Thursday, November 11, 2010
The second baby shower cake was a total design departure from the first one. It was made to match the invitation and I think I got pretty darn close to the picture. Made of chocolate cake with coconut cream filling (did I mention that the filling recipe made WAY more than I thought because I put in more whipping cream than it called for?) it was a very tasty cake that was made to serve 30. The little purse was actually banana cake because of a long and involved story that I won't go into here.
I started with the shoe pattern for the sole and the heel since they had to be made of gumpaste almost a week ahead. Cutting the Styrofoam with an old serrated knife to make the form was a total pain. Little beads of foam everywhere on my porch! And my clothes! And the house! Actually, I need to go thrift store shopping and find a small and really high heel. I was trying to get the curve of the sole right using one of my shoes and that totally didn't work. I wear a size 10 wide and don't own any heels higher than 2 1/2 inches. So I'm thinking if I get a tiny little heeled shoe and take the thing apart I'll have a decent pattern for the curve, the slender heel, and the upper leather. We'll see the next time I need to make a shoe cake.
With the gumpaste structural parts dried and ready (including the purse handle and little clasps) I was ready to make the cake. I started with the shoe, making and attaching an insole with little stitching marks, attaching the heel, making a paper pattern for the upper leather, covering the black gumpaste with white dots, and attaching it all with royal icing. I've never messed with royal icing and that stuff is great! The super glue of icings! I'm ready to tackle a gingerbread house now.
After the shoe I covered the cake with black Duff fondant (coloring my own black is icky) and making all those teeny polka dots on the side. I was attaching them with a dab of water and thinking, "I didn't charge enough for this cake..." Ah well. It was for a good friend and at least my supplies and ingredients were covered. I put a doily of white with flower cutouts on the top, then tackled the purse.
I had actually started the purse earlier by cutting the banana cake my husband made in a loaf pan into thirds, stacking it with buttercream, and freezing it. Then I carved off enough to make a purse shape, ran dowels through it to hold the layers together, frosted it with more buttercream, and freezing it again. Then I rolled out white fondant and cut stripes of black and hot pink, attaching them with water then rolling it all gently to make it very flat and connected together. I gently lifted the stripes and wrapped them around the purse, cutting the sides at angles to make the stripes line up. Two more gumpaste rolls along the top for the frame, royal icing to glue in the handle and clasp, and we're there! A couple of short dowels in the bottom to make it stay on the cake helped.
I had the baby's name on the purse, glued down the shoe and the purse, and attached a little flower and bow to both as decoration. At this point my husband suggested little contrasting dots in the tiny flowers around the doily topper, and we spent another 45 minutes cutting out teeny circles and using tweezers to attach them to the right place. It was gorgeous but a lot of work, and I'm glad the mom loved it.
Speaking of moms, my own mom deserves a shout out here. She works at an antique store and found the glass cake plate that I've used under the last two cakes. It is 14 inches across and fits a 12 inch cake just perfectly with the decorative edge showing under that. She came across this plate and thought of me immediately and I really appreciate that. Of course, it's her fault that I now own four cake plates, but that's OK!
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Why don't cake orders get spread out more evenly? This week and next I have THREE baby shower cakes to make. And they're all girls! Now granted, they are wildly different in style but it still makes for an interesting week.
The first is for a Moroccan themed baby shower. The original recipe I was asked to make was indeed titled "Moroccan Coconut Cake" but it sounded nasty with soft ball sugar base, coconut, condensed milk, lemon, and other things to make gelatinous little cubes. So I proposed to make a regular coconut cake and they were OK with that. I did the research and came up with this great recipe called Coconut Throwdown Cake by Bobby Flay of Food Network. What a cool recipe! The filling was divine, and even though the ingredients were expensive and it took some time to make it was totally worth it. I'm glad everyone at the shower enjoyed it!
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Helen turned six the end of October, and she chose Barbie as her party theme. We had the party at Heritage Park Zoo and it was tons of fun to see the animals and celebrate six years of pink sparkles. She actually tried to stretch her birthday out to cover the whole month of October, so I suppose just one cake is lucky for me.
Speaking of pink sparkles, taking the kids with me to ABC Cake Decorating in Phoenix was quite an experience. We ended up with a heart shaped cake drum, a heart pan, electric pink gel coloring, and iridescent pink edible glitter. All of this went into this birthday cake, with Fashion Fairy Tale Barbie trussed up and perched on the top of the cake as a fluffy topper (did I mention her torso blinks pink and plays rock music?). The layers alternated strawberry and cherry chip, with buttercream frosting. What a delicious way to celebrate six wonderful years of living with Helen!
Thursday, November 4, 2010
The last wedding cake of the month was for a former student of mine (in 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th grades -- it's amazing she isn't scarred for life!). For her wedding she wanted a mid-century modern yet classic cake that reflected the bride and groom's elegant tastes. Inside is a lemon 7up cake with a pineapple curd filling (yum!). It is covered in white fondant and the middle tier has leaves and leaf patterns that are dusted with a fine edible glitter and formed into floral motifs. Her topper choice was a custom brushed aluminum set of initials.
The best part of this cake (in my opinion) was the cake stand. I wanted little round feet in the corners but couldn't find any locally and wasn't willing to spend a fortune to order it over the Internet. So my inventive husband took the small wooden balls I found at Michael's, made these cool little tapered legs to go with them, put them all together, painted them pewter to match the ribbon, and made me a cake stand that rocks. It really made the cake special and I appreciate all of his help.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
October was insanely busy. The second wedding of the month was a good friend who wanted a striking wedding cake based on a cake from Cake Chester in Great Britain. She wanted the flowers to be hot pink and I was happy to oblige. I hadn't done a whole lot in gum paste but it was a lot of fun to make the flowers.
First thing was the cake itself. It was a nice wedding white (made with sour cream and almond extract for a very tasty and firm cake). I tried various filling ideas but she just wanted plain buttercream. Well, I can certainly do that! The cake served almost 180 people and was a real hit.
The top photo is that of the wedding cake I made, the second cake is the one that I Photoshopped pink flowers onto from Cake Chester Bakery, the third is a closeup of the cake base with flowers before it was assembled, and the last is one my husband took of me making flowers. I'm glad the bride and groom had a wonderful cake for a very special day!
Monday, November 1, 2010
It's official -- I took the month off from the blog. It isn't because I was being lazy or anything, it's because of how many cakes there were and how much stuff I had to take care of in October. I started off with the Yavapai County Fair, which takes an entire week of my life. Organizing art, working with art teachers, hanging the show, getting it judged, dealing with vouchers, and all the other public relations that go with it. Oh, and I worked at the school that week as well. Good Lord and butter, Mabel!
The end of the fair week (October 3rd) saw my nephew getting married. The bride chose deep navy and apple green for her colors, and I supplied the welded steel cake stand and the idea for the little green poofs under each cake from Fry's grocery store bakery. My mom ended up having to whip stitch each poof to each ring support, and she called me at one point to say, "This is YOUR fault!" It ended up looking great with each tier having a different decoration as the bride requested. Different, lovely, and incredibly unique. What a lovely wedding! I'm glad I was able to help a little.
Tomorrow I'll go into detail on the next wedding cake I actually made. It was a lot of work but totally worth it!