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Archive for the ‘cake’ Category

My friend’s little boy was turning one last week, so she asked me to make the smash cake for his party.  She had decided to do a “Little Man” theme with mustaches and candy shoppe flair.  The colors she picked were teal and red and she asked me to make a mini version of a big cake.

I had no problem making something that fit her request perfectly.  I did a small, two tiered cake.  They were four inches and three inches.  She gave me the dye she was using for her cupcakes and I was able to find a pressed sugar mustache that was just the right size.

As you can see from these pictures, Levi was more than happy with the cake.

 

Looks like he liked it!

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Okay, so I have shared the finished product for the first communion cake  made yesterday (with the priceless help of my mom!)  But I thought you might be interested to see a couple pics from the process.  I snapped one nice shot if the strawberries all sliced up and laying in the middle waiting for the top layer of cake.  I’m telling you, it’s moments like this one that make my husband very disappointed that I’m going to sell this cake instead of keeping it for us.

Here is a picture of the cake once I’ve had a chance to put a crumb frost on it.  I have to say, I am incredibly proud of the shape of this cake.  I don’t know the last time I baked a cake that was this level and had this perfect of an angle.

Something else notable about this cake is the pink fondant.  As I’ve mentioned before, I like to make my own fondant.  I have a great recipe that basically calls for marshmallows and powdered sugar.  For this cake, I decided to use pink strawberry flavored marshmallows! I didn’t have to dye it and the flavor turned out great.

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First Communion Cake

Today I had the chance to make another cake for the same friend who hired me to make the Hollywood themed sweet sixteen cake from a couple weeks ago.  She wanted the same flavors; vanilla cake with strawberries and a light whipped cream frosting.  This time, the cake was for a first holy communion.  She gave me one of the invitations to base the cake design on. 

 

I need to give a special thanks to my mom, who came over and helped with this cake.  It is 12 inches across and about 6 inches tall.  So, while I’m getting pretty good a fondant for normal sized cakes, my mom’s help is priceless on a giant cake like this one.  So…

Thanks Mom!

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Samoa Cake

I found this Samoa cake on pinterest and thought it was so cute.  When I read the recipe, I thought it sounded delicious, but that the recipe (which apparently took all day to make) was way too complicated.  I was so totally not up for an all day recipe.  I didn’t want to go too traditional either, though.  I still wanted the cake to be rich and distinctly different from a boxed cake mix.  So here’s what I did.

I started with a chocolate cake mix and a vanilla cake mix.  I followed the measuring amounts on the box, but instead of water, I used milk, and instead of oil, I used melted butter.  I also added a chocolate instant pudding to the chocolate cake mix and a cheesecake instant pudding to the vanilla cake mix.  Honestly, these changes alone made this a really really rich cake.

For the frosting, I did the whole sweetened condensed milk in the crockpot caramel recipe.  Super easy, I must say.  Then I added about ¾ cup butter and about 2 cups of powdered sugar.  I also added ¾ cup shredded coconut.  This made for a pretty soupy frosting, but considering the end goal, I liked it.

I toasted some coconut to cover the cake with after frosting it.  Be careful, I miserably burned my first attempt.  I had been watching it pretty closely, and it went from completely white to charred black in the last thirty seconds.  Oops, after about a two minutes, it suddenly turns!

Ooops! Thank you, Kitchen Smoke Alarm, for alerting me that these guys had burned!

Oops! Thank you, Kitchen Smoke Alarm, for reminding me I had this in the oven!

Once the coconut was neatly covering the outside of the cake, I melted a bit of chocolate chips, put them in a ziplock bag and cut off the corner to drizzle some stripes.

I used a dark purple foil for the board since that’s the color the Girl Scouts use on the Samoa boxes.  The cake tasted so good.  But beware, this cake is super rich.  And with these modifications to the original recipe, it didn’t have to take all day.

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This weekend was our church’s 10th anniversary celebration, or rather CELEBRAT10N.  My friend Kristin who has made cakes with me before suggested we offer to make the cake for the party.  We were given the colors of the party, which were red, blue and yellow, and the count for the event which was about 150.  Other than that, we pretty much had creative freedom.

We came up with the idea of making the cake look like a sky with pennant banners hanging outside with lots of balloons escaping.  We cut out letters spelling the word CELEBRAT10N – notice the use of a one and a zero instead of the letters io at the end there… Very cute idea that was not ours.

After about 28 hours of work split between three people, Kristin, my incredibly generous mom, and myself, we finished the cake.

DH and I moved the cake to the car on Friday night, and we went to bed.  I was totally pooped and looked forward to sleeping in on Saturday morning.  But I woke-up at about 6:00 am feeling unsettled about the cake.  I thought it was irrational and that I was just being paranoid.  So I tried to put it out of my mind.  But by 6:30, I decided to just go check on the cake to make sure… so that I could rest.

Well, I wasn’t being irrational after all.  The cake had in fact, fallen over in the back of our car.  I was too upset to take a picture of the carnage.  But we brought all the tiers back onto the house and evaluated the damage.  I determined that the top two tiers could be salvaged, but the bottom two needed to be redone from the beginning.  I got the first layer of the 12 inch tier in the oven and then texted Kristin to let her know.  And then called my mom to let her know, too.  On the phone, I broke down (again).

 

We came up with a game plan.  Within an hour, I had the second layer of the 12 inch cake out of the oven.  We had a plan for the new 10 inch cake.  Kristin came over, DH had gone to the store to buy ingredients for more frosting and more fondant.

We had the ball rolling. By 11:00 am, we had new 12 and 10 inch cakes and everything we needed to rebuild the cake.

Luckily, everything went smoothly.  We ended up having a pretty good time, as a matter of fact!  AND, to top it off, we felt like the new cake even looked better.

We were able to take it to the church and be done with it by about 4:00 in the afternoon.  We even had time for a nap!

The party was a blast, the cake was a hit, and, most important, it tasted great!  Plus, I learned a LOT about cake structure and how to avoid this in the future!

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Girly Rubber Ducky Cake

A friend of mine threw a baby shower for one of her old college roommates this weekend and I was honored to bake the cake.  From what I understand, they originally thought the baby was going to be a boy and they planned on doing a rubber ducky themed party.  But they later found out baby is a girl after all.  But they already had the idea of rubber duckies stuck in their heads and wanted to stick with that theme.  So, my friend throwing the party searched high and low and eventually found a girly rubber ducky theme.  She sent me a picture of one of the signs that came in the stationary and asked me to bake a cake that matched.

 

The cake was a strawberry/vanilla marble cake.  The filling was strawberry and the frosting was cream cheese.  For the decorations, I used my homemade fondant recipe.  We talked about what should go on top of the cake and my friend really liked the pennant banner I had used on the Sprinkles Cake a couple weeks ago.  The stationary she found for the party included some similar pennants that she planned to use as decoration, so the idea for the cake worked perfectly. 

I added some small pink bows to the top of the sticks to give it a bit of girly finishing.  And, voila!

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Chocolate Toffee Cake

This weekend I made a rich chocolate toffee cake for my dad’s birthday.  I had already been thinking chocolate, and then my sister suggested adding in the toffee.  I do have a mocha heath cupcake recipe, but that is VERY rich and focuses more on the mocha, so I wanted to try something different.  I did some research and found a few different toffee cake recipes that looked good.  I ended up making some combination of a few different recipes.

 

I started with a traditional milk chocolate cake.  As I have gotten in the habit of doing, I spritzed the cake with a simple syrup when I pulled it out of the pan.  This gives my cakes some added moisture.  I LOVE this tip and have been so pleased every time I’ve done it so far. 

 

For the filling, I combined a number of recipes that I had reviewed.  One recipe called for crème fraiche as the base of the filling.  I loved this idea, but I didn’t want to buy it because it can be so pricey.  And, I waited too long to make it myself (it can take anywhere from 8-24 hours).  So instead I used sour cream.  I mixed the sour cream with some cool whip, some caramel sauce and some crushed up Heath bars.  This was a little soupier than I would have preferred and the crème fraiche probably would have had more weight to it, but the taste was still wonderful. 

 

For the outside frosting, I simply added some melted down milk chocolate to the vanilla butter cream I had left over from the Rainbow Sprinkles cake I made last week. The flavor was great; this was a very rich frosting.  But I should have made the chocolate into a gnache before adding it to the butter cream.  The problem was that the chocolate caused the butter cream to set much firmer than I would have preferred.  This made it almost too rich – and that’s hard to do, because we are a family that LOVES our chocolate!   

 

I topped off the cake with the remaining bits of crushed Heath bars.  And, I used the Wilton’s Color Flame candles.  This was a great way to bring in some color while keeping the cake more on the masculine side at the same time. 

 

My dad was quite happy with his birthday cake and the rest of the family was just as happy to help eat it!

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Last weekend I had the privilege of making a birthday cake for my friend’s mother-in-law.  I’ve never met her, but everything I hear about her tells me that she is so sweet and grateful.  My friend wanted throw her a small family party and she commissioned me to make her the cake.

The inside of the cake was vanilla with pink marble swirls and lemon filling.  The outside was a classic American vanilla butter cream… and rainbow sprinkles.  Lots and lots of rainbow sprinkles. 

I made the banner by printing out the letters onto cardstock.  I cut out the pennants and hole punched them to string them up.  I just used leftover sticks from the strawberry shortcake kabobs I made two weeks ago for our Oscar party.  (Apparently, after the cake was finished, the banner was moved to a potted plant to keep the festivities going for a little longer).  I let the cake sit in the fridge to firm up for about an hour after frosting it before I tied the bow to it. I added pink sparkler candles, too.

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It was about two years ago, now, that our friends Jon and Monique got married. I was honored that they asked me to bake their cake and happy to do something a little more traditional. Originally, she only wanted three tiers, but in discussing it, we decided that something a little more grandeur would be a more fun centerpiece. But we didn’t need all that cake. What we decided to do was make a couple faux tiers.

The bottom two tiers were actually Styrofoam! I was able to frost those puppies up in a flash and wrap on the blue ribbon provided by the bride. The other cakes were vanilla cake and either mango butter cream with bits of Filipino dried mangos chopped up and mixed in, or a more traditional strawberry butter cream. The fillings alternated in the layers. The outside, as you can guess, was vanilla butter cream.

The cake was trimmed with blue satin ribbon and accented with cymbidium orchids. Simple, elegant, beautiful.

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When my friend’s son turned two, he happened to be really into Toy Story. Of course, that means they had a Toy Story themed party. But her husband is an extremely talented graphic designer so it wasn’t just going to be the store bought pre-fabbed party kit. They came up with a really cute idea to call it a ‘Two’ Story party.

For the cake, we used the same logo he had designed and cut it out of fondant. The bottom tier we made to resemble the wall paper in Andy’s room. The second tier was meant to resemble the bed. And the top tier was the ever-famous bouncy ball that launches Buzz into the air. The letters of Emery’s name are made out of white chocolate. I found a mold that I think resembles magnetic letters, the kind found on the refrigerator in nearly every home in which a two year old lives. The little figurines, well… I’d like to say I molded them out of gum paste or something really impressive, but the truth is, I bought them. They came as a set from the local Disney store. But I’m getting better all the time, so one of these days, I may go back and mold all those characters just to say I can and did.

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