Friday, June 29, 2007


These cakes were made for a customer whose daughter is turning 1. She asked that the cakes match the party decor somewhat, so this is what I came up with!

The 1/2 sheet is a chocolate and vanilla layer with vanilla buttercream. The smash is a 5 inch white cake with vanilla buttercream. All of the decorations were made with buttercream as well.

I didn't have any problems with these cakes, things went pretty smoothly and I'm very pleased with how they turned out. The only small problem I had was with cracking issues. Not because the icing is too stiff or dry but because I need to double up all of my boards and didn't get a chance to get a second one this week. The cakes are pretty heavy and when you move them at all, if you aren't holding them just right, you will have cracks. Nothing major, but it still bothered me.

I seriously love baby birthday cakes!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Hi ratio shortening/Triple Chocolate Mania

Here is the high ratio shortening that I bought yesterday. I went in with the intention of buying the 50 pound case of it but decided to try it out first, just in case I didn't like it.

Incidently, I found a cake supply shop just down the street from my house. All of this time we've been driving out to Richardson (about 20 miles each way, maybe more) to get supplies AND WE'VE BEEN PASSING THIS SHOP ON THE WAY not even knowing it. It's a bummer when I think about how much gas that wasted but still, I'm glad I found this place. I let them know that they'd be seeing a lot of me now that I'm aware of them. We talked a little about how much the new Crisco sucked and how everyone has been complaining about it. Yeah, it really does suck. In the next couple of years Trans Fat will be pretty much banned from this country and I'll have to figure out another way of making my icing but until then, trans fat it is! (on another note, the generic brands of vegetable shortening still have trans fat in it. I've checked at Target and heard that the Wal-Mart brand does too. I suppose I could start using the Target brand.)

Back to the shortening. It mixed great. Better than Crisco by a million. I usually have to add 1/2 cup of powdered sugar at a time but with this stuff....I could dump a cup and a half in at a time. I had to add a little bit more water than I normally do because the consistency was pretty stiff, but it still came out great. I had no problems smoothing it, none of the cake pulled away, no sweating, nothing! (I didn't have to use color in this cake but I will for the cake I start tomorrow. we'll see how it does with color) The only difference with this shortening is that it made the icing taste slightly different than it normally does. It's not a huge difference but I can definitely tell that it's not the same. If you've ever had the Wilton canned icing, it kind of tasted like that. Well, exactly like that as a matter of fact. It also tasted like more like a few of the bakeries icings I've had over the years. It's not a terrible thing. I told Rodney (this cake is for two people at tango) to see if anyone says anything about it. If anyone mentions that it tastes different, I'll just try the generic brand until they go to zero trans fat as well.

*for the record, I'm in no way pro trans fat in any other circumstance. I'm glad we're getting rid of it and phasing it out in the stores (even though I don't cook many things that have trans fat in it). I like it in my icing because it helps it hold up better. Without it I have sweating, seperation,'s not good.

The cake below is for two of Rodney's co-workers who have birthdays this week. It's what I like to call "triple chocolate mania." Two layers of devil's food, the filling is chocolate chip mousse and the frosting is milk chocolate buttercream!

I'm not super happy with this cake. Mostly the writing - I blame my brother, Clifford for this. I had been working on the cake and had finished everything except the writing when he came over to visit with us. He was being oddly funny today and everytime I would go to write a letter, he would make me laugh. I tried to correct it as much as I could but it didn't seem to want to fix. Oh well, it's not awful. Not my favorite though. I'm pretty happy with the cake in general, other than the writing.

Two more cakes this week!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

New Crisco, I hate thee

This order was for a good friend of mine. A childhood friend of mine actually. We'd lost touch for a little while but started talking again a little over a year ago (thanks myspace!) and found out that we have the same OBGYN! These cupcakes and smash cake are for her son Nathan's, first birthday! (what a cutie by the way!) You can check him out at The Briggs Family.

The theme of this party is bugs, so I made the cupcakes and smash cake to go along with said theme. There are 50 cupcakes (half chocolate, half white) and the "smash cake" is two layers, 5 inches (white cake).

I really enjoyed making these cupcakes and thought they came out pretty well, I just didn't know how time consuming they were going to be. I literally spent from 9 am until nearly 7 pm only working on those. I finally started the smash cake at 10pm. (had to take a break!)

Any problems you ask? Why yes, there were in fact.

What's up with the new Crisco? Anyone else hate it as much as I do? I know, I know, 0 trans fat is better -- I know this. Seriously though, it's not better for my icing consistency. I've had nothing but problems since they made this switch. I use an all shortening icing recipe and now I'm not sure what I'm going to do short from ordering some expensive stuff via internet. I NEVER have any problems with my icing bleeding but that's all I had this time. The consistency has changed and it's extra greasy and it doesn't seem to hold color as well as before either. I had to fix the smash cake this morning because of some bleeding problems and some mini cupcakes I'd made for another event we went to this afternoon were SUPER greasy and almost sweating. I've also noticed that it's harder to smooth. I don't like to use the "hot knife" method unless I absolutely have to (hate waiting for the cake to dry) and I ABSOLUTELY had to. The icing was sliding off of the cake a lot too and pulling away as well. It's getting to be that time of year when it's ridiculous hot here in North Texas and because it's been raining and flooding for the last 2 months, it's unbearably humid. I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to start refrigerating all of my cakes, no matter what, during the summer and fall. (fall is hot here too) This Crisco problem is making this that much worse.

I'm so mad at Crisco right now.

Anyway, the cupcakes are cute! I hope Nathan enjoys his cake and his first birthday!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Clouds, Showers and Cookies

This cake for a baby shower that I actually attended this afternoon! It was made to coinside with the theme of the baby's room, which is celestial. I spent a few days emailing pictures/ideas back and forth with my friend (who the shower was for) before we decided upon the look of this cake.

It's a strawberry cake with vanilla bc. The baby is made from gum paste/fondant, as are the stars and the moon. This is the second baby that I made, the first one was terrible. For some reason I thought using only gum paste would suffice but, oh, it did not. Too shiny, cracked on the face, terrible. This turned out better. I hardly ever make babies and animals, they intimidate me a little but this one looks like it's supposed to.

This cookie bouquet was also made for the shower and was basically my gift to her. We'd discussed having cookies as favors and since she was working with a budget, I just decided this would be my gift.

The cookies are NFSC with rolled buttercream. Inside the pot is a styrofoam block that is holding the cookies in place. I orginally had some shredded (colored) paper in the pot for a grass effect (and to cover the styrofoam block) but decided it didn't look right and switched to tissue paper in the end. I'm much happier with the way this looks and I absolutely love the way the colors blend together.

I'm really hoping that people like these cookies bouquets, I just love making them and putting them together. I really think it's a cool way to display your cookies and favors too! I know I am always looking for new and innovative ways to present things, I think this definitely counts!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

The land down under, mate!

Just finished these earlier today!!

Each of these cakes were ordered for a going away party. The party this person is for is transferring to Australia so the customer requested these cakes specifically. She sent me the pictures and asked that I copy them. So, that's what I did!

Surprisingly, these cakes went off without a hitch. Usually I have some sort of small crisis or power outtage but not this time!

The boomerangs are vanilla cakes with both chocolate and vanilla icings. The kangaroo is a FBCT (frozen buttercream transfer) and I piped the snakes on free-hand. (really hard, I know) I made the wood-effect on the edges of the boomerangs by using two different tones of chocolate and swirling them together. I then smoothed the area(s) with my spatula dipped in hot water, so as to smooth the whole thing out. This cake wasn't necessarily HARD, it just took a really long time. I worked on it pretty much all day today (just decorating it) but it came out nicely and I'm pleased with it, so it was worth it.

The kangaroo crossing sign is a chocolate cake with vanilla icing. The kangaroo on this sign is a FBCT as well. (yay for new techniques!) I used two silver dragees on the top and bottom of the sign to resemble screws. This was was definitely one of the easiest cakes I have done. Very simple and looks exactly like what it's supposed to!