Week #52 – Happy Birthday To Me!

Well folks, we’ve made it. Cake number 52.  I always knew I wanted to make the 52nd cake my birthday cake. I wanted to make my cake epic and fun and quirky and purple.  And that’s exactly what I did.

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I made the cake a topsy turvy with a simple fondant covering on the bottom adorned by a ruffle and a ton of pink and silver dragrees. They were a huge pain to attach because they kept falling off the cake but eventually I got them to stick.

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The top tier was covered in hundreds of folder circles to make the pretties ruffles ever!  While I was making them I kept thinking, I feel like I’m on Project Runway. It does look like a fabulous ball gown right?

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The cake was my favorite, vanilla cake with salted caramel buttercream.  I dyed half the cake pink and the buttercream purple for a fun little surprise once you cut into the cake.

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Thank you all for a great year+. It’s been a total wild ride and I’ve learned a lot.  Stay turned for recaps and deep thoughts.

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Week #51 – A Jackson Pollock Birthday

First of all, let me apologize for the ridiculous delay in posting my final two cakes.  They’ve actually been done for months now.  Unfortunately, someone (that I might be married to) lost the pictures for this cake so all I have is the spin.

This cake was a very special birthday cake for a very special 2 year old.  When he was a baby, I used to babysit Eli quite a lot so he’s my special little guy.  When his mom asked if I would make him a birthday cake of course I said yes.  But his mom also had some requests for the cake.  She wanted low sugar, low fat and as healthy as I could make it.  This is a major challenge for cake decorators.  Usually you go with the tried and true cake recipes that you know will hold up.  But I decided to be a bit adventurous with this one.

I used apple sauce as a replacement for oil which also added some natural sweetness so I removed some of the sugar.  For the filling, I used fresh berries.  I used my regular old buttercream recipe but there was  a lot less of it because of the berries.

The cake was milk chocolate with a really yummy milk chocolate buttercream.  All the ingredients (except the fondant) were organic and as local as I could get.  It took a little bit more work but I think Eli’s parents were happy with the result.

The party was held at the children’s museum in Tribeca. The theme of the party was Jackson Pollock. The kids got to splatter paint everywhere and make an abstract piece of art. It was adorable. So I decided to go with a gum paste paint brush and palate. And for some color made some fondant paint splatters and paint tubs pouring out color onto the cake.  I loved the way this cake came out.  So cute!

Week #47 – Boys 1st Birthday

A former co-worker of mine asked me if I would make a birthday cake for her son’s 1st Birthday.  How could I say no?

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I had to make the cake ahead of time because I was going out of town so I needed to make sure it was a cake they could refrigerate. So no fondant.  I decided to go with the ruffle buttercream because it looks great and even though it’s a ruffle it’s pretty gender neutral.

The only thing I had to work with was a picture of a banner that I translated into his name and a onesie with a big striped 1 on it.

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The cake is vanilla butter cake and the bottom tier has a salted caramel buttercream, the middle tier has a lemon buttercream and the top (the smash cake) was vanilla all the way through.  The cake was a lot of fun to make but surprisingly time consuming.  Many thanks to my wonderful mom who actually helped with the letters and rolled all of those colored beads for me.

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Week #46 – Mini Birthday Cake


I made this mini birthday cake to go with my Epic Robot Cake but I forgot the cake during delivery.  Turns out I really didn’t need it but I thought the cake was too cute to just leave.

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So I brought it to my in-laws and we shared a little dessert after dinner.minicake2

The cake is vanilla butter cake with vanilla buttercream.  I made the candles out of fondant with a wire running through them. It came out super cute.minicake3

Week #45 – Epic Robot NY Tech Cake

I was asked to make a cake for the NY Tech Council for their 3rd Birthday/Networking party.  I was only given a logo and some colors to work with, the rest was up to me.  I immediately thought about robots as the universal icon of tech-dom and put him in a party hat, sitting on a bunch of presents.

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The challenge with this cake was that it’s big, really, really big.  I would guess when it was all assembled it weighed about 50 pounds. My poor husband had to carry it to the taxi and then to the party.  The base of the cake was a 16″x16″ square and had 3 layers inside of it.  This was a big, heavy cake.

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The robot and box top are made from rice krispies and the “tissue paper” is gumpaste rolled out very thin.

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The cake was vanilla butter cake with coffee buttercream and Nutella. The cake was brushed with amaretto and simple syrup.

I used several pounds of fondant and tons of buttercream on this guy.  I have yet to tally up how many eggs, sugar, butter, flour… I used but I’m sure it’s excessive.

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I was very excited to get to use 2 fun non-edible features in the cake.  The first are these adorable wires that I bought from Duff’s cake decoration line.  You can make your own fondant bobbles to put on the end of the wires and they really do create some drama.  The other was these awesome LED party lights for the robot eyes.  I bought them at party city . They last for 8 hours and have a twist on/off mechanism.  I think it really made this cake super special.

Unfortunately I didn’t get to do a rotation video of this cake because it was too heavy for my turntable.robot4

This is the biggest and most epic cake I’ve ever made. It took me about 20 hours total to make and another 10 hours of just planning and sketching. I’m exhausted and I would like to rest now.

Week #44 – Gluten Free Birthday Cake Number 2

After my first Gluten Free Birthday Cake my friend Debbie mentioned that it had been years since she had a beautiful birthday cake to call her own.  So I decided to take that as a hint and make her one.  Her birthday is not until December but she lives in DC so I made one over thanksgiving that she could freeze until her actual birthday. But apparently she couldn’t wait to eat it so she had an early birthday treat :)

The cake was a vanilla gluten free cake brushed with rum with pina collada buttercream. I used a slight variation on my normal buttercream just to see.  It had a very nice texture and was much easier to make but I thought it was a bit too sweet.

Since it was made to freeze, I decided not to cover it in fondant but instead do an ombre buttercream on the outside.  I topped it off with some flowers and a banner with her name on it.  I used my brand new Cricut Cake Mini to make the letters.

Sorry about the pictures but we didn’t have our whole setup in DC to take the pictures.

Week #43 – Futurama

My friend Sam Sleezy asked me to make him a futurama cake last year.  I wasn’t ready to make him the cake I knew he deserved and it didn’t pan out.  But I was determined to make him a great cake this year.

The challenge on this one was making Bender (the robot) and making the sunbeams on the side of the cake. I made bender and the space ship way in advance so they would be  nice a dry before they had to sit on the cake.

To make the sunbeams, I used the wax paper transfer method.  You roll out fondant on to a lightly greased piece of wax paper.  Then you make all your cut outs and without removing the design from the wax paper you press it to the side of the cake.  That way everything stays in place.  I had a little trouble getting it to stick but I think that’s because the cake was too cold.

The top moon shape was baked into a round pan and then I used a ball tool to make the craters, much like the space cake I made a few weeks ago.

The cake was vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream and covered in fondant.  It was a big hit with Sam.

Week #42 – Quick Birthday Cake

I found out one morning that it was my friend’s birthday.  I texted her husband to see if he had bought her a cake and turns out he had not.  So I scrambled and baked a cake that morning.  I had it frosted and decorated by noon.

This is the fastest I’ve ever turned around a cake.  As some of you might know, you should not bake and frost a cake in the same day.  You really need to make sure that the cake is cool and has stopped baking before you frost it.  Otherwise the buttercream will melt.  So I baked this cake and stuck it in the freezer to rapidly cool it. Fortunately it came out pretty well. It sunk a tiny bit in the middle but it held up.

I made vanilla cake with key-lime buttercream.  I also brushed the cake with simple syrup and lime juice and the cake tasted delish.

I made these cute fondant ruffles.  These ruffles are a great way to quickly decorate a cake with a beautiful cascade.  They are super easy to make. All you need to do is roll out the fondant thin but not too thin.  If you’re using a pasta maker, just put it on the thickest setting.  Cut the fondant into circles and fold the circles twice in half.  I let them dry for a few minutes before I put them on the cake so they could hold their shape.

I’m super happy with how this cake came out, considering the time restraint.  I think next time I’ll play with the colors to try to get a slightly brighter yellow.

Week #37 – Cincinnati Bengals Birthday Cake

My friend Josh loves his home team, the Cincinnati Bengals. His lovely wife Suzanne asked if I would make a cake using them as inspiration.

I recently took a class with the fabulous Greggy Soriano who taught me some really great painting effects.  I decided to put those new skills into practice by painting faux bois and hand painting the tiger stripes. I also finally got to use my grass tip to make royal icing grass at the base of the cake.

The cake looked great at the table with Suzanne’s amazing beer cake that actually had beer in it!

I topped the cake off with a black banner to hide some of my smudges.

The cake was vanilla with salted caramel buttercream and covered in fondant.

Week #36 – Spaceman 40th Birthday Cake

Our friend and Neighbor Matthew turned 40 the other day.  So for such a special birthday I decided he needed a special cake. He owns a company called Space Station so space was a pretty good way to go.

I bought a round cake pan that bakes a perfect half circle.  I molded rice krispy treats into the same pan as the base because it would hold up better than cake which would be heavy.  To make the craters, I drew circles of buttercream.  I covered each side with fondant and then assembled them on a single dowel attached to the cake round.

I had a tough time with the assembly because when I put the two pieces together it came out more egg shaped than round.  Still a cool effect, but not exactly what I wanted.  To hide the seam, I made a red banner which said happy birthday on it but it broke.  So I made a plain red banner last minute.

I made the rocket ship out of rice krispies and covered it in fondant and stuck it at the top of the dowel.  I finished off the details with a space man made of gumpaste as well as a flag and a few cute aliens.

I love love love this cake.  It’s full of whimsey and fun and it was a great challenge for me.  It’s my first cake that defies gravity (pun intended) and it’s my first time making characters.

The cake is chocolate with vanilla buttercream and a bit of salted caramel. It was delish if I do say so myself.