Sunday, November 29, 2009

Happy 1/2 Birthday to you!

Posted by Jennifer at 6:43 PM 3 comments
Sarah wanted to take advantage of having family in town for the holidays and chose to celebrate her son's 1/2 birthday. That's right, not one, not two, but half birthday. :) She came up with this awesome idea of having the cake look like it had been cut straight down the middle, like in the end of the Willy Wonka movie where everything in his office is sliced down the middle. She wanted the cake to be fun, colorful and whimsical and here's what we came up with. It looks like a totally normal cake from this side and then as you turn it, you realize it's a bit odd. The cake was a Coconutty Almond Cake with a light coconut cream cheese frosting layered with sliced almonds, coconut cream filling, and coconut flakes. All of the decorations are made out of marshmallow fondant, including the "1/2" sign on the top. I hope Evan loved the cake (or at least registered that he was the luckiest kid in the world to get a half birthday).

Here is another shot for you to check out:

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Andromeda Galaxy in Cake Form

Posted by Jennifer at 6:34 PM 6 comments

Sarah wanted this cake for her friend's birthday. The first was the Alien Head (below) and the second was a cake of the Andromeda Galaxy. Hmm.... how will I ever do that? That was definitely my first question. If you're unfamiliar with the galaxy, google it and see if I did it justice. In order to make this cake look as "galaxy-like" as possible, I placed dragees (edible pearl-sized balls) around the cake to be like stars. Then I hand-painted the swirls of shimmery stars with edible pearl dust as well as pearl and silver edible paint. It was pretty cool to see the shimmer. Again, my photography skills are AWFUL so I tried to get as good a picture as I could of the shimmer but there's something with shimmer and flashes that just don't like to go together.

The cake was Mom's Apple Pie flavor (one of my faves) which is spiced apple cake with apple slices baked in layered with cheesecake cream filling and buttercream.

Here's another shot for you.

It's an Alien Head... I warned you!

Posted by Jennifer at 6:18 PM 3 comments

Sarah wanted to have two cakes to surprise her two friends for their birthdays. She wanted the first to be an alien head. Yup, an alien head. This was a really fun cake for a few reasons. First, I had to sculpt this cake and then I had to paint the cake. Sculpting the cake wasn't too bad because it was just a giant dome-head! :) In order to get the contours of the face, I shaped and then layered fondant directly onto the cake. Then after I covered the cake in fondant, I smoothed out those areas so that it looked seamless (does that make sense?). I didn't have to paint the head but I wanted there to be shading with the green. Taking a picture of the cake did the color and the shading no justice.

In any case, the cake was a Strawberry Cheesecake Cake so when they cut into it, it was slightly pink. It's hard to see the angle of the cake and just how big this dude's forehead was so I'm attaching another picture. Sarah said they loved it! Yay!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Champagne and Chocolate Cake

Posted by Jennifer at 12:29 AM 4 comments
Have you ever wondered what a 25 pound cake looks like? Well here it is! Lacey got married today and wanted a Champagne and Chocolate colored cake to match her theme. We went through a few designs and came up with this one.

She chose the three flavors that I would likely choose if I were to order a wedding cake (I kid you not! These are the three flavors I would've ordered too!). The top tier is a Lemon Supreme Cake (lemon cake layered with lemon filling and buttercream), the middle tier is Mom's Apple Pie Cake (apple spice cake with apple slices baked into the cake layered with cheesecake filling and buttercream), and the bottom tier is Brownie Lovers Cake (chocolate cake layered with chocolate ganache and a middle layer of actual brownies).

Now for the funny part... When Rosie and I went to deliver the cake (because I clearly couldn't carry this puppy!), we walked into the room and Lacey's aunt walked up and said, "Did you know that this is what she does for a living?" It turns out that Lacey is a pastry chef and she withheld that very important information from me so as to not stress me out. I totally felt like I was being punked! haha. Then everyone in the room swarmed around the cake before I even had a chance to move it to the main cake table. I learned two valuable lessons with this cake. 1. Always deliver the cake WAY earlier than expected so that people don't start taking pictures of you when you walk in with the cake and 2. Always ask if the bride is a pastry chef! :) In all honesty, Lacey was SO awesome to work with because she knew what she wanted but was also really flexible with the details. In retrospect, I remember saying, "wow, you totally read my mind!" when it came to cake construction, which makes so much sense now! I keep lucking out with my brides and haven't had to deal with a bridezilla yet (Thank goodness for that!).

The cake is covered in marshmallow fondant and if you're interested, I'm going to go into quite of bit of detail on the decorations so if you're not into it, read no further :) Here we go... The bow on the top is made out of marshmallow fondant. In order to get the bow to stay, I roll out the fondant into strips and then lay the strips over a rolling pin until they dry in that shape(be sure to connect the ends of the piece so that it almost looks like a look) . After they've all dried, I place each loop into the shape you see using a 6-inch baking pan that is lined with wax paper. I spray the whole bow with water (or vodka, because it dries faster) and again, let the bow dry in place. This takes a few days to complete but when it's done, it's totally worth it!

In order to get the edges of the cake to look so crisp, I roll out fondant to fit the sizes of the cake (so four of each size, 6x6x4 for the top, 8x8x4 for the middle, and 10x10x4 for the bottom). Then, I let those rectangles dry so that they are hardened. Meanwhile, I covered each tier of cake with marshmallow fondant as I would any other cake and then I simply adhere the hardened sides of fondant to the cake with buttercream or water and decorate.

Now for the color... Champagne is a very odd color to make from white fondant. In addition, the color swatch that Lacey gave me was a shimmery, shiny color. In order to match this color as best as I could, I first tinted the fondant a slight tan-pink color. Then, I brushed on an edible gold luster dust to each piece that's champagne colored. After applying the pieces to the cake, I sprayed the whole cake with edible pearl dust to give it an extra shine. In the process of applying pieces, moving the cakes, stacking the cakes, etc., I smudged several places and couldn't dare leave smudges on the cake. In order to fix that problem, I painted on a second layer of edible gold luster dust. Then, I wanted to make sure that the chocolate color stayed dark chocolate so that it contrasted with the champagne. In order to do that, I had to remove the luster dust that was sprayed onto the chocolate colored pieces of fondant using a paintbrush and water to remove the shimmer.

Although this all sounds like a lot of tedious work, I really LOVED making this cake. Hours flew by and in the end, I was pretty pleased with the result. Oh and check out my new cake stand! Woo-hoo! I'm WAY excited about that beauty. Lastly, I have to thank Lacey for being truly wonderful to work with and making my job fun and (relatively) stress-free. I appreciate all of your support in my work and faith in my ability. Congratulations!

Lots of Pink and a Horsey Cake

Posted by Jennifer at 12:20 AM 3 comments

In addition to the Elmo cake (read below), Keri wanted to order a cake for her niece, Makyah. This cake was a bit of surprise to Keri and to me so we had two days to come up with something cute. Keri said, "she loves horses but anything would be just fine." With all of that freedom and so little time, this is what we came up with. The cake was chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream covered in fondant. The horse is made out of marshmallow fondant as are the flowers and the rope. Keri and her husband were really excited about this one too :) I guess they were expecting a small picture of a horse on a cake. I'm glad I could exceed their expectations!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Elmo Birthday Present Surprise

Posted by Jennifer at 11:59 PM 3 comments
Keri emailed me several months ago (yes, that's right, several MONTHS ago) and asked for the Sesame Street Cake that I made a while back. I love it when people plan ahead! Instead of remaking the same cake, I suggested we create something new and unique for her daughter, Tahlen. This was the result.... a giant Elmo (made out of rice krispies covered in fondant) popping out of a cake. Elmo was quite the challenge because the sheer weight of his head made it almost impossible to keep together (which kept reminding me of that scene in "So I Married an Axe Murderer" when he says, "head! Move!"... Anyway....). We ended up putting skewers into his head in order to stop him from splitting in half because that would've been quite traumatic for the kids at the party. This cake was so colorful and fun to make... a challenge, but VERY fun!

The top tier was Rainbow Bright Cake (colored red, blue, and green, with vanilla cream filling and buttercream) and the bottom tier was Strawberry Cheesecake Cake (Strawberry cake with strawberries baked inside of the cake layered with cheesecake filling and buttercream).

I really couldn't have asked for a better reaction from Keri and her husband. Although the week has been very long and hard, they made this cake pick up so wonderful and just expressed how much they loved it. I didn't get to see Tahlen's reaction, I hope she bit into Elmo's arm and just loved it :) Thank you so much, Keri!

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