Friday, April 13, 2012

Last Minute Wedding -- And Cake Too!

I love my mother. She has always been an inspiration for me in all of the things that she does. In addition to many other talents she is in charge of the kitchen at our church. This means that she gets to coordinate the wedding receptions we have there and help the brides get their ducks in a row.

Last fall I got a call from my mom on a Thursday. She asked if I was busy in the coming weekend (I said no, why?) then proceeded to ask me if I could whip up a last minute wedding cake. In our non-denominational Pentecostal church we have what we style as "Jesus people weddings." This came out of a need for weddings to be simple and not expensive. After people get their heart right and accept Jesus they should stop sinning, and that includes living together without the benefit of marriage. So in our church you can just get a dress, some flowers, a couple of attendants, and get married during a regular church service. After the service and ceremony everyone heads back to the fellowship hall for cake and punch (and whatever other food you want) for a receiving line and a chance for the congregation of 650 to wish the new couple well. Granted, most receptions only see 200-300 people but in a traditional catered venue this can set you back thousands. One young groom with no family here had my mom set up the whole reception for $300. That included cake, punch, nuts, table decorations, table cloths, and everything else you would need. It was simple and lovely.

This bride and her intended groom just got saved on Wednesday night and they wanted to get married on Sunday morning. Mom was pulling together sheet cakes to take care of the majority of the people in attendance but wanted a little "special" wedding cake for them to cut while having their pictures. With a color scheme of black, white, and gold I dove right in. It ended up feeding 60 people and worked out lovely on the crystal pedestal. I made a simple gumpaste white rose for the topper and tah dah -- a simple last minute wedding cake!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Simple Strawberry Birthdays

I like simple birthday cakes. They don't want anything fancy, or that feeds too many people, but it usually has to be a wonderful flavor. My nephew asked me to make a birthday cake for his wife recently and I was happy to oblige. Strawberry was the requested flavor and I have tried a number of fresh strawberry cakes. Most recipes have you just chuck strawberries into a white cake batter which makes the berries sink to the bottom of the pan, look more grey than pink, and release tons of juice when you don't need it. I have found that you only get that pink you're looking for when you use a little strawberry gelatin. I like Paula Deen's recipe which has a nice balance of homemade and sweet pink. Put fresh strawberries with some whipped cream between the layers and you're there. Happy Birthday!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

A 75th Birthday Tribute

I have lived with a blended family for decades now, and my stepdad has been the best father I could ever want. When he turned 75 I contemplated what to do for his cake. He is a diabetic but loves the sweets. I settled on three cakes: one chocolate with traditional frosting, one "Cake That Doesn't Last" with pineapple and bananas and a dusting of powdered sugar, and a sweet potato pie. That way he could have a little slice of each and feel like he was king for the day. Happy Birthday, Greg. Variety is the spice of life!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Helen's 7th Birthday Party

It is now April. And I am writing about my daughter's birthday from LAST OCTOBER. Urgh. I haven't dropped off the face of the Earth or anything I am just focusing on things like teaching part time, volunteering at my kids' school to teach ceramics to everyone, and the rest of life. I'll spend the next couple of weeks catching up on my cake photos, I promise.

Helen had a slumber party with simple cupcakes and then a family birthday at Peter Piper Pizza with a "real" birthday cake. It was a lovely strawberry and chocolate tiered cake with pink sugar on the tops of each tier. The only problem was that it leaned a bit. OK, it wasn't just a bit -- that thing looked like it was going to leap off the table! We had her blow out the candle quickly before disaster struck. It was tasty and she enjoyed it, so I guess that's what really matters.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Slumber Parties and Pink Cupcakes

I've been making a few cakes this past month, I just haven't found the time to write about them. For Helen's seventh birthday, she requested a slumber party. May I just say, "AAAAaaauugghhh!" And you can quote me on that. My husband left the state for the evening and my son went to stay at a friend's house. Helen invited several young ladies that spent the evening dressing up in princess gowns and wandering around the house reciting exciting narratives about their imagined characters. It took me a week to find all of the discarded clothing they left behind.

I didn't make a cake for the party since there was going to be a family party later. So when you have a birthday for a little girl who is born in October you just have to say, "Thank goodness for Breast Cancer Awareness Month!" Yes, in this month and this month only everything is pink. Luckily Helen thinks all the pink is for her and I'm OK with that. I didn't even bother to take all the pink ribbon things off the cupcakes! She had a wonderful party and pink sugar goodness was enjoyed by all.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Pink Hearts For Little Girls

Little girls tend to love all things sweet: pink, glitter, hearts, flowers, and other sweet and pretty things. So when asked to make a birthday cake for a friend to honor a little girl turning three, this is what I made. True, it is simple and not terribly flashy. But the little girl was thrilled, the mom was pleased, and everyone had some delicious cake. Isn't that what counts?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Assemble the Minions!

Sometimes when you are least expecting it, inspiration strikes. That's what happened when I came across another blog that talked about minion cupcakes. Actually, there were two different sites with the same idea: the first was Confessions of a Cookbook Queen, and the second was I Sing in the Kitchen. Both were really cute, so I called my niece and talked her youngest son into letting me make minion cupcakes for his birthday. Let the fun begin!

I baked a little fleet of cupcakes, filled them with whipped cream, frosted them in blue, put half a Twinkie on each one, then put them in the fridge and went to work teaching art for the day. That was my only major error. The refrigerator sucked all the moisture out of the Twinkies and made them like little petrified rocks. Bummer! However, I was able to cut black licorice into little hairs, poke a bunch of holes into the Twinkies and stuff the licorice in for hairs, then use royal icing to glue the Smarties together and glue them to the Twinkies. The eyeballs were made with food markers. The trickiest part was using the black glitter gel to outline the goggles and make straps and mouths.

I ended up sitting at Peter Piper Pizza with my husband and niece helping me assemble the last of the minions. We ended up drawing a bit of a crowd, and they were definitely the hit of the party. I loved "Despicable Me" and the minions remain my favorite part of the movie. Happy 8th birthday Calvin, and I hope you had as much fun as I did!