Monday, June 25, 2012

About a "Horse"

I've been meaning to share my "horse coming out of a bale of hay" cake!  Things got a bit busy, but my "horse" cake ended up being a success - yay!!!

My directions for the cake were either a "horses head" or "horses butt" coming out of a "bucket" or a "hay bale".  I thought the bucket might be a bit more difficult to do - not that I am looking for the "easy"way, but I just need a bit more experience!  I also decided on doing a horses head.  Maybe a bit "cuter"???

I made an 8 in. chocolate square cake with that wonderful oreo filling I did in the last cake - soooo love it!  For the hay bale I decided on using the "grass tip" on the decorating bag and dragged it across the cake.  I used 2 colors: butter yellow and brown (light) and place them both next to each other in the bag.  I did a rope border along the bottom of the cake. 

Now how do a I make a horse???  I don't know what people did before Google was invented!  I googled a LOT of horses!  I ended up using chocolate fondant and shaping it into a horse.  Here is what I came up with:

 If you ever need a horse cake, I'm your girl!!!  :)

I will keep you posted on my next adventure!   Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

I Have So Much To Learn!

I delivered the "1st Birthday" cake to the neighbor this morning at around 10:45.  Yes, finished it.  Yes, it was way more work than I thought.  It was  a good thing I had Thurs. and Fri. off from my "real job".  I really didn't plan for my chocolate cake to crack into 5 pieces and the 2 extra runs to Market Basket for ingredients.  So how did the cake turn out? 

The cake was for around 30 people.  I went back and forth from a sheet cake to a 2 tier.  I ended up doing a 2 tier (think it serves the whole town), but in the end realized I didn't have a box high enough so I had to be flexible and figure it out.  The top tier was a round 8 in. chocolate cake with an Oreo filling.  Oh, by the way, LOVE the oreo filling (got the recipe from the Whimsical Bakehouse) - highly recommend it!  The bottom 1o in. square was a vanilla cake with buttercream icing.  I iced both tiers in buttercream and used straws to stack the cake.  Along with the royal icing butterflies, I made some royal icing drop flowers.   I really hope the cake tastes good!  

What I learned from this cake:  
1. A lot CAN go wrong... and it WILL!  I was so discouraged the 1st cake I made fell apart.  It couldn't even be saved.  
2. Baking takes a lot of time.  No really, a LOT!
3. Recipes are all trial and errror. Even if I've used them before, they may decide they don't want to work that day.
4. One has to be VERY organized - something I need to work on.
5.  My kitchen really isn't big enough :)  And I'm not getting along with my oven.  She's not cooperating.
6.  I need at least a 100 lb bag of confectioner's sugar on hand.  Is that exagerating? 

Ok, I promised a pic.  Here is the cake:

Now back to that "horse" cake I'm working on for this afternoon.....

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Playing With Royal Icing

I have a few cakes to make - yayyy!!!  For my neighbors :)   It will give me great practice!

Ok - one is a "horse coming out of a hay bale" - I  have yet to start it, but I do have a  very nice sketch done.  You better believe I will keep you posted on that one!  I plan on doing a square cake and covering it in maybe a yellow/lt. brown tip 233 grass tip.  I"ve decided to use chocolate fondant formed over rice krispy treats for the horse.  But I will get back to that in a few days!

Today I went to the airport to work a beautiful 2 day trip with a 24  hr. layover in LA only to have it cancel.  So I had to spend my afternoon doing something having to do with cake when I got home!   Why not play with royal icing?

My 2nd cake request is for a girl's 1st Birthday.  My only instructions were, "1/2 chocolate, 1/2 vanilla cake".  Ok..... that leaves a lot open!  I plan to bake the cakes separately and put them together.  I find that my chocolate cakes are always done sooner, so I don't think I will attempt baking them in the same pan.  Now what should I do for decorations?  How about pink and purple butterflies?  Here is what I came up with:
As I was looking for a butterfly to trace (rather than free hand, of course), I realized there was one right on my coffee table :)  These coasters from Pier 1 were perfect!  I taped a piece of wax paper over them and traced the butterfly with icing.  I outlined with "violet" royal icing and filled in the butterflies with "rose petal" icing slightly thinned out.  And there you have it!  Do you think they will work?  Any other ideas for a 1st Birthday cake?  Oh, forgot - has to serve at least 30!

As they started to dry, I filled in with some random designs of my own :)  

I will update you on more of the 2 cakes.... including the HORSE!  I also just ordered some "dummie" cakes - I have to keep practicing!!!


Tuesday, May 22, 2012


It's been a week and a half since Wilton, and I've spent a lot of time "brainstorming".  I've done a little practice of decorating techniques at home, and I've studied our downstairs for possible "renovating".    I even contacted the Georgetown Board of Health about home kitchen requirements - I"m addicted!

I broke down and took another class - with Amanda Oakleaf (again)!  This time I signed up for something I never thought I'd give a chance:  FONDANT
Why do you ask that I"d never give it a chance?  I"m one of those people who believe nothing should be on a cake if it's not edible.  Fondant tastes horrible! No, really, it does.   So, why bother?  I'm trying to be more accepting.  It's huge in the cake world and if I want to ever get ahead, I need to learn how this technique  is done.  There are beautiful cakes out there with Fondant!!!    Brides LOVE fondant decorated cakes! 

Why Amanda Oakleaf's?  Her Cakery specializes in Fondant (amazing artists work there), and they only use something called Marshmallow Fondant which supposedly tastes much better.  Her staff recently met up with Duff from Ace of Cakes and he was even impressed with their fondant from what was said.  So what did I think?   Ok, it's "edible" .... still don't love it and I hate to leave anything uneaten on my cake plate :)  But it does taste better than other other one I've tried!

The class was great!  Tim and Julie who work with Amanda taught the class.  I had seen Tim on some you-tube videos on-line.  He has a great personality and it was nice to come home with a few recipes!  We learned how to make their signature "marshmallow fondant"(got recipe, too!) and then covered our small 3-tier cakes (with Itlalian Buttercream on them!!!).  It wasn't as difficult a process as I thought it would be.  Then we did some simple fondant decorations.  Of course you're waiting for some pics!  Here is the outcome:

                      Bottom pic -  my favorite!  Cutting in and enjoying the CAKE!!!

Not too bad!  They do offer a Part II class I may take where you make a 'tiered' fondant cake.   I still think I"m much better with buttercream, but I"m keeping an open mind and want to learn all there is to learn out in the cake world!

I will keep you posted on my downstairs renovations and where I'm going with the whole thing!  As for my "real" job at the moment... my vacation ends in a few days (so sad)...... and I'd rather stay home and make cakes  :)

Have great day!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Last Day of the Masters!

I did it!  I completed the Masters Course and even received a certificate of graduation - yayyy!!!
We had a tour of Wilton Headquarters this morning.  It was interesting - especially the history of Wilton - got a pic of this Holly Hobby cake pan from the 80's - mom, why didn't you do a Holly Hobby cake for me?  Loved her!!!  :)
We didn't get to see the decorating room where they do the cakes for the yearbooks, ect. because they were renovating.  I learned of the Wilton "tent sale" that runs the beginning of June (something like the 1st-11th)- up to 75% off items!!!  I may have to hop a flight for that one!

We headed back to the school for our graduation and snacks and CAKE!  Lorena, one of the instructors, made an amazing almond cake with a "sauvignon" filling - YUM!  (no idea why I didn't get a pic of that)  She made snacks for us over the 2 weeks ~ unbelievable pastries, muffins, ect.... but for some reason I never came home with a list of recipes???  (I'm going to have to make a phone call...)

I received 2 certificates, 1 for the Masters Course, and 1 for the Gum Paste course:
(Here I am receiving my certificate in khaki's and a hoody with sneakers - I love the casual lifestyle of decorating!):

(Above: Debbie, our Master's instructor - she put up with my decorating for 2 weeks!  She's amazing and such an inspiration!  Even if my lilies were too skinny :)  thnx for all the "constructive criticism" - it will make me the best I can be! xoxo)

Me and my friend, Kim, displaying our cakes:
Kim and I have "donated" our cakes to the Wilton School.  There is no way I could have went home with 4 pieces of luggage and 2 cakes.  Working for the airlines, I know that the cakes would have been disasters when I got home.  It's ok... I  know it's in good hands!  I hope to go back to the Wilton School again in the near future!  They have a great list of courses and it's such a beautiful area to visit.  Hmmmm..... do you think I have a chance?  Should I work on a business plan?  I will keep you posted on my future!  Thanks so much for checking out my blog!!!  Bring on Cake!!!  xoxo

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Day 9 ~ Wilton Master Course

Today was the final day of decorating at the Wilton School - yayyy!  I finished my wedding cake!  :)  (I can graduate tomorrow)  Another fun day!  We worked on our cakes from 7:00 until we completed them.  All the cakes from the class were beautiful!  Very different and unique - I will share the pics from class.  First, MY CAKE!  (don't forget it was styrofoam - need some excuses right at the start):
                                 (This is what I started with!  6, 8 and 10 in. styrofoam pieces that I tried to frost)

My final cake!!!  I went with a more "feminine" style - I made peach petunias (royal icing) in white, pale peach and then some a few shades darker.  The top layers of each tier are an "e-motion" border, the bottom borders are rosettes.  My top layer is "corinelli"  lace that I outlined in kind of a pearl- like looking border.  My middle tier is drop flowers with drop strings and bottom tier is vines with drop flowers.  
I did it!  I know it's not "perfect", but I've come a long way and I"m happy with it .... my first wedding cake design ever :)

Here are some cakes from my classmates - all so very unique and beautiful:

I had such a great time here.  Tomorrow we get a certificate saying we completed the Masters Course and we get to eat cake!!!

I'll share the final day with you tomorrow - thanks so much for following my progress!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Day 8 ~ Wilton Master Course

Today was  a good day!  I had a lot of fun decorating the "sampler" cake.  We divided our cakes for this project into 8ths, and for each section we had to do specific techniques on all of the top, sides, and bottom of each section.(fyi: cakes are made of styrofoam - not an easy task to frost - that's my excuse for the bumpy layer of base coat frosting)  It was a great review of putting together everything we've learned.  I actually think it came out ok  :)

Here are some pics of my day:
                              (above: zigzags w/ lattice, ruffles with zigzags and a reverse shell)
                                (above:  Colonial Scroll on the side with rosettes on the bottom)
 (above:  shell border (bit lacking) with fence post and double overlapping string and drop flowers - craziness - hoping I don't have to do that one again!)
                                         (above: puff border with drop flowers in between)
                                    (think my rope border above was the best thing on the cake - not the ruffle on the  side, though - my strings aren't even)
                                               (clusters of rosebuds and sweet peas above)
 (top in middle flowers: petunias, a lily, pansy, daisies, carnations, 1/2 carnation, wild rose, rosebuds and drop flowers)

The top of the cake was any kind of arrangement of flowers that we made over the past week. (I had about 20 roses but didn't seem to feel liking including them)  The heart was a "color flow" example that we did - my icing was  a bit on the thin side, but now I know - I"ll get it right next time. :)  The heart in the middle is my dog, "Kota's" name (there is no way I could fit more than 4 letter's in that heart with my handwriting!) 

So there it is!  What do you think?  Tomorrow we put together our wedding cakes - woohoo!  No idea what to expect with that ~   Keep your fingers crossed for me.  I will try to get pics of my classmates cakes so you can see all of the amazing talent in that room!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Wilton Master Course ~ Day 7

Just when you think you've learned all the icing techniques that exist!  THERE ARE MORE!!!  :)

This morning we spent the first 2 hrs. working on our wedding cakes.  I made pale peach drop flowers.  We were told to always make extra:  I think I figured out 40 or so drop flowers for my cake so I made about 70 - think that should be enough? :)  I also worked on some pale peach petunias.   
I brought some icing back to the room this evening - more practice.  I want the petunias to be PERFECT but I can't expect that after just a week!  The color is very light so I think I'll throw a few darker ones in there.

(oh... you should see some of the wedding cake drawings in our class ~  You'd think we have architects and artists galore!  AHHHH!)

We also learned how to highlight flowers with "pearl dust" today.  I'll probably add some "shimmer" to my flowers.
We learned how to "wire flowers" and watched a demo with piping gel.

AND we learned the last of techniques for the course:   The "Reverse Shell" and "Colonial Scroll".   Here is what I came up with from those 2 techniques:

Tomorrow we work on what is called our "sampler" cake (mine I might call "circus" cake)  This cake will be divided into 8ths and will include ALL the techniques we've learned since the first day of class.  I will be sure to share a pic.... no matter what :)

Two more days of class and then GRADUATION! (I hope they serve cake - can you believe with all this frosting we have not had any real cake to eat???)  

 I"m almost there!  I can do it!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Day 6 ~ Wilton Master Course

It's the 2nd week of the Master Course ~ almost there!  I am absolutely exhausted of flowers at the moment.  It was an entire day of flower making.  How am I going to remember all of this?  "Youtube" is a great thing!  :)

Today we learned how to make the following flowers with the Royal Icing:    Victorian Rose, Wild Rose, Primrose, Daisy, Daffodil, Pansy, and Bachelor Button.  I"d say I did "ok" with the flowers - nothing great - need a TON of practice.  I fought quite a bit with the Daffodil today.  She just wasn't cooperating with me. (hence why I have no photo of that one!)

Here are 2 pics from today:

The top pic is of the "wild rose" (I know, boring white color, but it's just practice)  and the bottom is the "daisy" ( I really hope you could at least tell that one was a daisy)  They will only get better with practice, right?!

I showed my wedding cake sketch to the instructor and she went along with it.  (probably wondering how I'm going to get it done by the end of the week)

I am so happy to be back to my hotel by 4:00 this afternoon - the 2nd class was great last week, but it was just way too much in 1 day.  This week there was a fondant class in the evenings which I know would have been great, but it just wasn't going to work.  I didn't even bring icing back to the hotel with me today - Needed a night off from flowers!!!  

Have a great evening!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Weekend

Hope everyone had a great weekend!  Mine went by way too fast!  It was good to have 2 days off.  What did I do with those 2 days?

First of all, the Marriott Towneplace Suites here in Lombard has been wonderful!  I love our van driver, Kathy, who stopped at a grocery store for us on the way home (yes, it's "home" for the time being) from class on Fri. so we could stock up on some groceries (and a bottle of wine or 2 or ..... for next week).
Sat. I couldn't really sleep in - think I was up at 6:30 or so.  I did mange to get a little jog in and even stopped at a local yard sale.  Did a bit of pampering (manicure and pedicure):
Today wasn't as fun - it was a "work" day!  Back to the cake stuff to prepare for Monday's class so I hopefully don't fall behind AGAIN!  We need to have a sketch of our wedding cake by tomorrow.  Here is what I came up with so far:
Do you get it?  I'm  not quite sure I even do.  Looks like 3 tiers are there.  I am showing some 'corenelli'(sp. again - no clue)  lace on the top tier (lt. peach), some drop flowers with what I call 'loopies' on the middle tier and some vines with drop flowers and leaves on the bottom tier.  I'm going to do very light peach and white petunias on all 3 tiers and maybe a border of rosettes.  What do you think?  I hope she 'ok's' my sketch. (hate to be sent home over a terrible sketch)  Tomorrow we still have to learn a few more flowers and then we start on our wedding cakes and also do a "sampler" cake which features a whole bunch of techniques we've learning and put into 1 cake.  Busy week ahead!

So since I decided to do petunias on my cake, that means extra practice.  So with the frosting containers I slipped into my bag on Fri. (Kim did, too ~ I wasn't the only one), I did a little practice - this is what things looked like on the 2nd floor of towneplace:
(surely that's just a glass of water within that frosting mess)

After several hrs. of petunias, I might be changing my flower of choice ~  Guess it will be a surprise!

Tired and back to a 5:15 am wake-up.  Catch up with you tomorrow!  No late class tomorrow since gumpaste is over.  Hope to get some more sleep this week  :)

Friday, May 4, 2012

Day 5 ~ Wilton Master Course

I survived the first week of cake decorating bootcamp!  Woohoo!!!  I cannot wait to get some sleep tonight!  I was going to take a complete break from it all this weekend but I found myself packing up icing in my bag and thinking I might be practicing roses and petunias this weekend - we'll see! (need my entire wedding cake design by Mon. - ahhhh!) 

Today was a rough day.  We iced our 3-tiered cakes.  That was more difficult than I thought.(I am going to have to completely cover my cake in a basket weave pattern or something to cover up all my lines/bubbles)  I had planned on doing 1 layer in a pastel lime green color but I'm so glad I didn't work with colors today - frosting the layers took me so long I only had  a 10 min. lunch break!  (not so good....long day to be hungry = crabby)

We worked on Lilies, Roses and Petunias.  I am enjoying the petunias (might have to put them on my project)  Need a bit of work, but here are a few pics from the day:

As you can see I used only "white" icing today.   No time for pretty colors for me (I'm in class with pastry chefs and present cake decorators - just trying to hang)!  I am optimistic about my roses getting better.  I promise I will post a better looking rose next week!

 I think I mentioned the first day the class was on the smaller side with 14 students.  The tables are set up for 4 students per table.   All 3 of the other students at my table are "left-handed" - ok, what are the odds in that?  I can't copy anyone being right-handed!  It's just not fair!  :)  (that's my excuse every day if I can't come up with another one)

You may not hear from me this weekend. I hope to make it out of bed for my free breakfast tomorrow morning.  I also think I need to do some sort of physical activity... a run or something?  I just can't sit these long days!  No, I am not going into Chicago to see the city or anything like that.  I'll be lucky to make it to Target 25 yds away to get groceries!

If anything exciting comes up, I will definitely share it!  Have a great weekend!!!