blue!

October 8, 2009

Class Cancelled


The shitty weather here has managed to cancel our class for tonight. Can't say I'm not surprised as it is quite ugly here. But of course it is cancelled after I iced my cake, colored my fondant and attached the cake to my base. If we don't have a make up class in the next two or three days, this cake is no good.
And of course it is the holiday weekend here. Not exactly easy to reschedule.

So nothing else until my I get my class. Stupid thing is I can probably do the cake from the book on my own.


October 4, 2009

Final Course... Finally!

This past week started my final course in the Wilton series. Course IV.. Fondant and Gum Paste. Surprisingly, our class this time around is completely full. Unheard of for a Gum Paste course! So this series is all about learning more about fondant work, and how to use gum paste for decoration. More intricate flowers, different draping ideas, etc. I'm pretty excited to be taking this one. I already have a few ideas for cakes when this is all finished.

Anyways, Class one, of course, nothing too exciting. We learned how to fondant a cake base to add a bit more "oomph" to a cake's decor. Pretty simple. This weeks class we will work on draping fondant and learning the first techniques to the gumpaste carnation. Now carnations are not my favorite flower. But these GM flowers look really cool. I can't wait to see how these work out.

I am excited for when I am done this course. I can apply to be a Wilton instructor, an thankfully my previous instructors have kinds agreed to "vouch" for me. There is no guarantee that I will have a job with Wilton at all, but it is nice to think about it. It wouldn't be anything major, a night a week or something to teach.. Nothing I can make a killing off of, but enough to keep me interested, and earning me a bit of coffee money, since it is coming into winter and well.. Starbucks is expensive! So we'll see how lucky I can be!

Now I must go back my cake for this week..

September 25, 2009

Ohhh Baby, Baby!

I did my first baby shower cake this week, and I was absolutely thrilled with how well it turned out! I had about three weeks to think about how I wanted to do this cake. It was for a set of twins, a boy and a girl. I really wanted to do something cute but still simple enough for me to handle. Also, I wanted to make it in mainly buttercream. I am still trying to get used to fondant cakes.

Anyways, I browsed a cake decorating forum for a bunch of ideas on what to do, and found a few really cute, simple ideas. In the end, the parents were over the moon about this cake!

It took me about two hours to create the baby blocks, which are made from Rice Krispie squares, covered in fondant. The cake itself was simple enough to make, iced in buttercream. The border and names were all fondant. Overall, this cake took me probably 5 hours from start to finish.

Welcome to the world babies Victoria and Lochlan!!

September 20, 2009

Cake Filled Weekend!

For being bored last week and deciding to just make a cake for "the hell of it" I was surely eating my words this weekend when I had to complete three cakes with a fourth a few days from now. Funny thing was all three cakes this weekend were for birthdays!

Two cakes were for clients, the first being a birthday cake for a ten year old. When I asked what kind of cake he would like, the response was "Carrot Cake"

Carrot Cake...
I was a little surprised that a ten year old's favorite cake was carrot! Im sure at that age mine was anything chocolately and gooey!
But I made a carrot cake for him... complete with cream cheese icing.
However things didn't quite go according to plan,
My first cake turned out great... except I left it in the oven accidentally for an additional 15 minutes. So while the cake itself was still fine, the top had crusted and overbaked a little too much for me to give to anyone but my family.
So the next day I attempted a second cake.
Sigh... someone decided to give me a run for my money....
The second cake, for reasons unknown, the center of the cake completely collapsed in itself. I took it out of the oven and watched as it deflated like a balloon. After doing some research on what might have happened, I figured the only thing that made sense was I tested it a bit too early and the center wasn't done.

So Third time's the charm right?
Once I finally had the cake made and everything came out right.. it was time for the icing and the decorating.
The Birthday Boys cake was to be a "SmackDown/Raw" WWE wrestling logo cake. Whether it was something he wanted or something to surprise him with, I'm not sure... but I was very pleased with how well it turned out. If it was a surprise for him, I would have liked to have seen his face when he saw it!

Happy Birthday Dixon!

I got an email from my photographer friend who needed a cake smash cake for a One year olds photoshoot she was doing on the weekend. I had only a day to think on this one and how I would decorate it, but I'm sure the parents will love the cake and how well it will work in the smash photos. I do hope I get to see what they look like!

Happy Birthday Sebastian!

And finally... my BFF turned the big 31 this weekend and of course we had to celebrate. So I whipped up a cake for the occasion and it was widely loved by our dinner guests. The birthday girl was happy with the cake, even though she wasn't happy about being 31!

Happy Birthday Amber!!

And with that... my weekend was done. My kitchen smells of sugar and I think I've gotten high off of the fumes!!

But I had a lot of fun doing them all. Happy Birthday All!!

September 16, 2009

Boredom sets in... must.. bake.. cakes!

This is what happens when you have a month of time to kill and no classes to attend.
I have had the urge to bake for the past few weeks, but have had very little time, or people to bake for. So for the heck of it, I decided to make a cake and try to work with fondant a bit more.

I can tell I still need some work when it comes to fondant, but I am learning.

I wasn't overly impressed with how the flowers turned out. It seems the buttercream didn't really want to stick to the fondant very well. My poor paintbrush kept getting globs of icing in it! I think I will have to work on this a bit more to figure out the best way to make these look better.

Now to figure out who gets this cake!

August 31, 2009

First Client - Very Excited

I got my first client this week!
The client wanted 18 cupcakes for a work function and I happily obliged. I had a lot of fun going through my recipes to find a nice cupcake to make and a tasty frosting. Sometimes I think it would be better if I only have one recipe book, rather than 25, much easier to pick one than pick from hundreds!
I settled on a Devil's Food Cupcake with a Chocolate Ganache glaze and a Chocolate Buttercream icing. Topped with a Royal Icing Flower.

The client seemed very happy with his purchase and the staff seemed to love their afternoon treat!
I was very happy with how they turned out. Hopefully there will be order to come soon!

Cupcakes for the client

Leftover batter made about a dozen mini cupcakes. My husband got to enjoy those!

August 30, 2009

Course III - Wedding Cake Final

Well I have survived Course III and completed the final cake, a two tiered wedding cake. I must admit, I was pretty impressed with how my cake turned out! I think I might actually like doing this!

It all started with a few weeks of learning fondant roses and making approximately 40 roses to decorate my cake with.

I also learned "cupped" flowers, made of royal icing. These are flowers that are deeper than the flowers we learned in Course II. I waited until the last minute to decide whether to make the roses for my cake or the make the royal icing flowers. The icing ones would have been a lot easier to make, but I decided to challenge myself and go with the roses.
In any case, these are some of my cupped flowers.

Here we have some Easter Lilies, Morning Glorys, Petunias and Poinsettas.
I really liked the Poinsetta's and Im looking forward to Christmas so I can put those flower to good use!

Anyways, my class finale. I'm sure all you care about is the wedding cake right??
Well here she is!

I am so very happy with how this turned out. I honestly thought these cakes were a lot harder than it actually was. Now I just need a wedding or two to create this again!

Unfortunately Course IV is not offered in my area this month, so I won't have much to talk about for the next month. I am hoping to have some cakes done for fun to display, so I hope you will continue to check back!

August 21, 2009

Course III - Fondant and Tiered Cakes

Wow, I definitely haven't had time to update since I began Course III! Thankfully the first week was nothing exciting to talk about.

Class II began our first cakes with fondant. I had never worked with the stuff before, nor had I ever eaten it, so I was keen to find out what was so "bad" about it. To be honest, the fondant I had wasn't bad at all. My husband said it kind of tasted like those little mini marshmallows you get in kids cereals. I guess that is about as close of a comparison as I had as well. I had heard of some horror stories about some other fondant brands which are pretty bad to eat, but so far the stuff I am using is ok. I don't think I would want to eat a whole slice of it... but really, most people who have a fondant cake, don't eat it anyways!! Its purely decoration, and to be honest, makes cake decorating a lot easier!

Think of it as playdoh. You can sculpt and mold almost anything you want for a cake! It hardens in a day or two, keeps it's shape, and looks good! And if your little toddler, or big kid decides they want to eat it.. they can!!

Anyways, our first cake was a simple present cake. Working with fondant was pretty simple. I didn't mind it at all, and I am already looking forward to my final cake which is two fondant covered cakes.
Rolling it out is probably the hardest part, learning the right thickness needed to cover the cake, and not rip into pieces. and because this is a class about learning things, they of course want us to cover one of the hardest shapes... the square.

It wasn't bad. But I can see where it takes some practice.

Anyways.. my first fondant cake:

I'm not sure if I like my color choices. I wanted something a little different than the standard white that was in the book. I wasn't completely happy with it, but I did enjoy doing this. I am looking forward to working with fondant again... even if my customers rip it off to eat the cake!

August 3, 2009

Happy Birthday Baby!!

My baby girl turned One this past week, so of course I had to make cake for her.
I was quite pleased with how my cakes and cupcakes turned out. It was a labour of love, and I certainly loved every minute of it.

Just a simple cake design, but I loved the pink gel for the Number 1. It had such a sparkle to it. It actually made me giddy when I found it.
Sad, I know!

This was the little smash cake I made for my daughter. I put her on the floor on top of a sheet and let her go nuts with it. It was a big mess for such a small amount of cake being eaten.
But it was so much fun:)

I can't wait for her second birthday!

July 26, 2009

Course II - Grande Finale Cake

So three weeks of hard work in class led up to today's Grande Finale Cake, the Basketweave. But first, we go back.
We spent two weeks learning the different types of flowers, gave them time to dry and then get ready to place them on our final cake. I had very little to do outside of class time to prepare for things each week, so it seemed very anti-climatic when we got to class today to finally put things together. Let me tell you, I lot of work went into these flowers, and the hour plus it took me to ice the basketweave. This cake should win me a big fat prize.

Anyways.. the final result:

I don't know if I will ever have a use for the basketweave technique again, but I was really pleased with how cute this cake looked.

So Course II is now complete. I am ready to continue on to Course III which begins next week. Fondant is something I have never eaten, let alone touch, so it should be interesting to see what I can do with this class. I am really excited about moving on and enhancing my skills. Currently I have a few cakes to make this week for my daughter's birthday. That should give me good practice!

July 20, 2009

My First Cake Smash Cake!

I was complaining on Facebook last week that I needed an event or something to make a cake for so I could practice some techniques and, well.. I wanted to make and decorate a cake! A friend of mine was doing a photoshoot for a One Year Old's Cake Smash Shoot and wanted to know if I felt like making a cake for it. I jumped on the chance to do it!
(For those of you who don't know, a Cake Smash is a photoshoot usually done for a One Year Old's Birthday as a way to commemorate their first "real" cake. You give the child a cake and let them have at 'er! I liked the term and hence named my blog that.)

Anyways, I had a great idea for the cake and couldn't wait to get started. Unfortunately it doesn't take long to do, so I still had to wait until this weekend to actually do the cake. I had so much fun doing this cake! I dropped it off this afternoon at the photoshoot to see how well received it would be. While the child couldn't care less what it looked like, his mother was beaming at how great the cake was. I can't wait to see how the photoshoot turned out!

The cake was a chocolate cake with a chocolate pudding filling. The icing is a vanilla buttercream. The letters were done with the color flow/fill in method.
Here's another pic of the letters:

I was so pleased how well the cake turned out. It really makes me want to do this for a side business!

July 19, 2009

Class 3 - Pansies, Daffodils and Daisies

Class 3 was a nice relaxing class. We learned the last few flowers needed to complete our basket cake. I was looking forward to this class, because I got to learn my favorite flower, the Daisy.
I wish there was something interesting to really discuss this week, but there isn't. I didn't even have to make new icing as everything was pretty much leftover from last week's class. Not surprising is the flowers look harder than they actually are. Honestly, it does amaze me how simple this decorating stuff is so far. Not to say I'm an expert and laughing in the face of those who have spent years learning - far from it! I am just so thrilled that I have found something that I am somewhat good at. I actually look forward to coming home and practicing what I have learned. I can't say I ever did that in school!

Anyways, Here is a shot of the flowers I made for this weeks class:
Unfortunately the purple doesn't look really purple in the picture.
So from the top going clockwise, you see three daisies, a daffodil, two primroses, a pansy and two roses. Needless to say, my roses still need a LOT of work. But they are getting a bit better than my first ones from last month. I figure maybe fondant roses might be my best bet at making decent flowers!
I was actually quite happy with how most of my flowers turned out. They were fairly simple to do and as you can see, can easily be made in any color choices you wish. I know the Daisy will get a lot of use in my cakes!

Next week is our final class for course 2. We have to make a "basket" cake, ice it and have our flowers ready for class. We then learn the basket weave technique and how to put the flowers on the cake. And viola! Final cake. I'm looking forward to seeing what my final cake will look like!
And to complete my day, I have registered for course 3 - tiered cakes and fondant. There is only a few weeks left for that to start and so far I am the only one listed, so let's hope some people join me, otherwise I will have no class to go to!

July 12, 2009

Class 2 - Royal Icing Begins

This weeks class we got to begin working with Royal Icing. Having never decorating cakes before, I had heard of royal icing, but I had never worked with it. I had heard many people say the taste of it is nothing like buttercream, and after seeing what is in it, I can see why..

Royal Icing:
4 cups sifted icing sugar
3 tablespoons Meringue Powder
5-6 tablespoons warm water

Mix on low speed for 7-10 minutes, until it loses its shine. Hardens quickly. Keep a damp towel over the bowl when not using. (Make sure all utensils are grease-free)

Seems simple enough right? And it was. I don't think it needs 7-10 minutes though. I think I mixed mine for about 4 minutes before it lost its shine. The taste of it is very sweet. I think kids would probably lap this up a lot more than adults would. That said, I'd probably eat say a single flower or two, but probably wouldn't chow down on some roses or a figure.
The big bold headline at the top of my recipe reiterating to keep utensils grease free freaked me out. I don't own a lot of metal or glass bowls. I live in the land of Gladware, home of cheap plastic meant to hold anything and everything... So I wasn't happy to hear that Royal Icing is deathly afraid of grease. (For those who don't know any trace of grease(shortening/butter) will ruin a batch of royal icing completely.) I ended up going out and buying some "royal icing only" gladware and measuring cups. I want to keep my royal icing happy!

So this weeks class I had to prepare not only my icing, but my flower templates so I can learn to make the different types of flowers.

So these are the 8 templates for the flowers I will be making in this series. Well, 7 flowers and 1 leaf. For this first class with Royal Icing we learned Apple blossom, Violets and the Violet Leaf.
I was actually surprised at how easy these were to do. They look a lot more difficult that they really are. No wonder people think you are a magician when you make a nice looking cake!
Here are a few of my apple blossoms and violets:

Not bad eh? Maybe I do have a knack for this cake decorating stuff.... Nah, if I can learn to do this stuff, I'm pretty certain anyone can. I think that's why they put on these courses!

We also learned what is called "Color Flow" or "Fill-ins". These are interesting. Basically it is watered down Royal Icing piped in a "shell" There is an actual recipe for this using a product called "Color Flow" but our instructor told us a shortcut which is to use Royal Icing. Apparently the color flow recipe just means the piece is harder and shinier.
To be honest, I used the Color Flow icing, and my friend used the Royal Icing. There was very little difference in our pieces. I can't say anything about the strength of the piece, but had I known I could just use Royal Icing, I would have saved myself $7 by not buying the color flow powder.
Anyways, the piece we were supposed to do were two birds. I decided I didn't like the birds, so I did Butterflies. I like them much better.

I didn't think it was bad for a first attempt, but you can see where I need some help on my outline work.
So basically these dry for a few hours to a day and then they can be stored until needed for the final cake. I have a few ideas of things to put on cakes using this technique. I can't wait to try it out!

So there you go. A few new flowers, which can all be made with buttercream as well, and a new technique for designs. Thankfully no homework for this week, so I think I am going to make a cake just for the heck of it so I can practice a few things..

And because I have become obsessed with decorating cakes!

July 6, 2009

Course II - Flowers and Borders

So I started Course II this weekend, Flowers and Borders. We pick up where we left off at the end of Course I, and we get to learn a ton of new flowers, some new borders, and we get to work with Royal Icing and Color Flow/Flow In.
Our class this time around is only 5 people, and our instructor Breanne is working on her last month of classes before leaving to give birth to her first child.
I am really excited to be taking this course. There is a lot more intricate work involved in this course, and only one cake to do in the final. And I get to learn about Royal Icing, which is surprisingly something I am looking forward to. After having to make another batch of Class Buttercream for practice work, I am going to be so happy when I don't have to make this crap anymore. I find it very hard to make nice looking flowers and borders when it cracks, doesn't come out right and has a poor consistency. But for practice, I guess you aren't looking for anything fantastic.
I did however learn that in a pinch, the Wilton boxed/canned icings, are actually really nice for making decorations. Too bad it has an absolute ton of trans fat in it!

So this Course is a bit more laid back. My homework for this week is to trace the two birds out from the back of the book, or find another bird/animal to use for my color flow work, and for the final cake. On top of that I have to make a batch of Royal Icing and get my Flower Templates cut out and ready to work with. For the next two classes, we will learn how to work with Royal Icing, and how to make what looks to be about 20-some different types of flowers. Then our final class, we learn the Basketweave and put together our final work.
Breanne did tell us that we need to take our final cake somewhere where people will appreciate the work involved for it. So Im taking bids on who would like to have my final cake for their office/family party:)

June 27, 2009

Daisies - my favorite!

A friend of mine bought a daisy cake pan for her daughter's first birthday. Unfortunately she had some problems getting the cake out of the pan and it ended up being scrapped for a store bought cake. She was devastated!
So I decided to try out her pan to see if it was her oven that might have done it, or the greasing of the pan.

I was pretty impressed with how it turned out. I did find out it was the greasing of her pan that didn't work. According to the directions, shortening and flour is all that you needed, but I used the Wilton Cake Release and the cake came out of the pan like butter. I highly recommend the product!
I tried out my new triple star tip to do this cake. I was amazed at how quickly I was able to ice it with that tip! If you are ever going to do this kind of an icing job, get the triple star.. worth every cent of the $4 I spent.

June 25, 2009

Cake #3 - The Wilton Rose Finale!

Class Finale... Make the Wilton Rose.. 7 of them

I was pretty excited to be finally learning the rose. I don't know why but it seems to be it is one of those things that look so frigging hard, but really, is not.
And that is true.
It really isn't hard to do..
However I still suck at it!

The class itself was uneventful. We spent an hour on the roses, and the learned sweet peas, and leaves - all very easy to do. But the Rose was my enemy. I figured out pretty quickly that my icing was just not good enough for roses. With butter added to it, the icing gets very warm being in the bag, and therefore melts. So my roses ended up very soft, and meshed together. I couldn't spearate the three layers of petals out, so in the end my roses look more like Peonies.
Oh well...
It was my first attempt! I definitely see where practice is needed in order to perfect this. I can remember watching a Food Network Challenge in which the contestant made a few dozen roses in under 10 minutes. It looked so easy to her, like second nature.
Thank is what I hope to be one day... just second nature to do a rose.

Anyways, our finale cake was all about the Rose. So 7 roses (peonies) went on my cake and a bit of sweet peas surrounding the base, and viola! Final cake:

I was a little worried about the color combinations when I mixed the icing up, but in the end I was really pleased with the choice. The roses (peonies) were a peach color and the cake a smoky blue. Out of my three class cakes, I was very proud of this one.

So that's it for course 1. I start course two in about 10 days and I am looking forward to it. Alas, there is only one cake we make for that series, so I will probably have to make some cakes on the side to practice. I guess my husband will have more cakes to take to work. And of course, I need a ton of practice learning my nemesis, the Rose.

June 21, 2009

Clowns and Cakes and Bears... Oh My!

So here we are, Sunday. And I have yet had a chance to practice my rose making. I have however, made a clown, three mini bear cakes, a mini Father's Day cake and a small batch of icing.
Guess my priorities are a bit skewed! (Hey, I have plenty of time for practice!)

In any case, I decided to try my hand at the scary clown so you can see what I mean. So here is Chuckles:

See?? He is scary, isn't he? Wouldn't you have nightmares if this thing was on your cake?
Ok, maybe not. I thought Chuckles turned out pretty cute in the end. He was made with plain white icing, and the colors came from striping the bag with a bit of food coloring. So when it piped out, the color ran onto the icing. Considering where some of the red ended up, I think I would pick a better color; is looks like Chuckles was shot in the chest and bled down his leg...

While I was out shopping on Friday, I went to a local craft store to see if they had anything "cute" for me to add to my cake decorating essentials. While it wasn't an essential, it certainly was cute! I found this cute 3d mini bear pan. I thought this would be so cute for my daughter's First Birthday next month! She could eat the whole bear by herself if she wanted to!
So I picked up the pan and decided since this weekend was Father's Day, I could make a bear cake to try it out and see what I thought. Of course I picked the busiest weekend we had to try and fit in some cake making..
We got home Saturday night and put our daughter to bed.. then I proceeded to make some bears. Needless to say a batch of cake batter yields about 4 cups, whereas my little bear friend only takes 1 cup.
So for about 2 hours, I made three bears, and a mini cake. I had to make a bear, let it cool, wash the pans, regrease and fill and bake again. My poor husband got stuck eating the leftover cake that flowed over the pans. I think by the end he probably ate about a cup worth of cooked cake.
Anyways, I was quite happy how the bears turned out. They looked so cute just standing there cooling. It was almost a shame I had to cover it in icing.
So this afternoon we get home from running around, with barely enough time for me to make a batch of icing and figure out how to ice the bear.

This is the Bear on the pan box. This is how my bear "should" look like:

And this is what my bear looked like:

My husband calls it the Scary Bear. I thought he wasn't bad looking for a first attempt. He does look like he is high on crack though! I found out that having a buttercream icing, with pure butter in it, may taste better than shortening, but a butter icing will melt in the piping bag from the heat in your hand. Needless to say the back of my bear was a little left to be desired.

Oh well... He tasted good at least!

While it was tedious work, I did get to practice my star making, so I think I might become a pro at that after all is said and done!
I still have two bears on ice. I think I will make those up this week for a get together I am hosting. We'll see what they might become!

Because of time constraints on Saturday night, I didn't want to stay up for another 30 minute session to make a 4th bear, so I threw my mini cake pans in with the last bear and made a small cake. Since my Dad was coming over for dinner for Father's Day, I made this cake for him. It was nothing special, but it did help me practice the shell border. I didn't have enough time to do much with this one.

So I promise, I will practice my Rose making before my last class. I don't forsee any reason why I need to make another cake between now and Wednesday..

Oh, wait a minute...
I haven't actally made my cake yet FOR Wednesday!!
Oops! Better get on that!!

June 18, 2009

Cake #2 - Flowers and Shells

The class this week was all about drop flowers, making faces, clowns and the shell border. I had my cake all ready to go, so surprisingly this class there was very little decorating left to do - Add a shell border and stick the premade flowers on. Yet it was tedious work. I now know why Laura said to make about 100 flowers for this cake. About 30 of my flowers broke before I got them on my cake, and another 10 broke while being applied to the cake.


I did manage to get my flowers on, and stay on. But I had to mourn the loss of about 40 flowers in the process. I did learn something however - I figured my flowers had dried too quickly when making them, so when I added the center dot to stabilize it, the icing had already dried too much to really stick. So I think if I were to do these again, I would make sure I had both icing colors ready to go and once the flowers were made, I would add the center. I think then I wouldn't have lost as many flowers.

Anyways, my second cake:

I was actually really pleased with how this cake turned out. the icing is a pale pink, and I think shows up better in my previous post. The flowers were very bright and spring-like. And totally a girl's cake.

Too bad my husband had to take this one to the office... full of guys.. full of computer geek guys..

As you can see on the side of my cake, the chocolate cake crumbled when I applied the icing, and I got some crumbs on the outside. Something I need to work on with chocolate. Next time I think I will do a thin layer of icing, then let to dry and apply another layer on top.

We also learned how to make clowns. Yes, those scary clowns. I am going to practice them over the next week and will show pictures here. In the end, they were kind of cute. But I still wouldn't put them on my cake!!
Next week is our final class for Course One. We will learn the final steps to making the Wilton Rose, and will make a rose cake complete with bow. It is not the type of cake I would normally like to do, but I can see that learning how to make the rose properly will come in handy if I decide to pursue a side business in decorating. Too many wedding cakes with simple flowers!

But for now... practice practice practice!!

June 17, 2009

Homework- I thought I was done with this??

I managed to find time this week to get my flowers made for tonights class. We had to choose between making a clown cake, or one with a bunch of flowers. Laura told us the clown cake was much easier, then the flowers time consuming.
Since clowns scare me "Can't sleep, clowns will eat me" I decided to challenge myself and make the flowers.

To be honest, it wasn't that hard. I did a few practice flowers over the weekend and figured out how to do it, then spent Monday night making my flowers. Some of them are pretty good, some of them I'm sure a 3rd grader could do a better job. But needless to say I will have enough for my cake.

Now this is not all of my flowers. I had to make about 100 of them, but you get the idea. I decided to make a pale pink cake with these purple and pink flowers. I realized after I made my choice that my husband would be taking this cake to work. Not exactly a "manly" cake.. oh well, men will eat anything, right?

This time around I decided to make a "real" buttercream icing, and not the shortening crap the instructor preferred us to make. Now I know why she probably wanted us to stick with shortening. I have a much harder time not wanting to lick the bowl with the real stuff!! Damn I make good icing!!

Doesn't this look much better?
Well, not really. I guess they all look the same. But I assure you, this one tastes way better!

And my iced cake, ready to go for tonight's class.
This cake is a remake of my chocolate cake I screwed up last week. I made sure this time the cake was cooked fully, and I must say it smells really good. The filling is a chocolate pudding with a blueberry cherry jam.

As this is only my second cake icing it "correctly" instead of using that jarred Betty Crocker stuff, I am fully enjoying doing this. I have already thought ahead about making a cake this weekend for my Husband's work BBQ, and possibly making a cake for Father's Day on Sunday.

We'll see how much time I have left in the coming days. My Daughter like to take all of my time, which I definitely don't mind!
Im excited to learn how to make faces tonight, and the dreaded clown. I don't know if I will ever use the clown, but I can see the potential it might have if I decide to make this hobby a side business.
Of course, I love to get ahead of myself. Two classes and I think I'm Martha Stewart!!

June 11, 2009

Cake #1 - Stars and Rainbows

So class #1 is complete and I brought my cake home all nice and decorated. I was quite pleased how my rainbow turned out, even though my writing sucks. Good thing they have stencils for us inept writers! So here is my finished cake.
Not bad eh? My writing is pathetic correct?

I had just enough time in class to finish the rainbow and add my star border, when I decided the vast amount of icing I had made needed to be put to good use. So I added the stars all over the sides. Overall I was pleased with my final result. It actually looked like I cake I might eat... but then I remembered the shortening in the icing and immediately lost my appetite! Needless to say my husband took it to work for all of them the eat! Boys will eat anything! I have decided on my next cake, I will make the base icing with butter. However with shortening it definitely makes it easier for me not to lick my fingers!

Our cake for next week we have homework to do. We had our choice of making a clown cake, or a cake with a bunch of flowers on it. Clowns scare me, so flowers it is!
Because we don't have a lot of time in class, we have to prepare our flowers ahead of time. So before class I have to have approximately 100 flowers made and dried, ready to go on the cake. Should be interesting since I haven't even learned how to do the flower yet!

Now to decide if I attempt another scratch cake, or take stock in Betty Crocker...

June 10, 2009

The toothpick Lied!!

So, like a good student, and a stay-at-home mother who has oodles of time on her hands to bake a cake, I decided to make a cake from scratch. I got everything out, and made my cake yesterday so it had plenty of time to cool and rest before I needed to torte it and ice it for class tonight.

My lovely daughter woke me up early and down we came for breakfast. I fed my kid, fed myself and then began to get my cake sliced so I could fill the center with the jam.
The center of my beautiful chocolate cake was raw....
I knew when I cooked it yesterday that it had to go in a bit longer than the recipe called for simply because I was using a 3inch deep pan instead of a 2 inch deep. The cake was in about ten minutes extra, and when I put my toothpicks in the center to check for completion, my toothpicks were clear of residue.
Yeah, well the toothpicks lied..
My beautiful chocolate cake was ruined from the inside out. I surprisingly swore very little, had myself a chuckle and thankfully remembered I had bought a boxed cake mix "just in case" something happened. Looks like I needed it.
So this time I baked the cake and kept checking it long after the time was done per the box, and eventually got a complete, edible cake done.
I guess Betty Crocker and me get along pretty good!

So once my cake cooled, it was time to do the well, and fill my jam in the center. I made up another batch of icing, colored it light blue, as per class instructions, and filled my cake center.

Looks decent, right?
Next came the top, and then icing the entire cake.

Then came the icing. I used my new icing tip, which is supposed to make icing the cake a lot easier. Having never really iced one before, I can't say if this is a time saver yet, but my instructor swears by it.

And then the final iced job, ready to take to class tonight.

So there we go. Cake is ready. Hopefully I won't butcher this so it looks like crap!!

June 8, 2009

Learning the basics..Am I doing this right?

Since I have a week in between classes, there is plenty of time for me to play around with my kit and try out everything. The hard part is not bringing it out every chance I get. This is why I never got new toys when I grew up.
I decided to try making my first batch of Class icing so I could figure out the consistencies I needed to have. Needless to say, Calgary is a very dry city. When the recipe calls for 3 tablespoons of liquid, Calgary needs about six. So I was a little worried about my first try when it came out like this:

Im pretty certain this means my icing is too stiff!
I added a bit more liquid to it to get to what I thought was a medium consistency, good enough for making most decorations. I decided to try out my new piping bags, and tip #16 to make the simple star shape, which we are using for our first cake.
Remember when your father/grandfather/brother etc would tell you to measure twice and cut once? Yeah, same applies with piping bags. You put the coupler in and mark where to cut so it goes through the bottom of the bag, but not all the way through.
Needless to say, I measured once, cut once and lost a 10 inch bag.

The dumb part was I have 42 disposable bags in my kit, which would have been a lot cheaper to lose than the featherweight one.
So I tried the disposable one.
I managed to cut the tip off correctly this time, but soon realized my icing was not the right consistency.
Icing should not take 15 seconds to squeeze out of the bag.
And icing should not hurt your hand when you try squeezing it out..
And icing should not blow a hole in the side of the bag and cascade all over the countertop..

Sigh... Back to the drawing board.

June 4, 2009

Lesson One - Shortening?? Really??

Last night was my first class for the Wilton Cake Decorating Level 1. I wasn't sure what I was expecting, but the class certainly was entertaining. The instructor, Laura has been teaching the class for a year and loves decorating cakes. For her decorating is her hobby. Some people like scrap booking.. Laura likes cakes. I guess I'm in the same category. I'd rather bake something than cut out paper and pictures and stick them in a book.

So the first thing we do is go through the materials needed for the class. I guess there is no such thing as just buying the lesson kit and being done with it.. Oh no... Now you need Meringue Powder to use in the icing instead of eggs (don't want to kill anyone with raw eggs!), you need piping gel for one little detail in the first cake, you need a turntable to put your cake on and you need a cake caddy to bring your cakes to class. On top of the icing colors, the vanill flavoring, the rose cutter, the cake icer tip, etc etc etc.. Now I suppose I was expecting to have to spend money on extra things. And since I am planning on taking all four courses, it was a lot cheaper for me to buy the creme de la creme - a 100 Piece Tool Caddy Decorating set. How much did that set me back??
Before or after the 50% off Michaels Coupon... (Can I just say I love those coupons!)

So 100$ later, I had my Caddy kit, and thankfully the kit has everything I will need for all four courses and more, so I don't have to buy the lesson kits, which cost about $20-40 after coupons.

Anyway, back to class..

So Laura runs us through what we need to have, and begins showing us how to "torte" and "ice" a cake. I know what icing a cake is, but I had never heard the term "torting" before.
Well who knew people actually made a cake and cut them in half to put filling in the center? Here I was always making two separate cakes and trying to pile them on top of each other! Needless to say my cakes always looked like crap.
Laura assures us that we can still make two cakes and slap them together, but we have to make at least one cake where we "torte" it. So I will play by the rules and torte my cakes. Least it gives me an excuse to buy a new cake pan since mine are all 2 inches tall!

After torting and adding some vanilla pudding to the center, and putting the top layer back on the cake, we are now ready to "ice" the cake.

Of course, we are in a Wilton class, so we can only use a Wilton recipe for making buttercream icing. And I must say, when I make cakes on my own, I will be looking for another recipe!

Class Buttercream Icing (stiff consistency)
1 cup solid white vegetable shortening (can you say blech??)
1 teaspoon Wilton Flavor (Vanilla, Almond, or Butter)
3 tablespoons milk or water
1 lb pure icing sugar
1 tablespoon Wilton Meringue Powder
Pinch of salt (optional)

I don't think I have ever had shortening in my house. I know my grandmother still uses it, hence why I cannot eat many of my grandmothers pies.
But in icing???

Of course, this is the recipe we have to follow for class. And because I am such a good student, I will follow.

Laura proceeds to show us gadget #1 which is a large cake icer tip and piping bag. This way you put the icing on the cake in a nice, easy fashion and then spread it out evenly, rather than taking your cake spatula and doing the same thing..

I, however am lucky enough to get this in my creme de la creme caddy. No spatula slathering for me!

Within a few moments she has iced the cake. It looks very plain.. a white icing on a white cake..
Yet I know hers looks 10 times better than mine will!!

Before we know it, lesson is over. For all classes, we must bring in a cake that has been torted and iced and ready for decorating.
Then Laura spouts off all of the essentials we need to bring into next class. My head starts spinning with the amount of stuff I have to bring. So much for being able to walk every week to class! I think I need a new vehicle just to carry everything in it!

Overall, I am looking forward to this adventure. I am going to get my cake baked and ready for icing on the weekend, and I will be all ready for my next class. Hopefully my decorated cake will look like it is supposed to!

June 3, 2009

So I finally did it..

So I finally did it. After many years of thinking about it, waivering on whether to do it, finding the time to do it, I decided screw it.

I enrolled in the Wilton's Cake Decorating classes put on by Michaels.

oooOOohhh frightening I know. I don't have a clue about decorating. But I know I like it. I watch all of those cake shows.. the Ace of Cakes, the Food Network Challenges, Cake Boss.. I look at those and think "It can't be that hard to do!!"

Well I guess I will find out.

Tonight is my first class. I'm excited about it. Mainly because it gets me out of the house one night a week and away from my ten month old daughter. I get to interact with adults for a few hours about something other than children. I get to feel human again!

So we'll see what this new adventure might bring for me. Maybe I will find out I have a talent for cake decorating. Maybe I will become the next Duff Goldman. Maybe I will win $10,000 on the next cake challenge...

Or Maybe I will just have a good time and laughs with my friends.
So this blog is to document my cake decorating attempts and to just have some fun with things.
So bring your wine.... You will probably need it!