Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Monster Truck Birthday Cake

We were asked to make a cake for a vendor's grandson and we were given free reign on the design.  I love that, but sometimes it stresses me out!

Anything I want!?! Oh. I have to consider how
Much the I have left in the week? Well that happens with lots things doesn't it!

The final cake only had one tier that was all fondant and that was the tire.  The tan tiers are all buttercream and the "dirt" is graham cracker crumbs.  We striped the bag for the flames and used a leaf tip.  We cheated and used a chocolate mold for the truck and card stock for the flags.  We used part of our cake scraps (the hump we cut off to level the layer) to make a hill for the truck.  I like the way it came out and am glad it didn't get too busy like a lot of cakes.  I think Landon loved it too!

I hope that 2015 brings us all much success and plenty of cakes to decorate!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Millennium Falcon Birthday Cake

If you follow our blog, you will know that each year we get to make a fantastic cake for a sweet little birthday boy named Kaben.  His Mom gives us lots of freedom in terms of design and budget, so the cakes are fun for us to make.  This is the first year that we haven't done a tiered cake, but we spent more hours than ever before.

The biggest challenge making sculpted cakes can be figuring out the structure under the cake that will hold everything up.  It is scary and feels like you are more of a handyman that a baker.  Having a cake with pipes and plywood also cut down the amount of servings in the cake.  Our commercial refrigerator has a 22" wide door opening, so that limits our cake size and cake board.  Most sculpted cakes are built on the board with the armature screwed in and everything secured down.  When a customer needs a lot of servings and wants sculpted cake, you have to know your bakery's limitations.  You may need to add sheet cakes or smaller matching cakes to fill the order.  For this cake, I did need a lot of servings, about 100, and started the cake as large as I could while using my 22" cake board.  To get as many servings possible and avoid making an internal structure, I used a sturdy mud cake and sculpted the cake out of one BIG hunk of cake.  There were no supports, boards, wires or anything non-edible in the cake.  All the rectangles of cakes shown are 11x 14" layers.

This pic shows the cake structure underneath... Barely visible, right?

We've made a little movie to show how the progression of the cake sculpting.  Since the "real" Millennium Falcon is fairly flat and pizza like, we decided to sculpt it at an angle to get more cake servings.  We made the ships "stand" a little smaller and covered it in black Fondarific.  The idea is that it kind of disappears and isn't very noticeable.

A video posted by Jenniffer White (@cupadee) on

I did get distracted and forgot to keep taking pictures once the decorating got started.  I will give you a few words of advice if you decide to tackle a cake like this:

  1. Use a firm cake.  Soft boxed mix type texture will not hold up to the process, even if you keep it cold.
  2. Find templates, blow them up to the correct size, cover in packing tape to laminate, and use them the very best you can.  Cut smaller than the template because when you add buttercream and then modeling chocolate it will "grow" into the template.
  3. Use only modeling chocolate.  These are all panels that are fit together so you can cut sharply and maintain sharp corners.  You also have unlimited working time to go back and add lines and such.
  4. Use icing tips, #0, #00, #1 and #2 to add lots of very little details like "rivet" marks.
  5. Since the add on pieces are so very small and thin, your hands will melt them really fast.  You can put an ice pack under your cookie sheet with the pieces on them.  We applied these tiny pieces by picking them up and positioning them with a pin.  That way you don't melt or distort them.
  6. Print out a piece of edible image paper 1/2 black and 1/2 red.  We used this to add all the little colors.  It looks MUCH sharper than painting the small details.  Those details are not all accurate.  At that point, I was "winging it" just to make it look good.
  7. Dry brushing will get into the scored lines and bring out the details.  It also makes it look more authentic and less showroom new.

Lastly, if you want to make this cake, schedule 40 hours of decorating time.  That's not including baking, making templates, and research.  I've seen a similar cake done in all buttercream and it was nice, but I like sharper look and cleaner details.  If you want a simpler version (I don't mean that ugly), that might be the avenue to take.  If you get it done in 20 hours, send me a picture so I can give you a shout out!

Thanks to all of you that stop in and read my little old blog from time to time.  I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a joyous 2015!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Book Collection Groom's Cake

Can you believe we've done five book themed wedding or groom's cakes?  Who knew it was such a big thing?  The sweet little couple that wanted this cake knew exactly what they wanted, titles and colors.  All I had to do was make the cake.  The groom wanted raised letters, so no edible images. We cut these out of modeling chocolate.  We used all modeling chocolate in fact. Not only does it taste better, it cuts so nice and clean with no stretching.  Great for sharp edges!  We have a line cutter that we use to mark the "pages".  You kind of go back and forth and all over with it, but it scratches up the surface to look like lots of pages. Way easier than a knife!  You can find it online here.   It was a pretty large and HEAVY cake! I hope the couple loved it!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Camera Lens Groom's Cake

We have mentioned in previous posts about finding designs that will meet the needs of you client's vision and budget. This groom wanted a Nikon camera cake but that's a little involved. This camera lens cake was a cool compromise. It's still a cool cake but was six 9" round cakes and required only a tiny bit of carving. To be accurate I should have carved in at the bottom to about an 8" round but I didn't want to lose any structural integrity. This was a soft cake and it doesn't hold up well to a bunch of carving.

We used Fondarific in black for the sides. We rolled out the band and cut the right height. We then embossed a pattern to mimic the real thing and chilled it for a few minutes so the design didn't stretch out when applying it to the sides. Next we just added some bands with other textures on the top and bottom. This also helped give an illusion of a carved cake. Next we added a circle on top to be the "lens". We added some bands around the top lip and side of the lens. That piece was cut to go above the lens and give the appearance of a inset lens. I hope that makes sense, I know it sounds a little crazy. Just make sure all your bands line up the same in the back.

Chad printed the graphics out on edible image paper. My mistake on this cake was a common one. Anytime you apply an edible image, it needs to go onto a white or very light background or the color bleeds through the image. If you can't add a small piece of white fondant behind the graphic, then use a fresh page of edible image as a white background. I didn't and the black color came through. I know better! Bad cake decorator!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Calvin & Hobbes First Birthday

We love Calvin and Hobbes, but we can't recreate those sweet characters in 3-D unless we had lots of time and the customer had lots of money to spend.  We have learned over the years to do our level best not to say "no" to a design.  You have to offer options that fit your skill set and their budget.  I don't feel it's right to agree to make a cake that a baker doesn't know IF they can do it.  Almost every cake is unique in my situation, but most aren't made with unfamiliar techniques.  When you are asking a baker to create something you have not seen in their portfolio, offer to pay for a small cake in the same technique before you sign the contract for the larger cake. Please trust me, it will be money well spent, a lot like cake insurance.


Part of the awesomeness of the Calvin and Hobbes cartoon is their font, so we made a stencil for the verbiage.  We printed the characters out with edible images and cut them out. For some reason, I wanted the bubble/non flat image so I tried something new. It was not without challenges, mainly trying not to tear or stretch the images. We used the cut images to cut a piece of modeling chocolate out and thinned down the edges.  Then we dry fitted the image again and trimmed again, repeating the process.

“You know, Hobbes, some days even my
lucky rocket ship underpants don't help.”


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