Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Chevron Cake

We were asked to make a cake for a "Chapel talk" for GPS seniors.  The young lady that speaks at the service provides tea and snacks for all the attendees.  My clients had a very specific design that was very similar to a Charm City Cakes design.  We added a little something here and there, but I certainly give them credit for the design.

The bottom tier was six thick layers high.  The very dark teal was hard to make and probably the most challenging part of the project.  When making a super dark color, start with dark pre-colored fondant, never white.  Make sure to add some black.  If you can purchase some powdered color, it would help.  The amount of gel color you have to add makes your fondant very sticky and loose.  You will need to work powdered sugar in with the color to keep the fondant the right consistency.  For the chevron design, we made a stencil and traced the design with a scribe (a pin with a handle).  We used Nu-silver and painted on the design.  We did the same with the pink layer, but just painted the stripes with super pearl luster.

For the total silver baby tier, we painted it instead of airbrushed. To remove the brush strokes, just go over with a soft brush in a circular motion using a little more dust. For the silver dots we trimmed off the tip of a stiff paint brush so it was a dot stamp more or less.  We had to do more than stamp it, but it got the job done.  The peonies were purchased at Wholesale Sugar Flowers.  Last but not least, the pretty backdrop is from Ink and Elm.  I love their backdrops!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Cookie Groom's Cake

Weddings are huge productions where many tiny (or not-so-tiny) pieces all fit together seamlessly to make one huge elegant event.  Weddings are all about collaboration and coordination.

Recently, I met with a couple and the groom was a bonafide cookie connoisseur - he loved them and wanted them to be a big part of his groom's cake.

But how do you do that and still keep things classy?  Enter Mama Wilson from Mama Wilson's Cookies.  She made these delicious, deep dish cookies to act as tier separators between each cake tier.

Initially I was just a little nervous about this collaboration.  I know my cake and my icing.  I know how it reacts when it's carved, it's like my baby.  I made it and I know it's strengths and it's weaknesses..  But I'm so glad I agreed to do it and I was very pleased with the outcome.  I did use a small cake board beneath each cookie just in case it needed some extra support.  And this cake fit in just fine at the venue, Mason's Farm a River's Edge.

I think the "worst" thing about this whole collaboration was that I didn't get to eat any of that delicious cookie, so I'll just have to imagine how that cookie tasted with the chocolate butercream and dark chocolate ganache! I hope they had plenty of milk on hand!! ;-)

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Workout Weights Groom's Cake

This workout inspired groom's cake was finally a chance to do a little something different!  The actual working out does not interest me in the least, but a cake about it? Heck yeah!

There are a few things that I still can't do well and spheres is one of them.  I try and try, but they come out "wonky" in shape and the fondant coverings are terrible.  What I have learned is that making the bottom half of the rounds out of pre-made half spheres is the way to go.   Cake does not like being upside down so gravity is not your friend.  Dallas Foam  has all kinds of sizes and I always keep a few on hand for sphere "emergencies". 

I've really noticed this year that black fondant can fade really fast.  In a day it can go from dark black to dark gray.  My first advice is to work extra black color into it before you get going.  Someone mentioned adding baking soda or baking powder and that would help, but I can't find the actual instructions, so please let me know if you have a clue what that tip is all about!  The weights are all covered with modeling chocolate.  I did not have any problem with it fading.   The medicine ball is fondant and I had to paint it with petal dust just to get it back to black. 

The other "new" technique that I am trying to use is painting with cocoa butter.  I've had super bad luck using edible markers on modeling chocolate.  It totally runs when it gets condensation on it.  For the weights, I marked the letter with cutters and then painted in the lines with white cocoa butter.  You have to keep it warm as you are working, but that is the only "tricky" thing. 

I used the jump rope as a "border" to hide the yucky bottoms of the top tiers.  Also on the three weights, I wanted a "lip" but when stacking them, I had to cut away the areas that would have been squished from the tier above it.  All my technical cake talk is so complicated :)  Hope you enjoy looking and learned something from my experience.  If you have any tips on spheres or fading fondant, please share with us all in the comment section. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Gray Tux Groom's Cake

When I have a consultation with a couple, I never know how involved the groom will be.  I have had grooms come in with their own sketches and I have had groom's that put their head on the table to take a nap.  No matter how involved they get, sometimes they just can't come up with a good idea for the groom's cake.

This tuxedo themed groom's cake is a great option for that groom that is having trouble coming up with a great idea for his cake.

This 2-tiered cake was buttercream with minimal fondant accents and made to coordinate with the wedding party's colors.

Isn't that little bow tie the cutest?

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Grill Master Cake w/ Coal Mini Tutorial

Happy Labor Day!  We hope everyone had some down time to relax and grill some yummy foods.  Segue into a grill cake! See what I did there? So subtle....

A sweet bride gave us some artistic freedom and the basics that she wanted:  gray, grill master on front, and meats on the grill.  The easy part is the simple gray buttercream round with two fondant ribbons on top and bottom.  If you don't have to use fondant, people will love just buttercream. Remember that with a cake like this, you don't have to put any effort is smoothing the top since you're just covering it up.  We added a gray THICK (1/2" ish) piece all around the top.  It's what the grate is sitting on.  This way, like the cigar box we did a few weeks ago, we didn't have to carve into the cake to get the inset look.  We needed a place for our coals and 1/2" was plenty.

We used these new flat Jet-Puffed Chocolate Brownie Marshmallows for the coals.  We airbrushed the marshmallows black.  It didn't take much color.  If you don't have an airbrush, buy a Preval Sprayer or buy a Wilton can of black spray.  We then mixed about one cup of powdered sugar with about a tablespoon of cocoa powder and teaspoon of black powdered food coloring.  Once mixed, these will give you  good looking "charcoal and ashes"!  We all want that!

We arranged the coals all flat and added heavy ash in the middle fading out to just a little on the outside.  We then added a little yellow, orange and red disco dust/edible glitter.  I wasn't crazy about the glitter, but time was ticking and there was no time for experimentation.  We did not have time/money in the budget for an edible grate, so we used Wooden dowels, hot glued all the pieces and painted them with silver spray paint.  A small saw would be best to get pretty, not squished ends. We used wire cutters and it made them ugly.  Next time we will know better.

Lastly we made no-bake oatmeal/ peanut butter / chocolate cookies for the hamburgers.  We used the most popular recipe on Food Network.com for ours.  We pressed in a skewer and airbrushed the black lines since we already had it out.  The could be painted on with a brush just as easily.  The hot dogs are modeling chocolate with the same technique for the lines.  We used a toothpick to make the details on the sides.   I hope this project seems easy enough for anyone to give it a try.  I promise it's not hard and is lots of fun!

If you want to see a few in-process of the marshmallow coals, hit Read More.

Happy Grilling!


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