Sunday, August 22, 2010

Have Your Beer and Eat it Too!

So this was a beer mug cake that I made for my brothers' 40th and 50th birthday party. My brother Roman is really into making home brew and my other brother dabbles in it as well. In any case, they really like beer so it all worked out! I'm sorry I don't have the process broken down more but it was a pretty basic cake. Not to difficult to put together at all and a great first time project for newbie decorators like me!

My biggest mistake was making the cakes in a spring form pan. Really just a lapse of reason on my part. I had regular round pans! So though the cake got rave reviews from everyone, I personally thought it was a little dry. The recipe I used was the chocolate WASC cake I got off of This is a really great cake carving recipe that's never failed (in a regular cake pan ;)! The buttercream frosting was thrown together as usual but EXTRA vanilla-y. Yummay!

I used a 17" round base with a 12" (3/4") dowl drilled in. The cake was made with 7 torted layers of cake with buttercream 'foam' and colored fondant coated in piping gel for the glass. The handle was gumpaste. I only put one cardboard circle for support between the third and fourth layers of the cake. I did however, give plenty of time for the cake to settle. Muy importante! It was funny because my bro Roman actually cut through the cardboard thinking it was the cake! Needless to say, he had had some beer prior to cutting!

The fondant: I had real trouble getting an amber color for the, a really hard time! Not a good couple of hours! It ended up looking like one of those pastel orange colored marshmallow circus peanuts! People, my best piece of advice is to have your color wheel handy! Use your complimentary colors to tone things down! So I took some blue and it ended up turning more of a yellow-y amber color which I further saved by painting it with diluted copper luster dust. The gel coating really made it pop...I was very pleased with how it turned out.

And there's nothing like all that foam spilling over to hide the seam and various other flaws! Plop some buttercream on the top and you got yourself a beer mug cake! Easy Peazy! The cake stood about 15" tall and I used the 8" round pan for the layers. Hope you guys like it and thanks for looking! Beach-themed cupcakes next!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Standing Tall

My stepson turned 7 this past weekend and was having a Lego Star Wars themed party. So I got the idea to make a standing Lego Storm Trooper and ran with it. You never see a storm trooper sitting do you? Mind you...I've only taken a couple of Wilton decorating courses and have only been decorating since about January of this year. So I guess I was kinda running with scissors!

I've made exactly seven 3D cakes up to this point. I'm new to this and rarely plan a cake in advance to any great degree. I just sort of do it and hope for the best, really. Fake it till you bake it is one of my mottoes! I knew I couldn't get away with that on this one though, so the process of doing so was great learning. I just might do it again!

I recruited my husband to help me figure out the dimensions of an actual Lego man. From there we figured out the internal structure which my sexy hubby built for me. We may have over-engineered it but I'm glad we did because it made the 30mi commute to the party pretty stress free. Thank you Allen! I then made the arms, head and a slanted base for the head to rest on out of rice krispies and covered those all with fondant.

The base is a 17" round of 3/4 in plywood with 3/4 in dowels. I wondered if putting it together as I stacked the cake would be better but I wanted to stay in the proper dimentions. I torted and stacked each individual layer then pretty much shoved cake in space at the top and crumb coated.

First mistake! It pretty much sagged out under the weight of the frosting. So at 6p two days before the party, I had to bake two more sheet cakes in my apartment sized oven. Thank god I didn't try to salvage it and put my home made fondant on! Kinda hard to see but the very top portions just under the RKT and middle support are just jammed in! I saw that torting this cake made it a bit more unstable so left the top half un-torted. Something else to note: I cut the cake just about a 1/4 in larger than the origional dimensions. Go bigger!

Here's a pic of the untorted and MUCH more stable second try I did the next night.

Then the fun part starts! Earlier in the week I covered and decorated the helmet and made the hands. The hands were a problem. I put CMC in the black fondant but I think I put too much black food coloring so the fondant didn't dry hard. Had this been a cake I was getting paid for, this would've been a problem. Since I was going, I just threw them in the freezer and put them on at the last minute at the party! Lesson? Well, don't put so much food coloring in the fondant or use more CMC and check the parts that need to dry sooner! Easy!

So I had to decide whether to do one large sheet of fondant or break it down. I'm still working on how to get the wrinkles at the bottom of the cake out so I opted to use four sheets: two for the legs with the seams in the front and back and two for the top with the seams on the side since the arms would help conceal them. I don't know about anyone else, but my marshmallow fondant is kinda soft and droopy in comparison to, say, Wilton's. Making it stick and stay up on a vertical surface was worrisome but it did pretty good. If any of you out there have had similar situations or suggestions for firming up the fondant without making it impossible to get air bubbles out of, PLEEEEASE share! Then I covered all the seams with thin strips, added the fondant details and voila! PS: Don't forget the feet like I almost did!

Lego Storm Trooper Cake!
Well, I hope this has helped some of you and I hope you enjoyed my entry! Thanks for readingt and please feel free to leave any comments or suggestions for the future! Happy Baking!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

This is it!

I'm but a wee babe in the world of cake decorating and have been completely and utterly dependent on the great cake elders of the cyber world for guidance, inspiration and advice. Thank you all so very much!

With each cake I make, I've learned a lot...mostly what not to do but that's besides the point. My friends and family have encouraged me to write a blog and with each cake I've said "on the next cake I'll start this blogging thing..." Well, I have to say that the cake that started it all finally came! But so what! What do I know about making these crazy cakes? What could I possibly offer?

Well, after attempting, failing, attempting again, making and successfully delivering my first standing 3D figure cake, I thought I could talk about the process of just figuring it out. I defer to the great cake elders constantly, getting snip-its of info from all over the place and figured since there's a lot of beginners like me out there, it would be kinda cool to have one place to go to to see the mistakes, ingenuity or just plain lucky breaks that make or break a cake ( that was kinda punny if you REALLY think about it!) I hope to make this the place!

So thanks for looking and welcome to my blog!