Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Top Ten Favorite Cakes of 2010

So, since 2010 is coming to a close, I figured I would do a post on my favorite cakes that I have made this year.

Starting at number ten, I have my painter's cake that I made as a surprise for a painter for his 50th birthday party. This cake was a lot of fun for many reasons... first because I like to do cakes that look like they defy gravity, and secondly, because I got to add all the fun paint splatters and drips. I also really enjoyed seeing the surprise on the family's face when I delivered the cake. To check out how to make this stand, click here.


The number nine cake is a Marie Antoinette-inspired wedding cake that I made. This cake was fun to make because I got to add a lot of detail to it like the ruffling, pleating, and lace. I also really liked the color palette of this cake. I think that the golds and deep reds really made this cake stand out. Lastly, I loved the sugar flowers that I got to incorporate on this cake. I think sugar flowers are so beautiful, and I love to make them whenever I get the chance.

Coming in at number eight is a cake I made for a little girl's birthday party. The girl loved hippos, the color purple, and was really into dance so... what's better then a purple ballerina hippo? This cake was a little bit of a challenge to figure out the structure, but, with the help of my husband who can construct anything we figured it out. I love the way this cake came out, and I think it had a whimsical quality to it.

At number seven is a cake I made for a competition. The theme was U.S. States, and the idea was to pick any state, and the cake had to incorporate different elements of that state. The state I chose was Maine because when I visited Maine, I was blown away by its beauty and charm. I would love to live in Maine, but I don't think I could handle the winters, so for now, I think I'll stick to visiting in August. The cake I made was two sided; one side was the rough, rocky terrain of a cliff side, and the other was the beauty of the flowers and fruit.

At number six was a cake that, at first, I was not to excited to make. It was for a bridal shower, and the bride had found a cake online that she wanted me to replicate, color and all. Well I don't replicate someone's artwork, so I had to put my own spin on it, and I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out. This is not the color palette I would have chosen, but I think it looked nice and softened the cakes look.

My fifth favorite cake I made this year was a beautiful ivory wedding cake with a ton of detail. This cake was massive, and included details to match the bride's dress and decor from the lace to the ruching. The bride wanted her cake to stand out, and I think we achieved that with this cake.

My fourth favorite cake of this year was made for my niece's third birthday. She wanted a Strawberry Shortcake-themed cake. I love the fun whimsical aspects of this cake, and the fact that it looks like it might tip over at any minute. Of course, we had to add Strawberry Shortcake to the top tier. Strawberry Shortcake was made out of polymer clay by my husband, so that the birthday girl could keep it. To check out how to make this stand, click here.

In at number three was a very tall and elegant wedding cake I made for a modern bride. The cake featured black lace detail that I piped on by hand to match an image of lace the bride had provided me. To add texture and dimension, I covered three of the tiers in clear sugar crystals and added big draping bows. To add height, I added separator tiers with a harlequin pattern and piped drop strings around the tiers.  I think this cake turned out beautifully, and was very modern and sophisticated.

At number two was a super fun Mad Hatter Party theme for a little girl's and little boy's joint birthday. Since I had just seen the movie, I was super excited to work on this cake. I used elements from the movie and the book to create this cake. I love the way the hat turned out, and it was my favorite part of this cake. We added a message on the cake that read "Have a very merry unbirthday". We also made cupcakes, cake balls, and mini pies, to incorporate the theme of a tea party. This cake was so much fun, and I think any kid would have a blast with this birthday theme.

Finally, in at number one is my favorite cake of the year (well, really second favorite; I can't show you my wedding cake just yet). I made this cake for my own bridal shower, and the theme was summer garden party. As I mentioned before, I love sugar flowers, so this was my opportunity to incorporate a bunch of them on one cake. I also added beautiful edible butterflies and ladybugs to the cake. I just love how this cake turned out, but it might be because I got to plan it, execute it, and then I got to eat it! I might be bias, but this was my favorite cake of 2010. I can't wait to see what 2011 brings!

I hoped you enjoyed taking a look back with me. Let me know which cake is your favorite! Happy New Year!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Topsy-Turvy Stand Tutorial

I have a lot of people ask me how I make my topsy-turvy cakes without them falling over. Well, I have decided to do a brief tutorial to show everyone exactly how it is done. The first photo shows what I use in order to make the stand. I have a center support pole which I measure to the size of the tiers. If I have three cakes 4" tall with a 2" space between each tier, I don't want a pole taller then about 14", because I don't want the support pole to show through the top of the cake. I then have acrylic rounds cut to the size of my tiers with a hole in the middle to fit the support pole through. (You can also use wood and wrap it with food-safe material). The hole should not be so large that the PVC can also fit through it, only the middle support pole.

The second photo shows how the stand looks set up without the cakes on it. Please keep in mind that I always have the PVC touching the cake, and not just the support pole. I also wrap the support pole in electrical tape and Saran wrap, to ensure that the pole does not come in contact with the cake. You can see a slight tilt to the acrylic rounds. You can cut the angles for the PVC to be as extreme as you wish, just be aware that a slight angle will have a pretty large impact on the angle.

The third photo shows the first cake on the stand with the PVC pipe through the cake. It also shows the angle I wish to cut the pipe at to achieve the desired tilt I want for the next cake. 

The next photo shows the second tier dropped on the first tier. The weight of the tier rest on the PVC pipe and acrylic round, not on the tier below. You can see that some of the pipe shows, but you can easily cover that with fondant decorations.  In order to get the cake on the pole at the angle I want, I use the pre-cut pipe as my guide, and use a plastic dowel to start the hole. Then, I widen the hole to fit the PVC through the cake without damaging the cake tier.

The last photo shows all of the cakes stacked up on top of each other, repeating the process until I have a finished cake. I would then go ahead and cover the gaps with decorations so that they could not be seen.

I hope this was helpful, and it you have any questions, feel free to ask!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Cakes and Cookies

I have been pretty busy lately with the holidays quickly approaching. I just wanted to share some cakes and cookies that I have made recently. The first two cakes were for a joint surprise party. The family was throwing the father a party and wanted to surprise him with a cake, and the father wanted to surprise his daughter with a birthday cake at his party. For the daughter's cake, I made a shopping cake because that is what the daughter loves to do! I made a bag from Tiffany's, a Jimmy Choo shoe box, and I topped it with a purse with her initial on it. The cake flavors were vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream, chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream, and pumpkin spice cake with cream cheese icing.

For the father's cake, the family wanted to represent something that he loved to do... paint! I decided to go a little over the top and make the cake fun and whimsical. I made three paint cans stacked precariously on top of each other, so it looked like the cans were falling over and spilling paint. Since, apparently, painters love white clean surfaces, I started there, and then had a lot of fun adding all the paint drips and splatters. My husband, Jason, made all of the paint brushes and rollers from gumpaste. (He is so talented, don't you think?) This cake was a lot of fun, and both father and daughter were very surprised by their cakes!

Then next cake was for a first birthday party, and the theme was a block party! A very cute idea for a little boy's first birthday. The client wanted individual cakes (blocks) for each party guest, and they wanted the blocks to spell out "Happy Birthday"! This was a very labor-intensive project, but in the end, I think it turned out wonderfully and looked very nice stacked on the cake table. All of the mini cakes were red velvet with cream cheese icing.

The last project was to help put my family in the mood for some early snow this year, and what better way than sugar cookies. Hope you enjoyed all of these fun desserts. Happy Holidays!