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30 March 2011

March Madness

I'm not talking about basketball or my bracket.  I shudder just recalling how horribly wrong I was with my picks this year. Perfect proof - the big dance hasn't even happened yet and already my poor selections and all the game upsets have cost me a dish-washing assistant and a peanut butter pie! 

No...let's just stay far away from the topic of college basketball.  Let's instead discuss my crazy previous week.  Here's the rundown:

Sugar Cookies - 3 Dozen

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Yes, they were basketball-themed, but not in honor of March Madness.  Promise.  In fact, they were an accompaniment to Cake #1.

Cake - #1 of 5

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Obviously, not college basketball related in any way...well, other than the backboard, hoop, net, and basketball...but the similarities end there.  The logo really seals the deal...not a college team or reference in sight!

Cake - #2 of 5

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This one does include a nod to a college, but it's for an entirely different sport (notice the jersey?) and it's a birthday cake.  No basketball reference here!

Cake - #3 of 5

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A cheerleader's megaphone.  I know what you're thinking..."all the teams had cheer leading squads spurring them on," so that's a blatant basketball reference, but I disagree.  After all there are cheerleaders for other sports too, not just basketball. 

Weak argument, you say?  Fair enough...I've more cakes and things to share with you!

Cake - #4 of 5

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Here it is, a cake with absolutely no possibility of bringing up the topic of basketball or March Madness.  Wait...what's that I hear you whispering about a big dance? No, no...we aren't discussing the fact that I didn't pick any of the final four teams.  Moving on...

Cake - #5 of 5

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Ok...finally...this cake really doesn't have anything at all to do with sporting events of any kind.  I challenge you to find a sports reference here.  And no, commenting on the fact that the cowboy appears to be mocking my picks does not count.

Wait...you're still hoping for something you CAN'T tie back to basketball or brackets?  You say the cowboy cake wasn't good enough or far enough removed.  I see.  *riffling through photos*  Ah-ha! Here it is...

Cupcakes - 108 miniature, 3 dozen regular

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Happy, bright, spring colors!  Butterflies and flowers!  There's no possible way you can refer this back to basketball or sports of any kind!  (Though if you do, leave me a comment...I'd love to read what you come up with, seeing as how I bumfuzzled myself with this one!)

I hope your bracket picks turned out better than mine!


P.S.  I have to say thanks to A for helping me out this week...you were an absolute life-saver and that disco ball is fabulous!  Oh, and I apologize, dear readers, for some of the dark pictures, but that's what happens when you are up until 2:30 in the morning finishing up cake orders that will be delivered the next day...

23 March 2011

One Little Candle

Oops!  Just realized I forgot to click the "Publish Post" button this morning when I finished writing this...my apologies for it being late!!

Actually, the total candle count this week would be two, but let's not split hairs.  After all the candle count per cake is one...which means first birthdays!

First off, a transportation themed cake for the birthday boy...with the added bonus of a sugar cookie airplane and fire engine.  By the way, those sugar cookies are hand-cut (no cookie cutters here!) and decorated.  This isn't because I like to create extra work for myself, but because I live in a small town with a limited selection of cookie cutters. 

And, while it shames me to admit this, they are made from store-bought cookie dough.  GASP! It's a horrible admission I know and I assure you I will never make the same mistake again, they just don't live up to my homemade sugar cookies...I didn't expect them to, but when under a time crunch, one has to do what one has to do.  But, store bought or no, they are still hand-cut and decorated!  That counts for something, right? (I'm telling myself it does...)

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And with it being his first birthday, he had to have a smash cake all his own!

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Secondly, but still a first, a darling brown polka dot and pink "quilled" flower cake (and smash cake, too) for the birthday girl.  I recently came across this flower-making technique and the possibilities for it are absolutely endless.  I can't wait to try it out again!

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That's all for now, but I'll have lots to share with you next week...it's shaping up to be a VERY busy next few days in my kitchen. Until then,

16 March 2011

Gone to the Dogs

My kitchen went to the dogs this week...

Dog-themed cakes that is.

These doghouses were for a 6th birthday party for twins; so while they had to be similar, they also had to be different.  All I can say is thank goodness for different color and taste preferences!  Both cakes were buttercream with fondant detailing; the puppies were modeled from gumpaste.

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Here's a closer look at the pups.  This was my first time to try making dogs from gumpaste or fondant and I'm not ashamed to say that I'm quite pleased with the way they turned out.  (Still room for improvement though!)

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Sit...stay...good dog,

14 March 2011

Pie Day?

Happy Pi Day!

In honor of π, and to help you fully celebrate the day (even if it is a last minute celebration) here's a quick and easy pie recipe.  It's tasty too!

Lemonade Icebox Pie
Printable Recipe
Adapted from Taste of Home Magazine

Yields: 1 - 10 in pie

Ingredients:
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 14 oz sweetened condensed milk
  • 3/4 cup (plus more to taste) lemonade concentrate
  • 8 oz frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • Yellow or pink food coloring, if desired
  • 1 - 10 inch graham cracker crust
Preparation:
  1. In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth.
  2. Gradually beat in the sweetened condensed milk until blended.
  3. Beat in the lemonade concentrate.
  4. Fold in the whipped topping and food coloring (if using).
  5. Pour into crust.  Cover and refrigerate until set.

Happy baking!

09 March 2011

Lightbulb!

One of my best friend's birthday's was this last week (Hi, A!), so I of course had to create an amazing cake for her.  The challenge every year is finding a theme that will be a complete surprise, and that ultimately, when she sees it will, bring a smile to her face.  And I'm not bragging or anything, but I did a stellar job of it this year...she was completely stumped until the cake arrived, but absolutely loved the fact that she received her very own minion!  (He tasted great, but his ability to do our bidding was VERY, VERY limited.*)

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The other cake this week was a last minute order for a team roper who is a fan of the Texas Longhorns.  It was a fairly simple cake, but I love the way it turned out...after all, simple is often times better.

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Till next week my friends...Head 'em up and move 'em out! 

*By the way, I'm still working out the best way to acquire a minion that will actually do my bidding...I'm even willing to negotiate on the great taste.  If you, or anyone you know, would like to apply or have any suggestions for finding one, give me a shout.

02 March 2011

Hats Off

Whew!  The past week has been an absolute whirlwind! I've been from one side of the state to the other and back again visiting friends, handling work engagements, continuing my education, and purchasing fabulous footwear.  Oh...and making cakes of course!

All the cakes this week were for one event - the 60th birthday of a wonderful gentleman who has beaten the odds and who is an inspiration to all those blessed to know him.  He has an affinity for hats, particularly baseball caps, so the main cake was a perfect fit.  (I was told he appreciated the cake so much that he didn't want to cut it.  There's no better compliment!)

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Since the party was a large affair, I also created several sheet cakes to complement the theme, as well as to provide flavor choices to the party guests.  This first one was a chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream icing and a white chocolate ganache drizzle.
 
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As a warning, you aren't seeing double in the next two photos.  These are two separate cakes, and while they may look alike on the outside, they couldn't be more different on the inside.  (A bit like identical twins, I'd venture...)  Both are decorated with an image of a hat rack and are iced in vanilla buttercream...but, the one on the left is a vanilla and chocolate marble cake while the one on the right is a white almond sour cream cake.

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Who says there's such a thing as too many choices...especially when it comes to cake?  See ya next week!