Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Twinkle, Twinkle and Massive Cake Farts

My neighbor asked me to make a cake for her son Erich who just turned 2. I learned that I'm apparently not very knowledgeable about what two-year-olds like to watch. :) But he is a big fan of this video:

Pretty trippy, right? But I loved the colors,stars, oh the clouds! and the little blue and purple elephant.

Everything started out nice. Cake baked up sweet and dense, buttercream went on fairly smooth and easy, and fondant rolled right on and smoothed right out the very first time! That's a big deal, particularly since it's been 115° around here. I made some cool decorations, worked with wires, stuck on some stars and clouds and was feeling pretty confident. Bad sign at that point.

You see, cakes are moody creatures. I'd chilled the buttercream covered cakes to get it nice and hard so that the fondant didn't slide all over the place when I stuck it on. Common practice, I promise. But as the cake warmed with the fondant over it, it got the farts. The gas release causes GINORMOUS bubbles under the fondant. No matter how many times I popped them and tried to smooth the fondant down, they'd grow right back. To the point where the left side of the cake ended up a saggy, bubbly, ripply mess. :( It didn't help that the clouds were heavy, or that the decorations got squished down into the fondant as I tried to smooth it.

Hopefully all that has been hid or artfully turned away from the camera in the pictures. :)

 Isn't the little elephant precious?! And those little curls on top! Makes me swoon.
 And oh those little purple toenails!

I also made a little cake for just the birthday boy. I'll admit, not my best work. But I underestimated the difficulty in decorating a 3" block. 

The little guy and his cake, isn't he adorable?

And since this has become a favorite part for me, the aftermath:
See how the fondant sagged over the clouds in the border? Shameful. The cake is my favorite Magnolia Bakery Vanilla cake with chopped up strawberries added. The strawberries released some of their juices and made it nice and dense and moist. The frosting is standard American buttercream, which is so amazingly, teeth-numbingly sweet.

And here is Erich's little cake. A bit of eating out of the top and a lot of poking the sides with his fingers.

Happy 2nd Birthday Erich!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Quickie

The hubbin's boss at TCTMNBN has a birthday today. So of course she put her cake request in months ago. Chocolate cake with chocolate chips and white frosting. No fondant. Which means I had to practice my piping skills again (got a lot on the wedding cake). I put off baking and had to frost first thing this morning. So pretend you don't see the chocolate crumbs in the white frosting. And the tacky foil covered cake boards.

A West Texas Wedding

The hubbin's uncle Phillip (aka PeeWee) just married Leona. They made a lovely couple and couldn't have looked any happier. Everyone was so excited when they got engaged. Mostly because it was a long time coming, but for me, wedding=cake! And Leona was more than happy to let me make it for her.

This was the largest cake I have done to date. And a cake that big comes with lots of logistical issues. But when you're driving over 10 hours to get to the wedding location and THEN bake the cake, it can be a nightmare! Here's how the whole thing started:

 That's a big pile of cake stuff. And we made a grocery store, a Michael's, and a Wal-Mart run for cake circles, eggs, and fondant while we were there.

But you're here for the cake, right? Here it is:

The design of the cake was unabashedly stolen from Maisie Fantaisie Cakes of London. Their wedding cakes are beautiful.  I'm a huge fan of the new styles of wedding cakes that are all colors and modern, sleek lines. So much better than the white buttercream with piping out the ying-yang. (I totally had one of these for my wedding, but it was a long time ago and everyone was doing it).

The cake is White Velvet from the Cake Bible. I LOVE this recipe. I may not ever make any other type of white cake ever again. I'm just sayin'. The layers are filled with Raspberry Jam and the cakes were covered in white chocolate ganache beneath the fondant. A cake this big needs lots of chocolate. I bought 8 bags of white chocolate chips, plus I had two boxes of bar chocolate.

Instead of a traditional cake topper (so dated now, aren't they?), Leona chose these little guys for the top of the cake. A word to the wise, ceramic birds are heavy and will squish your tiny top layer and make it bow on the sides.

See how there is a strawberry on the plate up there? Funny story. Someone requested 100 strawberries to dip in chocolate, fill with cream cheese frosting, and have plain at the reception. There was a little snafu in ordering the 100 strawberries. They got 100 POUNDS of strawberries instead!!! Check this out:
That's a fraction of the strawberries laid out on the kitchen table. They got sent home with people, they were sent to the local school on Monday morning for the teachers, they were donated to a women's shelter. So, so many strawberries.

The aftermath:
See the holes in the cake above? I finally found an excuse to use the SPS cake support system and I love it.

Of course the best part of the whole weekend was getting to be with so much familyCongratulations to Phillip and Leona!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Happy Almost 13th Birthday!

Quick one, lots of pictures. My cousin (who you've met before) came to visit a little before her 13th birthday. And of course, she needed cake and I needed people to eat it so I threw a little party. The spotlight was on the two adorible ankle biters that came though. :)

The pictures! (Taken by the lovely Melinda since my camera was throwing a hissyfit).

And of course the stars of the day:
And you've sorta met these little guys before too! Left Ankle Biter, Right Ankle Biter

Baby Cake

The hubbin' has a coworker at TCTMNBN who is expecting a baby soon. Well technically, his wife is doing the work, but they're both sortof part of the deal. So the department decided to throw him a little "party" in honor of the new baby girl.

You've met this coworker before. Not for real, but in cake. He's the Steeler's fan. And yes, I still think that Ben Roethlisberger is allegedly a terrible person.

They wanted something not too girly, since it's a guy, but sorta girly, since the baby is a girl. I went to Google (of course) and found a beautiful cake by a Cake Central Memeber, jardot22. So I shamelessly ripped off the design. It happens.

What you're here for: