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!

monster high cake 1

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!

Monster High 2

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

monster high 3

 

 

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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!

Fluffy Fall Flowers 4

Fluffy Fall Flowers

 

Fluffy Fall Flower 3

Fluffy Fall Flowers 2

Spring Flowers Birthday Cake

The first day of spring is one thing, and the first spring day is another. The difference between them is sometimes as great as a month.  ~ Henry Van Dyke

While we still wait for spring…  let’s enjoy a lovely spring inspired cake!

Spring Flower Cake 3

A good friend of mine asked me to make a birthday birthday cake for her lovely daughters 26th birthday.  The birthday girls favorite colors are the tiffany blue, black, white and lots of bling and her mother gave me the direction to make something in that color pallet with lots of flowers, something spring like, so this is what I created.

Spring Flower Cake 5

Although spring seems to be taking its time arriving, it doesn’t mean that we can’t embrace spring in other ways, like with cake… like a cake with lots and lots of flowers!

Spring flower cake 10

I love baking and I especially love making layer cakes with good fillings and frosting, lots of pretty flowers and lovely color combinations.  I love the creative process of designing cakes, being given an idea or a direction and coming up with a way to bring the idea to life.

spring flower cake 12

I can imagine this cake in multiple tiers… like maybe two or three?  I mean this one is pretty, but just imagine flowers cascading down the cake from one tier to the next.  That would be beautiful.  Does anyone out there need a cake with two or three tiers with cascading flowers, anyone?!?

Spring Flower Cake 3

This cake was a lemon vanilla butter cake, with a thin layer of lemon curd filling and an Italian Meringue Buttercream frosting.  Pretty classic flavor combination, but it seemed perfect for a spring inspired cake.  I love lemon curd, especially homemade, its so easy to make.  Plus, when you make Italian Meringue Buttercream you are left with just enough egg yolks for a batch of lemon curd!  Perfect!

Spring Flower Cake 1

I mentioned that the birthday girl likes bling and although this cake isn’t full of bling, I did add a couple iridescent and black sugar crystals for some… sparkle! The birthday girls loved the cake, but noted that I needed to up my bling for her future wedding cake… so I’ll get to work practicing so I’ll be ready!

Spring Flower Cake 7a

Spring Flower Cake 8So a word about the CUT cake…

I have a thing about seeing the inside of the cut cake. Maybe its because I don’t often get to see the cake cut and have the pleasure of seeing the layers and the filling inside.  I work really hard to make sure that the layers are even and that I have equal amounts of filling and that hopefully the inside will look just as pretty as the outside.  Every so often I’ll get someone to actually send me a picture of the cake after its is cut.  So that I can check my work out on the inside!  My friend was kind enough to send me this picture…  and I am SO pleased with my layers!  Just look at all that evenness.  The inside is just as important as what’s on the outside.

I am so pleased with how this cake turned out, it makes me think of spring and gives me hope for warmer days to come.

Here’s hoping we will start seeing some real spring flowers soon… but until then, hope you enjoy the cake!

Pretty Little Paris Cakes

A Paris theme party definitely calls cute little cakes…
with ‘abstract’ chocolate Eiffel Towers! Paris Cakes

I was dying to use my cute little 6 inch pans, so I couldn’t wait to make these cakes!  My goddaughter turned 11 last week and her mother went all out to create a Paris themed birthday party for her.  Every detail was attended to and of course the menu was well thought out, so I had to come correct with the cakes!

The color scheme was black and white and although I love those colors together, I was nervous about trying my hand with using black frosting, especially coupled with the white frosting.  I was worried that I would change my mind on the placement of a rose or swirl and would be unable to easily make the correction.  I envisioned myself possibly ending up with a ‘gray’ birthday cake, which is definitely not Paris worthy! So, until I become a bit more sure of myself with the decorating, I’ll stick with a single color or at least safer color combinations!

Paris Cake collages

I did however want to bring a little contrast into this cake, so I decided to create a chocolate Eiffel Tower.  Had I ever made a Eiffel Tower out of chocolate before?  Nope!  Did I think I could… of course!!  The key for me was to make it an ‘abstract’ version of an Eiffel Tower and then to inform everyone that it was an ‘abstract’ version of the Eiffel Tower. That way it would prepare peoples expectations when viewing them and make me look like I had effectively achieved my goal! Plan worked out perfectly!  With that said, I was pretty proud of how they turned out and my goddaughter was SO excited when she saw them and knew immediately what it was supposed to be… an Eiffel Tower!  So, no awkward conversations trying to explain what the chocolate thing on the side of her cake was… I had a very happy goddaughter, mission accomplished!

Paris Cakes Up Close

My goddaughter and her family only like vanilla cake (and somehow I still love them!), so I made two rich vanilla pound cakes, one filled with a raspberry Italian Meringue Buttercream, the other filled with a blackberry Italian meringue buttercream.  As you can see from what remained, they were very well received by the guests!  Every last drop was eaten and enjoyed!  Love when that happens!

Paris Cake Cut collage

The best compliment that I received on these cakes, well outside of my goddaughter loving them, was when one of the guest asked me if I made wedding cakes!  I just couldn’t stop smiling!  Truth is I would love to make a wedding cake for someone… I’ve been very nicely informed (by my fiance, mom and others!) that I can’t make my own wedding cake, so I need someone to get married and then trust me to make their wedding cake, PLEASE!Paris Cakes Outside

I had a lot of fun making these cakes!  These are familiar recipes, my favorite Pound Cake and Italian Meringue Buttercream recipes, they never fail me!  I am still looking for a good non-pound cake vanilla cake recipe, so any recommendations for favorite vanilla cake recipes are welcomed!

Au revoir and have a great Labor Day weekend!

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cake

Chocolate Cake + Peanut Butter Buttercream + Chocolate Ganache = PURE BLISS

Reese Peanut Butter Cake 1

My goddaughter requested this combination for her birthday cake and I am SO glad that she did!

Reeses Peanut Butter Cake Inside

I used my old faithful chocolate cake and frosted it with a whipped peanut butter buttercream.  The cake is filled with the peanut butter buttercream, drizzled with a layer of chocolate ganache. Finally, the flower decorations are made with chocolate buttercream.

reeses collage

I’ve always loved Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and this cake translates those flavors perfectly.  Just enough peanut butter and chocolate, the flavors marry perfectly together.  I need to find another reason to make this cake again… SOON!

Reeses Peanut Butter Cake 2

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cake

Chocolate Cake

1 recipe of my old faithful chocolate cake

Peanut Butter Buttercream

1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3 1/2 cups confectioner sugar
2-3 tablespoons heavy cream

  • In stand mixer with the paddle attachment, combine peanut butter and butter until well blended
  • Slowly add in confectioner sugar and blend until incorporated.  Turn up the mixer to medium high (4 on KitchenAid) for 4 minutes.
  • Add 2 tablespoons heavy cream and mix for another two minutes.  Add additional tablespoon if needed to reach desired consistency.
  • At this point the buttercream should be nice and fluffy and you will want to eat it with a spoonful right from the mixer bowl, but try to show a little restraint and just eat one spoonful and use the rest to frost the cake!

Chocolate Buttercream

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cup confectioner sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 oz melted semi sweet chocolate

  • Mix butter on medium speed for 3 minutes until light and fluffy
  • Add confectioner sugar and cocoa powder and mix on medium high for 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl as necessary.
  • Add melted chocolate and mix for another 2 minutes.

Have fun decorating… ENJOY!

Notes:

I used a petal tip to create the flowers and ruffles along the edge of the cake.