Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Crowning Touch

So as I have mentioned I have been dabbling in cookies. These are 2 that I used for a cake I should be able to upload off of my computer and post soon. I was wanting to mess with the cookies and decorate them, but not eat them. Okay.......I ate quite a few.......but then I just wanted to decorate some and not eat them - thought I would add them to cakes - hence the If You Give A Cake A Cookie cakes.
These cookies were the basic Shortbread cookie recipe. My favorite over a traditional cookie recipe - they melt in your mouth more and honestly they are WAY less expensive to make - no egg - just a smidge of powdered sugar - very yummy.

Another thing I have been wanting to do is mess with Royal Icing. Cookies have allowed me that as well - now I would like to find a moment to pipe some royal icing onto cakes - in a decorative pattern. Every slow week I say to myself "self I will make a small wedding cake with scrolly decorative piping"......and then either a bunch of cake requests come in (like this week - went from 40 palm tree cookies to 4 cakes, 3 doz cupcakes and the cookies that I am mailing - tomorrow hopefully - they are ALL DONE!! Just just just put the finishing touches on them not 5 minutes ago) or life gets in the way. But I really want to do some fun scroll work with royal icing.

Anyone have a wedding? Then I would HAVE to make time to do a wedding cake.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

WOW! We reached 10 in less then 2 days!! That was quicker then I would have imagined! Incentive is everything.......as a former counselor and current mother of 3 I know this, but it is one of those things that when applied to ones own situation you totally forget it.

Now........at this exact moment I am sitting on a beautiful porch on the edge of a moutain - at a very nice wood table - listening to turkey and birds and the wind whoosh through the trees and watching the sunrise over a mountain in TN - in the quiet waiting for my family to wake up. While the cabin we are staying in has a great kitchen - none of my tools are here and I have a date to spend the week doing things like ziplining and driving treacherous roads (that make my heart pound) up a mountain to the top peak to then hike back down with my family.

On Monday I will be back to baking for an If You Give A Cake A Cookie cake for my sons teacher to gift the student teacher because she has just scored a job in this horribly under budgeted teacher atmosphere our schools find themselves in. So her accomplishments are being celebrated!! I will bake cookies then and mail them on directly after. They will be in shapes of Stars as Pennie suggested.

I need addresses though. So you can email them to ipsybipsybakeshop@yahoo.com. Promise not to share them with anyone......and if you live near to me then I will simply deliver them.

Now - I would love feedback on the cookies as until 2 weeks ago I have never really baked shortbread cookies. Although the people who have received them sought me out to say "more please" - so they must be worthy. And what are suggestions for more fun things like this?

Oh.......and the cookie pictured here is not my creation - but it is really cute right?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Who Lives In A Pineapple?

So I think this is a cake that went up on the Facebook Ipsy a few weeks ago. I am not a hundred percent sure, but I am fairly certain of my memory skills at the moment without looking. Years and Years ago I did a Sponge Bob for my precious Ben. And although isn't cool to call a boy of age 9 precious......he is still precious. The one I did for Ben was all buttercream though. If I were not on vacation I could find that picture and then upload it for comparison, but since it was about the 4th cake I ever did I can honestly say - this one is much cleaner - but it is always fun to look back and see where you come from. This one was really fun and since fondant RARELY makes me cry these days - notice please that I said "rarely"......because we are not out of the experience woods of tears due to fondant quite yet. Granted it is more "cursing" then "crying" ...... or I will do this thing where I call out to see who is on the first floor with me - because from the angle I do fondant I can't see who is in the dining room, living room or the entry where Dawson likes to play because the floor is nice and slippery - anyway - I will call out and see who is there - then banish them. Yes I did say BANISH. If they initially resist my banishing due to watching television I will more forcefully banish them - still no cursing - and if I still hear the TV going I will do a little Motherly Threatening and ensure them that the banishing is completely for their own safety. Then after they are all gone - if I should accidentally (because I only curse for accidents and to make my friend giggle) - no one that shouldn't gets an earful. Dave knows to stay away because some how ALL fondant problems are his fault - we have been married for almost 15 years - he is a smart man.

Anyway - enough about the past and banishing. Spongebob was fun! I covered him in buttercream and then topped him with fondant. I am learning that any big "extra" pieces - like the arms or legs on Spongie here - should be done a few days before - helps them set up and move around to be placed easier. However, I wasn't sure that I should be able to make them correctly sized to scale if I made them ahead of time. So I waited.

For the most part this was not a problem. And while you can't see it - the only difficulty not making the extra pieces ahead of time caused were having the legs attach at the body. The pants wanted to let go of the legs and droop a bit.

Outside of that small problem the only time consuming part was making the different colors and creating the pieces. Which really wasn't a problem at all. Just a time clock thing.

One thing I did find interesting was that when the kids saw the end product they said "Why are there green dots on him?".......so I explained the indention thing and that in many pictures from the cartoon I googled about him they were a green shade and not just a deeper shade of yellow. So they did their own google - and yes they did come up with a few pics that show it a more gold or golden tan - and they made a strong point of making sure I could have gone the gold colro route.........but most of the pics had green spores - so they did concede a bit. That was a fun lesson for them about how you can look at something all the time and may not really see everything it. I could go into in deeper detail about this lesson with them - but since they were just coming to this realization and I was the only thing they were focusing on the conversation really went into how they never noticed these different not so flattering things about me..........but at least they were learning right?

This cake was Chocolate Chocolate Chip. Vanilla Buttercream icing and a Vanilla Fondant. Although I am always surprised how many people think a yellow or brown fondant must be lemon or chocolate.......funny how our brains work right?

Now go look at something for a few minutes and write down all the things you noticed and see if you got them all right.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Goals and Following

OHMYGOODNESS - we are up to FIVE Followers. Yeah, I know the Evil Voice in my head is saying - Come on Patti 5 is kinda Lame isn't it? I mean other cake blogs have THOUSANDS - Geez O Bakerella has HUNDREDS of thousands!! You have 5.....and no matter how cool those 5 followers may be - 4 of them are directly related to you in some fashion. So don't get all geek'd out excited.

Maybe that is True I tell the Evil Voice in my head - but I have FIVE people who are remotely interested in actually seeing what I put up.........enough that they have clicked a button to follow it!! And that is the Beginning of the Positive End you Evil Voice in my head. I mean today 5 - four months from now maybe 7 - and then so on and so on and so on. Shoot - Mrs. Burns just pointed out that I have a typo on my Ipsy Bipsy Cake Shop card. Maybe once that is corrected (takes a teacher to notice a spelling error right? Because my IT husband who was hired to do the spell checking - he get free muffins (pun intended) - wasn't able to see it)the Cake Blog World Will Be Mine!!!

Now imagine my excitement when the Blog Reaches 10!! Shoot at 10 followers I think I will ask for EVERYONES address and send them cookies. Let's plan for that - what kind of cookie cutter shall we make the cookies in? What is a sign of success? Shamrock is luck......I cataloged my cookie cutters (yes I am a dork - I told you all this a million blogs ago) and it seems I have almost 200 cookie cutters - this is counting the tiny ones. So give me some suggestions of what shape these cookies should be in as a sign of reaching a goal.

Speaking of Goals........I have made enough profit off of cakes for friends that I bought my son a new mattress!! Okay I have bought other things too - like the payment of bills, but that is not nearly as exciting as a mattress right? Oh, it is? A mattress is kinda lame too? Hush Evil Voice - no one invited you here. Well I have also purchased a bunch of new bakery tools too. I could list them, but it would bore most of you to unfollow me - and that is working against the goal. Since we are Goal Oriented here let's not do that.

So in conclusion (because that sounds smart)......10 Followers and then Cookies.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

If You Give a Cake a Cookie

This week we decided it was time to do my son, Ben's, teachers Half Birthday. Why a Half Birthday? Well primarily because my friend, Stephanie - our class lead, and the rest of us helping out in the class MISSED her real birthday. That was in September. So close to the start of the school year that honestly we didn't feel terrible about missing it - because we hardly had our backpack's on straight enough to have caught it. Yet at the same time - we LOVE LOVE LOVE Mrs. Burns and didn't want her to think we weren't "thinking" of her. So we counted 6 months from the month and had a party.

Now best laid plans are sometimes better then the actual happening. Stephanie contacted our favorite student teacher - Ms. Brown - who ALL the boys have a crush on (although Ben would deny this.........his friend, Malik, called him out on it by saying, "Dude you know you crush on her because we all think she is hot" - I even think she is very cute so he was totally fibbing). Anyway - Stephanie contacted Ms. Brown who helped her send out notes to the class asking for donations for a gift. Then I made a cake.......since we were buying her a gift card to a scrapping store I thought a cute Scrapbook Replica cake. Had it all planned out to the gumpaste scissors.

Then Ms. Brown let us know that while we could still do the party........it would also be the day they do the Multiplication Ice Cream party. You earn a scoop and/or topping for every times table you complete. Ben earned both scoops and 6 toppings with whipped cream - yea Ben!! Which seems weird since they did 0 - 12........where are the other toppings? So anyway - now we were doing the Birthday at the same time as the Ice Cream - as a parent we did the responsible thing and downsized the cake to a "Take Home Gift". Cake AND Ice Cream might be a party tradition, but it makes for a giant mess in the class and we didn't want to take away from the experience of what toppings they earned.

So the cake morphed. I was still thinking gumpaste scissors - but then I thought about the fact that it was very close to St. Pat's........and we are TOTALLY lucky to have such a Great Teacher.....and I just received a delivery of cutters.....and I was COMPLETELY surprised that the shamrock I bought was GIGANTIC!! and immediately thought "well that is as big as an 8" cake round......and I wanted to try out my cookie cutters and a few cookie recipes.......so why not use cookies to border the cake and top it with a cute Shamrock with a message?

Idea born. Cake Baked (I know Mrs. Burns a chocolate fan). Cookies Baked (I didn't know she was a shortbread cookie fan - bonus!). Cake Decorated!

Turned out pretty cute. A little icing flare at the bottom and the cake only took a few more minutes to decorate. Love the cookie thing. Ben came in as I was finishing and said in an unbelieving and thinking I had lost my mind voice (you know how kids do that?)...."Why would you put cookies on a cake?"....I said, "To decorate it and tell Mrs. Burns how lucky we are to have her teaching you." Ben thought for a minute and then said, "So she gets cake AND COOKIES TOO? She is the lucky one." followed by, "Are there any cookies left?"

This cake was Chocolate Chocolate Chip with a Chocolate Buttercream icing and small Cinnamon Shortbread Cookies and one giant Traditional Sugar Cookie.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Cookie Time!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!! One day late - yeah yeah, but I still posted these pretty close to the date I actually made them. So many of the cakes are going up a few weeks - sometimes months after I make the cake.............unless the person I made it for has asked me specifically to put it up here so that they can share it with friends or family.

Anyway - cookies are something new for me. I guess making and baking cookie cutter cookies would seem to be a Gimme since I am decorating cakes, but in my sometimes addled head it seemed as though decorating cookies would be tedious. Honestly........all those sprinkles and jimmies are what I am avoiding.

Then people started to ask - Can You Do Decorated Cookies? And I found myself saying - Sure.........and buying cool cookie cutters and googling Royal Iced Cookies. Although I do already have a TON of cookies cutters! At least 200 - I know this because I cataloged them to make sure that I didn't buy anymore doubles in the same size.

To mess around and for a cake I thought I would make 3 sugar cookie style recipes. 1 Traditional Sugar Cookie - 1 Shortbread Cookie and 1 Cinnamon Cookie (I just added cinnamon - not brain surgery in my kitchen). Then made a bunch of shamrocks!! Tah Dah!!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Coach Tim

This is a cake I did a bit ago. Never was caught up with the cakes and now I find that since I have let myself fall another week + a few days behind it might take me a bit longer. Still Tim's cake has been waiting and waiting and waiting - and I know Catherine likes to look at the pictures and I know it is fun to see things that you recognize.

Tim is one of my favorite people - he is part of one of my favorite families too! and husband to one of my favorite friends. When Catherine asked me to make him a cake she said "simple". I am totally good with simple, but Catherine keeps sending me her friends and they have me do creative things.........so I wanted to do Creative for Catherine too. I asked her if there wasn't something that he enjoys (if you know them you know that they are huge WV fans..........so I kinda figured she might say something in that line) - Catherine said no, not really.

Through the year Tim has been subbing for one of our gym teachers. I see him all the time at school in his "Coach" uniform with a whistle hanging around his neck. That is how I have been thinking about him in my head......as Coach Tim........I asked if I could deco the cake with a coach whistle and Catherine said that would be fun.

I didn't realize how "not so easy" making a whistle would be. And my in-experience with modeling things did not lend itself to being over successful the first few tries with modeling a whistle. Eventually, however, I was able to figure it out. I let it dry for a few days and then I painted it with Silver Luster dust and let it dry again - then attached the pieces together - let it dry again for another day. The one thing I am learning is that anything fondant modeling based I should start about 5 days ahead of time. I am also learning that fondant takes longer to dry then gumpaste. At this point though I wasn't quite ready to admit that gumpaste was a bit easier to use.

Day of the birthday I baked the cake. Catherine said simple and chocolate - so simple and chocolate is what I did. A basic cake with a basic icing and a kinda fun little swirl and a trim that looked a bit like a fancy rope.

Next I topped it with the whistle and a thin line of fondant for a rope. Now this is one way that using gumpaste might have been smarter. The fondant thread I created kept breaking when I would attempt to move it up onto the cake. Gumpaste is a bit hardier and could have been moved easier. Live and learn right?

End of cake deco though..........and tah dah...........a Coach Tim cake!! Cute and simple. Now Catherine tells the story that when they presented it Tim really enjoyed it. He was planning in his head to save it and take it to work to show people.......only before he could say what his plan was his daughter (my favorite friend of Andersen's - see how their family is full of favs?) plucked the whistle off the cake and bit it in half. Whoops.

This cake was Chocolate Chocolate Chip with a Chocolate Buttercream icing.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!!!

How old would Dr. Seuss be today? Well he was born March 2, 1904 (do the math and you will see 107 he would be).......same year as the St. Louis World's Fair where hot dogs and ice cream cones were born!! Can you tell I am from St. Louis? Course Dr. Seuss wasn't - he was born in Springfield, Massachusetts (where my favorite friend Noel lives). I wonder if they treat Seuss's birthday around that area like they do Abraham Lincoln around here in central Illinois?

A few years back I read a little about him in a bio. He remembered back that as a child his mom would soothe them by sing songing chants about things. That made me feel good because I do that with my kids - maybe they will grow up inspired by my sing song rhyming chants.........."If you don't pick up your shoes you will soon be singing the blues"....."Eat the greens on the plate or you will never go on a date - you'll stay home with us and miss the bus that includes doing anything away from us"......"I've said it once, I've said it twice, Make is say it again and you'll pay a price"........think those will make my kids brilliant children's book writers?

Well Ben did just win the Young Authors award - so there is hope right?

Anyway.......these were fun to make and they will be fun to take to school. I googled Cat In The Hat cupcakes and found this idea. The kids will get a big kick out of them because besides being served yummy icing - they will also get some cotton candy (because we all know that a cupcake is a cupcake after all - the real treat is the icing - cupcake is simply a catalyst to carry icing for kids).

Now - if you are going to copy this cupcake - KNOW THE FOLLOWING - Do Not create the entire cupcake and then wrap the box to keep the moisture of the cupcake in. Okay - go ahead - flick me in the forehead - but YES I DID THIS. Within 2 hours my Thing 1's and 2's hair were totally flat. Sigh.

You Live You Learn You Take Your Turn Doing Things Once and Sometimes Twice - Just Be Sure To Tah Dah at the Finish With Something Nice.

Tah Dah - these cupcakes were something new. Applesauce (oh my goodness YUM! - tastes kinda like apple crisp a bit.) There is a Cream Cheese Marshmallow filling and a Vanilla buttercream icing. VERY Yum!! My neighbor came by and I fed her my sample - she said "YUMMO!!" I ate the filling hole scraps and agreed!