To quote the great movie Dances With Wolves “Now I bet you were wonderin, why don’t he write?” In my case, it’s she, but did anyone wonder? Anybody google obits for cake ladies?
I’m still alive and kickin and makin lots of cakes, in fact! I just haven’t been adding them to this blog. The fact is, blogging takes time and I’m blessed with three kids, a cute husband, and a full cake schedule. About a year ago, I realized it made a lot more sense to post my pictures on my Facebook page instead. It’s quick, easy, and gets the job done.
Ack! I’m a day late! As my children are wrapping up their school year, my schedule is getting thrown off. Sorry I’m late but here’s what was cooking in my kitchen last week…
A triple chocolate birthday cake should do the trick!
This little sweety loves her chickens and horse at her house and wanted her birthday cake to reflect that. The horsey is hiding on the back.
How’s this for a baby shower theme?! This child’s life has infinite possibilities!
This one I forgot to get a picture of before it was picked up, so the mom was nice enough to send me one. I don’t usually get to see them full of candles and with added dolls, so this was fun to see! This is the sugared cake I did in this week’s Tip o the Week.
No week would be complete lately without a Frozen themed cake! This party actually had Elsa come to the party!
Hope seeing this was worth the wait. What do you feel inspired to create? I would love to read your ideas in the comments! Have a blessed week.
Hello and happy Monday. Last week was light for me cake wise. It was my kids’ Spring break, so I only took a couple orders. I guard my time with them very jealously and didn’t want to work much that week. We had a fun week of staycation with a couple days at museums, one at a park, and lots of leisure time. One day was my birthday and we spent that day with my sister and adorable nephews. It was wonderful.
Only six more Mondays of school left! I can’t wait.
Here’s what I did last week…
This one was for a good friend of my sister’s. Her husband arranged it all and surprised her. Big points for the hubs!
This one was for a old friend of mine’s daughter. She said she wanted something princess. I wanted it to be as girly and sweet as possible. It’s hard to tell in the picture, but I drew the scroll design in piping gel that I mixed glitter into. I also added glitter to the roses. Her little sweet face lit up when she saw it, which is why I love my job.
Fondant, while currently overused in cake decorating (in my humble opinion), is a great material for designs on your cake. Lots of people buy commercially made fondant, but it is expensive and doesn’t taste that great. I make my own using marshmallows and a couple other ingredients. It’s easy to make and keeps really well. In about 15 minutes, you can make enough fondant for several cakes!
Start by greasing a large bowl with shortening. I use high ratio shortening which is commonly used in cake decorating.
Then, add one bag of mini marshmallows, 2 tsp. water, and a drizzle of corn syrup. I realize that’s not a technical measurement, but I’m not a technical girl. You basically just need a tablespoon or two to add elasticity to your fondant. Fear not, this recipe is hard to mess up.
Then, microwave this for a minute at a time, stirring after each minute. I grease my spatula too to keep the mixture from building up on it. Once all of your marshmallows are melted and your mixture looks smooth, add half a bag (1 lb) of powdered sugar.
Stir this in until it incorporates and starts to ball up in your bowl. Now you are ready to start kneading in more powdered sugar 1/4 cup at a time until it isn’t sticky to the touch anymore.
I now take it out of the bowl and knead it on my powdered rolling mat a few times until it feels soft and smooth. Don’t over knead or it will get tough and dry out. I then separate it into four balls that I lightly cover in shortening. This will help keep it from drying out when it’s stored.
Now, tightly wrap each ball in plastic wrap. I then stack the wrapped fondant in a tupperware container. I personally like Chinese soup take out “tupperware”. The lids seal tightly and easily.
And there you have it! A fresh batch of stretchy, yummy fondant just waiting for your masterful hand. I go through this much every week, but it will keep for two or three weeks if sealed tightly. Some people color theirs when they are making it, but I choose to wait until I need it to color it. When you use is it may become sticky. Just add a little powdered sugar. If it dries out, knead in a little buttercream. It truly is hard to mess it up. Try a batch and let me know how it went!
Ok, so I am not the best at drawing. I can copy a lot, but I am not great at drawing stuff without an image to go off of. I used to work with a girl that was so talented, she would put one hand on her hip and hold her piping bag in her other hand, and draw anything on a cake you could think of. She was amazing. I, however, lack that gene. So when I need an image to look really accurate, I do a transfer. This is a process where you outline a copy of the image you want on your cake. Lemme show you how…
First, make a copy of your desired image. Then you cover it in a piece of parchment or wax paper. I then tape them both to a cake board.
Then, outline the image. Make sure your point is very fine so it doesn’t look sloppy
After outlining, you can fill in the colors. Try to leave no spaces in between colors and lines so it looks completely filled in.
Now that your picture is complete, pipe whatever color the cake is iced in along the entire surface. This cake was iced in white.
Next, take a small spatula and gently smooth this layer to be thin and smooth. This accomplishes two things. One, it helps to smooth the colors of your image. Secondly, it reinforces the strength of your transfer so it will be easier to place on your cake.
Now that it is smooth, place the image in your freezer. It usually takes about ten minutes to get solid enough to apply. It should feel firm to the touch. Your cake should be iced and smoothed to be ready for your transfer. When both the cake and transfer are ready, gently peel the parchment from the back of your transfer. Gently lay it on your cake.
There will be some lines here and there from piping the design. Using a small, pointed tip spatula, gently smooth the lines. Don’t over do it! I am guilty of this. I will smooth and smooth and smooth until I have altered the image. Accept the imperfections and know that it probably looks better than your self scrutinizing eyes will show.
Now you can add any additional touches to complete the image. This one needed some touches on the frog.
Voila! A butter cream transfer. It’s a little time consuming and tedious, but it just looks so darned good when it’s done! To save your sanity, try a couple first before you actually need one for a cake. If your practice runs turn out well, save them in your freezer for future cakes!
Ok, people…403 and likes on Facebook in my 1st 30 days!! That is amazing! You guys are the best. To thank you for your support, I have decided to have a give away! To enter, comment on this post telling me your favorite cake flavor. On Friday, 3/7, I will announce the winner. The winner will receive a half dozen cupcakes in your fave flavor or 10% off your next order up to $100. Good luck and I can’t wait to make your next cake!
Well, here I am. A stay at home mom with an amazing husband and three pretty wonderful kiddos looking for a creative outlet that led to a new career. Going from special needs educator to cake decorator seems a little strange, I realize, but here I am. See, that’s the funny thing about life. We make plans and God laughs, as they say. By the way, I owe my parents a Purdue tuition…
Last year was my first year as a parent that all my kids were in school full time. That, for me, was TOUGH. I MISS them when they are in school. All I ever wanted to do my whole life was be a mom. I babysat several times a week as soon as I was old enough. I then nannied every summer when I was at Purdue. I studied special education and then taught at a private learning clinic. That may seem noble, but it was selfish I assure you. Special needs kids are people at their best. They are innocence in its purest form. Now THAT’s the kind of person I wanted to spend my days with. Each bit of progress was a celebration. Best.Job.Ever. Then in 2001, we had our first daughter. This was what I had been training for. I had my own child! She was a dream come true. 19 months later, another daughter! We were so blessed. I had been able to quit teaching and stay home with my two precious girls. Then…preschool. That’s right, I had to give up a few precious hours a week with my little sweeties so they can grow up and be normal people. If I had it my way, the four of us would have lived on a remote island somewhere so I wouldn’t have to share my time with them. Since that’s all kinds of crazy, I sent them to preschool and found myself a part time job to fill the time. Teaching part time isn’t usually an option, so I looked for something that was. I had been doing cakes for family and close friends for a couple years. I went to the shop that had done my wedding cake, Classic Cakes of Carmel. The owner and I hit it off. She had been a teacher for years and started her cake business when her boys were pre-teens. So for the next 8 years, I got to work for Ilene McHone. This, my friends, is a talented lady. Every skill I have for this field is because I worked there. That was the 2nd best job ever.
Now, I forgot to mention that somewhere in those 8 years God decided to give us a son. I never thought I would have a boy. I honestly didn’t think I could raise one. My nails are always painted and I like my furniture and walls to be clean and without damage. Well, remember that whole “we make plans” thing I mentioned earlier? Yeah, God surely did that ugly snort kind of laughing on this one. Fortunately, we like him…a lot. He’s pretty awesome, actually. His sense of humor and timing saves his life on a daily basis. We have decided to keep him. Sure he’s not quite 7 and has had two concussions, but what’s life without some excitement? Ugh.
Now here’s a big twist in our story. You know how I studied education and intervention? And you know how I taught kids with things like Downs and Autism? Guess what? God was training me for my own child. When my oldest was four, she was diagnosed as being on the Autism spectrum. You know how I said kids with special needs are the best people ever? Yeah, she’s one of them. I want to be her when I grow up. She’s crazy smart, unconditionally kind, tender, and inciteful. She sees the good in every person, and creature, on earth. Then, in 2012, my middle daughter was diagnosed with ADHD. She is pretty awesome too. She is creative, bubbly, loves fiercely, and funny. So guess what doesn’t go well with two special need daughters? A part time job. Yeah, when you only work two days a week, calling in or leaving early for half the time starts to look bad. Fortunately, I worked with people that never said a word and respected my family’s needs. But when staff numbers are low and the shop’s needs increase, you feel like more of a burden than an asset. So, my husband and I decided I could stay at home full time again and focus on our kids’ needs.
Here’s the flaw in that plan: My friends had been spoiled. For years, I had been providing cakes for my friends (and family). Those cake needs didn’t magically go away when I quit Classic. To top it off, my friends insisted on paying for what I made for them now that I wasn’t at the shop. Call it pity or generosity, but suddenly I was making cakes semi regularly at home and getting paid. Some would call this a business. My husband certainly thought so. I am married to a man that is good at everything he does. He has a great job he loves, a side business, a blog, and a really fun hobby of home brewing. He does all of these things well and still makes family time his priority. To him, my making a business out of this seemed the next logical step. I, on the other hand, didn’t feel I could do it. I had to let go and let God. More people were finding out about me, more cakes were getting ordered, happy people were reporting back to me, and I conceded. I can do this. I love doing this. I can do it while my kids go to school but can drop it at a second’s notice to go to the school if needed. I can play a fun part in the special occasions of people in my community. I can use this money to bless other people through my church and other charities. Hey! While I’m at it, I’ll write a blog where I share cake decorating tips so other people can learn this fun art!
So, that’s the point of this blog. I feel this new business is a gift and I want to share it. Each week, I will post pictures of the cakes I have done that week. I will highlight one each week and show tips on how you can do it yourself! I may mix in an anecdote here or there to keep things interesting. Rumor is I have the gift of gab. Hopefully I can translate that to type. So, come on back each week. I’d love to hear from you. What you liked, what you hated, etc. This will be fun!