Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Charleston - A Culinary Adventure (Part 1 of 2)

Recently, I had a weekend with no cakes booked, so that meant it was time for a VACATION!!  Now normally, I'm the structured, organized one, but when it comes to vacation time, I get all willy-nilly.  So late Saturday night Chad and I got online and started looking.  We eventually narrowed down our choices to Memphis or Charleston.  A coin flip later and it was decided... we were going to Charleston!!

The adventures start after the jump!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Blue Bow Wedding Cake

I did this wedding cake a while back at Ryman Hall in Dalton, GA.  I always feel a little weird about mixing cake shapes and especially Square-Round-Square-Round.  But I was very happy with how this cake turned out!  I really liked the blue and brown theme that the couple chose for their colors.

Not a lot of difficult cake techniques going on here, just buttercream with some piping and a bow made from gump-  What? 

Contest/giveaway what now???  Oh yeah, I remember now!  You want to know who won that autographed copy of Cake Wrecks for voting for Icing Smiles.

Well, Chad took all the names of people that posted their comments on the Pepsi Refresh page and ran them through the Ran a Dee Mizer.

And the winner is....  Jennifer Murphy Tieman!!.  Jennifer, please contact me with your address so I can ship your book out to you ASAP!

Thanks to all who voted and have a great weekend!!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Pink Pleated Swags

This weekend I delivered a cake to the Cleveland Country Club.  The bride and groom were super great to work with!  They decided to go DIY with their florals; didn't they do the best job?

When I arrived at the venue, they had the flowers for the cake all ready for me.  I arranged them on the cake and then the groom popped in and gave his approval.  And then the photographers ran in and wanted to take pictures of ME placing flowers on the cake.  I relented and let them, as I'm sure such photos won't make it to the final album!!

Well, I'm keeping it short and sweet this week.  Make sure to keep voting for Icing Smiles in the Pepsi Refresh Project so you can win that coveted autographed Cake Wrecks book (see last post)!  The winner will be announced on Friday!!!

Have a great week and good luck!!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Cake Wrecks Book Giveaway!!

You may not know it, but one my favorite breaks occurs everyday around 9:30am when Cake Wrecks goes live with a new daily blog entry. I stop for a few minutes, have a sip of coffee, and a hearty laugh. Recently they hosted a contest where the people that came up with the best cake one-liner won a free autographed copy of the Cake Wrecks book. And I won!! Well, I already have my own autographed copy, so I thought "Why not pass it along to one of you?"

This brings up one my other favorite daily breaks... spending a few minutes voting for Icing Smiles in the Pepsi Refresh Project. I have blogged about them before, so just to summarize, they are a non-profit organization that brings birthday cakes to critically ill children. They have applied for a grant in the Pepsi Refresh Project. If they are in the top 10 of the popular vote they will receive $25,000 to help their mission. It's something that Chad and I are very, very passionate about.

Yeah, yeah yeah... so what about this giveaway?? OK, the prize is one copy of the Cake Wrecks book, autographed by Jen and John Yates. How do you enter? Do all of the following 3 steps for one entry::
  1. Leave a comment on my blog (this post). Just a quick note to say you are voting. I will use this to match up your Pepsi vote.
  2. Go to Icing Smiles Pepsi Refresh page, and vote for them.
  3. Leave a comment on their Pepsi Refresh page with the wording "Cup a Dee Vote".
You can do the steps above once per day (for up to 7 entries) from now until the contest ends on Thursday August 26th at 5:00pm Eastern. I will randomly pick a winner (OK, Chad will, he's the technical guy) and announce it on on my August 27th blog post.

Have a great weekend and best of luck!

Aug 20 12:30pm UPDATE: Chad says he is seeing people voting on the Pepsi page that are not leaving comments here on my blog. I would still appreciate the comment, but he says he thinks he can work solely off the Pepsi comments page. I just want to make sure that no one loses a vote because of my convoluted rules

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Blogging for The Pink Book

A few weeks ago I was contacted by one of the Pink Ladies over at the ThePinkBook.com.  They were looking for "Pink Brides" and "Pink Pros".  Real brides and wedding professionals that can share their experiences and offer their suggestions.  As for the pros, they picked me (yay!!) as well as a photographer and someone that runs a wedding venue (what the heck is the term for that... venuist?)

Well, my duties as "Pink Pro Jen" (as I'm affectionately known over there) is to blog once a week about something cake related that might be helpful to brides.

What will I blog about?  Gee I dunno!  My first post is already up and I wrote about the "tall cake" trend that I'm seeing with the brides during my recent consultations.

Will it affect my blogging here?  Heck no!  You can still find my blog posts here every Tuesday and Friday.  While I initially started blogging to bring information to brides, I suddenly found that I was connecting more and more with other decorators, and frankly, it nice to use this place to blog about what I want, whether that's cake tips or just pretty pictures!.

If you're interested, find my Pink Book post(s) here:

Icing Smiles Update:  Icing Smiles has fallen to #27 in their quest for funding through the Pepsi Refresh Project.  They REALLY need our votes!  http://www.refresheverything.com/icingsmiles

Friday, August 13, 2010

Cute Little Bows

This cake demonstrates something that I have seen quite a lot with a lot of the brides I have met with lately... the double border.

It's a great way to add an extra splash of color while still maintaining a clean and simple look.

By the way, even though this cake looks small (and it was), it was red velvet cake with cream cheese icing.  Add a layer of fondant to the whole thing and this was one heavy cake!!  It took both of us to carry it!!!

Also, a funny little story while we were setting up this cake:  Chad was finishing the placement on this cake, putting on the topper, and taking photos when another couple approached the cake.  The man commented "Hey, I know what that is!  That's fondue icing!! I saw it on Cake Boss!"  The woman immediately piped in with "No!  It's cream cheese icing!  The lady already said what kind of icing it was!"  A few moments of silence later and they both looked at Chad and said, "Well, who's right?"  Chad came back with, "Well, you are both correct.  There is cream cheese icing, but there's also another icing layer on top of that - and it's actually called fondant icing."  The man replies back with "See, I told you it had FONDUE icing on it - I watch Cake Boss, I know all about FONDUE icing!"

OK, so maybe it wasn't the funniest story you've ever heard, but it was the highlight of our delivery day!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Twigs and Blossoms

When I met with the bride and groom that got this cake, they wanted a very clean and modern cake.

They wanted the flowers to match their wedding design and they also wanted their cake to have no borders.

The twigs and the flowers were easy peasy to make.  We extruded the twigs using our clay gun and a couple of cutters and some gumpaste took care of the flowers.

The border, however, was probably the most time-intensive part of this cake.  Now, I do "borderless" cakes all the time, but there is an art to it.

First of all, I make sure that the cake board is just big enough to fit the cake, maybe a smidge smaller.  Then I stack the tiers as usual.  I run a small (as small as possible) bead of icing right along crack where each tier meets and then get the cakes nice and cold.  Once everything is cold and firm, use the heat from my finger to melt and smooth the buttercream as I turn the cake on the turner.  Have you ever done any caulking?  Like in a bathroom or kitchen?  Well, if not, its good practice for doing cakes!

As always, thanks for stopping by and have an awesome week!!

Icing Smiles Update:  Thanks to all our votes, Icing Smiles is now (as of this writing) ranked #25 in the Pepsi Refresh grant program!! They are moving up in the rankings everyday, but we need to vote every day to get them to that coveted top 10 position!!  Vote here:  http://www.refresheverything.com/icingsmiles

Friday, August 6, 2010

Bahama Breeze & Pienapple Preserves

I did this cake a few weekends ago for a couple that lived in the Bahamas, but were coming to Chattanooga to celebrate their wedding with family and friends.

They were very laid back and definitely lived the Bahama lifestyle and they wanted that reflected in their bridal cake.  We went with a cool white swirly pattern with some tropical fantasy flowers.  I free-handed the flower template on to a piece of leftover bakery box and Chad cut most of them out of fondant mixed with tylose so they would setup nice and firm.

On the inside, we have white cake, and the couple opted for a pineapple filling.  Now when we did the tasting (about 8 months before the wedding), I had a great local source for pineapple preserves.  Two weeks before the wedding... nada!  I went to all the fanciest stores in Calhoun, Dalton, Chattanooga and NO ONE carried ANY pineapple preserves any more.  I was looking to buy some online (from Hawaii) when Chad popped in the office and asked what I was doing.  When I told him the price of the product and the price of the shipping (almost double), he said "Why don't we just make them?"

So we did! And they were absolutely delicious!  And SO easy to make!!  So as a Friday Freebie to all my readers, here's the recipe for:

Perfectly Pineapple Preserves.


1 14oz can of pineapple in its own juice
2 Cups Sugar
2 TBS corn starch


Combine all the ingredients in a nice size pot and cook over medium heat until everything gets very thick and caramelized to a nice golden brown.  On one batch we put in a candy thermometer and it was about 240 degrees when we removed it, which took a little over an hour to achieve.

They still weren't as firm as I would have liked for a normal cake filling, but they were so tasty and delicious.  We ate the leftovers on everything imaginable until they were gone!

Enjoy, have a great weekend, and if you wind up making the preserves, please let me know!!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Vote for Icing Smiles!

We interrupt the normal flow of levity and cakery for this very important announcement:

Icing Smiles is a relatively new non-profit organization that helps get cakes to children with critical and terminal illnesses.  I found out about the great work Tracy Quisenberry was doing a couple of weeks ago and immediately contacted her to see how I could help.  As I read through the website I was overcome with emotion.  Others have been too... so much in fact that poor Tracy is now having a hard time growing her organization quickly enough to connect all us bakers with all these children fighting for one more birthday.

I have offered my baking services, and I wish the economy and my finances would allow me to offer this organization my financial support as well.  Tracy, not to let a little thing like the lack of a fat stack of cash stand in her way, has submitted her idea to the Pepsi Refresh Project.  The Pepsi Refresh project is where people like us can vote for altruistic projects that we deem worthwhile.  At the end of the month, the top 10 contenders get $25,000 to help get their ideas off the ground.  Icing Smiles desperately needs this money and this is where we can help!

Visit the Icing Smiles page on the Pepsi Refesh Project at:

We can vote for them once per day, and if you have a Facebook account, you can even vote for them without signing up for a separate account.  If you haven't yet heard about Icing Smiles, please visit their website to read more about the wonderful work Tracy is doing and the stories of the children she has already helped.  As I write this they are ranked 331... lets get her down to the single digits, huh?

Chad even added a voting button to my blog's sidebar to help me and all my visitors remember to vote everyday.  Please help get the word out about this amazing organization!


UPDATE: Just checked this morning (Aug 5) and their current ranking is 52!!  This is great news but we all have to keep voting to get (and keep) her in the top 10.  Tracy informed us that Pepsi has said it was OK to vote using multiple e-mail accounts, so break out all those old hotmail accounts and vote again!!


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