Saturday, March 26, 2011

Love a Bake Sale!

So tomorrow morning our church is having a bake sale to help the youth pay for different trips and camps.  I love bake sales.  I can go nuts making things, and not have them sitting around my house, and it helps a good cause. 

This bake sale was good timing as well.  Some good friends had ordered a cake to celebrate their children being baptized.  Unfortunately I got a call this morning that their baby girl has RSV and brochitis and was in the hosptial for low oxygen levels because she was so congested.  Poor thing!  I feel so bad for them, I'm sure they are all exhausted.  I had only baked the cake,  I hadn't decorated it, so I probably could have frozen them for another day, but I really like to do fresh cakes.  Bake sale is a perfect opportunity to finish the cake and put it towards a good cause.  It's a vanilla cake with and homemade raspberry whipped cream filling.  I'll make new cakes when everyone is healthy again and be happy to do it.

Boxed up and ready to go!

The other thing I've been wanting to make is sort of a deconstructed key lime pie cupcake.  I made graham cracker cupcakes, then a no bake (but not boxed) key lime pie filling.  Then just a basic vanilla icing.  This seemed like a good time to break out the rum vanilla I made as well.  They turned out so yummy, though I want to make it with key lime juice next time.  I had to cheat and just use regular limes.  My parents live in Florida, so I've already asked my Mom to bring or send key lime juice.  Or key limes.  I'm good with either. 

Periodically I watch Cupcake Wars.  I know, you're shocked.  : )  One thing I see them do is 'core' the cupcake, then add the filling.  I've tried this, but you have to eat plain cupcake before you get to any fillling.  When I took a Wilton decorating class, the kit included tip 230, for the express purpose of filling cupcakes.  I love it.  It gets fillling into nooks and crannies, so you get more filling stuffed in there, and you get filling in most bites. 

Last thing I made biscuits.  (These are not for the bake sale.)They are supposed to be breath freshening.  Firstly, we'll see if the dog likes them, then we'll see if they improve his breath.  Cause he is a loving dog who really likes to be close to his people

Fingers crossed!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Baked Alaska

I got a call from my very awesome chiropractor wondering if I would do a cake for her father's milestone birthday.  As a gift, the whole family was sending him to Alaska.  He does not know this yet, so this little cake is going to confuse him initially.  Which is awesome!

This a vanilla cake, with vanilla frosting, then the crystal snow is vanilla sugar I've made.  I love the vanilla sugar!  The trees are pretzel rods, then frosted using a star tip.  My son thought the trees were pretty cool, but pointed out I needed to add pinecones.  Then told me everything he knows about pinecones...which is actually quite a bit.  With the size of this cake, I opted to not add pinecones, I don't think people would know what they were.

For some reason, I absolutely love this little bear.  It's rough and simple, but there's something about it I really like.

A simple little cake, fun to do.  Here's to the birthday boy (man) and his trip to Alaska.  Have a great time!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

It's a Dog's Life

I made a cake a while back that had puppy prints going across it, and a friend asked if it was for a dog or a people.  That particular cake was for a people, but I told her I would certainly be happy to give a dog cake a try. 

Well, the little guy's birthday arrived and I got the call. 

I decided to replicate the pup.  I didn't want to use a bunch of food coloring, so tried to keep pretty natural colors.  I did try to crunch up dark dog biscuits and add it to the frosting to darken it, but did end up adding a tiny bit of food coloring to match the pup's locks.

The cake is a peanut butter carrot cake, then I made the frosting from cream cheese and yogurt.  It was actually a pretty good consistency to work with.  To make the lighter brown color, I added a little peanut butter to the frosting.

I had a blast working on this!  It was an adventure to decorate within the limits of dog friendly materials.  I will say, doing this will break of the habit of licking your utensils to see if it's tasting right.  I got close, then smelled dog treat and quickly backed away. 

Now the pup was apparently a little taken aback by his dog cake.  His Mommy set it up, and the real dog was growling at it like it was a real dog.  I don't think it's that realistic, but he was a little freaked out.  Plus, it smelled like yummies, not a different dog.  Getting the picture taken was apparently a little challenging because of this, but so worth it!

While I was working on this, I also whipped up some peanut butter dog treats.  My pup is LOVING them.  But now both the dog and the 4 year old are confused.  Now they both think that anything Mommy makes is for them.  Poor kids!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

I Do Believe!

I do believe in Fairies!  Clap if you believe!

I had to quit clapping, my son and husband were looking at me a little oddly.  I'm really getting into my work...

This morning's pick up was for a little girl turning 1 today.  She was Tinkerbell for Halloween, so we went with a Tinkerbell themed cake and the invitation was a picture of her from Halloween.  So cute!

I've actually been waiting for months to try out an idea I had for butterfly wings.  Around Christmas I was looking at different cookie recipes, and one was for stained glass cookies.  The stained glass part was crunched up hard candies that re-melted in the oven as the cookie was baking.  I thought blending several different colored hard candies would be very pretty.  It did work, but the shapes are very organic, which worked fine in this circumstance.

Beautiful multi-color wings

Let the sun shine in...
Because the cake was for a 1 year old, there had to be a smash cake, which I created to look like Tinkerbell's home.  Here's the cakes as a whole:

And Tinkerbell's cottage:

And some of the details.....

You'll notice I used figures for Tinkerbell and her friends.  With the perspective I wanted and the level of detail, I just didn't feel like I would be able to create such petite figures.  But now the birthday girl with have a keepsake from her first birthday.  Here's to this being first of many wonderful birthday's for this little girl.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Pretty in Pink

Barbie cake #2 just delivered!  The party was at Chucky Cheese, so it was kind of fun to walk through everyone with the cake.  There was even one little boy I heard say, 'look at that cake!'  (I suspect his father went on high alert when he saw the cake.)

But the best part was seeing the birthday girl's face.  The cake was a surprise for her.  When I walked back she looked up, then her eyes got really big.  She looked at her Dad, then her Mom, who was walking with me, announced this was her surprise cake.  What a smile when she realized it was all for her!

I really enjoy doing the Barbie cakes.  The previous one was fondant and gum paste, this one was all frosting.  I loved the the skirt in frosting, but the bodice was a bit troublesome.  I didn't want her to look chubby, and getting the Grand Tetons covered modestly, but not overdone, took a little work.

I was happy with the design and love the little pearls to up the fancy quotient.  One of my college majors was apparel design.  Yay!  I'm using things I learned....learned a long time ago. 

I'm looking forward to getting another request.  The possibilites and the ability to blend the mediums are endless.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Getting Organized

Space.  Time.  2 things everyone would like more of.  I'm one of them.  I have a small house and am starting my business in a small galley kitchen.  Which means organization is a necessity.  Still working on fine tuning but I'm discovering different things that, though minor, I feel help me quite a lot.

First, I wear an apron.  Gets me in the baking mindset and prevents me ruining my clothes.  And I tend to use it like a towel, which means I don't have to keep finding the towel I leave in a different spot every time I use it. 

I stole Rachel Ray's idea of a garbage bowl.  It may take up a little counterspace and be an extra dish to wash, but I'm not walking back and forth to the garbage, or pulling the garbage next to me.  Nothing like baking next to an open garbage I avoid that. 

I love my ice cream scoop.  Not only does it make consistent cupcakes quickly, (I have a small one for mini cupcakes) it helps me split my batter for cakes evenly between multiple cake pans. 

We just made our investment  in a stand mixer.  It actually is surprising how much time that saves, and even though it's larger, somehow I feel like I'm using less space.  I LOVE it!  It makes me feel a little more official than my hand mixer as well. 

Things I have left to organize-purchasing my ingredients.  I'm tending to buy as I need, which means I'm going to the store a lot (and I loathe grocery shopping).  I'm still not used to using the amounts of these products.  Normally baking powder, flour, cocoa and sugar would last a long time, now...not so much.  Need to figure out storage solutions for the bigger bags I'm buying and get stocked up. 

It's a fun adventure!  I'm so excited!  Now, to entertain my child until the next cake is ready to come out of the oven.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Playing Dress Up

When I was a kid I remember really wanting a Barbie cake...the one where Barbie is sticking out of the cake which is her skirt.  My Grandmother used to make them and I always thought they were so cool.  I still think they are cool and was so excited when I got the call to make one.  And then she asked for the dress to be in teal...which is one of my favorite colors!

Because I think teal is a little bit more sophisticated, I went a little more stylish than princess-y for the dress.  I chose a Barbie with a sassy up-do and the bonus of a pretty purse and necklace.

The only part of this that was maybe less enjoyable was I ended up with the song "I'm Too Sexy" by Right Said Fred stuck in my head, then making up my own verses.  Hopefully that will be done, though I have another Barbie cake order for next week.  I may end up with an entire new song....and yes, I am a little frightened by that.