Friday, October 28, 2011

Purple Orchid Wedding Cake

I delivered this cake to a church in downtown Chattanooga a couple of weeks ago.  When we walked in the reception all we were greeted by a man with a huge punk mohawk that was directing some of the other people helping with the wedding with what to do.  He was really cool, but not someone you would expect to run into in a church!

I have said it before and I'll say it again... if you're going to be in the wedding business, you have to stay somewhat flexible.  In my contract, and on my sketches, this cake showed that it was supposed to have a bell topper on it.  But when I get to the reception hall, no one knows anything about a bell topper, but there is a small bucket of orchids labeled "for the cake".  Hmmm, no mention of flowers or orchids on the sketches or contract either.  Oh well, give me something pretty to work with and I'll add it on the cake.  The orchids actually looked really pretty with the purple ribbon on the cake.

There are some things I won't compromise on, but for the most part, staying flexible will make you and the client happy - and it will keep you from pulling your hair out!!

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Dead Blogs and Blogger Outreach

Halloween is almost upon us, but I don't want you to think that it's the holiday spirits that are turning my thoughts to a morbid nature.

There's one thing that really bothers me... seeing dead and forgotten blogs.

Every week I take a little time to read through some of the blogs in my blog roll, but I also try to find at least a couple of new cake or baking blogs.  It always breaks my heart to find one that hasn't been updated in a long time.  I find myself wondering what might have happened... Was blogging just not for them?  Were they discouraged because they never found their audience or never got any feedback from their visitors?

So I thought we might try a little experiment.  I thought I could find a few of these defunct blogs and maybe if we visited them, and left them a comment could we get them blogging again?  Call it Blogger Outreach, or maybe Blogger Goodwill.

I'm going to list 3 blogs below.  These are bloggers that showed promise and talent, but for some reason stopped blogging.  I have visited these blogs and left them a comment encouraging their work and telling them that people are interested in their work.  All I ask is that you do the same.

 Let's see if we can coax these bloggers back into baking and blogging.  Thanks for reading and thanks for stopping by.  I'm glad that I found an audience and a voice and I can only hope the same for others!  Have a great week!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Brown Bow Fall Wedding Cake

Wow, Friday is already here already?  This week has been a huge blur!  Two days in class with Mike McCarey, and then back to the bakery to hit the ground running to get these wedding cakes ready for the weekend.  Next week is crazy too, but November eases up a little.  Is October a big month for you also?

Even though this cake is simple, we decided to use a backdrop to give it that fall feeling.  We used burlap as the backdrop to give some texture, and i took a floral pumpkin arrangement from the house and placed it behind the cake to pull in some of those fall colors.

The bow on this one is made from fondant.

Have a great weekend and stop back in on Tuesday for more decorating tales and more pictures from our cake gallery!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Food Blog Forum Nashville Recap

Chaddy and I recently visited Nashville to attend Food Blog Forum,  There were SO many big names there... Jaden Hair from Steamy Kitchen, Todd Porter and Diane Cu from White On Rice Couple, Alison Lewis from Ingredients Inc., Jenny Flake of Picky Palate, Susan Whetzel of Doughmesstic, Lindsay Landis of Love and Olive Oil, there were seriously just too many big names to name!

There's Leah from So How's it Taste? and Shannon from Family Bites

Friday, October 14, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Cake Recipe

Fall is here, and nothing says "fall" quite like pumpkin.  And of all the ways you can eat pumpkin, I think cake has to rank right up there!  This recipe is one that I have loved on throughout the years, and tweaked until it was just right!  The cake is dense and moist, and the cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg gives it a wonderful spiciness that will leave you feeling like you just stepped off a hay ride!!

I haven't shared a lot of recipes on this blog before, so if you would like to see more, make sure to let me know in the comments section!

As soon as I make my deliveries on Saturday I am off to Atlanta to take a class at the Nicholas Lodge school with Mike McCarey.  Add a recap of his Big Bird class along with my experience at Food Blog Forum Nashville to the growing list of things I owe you guys! Have a great weekend; I know I will!!


8 large eggs
4 cups sugar
2 cups vegetable oil
1 29 oz. can pure pumpkin
4 cups all-purpose flour
4 tsp baking powder
4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray 2 9-inch round cake pans.

Combine the first four ingredients in a mixer with a paddle attachment and beat on medium until the mixture is smooth.

Combine the remainder of the ingredients in a separate bowl and slowly incorporate into the pumpkin mixture with your mixer.  Split the batter into the 2 9-inch pre-sprayed cake pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Frosting Recommendations:  This is super yummy with a cinnamon buttercream.  Simply add a little cinnamon oil to your standard buttercream or cream cheese frosting.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Guinness Bottlecap Grooms Cake

I have been making some extremely "normal" cakes lately, especially groom's cakes.  With all of the awesome choices out there, couples keep going with plain chocolate with chocolate covered fruit or a Georgia or Tennessee theme.  I hate to blog about something that we are all tired of so at least we have one fairly cool cake for this week, but I can't promise what will come next! 

This grooms cake was a less expensive option for my couple than a bottle of Guinness.  Also, since it's got a low profile and minimum carving I was able to use my normal soft cake instead of pound cake (the bottle would have to be pound for strength).  I baked a 16" and 14" round dark chocolate cakes, filled them with Bailey's Irish Cream buttercream and crumb coated. I made a small cardboard template with a rounded end and just went around the cake and cut out the bottle cap indentions.  Super easy.  The hardest part was figuring out how many sections we were going to have and marking them.  Chaddy and his geometry skills were very helpful. 

I then covered in Elite Ivory fondant.  Have I mentioned lately how much I love Elite fondant for covering a cake?  It's so soft, never cracks, tastes yummy and I can roll it SO thin.  I am also using "The Mat" from Cal-Java for rolling out big pieces of fondant.  I don't have the room in my bakery for a fondant sheeter, so this mat system is perfect.  You can roll fondant, walk away from it for long periods of time and because it's covered it won't dry out.  It's a very inexpensive tool that I really do love!  But, it doesn't work well with Fonderific, go figure!  I decided to use my new fancy airbrush to do some highlights on the edges.  I used a gray after trying a few other colors. 

Lastly, but more importantly, Chad got the logo and using modeling chocolate and the Cricut Cake, he magically made me a logo!  Do you know how long that would have taken to do by hand?!  Much longer than I was getting paid for that's for sure!  I hope you like the cake and can make a differnt logo or size for an event in the future.  There's a lot of soda and beer fans out there, so this should be a pretty good generic cake design! 

Happy decorating! 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Green & Brown Wedding Cake

As you read this, I'll be traveling to Nashville to attend a food blogger seminar put on by Food Blog Forum.  I guess technically I am a "food blogger" as I do blog about food, but I still feel a little isolated, because I'm certainly not the traditional food blogger.  But I always enjoy meeting new people, and the topics they discuss at the seminar are all very applicable.  I am especially looking forward to the food stylists panel.

Speaking of food styling, take the photo of this cake here.  It was the prettiest shade of green and brown.  I even took it outside to get some of that sweet, sweet natural lighting.  But no matter what I tried, I just couldn't get my colors represented properly in my picture.  It seems like any chocolate accents on my cake always come out very black looking.

It's something I hope I can ask at Food Blog Forum this weekend.  Hopefully I'll give you all the lowdown on Tuesday (or maybe Friday)!

Have  great weekend!!  You can follow the action real-time on Twitter with hashtag #FBFNash!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Gathered Fabric Autumn Wedding

This cake was the first cake I have done this season in more traditional autumn colors.  I really like cakes with varying tier heights, and this one's got it all; half-height, regular height, and double-height tiers.  There's even a couple of styrofoam risers thrown in there for good effect.

I did learn an important decorating lesson with this cake.  I was having trouble finding styrofoam circles in the right size, so I got one closed cell and one open cell.  Closed cell is the really smooth sytrofoam; open cell has a rough surface and is scratchy (like sandpaper).  The open cell styrofoam is NOT good for covering in fondant.  The fondant wanted to droop very badly.  I don't know if it was the piping gel or the fondant, but from now on I will get the right styrofoam for my risers!

And another quick tip I learned on this cake.  The bride wanted a dot border on most of the tiers.  I was sitting in the kitchen with my tape measure pondering just how to make these dots not only straight, but equally spaced as well.  Chad then mentioned my dot impression mat, but that is a whole page of dots.  I only needed one row.  Then he said, "Well, why don't we just cut one row off the mat and use that?"  Now that's my Sweet Genius!!  Well, we cut a strip off and it worked like a charm!  It certainly made quick work of those dot borders!

Are any of my readers going to Food Blog Forum Nashville this weekend?  If so, make sure we meet, OK?  Chaddy will be there too!


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