Thursday, July 29, 2010
I'm working on a wedding cake which is all white on white in buttercream. There should be traditional swags and decorations that give a classic image of wedding cake beauty. Which leads me to research the question: what decoration details are the best ones to use? I've collected quite a few lovely wedding cakes, and chopped off everything but the close-up of the details. See what you think about these.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Most of the time when you think of a wedding cake you envision a large cake that would feed 100 people or more, usually in tiers and with fancy decoration. However, there is a trend that is leaning towards individual mini wedding cakes, either as the dessert or as wedding favors for the guests. I'm not talking about cupcakes, I'm looking at real little wedding cakes. This is an intriguing idea. If the guests don't want to wait for the cake cutting to have dessert, they just dig in when they want. It makes each guest feel a little more special. Also, if you put them into little clear boxes with a ribbon it makes the perfect wedding favor for people to take home. They don't all have to be decorated the same, and they are adorable. But they can be very expensive, depending on how much decorating you want on each one and how many the cake artist has to make. What do you think? Is this a cool idea or is it half baked? Too expensive at $8-$20 each? Beyond the reach of the common bride? Post your comments below the photos!
Monday, July 26, 2010
Well, my son turned seven today (do you like his big toothless grin?). He has been counting down the days for months now, and after much MUCH waiting patiently today was finally the day. Yes, he got up early. Yes, he remembered that THIS was his birthday. And yes, I gave him one present early to tide him over until his party this evening. I had ulterior motives, in that I wanted to use the gift for his birthday cake. Thus, the Hot wheels track in the middle of his cakes.
You see, what he wanted and what we planned and what we ended up with were all different things. He originally wanted a chameleon cake but when he started shopping for party supplies he fell in love with Hot Wheels. I'm glad to see his interests branching out, but I live in a small town. After five stores we discovered that no one had Hot Wheels party stuff and rather than have his dad get some in Phoenix, Russell decided that he wanted Army party stuff. I think it was more of a, "I'm not shopping any more," rather than a love for camo print plates. Now it was up to me to make cake, Hot Wheels, and Army all work together. Hah!
I think we did OK. I was going to work the chameleon in somewhere but flat ran out of time and steam. After spending all day Saturday sewing wedding stuff for my mom, Saturday evening helping in nursery ("Put that down!" "Don't bite him!" "Hey, stop running the cars on the walls!"), Photoshopping the birthday invitations at 4:30 Sunday morning, and finishing the wedding dress Sunday afternoon, I was whipped. And I lost my voice. I usually find a lack of voice rather peaceful, but I also had a screaming headache and no energy. This did not bode well for an ambitious birthday cake. I was going to put flames down the sides of the cake, but did I mention that I lost all power this afternoon? And that without power I don't have any water? Ah well.
All in all, it turned out all right. The square cakes were fresh strawberry (hulled and pureed just this morning) and the oval cake was white with sour cream baked in. I really liked the flavor of them both, but I'm getting frustrated with the strawberry. I really want a berry punch and a little pink, but fresh berries tend to shift brown and keep seeping liquid after they're baked, so no matter what the cake tastes moister than I like. I might try a freeze dried berry or something next time.
This was the first time we had a birthday for either kid at Peter Piper Pizza. I've been there for other parties but the game thing is just not my cup of tea. However, I'm not seven. And since there were 14 other kids there that heartily disagreed with me and whipped through 360 tokens in less than 2 hours, I think the party was a hit. Pizza was consumed, soda guzzled, and cake wolfed down faster than you could say, "Happy Birthday!" Here's to next year, and to the next cake.
Friday, July 23, 2010
I enjoy searching the Internet for wedding cake ideas and photos. One of my favorite search engines is Google Images, and they just revamped the structure of the search results this past week. It's a great improvement! You get hundreds of photos by just scrolling down instead of having to page through the results. This is wonderful for when I'm doing some pretty in depth searches and hate waiting for the page to constantly refresh. So last night I was strolling through the Internet and decided to try a new search just to see what came up. When I'm looking for a specific cake color or style I'll search for something like, "black white wedding cake" or "contemporary square wedding cake." Since I wanted to branch out a little I thought I'd try, "perfect wedding cake." What cakes are considered "perfect"? I was REALLY surprised at the results. The first cake pictured here is actually the second one listed (sorry, but it's prettier than number one), and it's by Amazing Cakes By Joanne. I love it! White chocolate roses with a creamy textured band on three layers of pristine cake look pretty perfect to me.
It went rapidly down hill from there. The number six cake was this wild Tim Burton design by The Pink Cake Box. Now I agree that they are one of the finest cake bakeries in the country and make consistently incredible cake creations, but dead things on a blue cake? Really? If this is your type of thing then this is the cake for you, but it just surprised me.
The number eight selection I've seen before but it makes me laugh every time. The website it appears on in this search is a blog and doesn't name the cake artist, but I do agree that it ranks high on the coolness and execution factors (sorry about the pun). Just look at it! The attention to detail and creative mind that was behind this was incredible. However, looking further down the search results gets confusing. There are "classic" cakes mixed with really wild and questionable ones and cakes that look like they were made by the bride's dotty aunt. What do you think? What would your "perfect wedding cake" look like?
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Yesterday I worked on altering Michelle's wedding dress and thinking about classical things. At our church weddings the bride must have the top of the shoulder and arm covered, nothing backless, and no cleavage. It seems like a simple request for a modest church wedding until you go wedding dress shopping. Then you realize just how many strapless gowns there are out there, and how few people really look good in them. It made me think beyond the cake to the whole wedding image. Hence, the photo of the Kennedy wedding of 1953. Just look at her dress! It fits all the modesty requirements, yet is lovely and flattering. And the cake! In an era of plastic Roman columns and piles of fern you see a modern stacked tier cake. How cool is that?
My own wedding was lovely but you can pretty much tell the date from the clothing and the cake. I have the poofy sleeves and fluffy hair traditional to the late 1980's. The cake was my biggest expenditure for the entire wedding. It was made by Marilyn Koch (a friend of the family and professional cake artist for decades) and served 250. The main cakes were apple spice (my husband's favorite flavor) with rose and wine colored flowers and wine colored butterflies, as that's what my name means. I asked for petal shaped tiers and columns to give it height, and she added the fresh flowers and greenery. The satellite cakes around it are heart shaped and cherry chip flavored. Since the main cakes only served 100 we needed the little cakes around it to make up the rest of the servings. It was a great solution and very attractive and romantic.
So if you want to design a wedding cake, get what makes you happy. That might be the stacked cakes with fondant and bold color popular in many weddings, or it might be something more unusual -- or classic. The sky is the limit, but keep it in style with the rest of the wedding. There are more wedding cake variations and designs out there than you can count so make sure you find what's right for you. And have fun in the process!
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Weddings are a lot of fun. I have several weddings coming up in the next few months, so I get to make some really pretty things for some very good friends. The first one up is August 8th (Michelle and Isaac) but for that wedding I am altering the wedding dress instead of working on the cake. It's fun to see brides in all of their beautiful finery -- they just glow. The second wedding is the week after that on August 15th (Emily and Steven) and the groom is my nephew. How cool is that? For that wedding I'm making 120 individual cakes for the bridal shower in a variety of tropical flavors with sugar flowers on each one. I know, it's crazy, but I enjoy being able to bless them with happy memories of the special occasion. The third one is October 17th (Lauren and Neil) and for that one I'm making the wedding cake pictured with this post. The last one is October 24th (Rachel and Ramon) and for that one I'm making a wedding cake in chartreuse green and pewter grey on white fondant.
Lauren chose a cake from a British bakery's website. It is in black and white round alternating tiers, except instead of black and white flowers she wants the flowers to be in hot pink. I Photoshopped the original image to reflect her preferences and there we have it! The inside flavor will be all white (good white wedding cake with white buttercream frosting). It will be a stunning cake for a lovely bride and lucky groom. May their marriage be blessed and fruitful, and may their cake taste as good as it will look.
Monday, July 19, 2010
Life is exciting, and lately it has kept me from posting here. I do have several cake related projects lined up, so let's take a look at the list!
First off is Threadcakes. This is a competition hosted by Threadless. The idea is to pick a t-shirt design from their website and make a cake that looks like or embodies the idea behind the shirt.
My favorite is the Butterfly Fish, which is a graceful image of four Koi that stick their noses up to form an orange butterfly image. It would be a lot of fun to make, but I'm still working on the technical aspects of how best to construct it.
The next is this great play on words with "The Beetles" in a classic rock band image. My son likes this one a lot because of the big bugs. I'm not sure how to make this one 3-D but I'm willing to try.
The last is an image of "Music Business Remastered" that I know exactly how to put together. In some ways it's almost too easy, but I've always liked Escher so I'll give it a shot.
These bottom two are an example of a shirt and a cake that embodies that design -- way cool!
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Life has been especially interesting lately. I have been driving back and forth to Los Angeles a lot in the past month to handle moving my father to a dementia care facility, dealing with all of the exciting things that come with doctors and the federal government, and the craziness of my own personal life on top of that. Why no, I haven't had much time to bake cakes or post on my blog lately, thank you very much. Not that it hasn't kept me from feeling guilty about it.
Actually, I have been baking cakes. Just this past Sunday I made two cakes for the cleaning crew at our church as a special "Thank you." The first one was a lemon lime cake with a pineapple curd filling and topping. The cake called for a can of 7up of all things! It was really tasty, and I'll have to use the homemade pineapple curd again sometime.
The second cake was a little white cake with chocolate ganache. I was trying a new white cake recipe that uses a white cake mix, sour cream, and almond flavoring among other things. It turned out pretty nice, but I might keep trying other recipes. The ganache was pretty cool and I'm surprised I've never tried it before because it was really easy. The cookbook says it translates into French as, "old fool," as in any old fool can make it. I resemble that! I'll have to try it with different types of chocolate to see what I prefer in terms of taste and consistency.
So I'm still keeping my hand in it, I'm just having a hard time finding the opportunity to write about cakes as often as I would like! I'll keep on baking as often as possible and write about the cakes whenever I can. Making cakes is a really cool way of making other people happy!
Thursday, July 1, 2010
For my son's birthday cake, I can do the football, the grass is pretty easy, the Lego dudes I just have to steal and sanitize, but the chameleon could be problematic. I have pulled up photos of every type of chameleon cake I could find as well as photos of real chameleons. I think the best way to go on this is to do a realistic looking lizard with just a hint of a smile, blending into the football that he's perched on.
The first photo here is of a real panther chameleon, and all the rest are cakes. When we go into a pet store where they sell chameleons it's almost always a veiled chameleon, which is a small green and unremarkable looking lizard. The big panthers you have to get from a specialty breeder and they cost several hundred dollars. Add that to a $300 starter cage with proper lighting, heating, humidity control, and other vital stuff to keeping the little bugger alive and you've spent a fortune on a little pet. But wait, there's more! Did I mention that you also should raise your own crickets that have been fed a special diet to "gut load" them? That way your chameleon gets the proper diet and nutrition from his insects. Oh, and you're not supposed to handle them too much because it stresses them out and they'll die! There's just no way I'm getting one for a 7-year-old boy.
This year I'm opting for chameleon accessories. Books, videos, and stuffed versions. We're also encouraging his interests in rocketry and building robots, since you don't have to feed them gut loaded crickets. I'll put special effort into the cake and the little chameleon perched on top, and that way my son has a little bit of the lizard he thinks is incredibly cool.