Over the Hill!

As a person on the other side of fifty, I found I had a lot of fun making this cake. Some day I may be the recipient of one and when that day comes, I intend to have a good sense of humor about it. The dentures were tackled first and using a reference (my own chompers) I made a set of upper and lower false teeth. I then made the pill box starting out with a general long block of fondant. Once I was happy with the square corners, I used a “tappits” set of letters to create the days of the week and I drew a line between each letter to create each box lid. I made a separate lid for the one open compartment and dug out a hole in the fondant to add the pills and then used edible glue to place the box.

I add the other elements including the tubes of Preparation H and Fixodent as well as a “no 59” symbol and some other elements to fill out the sides of the cake. I used buttercream instead of fondant to cover the cake. It was a customer request and I do like the practice I get trying to get a super smooth finish. Overall, I really enjoyed making this cake (even with the Viagra pills :-)).

Spring Meadow cake

This was a nature-based cake for a little girl who loved butterflies and flowers. The butterflies were made from fondant and decorated with edible markers. These were made a few days earlier so they could dry completely. The flowers, also with gumpaste, were made in advance.

One of the things I really liked was how green the top of the cake became. The spot in the middle for the birthday girl’s ended up being several shades of bright green and it really made the message pop. This was a really colorful cake!

Sewing Machine Cake

Several of my Facebook friends shared a version of this cake with me. I would have loved to make it, but I was too busy to spend that much time experimenting. Then I finally got an order to make it. Whoo hoo!

I had to make several of the cake items in advance. This included the machine itself as well as scissors, spools of thread, and a thimble. I also had to paint a few of these silver which meant at least 24 hours for everything to set.

My first version of the sewing machine was all fondant. But as I looked at it, I felt that it was too flat and heavy. I was also concerned that the machine would separate or crack apart. I decided to smash it up (yep – the fondant may have dried on the outside but a little shortening and elbow grease can mash it all back to a useable product). I decided to make a frame using the cereal rice marshmallow method. I ground the cereal to as fine a mixture as I could and I also covered the frame in melted white chocolate so that the fondant could be as smooth as possible. I did reference some images of sewing machines so that mine looked more like the real thing.

I loved my final version but I was surprised that it was as heavy as if not heavier than my first “hunk of fondant” attempt. For that reason, I used cake supports under the topper so that it would sink into the cake. I had a Wilton mold with buttons which were added the night I made the cake.

I was so very proud of how this cake came out. I look forward to another one just as challenging!

Olivia!

Olivia cake

 

Olivia! My customer sent me an Etsy version of this cake topper. If I have a good sample, I can usually copy it. I shaped the head first and made the dress and arms using “disks” of alternating red and white letting those items set. I shaped the ears separately with some wires for support. After 24 hours, I put the items together along with the dress using edible glue.

I loved how bright and colorful this cake looked when completed, but I loved the Olivia cake topper the best (I still think it’s one of my best figures ever).

 

 

Sofia the First

One of the best things about making this cake was the change from “Frozen”. I loved that dress and lovely face on Sofia. In this case, I made Sofia over several nights. I really concentrated on that face. Just as we tend to be drawn to a persons eyes on a face, I made sure Sofia’s eyes really stood out.

My process for that type of figure is to print out my reference image the size it will be on the cake. I roll out my fondant or gumpaste very thin so that I can see the image through it and use a razor to cut out the image from the printout. I can then start building the figure bit-by-bit.

If you decide to use this process, allow time!

Peppa Pig cake

I need to watch more children’s TV. Whether it’s Dinosaur Train or Peppa the Pig, I need to know more about the current crop of what the kids are watching.

I have to say that little Peppa was a cute theme for a cake. And this cake was a little special. The flavor of the cake was watermelon and it was really an interesting and tasty. I also enjoyed making the buttercream as smooth as possible. Fondant can’t be beat when you have to have a smooth finish but I know most people don’t eat it. I’ve read that the new trend is more rustic cakes that don’t have fondant. This means extra effort for attaining as smooth a finish as possible with the buttercream frosting.

This cake has fondant accents including the trees, “mud”, and of course, Peppa and friends.

Frozen – again!

The movie “Frozen” is the gift that keeps on giving. I’ve done at least 7 cakes that use some kind of snowflake or ice elements and may also have Olaf, Elsa, or Anna. I’ve made snowflakes from both gumpaste and fondant. I’ve made several Olafs. I’ve made candy “ice” (which is easy to make in the microwave!).

This particular cake used an edible image which I managed to finagle from my local Sam’s Club. Overall, I really enjoyed how this cake turned out. And I for one am happy at how much both kids and parents love getting “Frozen” birthday cakes.

Mustang Groom’s cake

 

Mustang Groom's Cake

This was one of the most challenging cakes I’ve ever attempted. Any 3 dimensional design usually is but this was made more difficult because the cake was based on the groom’s beloved car. I wanted to get all the details right: the shape of the car, the color, the features. The bride and groom were also difficult. One thing I’ve learned about gumpaste work is that making it all stay together is tricky. I learned that wire is my friend when it comes to structure and that gumpaste does harden but not like rock. The figures can still break (I was just hoping the heads would stay in place).

In the end, bride and groom were happy which made me happy, too!

Hydrangea Wedding Shower cake

Hydrangea shower cake

 

The design on this cake is not original. But I loved the rustic application of the icing. The blog community has been so generous in sharing these different techniques for decorating cakes – surprise inside, intricate and precise designs, elaborate piping applications. It can be overwhelming especially when you start on a cake with the grandest of plans only to see the finished product is not what you hoped it would be.

The cakes that I do that give me the most pleasure are the ones that are not precise – where there is freedom to be a little messy. This cake was such a pleasure to do – the icing was roughed a bit in vertical swipes. I made the flowers with gumpaste using a deep purple base with a hydrangea cutter and silicone mold to add texture. Once the flowers were dried, a added some purple color using an airbrush. I added some leaves with some painted on green food coloring. The end result was a nice bouquet of hydrangea flowers against the off-white of the swiss buttecream frosting.  Lovely color combination.

Payday Cookies

IMG_2922

 

I don’t know know why, but as we were leaving the airport I suddenly felt a little creative and wondered if I could make a cookie that was like the Payday candy bar – sweet, peanuty, and a touch of saltiness. Here is my recipe which is based note Brown Sugar cookie from Cook’s Illustrated. The recipe uses one of my favorite ingredients – browned butter. I misread the recipe so I’ve reproduced it below the way I cooked them tonight.

Ingredients

14 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups and 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking power
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups salted peanuts
* Salt as needed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt 10 tablespoons butter in a stainless steel skillet over medium-high heat. Cook swirling  constantly until the butter begins to turn brown and has a nutty aroma. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl with the rest of the butter until combined. Set aside.

Combine the sugars and add the egg, egg yolks, and vanilla. Add the butter to the sugar mixture.

Add the sugar mixture to the flour and stir until just combined.  Roll the dough into a ball and cover in peanuts. If the peanuts are only lightly salted, add a few sprinkles of salt on the cookies. Bake on parchment covered sheet for 10-12 minutes until the edges are just turning color (the centers will look underdone). Cool on the cookie sheets for a few minutes then remove to racks to cool.