Friday, October 25, 2013

Paxton's Baby Shower cake (2009)

This is one the cakes I made when I first started cake decorating, as well as my first babyshower cake. I made this for my sister, Carrie, when she was pregnant with her first baby, Paxton.
This was also my first 3D character cake. I mixed a pound cake mix with a regular cake mix to make a heavier cake so it wouldn't fall apart.
I covered plastic blocks with fondant to make the divider. I had some trouble with the buttercream border falling off in places. Now a little more experienced with cake decorating, I realize that I should have made the cake boards a little larger to prevent this. At least I was able to "doctor" it up before the party started.
I also added some quilting and fondant buttons for a nice "blankie" effect. Overall I think it turned out well considering my limited experience with fondant at the time. My sister loved it an that's all that mattered.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Deacon's Army Man Birthday Cake (2010)

Admittedly, this is not one of my better cakes. This was one of those "my brain is dead, I have no good ideas, and I'm broke so what can I make cheap?" cakes.

My youngest son Deacon wanted an army cake for his 8th birthday. He like little army men and guns so we took a trip to the dollar store--one of the "everything's a dollar" cheapy stores and found some army-ish stuff to decorate a cake with.

Surprisingly, the things we found weren't too bad. And the best thing about them is that they were cheap! I think I spent about $3 on little decorations.

Although the colors aren't really attractive per se, I wanted some earthy colors to complete the look. I just happened to have some left over buttercream from another project and was able to repurpose the left overs by adding some food color.

Overall, the cake was easy, he was happy, and I was thrilled to be done with cakes for a week or two.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Gobble Gobble! (2011)

Grab your knife and fork, this turkey needs carved!
This was my first Tur-cake. I'd perused the web for Thanksgiving desserts and stumbled across what seemed to be a growing craze of cakes shaped liked baked turkeys. What a fabulous idea! I loved it! Now to transform my discovery into an actual cake...

With like most other creative ideas, there's a plethoria of ways to accomplish the same feat. Some people suggested using round cake pans for the body, others used footballs, square pans, rectangle pans, or a combination of different ones to achieve that turkeyish shape. After studying multiple cakes (some good, others not so good), I finally decided on a rectangular pan.
Since getting that turkey shape would require some carving--and I have very limited experience with carving--I figured a rectangular shape would be the best start. Being that it was Thanksgiving, I figured I needed to pick a cake flavor that went with the holiday. What I decided on was a pumpkin spice cake. Yummy!

The body is 3 layers high (with buttercream in the middle). I leveled two layers so they'd stack together well, but left the top layer rounded, to give it more of a realistic shape. After that, I wrapped each layer in plastic wrap and froze them overnight. When I was ready to carve, I took them out of the freezer and stacked them, using buttercream between the layers. I used a paper template that I'd drawn to give me an idea of what to carve off the sides, the rest I just winged. Ha! *Slapping my knee* Winged! Get it?

Ahem, once I'd finished carving the body into a presentable turkey shape, I stuck it back in the freezer while I worked on the wings and legs. I used rice crispie treats for those. They worked pretty good, but I did have to stick the mix in the freezer for a few minutes to get the shapes to stay together. I'm thinking I used too much butter in the mix. Anyway, a little freezer time fixed it right up. I shaped the legs and wings, then stuck them in the freezer while I covered the body with buttercream and fondant. I did find that having the cake a little frozen helped with this.
For the stuffing, I used a poundcake that I cut into little squares, using as many edge pieces as I could to get that toasted look. The veggies and lettuce are made out of fondant. To get that toasty brown color, I mixed brown icing color with a little vodka and painted it on.
Everyone loved it. My sister thought it was a real turkey until she poked it and figured out it was a cake. It's going to be hard to top this next year.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Mom's Sexy Man-Cake (2011)

Recently, I was charged with coming up with a gag cake after my sister and I decided that our mom needed a man for her birthday. Mom was turning 60 and we were going to throw her a surprise party. Since neither my sister nor I have a supply of extra men lying around to give mom, we figured we'd have to come up with something creative. We’d considered a stripper, but expected having a buff dude in a speedo shaking his stuff in mom’s face would probably give her a heart attack—that and she’d probably kill us afterward.

Being the creative cake decorator that I am, my sister came up with the bright idea to make a man for mom. Needless to say, when you google man-cakes, you get a variety of very inappropriate pictures of the male anatomy depicted in cake. Okay, so when someone says birthday cake, I think about three layers; chocolate, yellow, or white; covered in fondant or buttercream. Maybe a few flowers to pretty it up. Boobs and penises don’t typically come to mind. But hey, I’m up for a challenge.
My husband had a creative suggestion. He thought I should make a male torso with a large penis, stick a candle in the end of the cake-man’s rod, then make mom grab it to blow out the candle. Um, yeah. Mom would NOT do that, and I’m sure some of her church friends wouldn’t appreciate it. Since I had no idea who was coming to this party, I figured I’d have to tone it down a bit. I like the torso idea, but how to make it sexy and not raunchy was a whole other matter.

After quite a bit of Googling, You-Tubing (I'm a tube-a-holic, I need helf), Amazoning, and Flickring, I finally found what I was looking for. Well, at least I had an idea to start with, anyway. Combining mom’s love for yellow roses and chest hair (not that the two have anything to do with each other, mind you), I think I came up with a super hot alternative to X-rated. My sister loved the 80’s chest hair. Hey, making all them little curls took some time!
Mom was embarrassed, but I think she like it. We made her cut the cake and everyone got to eat a piece of mom’s man. She said she was saving the part under the fondant shroud for later, when she was by herself! Imagine that, my mom with a naughty sense of humor.

So how did I get those ripped abs and bulging pecs? I suppose most people would try to carve them out of the cake, but I just haven't attempted enough carving to risk ruining my cake. Plus, I didn't have time to bake more if I screwed them up!

How I built mom's man was I baked 2 rectangle cakes (11 x 14, I think), leveled one (left the other kinda rounded on top for a more realistic torse. I wanted flat abs but not SpongeBob flat!) and stacked them together. I froze them for a bit to stiffen the cake and make it easier to carve. I know, I said no carving of the abs, but I didn't say anything about the body shape. Ha! So I carved out his neck area, shoulders, waist, and hips. When I say carve, I'm talking simple carving away the edges of the cake. I did not touch the surface.

Next, I took the cake I'd just carved off, smashed it up with a little icing to make it the consistency of playdough, then used it to build up the pecs and abs. Pretty clever if I do say so myself. *snicker* Then I stuck the cake back in the freezer for a bit before putting the buttercream on. Covering with fondant was pretty easy. I just used my fingertip to indent to fondant along the pecs and abs, following where I'd already built it up beforehand. Viola! A man-cake is born.

Monday, October 3, 2011

A special 21st birthday

One of my co-worker's daughters was turning 21 this year. She wanted to do something special for her, but wasn't sure what, particularly since her daughter had pointed out that she didn't get a cake last year. Because she has seen the cakes I do, and seems to have a lot more faith in my ability than I do, she asked me if I'd be willing to make her daughter a very special 21st birthday cake. Knowing that the only way to face one's fear is to stand up to it and say, "I'm not afraid of you," I hesitantly agreed. Oh, by the way, another HUGE fear of mine is sharks. But I have no intention of jumping into shark infested waters and yelling, "I'm not afraid of you!" I'm also not stupid!

Anyhow, I advised my friend to find something similar to what she wanted and let me know. I told her the best place to look Ha! Bet you thought I'd say YouTube didn't you! Actually, I think we did end up on YouTube, but flickr is actually a great place to find cake ideas. There's some really great talent out there.

So we find a picture that she like's and I begin the task of recreating it, with my own twist, of course. Since her daughter likes zebra print, and pink is her favorite color, we decided on a pink, zebra striped cake.

Of course the fact that she's turning 21 couldn't go unmentioned so the addition of the martini glass was a must. And what good is a martini glass without the famous words of James Bond, "Shaken, not stirred?"

The cake flavor is chocolate, coated with buttercream and overlaid with pink marshmallow fondant. The cake board is also marshmallow fondant with oval cutouts that I replaced with green and red to look like olives. The glass is a real glass I picked up from Old Time Pottery (my oldest son works there. I love going in and harrassing him!). All the other decor was made with a gumpaste and fondant mix, 30/70.

The final verdict? She loved it. Would even let her mom cut it for two days! Another satisfied customer.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Strawberry Shortcake (2011)

So, my husband's grandaughter decided she wanted a princess cake for her 3rd birthday, Cinderella, to be specific. I was kinda excited about this, as I've not had the opportunity to try making a doll cake. I'd bought the Wondermold pan a while ago hoping for an opportunity such as this. I have 4 boys, if one of them asks for a doll cake, I'm gonna be a little concerned!

Anyhow, I researched doll cakes and found some great idea guessed it, YOU TUBE! I love that site. So, I figured out what I was gonna do, and wouldn't you know it? She decides she wants a Strawberry Shortcake, princess cake. I deflate like a balloon for a moment, then decide, no biggie. I can do this. I'll just employee the same method and...hold on a minute, Strawberry Shortcake is like 6 inches tall, max. I suddenly realize that I can't make this massive skirt with my Wondermold. She's gonna look like her legs are far too long for her body.

I didn't expect Gracie wanted her princess on stilts so I had to go back to the drawing board and come up with an alternative plan. I still wanted to do the skirt out of cake cause I was dying to try all the little frills (if you get a chance, look up mackandnorm on You Tube, she has done some beautiful cakes!), so I had to figure out a way to make the skirt smaller.

Well, wouldn't you know it, the wonderful people over at Wilton make a mini-Wondermold cake pan so I head to one of my favorite stores, Michael's, all set to buy a new pan. Wouldn't you know, they were out of them? Just my luck. No biggie, I'll just head on over the Hobby Lobby and...well hell, they were out too. Luckily, one of the workers was stocking their cake supplies and told me she'd order an extra one for me. It came in that Thursday.

Next I had to figure out how to elongate it a bit, as the mini-Wondermold was too small for Strawberry's skirt. I needed a 4-inch round pan. And guess what...yep, no one carries those. Dang it! It's time for drastic measures. I pull out my ipad and go to the second most dangerous place on all the That site has spelled many a disaster for unsuspecting credit cards. Luckily, I find a mini-tiered cake set that comes with two 4-inch, two 3-inch, and two 1-inch pans (so cute!).

So I have all my pans, I've baked my cakes, and I'm ready to decorate. Remember my Lightning McQueen cake I posted a couple of weeks ago? (if not, you can search for it in the search box). Well both cakes were due on the same day. Have I mentioned how slow I am? Like a 3-toed sloth. Or maybe I'm just too much of a type-A personality. Anyhow, I worked on my nephew's Cars cake until midnight. Then I started on my grandaughter's Strawberry Shortcake. Long story short, I was up 'til 6 am but it turned out beautiful. Don't you think?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Lightning McQueen (2011)

My nephew was turning 2 and he wanted a Cars cake for his birthday party. I got a few great ideas from the internet, You Tube included (told you I have a You Tube addiction). After sorting through various designs, I kinda incorporated a few into one.

My first goal was to figure out how to make the car shape. From what I read, most people carved theirs out of a stacked rectangle cake. This seemed a bit daunting to me, as I've never carved anything out of cake, let alone an entire car! I knew Wilton made a 3D car pan, though it was more of a coupe or Volkswagon-like shape. I figured that was better than nothing. Perhaps with a little carving, I could make it work.

As you can see, I did manage to get a decent Lightning McQueen shape. The front end is a little flat. In retrospect, I should have built it up with some pieces of cake or even fondant. But I don't think Paxton cared. He seemed to love it anyway. I also got several compliments on it so I was happy with the result.

Of course, no car cake is complete with out some car-ish paraphernalia. I added some orange caution cones, some big tires with racing tread, and a few signs here and there.

And of course, no Cars cake is complete without a Radiator Springs sign. I love the little round cactus with the pink and yellow flowers. The car cake is made out of a cream cheese pound cake, the bottom tier is a 14 inch round, 3 inch tall yellow cake and covered in marshmallow fondant. Most of the nicknaks were made out of regular fondant and/or gumpaste.

*You can see more of my cake designs on my Flickr page*