Thursday, September 29, 2011

Avast, ye matey!

Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of milk. It's a one-year-old, as much as I try to get him to say naughty words I can't condone underage drinking. Following a recent theme in my cake world, I had one more first birthday cake this weekend. It was a pirate party! Which seems fitting since International Talk Like a Pirate Day was earlier in the week.

I was just happy because a pirate ship was on my wish list. I'm going to do a post sometime about my list, that way when you're planning your next party you can consult the list to see which themes you should choose from.  (Sparkly pink princess castle, you know you want it)

Of course you've met the birthday boy a while back. It feels like that was forever ago, but he shouldn't be walking and talking like a real, live little person yet. Since it was a joint Camden/Daddy birthday, Dad got to pick the flavor of the cake. Of course carrot. And it went way better for me than the last time I tried to make carrot cake for Erik's birthday.

But you're just here for pictures, right? I stole all of these pictures from Melinda, just a like a real pirate would. She takes prettier pictures than me.

Camden's cake! Every kid needs their own cake for their first birthday, mainly so momma can get adorable pictures of her kid covered in frosting but everyone else gets to eat cootie-free cake. The idea came from Wilton's cake catalog. The treasure map was all mine though.

Side view of the smash cake. You won't see the other side because someone might have forgotten the nonskid liner under the cake before driving away from the house with the cakes and may have put his/her finger through the other side the first tight corner when the cake went sliding across the box.

The birthday boy seemed to enjoy it, at least the chocolately frosting.

 And the aftermath:

And the big cake:
Every pirate ship needs a cannon.

The happiest Jolly Roger ever made. And if you look just to the starboard side of the ship (that's the right side of the ship, and yes I had to look it up to check), you will notice a little shark following along. An ode to Camden's early life known only as the nongender specific Sharkie.

The stars of the show! This is non-racially-offensive "Erik." I gave him a six-pack and nipples. But no ears.

And baby pirate Camden! With a peg leg, cause all pirates have a peg leg, right?

The cake turned out really yummy and super moist. The frosting wasn't too sweet either, which I was worried about since I was using a crusting cream cheese recipe under the fondant.

Blimey! This ship was given no quarter in the vicious attack in search of me booty! This pirate speak stuff is hard. But I feel the need to throw in a "brass monkey" and a "landlubber" just cause.The aftermath:

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wayback Wednesday

I found some old photos of some very early cakes I made and I thought I'd share them, just to give you an idea of how far I've actually come with the decorating. I'll give them a plug since I learned so much, but if you want to try this, take the Wilton's classes. They're cheap, the instructors are good, at least mine was. She was awesome, had been teaching for like 20 years, had been through the Wilton master course, and had a pin for teaching over 1,000 students. Her name is apparently on the wall at the Wilton offices. Wilton has a tendency to have some pretty tacky decorations. Remember the Scary Ass Clown Heads?  But they revamped all the classes right after I took them so they focus a lot more on fondant and are more modern now.

This cake was my first try at covering a cake in fondant. It was a miserable failure. And my miserable, I mean BBBBBBBBAAAAAAAAADDDDDDDDD. It was for my friend Karen's birthday and I wanted to suprise her with a cake. And I got it into my head it was time to try fondant and I was going to make it myself by doing a marshmallow fondant. Now if you've never actually used fondant before, FOR FSM'S SAKE BUY IT!!! Wilton's gets a pretty bad rap, but it's cheap with your 40% off coupon for Michael's or JoAnn's and it's super easy to work with. I use Satin Ice when I need black, but it's soft and harder to use. And I can't seem to avoid the dreaded elephant skin with it to save my life.

Oh wait, you were waiting for the horrible cake photos right? Okay here it is:

I was feeling pretty confident when I made the fondant. See how pretty it looks? You see, Karen has a thing for fluorescent colors. Mainly in her clothes. She's pretty infamous with her particular fashion style. (I say this with love Karen, but you know it too). 

So here is the cake:

 No wait, that was entirely too artistic a photo, let's try again:

Let this be a lesson to all of us about the need to smooth your buttercream, level your cake, and ease it up with the powdered sugar. But the good news is that I apparently was aware of the need for a buttercream dam with the filling!

Totally nonplused about just how ugly this cake truly was. She'll eat anything, she's a grad student.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

A little over a year ago, you met this lovely mom-to-be.  Fast-forward to now and she's got a lovely little boy who is walking all over the place. But he just had a birthday and needed a cake. After much agonizing, mom decided on a transportation theme for the shindig.

The birthday boy needed his own cake and the rest of the guests needed something not covered in ankle biter germs. Although now that he is walking, he can easily bite knees and not just ankles. So here's what they got:
 How sweet is the personalized license plate?
I had the worst time with the frosting on the little car. It refused to smooth, wouldn't crust, and the blue kept changing colors on me. But it was nice and bright when it was all over the birthday boy's face for the pictures.

 And automobiles (a green car like mommy's):
Check out the awesome train tracks on this thing! I seriously even measured all of them out so they'd be about the same size! But I loved the detail it added.

The cake flavors were really fun to make. The top layer is white velvet cake, strawberries and buttercream filling, and white chocolate ganache frosting. But the bottom layer was an homage to mom's favorite drink, the mudslide. She even let me use her booze to make it. The cake was my favorite dark chocolate with Kalhua added to the batter. When it cooled, I soaked the cake with more Kalhua. It is filled with buttercream flavored with Bailey's Irish Cream. And the whole thing is covered with vodka chocolate ganache. And it was yummy, with a nice little kick to it.

And here is the caboose of the train! Do you remember when trains actually had these? The best part of being stuck at a railroad crossing when I was a kid was waving at the guy in the caboose. Then one day they didn't have them anymore and a part of my childhood died. [Tell us another one about the old days grandma!] (A truck like daddy's, even though the color is wrong.)
 And if I do say so myself, this turned out so stinking cute.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Test Run

I had a cake coming up for a very special one-year-old (pictures soon) who is allergic to eggs. So I Googled "eggless cake" and tried the first recipe I found. It was pretty highly rated, easy, and most of all, eggless. The best part? It was actually pretty yummy and I'm glad I have this recipe filed away now. It takes a lot of orange juice, so it has a little bit of an orange flavor. I'm assuming the acid and baking soda do all the leavening work.

I made cupcakes to do a trial run and let the momma of the allergic ankle biter try out the cake. So of course my coworkers got to try them. :) I had strawberries left over from the Spiderman cake, so I mixed them into the frosting. It made it super runny and I may still have some in the freezer that is pretty soft even now. Enough extra buttercream added in and here is what I ended up with:
How pretty is that on the black background? That's a counter top at work. :)

I love the wrappers, but I got them at Ikea and now I need the pans that go with them because they're narrower than normal muffin tins and so they splayed out really bad.

Look at all those lovely bits of strawberry!
The cake was good, but everyone definitely liked the frosting the best.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

da da da da da da da da SpiderPig!

Okay, so not SpiderPig, but Spiderman. But I couldn't help myself. I had a request for a Spiderman cake. I decided to get all awesome and I was like "What if Spiderman actually hangs from a light pole?!" And so that's what they got:

His legs look a little weird, but I thought all in all he was pretty awesome. And I hear the birthday boy got really excited when he saw Spiderman.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?

I recently had a request for a SpongeBob cake for a little girl's first birthday. Now I can't condone letting your kid watch this show, since studies show that it impares the brains of the growing ankle biters. But I gleefully encourage you to feed em cake!

I will be honest and say I had a few apprehensions about this cake at first, but I was SO happy with how it turned out! So without further ado:

Check out the awesomeness of the pineapple house. Isn't it cool?

I never watched the show at all. But I have declared Sandy as my very favorite character. She's Texan for goodness sakes! And wears an astronaut suit!

Even her little badge has a tiny little acorn. Adorabs, right?

And oh my, did SpongeBob himself turn out so dapper. His little tie, the tiny teeth, the bright eyes and oddly feminine eyelashes.

 Patrick was my least favorite of these guys. He was a weird little blob.

My new obsession with decorating is the fonts I use. I know, weird, but what are you gonna do? So I downloaded a SpongeBob font online, wrote what I wanted in Word, then printed it out and used it as a guide as I cut out the fondant.

And these weird things are in the background of the show and I thought they really finished off the big blue parts of the cake.

The main cake was my very favorite dark chocolate with peanut butter filling and chocolate ganache. The Pineapple was Magnolia Bakery vanilla with vanilla buttercream.

Happy Birthday Peaches!