Friday, April 29, 2011

Brown and Blue Ribbon Wedding Cake

Thanks for taking a break from the Royal Wedding to stop by!!

Simple and elegant wedding cakes are all the rage these days!  And this cake is about as elegant as they get!  I layered blue and chocolate colored ribbons to give a nice border and then scattered silver dragees on the tops of each tier.

This cake was delivered to Niko's Southside Grill.  It was the first time I had been to their upstairs reception room.  It was a very nice space to host an event.  I even got to ride on the dumb waiter!!

Speaking of Niko's, I once had dinner with Jane Seymour and her husband James Keach at Niko's.  Yes, THE "Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman" Jane Seymour!  It was years ago in my previous career.  She developed a line of bedding and home accessories for our department store.  She made personal appearances to all our larger stores and in my role as regional visual director I got to join her and our executive staff for dinner.  She was very nice with just the right amount of "celebrity kookiness".

Since she's been named as an ET correspondent for the Royal Wedding, it's like I have an inside track to William and Kate's wedding...  OK, maybe not!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Nebraska Huskers Grooms Cake

Neither I nor Chad have ever been big sports fans, so when we gets sports cake requests, sometimes we have no idea who the team in question actually is.  I'm still not exactly sure if this is a football or basketball team!  LOL!

But we had a great time making this logo cake nonetheless!  I put Chaddy to task making a cut file for the Cricut from their logo.  He worked his computer magic and imported all the pieces into SCAL. 

I have talked about how I like using the Cricut Cake to do logos before.  Even though their basically still a flat decoration, the layering gives some measure of dimension to the cake.  I thought the angle of the picture above really shows the layering effect nicely.

Have a great week!  Who's planning on getting up early to see the Royal Wedding on Friday?  I know I am!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Orchid Wedding Cake

I do lots of wedding cakes where i decorate with swirls and/or curls, but this bride brought me a photo of a cake that had, for lack of a better term... slashes.  They were very different and created a really cool look.  I thought the cake turned out great!

During our consultation, the bride said she wanted orchids on the cake.  That's what I sketched out and that's what I was planning on seeing at the wedding and I even discussed it with the florist before the wedding.  But when I arrived, the florist had other flowers.  The florist and I quickly scoured the facility and gathered the few remaining orchids from all the arrangements.  We used a few rose petals to add an extra little splash of color.

The lesson here is that sometimes no matter how much pre-planning you do, sometimes you just have to roll with the punches and make the best of things even when ideal conditions are not present.

Have an awesome weekend and Happy Easter to all!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Gold Egyptian Display Cake

I really like doing display cakes.  It's one of the few times that I get to create any cake I want!  And since the "cake" is actually styrofoam, I don't feel so compelled to use all edible materials on the cake.

I was walking through the hobby store when I came across this cute little peacock feather wreath.  I made a comment about how it would make a really cute cake stand.  Before I left the store I already had all the details worked out in my head and bought a few things too boot!

I covered the tiers in fondant and then airbrushed them gold.  I made some fondant in some of those peacock colors and used them for draping and the border.  Then I topped and placed the peacock feathers all around. The jewels are actually a pair of earrings that I ordered super cheap online.  They arrived the day I was working on the cake and when I opened them, they were already broken!  Even though I couldn't wear them as earrings, they still looked great as my swag connectors!

Just goes to show that cake inspiration can come from the darnedest places!

PS - Happy Birthday to the best mother-in-law a girl could ever hope to have!  Have an awesome birthday Trish!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Peanut Butter Addiction Grooms Cake

Have you seen the new Reese's minis at the grocery store?  They are smaller than the Reese's miniatures, taste super yummy, and best of all, you don't have to unwrap them!  Thanks Hershey!

This cake might just put you into a peanut butter coma! First, it's a dark chocolate cake with peanut butter buttercream icing.  The cake is then topped with a full case of regular Reese's cups, 2 large bags or Reese's miniatures, and 2 bags of the new Reese's minis.

If your groom is a peanut butter addict, he'll flip his lid over this cake!

Have a great weekend and stop back in on Tuesday to see what else we have in store for you!

UPDATE:  I have noticed a lot of traffic to this post recently from people looking for recipes.  If you would like a super yummy peanut butter buttercream recipe, check out my buttercream tutorial with recipe here.  The peanut butter variation is mentioned after the recipe!  Happy Baking!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Some of my First Cakes

A few weeks back I blogged about how I got started into cake decorating and how I wound up where I am today making a living doing something I truly enjoy.  Your comments were all so sweet with many of you expressing that you shared the same dream.

Since I did my buttercream smoothing tutorial I get maybe an e-mail a week from someone who has tried my method and still not happy with the way their cakes look.  I always tell them to keep practicing and keep decorating.  Just like any other artist, you will develop your own methods and your own sense of style over time.  And your cakes WILL get better!

So why am I saying all of this?  Well... I was going through some old photos the other night when I ran across some of the cakes I did when I was first starting out.  Chad and I looked through them and snickered and giggled at each one.  But, I was doing the best I could do at the time and I was really proud of them.

So for the novice bakers out there that see my current cakes and think "Wow, I could never do that", I wanted you to see that I didn't start out doing 5-tiered cakes or flawless buttercream.  Everyone else can just sit back and laugh like Chad and I did!!

Click on the picture for an even better look!

I know the firefly cake was one I recreated (I use the term very loosely) from the Whimsical Bakehouse book.  The rest I probably saw in a Woman's Day magazine or some such place.  That purple two-tiered cake was my Wilton final cake!  These were all giveaways, so luckily none of them should ever wind up on Cake Wrecks!  LOL!

Thanks for visiting!!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Better Cake Photos using the iPad

Screen shot from Shuttersnitch
(click picture to see details)
I have blogged before about how we are always striving to take better pictures of the cakes we make.  The problem a lot of times is the picture in the little mini viewer looks fine, but when you see it on the big screen something is off - too dark, too bright... too something!  This past weekend we found a really cool app for the iPad that allows us to see our pictures on the iPad as we take them on our camera.  The process is called camera tethering, and while it's not the most straightforward solution, it was neat enough that I thought it was worth sharing with you here.

Things you'll need to make this work:
Apple iPad (or iPhone if you don't mind a smaller screen)
Camera that accepts SD memory cards
A Wi-Fi network
Shuttersnitch App ($16)
Eye-Fi SD Memory card (about $40 at Walmart or Amazon)

Eye-Fi is like a regular SD memory card that contains a mini Wi-Fi adapter inside.  It's very cool in itself.  As you take pictures, the Eye-Fi can transmit your pictures to your computer or to sharing sites like Photobucket.  The Wi-Fi capabilities are what allow Shuttersnitch on your iPad to grab the photos.

Shuttersnitch is a an app you get from the Apple App Store.  Once you load it you will configure it with your Eye-Fi account settings so it can communicate with the Eye-Fi card in your camera.

As you take pictures, the app automatically downloads them to your iPad so you can see a large preview (or full size even).  And best of all it only takes about 15 seconds per photo.  Shuttersnitch even tells you all your camera settings (ISO, aperture, shutter speed, etc.)   If you don't like the picture, just adjust your settings or your lighting and take again.

The biggest problem with this solution is taking pictures outside of your Wi-Fi zone.  If you want this to all work anywhere you go, you'll have to invest in a battery operated portable router.  That's just more than I need at this point.  I take most of my photos in the kitchen (or just outside).

It seemed pretty technical, but Chaddy set it up without any issues.  There are several places on the Internet that walk you through the setup, but Chad said that he used the directions at Rob Galbraith's site.

I realize that many of you might not have an iPad.  But if you do, pairing it with the Eye-Fi card and the ShutterSnitch app will definitely help you take better pictures by allowing you to see them on the fly.

Question for today...  Do you like reading articles about how technology can be used in the baking business?  Do you want to see more articles like this?   Tell us what you think in the Comments section!

UPDATE: May 2011 - Just a month or so after publishing this article, Eye-Fi has came out with a firmware upgrade to the Eye-Fi cards that will allow them to create their own wireless networks!  This means that we can now carry our iPad on deliveries and get real time pictures without any additional hardware (the battery operated router mentioned above).  We have been out several times now and it works like a charm!!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Grandview Peony Wedding

This weekend we were back at the beautiful Grandview Inn delivering this gorgeous buttercream wedding cake.

This time around the bride wanted the cake to match her color scheme - navy and olive.  I used navy ribbon as a border and I used the leaves to bring in that olive color.  The bride also wanted peonies, but wanted to make sure they were darker than the cake itself.

I got the peonies at Wholesale Sugar Flowers.  Honestly, I like making my own, but the time I have to put into them makes them cost prohibitive for my customers.  I dusted the flower petals with ivory and champagne, and the centers with a silver luster dust.

Stop back in on Friday to read our next installment!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Content Theft vs Design Theft

Sometime late last year, I found another blogger that had literally taken dozens of my posts - text, pictures, and all, and posted them on her blog as her own.  I found each post and left a nasty little comment and asked her to take down the stolen content.  Nothing ever happened and not knowing where to go or what to do, I let it go.

Over the weekend, Chaddy found a group on Facebook called Stop the Cake Thief.  It's a group where you can "out" these unscrupulous people that would take another's cake pictures and present them as their own.

He still had the link to the blog, so he decided to list it on the group so that others might see if their content had been stolen too.  Within a day or two, a few people commented that they recognized some cakes.  But then someone commented that not only had someone stolen her cake but that someone else had stolen it again by claiming it as their own!  And the claimer was me!!  It was the first time I had been accused of doing something un-cake-ethical.  The other decorator was accusing us of design theft.  Chad looked at the 2 photos and while they were entirely different cakes, one was definitely inspired by the other.  Chad quickly worked things out with the lady and wound up giving her a shout out on the post thanking her for the inspiration.

Anytime my family sees a cute cake, they send me a picture.  Not to mention that I get e-mails and printed pictures from clients every week of cakes they like that will inspire their own cake.  If a client is looking for cake ideas, I generally direct them to flickr.  They never provide me with the original baker (or the price!).  I'm absolutely sure this is where this lady's cake came from.

If I know who did the original cake, I like to give them credit, but as I stated before, I usually don't know.  If another baker does a cake that I came up with originally, it really doesn't bother me.  Odds are, you aren't near enough to me to be a competitor, and if you are and can do the cake better, more power to you!

I think there's a huge difference between design theft and content theft, and to be clear, Stop the Cake Thieves focuses solely on photo/content theft, not design theft.  But I do have a renewed sensitivity to it and I will try harder to give proper credit when and where I can.

Have any of you ever had your actual photos stolen and presented as your own?

What are your thoughts on people using one of your cakes as inspiration for their own?

For the record, I got the graphic above from iStockPhoto.


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