December 22, 2011

Click, Click... Say Cheese!!!

My girlfriend asked me to make a cake for her Camera Club Christmas Potluck. She requested a Camera Shaped Cake and hoped I could deliver. Since these were all Camera people, it had to look pretty realistic. I did a search online for some ideas for a camera cake, since I knew my skills were not good enough for a really elaborate camera. It required a little bit of carving, which I seem to be getting a lot of practice in lately! I decided to make the camera look more like a "Point and Shoot" camera so it was a bit easier to do, rather than a very fancy SLR type one, which I'll be honest, I do not have the skills for.
I thought this cake would be a bit harder than it was, so I was a bit surprised when I finished it and it did not take me near the time I thought it would. My girlfriend said it was a big hit at the potluck, and no one wanted to carve into it since it "looked like a masterpiece". I was pretty thrilled to hear some of the comments about it afterwards. Those are the things that make me love what I do:)

Side View of the cake. You can see the height on the lens itself.

Other side view showing the handle. It doesnt seem to show well in the pictures, but the handle is carved slightly.

And with that, I think this is my last cake of the year. I wish everyone a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!! Hope to have tons more to share in the new year!!

December 17, 2011

Touchdown!! A football birthday for a special little guy

Recently, I had posted a picture of my girlfriends birthday cake on an online forum I am a part of. I wanted to share my work since I was thrilled with how cute it turned out. From that, I got a message from a local girl, who wanted me to make her son's birthday cake and cupcakes. I was pretty excited to give this one a try since it would require a bit of carving on my part to make. The mother wanted a Football shaped cake, and some football themed cupcakes to go with it. Now, Wilton actually sells a football shaped pan, and I almost rented it to give it a try, but I figured this was pretty simple to carve, so I should use it as practice and do it myself.

First I had to get the football themed cupcake toppers done, since they needed some time to dry. I decided to make little footballs for half of the cupcakes and goalposts for the others. The footballs were pretty cute! The goalposts could have been a little bit better, but I did them freehand and the gumpaste was pretty thin.

Close up of the footballs..

Next I had to create the cupcakes. These were pretty easy to do, and with my trust grass tip, I was able to make a pretty realistic looking mini football field:)
And finally the cake itself. It came out pretty cute if I do say so myself. Not bad for a quick carving job. I could have made it a little bit wider, but the biggest thing was it looked like the ball..

I certainly hope little Levi had a great birthday!!

December 5, 2011

A special Super Birthday!

My daughter's little "boyfriend" is turning 3 on the 6th, and his birthday party was this weekend. I made his birthday cake for his first birthday, so it was nice to make his third one as well. (Unable to attend his second one)
The birthday boy was a bit obsessed with a PBS show called "SuperWhy." For those of you who don't have kids of preschool age, this is a relatively decent show about "Superheros" who solve problems by reading stories. Its actually one of my daughters' favorite show as well. Anyways, my friend wanted a SuperWhy themed cake and cupcakes for the party. It was a nice cake to work on, not only because I knew the birthday boy, but I get to see his reaction when he sees the cake. Always a nice thing to see:)

I decided to make a book out of cake. This was my first "real" attempt at carving (unless you count my pretty dismal beer bottle attempt a few months back) Overall I was happy with how the carving came out. It wasn't perfect, but I did at least like the cake mixture I used in order to get a sturdier cake to carve. (Plus freezing helps!)
Next was covering the cake in buttercream..

While that was crusting over, I wanted to get started on my frozen buttercream transfer. I have done a few of these before, and I enjoy the technique. On each one, I am still learning how to perfect it. This one actually took me two attempts because the first one did not come out very cleanly at all.

Halfway through!

The transfer needs to hang out in the freezer for a little while, so it was time to finish icing the cake and preparing it for the transfer..

And the final result..

Close up of the transfer

And of course, what little boy wouldn't love blue and green cupcakes to go with his cake:)

Happy Birthday Lucas!

December 2, 2011

Its a Minnie-rific Birthday!

I was asked to create a birthday cake for a little girl's second birthday. She wanted a Minnie Mouse Cake, complete with Minnie ears and bow on the top.
I must say, I was really excited about creating this cake. The fondant decorations on this one started about 5 days before the cake was due. They needed time to dry, and make sure they would work well enough to be adhered to the cake. First thing to do was create the Minnie Ears and the Minnie Silhouettes going on the bottom tier.

I wanted to make sure we had a few different sizes of ears to play with, and of course I made doubles of everything:)
Next was making the bow which goes on top of the cake, which I forgot to take a picture of.. but it was spectacular:) (And I made a second one as well:))

Minnie of course needed her pink bows in her hair. (Minnie is either in pink or red, depending on what you like. This birthday girl was all about pink!)

And then the white polka dots all needed to be cut out and ready to go. Finally everything got to sit and dry for a few days..

Finally I got to create the cake and start piecing it all together. :)
I was told the family loved the cake and could not wait to show the birthday girl her cake. I was pretty pleased with it all myself.

Close up of Minnie...
Happy Birthday Alexis!

November 26, 2011

And it's One, Two, Three Strikes Your Out...

I had a wonderful surprise a week or so ago, when I posted my girlfriend's penguin birthday cake on an online forum I am a part of. I got a message from another user, who asked if I would be willing to make her son's birthday cake in a few weeks. I of course said I would love to! After we chatted via message for a bit, she said her best friend was in need of a cake for her son's birthday for the 26th. So I contacted her and we discussed what she wanted for her son. I was looking forward to it! It was wonderful to be recommended, even more wonderful was that I had not met either woman before!

So her Son is turning One today, and she wanted a small cake for him to "Smash" for pictures. It was to be a baseball shaped cake. Perfect! I started working on this cake on Thursday morning. I made a ball cake using the Wilton Ball Pan, which is a great multitasker of a pan:) My first cake decided to cause me much hassle and one of the halves did not release from the pan properly.

So attempt #2 was made. This time it came out of the pans properly, but I was really worried about the weight of the cake on itself. Once I stacked the two halves together, it was painfully obvious that my recipe was too moist of a cake, and I needed to make more of a pound cake to it to withstand the weight.

So on Friday morning, attempt #3 was in the oven.
I must say, it was such a difference in cakes, and I could tell before I even started trimming the excess off, that this cake was a lot denser and should hold up nicely.
Then the fun part began. I got to ice it and decorate it up to look like a baseball. It went surprisingly fast, and before I knew it, the cake was done and waiting to go in the fridge.

So while I know the Birthday Boy won't know the difference between a baseball or a hockey puck, I am sure his parents will love it!

November 15, 2011

Celebrating a Birthday with friends

This past weekend was a close friend's birthday. She recently moved to BC with her now fiance, and left us all behind. She was in town this weekend to visit family and celebrate her birthday with us. Of course, since we were having everyone over for dinner, I had to make a birthday cake...

I had recently tried my first attempt at making modelling chocolate, so I really wanted to use it for a cake. Since the modelling chocolate I used was Black, I needed something black to make...

Somehow I thought Penguins would be a cute idea.
Workin with the modelling chocolate was a lot of fun. It took a little bit of troubleshooting to figure out how to work with it best, but once I got going, I was really enjoying how easy it was to mold.
Now I am not an artist or a sculptor by any stretch of the word. I can barely draw a straight line, so making animals out of edible playdoh was something I was a little hesitant about. But I decided it was fun to play with, and I can only learn from it, no matter how ugly my penguins may be.

Since its coming up winter time, I thought my penguins needed to dress appropriately as well.

next, my Penguins needed an igloo to live in. Since I didn't actually make an Igloo cake, I wanted to create that same sort of look. I found this technique on Pintrest a while ago, and thought It would make a wonderful igloo look..

And then my penguins needed a pond of ice to play in... along with some snowballs to have a snowball fight..

And the final look of the whole cake..

I was pretty pleased with how it turned out. Not bad for someone who doesn't sculpt or have any artistic talents. My GF loved it, and everyone thought it was a wonderful Birthday present:)

November 2, 2011

New Babies make me so happy

A girlfriend of mine just had her second baby boy on the 19th. I had been waiting for him to arrive so I could make a cake for him. I always wanted to do a cherry blossom style of cake and since I knew my friend had a cherry blossom tree tattooed up her side, I thought it would be fitting to make.
I was surprised to find out that I ended up duplicating their wedding cake! They thought it was incredibly sweet, I enjoyed making it, so it was a win/win situation:)

October 18, 2011

Happy Birthday Pumpkin!!!

it was my youngest daughter's First Birthday this past weekend.
I cannot believe my baby is now One. Seriously, where has the time gone? We of course had a big party for her with all of our family and friends, and I of course, made a ton of treats to share, including the birthday cake.

Since my baby was born in October, and she is in between Thanksgiving and Halloween, I naturally wanted to do a Pumpkin "theme" for her cake. I had a friend make a pumpkin cake for her son's birthday last year, and I loved the idea of it. Then I saw these cute mini Pumpkin pans at Superstore, which called my name.. honestly. I sat in the aisle with both kids in the cart, while I agonized for buying these mini pans for about 15 minutes! once I figured out what I wanted to make, then it was a matter of choosing my cakes themselves.

My same girlfriend had posted a Pumpkin Pound Cake that she used for her cake. I figured, "When in Rome".. so I used her same recipe. I'm not a huge fan of pound cakes, but I guess in the Decorating world, they are the best medium to use. Overall, my cake turned out pretty good. I used two Bundt Cakes, one flipped on top of the other to make the pumpkin shape. Then iced and decorated as usual. The smaller cakes were a bit more trying. They were definitely cute, but unfortunately all of the detail that was on the cakes themselves, got lost once the icing went on.  I think those kind of pans are better suited for plain cakes, with just a confectioners sugar sprinkled on it.
Anyways, The end results was just what I was hoping for. Of course the icing job on my small pumpkins could have been cleaner, but it was already a late night and I couldn't take anymore!!

I love making Birthday Cakes... especially my own kids' cakes:)

October 10, 2011

Attempt at Gumpaste Shoes

I've seen cakes made with shoes as decoration a few times now. I've always wanted to try to make them, and finally I decided to google my way through everything and find out how to do it.
Well, it isn't that hard to do!

I'll be honest, I actually made these shoes up a few months ago with every intention of making a cake around them, but after I had finished the shoes, I was not overly happy with my final results due to the color choice and my choice to "paint" them with pearl dust. So they sat on the back of my buffet in my kitchen for a long time..

Until I finally had to throw them out because I couldn't look at them any longer..


Anyways, the shoes..

Overall the size and shape of the shoes were very spot on. I was pleased with the initial product for a first attempt.. but my lackluster paint job on them afterwards just soured me on the look of them. You can't really see in the pics, but you could definitely see the brush strokes everywhere. It was ugly.

I do eventually want to make these into a cake, but at least I know what I can do differently next time

October 9, 2011

More Halloween Cupcakes

I had to do a demo at the store this weekend, and I had a display of Cupcakes to show off, to not only get people interested in my cupcakes class that weekend, but to draw interest into the regular wilton courses.
Im not fond of demos as they never draw the attention one would hope to have in the store. I get a lot of "oh, that looks pretty" or "nice work", but  I rarely get genuine interest in the Wilton courses. Thankfully its only 2 hours out of my day, and I do get paid for it, and of course the staff loves it, because they get the leftovers:)

Anyway, I had a demo of both cupcakes and cake pops, both of which were "meh" to me, but did their job and drew a slight bit of interest:)

Ohhh very scary..

Very simple cake pops..

Thank god my demo days are over for a few months!!

Birthday Cake Surprise

My brother asked me to make a cake for his neighbor for his birthday. Since it was a slow week for me, and I hadn't done a cake in a little while, I said sure.
He thought it would be great to make a beer shaped cake, and since I had not done any shaped cakes before, it would be good practice.

With a very short time frame for making this, I did not have enough time to play around with sizing and shaping. I only had a 9x13 pan to use, so I knew the dimensions would be off. But since this was for only 4 people and two kids, I knew it would be fine. The beer label is a Frozen Buttercream Transfer of the Wild Rose brewery's Wraspberry Ale beer, which was the birthday boy's favorite beer.

Overall I was pleased with the results. Next time I would try to make it more the right dimensions so it looked more like a beer bottle and not flattened out at the bottom.

September 30, 2011

Hot Pink

I had a ton of hot pink fondant left over from my Princess cake a while back, and I was getting tired of it taking up space in my cupboard. So I decided to use it up with the remainder of my Black fondant.
This was my result.

I wasn't entirely happy with it, but it was a quick job. I think I spent about an hour doing this.
I am definitely not a fan of the Duff Goldman Fondant.. that stuff may taste better than Wilton, but it is way too soft for working.

September 25, 2011

Cupcake Bouquet

I was looking for something fun to do with cupcakes, and I came across this idea online and thought it would be neat to try. It was pretty simple too, which is nice.
It starts with a regular plant pot, and a half sphere of a floral ball. Then the cupcakes. These are attached to the ball using toothpicks. Originally I tried the toothpicks at the horizontal plane, but the cupcakes fell off every single time. So I turned them to sit vertically and this seemed to make the difference. It wasn't 100% sturdy, but it worked.

I then added a little bit of green leaves to it to fill in the gaps a bit and to make it look more like a plant.
These were a big hit with the recipients:)

September 17, 2011

Spoookkky Cupcakes

Part of my job teaching the Wilton Courses is I get to offer fun Project Classes to anyone and everyone interested. It's a great way to add a bit more income into my bank account, and it only takes one - 2 hour course usually to do, as opposed to the 2 hour - 4 week block Courses we offer every month. I love project classes. It's so much fun to spend the class watching people learn a few new skills and have a great time while doing it. Plus a lot of the project classes are offered to children 8 and older, so they can get in on the fun as well.

Next weekend I am teaching a Cupcakes Class. This is usually a class where the students learn basic decorating techniques for cupcakes. However this time, I am making my class Thanksgiving/Halloween themed. So I have been scouring the internet, and my cupcake books for ideas on what I can teach my class. Simple things that they can learn in the two hours, plus easy enough that everyone can do without much effort.

So I decided to play around with the ideas I found and practice them myself...

Kind of cute, aren't they?

A close up shot of them:

I was having a lot of fun playing around with these, and my three year old was enjoying standing next to me, eating my spare candies and licking the icing that fell onto the counter top:)

So here is how they were done:

Upright Ghost: Ice cupcake. Stick lollipop into the center. Cover lollipop with a thin sheet of white fondant. Add black eyes using gel or icing.
Spider Web: Ice Cupcake in white, add black circles. Take toothpick and lightly drag into the center (or out from the center)
Monster: Using tip 18, Do pull out stars all around. Add Smarties for eyes, Break half a oreo cookie (or thin wafer cookie). Add icing for mouth, or pipe white teeth.
Owl: Ice Cupcake. Open up two Oreo cookies. Place Smartie/Reese Pieces on top. One on the side for nose.
Pumpkin: Using tip 12, start at the top and pipe down the side, moving back up in one motion. Ice whole cupcake. Using tip 67 add small leaf at the top. Using tip 2 with black. Pipe in eyes and mouth.
Turkey: Ice Cupcake. Mound a bit of icing on backside to allow for candy corns to rest in it. Add Candy Corns. Using tip 12 mound the body upright, add small head. Using tip 2 in red add a small dribble for the giblet
Spider: Ice cupcake. Using tip 12 in black mound the icing for the body, and smaller mound for the head. Using tip 2 add legs. Add eyes.
Small Ghost: Ice Cupcake. using white ising, throw the icing into the microwave for 10 seconds to melt. Put into bag and pipe out ghost design. Fill in with remaining icing. Add eyes.
Mummy: Using tip 47, serrated edge down, pipe random lines around cupcake for bandages. Add eyes.

Have fun with these!!

August 27, 2011

Cake Pops.. Trial and Error, right?

So you will remember that my part time job is as a Wilton Method Instructor for Michaels. Being an instructor means I get to enjoy not only teaching our three main Wilton courses, but I get to offer Project classes to my student as a way to get something new out of decorating.

In July Wilton FINALLY released a project class regarding Cake Pops, called POPS! You might remember a previous post I had on cake pops, but if not here is the link:) Now these ones arent technically pops, since they aren't on a stick, but you get the idea. Anyways, since then I have been wanting to teach this class ever since I heard about them when I was on maternity leave with my second child. So I was thrilled when I could finally get some class time to offer it up.

In getting ready to teach the course, I had to play around with my new supplies I got through Wilton, (serious discount.. LOVE IT!) in order to make sure I understood how everything worked and to be comfortable working with the candy melts.

So that meant, making some pops:)

Now, don't judge me on how bad some of these turned out. I figured out on a few of them that I should have made the balls smaller to make the decor in proportion, but it didn't work out that way.

Pretty sad looking, aren't they? Don't worry. My husband and I had a really good chuckle over the state of these pathetic creatures:) But they are cute in their own sad little way, right?
My Second attempt I was playing around with ideas from the Wilton POPS! Book. They turned out not too badly considering I didn't have a lot of decorating materials on hand.

My third attempt went a bit better. This time I made some pops for a demo I was doing in our store earlier in the month. I wanted simple pops, ones that showed how easy it was to make and look pretty. These ones did turn out a bit better.
Well, except for "Carlos" and "Rico Suave"...they are pathetic in their own right!:)
See, even his poor ears aren't good. Poor bugger wouldn't be able to hear all of the people laughing at him!

I do have a final display which is currently in my fridge awaiting for my concluding class in the morning. So once the class is completed, I can share the results of the fourth round of Pops..

(On a side note, I was told by my management, that apparently there is a huge demand in our store asking for another POPS! Class. Seems too many are interested, but my late Summer slot didn't work out, so looks like I get to schedule another one:))

August 1, 2011

Happy Birthday My Sweetheart!

My eldest daughter turned Three last week. I can't believe how quickly time is flying by! Hard to believe in three months I will be planning my youngest daughters first birthday!

My daughter is big into Toy Story lately. Ever since she saw the movies, she has been head over heels for Buzz and Woody. Back in the spring she had declared she wanted Buzz and Woody on her birthday cake.

So of course I had to oblige..

I had toyed with two ideas I had in mind to do, one being a stacked cake style with some very time consuming fondant work, the other being a "shaped" cake with a bit less decoration. My husband decided for me and chose the shaped cake, considering I hadn't done anything like it before.
I had decided to make Andy's Bed and have his toys, Buzz and Woody on his bed.

The cake started about two weeks before I actually made cake. First I had to make the bedframe.

It started off by hand drawing a headboard and footboard on paper.

Then I made some brown gumpaste and used my stencil to trace out my frames.

My last step which took place a week later was to lightly brush brown coloring with vodka to make the brown look more like wood.

Sorry, no pic of that one:)

The next step I had to do was make the hardwood floor cake board that the bed was going to sit on. For this I decided to try my hand at making my own fondant. I had tried this once before but I was less than thrilled with the results. But I figured everything deserved a second chance, so I tried again. This time I tried a different website.. I was pleased with the results of this Marshmallow Fondant recipe.

Making the wood look itself was a lot easier than I thought it would be. I took half of the fondant and colored it brown, left the other half white and then wrapped the two together like a rope. Then I made sort of like a coiled rug out of it, and the rolled my rolling pin over it. Once I got the marbling effect I was looking for, I glued it to my cake board with piping gel. Then I took a straight edge and randomly made the ends of my boards. I then added some wood grains to the boards to make it look more like wood and then finally took my vodka infused brown color and painted over it to give it another dimension of color. For a first attempt, I was overly joyed with how it turned out.

Finally it was time to put the cake on it... the night before the party.
Since I had good luck with the Marshmallow Fondant for the board, I decided to cover the cake in it as well. It was the first time I had tried covering cake, so I wasn't sure what to expect.
As I started to roll out the fondant, I realized that it was quite soft. It took me at least 45 minutes of swearing and cursing and re rolling and re applying to finally get the fondant on the cake the way I wanted it. First the bed spread had to go down..

Then I added the white sheet and pillow.

And finally, the headboard and footboard, Buzz and Woody with a few of their friends, and of course, the big Happy Birthday for my baby:)

The cake wasn't the only thing I made for the party. On top of that, I decided to make some Alien Cupcakes and "Jessie" Cookies for the goodie bags. These were super easy to make and a hit by all the kids (and Adults)

And the cookies

The cake and the cupcakes sat on the buffet table by the food. Everyone stared in amazement at my wonderful cupcakes.... Not realizing the Bed next to it was actually the birthday cake.. Until I pointed it out. It was the greatest feeling in the world to see everyone's face drop when they saw it...

Even better when the cake was pretty much devoured at the end!

July 26, 2011

Project Tiered Cakes

Recently, I decided to teach "Tall Cakes" at my store. This is a 3 hours project class offered by Wilton for us to teach if we like. Since I am just getting back into the swing of things with my classes, I was looking for something more to offer them outside of the three courses.

Tall Cakes came out back in September of last year, just when I was leaving for the birth of my second child. I was so looking forward to teaching this when I returned, so it was a no brainer for me to offer it the first chance I could. The course itself teaches students the basics of stacking cakes, and the different ways you can make a tiered cake. So because I have to demonstrate in the class, I have to make a tiered cake myself.

I wanted something simple, so it didn't cost a lot of money to decorate, and something elegant enough to look like a great wedding cake. So my choice was to make a simple black and white style cake. Overall, I was impressed with my results!

Close Up of one of the bows..

It went over pretty good. In fact my store manager is going to keep it for future displays in the store:)