Monday, October 12, 2009

Bows & Pearls Wedding Cake

I am so excited to post these photos! I am very proud of how this cake turned was a challenge to my design skills! My bride brought me several magazine photos of cakes, and we narrowed down the elements that she liked the most from each photo. Then I combined the elements into this design. She was very sweet to trust me to create something elegant, traditional, and "Cinderella-like" (her words). This wedding cake was 4 tiers and served 135-150 guests. The cakes were covered in ivory fondant and all the decoration and detail was completely edible (no- not the hydrangeas, but everything that I put on the cake was edible!)

On the "bow" layers, I made the bows by hand using additional fondant. On the "pearl" layers, I molded fondant gems in a chocolate mold and painted them with luster dust. The strings of pearls I made with a really cool tool using more luster dust and fondant. I then added gold dragees around the gems to give them a little more "bling". I saw the idea for the jewelry-like pendants hanging between the swags in a (what else?) Martha Stewart Weddings magazine, and I thought it was a cool update on a traditional look.

The construction of the cake was a little different since I wanted the gap in between the double layer cakes. I actually had to use the old plastic pillars to separate the cakes! But thank goodness the fresh hydrangeas covered the pillars completely (there's a difference between traditional and "old-fashioned"!) And I used royal icing to pipe the designs between the layer cakes and to attach all the details.

I thought that the whole design really captured what the bride wanted and I was really happy with the outcome. The best part was that I actually was there at the wedding and got to see how the cake was received by the guests, the family, and the bride & groom too (I got to coordinate the wedding as well!) It was very satisfying to see the cake as the focal point in the reception, and field questions from guests ("do you know who made the cake?" It's beautiful!) However, I don't know how I feel about having to see the caterer CUT my artwork up after a couple hours! (It was like a cake knife to my heart!) But when everyone was complimenting the taste as well, I got over my heartache! It was a beautiful night, and for such a wonderful family. I'm really glad I got to be a part of it. Congratulations Rachel & Seth! Best wishes to you both.

"Sweet" Girl Diaper Cakes

It was kind of refreshing to make a cake without turning on the oven this weekend! These diaper cakes are always fun to design, and my kitchen doesn't look like a tornado hit when I'm done. I made both cakes for a friend to give as gifts. The pink and green diaper cake has 2 tiers totalling 36 diapers (I always use Pampers Swaddlers - my favorite as a Mom). It includes 3 short sleeve onesies which are rolled and placed into cupcake liners around the cake. It also has 3 pairs of socks, which I rolled into roses and taped with floral tape onto a chenille stem. The cake topper is constructed out of baby lotion, baby wipes and baby powder. The overall theme was "cupcakes" (what can I say, I'm obsessed!) - I even made a card to match. The purple and brown cake was a bit bigger with 3 tiers and a total of 72 diapers. The theme for this cake was "sweets", so I rolled the 3 onesies into candy shapes and packaged each one in a cellophane wrapper. This cake also has 3 pairs of sock roses, plus 3 matching bibs which were tiered in the back of the cake. This cake also had a topper of baby lotion, wipes & powder. Each diaper cake sits on a clear plastic serving tray topped with a doily, and is finished with my signature cellophane wrap and big bow on top. My friend was shipping the bigger cake, so everything inside is secured with tape...hopefully it makes it to its final destination looking just as festive.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Hula Cupcakes

So when my fellow preschool mom Megan asked if I had any ideas for cupcakes for her daughter's Hula themed birthday party, I was so excited to come up with some Hawaii-inspired designs. Anyone who's been to my house knows what a huge fan I am of all things Hawaii. So when Megan suggested arranging cupcakes into a "lei", I was hooked. So I set out to make plumeria flowers in frosting. But I wasn't happy with the outcome - my frosting wasn't stiff enough, and the thought of having royal icing flowers on the top didn't excite me (who wants to chip a tooth on a birthday cupcake?) So I came up with this design out of marshmallows! Each cupcake has one marshmallow's worth of slices to make a five-petal plumeria flower. I like how each of the marshmallow petals kind of turned upward when I overlapped them...I thought they looked pretty authentic. To get the colors, I hand painted the petals with luster dust in pink and yellow. The Hula Girl trio of cupcakes was inspired from my ever-popular "mermaid" cupcakes. I molded the hair out of chocolate, used peanut M&Ms for the coconut top, and the rest was piped out of frosting. She turned out pretty cute...maybe I can start a new trend for 4-year old girl birthday parties! After the hula girl and the flowers, I decided I needed one more design to break it up. So I made the palm trees by molding palm fronds out of chocolate and placing them on top of a "Rolo" tree trunk. I even threw in some M&M coconuts on the trees. All the cupcakes got a final dusting of edible sparkly "pixie dust" (a must for the 4-year old birthdays). The cupcakes were lemon and (what else?) coconut with vanilla icing. I think they turned out really fun. Happy Birthday Alana!

German Chocolate Cake

Ok, so as far as decorating goes, this cake is pretty simple. But I wanted to blog about it anyway because I was so excited to make a new flavor - German Chocolate.So it's not really "new" - I've made it before a long time ago, but I never made my own coconut pecan filling / frosting. When making it for my family, I have [gasp] bought the canned stuff! But I busted out mom's recipe and made my own filling on the stove this time. And I'm so glad I did. The recipe made a ton of filling, so I got to fill a couple cupcakes with it as well and...HEAVEN! This 8" round cake was my usual construction of 4 layers of cake with 3 layers of filling, although I topped the cake with filling as well so there were 4 layers of filling this time. Then I used my homemade light chocolate frosting to cover the sides. So I can now offer German Chocolate cake and cupcakes - light chocolate cake with homemade coconut pecan filling. Meanwhile, I am enjoying coconut pecan-topped cookies, bagels, toast, etc... Mmmmmm.