Monday, June 21, 2010

I can transform you

You don't know how many times Chris Brown's song went through my head while making this cake...

Looking at it now I still get that song stuck in my head, sigh.

In my last post, I noted I took a break from baking and discovered break equals a lazy baker! When it came time to come up with a cake for my beloved nephew's 4th birthday, I was lost! After eating grandma's birthday cake, he had requested his cake be exactly the same, flowers and all. Yeah, that would go over as well as...well, you know. It should also be noted that we knew it had to have strawberry filling because anytime my sweet nephew is play-baking, he makes strawberry cake, strawberry pie, strawberry cookies...cookies? Now that I would like to taste! Why have I never seen/heard of a strawberry cookie before?!!

My sister said he had recently started watching old Transformers cartoons and requested his cake be modeled after that. The first idea was to make a 3D replica of Optimus Prime's head but after taking a look at the detail on his guard, I decided I would kill myself trying to make something with so much detail.

So after some discussion with my sister and searching the web a bit, we came up with this concept (thanks largely to someone else's awesome cake).

Half Autobot, half Decepicon with flames! It turned out way cooler than I though it would. It also took way longer than it should have. A little slow getting back into the swing of things, aye CiCi?

Anyway, after the 100th ball had been rolled for the border and the cake was finished, I sat down on my couch to relax and watch some TV. Guess what movie was on. Oh yeah, Transformers. It's one of those ironic moments that puts a smile on your face :D

Happy birthday big boy! Aunt CiCi loves you lots!

Josh's 4th Birthday Cake: Vanilla buttermilk cake with strawberry filling and vanilla buttercream frosting, covered in marshmallow fondant.

A week of baking

It took me a really long time to get these photos up but I have good reason. Three baking projects in a week is REALLY tiring. In fact, I took a break from baking for about a month after this. Then when it was time to get back into, I couldn't find the motivation! What's up with that?!! Two lessons learned here: three is not the magic number and baking is a lot like exercising; after a long break, it's hard to get back into.

Here we have a Chanel purse cake for Carmen, our beloved Office Assistant. She has a flare for the finer things in life so what better than to give her a purse cake for her retirement party. Oh Carmen, how we will miss your smiling face!

Next up was a graduation cake for some some Nutritional Science students. Oh the irony of gifting them with a sugary treat!

Plus a few cupcakes for good measure...

I think I need more cupcake practice, which is why I was a little nervous about the next order; 50 cupcakes for a baby shower. I got some inspiration from the baby's room but I still feel I could have gone further with it.

Next time, more frosting. I think people who love cupcakes love them for the typically ungodly amount of frosting on top. I have to note the first batch of chocolate spilled over the edges, which is common practice for me. Argh!

So I survived the week and looked forward to the break ahead of me...

Carmen Cake: Chocolate cake with Swiss buttercream, covered in marshmallow fondant.

UA Graduation Cake: Chocolate cake with Swiss buttercream, covered in marshmallow fondant.

Baby shower cupcakes: White and chocolate cupcakes with vanilla buttercream and fondant and white modeling chocolate decorations.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Grandma's birthday!

Grandma flew all the way from Rushville Illinois to spend her 89th birthday with us! She even brought my aunts to join in the fun. I wish I had a picture of all these great ladies together but alas, I'm terrible about taking pictures at events.

Mom decided to invite family members from all around for a little shindig in Grandma's honor and asked that I make the cake. What an honor! Now the story goes that Grandma makes an awesome Red Velvet Cake and not that I intend to match it, I know it's her favorite and the only cake that would do.

Of course, Red Velvet Cake must be topped with cream cheese frosting and I wanted to make it pretty so I make a few gum paste "tulips." Ok, so they were suppose to be tulips but didn't really come out right. Still, I think they're very pretty flowers.

Grandma gave me a thumbs up! Koodos to my nephew for being adventurous and eating one of the leafs. He said it tasted like chocolate. Hmm...I don't know about that but I have never tried one so I really can't say the little guy is wrong, I just have a hunch.

I'm so grateful for any time I get to spend with my Grandma. She really is a great lady. If you ever find yourself in Rushville, I suggest you stop in for a chat.

Grandma's cake: Red Velvet Cake with cream cheese frosting and gum paste flowers.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Cheeseburger, cheeseburger!

I have been wanting to make this cake for a long time. So what better opportunity to make this than for my good buddy Toby's birthday. Toby, I might add, recently bought a meat grinder and has been on a mission to create the perfect burger. I have first dibs (or so I like to tell myself).

This isn't your typical fondant covered cake construction and took some planning but once I had an idea about how to attack this, it was pretty smooth sailing.

For those wondering, I started by making three 6 inch layers of chocolate cake. I tinted fondant for the cheese, lettuce and buns. I formed the lettuce and cheese a day ahead so they would stiffen some to keep their shape. Assembly included wrapping two layers of cake in brown fondant, adding a little frosting, adding the cheese and lettuce, adding a little more frosting and topping the whole thing with the other bun. Presto!

This was a fun project and I was hoping to get a picture of Toby eating it like a real cheeseburger but alas, he was kind and cut pieces for everyone.

*Cheeseburger cake: Chocolate cake with peanut butter buttercream frosting, covered and decorated with marshmallow fondant.

Monday, April 12, 2010



My best friend asked me to make her mother a special cake for her birthday...that special cake being a duck! She and her mother have done so much for me in the past that I was ecstatic to take on the challenge! I've never made a cake with a part of it defying gravity. How fun!

Look at that football! I decided it would be best to work on the head and body separately. Knowing that fondant wouldn't give me a stiff duck neck nor is it great for molding, I decided to explore the world of molding chocolate. What did I find? It's insanely easy to make and even easier to work with!

Molding chocolate is just like clay only it gets more malleable with increased contact with head (i.e. my hands). This was so much fun to work with I was kicking myself for not trying it sooner!

See? I wouldn't be able to attach two pieces together so seamlessly with fondant. Argh!

I picked up some powdered food colors and mixed them with some vodka after taking a few swigs. Just kidding...or not. Ok, yeah I'm kidding. I made chocolate covered eggs with the rest of the cake and frosting but I forgot to take a picture.

Duck cake: Chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream filling and Swiss buttercream frosting, covered in white molding chocolate.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Exodus: Toot, toot!

Ok, I know the Exodus is a serious subject and a significant piece of history but this cake was for my book club and my book club is fun. So there!

This was actually meant to be a fun cake. By that I mean I didn't care if it turned out perfect, I just wanted to play around and see what I could come up with.

The best part is there was not baking involved; I had scrap pieces of cake and leftover fondant. All I had to do was make some frosting and, well, put the thing together.

I stacked the leftovers and cut, cut away until I had something resembling a boat.

The ever-lovely frosting shot...

I used every last bit of frosting and my patience on this, it was such a crumbly mess of a thing.

Some fondant and a British soldier holding an immigrant gummy bear hostage...

More detail...

...and all aboard! Look at those happy gummies so excited for Israel!

...until the British came to port.

Oh well. It's a great book though, I highly recommend it!

And now for the grand finale!

No, the Exodus didn't sink but we had to eat the cake, didn't we?!!

Exodus cake: Vanilla buttermilk cake with lemon curd filling and Swiss buttercream frosting, covered in marshmallow fondant.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Flower cake for Terra

I believe one of the first conversations I had with my friend Terra is what her favorite cake is. She described something her mother used to make her: white cake with layers of banana cream and cherry pie filling. When her birthday was coming up, I set to work figuring out how to make such a cake (though I knew it would be no where near as good as her mom's) and how I wanted to decorate it. Then it hit me, my beautiful lady friend needed flowers, lots of pretty flowers!

After a week, this is the number of gum paste roses I could make in my spare time. It's surprising how long these suckers take but it's worth the work!

There! I had the topping, now I just needed the cake. Hmm...

And then we lit 'er up!

I love how the camera plays tricks and makes the cake look like it's on fire!

Love you Terra!

Flower cake: Vanilla buttermilk cake with banana custard and cherry pie filling, covered in Seven-Minute Frosting (thanks Martha!)