Thursday, August 12, 2010

Baking Joy

Although I have graduated from three Wilton cake decorating courses, I am a self-taught baker.

That meant I started out mostly using cake mixes for my decorated cakes. There is nothing wrong with cake mixes. They contain your basic ingredients and are super handy when you do not have time to measure everything.

However, as I progress with my baking, I decided the inside of my cakes should be as exciting as the outside. In the past few weeks I've been experimenting with all kinds of new recipes!! I'm happy to report I've stumbled across the most amazing red velvet, chocolate, carrot, and white vanilla cake recipes. Then of course there are so many filling options with cream, chocolates, fresh fruits, or all of the above!

The skateboarding cake was a challenge. The cake itself had to be super sturdy to support pounds and pounds of fondant and gumpaste. I chose a chocolate pound cake recipe. I like the recipe, but will work on making it more moist, yet still sturdy and carvable.

A few things I've learned along the way that are keys to baking success.

1. high quality cocoa powder matters
2. butter makes it better
3. sifting, sifting, sifting
4. quality baking pans make a difference! Sometimes I get lucky and it bakes leveled.
5. never bake late at night when tired from chasing two young kids around all day!!!
6. get good at reading your cake eaters' expressions. You'll know for a fact it if was a hit or a dud.
7. I use high quality vanilla extract. I get mine at The Spice Merchant, it's amazing.
8. It's ok to get buy in bulk or use off brands of flour and sugar. But sift the powdered sugar for the best results.

That's all on my mind for now! Better go check on my chocolate cake.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Classic Rose Cake

Whipped icing, tastes like sweetened whipped cream, but is non-dairy so it is perfect for wedding cakes which often have to sit out for several hours. I love it so much I used it on my own wedding cake.

Inside is the best chocolate cake ever! Filled with chocolate ganache, fresh strawberries, and some of the whipped icing.

This specific cake was for our friend Kathleen's 70th birthday. We enjoyed the cake with strong black coffee.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Skateboarder Groom's Cake

When my friend Leslie hired me to do her fiance's groom's cake, I was all over it. Ideas floated around in my head. I looked around online to see what other people did for skater cakes and not much came up. There were a few cakes in the shape of skateboards, but that is not what Leslie requested.
Eric is a skateboarder and she wanted a cake with a sunken pool, rails, etc.

Finally, I found my inspiration by looking at pictures of an actual skate park. That's where I saw they painted red around the pools, set up cones, had half and quarter pipes, and it was mostly gray, black, and red. Voila, I saw the cake in my head and got started making the boy and the other gum paste pieces about three weeks ahead of time.
I'm very happy with this cake. It was my biggest cake challenge yet! And I owe thanks to YouTube for teaching me how to sculpt the little guy's face. :)