Tuesday, March 27, 2012

March Wedding

I had a wedding and a groom's cake this weekend. I've only done a handful of weddings, but this has probably been the smoothest yet! I had a lot going on last year when I did a few weddings. One was my first serious wedding cake so I was nervous and the reception was an hour away from my house and it was July (hot hot hot)! Another, I had never been to the location (an hour away also) and we were running behind. By the time we got there and finally found where we were supposed to go, it was dangerously close to the reception. The third, it was raining, we have no garage, the reception location had no covered parking/entry area. Fun stuff. 

I don't regret any of those opportunities!! I'm so glad I got the chance to make those wedding and groom's cakes! And everything turned out fine for each one. There was stress involved though :) 

This past weekend was a breeze. I planned ahead (as usual) and managed to stick to my schedule. I think I was calmer, possibly having a tid-bit of confidence this time. Believe me, I kept myself in check... I just wasn't as worried about "what ifs". Everything would work out as long as I stayed focused and did what I needed to do. 

I managed to get done early!!! I had time to shower and look decent for the delivery!! That never happens. {Hope that doesn't gross y'all out. It's not like I'm disgusting, but I usually don't have time to care what my hair looks like etc}

We got there in plenty of time and dropped off the cakes! It was fantastic. I'm so excited about both of the cakes!
 I realized later that I'm pretty sure this is my first 4-tiered cake (without a fake layer in there). 
 I'm almost more excited about the groom's cake than the wedding cake! The icing turned out so pretty (I've had issues with chocolate icing before not being very smooth). The ganache turned out!! The chocolate covered strawberries were good to go!!

 I haven't heard from the bride but I hope she liked it as much as I did!

Whew, now if anything would've made me nervous it was that. I've never made it before. I meant to a week or so a go and did not have a chance. I followed Bakerella's Ganache Recipe. The key is to wait. Once you finish making it, it's very thin and you have to wait for it to thicken to pour it. I wish I had kept an eye on the time, but I'm pretty sure it took over an hour to thicken some. I kept checking it and was starting to wonder... But I made the ganache before the chocolate icing so I iced and decorated the cake while it sat. I waited as long as I could before I put it on. It finally thickened up some and it was now or never. I put it in a ziploc bag and cut a tiny hole in the corner then went for the cake. I was so pumped about how it worked out!! It was just what I was going for. Just squeeze a little more when you want it to drip more and less when you don't. Hooray!!

 I ended up having way too many strawberries. I didn't put them on the cake till I got there. I would've eaten all the extra! But we were headed to the outlet mall, then dinner, then the beach so they were no good to me. I did eat one before I left :)
I attempted to take a picture at home before we left on my stand, but the lighting wasn't very good. But here it is anyway!

Alright, well until next weekend!! Have a great week!

St. Patty's Day

Just to be upfront with you, I have no festive creations for St. Patrick's Day (but maybe I'll throw an oldie in there now that I've mentioned it:). Nope, St. Patty's Day weekend just seemed to be a really popular weekend to celebrate anything! My cousin got married on St. Patrick's Day, but I wasn't able to make it (it was 6 hours away) because of all the cakes. Obviously, I love making cakes!! But I was sad to miss out on his big day and visit all my family. So what kept me so busy??

Friday I had a birthday cake for a girl at my church. Her birthday is on St. Patrick's Day and last year I made this for her.
 This is the festive cake I said I would throw in. I was pretty excited about this cake. I thought it turned out very well. The rainbow is fondant. I did have to use some cardboard to help keep it standing.
This year I made a cake that looked like a phone case she was getting for her birthday.
It was with Nutella icing! Yum. Of course, I like my buttercream because I can decorate with it. Other icings aren't always as cooperative, but I think it worked out alright in this case.

Saturday, I had 3 cakes: 2 anniversary cakes and 1 birthday cake. One anniversary cake I didn't even get a picture of. It was pretty basic anyway. It was a strawberry margarita cake (don't worry, no alcohol). Strawberry cake with lime cream cheese icing. I can't wait to make it again!! It was soooo good! I had some left overs so I got a taste or two :)

This next cake was for a 30th Anniversary for a couple at our church that were renewing their vows. The daughter-in-law who asked me to do the cake, gave me a picture from Pink Cake Box for what they were wanting with a few tweaks. Whew!! Umm just in case you don't know, Pink Cake Box is an amazing cake business! So kinda scary when they see pictures like that and who knows what they're expecting from me!
 The bottom layer was a vanilla with hint of lemon and the top was a vanilla with hint of orange, both with raspberry filling and buttercream icing. Little bit different that the norm, but that's a good thing!
 This is one of the new stands I got!! I'm really excited about it. I got a set of 4 for what I think was a good deal. Hopefully it was, but it's done now anyway!

 The flowers are forget me nots. I think I made them too big. Oops. I didn't hear any complaints, but the couple might just be too nice. Overall I am really exciting with how it turned out.

Next was a birthday cake. A 3-tiered birthday cake. A mini 3-tiered birthday cake. Yup, 8", 6", and a 4" to top it off. With houndstooth decorations and booties! Whew.
 The one picture I managed to get before they picked it up.
The houndstooth booties. I'm pretty happy with these too. It was my first time to make booties and to make them houndstooth, also! Glad it worked out!! :)

Sunday, I had cupcakes to make for a baby shower at church. I didn't get pictures of those either. They were just vanilla with pastel icing. Monday, I had another birthday cake. Ironically, it was for the same birthday girl from Saturday. A coworker wanted to give her a cake at work; therefore, cake no. 2.
 Another mini-tiered cake. 6" and 4". I think I should turn down 4" cake options... But at least I did it Saturday so I had the hang of it. The only way I can figure to properly ice it is to go ahead and stack and dowel it so it'll stay in place!! And the cakes don't usually come out too nicely from my 4" springform pan. They stick a little so I end up having to make the correct shape while icing. I think it turned out well both times, but maybe I should forgo cakes less than 6"...
 Each tier ended up being 3 layers. I had the extra cake and I needed it to be tall enough to do the stencil. Speaking of, I need to use this stencil on fondant!! I'm pretty sure I just make it harder on myself attempting to do it on buttercream... and 2 colors...
I ended up making the design like this on the back since there was only so much room on that 4". Just about when I finished making the cake, I realized they wanted a square cake... I think. I had been given a sheet of what they wanted and it was worded strangely. And how the situation was, it never really got addressed. Therefore, round cake. Which really stinks because a square cake would've been easier with stencils!! Ugh. Oh well. It all turned out ok. 

Oh yeah, and there's another stand I got!!  A 6" stand... who needs a 6" stand?? Obviously it's too small for the smallest cake I make. I guess if you want to display a single cupcake?? But I was determined to use it at least for pictures :)

So that's that.... 3 tiered cakes, 2 regular cakes, and 24 cupcakes in 4 days. Feels good once it's all done!

Cupcakes and Cookies

It's been weeks since I've posted. I don't like it when this happens because I don't even know where to begin... I finally recovered from my wisdom teeth removal. yay! It took longer than I expected. Glad that's over. Good thing I only had some cupcakes to do the weekend following...
These are Pinkalicious cupcakes if you weren't aware. I sure wasn't. Some book the kids are reading these days :) 
 This is the awesome cupcake carrier my mother-in-law gave me for Christmas. I finally had a chance to use it and I am completely in love. I've used it lots since. Obviously it works well for cupcakes, but I took out the red trays and put cookies in there. Wonderful.

Speaking of those cookies, I made those around the time I made these cupcakes. 

 I love doing baby shower cookies, but I've learned I'm not very creative... stripes and dots. How else to decorate!? Especially for boys... But I really like the colors. Unfortunately I had to color more after I outlined them so I didn't quite match the original colors. Bummer.

 I had fun with the pictures... until I got to the carriages and they were still drying so this is the pic they got :)
 Then I stuff them all on one plate for the shower. There were over 50 cookies.
I made these for a lady at the Chamber of Commerce. I'm an Ambassador and we have bi-monthly meetings. This lady had a baby in December and we're just having time to celebrate (after her maternity leave, etc)! So we did a little shower at our meeting. I brought these cookies and no one believed I had made them! I work for Panera, so they all thought they were Panera cookies.... Oh no. Panera doesn't make 'em like this!! It was funny because the ambassadors really don't know how I'm obsessed with baking!

Well that covered a little bit of what I've been doing in March. I'll start another post so this one doesn't get too long.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Gumpaste Shoes

Last weekend, I played with the new brooch molds I got. I was so excited about them! I was thinking of how I could use them.... then it hit me! Decorations on shoes!! It went hand in hand with another plan I had. My mom is in town to help me out because I got my wisdom teeth out today. Well, of course I wanted to make her a cake! And she loves shoes! I had some ideas (which I won't mention, in case I plan to do them in the future ;)

She deserved a cake!! Coming over 400 miles to help take care of me! Definitely! And even more so because she ended up having to take an extra flight to get here (5 hours later than planned). Gotta love flying. And her birthday is coming up!! I don't get to see her on her birthday so I had to take advantage of this. Can't mail a cake (or at least I do not plan to try!).

I saw a recipe I really wanted to try... Lemon Blueberry Cake. YUM! I wasn't sure about the blueberries since it's not blueberry season, but in my opinion it came out great! It was so tasty!! {I haven't gotten to eaten any of the actual filled and iced cake because of the whole wisdom teeth situation. Uncool} I decided to put a lemon filling in it also. Because of the filling and the blueberries it has to be refrigerated. I think that's kind of a bummer because it was so fluffy and tasty cooled down out of the oven. Not sure about the cooled taste.

 Here's the lemon filling. I should mention that I had this idea Saturday and she came in town Wednesday night. I had little prep time. I made the filling Wednesday after work. All good, except it is done on the stove so it was very hot when done. I didn't have much time and tried to cool it down as much as possible. I still think it was warmer than preferred when I put it on the cake. Live and learn.
 All the lemon and blueberry goodness! Yum. This is when it got so messy. I tried to keep the filling in by a border of buttercream around the filling but that wasn't very successful. I think it's tricky filling it anyway, but I'm convinced it would have been better if it was cooler. The left overs congealed very nicely later. Glad I had leftovers because once I cut the cake, not much filling survived the stacking.
Once I started icing, it was a mixture of buttercream and lemon filling. Such a mess. I was frustrated and losing hope. She was coming in a few hours and I wasn't going to finish!! Then her flights changed because of situations out of her control and she was going to show up 4 hours later. I hated what she had to go through all that but I'm really glad I was able to finish before she got there.

So the cake was a mess, I was frustrated, I was trying to fondant it and it was just awful! I ended up taking all the fondant off and started over. Hate to waste but it was worth it. Fortunately my husband fell asleep so I had the time to myself to do it all over.  
 This is one of those cakes that I feel should not have been as difficult as it was. And the fondant work on the box was still not very clean. But it worked for this situation. I'll definitely allow more time if I ever do another.
 If you see cakes alot, you might notice that several people do gumpaste heels. Well this was specialized for my mom! And she does not usually wear heels. We're flats kinda girls :) Therefore, I pull out one of my pairs of flats. I made a template (using saran wrap, aluminum foil, and card stock paper) from my shoe, trying not to touch my shoes to what-will-be the tempate. My template could probably use some perfecting. Learning all the time....

I used fondant for the sole. Mistake no. 1. I know I should've used gumpaste, but I already had black fondant and did not want to make black gumpaste. So I had trouble with getting it completely dry. But I knew this and it was ok for this. Then I mixed fondant and gumpaste for the green. Again, probably best to use 100% gumpaste, but I had some pretty green fondant leftover that I wanted to use. Trying not to waste.

It was interesting trying to form these. Especially doing two to compliment each other. I did the first and it was ok, but I saw details that I'd prefer to change. Then I made a few others... that first one started looking way better!! Haha! I made the sole for the second one. I kept re-doing the green part and once I finally got it somewhat decent, I realized that I should've remade the sole. I think it ended up being larger than the first one somehow so it was throwing off matching the other. I was running out of the fondant/gumpaste mixture and I knew if I made more it would most likely not match the color I had made -- I wasn't even sure what I had used to get that color. So that was that. Eh, it was my first go-round.
 I couldn't figure out how to make it without the seam in the front :( I hated that.  
 I wanted to write something on the box, but I wasn't sure how I wanted to position the shoes; therefore blank. And I should've used a bigger cake board, but I knew it needed to go in the fridge, so I stuck with the smaller.

Was that enough pictures? I know they're basically the same but I'm leaving them posted. It doesn't take long to flip through pictures anyway.

And in case you wanted to see the pictures I couldn't get to post last week, here you go :)

I'm feeling surprisingly well after the surgery this morning. But I've been warned it's worse the second and third day. Oh dear. Thank goodness for pain medicine!!