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Cakes

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The Cake! — 30th Zebra Birthday Cake

 

 

 

The official cake photos! This was a 30th Birthday celebration cake — a white cake with fresh strawberry filling and vanilla buttercream, decorated with fondant and black ribbon (the ribbon being the only inedible part). The stars were made with a combination of fondant and gumpaste (to hold their shape) and then covered in disco dust for the sparkle. At the last minute we wanted to make the black sparkle, but I couldn’t get any black disco-dust in time — but I could find hot pink! Lucky. 

The inspiration for the middle tier was a corset, using two different widths of black satin ribbon to “squeeze” together the pink ruffle layers. The zebra look was a favorite of the birthday girl’s, and so I made that the focus of the other two layers.

Each tier was secured with dowels, placed on a plastic plate cut just smaller than the layer, to keep the layers stable and secure.  I used floral wire (22 gauge) for the stars. Each cake was covered in a crumb-coat of buttercream and chilled slightly before applying the fondant. The plaque was already created out of a mixture of gumpaste and fondant, and allowed to set 24 hrs to harden.

(2 8-inch round, 2 6-inch round, and 2 4-inch round tiers; serves 1″ portions for 42 people).

The Zebra Cake — Detail Photos!

Introducing the latest cake, sneak-peak…

… more to come later in the week… stay tuned.

Funfetti Birthday Cake!

Here’s the mini-cake I promised I’d share — this was a 4-inch, 3 layered round white cake, with funfetti sprinkles and vanilla buttercream. We decorated in the same colors to match the purple and teal cake pops (which will come next!). The photos don’t do this cake any justice, in showing exactly how tiny a 4-inch cake looks like — and especially when you have a 5-inch cake box for your cake to fit in. It was super adorable. (In fact, the birthday girl, who was turning 6, said it was “fricken’ awesome!” — about 20 times. It was probably the coolest reaction I’ve had to a cake yet.)

And if you’re wondering how to make your own at-home funfetti cake:

  1. Take your favorite white cake recipe,
  2. Add sprinkles! Ta-da! 

I used confetti-style sprinkles, but jimmies would work great too. And that’s it! The bright color of the confetti sprinkles didn’t fade during baking at all, which is what gave it that great color. I used those same sprinkles to decorate the outside of the cake, giving it that birthday-confetti look. The cake was in addition to the other birthday party treats, so the birthday girl would have something to blow out the candles (not really enough cake to share, maybe just a bite for Mom and Dad!). It’s a little hard to put candles on a cake pop — so adding a tiny cake was perfect!

And just in case you were curious — yes, funfetti always makes everything taste better. It’s Fun-fetti!

An “Inside Joke” — Birthday Cake Surprise!


This cake was a request as a birthday surprise for a co-worker’s boyfriend. She and him have an inside joke — they have these miniature cardboard cut-outs of one another, that a friend made for them both when they went on separate vacations recently — and she wanted her “Flat Jesse” on his cake (a take on “Flat Stanley“) — to surprise him in front of his friends at dinner later that night.

The only requests: a “Flat Jesse” cake, holding a Corona Light (his beverage of choice), and that the cake be a sky blue (to make it more beachy). We choose a rich, moist chocolate cake, my favorite vanilla buttercream and a new flavor for the filling — banana cream. I’m definitely not a banana fan, but Lee is, and he loved it — and ok, even I tasted it (and it wasn’t awful, like bananas are). It was actually a great filling for the chocolate cake.

This was my first delivery that I drove out on my own, without assistance — also my first cake order that wasn’t a multi-tiered cake, which actually made it very easy to deliver — single layer cakes don’t threaten to topple over, and they fit securely in a box! We had no incidences, thankfully. As this was my first order for a single-layer cake, I wasn’t as happy with the design as I wanted be. I felt like it was missing something; height, mostly. I added the lettering (Happy Birthday) and felt a little better (this was at 1:00 am); left it alone for the night (at the insistance of my hubby), to later  come back and decide in the morning that I was much happier with the cake after a night of sleep. When I delivered the cake later that morning, she jumped up and down, squealed, and gave me a big hug. Which is exactly the type of reaction I love getting over a cake! She reported back the next day what a big hit the cake had been, and how much her boyfriend loved it.

Perfect ending! I love surprises.

 

(2 10-inch round, 4-layer fondant covered filled cake; serves 1″ portions for 38-40 people. Chocolate cake, banana cream filled, vanilla buttercream crumb-coated with fondant icing and fondant decorations. The Corona Light label is a printed edible image).

 

 

Mother’s Day Flower Pot Cake

I made this cake for my mom’s birthday, which we celebrated early, because her birthday is actually today — yes, on Mother’s Day this year! So, since doing twice the cake would have been a terrible idea (well… ok yes, still a bad idea) — we went with this cake instead. Weeks ago I showed my mom the cakes I liked and had saved on Pinterest, and the William Sonoma version of this cake was her favorite.

So naturally, I thought — well, I can do that.

And this is my version of that cake.

This is a rich hand-mixed chocolate cake, with chocolate salted-caramel filling and espresso buttercream frosting. The African Violets and leaves were made from fondant. And a last minute decision to add a little Oreo “dirt” for a little better contrast between the frostings.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!

(And happy birthday too).

I love you.

(2 4-inch rounds, 1 6-inch round, 6-layer sculpted cake; serves 1″ portions for 12 people).

Bridal Shower Black & White Cake

I love this cake. Swoon.

This was a Red Velvet, 3-tiered buttercream cake for a bridal shower (yes, buttercream — no fondant). The bride’s colors were black and white, with just a touch of gold. The request for this cake was a simple, 2-3 tiered cake for a mixed-party bridal shower (so nothing too girly); the flavor was the only specific request, and maybe a hint that they’d be using black satin ribbon in the rest of the decor. The creative license was mine, and the design was original (see the cake design sketches here, here, and here — I ended up using the 2nd one). I’d had a few cakes I had wanted to recreate, but wasn’t excited about any black & white buttercream cakes I’d found, and ended up being happier with my own ideas (and end result).

I’ve wanted to see how smooth buttercream can get, and this was my opportunity. I had a few tricks up my sleeve, with lots of research.. but mostly, it was just patience. I kept smoothing and reapplying until I was happy with the smoothness; then chilled; then smoothed again. This went on a few times more. (Can you believe — this smooth with cream cheese frosting?). Always makes me a bit nervous to have full creative design — but it’s always my favorite, too. And I couldn’t be more pleased with how this cake turned out.

(2 7-inch round, 2 6-inch round, and 2 4-inch round tiers; serves 1″ portions for 40 people).

Ninjago Cake!

Dun-dun-duuuun.

You’ve seen the Ninjago cake pops — and you’ve seen the Ninjago cookies — and now.. the grand finale.. the Ninjago cake! Up atop his 6-inch perch.. glaring at all who challenge him. Well, really, glaring at everyone. Because that’s what Ninjagos do — they glare.

I love this cake! This was my first sculpted cake — which, to my great luck, was a very simple first sculpted cake to take on (thank you, Lego.. you are a very cake-like shape to begin with). This cake was a chocolate butter cake, the chocolate equivalent of the white butter cake I like to use for all of my fondant work, since it stands up extremely well to the weight of the fondant. We used a hazelnut praline buttercream frosting as filling.. maybe a little fancy for the tastes of a wild bunch of 6-year-old boys, but this was a very special birthday boy!

We were a little late delivering the cake (such a beautiful day — forgot about Tulip traffic!) — and by the time we got there, all of the little boys were already running laps around the house. But, they stopped on sight of this cake, with the birthday boy telling all of his friends to see his Ninjago cake — that kind of excitement over a cake, makes it all worth it!

(A great big thank you to The Great Cake Company for the amazing cake inspiration!!)

Edit — we got some party pics to show off the great details — thank you Joy!

Pink Ruffle Cake

First thing I have to say about making a ruffle cake — it’s much simpler than you would ever imagine (I recommend it highly!). It just makes for such a stunning presentation, and all you need is the right tip and a bit of patience (the above cake was my first try, no practice). Second thing I’d say — use a more solid buttercream, rather than a cream cheese frosting (which is what I did) — and you’ll get better results, which would have made for a slightly easier task. I don’t know that you can tell in the photos, but the frosting was a very soft, “fluffy” consistency, which tasted great! — but seriously threatened not to keep its shape (luckily we ate it pretty much right away). Take that, cake.

So yes, a traditional buttercream would have been the better choice, but this was a Red Velvet cake — you can’t not use cream cheese frosting. Then it’s just… well, a red colored chocolate cake. Actually, Red Velvet is something new to me, something I hadn’t tried before this year (I mean — what’s the big deal) . . well. It’s something pretty amazing, if you get the real thing. Which this was. So it’s ok my ruffles were a little droopy — I think it just adds to the appeal! What a cute thing on a cake, ruffles. Who knew.

Red Velvet with pale pink ruffles.. a little bit retro.. a perfect birthday cake!

Baby Elephant Shower — The Cake!

Well, and the cookies too..

And the cupcakes — Red velvet, yum…

And just one more sweet detail shot. Aww.

Ok, maybe one more.

But now — the cake!

( .. and — the back of the cake, also cute) ..

With the flag banner I made the night before, announcing the new baby boy..

Finally — the sweet baby elephant baby-shower cake, in all its glory.

You’ve seen me hint about this cake, and maybe caught a couple of the earlier detail photos, but now here are the last quick details: it was 100% edible, carrot w/ cream cheese frosting + white cake with vanilla buttercream; fondant decorated with a 50-50 gumpaste/fondant ratio for the elephant and the standing leaves, both of which I made a few days in advance so that they’d be solid enough to stand on their own. This was my first cake using fondant decorations, and my 3rd cake using fondant in general.

Other than the elephant, those simple roses might have been my favorite touch to this cake — just cake it a bit of charm and sweetness!  The cake plate was just purchased days earlier from Pier 1 — and let me tell you, I love this cake plate. It made the entire presentation look so much more professional, than using a disposable cardboard cake plate. Sometimes you have to use what you have, but for 14.95 I am definitely going to go buy more (they have a smaller size too — but my cakes were 8″ and 6″ and the size I bought was perfect).

Hope you like! I have events every weekend this month, including two bridal showers and three children’s parties — so wish me luck, and I’ll have more to post soon!

Baby Shower.. Monkey Business! (And Other Cute Details)

Some detail shots from the the Elephant baby shower last weekend!

.. and yes, I’m just now editing these pics — I was on vacation all last week and never got around to doing much of anything on the computer! More photos to come soon.. hope you love as much as I do!

Most definitely my favorite cake (and cutest!) — took a million pictures (or so, lol) and will get some more up later tonight or probably tomorrow.

Top layer was carrot (no nuts — the new mama’s request!) with cream cheese frosting, and the second layer was a favorite vanilla white cake with vanilla buttercream. I wish I had something fancier to call it — the vanilla cake really is amazing! The cupcakes (in the background) were a favorite red velvet recipe, and they were fantastic as well.

Hello Hazelnut, And..

.. and well used recipes,

.. and chocolate pastry cream,

.. and homemade hazelnut praline,

and… cake? Where’s my cake? Ahh, there you are.

Yes, I know it’s March. But this is my favorite cake. And I’m making it on strict request — and how can you say no to this cake. Seriously. I’d make this cake just for myself, if I didn’t know any better.

And for the title — we’re not just talking about any hazelnut.

But hazelnut praline.

Ahh. Yes.

I know.

This is what I’ve been up to all morning. And what I’ll be doing all evening? — eating. This cake (which, by definition — even in March — is a glorious Bûche de Noël). Yum. (And in between the baking and the eating — working out).

Hello Leftovers

You know those posts about cakes, and you see the perfectly cut, perfect portion of cake, and it’s beautifully displayed, without a crumb or frosting smear out of place??

Yeah, that’s not me.

Here’s the wreckage of what’s left of the cake I made Saturday night (we had friends over, and that was all the occasion I needed to make a cake). I might be the kind of person who doesn’t let my husband even look twice at what I’m making until I’m done taking photos of all possible shots, angles, after playing with the staging and lighting of said dessert until it’s perfect. But once it’s cut, it’s fair game. And in this case — well, this cake was sufficiently ravaged.

And yeah. That’s all that’s left.

Sooo… breakfast?

Hello Dark Chocolate + Salted Caramel

This is a cake I can only thank Sweetapolita for.

So let me say —

Thank you.

Thank you.

Thank you.

Also — I realize I don’t write much here. And so I feel like that part is missing, something is missing. But it’s also not quite like I’m running an online umm — menu? — of services. So right now, it’s just the photos. No recipes, no how-to’s — I just don’t have the patience to take a photo of each step (although I’d pay a photographically inclined side-kick, in batter and frosting of course). So, just for fun.

But I am happy for the occasional breaks, like tonight. To reminisce, and spend some significant time on the elliptical. Thank you, cake.

Hello Minnie Mouse Cake

See. The cake.

(Ta-da!)

This was my first fondant cake, mostly just an attempt at something new for a Minnie Mouse themed birthday party, for a friend’s 1-year-old little girl — and my largest cake to date! (It was pretty huge.) 

The bow was a combination of fondant & gumpaste, color matched to the ribbon border, and made a few days in advance to harden. The ears (both the cake & the cupcakes) were made from black fondant — black really doesn’t taste very great, in case you were curious, so really is best only for smaller details. The cake itself was a white cake with a homemade strawberry filling and vanilla buttercream. It’s since been one of my favorite white cake recipes, with the density being perfect to hold up to the weight of a tiered cake, especially fondant.

The top tier was made in a 3-in round cake tin, intended to be easily removed as the baby’s “smash cake” — had only the baby only been interested in smashing the cake. Everything about this cake was edible except for the ribbon. 

And it was delicious. In case you were curious.

Hello Flower Cake — & 18th Birthday!

This cake was much bigger than it looks. I intended on making a smaller, cutesy cake for my cousin’s 18th birthday. She was just having a few friends over. They probably had leftovers. I definitely should have come by the next day.

The flowers were much more beautiful in person. I hand-colored the fondant, and hand-placed each sugar-sprinkle center into the center of each hand-cut flower. I brushed on the disco dust (to give them sparkle), and then let them dry for 48 hrs, covered on the kitchen counter. It was my first attempt making sugarpaste flowers. These were very simply done, intentionally — and I didn’t count how many I had, so I can’t impress you with that number. But it was probably hundreds. Or maybe like 60.

The best part of this cake — the inside! (it’s always my favorite part of the cake). I made a white lemon cake with vanilla buttercream (my favorite) — tinted pink, and a Meyer lemon curd filled center. And I wasn’t fooling around — I hand squeezed the lemons (I went through 12 lemons, zest and all). It was amazing.

I made shortbread cookies later in the week to eat with the leftover lemon curd.

Amazing.

I love lemons.