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26 January 2011

A Hunting We Will Go

A hunting we will go, a hunting we will go!  And along the way, maybe we'll put out a fire and watch the Phoenix Suns play basketball.  Sounds like a pretty good time, eh?

Well, while my past week, unfortunately, didn't actually include any hunting, firefighting, or basketball watching, I did get to create four cakes that used these activities as inspiration and I had a pretty good time doing maybe it's not an entirely bad trade-off.

Here's the first cake I made this week...a delicious orange dreamsicle cake designed to look like a bird hunting vest.  Everything, with the exception of the Remington patch and size tag, was done in buttercream.


This cake was for a wedding reception and was created around the groom's profession.  The antique fire engine and flames (which went around the entire cake) are royal icing.


I also had the opportunity to make a birthday cake for a Phoenix Suns & Steve Nash basketball fan...the birthday girl even has the same jersey number as Nash, so of course the cake was done in the Suns colors!  It included a Phoenix logo, personalized jerseys, and a Steve Nash signature shoe box.  The silhouettes around each tier reflected not only basketball, but her other favorite sports - track and gymnastics - as well.


The final cake is another bird hunting vest.  (It's not very often that I get requests for similar designs or themes in the same week, but it does happen occasionally!)  This vest was also done in buttercream, but included a few more personalized decorations to reflect some of the recipient's additional interests...including a hand-painted "bag" of Peanut M&Ms.


That's it for now...I'm headed back to the kitchen...

19 January 2011

Fairy Tales & Falcons

Well...I'm a day later than I had hoped to be with this post, but the important thing is that it's here now...right?  In my defense, I've been busy recovering from my first truly unsalvageable cake disaster (more on this shortly), enjoying the long holiday weekend (happy belated MLK day!), and working on cake plans for the rest of my January orders.  No resting on my laurels here!

Any who...on to the good stuff - because we all know you are here to see the cakes, not listen to a rundown of my last few days; however, I would ask that you please read the following disclaimer before continuing.

*Disclaimer - If you do not wish to see the cake disaster, please avert your eyes.  I understand you may wish to keep in your mind the image of me being perfect (which is alright with me!) although this is an instance in which I was not.

For those of you who did not heed the it is...


It may not look like much, but believe me, when a cake you have been working on for several hours ends up in the trash, it is a disaster...even more so when it is 11:30 pm the night before the cake is due.  (Sob!)

What happened?  Well...let's just say that the design of the cake (which by the way was to be Rapunzel's tower) was not especially conducive to the recipe used and I may have perhaps overfilled the layers just a smidge...resulting in the bottom cake cracking and the top layers sliding to left as I was doweling the cake.**  The consequence was an unusable cake and my staying up most of the night to rebuild from scratch, but the order was completed on time! 

Here's the completed cake, including Rapunzel and her chameleon friend, which were modeled from edible candy clay.  If you look closely, you can see some resemblance between the cake disaster and this cake...I think the finished version turned out much better!


In addition to Rapunzel's tower, I also created a cake for an Atlanta Falcon fan's birthday.  It just so happened that the NFC divisional playoff game fell on the same day, so her cake, fittingly, reflected support of the Falcons.


My nephew also helped me decorate some cupcakes that I made from excess cake batter after baking the second Rapunzel tower.  (This is one of the perks for my family and friends - they often get leftovers!)  I think he may have ended up eating more sprinkles than he put on the cupcakes though...


**I would like to state for the record that this is the first time I've had a cake go so awry that it was unsalvageable.  I'm in no hurry to repeat the experience.

12 January 2011

Coach, Chanel, and...Mimosa?

There’s nothing like starting a new year with a few challenges.  And as is often the case with me, one challenge at a time just isn’t enough; I need two or even three or more to really make my stress and anxiety levels skyrocket.  After all, if you’re going to go, you might as well go big, right?
Well…the first cake of 2011 was definitely full of challenges - not only did I have to try to create a cake that did justice to a real life product, but both the cake and the buttercream were new, never-tested recipes.  (Stay tuned to the end of this post to find out what the flavors were.) 

“Well, what was the cake?” you ask.
Here’s a photo of some of the detail work on it…any guesses?


Here's another detail shot, if you need a little more help.  (Oh, by the way, the title of this post is an excellent hint, if you're still having trouble.)


For those of you who guessed a Coach handbag or purse, you are absolutely correct! 

This was a design request that I was very excited to conquer because I've wanted to make a handbag cake since the first time I saw one, I just hadn't had the right occasion to do so until now.  The cake included several details that make a Coach bag a Coach bag, such as the Coach Carriage logo, a Coach keychain, the ubiquitous gold rings and dark brown leather, and of course, the "c" patterned fabric.


To add a little color and some personalization to the cake, I also included several of the recipient's favorite things - cards to her favorite stores, jewelry (for example, the "diamond" earrings pictured below), and Chanel No. 5 perfume (also pictured below along with a store card and a makeup compact). 


And the best part?  Everything on the cake was edible!

P.S. For those of you wondering about the "Mimosa" part of this post...allow me to introduce you to the newest cake and buttercream flavors on my availability list:

Mimosa Cake
Champagne Buttercream

They are delish!

05 January 2011

Melted Snowmen

I've had several inquiries about how I made the melted snowman cookies from my December 29 post.  For those of you who might have missed it, here's a picture of the cookies:


Aren't they the cutest idea? And a very novel one to boot!  I must admit, though, that these cookies aren't an original of mine.  I first came across the idea on the Truly Custom Cakery's Blog, and just recently I learned that Stacey of Truly Custom adapted the idea from Meaghan of the Decorated Cookie.  Thank you, ladies, for your inspiration and Truly Custom Cakery for your excellent tutorial!

For those of you who want to make your own melted snowman cookies using the Truly Custom Cakery's tutorial, click here.  The tutorial looks long, but I assure you, these cookies are easy to make!  They would make an excellent project for younger kids to help out with, and they offer plenty of opportunity for personalization and individual snowman personality to shine through!  As an added bonus, you can use whatever sugar cookie recipe you prefer...maybe even a store bought dough if you don't want to start from scratch.  My snowmen were fairly simple in decoration because I was pressed for time, but you could use buttercream or royal icing to add scarves, hats, or bowties.  You could also explore different types of buttons - maybe mini chocolate chips or large shaped sprinkles...endless possibilities!

Happy baking!