Monday, May 24, 2010

Toy Story Birthday Cake

So when I get an order for a simple sheet cake, I just can't do it. I'm sorry. This whole year I have dedicated to experimenting with techniques and designs. So with a fun theme like this, I decided to go fondant-crazy and try to recreate Buzz and Woody (the Birthday Boy's favorites!) The cake itself was simple: lemon cake with frosting between the layers. I was worried about the cake feeding enough guests, so I built up the cake layers a bit. I covered the cake in a pretty blue frosting, piped the red border around the top and bottom of the cake, then added all fondant pieces on top. The characters were made by building layers of fondant in different colors, a trick I tried using clip art and a copy machine, plus a stick of chewing gum, a yard of dental floss, and some ball bearings (this is a highly technical operation I'm running here). I cut the guest of honor's name from fondant with cookie cutters and added the "Happy Birthday" banner below to mimic the "Toy Story" movie logo. The shy birthday boy did crack a smile and whisper a "thank you" when he came with mom to pick up the cake. Hope you had a great birthday party, John! To infinity...and beyond!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Toy Story Cupcakes

In our house, we are pretty excited about the release of Toy Story 3. So when I was asked to do some cupcakes (and a cake) for a Toy Story themed birthday party, my daughter (who just celebrated her birthday) announced that she wanted a Toy Story party for her 5th birthday. Good thing I started practicing! The little green alien cupcakes I made by mounding the icing and rolling the tops in green sugar. I added three candy eyes, fondant ears, and frosting details to each alien. For "Hamm" (the piggy bank), I added a large marshmallow on the cupcake for the snout, and marshmallow pieces for ears. I sculpted frosting around the marshmallow to smooth out the snout. Then dipped the cupcakes in warmed pink icing to give it a smooth shiny coat. I added eyes with melted chocolate and details with darker pink frosting. For the Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head cupcakes, I started with brown icing, then molded all the body parts and accessories out of chocolate. Then I just built the cupcakes much like you do with the original toy...added eyes, hats, noses, ears, mouths, mustaches, and an occasional arm. They turned out pretty fun. And the cupcakes were the perfect accessory to the Toy Story cake that featured Buzz Lightyear and Woody. Hope they were as big of a hit at the birthday party as they were at my house!

Angels vs. Yankees Cupcakes

Ok, here's some more for you baseball fans. These were a gift for a family with both Angels and Yankees fans. I made these chocolate chocolate chip cupcakes to look like baseballs with a mound of white icing and red stitches piped on top. Then I added fondant logos for the two teams. I thought it was funny that they requested that the two teams "don't touch". Wow, that is a true fan. I also thought it would be cute to make the cupcakes look like baseball caps, but it would have been some crazy colored icing (which is such a mess!) Maybe for the next team...

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Pirate Ship Cake

Shiver me timbers! I must admit that creating this cake has been the most fun project so far! This cake was for a special little man on his first birthday (I got to do his baby shower cake last year...where does the time go?) The birthday party theme - pirates! So my instructions were to "make a ship". I basically added the rest. I researched other cakes on the Internet, and created this design using the parts and ideas from other cakes that I liked. The cake itself was 4 layers of cookies and cream cake held together with layers of frosting. I carved the edges and corners with a serrated knife to create a boat shape. Then the whole cake got a layer of frosting. (I forgot to take a photo at this point to show proof that it really was cake. I was!) I covered the cake with brown fondant which I textured to look like wood planks. I added details to the cake with additional fondant: railing around the bow, a red racing stripe, a cleat with a coiled rope, port holes, and a life preserver. Then I molded the ship's wheel and attached it to the boat. I added Rolo candies to the sides for cannons, and a pile of Whoppers for cannon balls on the top of the ship. I then molded "Captain Ryder" out of fondant and placed him at the helm. The skull and cross bones on the front of the ship and on the sides were molded out of chocolate and attached. For the sails, I hot glued wood dowels together and wrapped them together with dental floss to create a "T" (note - this is the only part of the cake that wasn't edible). I rolled out the striped fondant and cut out the sails, wrapped them around the dowels and let them dry over a half of paper towel roll to keep their billowed shape. I added black flags to the top, which I piped with additional skulls and cross bones. Since I had to trim off some good sized corners from the cake, I decided to add a treasure chest to the back of the ship. The chest was a small square of cake covered with fondant and stuffed with candy and sprinkles to resemble treasure. With the other corner of cake, I created a shark with gray fondant and hand-cut fondant teeth, which I placed in the "waves" of blue frosting surrounding the ship. Lastly, I added the fondant birthday banner along the non-shark side of the ship. I had so much fun molding all the details for this cake, and I was so excited with how it came out! I think I really like doing the shaped cakes, especially when there are lots of extra pieces and corners to eat as I decorate. That is, if my family doesn't find them first!

Pirate Birthday Cupcakes

AHHRRRRn't these adorable? I found a chocolate mold that makes pirate "chocopicks" (the designs have little spears on the bottom, so you just mold and stick them right into your frosted cupcakes. They were the perfect accompaniment to the Pirate Cake. I made the chocopicks using dark and white candy melts, with a touch of yellow on the treasure chests. I also dusted the skull chocolates with a bronze luster dust to give it a little "aging". Now I want to have a pirate party.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Pokemon and Friends Cake

I love that kids like to look at my blog and say things like "Mom, this is what I want for MY birthday, a cake exactly like this one!" And that's just what this young man did. So I did a new version of the original Pokemon cake just for him. Drew's mom asked me to add some other characters with Pikachu, so I started looking on the web for some ideas. Who knew that there are 400 characters in this thing? So I got some more guidance and ended up with "Piplup" and some spiky squirrel that I couldn't find a name for. But they turned out cute and matched nicely with my color scheme. They added a Poke ball toy to the top, much like my last Pokemon cake, once the cake made it home safely. I got a great email today and the subject line said "best cake ever as quoted by Drew"! Glad I could be part of your birthday, Drew! Hope you had a great party (and mom recovered from the "sleep" over!)

Bridal Shower Bouquet Cake

This was a different kind of cake for me. When the client asked for a sheet cake, I wasn't sure what I was going to do. But she brought me the invitation and I thought a really intricate fondant bouquet would be cool on a simple white cake. So here it is. I decided to do the design vertically on the cake so it would be a little different than a typical sheet cake. I cut out and formed all the flowers out of fondant: daisies, roses, tulips, chrysanthemums, and various others. I rolled stems out of green fondant and wrapped them in a ribbon of pink fondant. Then I finished off the ribbon and some of the flower petals with a little pearl dust for some sparkle. The cake was vanilla with raspberry filling. Hope you girls had a fun party!

80's Birthday Party / Snoopy Cake

So if you could wrap up all the things you love in one big cake, what would it look like? If your name is Stacy and this was your 40th birthday, I have the answer! Her husband was throwing a big 80's party for her big 4-0, so we talked about what she loved in the 80's. Luckily, it was most of the things I loved as well - music and games! I was a huge Atari 2600 junkie, and so I got to make screens from 4 games for the bottom tier - Frogger, Pitfall, Ms. Pacman, and Space Invaders. Everything on these panels was made out of fondant. The middle tier represented the birthday girl's favorite music artists - Van Halen (Hagar- a girl after my own heart!), Lionel Richie, Whitesnake, Bon Jovi, Night Ranger and Journey. I cut squares from fondant and hand painted each album cover with petal and luster dusts. The top layer represented her favorite character of all time...Snoopy. I made the dog house out of 2 little cake tiers and covered it with red fondant. The Snoopy was molded completely out of fondant with details painted on. Then I added "Happy Birthday Stacy" with chocolate, a couple of "40"s in fondant, and a red fondant bead border to tie in the dog house. Everything was attached to a cover of white fondant over the whole cake. The cake was vanilla cake with Bavarian cream filling, and chocolate chocolate chip cake with chocolate custard filling. Apparently it was "rad"! Party on, you Material Girl!

Pearls and Gems Wedding Cake

This cake was inspired by the other square wedding cake I made with the pearl border. But my Bride wanted something without all the bows, so we stuck with the pearl beading and the gems surrounded with silver dragees. The cake was a vanilla cake with raspberry and Bavarian cream filling. The whole cake was covered in ivory fondant with an ivory icing border at the bottom of the tiers. I matched the blue fondant gems to a paint chip that the Bride brought to me, which was used as an accent color for her wedding. I thought the touches of blue made it more interesting. It was pretty and simple, and once it made it to the wedding, the florist was going to add white fresh flowers to the top of the tiers. I wish I got to see it when it was all finished! If I find a photo, I will post the finished product. But I think it was very elegant just like this. I hope it was everything you dreamed of and more! Congratulations to you both!

Under the Sea Tea Party

I hope that the girls had as much fun at this party as I did! I threw this Little Mermaid themed tea party for my daughter Hannah's 4th Birthday. I set up my dining room table with real tea cups and saucers and my grandmother's china plates over a sparkly blue table cloth overlay. The centerpieces I made with leftover floral picks from Michaels' Christmas clearance sale. I borrowed my friend's Cricut machine and made a ton of Ariel cutouts for the centerpieces, invitations, and the favors (tedious, but really cute!) I hung inflatable fish and paper lanterns from the ceiling to create the "under the sea" feel. I also created a mini dessert buffet on the sideboard table against the wall, complete with mini cupcakes, chocolate dipped brownie bites, homemade sugar cookies (in shell and tea pot shapes), and mini "sand cup" trifles. I also made a special "birthday girl" cake topped with an Ariel candle. For favors, I covered little tins with paper and ribbon, and topped each container with an Ariel cutout and their name. Inside each tin was a homemade hair clip for each girl. At the party, the girls made fancy tea party hats (see the Birthday Girl above!) with tulle and pre-made paper flowers; they also got a pink feather boa and dainty white gloves to wear. We ate scones, fruit, finger sandwiches, jello and goldfish crackers, and had two types of tea. The girls really liked all the fanciness, and it was so adorable! So now I have a set of mini tea cups and saucers (service for 12) and all the fixin's for a fancy tea. Want someone else to plan and/or execute your next birthday party? Give me a call!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Pooh and Tigger Cupcakes

My son is obsessed with Pooh and Tigger. So even though he wasn't getting a big party for his 2nd Birthday this year, I gave him just what he wanted - "Papa" and "Pooh Tigger". (He's also a huge fan of my Dad, so we had a family party at my parents' house). Turns out it was a great day! I made chocolate chocolate chip and cookies and cream cupcakes. I topped the cupcakes with a swirl of bright red or blue frosting (a fun color contrast, and no one suspected that I just used leftover frosting!) then I topped the cupcakes with those familiar smiling faces. Once again, I decided to make the toppers out of chocolate instead of fondant - a good move, since the birthday boy ended up eating about 3 toppers with frosting and no cupcakes! They turned out really cute, and even though Tigger was very involved (who knew he had so many colors just in his face!) I think they were worth it. Jackson's little dimpled smile...Priceless!

"Tigger" Tails

I had to do a quick post about these little treats. On a trip to Disneyland, or what we in this house refer to as the "Winnie the Pooh Ride", I saw them making these hand-dipped treats, which were a skewer of marshmallows that they dipped in orange chocolate with dark chocolate stripes and they called them "Tigger Tails". I thought they were so adorable, that I wanted to try them at home. Now I am a big fan of chocolate dipped marshmallows; I make them for most holidays and parties at my house. And my party guests will attest that they are "surprisingly good". Well, add these babies to the party arsenal. Thinking that a skewer of 4 marshmallows would just be too much, I thought I'd try dipping pretzel rods instead. But then, being me, I made them "too much" anyway by dipping them first in caramel, then rolling them in chopped peanuts, THEN dipping them in the chocolate. The resulting "tails" were just as big as the marshmallow monstrosities, but somehow I had no problem eating these in their entirety. They were really decadent, like a huge, homemade snicker bar! And they were a darling accompaniment to my Tigger and Pooh cupcakes for my son Jackson's 2nd birthday. I love trying new things, and coming up with treats that fit a certain theme. It's just what I do. ;)

Nemo Cupcakes

Wow - this could have been my hardest order yet, simply because my 2 year old son did not want to part with these cupcakes! He kept yelling "Nemo Cakes!" and cried when they got picked up! These were for a birthday party for some adorable 2-year old twin boys. The cake was my ever-popular Cookies and Cream (vanilla cake with crushed Oreos - it's a nice blend of vanilla and chocolate when you can't decide which to choose!). I thought that Mom was very thoughtful in suggesting that we do white frosting with blue sprinkles so as not to have a park full of toddlers with blue teeth, clothes, fingers, etc. (Good call - I've seen what Dodger and Cookie Monster cake can do!) I've been working a lot with fondant lately, but when it comes to cupcake toppers, I really prefer to use chocolate (much more tasty!) So I drew up a pattern (luckily we have plenty of Nemo gear 'round these parts) and created these chocolate toppers. They sat propped up a bit on the cupcakes and looked darling all together. I hope the boys enjoyed their "school" of cupcakes as much as my kids did!

Bridal Shower Cookies

Ok, I love doing these sugar cookies. I especially love when someone orders an amount that requires me to make a partial batch and keep a dozen or so for myself! They are initially crunchy, then chewy and moist. And I get to really be creative when I get to decorate the little wedding cake cookies. No two cookies come out exactly the same. These were fun because the color scheme was so pretty. Silver, purple and white are lovely together, and I got to add the little bit of sparkle with the luster dusts (I tried to get some close-ups so you could see the sheen, but ever since I dropped my camera, my super-zoom is busted! I do the best I can.) Keep those cookie orders comin'!