Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween Special Edition - Meringue Cookies

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote this post and it was featured on Kathia's Pink Little Cake Blog. Just in case you missed it there, and because I'm in the Halloween spirit, I thought I would share the recipe for my regular readers.


Meringue cookies are easy to make, but I think people are afraid of them because they appear complicated.  They are very inexpensive to make, and you can pipe them into almost any shape.  Also, they are gluten and peanut free, so there's a few more people that can enjoy them!

Let's start with the ingredient list.  Better get out your pencils! LOL!

6 large egg whites
1 1/2 cups sugar

   1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees. Put egg whites and sugar in the heatproof bowl. Set bowl over a pan of simmering water; whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and mixture feels warm to the touch, about 5 minutes or until the mixture reaches 130 degrees.

   2. Transfer the hot mixture to your mixer with the whisk attachment.  Beat on high speed until very stiff peaks form, about 8 minutes.  The great thing about meringues is unlike plain egg whites or cream, it is almost impossible to overbeat or break it.

   3. Transfer meringue to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain round tip, I used a Wilton #1A.  You can fill a baggie and snip off a corner for piping too.  Pipe bone shapes, each 5 to 6 inches long, onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper.  For ghost shapes, start at the base with heavy pressure and lessen the pressure as you near the top of the ghost.  If you are unhappy with your shapes, just scoop them back up and re-pipe them! 

Bake until crisp throughout, about 90 minutes. Test one meringue to see if it is dry throughout.  If not, let it cook a little longer.  One they finish, turn off the oven and place a wooden spoon in the oven door so that it is still cracked a little.  Leave the meringue cookies in the oven.  This will allow the meringue to cool very slowly and prevent them from cracking.  Some of them will probably still crack though!  It will just make them spookier!

Once they are thoroughly cooled, use an edible image marker or gel color and small brush to draw faces on the ghosts.  This is what you end up with!

I hope you enjoy making these as much as I did!  Have a happy and safe Halloween!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Abigail's First Birthday

You all know how much I like making first birthday cakes.  They're like wedding cakes for newborns!

Little miss Abigail's cake was no exception. I was given a picture of Abigail's dress and used it for inspiration.

The colors, the polka dots, even the cupcake came from the dress' design.  I even broke out the Cricut Cake to cut the letters... so easy!  For the zigzag ribbons, I used a new silicone mold I just bought and it turned out beautifully.  Isn't that called rick-rack?  I have no sewing skills whatsoever - LOL!

The cupcake was made so that it could be easily removed to serve double duty as Abigail's smash cake.

Oh, and I almost forgot about the marabou boa around the cake board!  Too cute, huh?  Have a great weekend and a Happy Halloween!!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Nigeria Move Over, There's a "New" Phone Scam in Town!

Warning to all Shop Owners out There!

This weekend I was spending my Saturday catching up on paperwork and quotes with Chaddy in the office when the phone rang.  The Caller ID just read "New York, NY".  Chad immediately thought it was The Food Network calling.  What for?  Who knows what goes through his head - LOL!!

Well, it certainly wasn't Kerry Vincent or Alton Brown, it was a TTY relay operator that deaf people use to communicate via the phone.  The caller wanted to order 300 cupcakes.  I'm pretty booked up this season, so I was not available the date they wanted.  So they picked another date, and another date and another.  The dates ranged from October 29th to December 9th!  My Spidey Senses were already going off so I asked for a name, phone number and e-mail address.  The only info I was given was the name - Kofo Jones and an e-mail address - Kofo!!!  Say Whaaaa?!?  Now, every alarm in my head is going off!  So I say that I need a credit card to secure the order; by the way did I mention that the order was for 100 green, yellow, and pink cupcakes?  That's the most I could get from them regarding the order.  Then they told me that they would wire me $700 via Western Union and I could just send back the change.  GAME OVER!  I told them that I felt this was a scam and I was refusing to do business with them and they hung up.

I had no idea that people had been abusing these TTY lines, but a quick Google search confirmed that people have been doing this phone scam for years!  And FYI, in some instances they will gladly give you a (stolen) credit card number or a (fake) certified check.

The Better Business Bureau offers some tips on their site on what to look for and best practices for doing business with someone using TTY relay lines.  Stay safe and protect yourself, your business, and your money!

And if there is a real Kofo Jones out there... no offense!  I sure couldn't find you on Google!

UPDATE: Not an hour after I finished writing this post, I got a friendly call from eBay.  Seems someone hijacked my eBay account and bid on a bunch of cameras and computers.  Guess where it was all going?  Yep, Nigeria!  They straightened it out pretty quickly, but still!  I guess it's just Scamtastic Saturday around here!  Pretty please, just for me, go right now and change all your important passwords!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Featured on Cake Wrecks Sunday Sweets!

Many of my regular readers remember reading about my Back to the Future DeLorean post, and some may remember the DeLorean in-progress post, but today we were featured on Cake Wrecks as a Sunday Sweet!  Today was a "Back to the Future" post and our little ol' DeLorean cake was featured!

In the 6 years we have been in business, we have won cake decorating contests, voted "Best Dessert" by the local community 2 years running, featured on several other blogs, but this is truly an honor and a red letter day for the entire Cup a Dee Cakes crew!  Thanks Jen and John for selecting us!!!

You all know the Cake Wrecks address, but click here to get directly to their Back to the Future post!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Daisy Turns 100!!

How many times does a baker get to do a cake for someone celebrating their centennial birthday?  Recently, Daisy turned one-hundred and I was asked to do her cake(s).

I was given quite a bit of leeway on this one.  I was told that Daisy loved flowers and gardening, but that the cake should be simple.  Daisy also wanted her children represented on the cake.

With those instructions, I decided make 3 smaller cakes (they were going to be picked up) shaped as the number 100!  I then decorated the cake with gumpaste daisies.  We molded ladybugs to represent each of Daisy's children.  I think Daisy was very pleased with her cake - I hope we get the chance to do her 101st birthday cake too!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Trees and Leaves... Well it is that time!

I just love it when we get to make a non traditional wedding cake!  My bride was so fantastic and let me take inspiration from another cake, an invitation, and a save the date card.

It was one of those cakes that would have been pretty if I stopped at the first stage, which was the trees.  It would have been prettier if I stopped at the next stage which was the curly vines.  That was by far the most time consuming.  Getting the little chocolate fondant snakes thin enough while staying even.  I still don't know why I didn't get my clay gun out?!  The one thing that made life easier was that after stacking I put the cake in the cooler for several hours while I worked on other projects.  When I brought it out the condensation made it just the right amount of sticky!  The trees and vines stuck on perfectly.  It was a shame when it dried up and I had to go back to attaching with water or piping gel.  I had it good for a while!

Back to the cake, I then added the leaves and it was prettier....and I could have stopped...but no!  The "Save the date" cards had Autumn colored dots so I added a few.  That is what made the cake for me!  Pop pop dot dot!  I used the little circle cutter from Polymer Clay Express.  These will be worth every cent!  I love that site!  The impression mats are good, not to mention the extruder guns.  I liked everything about the cake except for the delivery which was 90 minutes one way and the last 2 1/2 miles was all on a gravel road that was not at all cake friendly!  It was called Laurelwood and it was a beautiful location once we got there!

Friday, October 15, 2010

I Wanna Rock and Roll All Night!

...and Bake Cakes Every Day!!

I delivered this groom's cake recently to The Grandview.  Our groom here is a HUGE KISS fan and Rock And Roll Over is his favorite album.

We started with a small one layer square cake and then a round cake cut at an angle (for optimal viewing).  We printed out the album cover on edible image paper and mounted it to a buzzsaw shaped modeling chocolate plaque.  We also cut "KISS" letters out of fondant.

The bride caught a glimpse of us as we were delivering the cake.  She was SO excited and happy with it!  Rock On!!!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

TN Aquarium Cake

I did this cake a few weeks ago and delivered it to the Tennessee Aquarium.  The couple wanted a tropical feel, but also wanted to convey a "watery feel" while keeping her white on white color theme.

Our solution was to make fondant rope waves around the cake,  They added the fluidity that the couple wanted, but still maintained the cake's simplicity and elegance.

It was a fun cake to do and I always enjoy bringing cakes to the Aquarium because I get to stop and say "Hi" to all the cutie-patootie penguins they have there!

I have a small family emergency that is almost over, so my time has been very VERY tight for the last week. So I'm keeping this post short... sorry!  Check back on Friday!!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Rose Seperator Cake with Monogram

Ii set this wedding cake up at the Loose Cannon Art Gallery recently.  I love the venue, but it's always dark in there.  Their one of the reasons I invested in a bounce flash for the camera.  This is one of the pictures with the bounce and I thought it turned out pretty good.  As with all my photography skills, I still have a LOT to learn!!

This cake is mostly buttercream with some fondant accents.  And silver dragees!  Oh the dragees!!  Seriously, I really love the look of the edible pearls and the silver dragees, but I have to put them on JUST before I deliver the cake, which depending on the delivery schedule for the day, can be a real pain.

The florists were setting up as I was delivering the cake.  There is supposed to be a lot of roses below the top tier, but they were running short and had t go back to the shop.  They did let me play with the3 they had left to get a semi-decent shot.

Nothing technically new or terribly difficult going on here.  I did use my Cricut Cake on the monogram (man I LOVE that thing!!)

Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend!!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Neyland Stadium Vols Cake, Revisited

I have done a Neyland Stadium groom's cake before, but this one is my best to date (until the next one - LOL).

This time around, my brother (the master woodworker) was visiting and watching me very intently.  Before long I could tell he was itching to play in some edible material.  I had a few sheets of white modeling chocolate rolled out, so I had him to glove up and start cutting out my templates.  He's a dog-gone natural I tell ya!!

The weirdest coincidence?  Both of my Neyland Stadium cakes have went to the same place!  The Loose Cannon Art Gallery!  Must be a great place for Vols fans to get married!!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Big Ruffled Flower

Hello, dear readers!!  TGIF!!!

Remember, Smokey the Dog from Tuesday?  Well, this is the bridal cake that accompanied it. It was delivered to the Doubletree Chattanooga.  It was our first trip there and I was surprised by how nice it was!  The staff told me that the new owners had invested 27 Million to update it.  You could really tell it too!

This is one of those cakes that is elegant because of its simplicity.  Four tiers of buttercream bordered with a buttercream ruffle border.

The only fondant on the cake?  The big ruffled flower on the top!

Well, that's it for this week - come back on Tuesday for more cake-a-dee goodness!!


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