Saturday, February 26, 2011

Oh The Places You'll Go!

So this one was kinda fun. My friend, Mary Jo, had no idea what she wanted to do for a friend who just graduated college. That said she kinda just said, "Make it chocolate" and let me go from there. Wanting to try painting a bit more on the fondant I mentioned that when I graduated from college I received the same book from 3 people and Dave did too. Sounded great to her and a cake idea was born (yes, I am sure if we google it someone else has done it too - but I didn't google it so it is completely my idea!).

First I started with the things that made me the most nervous..........the wording and the character at the top of the cover. You know what book this is now right?? Oh The Place You'll Go! by Dr. Seuss.........who has a birthday coming up ya know!

After I painted the whole thing out it didn't look like it popped. I knew what was missing - the black detail outlining on the book. Dave said I didn't need to do it. I knew if I even tested one spot with a black outline I would have to do the whole thing. So instead I sat and looked at it for a minute - then I got out the black. It did not take nearly as long as I thought - and it really did seem to make a difference.

Then I looked at how bland the sides were and thought I should paint some CHEERS to the Graduate.........only Yea You! is all I could come up with...........what else???

Well DUH!! - Quote the book!! So I dug one of my books out and began quoting!

I really love this book............and yes, we have gifted it to others and they are Off and Away

I hear the Graduate loved it! They were away on a Girls Weekend , but Mary Jo texted me to tell me it was a HIT!!

This cake was Chocolate with a Vanilla Buttercream icing and a Vanilla Fondant on the outside. All design is hand painted with icing tints.

Monday, February 21, 2011

So Many Valentines!

So many Valentine Cupcakes and there was so little time to actually post any of them!

These were for Andersen's teacher - and I think also for a friend to give to her sweetie......and maybe Ben's teacher too. Each received a 4 pak - except the friend who asked for 18 for her sweetie.

It was a quick and fun week.......but the start of it was 120 cupcakes for school events, a few friends wanting them for their Sweet Hearts and a few gifts for Teachers.

30 of these were for a 3rd grade class at our school. My friend Taunia seems to be in LOVE with white cake with white chocolate chips and vanilla buttercream icing.......I took the left over batter with those - made a dozen more - hallowed out the center of the cupcake - filled it with a cream cheese & marshmallow filling - topped it with a vanilla buttercream and OHMYGOODNESS!! That was so yummy!

Ate 1 and immediately packed up the remainders to get them out of my house as quickly as possible.

We also did 30 of this decorated style of cupcake for Andersen's class. Andersen is on the team of kids that includes all the allergies. So she has peanut allergy kids in her class AND egg allergies. Thank goodness it isn't gluten free too!! So we made a Vegan Red Velvet cake for her class. Surprisingly the cupcake was really really good! Her teacher couldn't tell the dif and the kids LOVED that the topper was pure sugar and edible.

These were the cupcakes for a friend and her sweetie. She wanted a few chocolate hearts scattered on - but mostly just cupcake. She did Vanilla and also Red Velvet.

Some people just wanted cute and simple - nothing to mushy. So a simple buttercream swirl with a touch of Romantic Glitter dust. Voila.

Then there was the 4th/5th bilingual class. 20 traditionally delicious chocolate cupcakes went to them. Topped half with cute pink chocolate hearts and half with cute dark chocolate hearts - sprinkled with sugar. Mr. Goeke was cute when I handed him his cupcakes. He looked at them seemingly surprised and said, "Wow these are really pretty."......yea!! Love it when I surprise someone with the decor of their cakes.

Then there were Ben's cupcakes. He really gets into this. He said he wanted a Red Velvet cupcake - after testing the Vegan cupcakes he almost switched to those - they had a SLIGHTLY darker chocolate flavor (if you can say red velvet is chocolate tasting with only 2 tbs of cocoa in it). Then Ben wanted the icing to have a "nice swirl" and he wanted them all sprayed with red tint (he love love loves the airbrush machine........only every time I use it I turn my hand colors in a seriously "that color for a week" way)........then he wanted chocolate hearts with a sprinkle of red sugar on them.......he is my favorite customer - knows what he wants - designs it - practically draws a mental picture - and then after inspecting the product created (in a serious way mind you) - he tells me how great I am when I am done.

Can't ask for more!

What a Fun Valentines Day!!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Slumber Party!!

This cake was a lot of fun to make. And when something looks "easy" I always underestimate the time it takes to do it the first time........because I haven't thought up all the ways to make the cute stuff it would include. Now if I do this cake a SECOND time (and I hope to) - I will know what I am planning to do ahead of time and it will go more quickly.

When Stacey first talked about her daughters slumber party cake we thought we were going to recreate the iCarly laptop cake I did for my friend Julie. However, Stacey is now like me and she will google the theme of what she is thinking. This time it was .......... slumber party cake pictures........and when she did it this she got hits on some super cute cakes and asked if I could do them.

I started with a plain old white iced cake. This cake had no real need for fondant sides because the perfectionistic smoothness was not going to matter anyway.

However, a super bright and cute base would be important and Stacey said Gabby really liked the bright pink colors. Done. Usually I wait to put the base trim on just because I can be messy with my hands and hit the icing and make myself crazy because I dent it. No one wants a cake that looks like their kids stuck their fingers in the icing.......but I figured I was safe - and honestly the bright pink inspired my mood. Weird?

Next up were the slumber party attendees. I knew there were 7. I also knew from the millions of slumber parties we have had at our house now that if you do something that represents a "figures" on a cake it is helpful to try to represent them for each attendee if possible. 50 Boy Scout pinewood derby cars I can't make - 7 slumber party goers I can. So I did.

I rounded some heads and made some hair to pop on. I didn't worry too much about matching up colors for hair to the girls slumbering - the base was bright pink so things on the cake needed to be bright too - having red heads, flaming orange heads, blonds, and brunettes just made sense.

The hair was a challenge at first. The original cake I was referring to for the idea has beautifully cute hair. My first attempts to make hair looked more like a Max Headroom skull cap. Remember Max Headroom? He creeped me out. Or the bad guy from one of my favorite kid shows - Lazy Town - what was his name? Well anyway - what I mean is that my hair totally stunk. How did they get the really cute hair? It reminded me of what kids make with a playdoh press.......the playdoh press we owned was currently under 2 feet of snow in our backyard playset so that wouldn't work.........but I did have a garlic I cleaned it and tried and guess what!!

It totally worked!! I was so thrilled that it worked I immediately stuck the hair onto the head so that it didn't fall apart. Of course then I noticed they were all starting to have short hair. So I tried making longer hair......and guess what!! It totally worked!!

Sometimes I make myself kinda dance in place and giggle and high five myself. And that is just what I did - which drew the attention of my 5 year old in the other room........who came in to investigate and when I explained just how brilliant I was with making hair he said, "Maudy I do that with my playdoh".........sigh......but then my 11 year old came in and said, "Oh My Gosh Mom that is so GREAT!" and meant it and I went back to kinda dancing in place and giggling and I high fived her.

Then things kinda got to going faster. I put the heads on the cake and made some bodies. At first I was thinking the bodies would be more realistic - then I thought how I was just going to cover them up with blankets so why bother?

At this point I just needed to make the cake fun looking. The only real challenge was figuring out a way to decorate 7 sleeping bags to look individual with the same 3 colors. That is what all those tiny cookie cutters I have been collecting my entire life comes in handy for.

I popped on a few flowers in matching colors of the border to make the white sides a little less empty........wrote a cute message on the bottom to the Birthday girl because there was no room on the actual cake........made a few juice boxes and added some popcorn all over the cake - some slippers tossed in and Tah Dah!!

My understanding is the cake was a hit. Each of the party attendees picked out who they were on the cake and Stacey was so sweet to "wrap up" their girl to take home as a party favor. Smart move because those things are pure sugar and eating all that would have kept them awake for hours!!

This cake was Chocolate Chocolate Chip with a Vanilla Buttercream icing and Vanilla fondant for decorations. So Fun!!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Dave + Patti Cake

The other day we were talking about who needs to do what for that weekend. I had volunteered to do the cupcakes for Ben's class - 30 cupcakes........then a friend asked me to do cupcakes for her class - 30 more cupcakes........then we found out a class didn't have any parent help so I offered to do cupcakes for that class - 20 more cupcakes....then someone called last minute and asked to place an order for their sweetie - I like her she is really nice so I said yes - 18 more cupcakes......then Andersen asked her teacher how many kids in class because she was making gum valentines for everyone - he thought she was volunteering to bring in cupcakes......ah how do you say no? He seemed so excited and knew I was friends with all the allergy kids moms (which makes me safe because they don't mind me baking for their kids I guess) 30 more cupcakes. How many did that total?

Well whatever it totalled it made for a VERY BUSY Sunday because each one needed to be cute on top.

Back to Dave and I talking. So I have all these millions of cupcakes to do (and honestly I was happy to do them all) and we have been married for 14 years...15? No pretty sure it is 14 - 13? Anyway I can figure that out later. So needless to say - many years of marriage and 3 kids ='s not much on Valentines Day done as a romantic gesture. Andersen was headed to the college campus for a GS event - Dave offered to run to the store to get the 1 item I needed - plus I wanted some boxes from Michales for a teachers gift and to drop Andersen off. I told him he didn't have to and then he said, "No I want to do it. Besides I have some errands to run too." He WANTS to go to the grocery store and Michael's?

Hmmmmmmmmmmmm......this can only mean 1 thing - crap - he is getting me a Valentines Gift. I had NOTHING planned - because we don't do anything - well we do - we snuggle and hang out and say nice things to each other - just like most days. We love each other why do we have to buy gifts to prove it (yikes I sound like a guy don't I?).

So I put my thinking cap time.......what do I have? Cake batter. So I did what I could -

I baked a cake. Then I looked at it - boring cake ........ carve it.........cover it with fondant........

See where I am going with this? A little grass on the bottom.....a Heart carved out....

Some flowers thrown in and then a carving of initials. SWEET right?

I knew the kids would like it and I thought about how I could include D+P=ABD

The kids knew what I was doing.......

but they didn't know they were being included.......until they found it hidden in the China cabinet.

They were pretty excited to see their initials carved in too. Dave has yet to see it - wonder what he will think? Oh and since I had a little time I decided to grab a gift card to a sandwich shop and a gift card to a book store......It is a Date Night Kit. Cute right? Any babysitters out there?

Happy Valentines Day!!

This cake is Chocolate (because that is what my sweetie likes) - covered in Vanilla Buttercream (because that is what my sweetie likes) - covered in Vanilla Fondant.

Sweet Hearts

Of course today is Valentine's Day!! And goodness knows that this past weekend I have been doing TONS of Valentine Cupcakes for school parties. This particular cupcake order went out to one of Dave's co-workers. And this was a bit of a lesson in being nice and helpful.

So she ordered 18 cupcakes for a certain date. Wanted a large Red Heart on each one. The date for the order was a Friday and Dave was going to deliver to her at his work. That morning I got up super upder duper early to make sure I could bake the cupcakes - cool them - and frost them (the hears were already made) before he left at 7:30am. That done I sent the orderer an email saying everything was Great and He would be bringing them in.

She was at work super upder duper early and sent one back saying, "Errr....ahhhh....well I must have given you the wrong date". She had - she mixed her parties up - lucky her to have so many parties to attend that don't include elementary school kids. Lucky her.

So what to do?? She was very sweet and said "no worries - just send them and I will freeze them." Yeah, that is one way - but what would the fondant hearts look like - and what would they taste like? So instead I said, "No these can be fun cupcakes for Dave to take to work" - which he was totally willing to do, but he said there was no way he was offering a heart shaped cupcake to one of the men or woman he worked with (fear that they would think he was crushing on them? hmmmm....ego there) - instead he would leave them out and peeps could take them through the day.

The next week I got up again....super upder duber early and made 18 cupcakes with big read hearts on them. And everyone was happy!! Another bright side - I got to tweak my red velvet cake recipe. Thought it might be yummier with a bit more cocoa in it. Red Velvet is apparently the cupcake for Valentines day I am might as well make it fabulous.

This cupcake was Red Velvet (obviously)...Cream cheese icing and a Vanilla fondant shaped to look like big red hearts. SWEET!!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Girl Scout Cupcakes

Some how I kinda messed the pictures of these cupcakes up. So no individual ones. Pooh - cuz they were cute!

Andersen even helped with these. Again - always fun to be able to say "yes" to one of my kids helping!! She made the faces and the hair of each of the Girl Scouts in their tents.

These cupcakes went to one of our favorite Bloomington GS Council Coordinators - and definately one of Andersen's most favorite Camp Counselors! Sherwood, her name, is moving from our area over to be the camp director of another GS camp in the Springfield area. Sad for us - totally exciting for her! These were her Congrats Cupcakes for a little celebration they had at the office for her. I am not 100% sure she ever ate them........because I saw her post pics of them the other day and I know she is unpacking her stuff in her new house.

These cupcakes were a combo - Cinnamon Chocolate Cake, Banana Cake and White Cake - all topped with a Vanilla Buttercream and then Vanilla Fondant pieces as decorations.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Have you heard of Slinky Malinki?

Have you heard of the book series Slinky Malinki? I hadn't. When I first got the call about doing a Slinky Malinki cake I thought the graphics would be cartoony and I could copy them like a Winnie The Pooh or Diary of a Whimpy Kid. So while we were talking I looked it up on the computer and found this picture. Sure I could copy the cat in fondant..........probably close......with effort..........but the rest of the graphics I would be lost on - well not lost, but it would be a challenge the first time out and a lot of small pieces - but still not impossible. And I agreed.

Then I thought about it for a week. I looked up Painting on Fondant - thinking maybe painting this would be easier then creating each small piece and putting it in place. Sure.......PAINTING it would be a great idea. Quicker. Cool looking.

So I baked the cake - cooled the cake - iced the cake - covered the top of the cake in white fondant and then covered the sides in a lavender grey color to try to match the cloud coloring of the book cover. Then I looked at the cake and thought...........whose idea was painting this??

Oh, that is right it was MY idea to paint this. Quicker. Cool looking. Only now that I was doing it I had to add Intimidating......Impossible......Incredibly Silly........Needs to be done in 2 hours.

My husband is a sweet man. He saw the dilemma. Me standing in the kitchen next to the cake with my icing tints out - my paint mixing palette tray out (I made that name up - what are those paint palette things called anyway? I just bought it, but didn't look at the name) - paint brushes sitting - kids jumping and yelling about - not a serene setting for painting on fondant - well painting on anything really. I asked him if he could do something with the boys so I could do the painting. He not only did something - he loaded them up and took them away to do some grocery shopping!

For awhile I just stood there enjoying the quiet. Then I realized I was just pretending to enjoy the quiet because I was too afraid to actually put any paint on the fondant - once I did that I was committed and any other medium to finish this was gone. So I dipped my brush in the brown tint/water mixture and started on the clouds - sure that was easy - then I did some fencing.......

By the time the boys got home I was amazed with myself. The clouds, the fence, the plants, Slinki himself (or is Slinki a girl?), I was working on the glove and getting ready to do the wording. 1 hour had passed. AND they brought me a latte!!

I was very excited about how this turned out!! I knew I could paint - shoot Way Back Before Kids I used to paint things. Every once in awhile now I get to paint walls - and not just flat wall paint, but murally stuff - still it isn't painting a cover of a book on fondant - much less scary painting a wall.

The kids and Dave gave me the "Great Job" "That is Amazing" feedback. So I felt good boxing it up. My friend, Catherine, came with me on delivery - she was also a friend of Stacey, the person receiving the cake. Neither of them had seen the cake - so when we got to Stacey's house and opened the box up their "Oh my gosh" response was TOTALLY COOL!! Stacey ran to get the actual book to show Catherine just how close I had gotten.........That is the kinda excitement that makes me want to do another cake!! Thank You Ladies........

This cake was half Chocolate Chocolate Chip and half White. Topped with Vanilla Buttercream icing and then covered in Vanilla Fondant.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Wedding Show Cupcakes

More Wedding Cupcakes!! Only these I tweaked a little from the first ones I did last year. See a friend of mine owns a photography business (this is actually a different friend then bought the Zebra cake) and she was doing a Wedding Show and wanted some cupcakes for her booth to give customers something to do while she talked to them. She said that the food vendors have potential customers mill around longer because they are eating food samples - and thought some cute cupcakes to eat would keep them longer then usual and also promote me.

I would have made her the cupcakes just because she asked - but promoting the chance to do a wedding cake sounded like a great idea!! This time around I made the groom a little simpler since I was making 25 of him. I did the shirt in a buttercream and a bow tie in buttercream also. The last groom had all those pieces done in fondant. Made for a quicker process doing them in buttercream. The flowers are done in fondant though.

The brides are almost the same - although I did the design on their dresses in a vanilla buttercream instead of creamy icing tints or pearl dust. And the necklace is not done in tiny candy pearls. But the biggest difference in these brides are that I painted the neckline in skin tone. I also did some cupcakes in a skin tone for African American brides, but they turned out looking a little more Hispanic. So in the future for a true order for a wedding (if I get one - cross your fingers) I would do the fondant colored in the skin tone desired and not paint. What I noticed was if there was the slightest crack in the fondant - that you couldn't see with your eye - when it was painted the tint highlighted the crack.

Still - SUPER CUTE and a lot of FUN!!

These cupcakes were 2 flavors. The Grooms were Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Cake (yum!) with a Vanilla Buttercream icing and a Vanilla Fondant. The Brides were Almond Cake (new recipe - super good and moist!) with a Vanilla Buttercream and a Vanilla fondant.