Sunday, January 30, 2011

80th Birthday Dessert Buffet

This "dessert buffet" features my favorite kind of dessert: a little of everything! What could be better than a sampler platter of sweets? Not much.

I created this "table of temptations" for my friend whose family was celebrating an 80th birthday for her grandmother. Each type of sweet got its own pretty silver platter (the pedestal platters with dangling crystals are all mine and available to rent).

I made an assortment of sweets: double chocolate truffles, brownie cheesecake bites, lemon raspberry bars, vanilla strawberry parfaits, and 3 types of mini cupcakes (chocolate chocolate chip cake with vanilla butter cream, lemon cake with vanilla butter cream, snickerdoodle cake with cinnamon butter cream). Then I added little signs to describe all the different choices (I hate not knowing what I'm biting in to!) The finishing touch was a small lemon cake which I covered in white fondant and decorated with tiny red and white flowers. The cake topper was a hand-molded fondant figure representing the birthday girl in her "majorette" uniform (taken from an old black and white photo that my friend provided) complete with her rhinestone studded baton. I used red chocolate, red sanding sugar, tiny red ball candies and red heart sprinkles to carry the red color scheme throughout the table.

Dessert buffets are available for any occasion and run $3 - $5 per person served. Delivery, set up and equipment rental is available for an additional charge. It's a fun option for those who can't decide. Or just don't want to.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Louis Vuitton Purse Cake- "Judy"

This is my latest cake in what is becoming a "Louis Vuitton series". This bag is the "Judy" model from the LV website (which I'm starting to become pretty familiar out Hubby!) This one was a little more challenging, seeing as how I had to "gather" the fondant like fabric AND figure out how to put a hole in this cake. Luckily I was able to "MacGyver" a handle with a couple of popsicle sticks and some frosting. Like my other purse cakes, I start by carving the cake shape (this one was a red velvet cake). I cover the cake with icing, then cover that with white fondant, which I pinched to give it some pleats. I added beige fondant for leather details, and yellow fondant which I painted gold for the brass details (studs, feet, chain and handle edging. And I hand painted all the logos with different colors of luster dust. Everything was edible and it was a really fun project. Thanks to all you fashionistas out there who love cake!

"Tangled" Rapunzel Cupcakes & Mini Cake

These cupcakes and mini cake were for a 4 year old girl's birthday. Needless to say, my daughter has now decided SHE wants a Rapunzel birthday party too. (This will change weekly until April).

The cupcakes were vanilla and chocolate chocolate chip cake with vanilla butter cream icing. For Rapunzel, I piped her golden hair with butter cream icing and added a fondant face that I cut out and drew by hand. For Pascal (her little chameleon friend), I piped green butter cream bodies, curly tails, and 3-toed hands. Then I topped that with a fondant head with hand drawn details, and finished him off with some piped green eyelids and scales on his back.

I made the mini cake as a special cake for the birthday girl. I started with a 4" vanilla cake topped with a small dome shaped cake that formed her skirt. Then, like the old Wilton barbie toppers (little doll torsos on a stick), I hand molded the top half of Rapunzel out of skin tone fondant and put it on a stick. Once she dried, I drew in the details on her face and covered her with a fondant dress. For the final touch, I piped on buttercream hair that cascaded down the whole cake. It took way more time than I had anticipated, but when I get an idea in my head, I have to try it out. Lucky I have some practice now, since my own daughter will most likely request 13 mini cakes with every Disney princess represented. Maybe I should start the fondant now...

Pink Elephant Cupcakes

These little guys turned out so adorable! The client had found a design online that they fell in love with, and asked me to recreate the look. So, with my apologies to "Two Parts Sugar", I created these lovable little elephants for a family birthday with a pink elephant theme. The cupcakes were vanilla chocolate chip cake with chocolate butter cream, and red velvet cake with cream cheese icing. I hand molded all 24 elephants, added eyes and hearts from candy sprinkles, and even gave them rosy cheeks with a little luster dust. Too cute! They'd make a great cake topper too, or a cute baby shower.

Place Card Cupcakes

Ok, these are as simple as they get. But these red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese icing and simple sprinkles served as place cards for a dinner party. I made the little flags by hand, printing the names on the computer and attaching to flags that matched the table decor. Also, I wanted to highlight this option for future orders...I can make little toothpick flags in many different shapes and colors. Looking for something specific? Just ask!

Birthday Present Cake

This was another pretty simple design (by my standards!), but those are sometimes the best. Besides, birthdays for men are kind of tough, so I wanted to make it festive without a real big theme. This red velvet cake was "wrapped" in cream cheese icing and topped with a big blue fondant bow. I added a fondant gift tag for the birthday boy as well. Simple, rich, shiny...just the way I like my birthday gifts.

Giant Donut Cake

So this was a pretty simple cake, thanks to the cool pan I got for Christmas (thanks Mom!) But it was too cute and needed to be posted. Now, I admit that I have a real *problem* in that I can turn down cake, but when it comes to donuts, I have NO control. In fact, the first landmark that my daughter recognized from the car window was our local donut shop! (A little shout out here for Royal Donuts and Burgers in Mission Viejo...BEST DONUTS EVER! And curse them for having a drive thru!) Anyway, this was a birthday cake for a good friend of mine who is also a donut addict. The cake was my wine cake (yellow spice) with cream cheese icing (a combo I like to call "wine and cheese" cake). It was so cute and very tasty. It would also make a really fun top layer for a multi-tier cake. Mmmm...sprinkle donuts....How late are they open?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Little Einsteins Birthday Cake

This was another fun children's birthday theme. If you're not familiar with the Disney Channel show, then you don't have a toddler in your house. I started with a round base cake that I covered with sky blue fondant. I added hills, clouds, trees and flowers to that layer. Then I built "Rocket" as a top tier to the cake. The main part of the ship was made of layer cakes, and the engines on the sides were made with 2 cupcakes each side. I covered Rocket with red fondant and added other fondant details. The whole ship got a coat of luster dust that gave it a fun shine. And for the finishing touch, I created all four of the main characters (Quincy, June, Leo and Annie) out of fondant and drew in details with my favorite edible markers. The whole cake was cookies & cream with vanilla and chocolate butter cream. My favorite part? Watching the birthday girl munch on those crunchy kids. Too cute!

Cal Poly Pomona Graduation Cake

When my cousin was asked what she wanted on her graduation cake, she said "wouldn't it be funny if Jen could make the CLA building out of cake?!" So naturally, I had to try it. I love a challenge. And it was!
This cake was a feat in engineering, at least in cake. I (tried to) create what they call the most recognizable building on the Cal Poly Pomona campus. It is, in fact, triangle shaped with an asymmetrical roof line, so pretty complicated to build. But luckily I found my building inspiration when I came across some long stir sticks from Starbucks. I created the open roof structure by hot gluing the sticks together and sticking them in the cake. Then I wrapped fondant around the sticks to hide them. The base cake was red velvet with cream cheese icing, and the building was cookies & cream cake with vanilla buttercream. The triangle building cake was 6 layers of cake, which I have since found out was a bit too much. The cake actually started to implode on the drive to the party. Luckily, this was for family, so when the "leaning tower of Pomona" showed up at the grad party, they were all good sports. In the past, I have managed to escape the learning curve, but I guess it caught up with me this time. Oddly enough, I was informed that the building has been marked for demolition...maybe I'm just psychic! Congratulations Amanda! It's nice to hear that someone graduated in 2010 and got a job out of college befitting their major... There is hope for the future after all.

Jan 2011 Flavor of the Month: S'mores Cupcakes

So (one of my) New Year's resolutions is to come up with a new flavor of cake every month (yes, my neighbors...good news for you!) I have a big list of flavors that I wanted to try, so this resolution should be a (you guessed it) piece of cake!

So far so good. January is S'mores month...I created a graham cracker flavored cake and stuffed the cupcakes with milk chocolate pieces and bits of graham crackers. For the last few minutes in the oven, I added a few mini marshmallows on top so that they got brown and melty. The cupcakes were really good with my chocolate buttercream icing. I topped the icing with a marshmallow and a triangle of graham cracker just for fun. Much less messy than the real thing, but still tasty!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Armadillo Cake

I'm not sure how I feel about starting out 2011 with a cake like this! It's a face only a mother could love. Even back when I first saw Steel Magnolias, I didn't get it. But I have to admit that when it was all done, even I thought he was cute.

I created the body out of red velvet cake (of course!) by stacking round layer cakes. I carved the sides a bit to elongate the body. Then I added a large cupcake to the front end and a king-size cupcake to the front of that. Then I carved away a bit from the head and frosted everything with a thin crumb coat of cream cheese icing. When I got to this point (what I call the "panic point" of the cake), I really had my doubts. [I meant to take a picture before the fondant armor, but trust me when I say that I wasn't sure that I could make this cake into anything.] But I went ahead and rolled out my gray fondant, rolled a texture mat over it, and cut strips of "armor" which I laid on top of a generous top coat of cream cheese icing. Starting at his tail end, I layered the fondant strips up to the neck, then I used a large piece of fondant to cover his whole head, wrapping it under the chin and cutting off the excess. I rolled a thin fondant tail and covered it with small strips in a similar fashion, then tucked the tail into the back end. I also hand-molded his little hands and feet and tucked them in. I added fondant ears and a pink nose, and eyes which I colored with edible markers (adds shiny color). The final touch was a dry dusting of luster dusts in charcoal and brown to bring him to life. Now my husband wants one to bring to work! What a crazy conversation piece.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Christmas at the Stonebargers

Welcome to my living room! I decided to post these photos to give you an idea of how I decorate for the holidays. Now I hosted several events this year, including hosting my family for Christmas eve, so it's a little more over-the-top than normal. But I feel that by really decorating for Christmas, I get into the holiday spirit early and enjoy staying home in the cool weather. My kids also are starting to appreciate my effort. I had finished this room in the evening, so when my 4 year old daughter saw it all done the next morning, she gasped and said "MOM! It's so BEAUTIFUL!" I think that was worth all my hard work.

I tend to use my same decorations every year, but I move things around and pick a different color scheme for different rooms in my house. My main decorations are mostly in traditional red, and I love snowmen and gingerbread stuff. But this year, I incorporated gold into the tree and living room. Last year, I used red with white and went with a peppermint candy theme on the tree. This year, the peppermint stuff went to the dining room with my gingerbread collection. I admit that I did buy some new stuff this year...I was into the nutcrackers this year. (Curse you, Home Goods!) But most of my decor are favorite pieces that I bring out every year.

I also wanted to post these photos to remind everyone that I am available to help YOU decorate for holidays or parties as well. I can use what you already have, or design and pick out all new stuff for you. I can even come over and wrap all your gifts before Christmas.I often have friends come over and say, "wow, will you come do this at my house?" The answer is YES, and I'm affordable. (Are you kidding? A job that combines shopping AND decorating? Yes please.) So keep that in mind for your next special occasion.

"Pinkalicious" Birthday Cupcakes

With a preschool daughter in my house who loves cupcakes and the color pink, how in the world did I miss a book named "Pinkalicious"? It's about a little girl who eats too many pink cupcakes and turns pink herself. So the design for these cupcakes were straight from the book's illustrations. I made vanilla cupcakes tinted pink, and topped them with a light pink buttercream icing. I added white non-pareil sprinkles and a squiggle of darker pink icing. Finally, I topped the cupcakes with sour cherry candies. They were so adorable! Maybe when we're through the "princess years" over here I can talk my daughter into a Pinkalicious birthday party. So cute!

Snowman Cookies

These little guys were part of an order for 140 snowman cookies for teacher gifts from a generous PTA. I glazed the homemade sugar cookies with white royal icing and while the icing was still wet, I added M&M buttons, candy canes and mints, and pieces of orange slices for noses. Once the cookies were dry, I added eyes and mouths with an edible marker and wrapped up each little ice man in a cellophane bag wrapped with a little ribbon bow. They turned out darling, and tasty (quality control is the downfall of my diet!)

Circus Tent Birthday Cake & Cupcakes

These treats were for a first birthday party with a circus theme. I made a cake with alternating layers of vanilla and chocolate cake and chocolate filling. I created the "tent" top on the top tier by carving the cake into a point and covering the whole cake with buttercream icing. Then I covered both tiers with fondant; white on the bottom layer and yellow on the top. I rolled out some red fondant and made stripes for the tent, plus a ribbon for the bottom of the cake. I added details with fondant in primary colors, including some animals that I cut out and stamped with a set of "animal cracker" cookie cutters that I got from Williams Sonoma. I used the same brightly colored details to top the cupcakes as well, which tied them in with the cake nicely. It was really bright and fun, and I hear that they were the hit of the party. So fun!