Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Threadcakes Contest Entry

I'm sure by now that most of you have heard of Threadless, the awesome T-Shirt company, and as cake people you're probably familiar with Threadcakes, the annual contest where people make cakes based on a T-shirt design.  If your not familiar, then go check the links above and then come right back - I'll wait...  ;-)

Seriously, I have been wanting to participate in this contest for at least 2 years, and this year I finally made the commitment to participate.  I literally spent days just looking through t-shirt designs to find the perfect one.  I finally found Bonsai Cats, a shirt I had seen previously and fell in love with.  I'm a big gardener, Chaddy likes his ninjas, and we're both big fans of kitties, so this design worked for everyone.  The design also lent itself well to cake, and I thought that while challenging, it was something we were capable of creating.

The Threadcakes rules require LOTS of photo proof during the baking and assembly of the cake.  That was an unusual addition to my workflow, but I managed it OK.  My biggest problem was one that most of you are very familiar with - TIME.  I didn't allow myself enough time and we were both rushing around the night of the deadline.  We finished the cake, took all the photos, and then cut and ate part of the cake (one of the rules) and got all the photos uploaded with only 20 minutes to spare before the midnight deadline.

So now all the entries have been turned in and the judges are now scoring each of the entries.  Hopefully they will announce the winners soon,  There are some super talented people with some great entries this year, but I remain hopeful that I at least have a shot of placing.  Keep you fingers crossed for me, OK?

UPDATE: A day before this post went live, Threadcakes announced the winners of the contest for 2012.  We didn't place in the top five slots, but we were selected as a finalist!  Considering all the great cakes that were entered, we can be happy with that!  If you want to see my entry along with the original t-shirt design and my progress shots, just click here to go to my Threadcakes entry.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Laptop Groom's Cake

This cake is a great example of how you can give your client's a 3D "looking" cake, but not blow their entire bridal budget on the groom's cake.  Our groom here was a big PC gamer, and his favorite game was Starcraft.  He also wanted his gaming laptop represented on the cake.  Here's a couple of ideas we incorporated to minimize the complexity, and thus the price.

Keep the 3D elements on a smaller scale.  On this cake, the majority of the cake is actually just a sheet cake, the laptop has just enough cake for the couple to cut into.  And the back of the laptop is just corrugated plastic coated in black gumpaste.  Since it was so light, we were able to use a small bent metal angle bracket to hold the laptop lid open.

Simplify decorations where possible.  We have no problems making individual keyboard keys for a laptop cake, but that gets pricey fast.  Printing out a keyboard on edible image paper not only looks great, but saves you decorating time, and your client money. On this cake, we used edible images for the keyboard, the laptop screen (logo), and the side decorations.

All of these concessions gave the couple the cake they wanted, while still keeping the price at an affordable level.  We delivered this to the Hunter Museum of Art in Chattanooga and it looked great.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Buttercream Ruffle Tutorial

OK, so you remember those buttercream ruffles from last week?  And you wanted to know exactly how they're done, right?  OK, well, this is the method that I figured out, and they are much easier than you think!  Let's start with an image of the technique, almost completed:

Pretty, huh?  The best part is, you only need 2 tips to accomplish this look!

I have seen a rose tip used to make ruffles, but I have found that the Ateco Tip 070 is absolute magic for this.

I wanted to add some "lift" to my ruffles, so for this tutorial we're also going to use a Wilton tip 12.

The ruffling part is really quite easy; the tip does almost all of the work.  My suggestions here are to start each row with a full bag of icing.  Bag "burps" and running out of icing is not your friend here.  Once you have a row of ruffles, pipe a tip 12 rope on top of the ruffle. 

This rope will give you a nice ledge to pipe your next next row of ruffles onto.  Now just keep alternating ruffles and rows until you reach the top ledge of the cake.  If you want to continue on the top of the cake, just keep doing the same thing - ruffles and piped ropes.

That's it!  That's all there is to it!  I told you it was easier than it looked!!

And while you're here...
Last night I submitted my first cake to the ThreadCakes contest.  I would really appreciate it if you took a look and even clicked the LIKE button or left a comment!  Here is the link:  http://www.threadcakes.com/entries/view/1546

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Buttercream Ruffle Wedding Cake

I have never made buttercream or fondant ruffles on a wedding cake before... at least not like these. 

The client brought in a picture from The Pastry Studio, done all in fondant.  She wanted something similar, but in buttercream of course!  Since I seem to be the Queen of Buttercream, I jumped at the challenge!

The bride also wanted some extra bling on this cake!!  For the ribbons, I added rhinestone chain, but for the gumpaste peonies, it took a little extra creativity.  I took some needle-nosed pliers and cut out the middle of the flower, taking care to leave as much of the wire as a could.  Then I used the wire to crimp on a rhinestone button I got at the craft store.

But I know you're really wondering about those butter cream ruffles, right?  Well, it took me a few tries to get it right, but it's really not that hard.  Do you want to learn how to do it?  If so, leave me a comment and I'll show you next week!


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