Sunday, April 28, 2013

Elmo loves birthdays - and sharing!

The First Communion cake I made came with an added bonus - one dozen cupcakes and a smash cake for Kim's son who would be sharing the spotlight with his big sister. So nice when you can combine celebrations like that. I'd do it with my own children, but their birthdays are in opposite seasons - summer for my son and winter for my daughter. The only combining that happens around here is for my daughter's birthday, which is four days after Christmas.

Anyhow, after looking through all of my cake pictures and having a hard time deciding on what she wanted for her son, she chose something that I had never done before but have always wanted to - Elmo!  Since the First Communion cake was plenty to feed the 20 adults that would be at the celebration, she decided that a dozen cupcakes would be perfect for the 10 children that would be there. Strawberry cake in adorable  red, yellow and blue cupcake liners, frosted with a vanilla buttercream swirl and topped with an Elmo candy. The smash cake is the same, with fondant circles (which are oddly reminiscent of the design on a bag of Wonder Bread - don't you think?) and a fondant number 1 to mark this milestone for little Evan.

Happy Birthday Evan!

Emma's First Communion

Ah - spring is in the air. The flowers are blooming, grass is getting greener, trees are budding, and it's time for that wonderful sacament - First Communion! My son Lucas is receiving his First Communion in May - I still can't believe it's almost here!

A few weeks ago, someone called to order a cake from me for her daughter, Emma's First Communion. I was beyond excited for this. Don't get me wrong - I'm excited about making my son's cake too, but boys don't really like flowers, and I just love making cakes with flowers on them. Right away we decided on the size and shape of the cake - it would be a cross cake, for which I had purchased a special cross-shaped pan. I don't normally buy shaped pans, but I figured I'd get plenty of use out of this one. It's a two-layer cake with chocolate on the bottom and yellow cake on the top, with raspberry jam filling. For the bottom layer, I used the cross pan, but cut off the beveled part to make it more stackable (and gave the scraps to the kids with some ice cream that night). I did need a little bit of help with stacking, and got it from my friend Ann who suggested putting the top layer in the freezer to make it easier to handle. Otherwise it would have fallen apart. Thanks Ann!

The decorations on top were my favorite - the bow is made out of gum paste and the roses and rosebuds are royal icing. I had actually made the roses last year, but thanks to the fact that royal icing dries hard and lasts forever, they were as beautiful as the day I made them. Only problem was that they were a bit large and kind of clunky looking. I love making roses, but for some reason that last row of petals always looks a bit off. I had an extra rose, so I decided, what the heck, let's cut off the outer row of petals and see what it looks like. It was gorgeous! So I did the same with three more, positioned them around the bow with the rosebuds, and voila! A beautiful cake topper for a beautiful little girl!

Here are some pictures of the entire cake

Blessings to Emma and thanks to her mom, Kim, for letting me make the cake for this special event!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

An apple a day and a doctor's birthday!

After a busy week of cake decorating the first week of April, I was just starting to kick back and relax before working on my next order, when I got an e-mail from a past client - Ratna. I've made two cakes for her, and her friend Priti wanted to order two cakes for a birthday party this weekend. I told her that I didn't have any big plans yet, and as long as the cakes were simple, I should be able to do them.

The first cake, I kid you not, is one of the easiest cakes I've ever made. It's for Ratna's husband, a lover of all things apple. And I'm not talking about the fruit. She showed me a picture and I said, "oh, I would love to make that!". I even got to use my silver sparkle dust! The cake itself is a favorite combo of Ratna and her family - chocolate cake with oreo buttercream filling. Plain buttercream on the outside with a fondant apple logo, brushed with sparkle dust.

The second cake is for Ratna's father-in-law, who works as a cardiologist for one of the hospitals that I work at, and is celebrating his 70th birthday. Ratna was bouncing ideas off me, and the first picture she showed me was a rectangular cake covered with fondant and decorated to look like a doctor's coat, complete with collar and tie. I told her that  not only was that a bit too complicated considering the time I had available, but it alone would feed the 24 people that she and her friend were expecting and it would be hard to scale down. Then she showed me a picture of a heart-shaped cake. This one looked much more simple and I told her I could definitely do it. So I purchased a set of heart-shaped cake pans and made this cake - it's red velvet with cream cheese filling and red buttercream frosting. Dr. Tajik loves red, so I purchased a red heart-shaped platter to put it on. The decorations on top are all fondant, and the ECG lines on the sides are icing. Being a medical person, I had so much fun decorating this cake. The ECG might not be perfect, but maybe Dr. Tajik will have fun analyzing it. :)

Happy Birthday to Jamil and Dr. Tajik! I hope that both of you have a wonderful day.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Showers of Happiness!

I was looking at pictures a while back and came across the pictures of the wedding cake I made last year. As much work as it was, it was quite an adventure and it meant so much to be a part of such a special day. Well - after I was done, I vowed that I would never again make a cake of that magnitude. Just too stressful. But I love being a part of weddings. Making beautiful things for others just makes me so happy. So I was absolutely giddy when my nephew Ken's fiance asked me to make carrot cake for her bridal shower. Love that girl!

I decided on cupcakes since it's so much easier - no cutting involved, everything is in a perfect portion. My mom had a recipe for carrot cake that she gave to me - it used a LOT of carrots, which was perfect, since I had plenty to work with from an extra large crop in my garden last fall (and it's a good thing that carrots last a long time in the fridge!). I did a test run first, on St. Patrick's Day, and dropped off a little box with four cupcakes, since her birthday had been the week before. She loved them. She was actually a bit disappointed that I hadn't brought over more, since she only got to have one. When she went to work there was one left and when she got back home, there was an empty box in the fridge with just a small smear of icing and a few cake crumbs inside. Well - I just had to make up for that. I made three dozen cupcakes, and there were plenty left over for the bride-to-be.

Here they are, all ready to go. Same carrot cake and cream cheese frosting, this time decorated with royal icing apple blossoms in bright pink and orange, to match her wedding colors. So pretty.

Thanks for asking me to make the cupcakes Dana, and I wish you and Ken a lifetime of happiness.

Friday, April 5, 2013


This cake was so much fun and I was so happy to make it. It's for my friend Heather's daughter Bailey. Heather and I haven't known each other too long, but she's been such a good friend, and always comments on how lovely and delicious my cakes look - so when she asked me to make a cake for her daughter Bailey's 3rd birthday, I was happy to do it. I honestly don't know where the time has gone on this one either - it seems like just yesterday Bailey was a year old and I was watching her toddle to the door when I came to pick up a bicycle that Heather was lending me for a bike race when the tires on my bike both went flat the night before!

Anyhow, Heather absolutely loves chocolate, so she wanted chocolate cake, chocolate buttercream frosting and filling, and of course, Bailey's favorite character, Dora the Explorer! As I was preparing to make it, I saw towards the back of my fridge a small container of cream cheese frosting left over from Easter. Since I didn't quite have enough chocolate frosting left over from the cake I made earlier in the week to frost and fill this cake, I asked Heather if it would be okay to mix some of the chocolate frosting with the cream cheese frosting, just to fill the cake with. The outside would still be regular chocolate buttercream. And thus - chocolate cream cheese filling was born! My friend Jennie, who was visiting at the time I was making the cake, taste tested it, since she happens to be a bit of an expert on all things cheesecake from our time in college. Her verdict?  It. . . is. . . divine! Think, chocolate chip cheesecake. Yummy!

So here it is - the Dora face is made with fondant and outlined with black icing. The letters are yellow fondant, dried a bit to make it easier to cut, and the flowers on the sides are fondant as well.

 Happy Birthday Bailey!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Happy Birthday to Owen!

Just a few months ago, I made a cake for my friend and co-worker Winston for a baby welcoming party for his son Owen. He's brought pictures to work, and his son is just adorable. Well, I can hardly believe it, but the little guy is a year old. How time flies!

A few weeks ago when I was at work, Winston came up to me and asked me if I could make a cake for his son's birthday. He wanted something similar to the last cake I made, but this time with different colors - yellow, orange and red. Turned out Owen's birthday outfit was going to be yellow, so I focused on yellow for the main color. And instead of doing plain stripes, I did zigzag lines on the sides of the cake and stars on top. And of course, no first birthday is complete without a smash cake for the birthday baby!

The cake itself is yellow cake with chocolate buttercream frosting and filling, both for the main and smash cakes. All decorations are made with fondant and the letters are a fondant-gum paste mix.

Happy Birthday Owen! I hope you had a wonderful day!