Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Lions Football Grooms Cake

Football field cakes can be a great way to showcase a groom's interests and it's much more economical than a sculpted football helmet or stadium cake.  For this cake we used a combination of edible images and Cricut cut-outs as the main decorations.  The cake stand was awesome, and was made by the grooom's mother if I remember correctly.  We delivered this groom's cake to Trevitt Hall in Dalton, GA.

But I just fell in love with these chocolate covered strawberry "footballs".  I have seen them before, but this was my first time making them.

They are your basic chocolate-dipped strawberries, but with a twist (or a spiral!).  Once the chocolate firmed up, I used royal icing to pipe the lines and the laces on the "footballs".  I think you will agree that it is a pretty convincing effect!  And the word from the wedding party was that they were very delicious!

Any of you have any other ingenious disguises for chocolate covered strawberries?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Bridal Show Booths Revisited

This weekend Chad and I participated in the Pink Bridal Show.  It was sort of a last minute decision; I didn't have any cakes booked for the weekend and I really do think they help promote not only customer relations, but vendor relations as well.  Here are some tips I have learned from my previous shows.  I may have touched on some of these topics before, but it bears repeating.

If the event allows you to setup your booth the day before, then you should do it.  The actual day of the show is very tiring, you'll need to start the day with all the energy you can muster.  Setting up the day before also allows you a "second chance" if you accidentally forget something.

Don't be afraid to rearrange your booth.  The show promoter will generally give you an 8-foot table with 2 chairs and a small sign with your business name on it.  If you want different tables, let the promoter know or bring your own.  Look at other vendors' booths, see what they are doing.  Don't copy them, but use them as inspiration.  In the photo above I have used none of the items that am with my booth.  I ditched the sign, the chairs, and replaced the 8-foot table with 2 6-foot tables and 4 highboy tables.

Don't sit in your booth.  The reason I ditch my chairs is that I want to be on my feet and energetic when potential customers walk by.  I'm very interested in their business and I want to look that way.  If you're sitting, customers will walk by without engaging you or when you start to get up they will say "No, don't get up, we're just looking".  Don't believe me?  Find a booth where someone is sitting behind a table and watch the action.  Odds are the only thing you will see going through it are tumbleweeds.  Or better yet, go by a booth where people are packed in like sardines.  I bet they're not sitting.

The aftermath of standing all day and booth teardown is that you will be tired.  Give yourself some time the following day to recoup.  But you want to be near your phone too.  These brides have spent all day searching for the perfect vendor.  They are excited and they want to iron out details.  Monday morning they will start calling.  Make sure you are there to answer the phone!

The last thing I'll mention is that while you are in that booth, make sure to have your patience pants on.  You might get the same question 100 times in that 5-6 hour span, make sure you answer with last as eagerly and energetically as the first.  Remember why you're in the room... Brides are there to find information, but it's also a job interview for you as a vendor.  Your cakes can taste delicious, look amazing, but if you give the customer an eye roll over a "silly" question the customer may just decide to pick your competition over you. 

So stay positive and have an awesome week!!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Wrigley Field Marquee Cake

I made this cake recently for our good friend John.  He is the host of our weekly trivia tournament, and an all-around super great guy. When we found out his birthday was coming up, one of the guys on another trivia team told us what a big fan John was of the Chicago Cubs.  Paul was the one that suggested the Wrigley Field marquee.  Chaddy and I aren't sports people at all, but once I saw the marquee, I knew we could knock it out of the park!  That's a sports saying, right?!? :-)

Chaddy went to work on the graphics, and determined really quickly that it would fit just right on a 12x18 cake.  He then cut the letters out with the Cricut, found a font and printed out the "LCD panel", and printed out a life-sized template.  I used the template to carve the top of the marquee, and to place the letters on the cake.  I extruded a small square rope for the edges of the marquee.  I made small pin holes in my template to help me place the letters and the lines.

After that, I thought the cake still needed a little something, so I put a small Cubs ribbon as a cake border (also an edible image).

And for the record, John was really stoked about his cake!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Marvelous Molds Contest

Recently, we were asked by Cake Central if we would be a part of a special contest.  We would be shipped some new cake decorating supplies and we would use those to make a cake.  It sounded like fun so we said "YES!"  A day or so later I got a box in the mail from Marvelous Molds.  Now, I really like Marvelous Mold products, I have ordered lots of molds from them in the past.

Watch a short 2 minute video about the new onlays

They sent us a few products from their newest product line; silicone onlays.  Onlays are part stencil, part cutter, part impression mat.  Roll a thin sheet of fondant over the onlay and the silicone ribs cut the fondant into its separate shapes.  Pick out the pieces you don't want on the cake and place the flexible silicone mat against the side of the cake and the pieces stick right on.  The best part about these onlays?  They are all based on Pi, so they line up perfectly on any even-sized diameter cake.

I received a zebra and a harlequin mat.  I was a little disappointed, as those are simpler designs that I can already do well without using the onlays, but I think I made the best of it!  Here's a picture of the cake I made from Cake Central's website:

Cake Central Contest Entry

If you haven't already voted, I would love it if you could stop over at CakeCentral and vote on my cake.  There are several great designs and designers, including the fabulous Erica OBrien!!  The cake with the most votes will be featured in an upcoming issue of Cake Central Magazine!

Full Disclosure:  Marvelous Molds did provide me with a few of their new silicone onlays free of charge as part of the contest, but their exposure here was not part of the agreement and my opinions, as always, are my own.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Guest Blogger: Beata from My Sweet Passion Cakes

Even though I have made it my mission to help out cake decorators just getting their start, it can still be a daunting task to find help online.  I frequent more than one cake forum and lots of times I see a a basic question turn into a heated debate over some minute detail that has nothing to do with the poster's question.

But sometimes the planets align perfectly and two people thousands of miles apart connect to make something special.  That's how I met Beata Khoo from My Sweet Passion Cakes in Brighton, UK.  She posted a question on CakesDecor asking for assistance on how to make a cake like a dragon sculpture she had a picture of.  It seemed like a daunting and ambitious task, but I answered and what unfolded was a really satisfying month-long collaboration.  Even though Beata says she's just a hobbyist, she took instruction well and learned to work with modeling chocolate and make her own structure, something she had not done before.  I was so impressed with the work that Beata did that I asked her if she would like to write up a post about her experience making this awesome cake.  And now without further ado, here's Beata!

My name is Beata Khoo and I started to decorate cakes about a year ago. I have always loved to bake cakes, but never really decorated any cakes.  I was always so busy in y everyday life and never had the time, until last year someone gave me the most gorgeous cupcakes. And I thought -this is what I can do... and rest is history ;) I am hooked! All I want to do is bake and decorate cakes.

I have been doing a few cakes since then but I really crave a challenge to see how much more I can do. Then one day this lady calls and asks me if i can do this Amazing Dragon.  I really wanted to do it too, but I wasn't sure where to start, so I decided to write into Cake Central and CakesDecor.  I also wrote a private message to Liz Marek on Facebook, hoping someone will have some idea on how to make it.

Unfortunately i didn't get anywhere with Cake Central, but very lucky on CakesDecor.  Jenniffer from Cup a Dee Cakes wrote to me and gave me advice how to build the structure and the best way to use modelling chocolate. On top of that Liz Marek gave same idea and was kind enough to answer my message. In that moment I felt so happy that there was someone giving me guidance and I knew that I could do it ;)

And this is the way I did it...

1. First I bought a wooden board and copper tubing. Drilled seven holes (size of the copper tubes) in the base, not too close to one another.

2. Then I made modeling chocolate white and colored it. (I have never worked with chocolate before and thanks to Jenniffer - I love it now)

3. I applied the chocolate on to the copper and created his skin with scissors

4. Next, I made the heads, which was a little tricky, but with a lots of determination they came out lovely. After finishing modeling, I put them in the fridge for 10 minutes to set.

5. The body of the dragon i made it with a chocolate cake and the wings I made with rice crispy treats.

6.Then I wanted to paint the MC so again I was asking Jenniffer and Liz Marek, then I thought best to try on little test MC before I painted the dragon.  I tried mixing petal dust with vodka and then vegetable oil. Vegetable oil looked the best so my decision was made. I painted my dragon with petal dust and vegetable oil, it took 2 days to dry but it looked fantastic!

So before i put it together - I covered my wooden base to look like wood and then put my heads together and held it all together with dark modelling chocolate. I then created the body and wings and painted them last. Hope you like the way I finished it off with the Enchantica book and message on each side of the dragon. Most of all I would like to thank Jenniffer and Liz Marek for all their help.

Didn't Beata's cake turn out great!?
Beata can pass out all the thanks she wants, but in the end, she was the only person in that kitchen doing all the work.  And she she did an exceptional job, didn't she?!?  I was super glad to provide her with some assistance; I was excited every morning to get online and see what progress she had made.  It's this type to collaboration that the Internet was invented for.  Please stop by Beata's Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/mysweetpassion, LIKE her page, and let her know what great job she did!  Lastly, I want to thank Beata for guest blogging here today!

For more pictures please visit www.facebook.com/mysweetpassion


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