Sunday, June 27, 2010

Winnie the Pooh, and Hunny, too!

This is my 2nd Winnie the Pooh cake, but with a little twist... this Pooh needed to feed more people than a single-layer Pooh could do, so it was stacked on a sheet cake, plus I carved a small smash cake for the birthday boy.

The top layer (Pooh) is all chocolate, and the base sheet cake was French vanilla with strawberry preserves.  The adorable little "Hunny" pot was my first real CARVED cake, so I am quite pleased with how the shape turned out :)  I made the smash cake from scratch, with a little less sugar than normal, and a little heavier texture (more like a pound cake) so that it would stand up to carving, as well as look good in pictures of the birthday boy tearing it up :)  The top of the hunny pot is clear yellow piping gel.



Saturday, June 26, 2010

Mini cupcake Rainbow

Every time the issue of a potluck style event occurs, I never know what to bring.  This time I figured, "Hey, why not cupcakes?"  I made the mini cupcakes with the "Funfetti" box mix.  My original idea was to "paint" each cupcake a different color and then artfully arrange the colors into an arc, with sparkly white ends to look like clouds... and then I realized that it would have taken up A LOT more room than I originally allocated.  So, the backup plan was to set the mini cupcakes in a grid like a canvas, and then paint the colors on that way.  I used sprinkles in various colors to outline my rainbow, and color mist to accentuate the arcs.  I spritzed a little extra blue mist above the rainbow to simulate a cloudy sky, and silver sparkles beneath the rainbow (it is a rainbow, after all).  Cake sparkles made it all a little glittery :)

That makes me feel a WHOLE lot better...

Quite possibly the worst thing in the world to happen to a cake decorator is when gravity/physics/temperature or WHATEVER works AGAINST you.  Learning how to FIX the problem is what will make or break you.

Thank you Ace of Cakes for showing me that :)  Ace of Cakes "Caketastrophes"

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Giant Cupcake

This cake was a 1st birthday for a sweet little princess :)  The Giant cupcake was multi-colored sprinkles with a layer of fresh strawberries, buttercream icing, and fondant decorations (the crown was handmade gumpaste).  To top it off, a miniature "smash cake" duplicate was made, identical in practically every aspect to the main cake :)  Not included in the photos is the additional undecorated cupcakes (the party guests were given bags of colored icing and sprinkles to decorate their own cupcakes- messy, but LOTS of fun!!).



Sunday, June 13, 2010

Boston Creme Cake

This was a first for me, and I must admit I am very pleased with the turnout :)

My neighbor asked me if I could do a yellow cake with chocolate buttercream.  I asked her if she wanted any type of fillings, and her eyes lit up as she asked me if I could do a cream filling, like they do for ├ęclairs.  After a momentary bout of panic and a "Sure, no problem!", I scoured around for a trustworthy made-from-scratch recipe online.  My fave out of them all was this one- Pastry Cream

This cake came together beautifully, and the custard filling was just a perfect addition.  The chocolate buttercream was as smooth as silk :)


Tee-time

This golf-themed cake was made at the request of one of my local mommy-group friends.

The base is chocolate, and the top (ball) is white cake with fresh strawberries.

Physics was my friend this time around- which is a good thing because I was starting to feel a little intimidated by the ball pan :P

Those little indentations were a very painstakingly slow process, but it turned out pretty cute :)


Wow... I just noticed that my cursive J's look like T's.  I wonder how long I've been doing that?!?  Sorry, Jeff!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Diabeti-cake

My father in law monitors his sugar very closely after being borderline diabetic for several years now, so when I was presented with the challenge of making a TRULY diabetic-friendly cake that even HE would enjoy, I had to think a bit outside of the box.  I scrapped all notions of a typical chocolate or yellow cake, since the sugar content is practically astronomical.  I kept leaning towards a carrot cake... and since I make it from scratch, I could easily alter the ingredients.

This is the recipe I came up with:

2 C unbleached flour
2 C Ideal xylitol (a sugar replacement)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 T cinnamon
3 cups freshly grated carrots
4 eggs
1 C oil (I would have tried coconut oil, but in favor of not changing too much at once, I stuck with the Smart Balance blended oil)
1 tsp vanilla
1 C freshly chopped walnuts
1/2 C raisins (I used regular raisins since I couldn't find my golden raisins)

I baked in 2- 8" round pans at 350, and they were done at the 30 minute mark.  It didn't rise as much as I would have liked, and was a little drier than I prefer, so I might play with the ratios a little in the future.

And now comes the trick of having something to frost the cake... yes, I want my cake and I want to eat it, too!  Icing uses powdered sugar, so I powdered the remaining bit of xylitol (just over 5 oz) in my blender.  I added a spoonful of cornstarch to help it out (as per my research on making my own powdered sugar).  In my opinion, carrot cake should always be frosted with a cream cheese frosting, so I whipped up an 8-oz. block of cream cheese with some vanilla and added the powdered xylitol to the mix.  WOW it was a lot sweeter than I anticipated, so I added another 4 oz. of cream cheese and some egg white powder to (hopefully) stabilize it a little.

I put a thin layer of my frosting in between the layers and put it in the fridge so that it would handle a little better, then iced the sides and rolled in freshly chopped pecans (that was kinda fun!!)






When it was evenly coated with the chopped pecans, I placed it on the final cake board:

Then I took some of the remaining pecans and did a free-hand monogram

Voila!!

The ultimate test is to come- the official TASTE!!!

(edited to add) The taste test went over VERY well!  My concerns about the density and moisture content were proven incorrect, and I had a very hard time discerning the flavor difference from a sugar based recipe.  Laura ate almost a whole piece (she despises carrots!), and 2 taste testers took second (generous) helpings... including his Excellence, the Arch Bishop of Slovakia, Jan Sokol!  THAT is a high commendation, indeed!