Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Fondant Swag Wedding Cake

Thank goodness a week of no cakes!  We have been needing a weekend off for a long time.  So nothing to excited to share with you this week so let me apologize ahead of time.  Easy cake but funny story.

This buttercream covered cake was supposed to be very simple, and it was, just not the delivery.  For the swags and pearl borders we used wedding white Fondarific painted with white sparkle luster dust.  You know the pearls take a lot longer than you would think, especially when you are going all the way around a 20" round cake.  I rolled the wide strips out and layed them over a three dowels.  Just form the fondant around them and then pull the dowel out the side.  Make sure the swags are stuck on the butercream so all their weight is distributed. The Fondarific is great about staying flexible and not drying out or getting cracky.  Also, the wedding white color matches my French buttercream perfectly.  I've tried using toothpicks to hold some of the weight, but they do more damage than good. 

I wasn't supposed to make anything to go where the swags met, but it didn't look great, so I added some ribbon roses.  We added fresh peonies onsite and it looked prettier at the end.  We didn't get a good picture because we pulled into the parking lot on two wheels.  On our wedding contract I list the bride's address and the venue's address on the same page.  I make the forms, fill them in, and read them all the time.  We were in a real hurry and I asked Chad to enter the venue address in Garmin.  We were freaking out when we got to our destination and it was a subdivision.  He entered the wrong address!  Once the planner called we could at least tell her we were on the way and would be there in 15 minutes.  The ceremony was still going on in the church, but that was way too close for me. 

Lesson learned!  Just because the cake is easy, that doesn't mean the rest of it will be :)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving Football Cake

This week is Thanksgiving week, so I thought this would be the perfect cake to showcase as many of our family members will be watching football as they fall in and out of turkey-induced slumber.

But it's also a time for self-reflection, and a time to give thanks.  I have so many things to be thankful for - I am thankful that my small business has thrived in a struggling economy.  I am thankful for the skills I have learned and the people that have supported me and my business.

When I first started, there wasn't a lot of information out there.  I bought every cookbook I could find, but there were still specific questions I had.  As far as I know, there was no CakesDecor or CakeCentral to fall back on.  Out of desperation I e-mailed a few specific questions to some well-known decorators.  Some I never heard from, but I was surprised that several answered me back with an answer.  I always responded back with a gracious "Thank You" and never pushed my luck.  I also vowed that I would "pay it forward" when my skills were more developed.

Nowadays I must get a couple of e-mails a day from aspiring decorators asking me questions, and sometimes I have to remind myself of my vow. Most people ask very pointed, specific questions and I try to answer than as quickly as possible.  Some people though ask questions like "I have never baked a cake in my life and I want to make a 4-foot tall sculpted animatronic dancing armadillo cake.  Can you please send me recipes and a step-by-step walkthrough with diagrams?"  OK, so that scenario is a little inflated, but you get the idea.  I'm never exactly sure how to answer these types of emails, and honestly more times than not, I just ignore them.

So please remember this next time you e-mail someone with a question, and they can continue to be thankful to share their information.  And don't forget to thank them if you get a response!

Have a very Happy Thanksgiving!  Spend some time with people you love!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Kaben's Birthday Hoedown

Recently I did Kaben's 4th birthday cake.  I have mentioned Kaben here on the blog a few times before, since I have done all of his birthday cakes.  He is such an amazing little boy, and he always gives us such great ideas for his party cake.  This year's party theme involved a petting zoo, cowboy hats, cactus balloon sculptures - certainly enough for me to create a cake around.  It all worked so well at The Car Barn!

Our cake starts out with the bottom cake tier as a wooden crate covered with modeling chocolate "wooden" panels.  We also made his name using wood planks also made from modeling chocolate.  We used a Wilton #3 tip to make mail holes in the planks.

The next tier was covered in blue fondant and made to look like denim blue jeans complete with little pockets and stitching.  We also made a horseshoe inspired 4 made from gumpaste for rigidity.

The next tier was a bandanna in John Deere yellow and green. I gathered the fondant a little and finished the tier with a little fondant knot.

The next tier was inspired by the petting zoo.  Just a green fondant "hill" with a rickety country fence.  There were a few animals made from modeling chocolate poking their cute little head through.

Cars is still Kaben's favorite cartoon, so we incorporated one of the tractor "cows" into the cake as a topper. I used some pictures from the Internet to sculpt a tractor from modeling chocolate.  Now Kaben also wanted his tractor to "moo" just like on the cartoon.  He was too high on the cake for Kaben to reach, so we used a recordable sound module and incorporated it into a tractor tire on the cake board.  Now my frequent readers here will know that this is totally Chad's area of expertise.  He took the module into the office and about 2 minutes later he came back with with the sounds on it.  I thought he had pulled up some sound database on the Internet to record it from.  It wasn't until the next day that he told me he just mooed into it.  I couldn't believe it, but it sounded great!  I guess if this cake thing doesn't work out, he has a career as a cow impersonator!  LOL!!

Thanks for stopping by and reading my little old blog.  I know this was long, so here's a closeup of that tractor sculpture as a special bonus for sticking around!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Burlap Pattern & Rose Wedding Cake

Some of our brides discover a cake online, bring in the picture and want nothing changed.  This cake was one of those projects.  I wish we could credit the original designer, but we don't have the name at this time.  The venue for this cake was a barn with lots of rustic decor, burlap table cloths and a very elegant bride.  The imprint on the fondant was to look like a burlap pattern. I found a great clay pattern mat for clay that had a sort of wavy pattern but the "thread" was too thin.  I could not find a burlap rolling pin anywhere!  So what was I to do?  I used a large piece of rubber shelf liner that I use for non slip mats under all my cakes.  It worked great but wasn't "natural" enough until the pattern got "distorted" while covering the cakes.

The pleating did not come naturally since we are all conditioned to not have pleats, but as you can imagine it wasn't had.  I don't have room for a huge fondant sheeter, so I've found a GREAT alternative, "The Mat".  I think that tool and Elite fondant are the key to covering cakes.  We use many different brands of fondant for many different applications, but Elite is by far my favorite for covering cakes.  

This picture better shows the burlap pattern

I used two boxes of "Bloomed Garden Roses" from Caljavaonline.com as well as several smaller roses for "filler".  I really love these roses because they come with four sizes and are very natural looking.   The biggest challenge were trying to get the flowers to "match" for ivory fondant (straight from the tub ivory).  I ordered them in ivory but they were very peach!  I spent 5 hours airbrushing coats and coats of petal dust to get the color right.  The bride wanted the entire cake and flowers to have luster dust airbrushed on also.

My real challenge on this cake was self inflicted.  I keep letting brides pick their favorite cake stand regardless of the diameter of the cake.  As you can see on the first picture, there wasn't a very big lip on the cake board.  You really need a cake board at least 6" larger than the bottom tier, or the cake will be too top heavy and more likely to fall. When you are traveling with these tall guys the extra cake board act like "training wheels" so that it doesn't fall over.  When we have done this in the past, we still put a larger board so that we can carry it and not put our fingers in the sides.  This doesn't give you close to the stability, so don't use that as a solution.  I'm not going to keep making that mistake!


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