Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Smokey the Dog Vols Cake

Before we begin today's post, I just wanted to say "Thanks!" to Kathia over at the Pink Little Cake Blog.  A couple of weeks ago she asked me if I would be willing to participate in her "28 Days of Sweet Halloween Ideas" series.  I was so flattered that she asked me to guest blog on her site. Please visit her site and take a look at my post.  I really went all out and even used some of the food styling tips I learned at the Food Blog Forum!!

OK, now where were we?  Oh yeah!  This weekend I did my first dog cake!  I spent way too much time on it and if I do it again, I will not make the same mistakes I made this time!

I will tell you one thing - I am now in love with Fondarific!!  I have used it in the past to cover small cakes, but nothing as complicated as a carved dog.  I found that I could roll it thinner than regular fondant, which is nice.  It was super stretchy, resisted tearing, tasted great, and didn't get the first wrinkle!  When I really got to checking, it's not even that much more than the fondant I normally use!  I sat down last night and ordered a boatload of the stuff!!

As far as how this bad boy is put together,  there's 80 eggs worth of eggs in the marble pound cake that makes up the body and neck on this guy (he's on a 36 inch board).  The support system was really just a PVC pipe running from the board up through the neck and then a cake board that held on the styrofoam head. Oh yeah, the tail, legs, and feet are all made of crispy rice treats.

I have already heard back from the wedding planner and some of the wedding party... old Smokey was a big hit at the wedding!!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Creative Arts Guild Cake

Being an artist (at least I consider myself an artist), I try to do everything I can to support local art programs.  In our town, we have The Creative Arts Guild.  They do a wonderful job of bringing art to our community, as well as teaching classes in art, dance, photography, music, and probably a lot of other stuff I can't even remember right now.

Every year they host Festival, where artisans come from near and far to sale their particular brand of art.  This year there were SO many vendors selling everything from jewelry, to wood crafts, to tie dye T-Shirts.

The night before Festival begins, the Arts Guild hosts The Patron's Party where they invite the best food vendors in town to come in sample their wares.  We were honored to be invited again to provide cake for the event.

This year we really wanted to go all out and really make something special.  We broke out the Cricut Cake machine and cut out lots of dancers ( and the font too).  Then we went to the Guild's website and grabbed some images from local artists and printed them on edible image paper.  I framed these mini masterpieces on modeling chocolate frames (made from a lace mold).

I added the red curtains for a nice splash of color, but also to represent the theatrical and for the dramatic flair it adds.  It's just red fondant, and the pleating gods were with me that day.  They turned out SO nice!  I topped the cake with some musical notes bursting out the top.

It was very well received by the guests and especially by the Guild members.  I think we may have set the bar for future years.  If the folks from the Arts Guild are reading this, we'll try to go bigger and better next year!!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Smash, Smush or Baby Cake?

Chaddy and I don't have kids (except furry ones!), so it was perplexing to me the first time someone ordered a small cake just for the one year old.  My mom just cut me a slice and that's all the mess I was allowed to make, but times have changed.  People call these baby cakes all kinds of names but the most popular is smash or smush cake.  I guess it's named after it's purpose in life.  (So why aren't the rest of my cakes called eating cakes or devouring cakes?) I get some of the greatest pictures back from my customers and they always make me smile.  This one is of little Jack and the photo was taken by Houston Photography.  I just love the simple but eye catching balloons in the background, not to mention that adorable baby!
If you're looking to make cakes for a living, don't be surprised when you make one cake for a photo session several weeks ahead of the actual party.  The pictures make a great invitation to the big party!  I try really hard to make these cakes mostly buttercream because the fondant covered ones are just not as fun for the pictures.  Also, keep in mind any toothpicks or wire you may normally use in keeping say a fondant monkey together cannot be used for these cakes.  That would not make for a happy baby! More and more customers are asking for smash cakes or just a "personal" cake for older kids.  Sometimes it's to give them their favorite flavor or just to make their birthday more special.  Why didn't my Mommy do that?  I'd love to hear from you guys what your friends and customers are calling these baby cakes! 

Friday, September 17, 2010

Rose Petal Cake

A long time ago, when I was a "baby learner" as my Mom would say, a bride brought me a picture of a cake that she said was Kevin Costner's wedding cake.  It was the first cake that I said to myself and the bride "Hmmm, so I wonder how they did that?".  So I decided to decorate a two tier cake dummy (Styrofoam) to see if I could make her happy as well as make something that I was proud of presenting.  So I set out and covered the dummy cake in fondant (which you don't have to do on the real cake because it's just too much fondant!).  I made a couple of different patterns, cut them out with an Exacto knife and then "ruffled" the edges with a ball tool (fondant was laying on soft foam).  They didn't really go above the cake line too much so I didn't have a big problem with floppy fondant.  I did add some tylose so that it would hold it's shape better. 

After I repeated that a million times, I cut more petals freehand to make it more organic (I gave up on the pattern, it was too uniform) and then painted the edges with gold luster dust paint mixture.  I tried painting them first on my practice cake, but it made more of a mess and when I had to move them around for function it would leave the dust on other pieces.  Around the top and lip of the cake I used sanding sugar to make a pretty finish.  The one change the bride made that I don't think I would have is that she especially wanted the cake to be one continuous shape without any indentions like a normal tiered cake.  The bottom of this cake was a 20" round.   Normally you would do a 20/16/12/8/6 type combination, but she wanted 20/18/16/14/12/10/8/6.  Extra petals where placed in the 1" brim on all the tiers to help it look more gradual.

To this day, it was the tallest stacked (no space between layers) cake I have made.  I used a step ladder to put it together and it had a little sway to it.  Now I know I should have put more dowels through the center to sturdy it up.  But it was straight and lasted through the reception that went on until 3am!   This was also the first cake that the event staff, at the Chattanoogan Hotel in this case, asked me how to cut it!  My answer was "I guess get the step ladder back out and start at the top!"  

I have seen this style of cake done in a lot of publications since I made this one.  Most are in chocolate that is applied to trasfer sheets and curved to fit the layers.  A lot of people call it a "rose petal" cake.  To me it will always be a "cabbage leaf" cake! 

Thanks to Beasley Photography of Ringgold Georgia for the great picture!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Wizard of Oz Birthday Cake

Here's another cake from the way-back machine!  I did this cake a couple of years ago for little Maddy's birthday.  Maddy was a big Wizard of Oz fan and she loved all the girl characters - Glenda the Good Witch, the Wicked Witch, and Dorothy of course!

So, the task became how to integrate the spirit of all those characters, but keep it simple and economical for Maddy's Mom!

I used a chocolate mold to make Dorothy's Ruby slippers and coated them with a generous dusting of my edible red disco glitter.  I then designed 2 tiers, a good witch tier and a bad witch tier.  The "good witch" tier is all nice and pink, with Glenda's magic wand.

The "bad witch" tier features a witch's hat and broom stick with the evil witch's stripey stockings sticking out from underneath.

I finished the whole thing off with a sash that reads "Are you a Good Witch... or are you a Bad Witch?"

Have a wonderful week!!!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Rock'em Sock'em Grooms Cake

This week I met with a couple that were interested in a cake I did a long time ago.  It was a Rock'em Sock'em Robots cake (sorry about the quality of the photos, I don't know what happened to them!),  Looking back through my old photos, I remember having such a good time making this cake.  Even though we technically cheated by using the robots and the ring posts, there was still a lot we had to figure out.

We used hot glue, floral wire, and skewers to create "extenders" on the posts and the robots so that we could seat them in the cake properly.  Now that I think of it, this may have been where I came up with my monogram extension method I mentioned some time ago. 

The most fun part of this cake was making the bride and groom outfits for the robots.  The groom's tux is made from that foamy construction paper stuff and the bride's outfit is made from genuine faux pearls and some netting for the veil.  Here's a closer view:

Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend!
If you're at the Atlanta Food Blogger's Forum, look us up!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Chocolate Lovebirds Topper

I did this cake a while back and I wasn't as thrilled with it as I wanted to be.  The couple wanted a bird silhouette on top of the cake.  I cut at least 4 different sets of birds out of modeling chocolate, but they all just looked so... FLAT!  I guess that's just how it works with silhouettes, huh?

The rest of the cake is pretty simple - square cake with buttercream, piped vine design on the chocolate layers, and piped dots on the middle tier.

I finished it off with a fondant ribbon border and some gumpaste calla lillies.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Labor Day weekend!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Charleston - A Culinary Adventure (Part 2 of 2)

If you're here to see another pretty cake, check back with us on Tuesday.  If you came back to hear about the rest of our culinary adventures in Charleston, then... really?  Wow!  And please! don't think that these are the only or best places to visit.  There were LOTS of places in Charleston where we would have liked to sample the food, we just didn't have the time.  Also, don't think that the only thing we did in Charleston was eat.  We visited lots of other places too!!

More details on our wonderful trip after the jump!


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