Monday, March 28, 2011

Ariel / Little Mermaid Birthday Cake

My daughter, who turns 5 next month, has informed me that she's "all growed up". So when I was asked to make an Ariel cake for a girl turning 6, I decided to give it a level of sophistication. I made this strawberry cake with vanilla pastry cream filling and covered it with an aqua blue butter cream icing. First, I piped on white coral and green seaweed. Then I added fondant fish, flowers and bubbles. Next I molded some shells, sand dollars and starfish out of white chocolate. For a final touch, I added edible glitter, luster dust, and candy pearls. Then, for the special mermaid on top, I molded Ariel out of fondant (with the help of a push mold) and added details with a food marker and luster dust. She turned out so beautiful... now I will be ready for my daughter's princess birthday!

Yo Gabba Gabba Birthday Cake

My kids have not yet discovered the Yo Gabba Gabba craze, and I think I'm glad. I watched a 30 second trailer on the web and wanted to stab my eye with a fork. But it seems to have a cult following. Who am I to judge? I used to watch Kroft Superstars and think it was good (check out channel 3 on Saturday morning if you need a dose of nostalgia!) I think my mom gave me the best compliment on this cake: "wow, you managed to make those ugly characters look cute!" And it did turn out really colorful and fun! I made a vanilla cake with strawberry filling and covered it with white fondant. I used watered-down food color to paint a color changing background on the cake. Then I added fondant to create all the different "lands" from the show. I cut all the characters out of fondant and attached them to the bottom tier: Toodee, Foofa, Muno, Brobee, and Plex. Then I topped the cake with a small rectangle cake covered in gray fondant that I made into a boombox. The final addition was the birthday boy's favorite character: DJ Lance Rock. I actually made him 3D out of fondant using a push mold. Then I made him popping out of his radio and holding the birthday sign. It was an adventure in cake making! I hope I did the show justice.

Dodgers 50th Birthday Cake

This cake was for my cousin who turns 50 this week. He is a diehard Dodgers fan, so his wife came up with this idea for his cake. She requested home plate topped with a Dodger hat, both life-size! So I got as close as possible. Actual home plate is 17" wide, but my biggest cake pan was 16", so that's what it had to be. I covered the "base" cake (ha!) in butter cream and white fondant. Then I carved an 8" round layer cake to sculpt the hat and covered it in "Dodger Blue" fondant. [Note to self: next time I have to make royal blue fondant, make sure to where gloves! I looked like I had been strangling Smurfs!] I made the brim of the hat by drying a piece of fondant over an actual hat to get the shape. The bottom cake was coconut cake with coconut cream filling (seriously delicious, if I do say so myself!). And the hat was also cake - vanilla cake with strawberry filling. It's so fun to make a cake for family...I talk about the cakes I make, but it's much better to check them out in person. AND, I get to eat it! Quality control is very important...

Toy Story Cupcakes - Aidan

Well it seems that I'm not the only one with a toddler boy who's obsessed with Toy Story! You'll be seeing a lot of Buzz and Woody on this blog. These cupcakes were for a 2nd birthday party, and I created 7 different characters out of fondant. I had done similar cupcakes in the past with Buzz, Woody, Jessie, Rex and Hamm, but since I hate doing the same thing over again, I decided to add the Alien and Slinky Dog. In addition to the 2 dozen cupcakes, I made a special "birthday boy" cake with all the same characters attached. My 2 year old approved!

Flower Cookie Bouquet

These pretty cookie pops were for my daughter's preschool teacher on her birthday. They turned out super cute, so I thought I'd post them. I made a half dozen cookies, 3 daisies and 3 tulips, and glazed them in pastel colors. I piped the details with white royal icing and wrapped them in a cellophane bouquet with a bow. Those are my kind of flowers...they require milk instead of water!

Lovin' Justin Bieber Cookies

The Bieber level in my house has been a little high these past couple weeks. Luckily, I don't have a teenage girl to make it a permanent affliction. But these cookies were for his biggest fan. I glazed my favorite, super delicious sugar cookies with a royal glaze and wrote little messages in purple icing. Good luck with J.B., Alex! I'm rootin' for you. Makes me think of the Kirk Cameron poster I had on the back of my bedroom door. Ahh, to be young again...

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Mickey Mouse Birthday Cake

How fun to have a Mickey Mouse first birthday! I decided to do a more stylized design for this one, topping the 2-tier cake with a Mickey ear hat. The result was bright, graphic, even a bit sophisticated, but still really fun. I especially liked the red band at the bottom of the cake where I added yellow ovals to mimic the buttons on Mickey's pants. The cake was chocolate chocolate chip cake with cookies and cream filling on top, and vanilla cake with strawberry filling on the bottom.

The last photo was the "smash cake", which was a little vanilla cake that I decorated simply for the 1 year old birthday boy.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Buzz Lightyear Toy Story Cookies

"To Infinity...and Beyond!" That's all I hear around my house these days. The most impressive part about this project was that I kept my Buzz-obsessed 2-yr old son from eating one! These cookies were party favors for a 3rd birthday, so the finished cookies were individually wrapped with a cellophane bag and coordinating ribbons.

I gave the artwork on this project a lot of thought. Once I made the sugar cookies and let the glaze dry, I debated on how to create Buzz. I thought about piping royal icing, but I didn't think that I could get the detail right. So I used a pattern to trace the basic outline with an edible marker, and I filled in the rest of the details by hand. Yep, I just drew them. Then, to complicate things, the two main colors of purple and lime green were not included in my set of markers. (Curse you, Americolor!) So I actually painted those colors in with my new edible watercolor paints (i.e. food color and water). Phew! But I think they were worth it. My little Space Ranger was pretty excited to see Buzz cookies when he came downstairs. I hope the birthday boy was equally excited!

Bridal Shower Cookies

These pretty sugar cookies were for a dessert buffet for a bridal shower. I used spring colors of pink, blue & green (plus some white) to glaze the cookies. For the engagement ring cookies, I piped silver rings and prongs, then white diamonds with royal icing. I also added some edible glitter to give the rings their "bling". For the wedding cakes, I kept all the piped details in white icing, and added metallic dragees in silver, pink, blue & green. When I do cookies, I like to decorate each one just a little different. Not only are they unique and adorable, they are also delicious! I always have to double the dough recipe so we get some around this house.

Apple with Book Worm Cupcakes

This is my second batch of bookworm cupcakes. I've discovered that book club meetings are a good place for cupcakes (as are most places). But all that reading seems to make people hungry. I recently watched 2 friends talk about all the books that they had read lately, and I figured something out - I don't read. I used to, and I really enjoyed it. But ever since kids and baking, no time. So there - you guys want to know where I find the time to make all these baked goodies? It's when you're reading. :)

The green apples are snickerdoodle cupcakes with vanilla butter cream. The red apples are vanilla cupcakes with chocolate butter cream. I like rolling the tops in colored sugar, and it was cool how the red sugar covered the chocolate icing too. I made the details (worms, books, apple stems) out of fondant. Read one for me, girls...

Monday, March 7, 2011

Ni Hao Kai Lan Birthday Cake #2

Thanks to the blog "Hostess with the Mostess", I get a lot of inquiries for Kai Lan cakes. So when I got this order, I decided to mix up the design a bit.

This cake was all chocolate chocolate chip cake with a cookies & cream custard filling. I covered the cake in vanilla buttercream and then aqua blue fondant. Then I added some hills, bushes and tree trunks that I cut out of fondant. Then I made the basic characters out of fondant, cutting each one out by hand and drawing in details with edible markers, and added them to the scene. Instead of the dragon from my first Kai Lan cake, I decided to add the strings of lanterns and the big white banner for the birthday girl. I finished the design by adding individual leaves and flowers and piping in some white details. For the top, I made a number four out of chocolate and attached it to another patch of leaves and flowers. I hope this cake put a big smile on Charlotte's face and that she had a very special 4th birthday bash!

Airplane Birthday Cake

I love when I get to do cakes for friends. Especially when they are little squishy friends with pinch-able cheeks. I am referring to the birthday boy in this case, little Owen who was turning one. His parents put together an adorable party with an airplane theme. So I went to work.

The bottom tier of the cake was vanilla cake with strawberry filling. The top tier was carrot cake with cream cheese filling. I covered both tiers in vanilla butter cream icing, then a layer of blue fondant. I brushed on some luster dusts on the blue fondant to give it a non-uniform look, then made some airplanes out of bright blue and green fondant. I didn't have a cookie cutter this time, so I actually just free-hand cut the planes out. Once the planes were in place, I piped on clouds with white frosting. I added a banner to the back of one of the planes that read "Happy Birthday", then piped "Owen" as if another plane had done sky writing. Then I topped the cake with a giant vanilla cupcake that we took off and served to the birthday boy. It was a big hit with Owen; I think I have another customer!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Butterfly Cookies

These cookies were handed out as favors at the pink and brown baby shower (see Baby Girl Butterfly Cake post). I glazed the sugar cookies with pink icing glaze, then piped all the brown damask pattern with chocolate royal icing. Then I wrapped each cookie in a clear bag and tied with a coordinating ribbon. And I can attest that they were delicious. (Quality control is an important part of my business.) ;)

Baby Girl Butterfly Cake

I am such a sucker for pink and brown. I don't know what it is about this color combination that makes me so happy. So I was happy to design this cake. It was for a baby shower for a sweet couple having their first baby. The cake was black and white (alternating layers of chocolate chocolate chip cake and vanilla cake) with a cookies & cream custard filling. I covered the cake in buttercream, then white fondant. Then added fondant stripes to the top layer and a large fondant band to the bottom which I imprinted with my custom damask stamp. Once the imprinted piece of fondant was attached to the cake, I hand-piped the brown damask pattern on top with chocolate icing. Then I added chocolate piping around the bottom of the tiers and added 3D fondant butterflies. For the top of the cake, I molded a baby sleeping on a pink blanket all out of fondant, complete with a pink bow in her curl of hair and a pink diaper. I even made her little wrinkly feet. This was a new kind of topper for me, and I thought she turned out of adorable. (Of course, I haven't met a baby I haven't found adorable.) And if tomorrow turns out to be the baby's birthday (as mom has predicted) then let me be the first to welcome baby Chloe! Best wishes to the new family. ;)

Baby Girl Shower Cupcakes

These cupcakes were for a double baby shower - two friends having baby girls. The shower decorations (including these cupcakes) were based on the nursery decor from Pottery Barn Kids - the Penelope Nursery (with the birdies) and the Daisy Garden Nursery (daisies). So I topped the cupcakes with vanilla buttercream in pastel colors and made the daisies and birds out of fondant. There were 4 flavors of cake: chocolate chocolate chip, coconut cream, champagne orange, and vanilla cake with strawberry filling. Sugar and spice and everything nice... mmmm.