Happy 1 Year Blogaversary Carrie!

I couldn’t realize how many cool people I would meet through this blog. And when I say “meet” I mean virtually :) One of my fellow cake/cookiers, Carrie, mentioned about a month or so ago that she had been blogging for about a year and that her “blogaversary” was coming up. Having only been blogging since the beginning of the year I can attest this is a very special accomplishment!

I want to congratulate her in proper cake style :) When I saw this cake from My Cake School, I knew instantly it was the one I wanted to make for her.

Happy Birthday/Anniversary Carrie’s Creations!! I know it’s not until April 9th, but I couldn’t wait to say “WAY TO GO!!” I can’t wait to see what creations you have for the 2nd year :)

If you haven’t checked out her site before, please stop by…she’s very creative and has some really cute cookies that she’s shown off in various posts :)

My New Favorite Accessory

I have found my new favorite accessory. I’m usually not the type to go out and buy everything Wilton makes, but on a whim and a suggestion from my cake decorating instructor, I decided to throw a bag of these in my cart last time I was at Michael’s.

And boy am I glad I did! They are amazing!!

ICING BAG TIES

Before this week, I would wind rubber bands around the end of my bags, which was a huge pain when I had to A) put the band on B) move the band down as the icing was used and C) remove the band at the end of the day. These little guys are sooo easy to put on and take off. Just wrap the band around once and stick one end through the other. Presto…bag sealed and tight! And the best part? As the icing is used you just push the band down and it stays tight. No need to remove the band!

LOVE ♥LOVE ♥LOVE

 

 

Final Cake Full O’ Flowers

Final class of course 2 in the Wilton Cake Decorating series…COMPLETE!

I was telling the other girl in the class that I enjoyed this course (Flowers and Cake Design) more than the first (Decorating Basics) because we did cooler things, but I missed not bringing something home to eat each week like we did in the first course! hehe  Not that I need it of course and not that my husband and I even eat it, but it was still fun to have a little treat.

Last night I decorated my final cake using the flowers I’d made from the previous classes. I have zero artistic creativity so with some help from the instructor talking through the placement of the flowers I came up with this. Note the last picture is how my husband decided to dig in and eat the cake :)

The Cake That Couldn’t Break Me

If you saw my post from earlier today you know I baked a couple cakes to play with today. I need one for Monday’s cake decorating class and the other for my friend’s brunch tomorrow. I’ve been really looking forward to this brunch! I was assigned to bring a fruit salad…lord knows I love fruit so it was a perfect pairing. However, she also said, and I quote,

Should you have any type of homemade pastry/baked good hanging around the house, feel free to bring it with you on Sunday…I mean, why feed the raccoons of Bellingham when you can feed the girls of Arlington..? :)

So what’s a sugar crazed girl gonna do? Bake a cake!

Thank you to my sister-in-law who thought of me when she saw this amazingly beautiful cake on Pinterest. I Am Baker is an amazing site for things like this :) Gorgeous! And since I was pretty good with making the rosettes I figured I should give it a whirl :)

Ran into a few hurdles along the way, but I was bound and determined to clear em.

First…Ran out of buttercream. I’ve never used buttercream before, but figured I needed quite a bit so I doubled the recipe, which by the way is SCRUMPTIOUS!! However it only made enough to frost the cake and make the roses around the sides.

Second…During mid-cake clean up my hubby crunched my only 1M decorating tip in the garbage disposal because I was an airhead and dumped out the cup they were soaking in. Never never never put the cup you are using to soak tips in the sink…always keep on the counter so you think about what you are doing! Nothing that a quick trip to the local Michael’s craft store can’t fix!

Third…My daughter who I swear grows an inch a week is either taller than she appears or used her go-go gadget arms and stuck a little finger in one of the side roses for an unofficial tasting.

Fourth…New batch of frosting tint doesn’t quiet match the tint for the side roses. Maybe after it sits a bit it’ll blend.

and Fifth…The cake is all done, pictures are taken and I’m happy. If you’ve ever seen the Food Network Cake Challenges you know it’s not over until you move the cake to the table. In my case, move the cake into the cake holder. My finger slipped when pushing the cake board back and whoops! there went my finger through one of the roses. My personal touch I guess ;)

Regardless…I’m happy with the cake for the first time making something like this. It’s pretty and I can’t wait to share it with my wonderful friends. The best part…I used milk chocolate mousse filling in the middle of the layers!! If you haven’t heard of this, it’s like heaven and you can find the recipe on one of my earlier posts here.

Royal Tower

Decided I’d make some cookies today during my babester’s naptime. I have all this royal icing I made for my cake decorating class tonight. I usually always have left over frosting and figured if history repeats itself I’d probably have some left over icing too! Can’t wait to make some beautiful flowers tonight and share them with you…hopefully they turn out!

Coloring Red Frosting

Ok so did some digging last night and found that the bitter nasty taste and the gallons of red coloring are normal. Apparently coloring white frosting red isn’t as easy as it seems. Here are some tips I found:

  • Americolor seems to work better than Wilton’s coloring
  • Color your frosting pink and then color it red
  • Use red (no taste) coloring
  • Color your frosting a day in advance. After 24 hours that pink will turn red

I have some Americolor downstairs that I use for my cookie decorating…will have to give it a try this weekend when I whip up some more rosettes!

Red Rosettes

Decided to whip up some frosting tonight and give my rosettes a practice. For our fourth and final session of this cake class, I need to bring a fully frosted cake to class with some pre-made flowers to use for decorating. I rocked the rosettes last week so I thought I’d make some more for the cake. That was the plan. I thought I’d make a white cake with red roses along with red and pink rosettes. That was the plan. Figured I’d make some of the rosettes tonight. That was the…yes…the plan. However, the frosting I tinted red turned out some really funky orangish color. Kinda looked like sock eye salmon. Not pretty. Tasted a little funky too. To be honest it was AWEFUL! I had put soooo much coloring into the frosting that it changed the flavoring. How the hell are you supposed to make red frosting? Must look that up. Anyway, practice was good. First half turned out nice. Second half the frosting was too warm from my hand so it wasn’t as nice. Won’t be saving any of the rosettes for class, but it was still fun to play around :)

Lessons Learned:

  • Figure out how to color frosting red
  • If you’re going to be man-handling your piping bag a bunch, only fill it half way so that the frosting doesn’t get too warm

Frosting Consistency

It’s been bugging me that both cakes I made had frosting that wouldn’t set up. The instructor in my Wilton’s class said to use a thin consistency icing to frost the cake but that didn’t seem to be working for me. So I did what every other desperate for knowledge decorator does…I hit the Google :) Turns out, a medium consistency icing is used for frosting a cake.

Armed with this knowledge I will see how my next cake turns out. Hopefully smooth baby!

And…Take FOUR!

Yes…sadly four.

This cake started out to be a practice cake, quickly became built up in my head to be a beautiful cake for tonight’s dessert, and then quickly…and I mean quickly…took a turn and bypassed practice going straight for humorous.

Last night I baked the cake and made a delicious chocolate mousse filling. Even my oldest daughter helped mix up the filling!

     

Folding in the cream

Take 1: And so the morning started…assembled the two layers of cake with the filling and frosted the heck out of it. It was a leaning tower of chocolate cake that no amount of frosting could visually correct. Although, attempting to correct the lean did bring quite a few giggles from the peanut gallery. Quite possibly due to the excessive amounts of frosting on the cake (side note that I hate regular frosting like this so I’ll be scraping it off my piece tonight!) the sides and top never quite dried enough to smooth out. Same problem I had in class the other day so I’m thinking it’s more about the consistency of the frosting than the humidity which is what the instructor blamed it on. Clearly I should be teaching the class ;)

Take 2: I decided to stop fixating on the fact that I have yet another cake without smoothness and move on. Downstairs to be precise. I thumbed through some old Wilton templates that were my Mom’s from the 70′s and found one that I thought would look very nice piped on top of the cake, using a technique I learned in class to transfer the design. The technique calls for tracing the template on a piece of wax paper with decorating gel (bought at the local grocery store), flipping it upside down onto the the top of the cake. Unfortunately, I cut too big of a hole on the gel tube for the template I wanted to use.  “So that’s not going to work.”

Take 3: “Let me try and transfer the design using a toothpick.” I traced the design onto wax paper using a black sharpie. Laid the wax paper onto the top of the cake and followed the black lines with a toothpick. Should have known…if the cake wasn’t dry enough to smooth out with parchment paper, it’s not going to be dry enough to lay wax paper onto either. Needless to say, we had a sticky situation, none of which helped get my design onto the cake.

Take 4: For Christmas my husband bought me a bunch of cake decorating paraphernalia. In my bucket o’ goodies was a pattern press set with some pretty fancy looking presses. So I decided to whip those out and give em a try. I pressed ever so gently and began piping. Using a #2 tip I followed the imprint. HELLO WOBBLY HANDS! Yikes…the lines were not smooth. But at this point my husband and I were making way too much fun of the cake to stop. So I put a “J” and a “P” on the top for his parents who were coming for dinner tonight and slapped on some stars and dots. I do have to say my stars are improving!

Despite it taking four attempts to make this cake in the end it’s a cake that will be devoured in 10 minutes. My husband also said it was frosted better than we used to frost our cakes…so I guess that’s a move in the right direction :)

Lessons Learned:

  • Make sure you level your top layer of cake enough so that it sits evenly on the bottom layer.
  • While the instructor says the frosting used to frost your cake should be a thin consistency, I’d stick with medium so it actually dries sometime during the given century.
  • You do not need a 1/2 cup of frosting in each color to do 3 lines and a couple dots

Fish with Botox

I am marking something off my bucket list this month. Yes, I’m only 35 and I have a bucket list. Better early than never I say (no, that’s not true but in this case it sounds good!). I started creating it in college and this item has been on the list for over a decade.

Take a cake decorating class

I don’t remember how old I was, but I couldn’t have been more than 10. I remember coming across a photo album of my Mom’s and in it were pictures and pictures of beautifully decorated cakes. Come to find out they were decorated by my own mama. They were gorgeous! I asked her about it recently and she explained that she took 6 months of cake decorating classes…every week baking a cake and totting it to class. Impressive, both in the amount of time she put into her hobby but also in the beauty she created.

I decided I would take a cake decorating class too…although starting much smaller and only signing up for a 4 week Wilton’s class through our local craft store. During our second class we decorated a cake…my first decorated cake ever and I chose to recreate a fish image from our class materials. The instructor told us what tips to use but that was the extent of her instructing, so needless to say my fish lips came out extremely puffy. I smiled and thought “Even fish need botox every now and then.” Brought the cake home and humorously my husband had to ask what it was! It was then that I decided to keep a list of “lessons learned” throughout my adventures.

Image

January 09, 2012

Lessons Learned:

  • Think about the sizing of your decoration before piping (fish lips)
  • Do not pipe on top of already piped frosting to try and cover up a mistake…only makes the area look bigger than the rest bringing more attention to it (second line in on the fish body)
  • Give yourself enough time to let the frosting dry/harden before decorating otherwise you won’t have the ability to smooth out (top and sides)

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