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Frosty Jr., Adorable Cookies, and Results
Here's the frosty that I just decided to make lying down. I was commissioned to make some cookies for a cookie swap. They came out totally cute! And the results of the gingerbread competition, I'm hesitant to say, but I'll share, because I'm convinced nobody reads this anyway! Second Place in the Carolina Inn Pastry Chef's Choice category and First Place in the Community Choice Award category. I've been in a funk all day because I didn't sweep the categories. I just can't bring myself to stick candy all over my work, it's not my style. Oh well.
Caketastrophe and more "Gingerbread" Houses
As you can see, we take our gingerbread houses very seriously around here!!! Look at the focus and determination on those faces! This is no laughing matter. Did I mention that Jay's progress report's only negative comment is that he is too competitive and not always a good sport about losing? I have no idea where he gets it from. That said, I'm going to be so @#$%$# mad if I don't win the gingerbread house contest this year! On another note, I went into the fridge this morning to find Frosty, quite literally, belly up! The poor guy! Ironically he still had a smile on his face. I tried a new cake recipe "Chocolate Pound Cake." Thank you, Alton Brown. Alas, it just wasn't meant to be. Check back soon for Frosty Jr.!!!
Santa Cake Bites
These cake bites were my first attempt at creating my very own cake bite design. I learned several things! First of all, I had to overcome my distrust of red velvet cake. I have never thought it right to add so much artificial color to cake, cake just doesn't need it. But when in Rome... So I dug up the Southern Living Red Velvet Cake recipe and whipped it up. I am pretty sure I over baked it, but didn't worry too much, because I knew I was adding the frosting right into it (white chocolate cream cheese of course). Then I bought vanilla candy coating for the first time and discovered that you can only add oil based food color to it or powdered food color, neither of which I had. So I risked "breaking" the chocolate and added a tiny amount of red for Santa's skin tone. It made the white chocolate slightly grainy, but I don't think anyone will notice. I had planned on re-dipping the hats into red chocolate, but I knew I could never add that much gel food color and retain the correct texture of the white chocolate. Since I had plenty of royal icing on hand, I decided to punt and pipe on the hats. It made Santa a little elf-like, but all in all, I am pleased with the outcome. I even used flaws in the chocolate for the noses, and there were some really happy little accidental noses! I am not sure that people will be entirely comfortable eating Santa, but my kids didn't complain!
Gingerbread Gimghoul Castle
So here it is! This year's gingerbread house. The Carolina Inn Competition was a Chapel Hill landmark and historical sites theme. It may not be traditional, but I think it makes an impact! I tried to add more decorations this year, to compensate for last year's simplicity! I hope it's a winner! Emily really brought some great ideas to the table and rolled up her sleeves to do a lot of the cutting and baking at the beginning! Next year we'll shoot for the "big show" at the Grove Park Inn (haha).
Ava is 2, Mountain Bike Cake, and Happy Thanksgiving!
Ava turned two!!! Her birthday was only slightly disrupted by the fact that we had record cold temps and of course, that's when the HVAC went. We enjoyed her butterfly cupcakes at the restaurant instead of at her party at home! None-the-less we forged on and made the amazing Mountain Bike Cake. And of course, thanks to Bakerella for the awesome Turkey Pop design!!!
Dragon Tales Cake, Cupcakes, and Nashbar
We've been so busy with cakes here I haven't even had a chance to put them online yet! Here's the most recent batch (haha). I am very excited to show off my new cupcake carrier, which makes me a huge dork! It was however, impossible to find wrapped thanksgiving chocolates! Which was shocking, but I searched hight and low and couldn't find them anywhere. So Jay's class celebrated their Thanksgiving snack with fish cupcakes, oh well! Mrs. Gadson's birthday was Monday and as the teacher of the "Dragon Tales Class," she Needed a Dragon Tales Cake! Bike Nashbar had their holiday lunch today, so off went the Nashbar cake! Busy Busy! More to come as Ava turns two and Fleet Feet orders another unique cake! And it must be gingerbread season!!!
These cupcakes were made for an election results party! I wonder who they were rooting for?
Much much sugar has been consumed here in one way or another! Jeff brought the pumpkin cake to work for a colleague's birthday. The cookies went out for the neighborhood parade. The "50" cake goes to a golden anniversary!!!
Jay Turns 6 and Baby Girl Pink Cake!
Jay turned six on October 17th (sigh). Seriously, where does the time go?!? For his actually birthday I made him a small chocolate cake with flames around the sides. He took a bite, and by no fault of his own, couldn't eat another bite of chocolate cake. We are SO over chocolate cake in this house!!! For his movie get-together with friends I made the "Clone Trooper Cake." I learned there is a difference between Storm Troopers and Clone Troopers! Who knew? I used three layers of fondant to create the raised parts of "Captain Rex's" mask. The cake ended up being 1/2 cake and 1/2 fondant, but as I said, we didn't really eat it anyway! It was mostly for show!!! The pinky pink cake was for a baby girl baby shower and somehow I nailed the pink to match everything, from cups to tablecloth, EVERYTHING was PINK!
This cake was a blast to make! I finally figure out how to make chocolate fondant (use only 1/2 the dry ingredients and save the rest to add if needed). Now, I'm not much of a handbag person, but this must be a popular bag! When I brought it to give to Susan, the woman at the table next to us had the SAME bag (for real, not cake!). That it SUCH a weird coincidence!!! I wish I had Baker's Cakes cards on hand to give to her (note to self: put cards in own handbag).
Hot Dogs in Buns!
Needless to say, Roosevelt really likes hot dogs! It may be my vegetarian lifestyle, or perhaps my reverance for cake, but there just seems something unnatural about cake made to look like meat...
Pumpkin Cup Cake Pops and Dragonfly Cake
Here are some of my biggest fans, modeling the correct technique to use to consume a test batch of pumpkin cup cake pops! Needless to say, they were a huge hit! We celebrated a couple of family birthdays today and I made MY favorite cake, pumpkin with white chocolate cream cheese frosting! Yum! I am perhaps most excited about my new fridge... If I could swap it with the one in the kitchen, I would! The fridge on top has HUGE shelves for even BIGGER cakes!!! The freezer on the bottom is the perfect spot to firm up cakes for carving and cupcake pops! This IS exciting!
We've been as busy as bees around here the past couple of weeks! The motorcycle cake finishes the cake marathon of the past week! I learned that when using black fondant it is prudent to use shortening instead of powdered sugar. The amount of powdered sugar that it takes to knead in the black food coloring turns the fondant really dry really fast, and then it kind of turns the fondant this weird green color. Another lesson learned! I bought some gum paste for the handle bars because I knew the fondant would never dry quickly enough and be as strong. But, I shaped the handle bars and let it dry over night and then "chromed" them the next morning and of course, the silver paint softened the gum paste and they started to bend. In retrospect, I should have painted them while the gum paste was soft and let it all dry together. Or better yet, I should have made the handle bars around a small dowel for even more support! Otherwise, I'm very pleased with how the motorcycle cake turned out!
Bee Cake and Topsy Turvy
Here's a preview of Topsy Turvy! I'm hoping it makes it through the night without any caketastrophies! The weight of the top layers was beginning to wrinkle the fondant before I shoved it quickly into the oven for the night!!! Carving topsy turvy was definitely a challenge! Although you can't tell, I carved the tops and the bottoms of each layer to get the correct angles and then each layer also tapers from top to bottom! The bee cake was an exercise in planning. Each leaf was individually shaped and then hand painted to create a realistic effect. The bees were made out of molded rice crispy treats and then covered with fondant. The cakes were individually frosted and layered and then the vines were piped on using royal icing. Next, each leaf was placed and finally it was topped with the magnolia flower and the bees were added! I hope "B" likes his cake!!!
Three cakes due in three days, can it be done? Cake #1 is this gold sheriff's badge! For the first time I rolled out an enormous piece of fondant and it made the transfer onto the cake!!! I decorated with fondant and royal icing to give the badge it's embossed look and then painted the whole cake with gold dust! The state seal is painted with food color and has a neat watercolor look. Check back soon for the next cake this week!
Recently it seems like a cake either has technical difficulties or structural issues. Luckily, the guitar cake is a carved sheet cake and not stacked too high. It was a great opportunity to "smooth" out some fondant issues, as far as when to stop adding powdered sugar in the mixing process. Because it is necessary to add so much more when kneading in the colors, at times the consistency was getting a bit dry. It remains difficult to roll out a large enough sheet of fondant to cover a large surface that does not stick to the counter or rip in transit or wrinkle on the cake. That said, I painted on the wood grain of the guitar and it looks pretty realistic (for cake)! I opted not to include strings because logisitically I had to keep the fret board separate from the body of the cake to fit in the fridge. In fact, I had to run out to get a larger cake board at the last minute when I realized how long the guitar is. Hopefully, the groom will enjoy his cake, I am pretty pleased!
This is one GIANT Cupcake!!! It is four layers of creamsicle cake topped with fondant! I think the giant spinkles make the cake!!!
I saw these pops on Bakerella's website and finally found the perfect opportunity to make them! Sarah is celebrating her sweet 32nd this Saturday and the theme is sweet treats! It's ok to make these pops a few days in advance because they're so moist and the chocolate shell keeps them fresh in the fridge. First I baked my signature chocolate cake and made white chocolate cream cheese frosting, I mixed the two together, rolled it into balls, and then pressed the balls into a small round crinkle cookie cutter. After they had firmed up a bit in the fridge I dipped the bottoms in milk chocolate and put in the sticks, finally I dipped the tops in white chocolate, added the m&m and sprinkles...and YUM! The last step was to wrap each pop in plastic and tie on a ribbon! I'll be honest, this was a labor intensive project, but the results are worth it! I can see these doing really well at a bake sale fundraiser! For more detailed instructions go to bakerella.blogspot.com!
...to us! Jeff and I narrowly missed absolutely forgetting that it's been eight years since we had one of the super fun weddings of all times! But luckily his mom sent us a card and it reminded us that it was indeed our anniversary! Next, all we had to do, was remember exactly what the date is! Luckily Jeff's computer desktop calendar went all the way back to 2000, and there it was, Saturday August 12th! And now here it is, written down for next year! So the cake did double duty as Happy Anniversary Cake and Orange Creamsicle Cake II. I made the butter cake recipe out of the Cake Bible and used orange extract and orange juice and it was pretty tasty! I also used the orange flavor and orange juice in the buttercream, this time without reducing the juice. This recipe was a winner! Although for our anniversary cake, I sliced two layers of cake into four layers of cake sandwiched with three layers of frosting, and it was too much frosting, even for me!
Orange Creamsicle Cake
I'm working on a recipe for an Orange Creamsicle Cake! This cake recipe was straight out of The Joy of Cooking and it made a nice moist cake, yet I feel, lacked the orange kick I was after. It was the Vegan Orange Cake, incidentally. It might have been more orangey if I had added the orange zest, but I made this cake on a whim and had no zest to add, literally. I will consult the Cake Bible (true story) to see if she has any tips! Now, the Orange Buttercream is delish! I reduced orange juice by at least half and used that in place of milk in the buttercream frosting and it tastes just like an orange creamsicle! I thought that the creamsicle on the four inch cake was very fitting and well, quite adorable too!
Ivy Turns 30 and JC turns 70
Baker's Cakes was BUSY this week! Ivy asked for a golf bag for her father's 70th birthday and she celebrated her 30th! I am so pleased with how the golf bag came out! It's our chocolate cake with buttercream frosting and rolled fondant. Ivy's sheetcakes were a layer of chocolate, a layer of peanutbutter chocolate chip, sandwiched with peanutbutter frosting, and topped with buttercream! Yum!
Baby Madilyn II
This cake was SOOOO yummy! The bottom layer was a super moist chocolate cake with strawberry frosting, the middle layer was strawberry cake with chocolate frosting, and the top layer was strawberry cake with strawberry frosting! This cake was styled after the new logo cake, but had fewer dots, which was actually a flawed design, but still looks ok, I think. In hindsight, I would have liked more dots of a smaller size, perhaps piped on with frosting instead of chocolate fondant, which is still a beast to work with! I am pretty pleased with how the monogram came out, which I applied freehand referring loosely to a pattern. I am glad that this cake tasted as good as it looked!
Attempt number two with chocolate rolled fondant... am still having some difficulty with the consistency, but will keep plugging away, yum! It does taste like a giant tootsie roll! The biggest problem seems to be that it's difficult to roll out and lay on a cake in large pieces. Perhaps a patchwork cake would be nice? The Chocodot Cake was also testing a strawberry cake recipe and strawberry buttercream. The strawberry buttercream is delicious, but the cake needs a few more tweaks. I used strawberry preserves to replace the buttermilk and add strawberry flavor, but the preserves did not seem to add enough moisture, so I am going to attempt to make a strawberry conserve, which is reduced pureed strawberries... fingers crossed!
Baby Girl Baby Shower!
Our friend Jessica is due in August and she asked me to make her shower cake! She asked for an "old fashioned baby carriage," and this is what I came up with! Jeff helped put together the wooden base out of pieces that I purchased and then a huge chocolate cake went on top! I bought fondant to cover the wheels, because my tasty fondant is a bit weak to withstand getting royal icinged to wood. I also painted the silver spokes with edible powdered silver. I may have to let go of my addiction to fondant, for two reasons... it's heavy and detracts from the structural integrity of the cakes and is exponentially harder to work with than buttercream. But on the other hand, it looks really smooth and polished. The debate continues...
Another Caketastic Week!
Two cakes this week! Cooper turned 6 1/2 and Kate turned 4! So, when your birthday is a few days before xmas sometimes you can get the birthday shaft. This year Cooper celebrated his 1/2 birthday at the pool (another thing you never get to do in December, even in North Carolina)! Cooper had a baseball party and the original plan was to put a ball in a glove. It turns out that gloves have some structural issues. I was hoping to make chocolate rolled fondant for the glove, but that recipe needs some tweaking too! In the end Cooper was very happy with his homeplate/ball cake and the buttermilk layer cake was a home run! Kate had a hula hoop party! The tiered cake was the perfect place to showcase the hoops! The colors came out very vibrant and again, you can't go wrong with the buttermilk layer cake! Oh yeah, Baker's Cakes has a "Logo" now! I hope to make the polka dot cake my signature design!
This recipe tested Becky's Pistachio Carrot Cake and was a treat for Jeff for Father's Day! After a little digging we found out his actual favorite cake is carrot cake and his favorite car is a red Ferrari! Hence, the Ferrari cake. The first batch of fondant was scraped off the car because it was too dry and cracked like crazy! The second batch came out much better and I even used the "flavorless" red food color. Jay proclaimed this the "awesomest cake you've (I've) ever made!" Those are BIG words!!!
I have been working with some new recipes. The latest one is peanut butter chocolate chip cake with peanut butter frosting! The frosting is delicious and got thumbs up from the little testers! They were very busy licking spoons yesterday, which was good, since it was 100' and we couldn't go outside! I was trying to make a Barbie cake for the website, but it turns out that Barbie may not be destined for a fondant frosting... I'll have to keep working on that one! However, her little sister cupcake is adorable!!! I'm also working on trying to focus more on the pictures that I take and have a bit more attention to detail! Although, I'm afraid a "food stylist" I am not!!! I was also experimenting with melted chocolate as a decoration technique. It was a bit runny when it was hot, but as it cooled down it got much easier to work with! Oh well! I guess I'll have to keep practicing!
Fred, Amy, and Peter are moving to Idaho... Their cake is inspired by the Idaho license plate, and well, potatoes. In fact, famous potatoes... Can you guess who??? I used a chocolate "crazy cake" recipe that does not contain any egg, this gathering has an egg allergy attendee. I guess this cake was made during war times when there were shortages of such things. Also, the "crazy" thing is you mix the ingredients in the pan that you bake the cake in. Since I had to make two batches and I am wary of doubling recipes, I mixed the cake in the pan for the first batch, as the directions instructed and then took a walk on the wild side for the second cake and mixed them in a bowl and poured the batter into a pre-greased pan. I'm not sure, because one cake got wrapped up as soon as it was cool and the other had to sit on the counter for the day, because we were off to enjoy the scooter cake, but I think the bowl mixed cake might be drier than the pan mixed... Sorry it wasn't a very scientific variable controlled experiment! I decided to use the negative space of Idaho to make a small fun cake and realized why wedding cakes are white, it's so much easier not to deal with coloring frosting and dying hands pink and other messy things like cleaning the bags between colors. Anyway, I thought the little negative space cake was cute! I think we'll take a little break from cakes for now, because we all probably gained five pounds this weekend!
We're having a caketastic weekend! This is cake #2 of the weekend and my first attempt at figurative sculpture with fondant. I used the store bought fondant for the figures and scooter as that the yummy homemade is a bit soft to sculpt. The figures were a challenge, I found that the shape that I would start with, is not what it would end up as, as the fondant softened and changed in my hands as I worked. Poor Jay went through several incarnations until I got him just right. I was very pleased with the final result and will keep working on these techniques! Oh! I can't believe I forgot to point out Jeff's new ride! Cool, huh?
The running shoe cake has been in my head for a while, and I finally had a chance to make it for some friends. Next time, I may use a third color to contrast on the "sole" of the shoe, but other than that, it went smoothly and tasted great!
I've added pictures of a few older cakes that I've made. I think that my favorite of all has to be Ava's cat birthday cake! The gingerbread house was this years entry in the Carolina Inn Gingerbread Competition. Sadly, this year's house was not a winner!
Princess Tea Party!
This week's cake was fun and pretty! Cate turned three and had a Princess Tea party! The cake was a buttermilk layer cake with my signature buttercream frosting. This week I experimented with making my own fondant, it was delicious and WAY better than store bought fondant, if I do say so myself. To make the teapot, I made a "ball" shaped cake and made a fondant spout, handle, and base. I also sculpted tiny fondant princess "cameo" decorations for the teapot. The castle and colors were inspired by the birthday invitations! Fun cake, fun party, fun girl!