Tuesday, December 28, 2010

First Gingerbread Ever!

Posted by Jennifer at 1:48 AM 1 comments
South Jordan holds an annual Gingerbread contest mostly for kids and just for fun. This year, I thought I would enter because I've never made a gingerbread house from scratch before. It was even more fun than I thought it would be plus I loved the smell of the house after cooking gingerbread... yum! I decided to make a gingerbread bakery instead of a house considering what I do. I cut windows into the walls of the bakery and assembled the "house" with a mixture of buttercream and royal icing. I covered each wall with marshmallow fondant with a brick texture and added a shingled-type roof made of colorful MMF ovals. I used the same colors from the "shingles" as accents on the door, Christmas lights around the house and on the trees. Pretty much everything on this gingerbread bakery is MMF with the exception of the icing and the walls.
The trees are solid pieces of fondant shaped into a cone. Then, I used cuticle scissors to cut the sides of the tree making it look more like a Christmas tree. I added the Christmas lights and a solid fondant star on top. I accented the gingerbread bakery with my Salt Cake City logo on the window and a cake, cake slice, and cupcakes on a small table outside of the bakery (made from MMF). Lastly, I drizzled thick royal icing on the bushes (made from MMF as well), trees, and the roof. To add even more texture, I blended coconut flakes with granulated sugar and sprinkled that on the wet royal icing creating a thick snow fall.
This piece was so much fun to make because for me, the more color there was, the better it was. I wanted it to be really vibrant and festive :) I hope you like it and I also hope you have a lovely holiday season!

Posted by Jennifer at 1:43 AM 1 comments

I just finished this cake last weekend but I wanted to post it now since it’s so winter-wonderland themed. (Don’t worry, I will post the last 25 cakes ASAP J) Leah and Adam wanted a cake with deep blue and silver tones to it and since the wedding was so close to Christmas, we decided to do a snowflake and ornament cake. The whole cake is covered in homemade marshmallow fondant and accented with edible silver snowflakes. The blue border on each tier is also MMF as well as the hand-shaped Christmas ornaments. They ornaments were sprayed with edible silver and blue spray to give them an ornament shine. Then, the bride wanted to top the cake with a porcelain replica of the Salt Lake LDS temple. Originally, the cake was going to be 5 tiers but the replica ended up being nearly 8 inches wide so we had to go with the flow and make it four tiers. I hand molded their initials with MMF and then sprayed it with edible silver and blue to give it a little more depth. Although I didn’t get to see the bride’s reaction, the mother of the bride loved it!

As for the flavors, they had White Chocolate Dipped Strawberry Cake (strawberry cake with baked strawberries layered with rich white chocolate ganache), vanilla cake with milk chocolate buttercream, and Lemonberry Cake (lemon cake layered with raspberry cream filling and buttercream).

I have to tell you a funny story about the tasting. The mother of the bride and bride chose the flavors for their cake tasting together. At the last minute, the mother of the bride emailed and asked to taste a Caramel Macchiato cake instead of one of the other choices. On the day of the tasting, I was ready to go with the three flavors they chose. Because they came straight after church, they ended up bringing the mother, father, two sisters, and brother along with the bride. My cake tastings include full 6-inch cakes so luckily, I did have enough for everyone. We started with the White Chocolate Dipped Strawberry cake that the bride loved. Then, I cut into the Caramel Macchiato cake (which is coffee flavored cake layered with caramel cream filling and buttercream). I noticed an interesting mood shift in the room as I described the cake flavors and asked if the siblings wanted to taste this flavor as well, considering it was coffee flavored (at this point, they explained that their wedding cake topper was going to be an LDS temple replica and most Mormons do not drink coffee). The mother of the bride said, “Oh, don’t worry, the coffee bakes out!” and began laughing. The family is LDS but the mom loves the smell and flavor of coffee so she wanted to try the flavor but the bride was not into the idea at all. I thought it was hilarious and the son almost gave his mom a lecture about Mormon beliefs. Haha…. They were such a beautiful and fun family to have a cake tasting with and every time I saw them before the wedding, it was a good time. The parents of the bride came over the day after the wedding and they looked exhausted but I could tell it was a relief to have their first child's wedding done and over with :) haha. Congratulations, Leah & Adam on your wedding!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas Cake Ornaments!!

Posted by Jennifer at 12:15 AM 1 comments
Just in case you didn't know, I LOVE Christmas. Last year, I saw some cupcakes that someone had made that looked like Christmas ornaments and so I waited all year to make these. That was a bit more dramatic than it needed to be but I have been wanting to make these for a while. Rather than doing cupcakes, I decided to make full sized, round cake truffle ornaments. I made around 30 of them (phew!). Half were chocolate cake and half were spice cake covered in buttercream and then covered in homemade marshmallow fondant. They were accented with MMF decorations including the top gold hook, and then sprayed with edible pearl shimmer. I didn't have the pan that most people use to make these so I hand-shaped them... can you tell they aren't completely round? Ah! I hate that. Here's an up close shot of four of my favorites.

These were deceivingly time consuming. Because I hand-shaped them, I had to shape, cool, and then reshape them just to get them round enough for my liking. Then, I had to frost, cool, reshape, refrost, cool, cover, cool, decorate, cool, spray with shimmer, and top with hooks. In the end, totally worth it! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Baby Shoes Cake

Posted by Jennifer at 12:16 PM 2 comments
Chelsee threw her sister a baby shower and had a cake design and colors in mind. One thing she wanted for sure were a pair of baby shoes to sit on top of the cake. Chelsee was very organized, especially since she was doing the party planning and organizing from out of state and sent me several cake inspirations and ideas through email. We ended up with this colorful and vibrant design. The cake was covered in homemade marshmallow fondant and decorated with fondant flowers and shoes. Each flower had a tiny little edible dragee in the center and although I tried to use the flowers sparingly, I tend to go overboard!

Both tiers were white cake layered with strawberry filling (the mother-to-be's request). The baby shoes ended up taking a few tries to get right but they were surprising easy to make. It's made from three pieces that I "glued" together (with water) and then stuffed with plastic wrap until they dried in shape. Fun, fun, fun!

Holiday Present Cake

Posted by Jennifer at 11:08 AM 1 comments
The Department of Communication was having its annual Holiday Luncheon and so to celebrate, I wanted to do a fun and festive cake. This cake ended up being much bigger than I anticipated but I had fun making it so that's all that matters. Rosie helped dye all of the fondant since I only had one day to put this all together. Consequently, her hands are still dyed red and green while mine are nice and pretty. (Now THAT'S a good friend!) Hmm, I'm not sure what else to discuss about the cake but if you have questions on how I did anything, just let me know. If you search for the other cakes with the "bow" tag in my cake blog, I have explained how to make these bow that I've done here.

The top cake was Peanut Butter No Cup Cake (chocolate cake layered with sweet peanut butter buttercream), the middle was Thankful for Pumpkin Pie Cake (pumpkin cake layered with pumpkin cream filling and buttercream) and the bottom was Rosie's favorite, Banana Cream Pie (banana cake layered with banana cream filling, banana slices, and buttercream).

The whole cake is covered in homemade marshmallow fondant including the top present bow and the bottom red bow. Each of these was made to look like a different type of present with different holiday aspects. I especially loved the blue box on top with the snowflakes. I had such a great time making this cake with Rosie and my department was so gracious with their compliments at the luncheon. A special thank you to Dr. Darling. You are always so supportive and I don't tell you just how much I appreciate your thoughtfulness.

Golden Flowers Cake

Posted by Jennifer at 10:12 AM 0 comments
Amber and Ben wanted a wedding cake that was a dramatic statement and centerpiece. Amber had seen a beautiful cake online and wanted to mimic the cake with her wedding colors (shades of yellow and gray). Additionally, this couple was having two receptions, one here in Utah and one in Oregon. Because of this, I suggested I make a predominantly fake cake with one tier real so that they could take this cake to their second reception in Oregon rather than buying to wedding cakes. Although four of the tiers are fake, everything is edible from the buttons, to the silver balls, to the big and little flowers. This is what we came up with in the end.
Amber wanted different heights in her cakes as well as different shapes. I also made four different shades of the small flowers along with three different kinds of borders for the tiers because each tier had a little different character. Above, I attached an up close picture of the big flower taken by Aria Photography. This picture really showcases the texture of the borders, the detail of the big flowers and buttons. There were over 100 edible flowers on this cake and over 20 silver dragees. In this picture, you can see the detail of the buttons and the flowers. It took several hours just to make the flowers but I really loved it in the end. (Plus, I really like tedious, time-consuming work... seriously, I do!)
Along with the fake cake, I made "kitchen cakes" for the wedding reception. Kitchen cakes are NOT sheet cakes because they are the same height and flavor as the main wedding cake (typically three layers of cake with two layers of filling and buttercream). They are in the back for the caterers to cut into in order to create a faster expediting process for the servers. The real tier of cake and some of the kitchen cakes were Lemon Supreme Cake (lemon cake layered with lemon cream filling and buttercream) and the other kitchen cakes were Almond Joy Cake (coconut cake layered with coconut flakes, coconut cream filling, and chocolate buttercream).

Just a funny little tidbit for you (I'm not really sure what a "tidbit" is but I wanted to use it here :) When I went to deliver the wedding cake, a crowd gathered behind me while I put the finishing details on the cake. (Not a scary or nerve racking situation at all! haha) A women came over and gasped in awe when she first saw the cake. Then, she said, "Wow! Is it all real?" I told her that four of the five tiers were fake since they were taking the cake to Oregon and she said, "Well, that's not NEARLY as impressive." I lowered my head, gathered my belongings and cried all the way home. Haha.... yeah right. No crying but I did think it was HILARIOUS that she said that to me. Ah, good times.

In any case, I had a great time working with Amber and Ben on this wedding cake and they were truly a beautiful couple. Technically Ben's biggest part here was tasting the cakes. He was great at the tasting.... hehe. Amber and Ben, congratulations on your marriage!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Art Deco Wedding

Posted by Jennifer at 1:43 AM 2 comments
Jessica and Jeremy wanted an art deco wedding cake for their red, black, and white wedding. She saw a cake that she loved and we altered it a bit and added her monogram to fit the decor of the wedding. The cake was White Chocolate Dipped Strawberry Cake (strawberry cake layered with white chocolate ganache) covered in homemade marshmallow fondant and accented with silver dragees.

The topper was so much fun to make. I drew out the design I wanted and then basically used it as a stencil when cutting the fondant shape. I rolled out the fondant but left it pretty thick so that I could insert wires into the topper which would help hold it up on top of the cake. Then, it was all about mirroring the image with diamonds, odd shapes, and more dragees. It's hard to see the topper because it was black and the background was dark but it was over the width of cake and had lots of swirls and angles to it. Way fun for me :)

I ended up seeing Jessica at the reception site, which is quite unusual for me. I generally don't see the brides and only hear from them after the wedding but she looked absolutely gorgeous! She had this beautiful, elegant, and sassy wedding dress with a red and black headpiece/feather in her hair. With the red lipstick, she just looked drop dead gorgeous. Congratulations, Jessica & Jeremy!

Autumn Leaves

Posted by Jennifer at 1:35 AM 0 comments
I made this cake during a cake class I taught while the other students were making their creations. This was a vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream (pretty simple stuff here) covered in homemade marshmallow fondant and MMF accents. The beads around the cake and the leaves are all edible. I made the leaves by cutting out the shapes and letting them dry over crinkled plastic wrap. After a day or two, they were hardened and ready to be painted. I painted them with a mixture of yellow, orange, and brown colors to give it more depth and to show the veins in the leaves. I thought this cake was fun for the autumn season when I originally made the cake (yes, I'm THAT far behind in my cake blogging).

Blue Brooch Cake

Posted by Jennifer at 1:16 AM 0 comments
I made this cake a while back as a wedding showpiece and it was inspired by another cake I had seen on cakecentral.com (my total addiction). The cake is covered in marshmallow fondant with a blue MMF border and bow. The brooch is made out of MMF and then I added edible silver dragees to give it a little more sparkle. There was a row of edible beads round the second tier. Other than that, there's not much else going on. Trust me, I wanted to put more but I resisted the urge and tried to keep it classy.

In order to get the bows to stay, I rolled out some fondant till it was pretty thin. I laid those stripes over a PVC pipe (clean PVC pipe of course!) and adhered the ends with a dab of water. I let them dry in place over night and then they were hard and ready to go. Wow, I think that's it. Wasn't that easy?! :)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Ode to my Public Speaking Students

Posted by Jennifer at 2:12 AM 1 comments
This semester, I was blessed with a great group of students for my Wednesday night public speaking course. On the first day, many students said that they hated public speaking and so I thought I had a hard road ahead of me. Turns out, the students were amazing. They came to class ready to discuss, learn, and have fun. I realize this sounds very strange considering how many people hate public speaking, let alone 3 hour night classes but we really did have fun. We had so many inside jokes and so I had to turn some of those into a cake for this great class of mine.

This was a pretty big cake but appears much smaller in this picture. It was pretty much the size of the real podium we had in class. There were two tiers of cake within this podium. One was Mom's Apple Pie (spice cake with baked apples layered with cheesecake cream filling and buttercream) and one was a Turtle Power Cake (chocolate cake layered with caramel cream filling, pecans, and chocolate ganache). The whole cake was covered in marshmallow fondant that was marbleized to look like wood grain.

The "paper" (made of marshmallow fondant) reads:

Comm 1020: Public Speaking
1. Take a deep breath
2. Connect with the audience
3. Use cue cards
4. Don't stare at Jennifer

I made a podium because I told the students near the beginning of the semester that I suggest not using a podium. Students tend to hold on for dear life when using a podium therefore limiting their movement and natural nonverbal behavior. During our second round of speeches, two of the students decided to use the podium. After they were done, one of the audience members said, "Why are you letting them use the podium? I thought you said that wasn't allowed." I thought it was hilarious that my suggestion turned into a rule. In any case, I made the podium to make my point stronger. As far as the paper goes, I always discuss the importance of taking a deep breath before giving speeches and also making a connection with the audience through topic selection and eye contact so I had to add those to the list.

As for #3 on the paper, one of the students asked who was going to hold his cue cards while giving his speech. I asked, "What cue cards?" He tried to convince me that I told the class that someone would hold cue cards in the audience while they speak. I swore up and down that he had made it up and the other students in class backed me up. Regardless, it was the first time a student has asked to have cue cards and so it soon became a reoccurring joke for the class.

Lastly, I oftentimes get students who speak to me (since I'm assigning grades and all), rather than to the audience as a whole which results in them staring at me for the length of their speech. When this happens, I write "Don't stare at me" on their evaluations. These students will almost always ask me after class, "What do you mean? I wasn't staring at you!" I tell them to watch their video so they can see how awkward I feel when they make a bee-line for my eye contact and practically stare at me the whole time they speak. It's fun to be a teacher :)

Anywho, I truly enjoyed this semester with my students and wanted to reward them for their hard work and for putting up with me for 3 hours every week. Thank you, Kyle, Rich, Jesse, Brooke, Kevin, Annette, Jared, Wade, Travis, Will, Shay, Jessica, Trevor, Casey, Brittany, Virginia, Stephanie, Duc, and Daniel. You were awesome!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Labyrinth Inspired Cake

Posted by Jennifer at 4:12 PM 0 comments
Does anyone remember way back in the day a little movie starring Jennifer Connolly and David Bowie? That's right, the Labyrinth! Oh my gosh! When Nathan emailed me saying he wanted to surprise Sarah with a birthday cake, I was already excited. When he said he wanted it to be Labyrinth inspired, I was REALLY excited. When he said he wanted it to be inspired by the crystal ball scene.... well, I had to go watch the movie again just to see what I could do. Nathan mentioned that Sarah loves the little work and owl in the movie so I had to add those too. Here's what I came up with.

A while back, Sarah created this completely unique flavor that she loved and so Nathan wanted the whole cake to be that flavor. It was Chocolate Cherry Cake with baked cherries layered with sliced almonds and coffee flavored cream cheese frosting. Yup, that's right! Apparently she loved it :) The whole cake was covered in marbleized homemade marshmallow fondant with marshmallow fondant pearls around the cake. To get the marble effect, you take a handful of white fondant, a handful of deep blue, and a handful of light blue fondant. Roll each of those into a long tube and then place them right next to each other. Roll the three tubes into each other for just a bit and then roll them out with a rolling pin (or PVC pipes, like I do). Then, just cover the cake in the marbleized fondant.

This is the little worm from the Labyrinth. You should check out the picture of the real thing because yes, it is this ugly :) haha. He has a blue afro-thing going on with a red scarf. He took quite a bit of time to complete with the hand-painting the colors on there and getting the hair to stand up straight. Oh, so much fun!

This is the owl from the movie. I hand-sculpted him and then painted him with brown food coloring to get the shading down.

This mask was completely edible and could have probably been worn as well. I painted the blue and light brown shading with edible food coloring and then accented the mask with silver dragees. I tried to match the pearl beads on the cake with a top line of beads on the mask. In the end, I was pretty happy with the cake and so was Sarah :)

Sun, Moon, & Stars Cake

Posted by Jennifer at 3:59 PM 0 comments
I'm always excited to make cakes for Bill because he's so trusting and supportive. Bill wanted a small but meaningful cake for his wife, Jody, this year. She loves sun, moon, and star decor so he wanted to incorporate that into her cake and basically said, "go for it and do what you think will look best." Bill loves the Brownie Lovers cake (chocolate cake layered with brownies and rich chocolate ganache) so he ordered that again. I think they both got what they wanted in this case :) The cake was covered in homemade marshmallow fondant and then accented with buttercream stenciling, marshmallow fondant accents, and edible silver dragees.

It's always funny to me how the small and simple cakes end up taking me more time that huge wedding cakes. What's up with that? I had to redo the fondant job twice and the stenciling about three times. Ugh! Those darn little cakes! hehe.

Friday, December 3, 2010

A Moulin Rouge Wedding Cake

Posted by Jennifer at 7:36 PM 5 comments
Cayli and Brandon were having a really unique red, black, and white themed wedding complete with Cayli's red shoes and sash. She wanted a very bold cake to match and saw a Moulin Rouge/Burton-esque wedding cake that she fell in love with. I did my best to do her vision justice and had a ton of fun making it come together.

Two tiers were Lemon Supreme Cake (lemon cake layered with lemon cream filling and buttercream) and two tiers were White Almond Cake (almond flavored cake layered with cream cheese frosting and almond slices) and they were all tapered in just a bit at the bottom. This 6-8-10-12 inch cake was covered in homemade marshmallow fondant with MMF accents. I made the swirls out of fondant by rolling it into long vines and then shaping them into swirls. I inserted a thin wire into the end so that when they dried, I could just stick them into the cake to stay. The roses were another story. Each petal of each flower was hand-cut and then the edges of each petal had to be softened with a fondant ball tool in order to make the petals look soft and real. After they dry and harden a bit, I wrap individual petals around a rose "bud" (made out of fondant) using water to adhere the petals. There were about 12 petals per rose and around 15 roses on the cake (you do the math :) Very time consuming but I loved the end product and so did Cayli, so that's all that matters. After adding the marshmallow fondant swags, I added edible silver dragees to give it just an extra touch.
The original cake had a slight lean to it but I wasn't sure if Cayli liked that aspect of the cake so from one angle, I made it straight and from the side, there was a slight lean. Thank you for trusting me with your vision, Cayli! Congratulations!!

Oh, I have to thank Beck Lutz for her amazing pictures of the cake. If you're in Utah and need an awesome photographer, you can check out her work at http://photographybybeckylutz.blogspot.com/

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