Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Day of the Dead Wedding Cake

I made this wedding cake back in March... MARCH!  You have no idea how hard it was to sit on these pictures so that I could save them for this Halloween post!  NO IDEA!!

This couple was a baker's dream couple.  Super nice, easy to work with, and enjoyed thinking WAY outside the box.  This whole wedding was Day of the Dead themed, which is a celebration and remembrance for loved ones that have passed on.  It is a huge celebration in Mexico and other countries.

I had such a fun time making this cake.  And I think the best part of it all was during the delivery, someone walked into the reception site and yelled "Holy Sh*t, is that the cake?!"  When the wedding cake in question is purple and lime green with dancing sombrero-ed skeletons and a huge skull tier I think that's the best reaction you can hope for!

What are you doing for Halloween?  We are going out with some friends and we are all dressing up like characters from the Wizard of Oz.  Doesn't that sound like a hoot?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Wedding Cake with a Twist...that I don't like!

Can I vent here?  Really vent because you are reading my blog, so it's OK right?  I have to say this cake just drove me crazy!  I don't like the twist.  I didn't want to do the quarter twist.  What is the point of the twist?  Where is the front?  How do I place it at the venue?  What direction should I install the monogram topper? OK, now that's out of my sys... no!  WHY?  If the cake was too "normal, we could have done a more daring, offbeat cake without making it look like I was drunk and riding the tilt-a-whirl when I was stacking it!
Are you new to cake making or client pleasing?  PUT ON YOUR BIG GIRL PANTIES and make what they want.  Then start a blog and complain a little to keep your sanity...well a little sanity.  I have a good eye and good taste.  I was paid well for a long time to use those talents in the retail world.  Not all people have those things and I've come to accept that.  I don't think this cake is tacky or ugly, it just goes against my nature of symmetry. But I have been and will be asked to make tacky cakes.  I have done some turned some down.  I'm an artist, but also a business person.  Momma has to pay the bills! If you can make a product and still lay your business card down right next to it because you made that product the best it could be done, then do it.  If you would be so ashamed for people to know you made "that" and would never make it again, then don't make it in the first place.  Learn skills today that will let you steer a customer to a better option that will suit you both.  That may include you making another design cheaper to encourage the customer to pick the thing you want to make  (or overpricing the item you don't want to do, but my honesty gets in the way).  Sometimes you need to give options because of you don't want to tarnish "your brand" or you simply don't have the skills to make a certain design or the customers budget does not agree with their first choice.  You need the ability to adapt and "roll with the punches" whether that means making a cake you don't like or coming up with a better plan.  I hope all your projects this week are ones that you love!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Girlie Sock Monkey Cake

To be honest, the week has gotten away from me and I need to squeak out a little blog really quick.  We have a customer that we have been able to make most of her kids birthday cakes.  She trusts us by giving us a theme, colors and budget and lets us go for it.  We had a tiny budget so we employed the use of time savers like a stencil and some easy little buttons.  Well, the stencil was supposed to be easy but it was a pain.  All the little lines wanted to get stuck in the stencil.  The cake has to be very cold so the little lines hardened quickly.  We had to work fast!  The sock monkey was inspired by a figure made by "Sugar High".   If I did it all over again, the pinks would match better.  The light pink diamond stencil on top of gray buttercream just got washed out.

My tip for new decorators is use tylose powder when making animals and figures.  If you put a few pinches the day before you make a figure it will absorb the extra liquid and let the fondant hold it's shape.  You can also make a 50-50 mix of gumpaste and fondant to hold it's shape.  Tylose is also used when making fondant bows to get them to dry hard.  Tylose does not work in modeling chocolate or Fondarific.  Happy Caking!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Gold Dots and Instagram

Cup a Dee Cakes Making a gold dot & line cake #flipagram made with @flipagram

We make cakes for a living, but our part time job is social media.  It really does take up a lot of time for a small business owner and we certainly are not making the most of all the internet has to offer.  We have a very visual business, so we just joined Instagram!  More of our customers want to see pictures and not read lines of texts so we are trying to work on expanding our efforts toward that.

We made a very simple cake last week.  It was a 3 layer 6" and a 6 layer 9" combination in buttercream. We scored organic lines (another word for not perfect) and painted gold dots on the buttercream for the top tier.  We added some live baby's breath at the venue.  The fun part is that we took about 100 photos in process and used an app called flip a gram to make a little 15 second video for Instagram.  That s the longest video you can make for Instagram, lesson learned!  Please take a look and follow us! We need an audience if we are going to take that many pictures of a project!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Chevron Cake

We were asked to make a cake for a "Chapel talk" for GPS seniors.  The young lady that speaks at the service provides tea and snacks for all the attendees.  My clients had a very specific design that was very similar to a Charm City Cakes design.  We added a little something here and there, but I certainly give them credit for the design.

The bottom tier was six thick layers high.  The very dark teal was hard to make and probably the most challenging part of the project.  When making a super dark color, start with dark pre-colored fondant, never white.  Make sure to add some black.  If you can purchase some powdered color, it would help.  The amount of gel color you have to add makes your fondant very sticky and loose.  You will need to work powdered sugar in with the color to keep the fondant the right consistency.  For the chevron design, we made a stencil and traced the design with a scribe (a pin with a handle).  We used Nu-silver and painted on the design.  We did the same with the pink layer, but just painted the stripes with super pearl luster.

For the total silver baby tier, we painted it instead of airbrushed. To remove the brush strokes, just go over with a soft brush in a circular motion using a little more dust. For the silver dots we trimmed off the tip of a stiff paint brush so it was a dot stamp more or less.  We had to do more than stamp it, but it got the job done.  The peonies were purchased at Wholesale Sugar Flowers.  Last but not least, the pretty backdrop is from Ink and Elm.  I love their backdrops!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Cookie Groom's Cake

Weddings are huge productions where many tiny (or not-so-tiny) pieces all fit together seamlessly to make one huge elegant event.  Weddings are all about collaboration and coordination.

Recently, I met with a couple and the groom was a bonafide cookie connoisseur - he loved them and wanted them to be a big part of his groom's cake.

But how do you do that and still keep things classy?  Enter Mama Wilson from Mama Wilson's Cookies.  She made these delicious, deep dish cookies to act as tier separators between each cake tier.

Initially I was just a little nervous about this collaboration.  I know my cake and my icing.  I know how it reacts when it's carved, it's like my baby.  I made it and I know it's strengths and it's weaknesses..  But I'm so glad I agreed to do it and I was very pleased with the outcome.  I did use a small cake board beneath each cookie just in case it needed some extra support.  And this cake fit in just fine at the venue, Mason's Farm a River's Edge.

I think the "worst" thing about this whole collaboration was that I didn't get to eat any of that delicious cookie, so I'll just have to imagine how that cookie tasted with the chocolate butercream and dark chocolate ganache! I hope they had plenty of milk on hand!! ;-)

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Workout Weights Groom's Cake

This workout inspired groom's cake was finally a chance to do a little something different!  The actual working out does not interest me in the least, but a cake about it? Heck yeah!

There are a few things that I still can't do well and spheres is one of them.  I try and try, but they come out "wonky" in shape and the fondant coverings are terrible.  What I have learned is that making the bottom half of the rounds out of pre-made half spheres is the way to go.   Cake does not like being upside down so gravity is not your friend.  Dallas Foam  has all kinds of sizes and I always keep a few on hand for sphere "emergencies". 

I've really noticed this year that black fondant can fade really fast.  In a day it can go from dark black to dark gray.  My first advice is to work extra black color into it before you get going.  Someone mentioned adding baking soda or baking powder and that would help, but I can't find the actual instructions, so please let me know if you have a clue what that tip is all about!  The weights are all covered with modeling chocolate.  I did not have any problem with it fading.   The medicine ball is fondant and I had to paint it with petal dust just to get it back to black. 

The other "new" technique that I am trying to use is painting with cocoa butter.  I've had super bad luck using edible markers on modeling chocolate.  It totally runs when it gets condensation on it.  For the weights, I marked the letter with cutters and then painted in the lines with white cocoa butter.  You have to keep it warm as you are working, but that is the only "tricky" thing. 

I used the jump rope as a "border" to hide the yucky bottoms of the top tiers.  Also on the three weights, I wanted a "lip" but when stacking them, I had to cut away the areas that would have been squished from the tier above it.  All my technical cake talk is so complicated :)  Hope you enjoy looking and learned something from my experience.  If you have any tips on spheres or fading fondant, please share with us all in the comment section. 


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