Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Spring flowers

I don't know about where you live, but up here, spring has not sprung yet. :o( At the beginning of April I was just starting to see my flower bed...

...and then this happened.

Those are snowballs falling from the sky.

Now, don't get me wrong, I love the snow, I honestly do. That's a good percentage of why we moved up here, but, I'm beginning to miss the flowers. I wonder if my tulips are enjoying their extra long nap this year.

Anyway, we have a Ladies' Salad Supper coming up this weekend, and I decided we needed some spring flowers. Since I don't have any in the yard, I made some. :o) Mind you, my flowers will never compare to the ones the Lord makes for us to enjoy, but they will help to brighten an otherwise gray and colorless spring.

 They're not finished quite yet, but here's a sneak peak for anyone else who is missing the bright colors of spring.

Till next time...
God's love and blessings!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

New Techniques

I discovered Craftsy a little while ago and have taken several of their cake decorating classes. All of them have been wonderful, but I think the one I just finished is one of my favorites. It helped answer a lot of my fondant bulging questions.

If you are interested at all in cake decorating, and especially covering your cakes with fondant, check out the Clean & Simple Cake Design class. It is great! I made this cake using the techniques from this class, and guess what? There's no ganache under that fondant! It's all buttercream.

Oh yeah! No buckling, no sagging. I am one happy decorator today. :o)

Jessica's class is all about clean and simple lines and she shows you how to get this awesome vertical stripe on your cake with minimal effort. I like her wax paper transfer technique, but by far, learning the secrets of straight sides was the best thing I took from this class.

I learned that my issues were not with my home made marshmallow fondant, (that's what she uses and teaches you how to make), but in the techniques. Yes, you DO need to refrigerate a buttercream cake, and yes it DOES need to be in the fridge until a couple hours before serving. I kept this in the fridge until Sunday morning and took it to church. It sat at room temp for almost 4 hours before our Fellowship Supper. No bulges, no sagging, and no condensation issues. It was yummy too. ;o)

Jessica also teaches how to make modeling chocolate since that is what she uses for those awesome stripes. I've used it a lot in the past, but never really realized how nice it is, for stripes especially. It doesn't stretch when you're cutting it out and it doesn't dry out super fast like fondant and gumpaste, so you have time to work with it.

I decided to try my hand at daffodils and since they were going on cupcakes, I wanted them completely edible and yummy, so I used the modeling chocolate from the cake. I have a very old Wilton gumpaste flower set that happened to have daffodil cutters in it. It worked great. Normally, daffodils would have stamens in the middle, but I have no idea how to make edible stamens and didn't want to go ripping them out of everyone's cupcakes before they ate them, so these flowers are stamen-less.I'm sure no one even realized that but me.

Oh, almost forgot to mention, if you click on the class name above, it will take you to a promotion page where Jessica's class is 50% off! Wish I'd had that when I signed up, but it was still worth every penny I paid. Besides all the great info in the videos, I was able to post questions, and Jessica was super quick at answering them for me.

Well, I'm off to get some more projects done.

Till next time...
God's love and blessings!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Owl Cake

I think I'm overloading my friends with all the posts I've put up this week on the blogs, but, I figured if I've got the free time, I might as well catch up on some of the cakes I've done in the past. I actually can't believe I didn't blog about this one sooner. It's one of my favorites.

I can't really take much credit for it though. I used the invites to design the cake and the owl is an exact replica of the one on the super cute invite. I believe the invitations came from etsy, but I'm not sure which shop.

Little Maya was turning one and they wanted a little cupcake just for her so I made a smaller version of the owl for her cupcake, and all the others got matching bows.

This cake was super fun and I think it came out super cute too. Happy Birthday, Maya!!

Till next time...
God's love and blessings!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Horse Lovers Cake

I did this cake for a couple of young ladies at our church. As you can tell, they both love horses, so this was an easy one to design.

The horse silhouettes were done by printing horse outlines onto printer paper, placing that under some parchment paper and then filling in the lines with melted chocolate. ALWAYS make extra. There's bound to be some broken legs and tails. The top horse is actually the second one I made since the first one broke in transit.

The cake itself was simply covered and decorated with buttercream. The flowers were royal frosting and the horse shoes were made from chocolate clay and brushed with silver pearl dust.

This was actually a pretty easy cake to do and I was quite happy with the results.

Well, what do you think? What other designs would work with this silhouette idea?

Till next time...
God's love and blessings.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Animal print cakes

I know, I know, this is amazing--2 posts, 2 days in a row! :o)

Here's a couple of cakes I've done with an animal print theme. The first one I did a couple months ago and it was my first zebra print cake. The stripes are fondant and the purse is rice crispy treats covered in fondant.

I tried a fun technique for the cake itself too. There are lots of tutorials online, but I followed this one. The birthday girl's mom sent me a photo of the inside since I couldn't see the results myself. :o) Wish I had colored the vanilla cake pink.

This next cake I just did a week or so ago. The birthday girl gave me a picture of exactly what she wanted. To copy that look I had to hand paint the stripes and spots. It took some practice, but I think it came out pretty close. If you read my last post, you can tell by the sides that I used ganache under the fondant on this one. Nice and straight! :o)

I don't have any requests for cakes till March, so maybe I'll get a chance to post a couple of my older ones this next week or so.

Till next time...
God's love and blessings!

Monday, February 18, 2013

I'm back!

Boy, it's been a while since I've had a chance to post to any of my blogs. I really want to blog, but the technical stuff gets so confusing to me sometimes that it's just easier not to.

Anyway, enough of the excuses and whining. I am going to try and get this going. I may not get all of my older cakes on here, but if you're interested in seeing some of them, you can check out my facebook page. I'm trying to get the albums up to date on there this week.

In other news, we are making some decisions about how to get a licensed kitchen so I can get this business started. I have some phone calls to make tomorrow and hopefully I'll have some more info to post then.

In decorating news, I've been playing around with some new techniques. I have always struggled with covering cakes with fondant and getting super smooth sides. They look great at first, but within a couple of hours the sides are bulging out and look terrible. My guess is that the cakes are kept very cold at all times to keep this from happening. Then I wonder do they serve the cake cold or at room temperature? I do have a large fridge now, but it's in my detached garage--downstairs from my kitchen. I'm none too thrilled about the idea of hauling a cake up and down that flight of stairs 4 or 5 times in the process of decorating a cake, especially when there's 6 inches of snow on those steps. Then there's the issue of condensation.

Recently I learned about covering your cakes with ganache before covering with fondant. I found this great tutorial on it. There are some super sweet decorators out there who are willing to share their knowledge. Here's an example for you. This is a cake I did for my daughter a couple years ago.

From a distance it looks pretty good, but if you click on the picture and see it larger you will notice the pink fondant is buckling and puckering all over the place. Looks like it's trying to slide right off the cake. Now, here's a cake I did this past weekend. I covered this cake with a thin coat of buttercream and then with ganache before laying the fondant over.
Can you see how much smoother the sides are? The ganache is very firm at room temperature which keeps the sides of the cake from buckling and bulging. I still have to work on my fondant smoothing skills, but the marks you see in this one aren't from the frosting underneath, they're from my ring and my clumsy fingers bumping into it while trying to decorate. I also rolled the fondant too thin on the edges which made them a little ripply.

Now, here's another cake I did recently. The bottom layer was covered in chocolate ganache while the top one was covered in white chocolate ganache before the fondant layer.
The white chocolate ganache didn't firm up as well as the chocolate so that layer buckled a little. I'm going to have to work on that recipe to get it right.

I have to say I really like the results with the chocolate ganache technique, but I don't think I will be using it on all my cakes. It can get very expensive, and, I know this may sound ridiculous, but chocolate doesn't go with all the different cake flavors. :o)

I hope this might be able to help any other new decorators out there. I'm learning there isn't one right way to decorate a cake. There's lots of different ways and you have to find the one that works for you.

Till next time...
God's love and blessings!