Playing with Fondant – A Monster High Cake

So, true confession – I have been avoiding fondant.  I mean, its not that I don’t appreciate all the creativity that fondant lends itself to, but I just have a thing for buttercream.  Its my first love, and I just wasn’t willing to cross that line over into the world of fondant… until this cake.  The person specifically requested a ‘fondant covered cake.’  Even though I mentioned ways to do a hybrid cake covered in buttercream with fondant accents, they wanted fondant, so I had to face the fondant – no more running!  I certainly didn’t think that my first foray into the world of fondant would be with a Monster High cake. I had vision of a pretty cake design with flowers maybe, but I ended up with skulls, stitches, and black hearts for my initial fondant endeavor.  Funny how things happen that way.  Perhaps its because of my indifference to fondant that I ended up doing such a ‘dark’ cake for my first fondant design. I figured that if I was going to play with fondant, that I would go all in!   So I said a quick prayer and decided to fully commit to making my first fondant cake as good as it could possibly be!

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This cake was for a 7 year old’s birthday party.  The cake was a pink tinted vanilla cake, with a strawberry cream filling. The accompanying cupcakes were chocolate with a milk chocolate filling and vanilla with a strawberry cream filling.  I used the Liz Marek Marshmallow Fondant recipe because I’d read really good reviews on how easy it was to work with and I figured the marshmallows would help the taste.  Most fondant doesn’t taste very good, so this one actually tastes okay.  I did include a nice layer of good Italian Meringue Buttercream under the fondant, so for people that scrape off the fondant as most people do, they had a nice layer of buttercream for their cake!  I also ordered some Monster High accessories to help with bringing the theme to life. I definitely wasn’t at the level of creating fondant figurines for the cake, so thanks to Joann.com, I was able to get some help!

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I’m very happy to say that the cake was well received by all, so mission accomplished!

Would I do another fondant cake?  Well, if someone specifically requests fondant, then yes… but will I volunteer fondant as an option, probably not.  I’m still very much a buttercream girl, however I’m now at least open to playing with fondant from time to time.   Monster High Cake

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Big Fluffy Fall Buttercream Flowers

I love the fall and I love these big fluffy buttercream flowers… after lots of practicing to try to perfect this technique for making these flowers, I think that I’ve (almost) got it!

I recently made this cake for a wedding shower, the theme was fall so they gave me free reign to do what I wanted design wise on this amaretto raspberry cake, which is a really good flavor combination by the way!

Not a lot to say today, other than that I can’t wait to make another cake covered with lots of pretty fluffy buttercream Flowers.  Enjoy!

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Fluffy Fall Flowers

 

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Red Wine, Chocolate and Coconut

When its your birthday, you can have whatever cupcake combinations that you want…

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First up, the Nutty Coconut Cupcake!  Have you tried the ice cream flavor at Baskin Robbins?  Its my favorite, so I thought it would make a great cupcake flavor… and it truly did!!  Its a rich coconut, vanilla bean cupcake, filled with coconut filling, topped with vanilla Italian Meringue Buttercream and topped with toasted pecans, almonds and coconut!  image

I know that there are some folks out there that are not fans of coconut and I can completely understand.  I actually don’t care for the taste of raw coconut.  For me, it has to be toasted or added to something (like this wonderful filling!) in order to be ‘acceptable’ coconut for me!  I would dare say that this Nutty Coconut Cupcake might be able to make a believer out of the staunchest non coconut eaters out there!

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Then there is the Chocolate Blackberry Red Wine cupcake!

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A deep chocolate cupcake, filled with a red wine infused chocolate ganache, topped with a blackberry puree Italian Meringue Buttercream, drizzled with a red wine syrup (I used a sweet Shiraz by Jam Jar) and topped with a wine soaked blackberry.  Pure decadence, really… If I do say so myself!

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Let me say a word about the wine syrup… it was SO good!  I’d never made wine syrup before, but thought that these cupcakes needed a little more wine flavor infused to be truly called red wine cupcakes!  This definitely did the trick.  It does take a while to make, so a little patience is required for it to reduce enough, but the end result is well worth the wait.  image

I received good reviews from the birthday girl, she said that everyone enjoyed them!  I also completed a good bit of taste testing on these myself and can attest to the fact that they are were quite good!

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Anyone in the mood for some some red wine, chocolate and coconut?  🙂

 

 

Pink Little Diva Birthday Cake

Cakes are special. Every birthday, every celebration ends with something sweet, a cake, and people remember. It’s all about the memories. ~ Buddy Valastro
Pink Little Diva Birthday Cake

Every girl should have a pretty pink, ruffly two tiered birthday cake for their 5th birthday, right? Well, my answer is a resounding ‘YES’ and I loved every minute of making this cake! It was an amazingly fun challenge and I think that the birthday girl and her family and friends really enjoyed the cake!

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First let me say that this was the largest cake I’ve made to date!  It was larger than the wedding cake I made last year.  The bottom tier was a 12 inch cake with a lemon curd and Italian meringue buttercream filling and the 6 inch cake was a strawberry cake with a fresh strawberry Italian meringue buttercream filling.  Both tiers were covered with american buttercream and the flowers were made with Italian meringue buttercream.

pink diva cake collage

The initial picture I received as inspiration was a pink fondant cake with a purse, two high heel shoes and some make up and other girly accessories… it was very cute!  I decided to make as much of the cake as possible edible, so the high heels were made out of cupcakes and the little make up bag was a cake, the make up was made of chocolate and the monogram topper was made of a sugar cookie.  So, actually… the entire cake is edible!

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Pink Diva Cake HEELS2

I think that I came up with something that was a good reflection of their initial vision.  I kind of like to exceed expectations with my cakes, at least that is what I aim to do.  The greatest compliment I received with this cake was when mom said it was better than the picture she had given me… Love it!!

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But this is ALWAYS the best part of making cakes…  getting to share in someone’s special day!  So, a big ‘thank you’ to mom for allowing me to share in this beautiful little girl’s special day!

Diva Pink Cake collage

A Wedding Cake

I made my first Wedding Cake!!image

Anyone that knows me knows how much I have been wanting to make a wedding cake. Although I guess that I could have just made one because I wanted to, I really couldn’t justify doing so.  I am sure that I would have been able to find people to help me eat the wedding cake, but I guess I wanted the excitement of knowing that the cake I was making would be for someones special day.  Well, I finally got my opportunity!  I was recently asked to make a wedding cake for my cousins best friend.  The bride wanted a small cake for a reception at their home following the ceremony at the justice of peace.   I was able to talk to the bride about colors, design ideas, cake size and flavors and after gathering all the information I set out to make a cake that would be a beautiful addition to her lovely wedding day!

image I’ve made lots of cakes, but I knew that I needed to do some research about how to ensure that this cake would be structurally sound.  I didn’t want to create a pretty cake and have it come tumbling down!  I needed to figure out about how to best place the wooden dowels (or bubble straws), using the different cake boards and of course the all important topic of transporting the cake.  As you can see from the pictures below, the process of making a cake involves a lot of stuff, which creates clutter, so please excuse the background clutter in the pictures below! 🙂   wc1 collage Before completing the wedding cake I actually made a test cake where I played around with the design, specifically with the creation of the buttercream flowers.  The picture below is of my test cake…. I went a little crazy with the flowers, specifically the size of the flowers in relation to the cake, but that’s why its important to do a test cake, to figure out what works and what doesn’t. wc collage 2 The bride said she wanted lemon cake with buttercream.  So, I decided to make a lemon butter cake and each layer had a thin layer of homemade lemon curd, topped with a lemon curd infused Italian Meringue Buttercream filling and the entire thing was frosted with vanilla Italian Meringue Buttercream.  I had to do several ‘quality control’ tastings of the test cake just to make sure the balance of flavors was just right…  it was such hard work! 20131013_143116(0) In an earlier post I mentioned my concern around working with black frosting on a white cake.  I tactfully avoided combining the two colors on my goddaughters birthday cake, but for this one I realized that I had to find a way to tackle this challenge.  To avoid having a gray wedding cake, I made the flowers on parchment paper squares and then applied them to the cake.  I felt like this was much safer than piping the flowers directly on the cake because I’m certain in doing so I would have ended up with a gray cake!    WC Flower collage In addition to the cake, the bride asked me to make a couple cupcakes for them to eat on their first anniversary, such a cute idea! image

I really have WAY too many pictures of this cake, in fact I had to streamline my photos for this post!  I was just so excited to be finally making the cake and seeing it all come together that I wanted to capture every step in the process and get pictures of every possible angle of the cake (which I did)!  I even wanted to take pictures of me delivering the cake to the bride, maybe one with the bride and I smiling standing next to the cake, but because I didn’t know her that well I realized that it might be a little over the top!  So, I quickly finished the set up, took my final picture of the cake on its stand, topped with a very cute monogram cake topper, congratulated the bride again and gathered up my things and went on my merry way!  I definitely didn’t want to look like a crazy cake lady!

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So, after weeks of planning, contemplating and then finally baking, I can now say that I have made a wedding cake!  I think that the bride was pleased. The day after the wedding she sent me a nice ‘thank you’ text telling me that the cake was a success and that everyone loved the flavors!  To me that was the best compliment because who wants a cake that looks pretty, but taste horrible!  I think I accomplished both and am so glad I was able to be a part of their special day! image I can’t wait for the next opportunity to make a wedding cake!  Since I’ve been informed that I can’t make my own wedding cake, I really need someone else to get married soon so I can add another wedding cake to my portfolio…

Any weddings being planned out there?!?!