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 #48 – Nina’s Baby Shower Cake


Sorry it’s taken so long but I have a new job and it’s been occupying a lot of my time. That being said, I have new cakes!nina1

I decided to throw my friend Nina a baby shower.  I didn’t have much of a theme other than pink (she’s having a little girl).  So I just went with it.  I threw the party at my house and literally just grabbed any pink decor I could find.

I just bought some new chevron cutters from Etsy and I wanted to try them out.  So I set out to make a cake with chevrons on top, polka dots on the bottom and a big floppy bow on top.

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To top it all off, I made my first “realistic” person topper.  I made Nina all cute and pregnant on top of the cake.  The most fun part of the topper was definitely her hait.  I used a clay extruder to make long strands of hair and then to get them to be curly, I wrapped them around toothpicks and let them dry for about 5 minutes or so.  I also covered the top of her head with the same color fondant so you wouldn’t see any bald head peeking through.  It came out great but boy were those curls delicate.nina2

The cake was vanilla cake with salted caramel buttercream (which is definitely my fav now). The 12 or so guests at the party were only able to eat the top tier of the cake so I packaged it up and sent it home with Nina for her and her hubby to enjoy.

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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 #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 #39 – Spongebob Square Cake!

Who lives in a pineapple on top of a cake?

I was asked to make a birthday cake for my neighbors two kids.  They have a lot of varied interests but one consistant theme for them is their love of Spongebob.  That seemed like a natural choice for a cute kid’s cake.

I made Spongebob and the pineapple out of rice krispies and covered them both in modeling chocolate.  This was a challenge.  I hadn’t really worked with modeling chocolate before and I decided to make my own.  The problem with modeling chocolate is that you need to let it sit overnight at room temperature before you use it.  I didn’t have that luxury.  So I put it in our beverage fridge which isn’t quite as cold as a regular refrigerator just to get it cooler quicker.  But unfortunately when you force modeling chocolate to cool quickly, it has a tendency to separate and get oily. I managed to salvage enough modeling chocolate to cover Spongebob and the pineapple but it was a challenge.

For the cake, I made a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting.  I carved into the cake to give it that cute shape which I think was perfect for a fun, 1 tiered cake.  I finished the cake with brown sugar “sand” and royal icing shapes with pearl dragées. I made the “foam” at the bottom with white buttercream.  I also found this really cute green edible glitter that really looked like seaweed.

This cake came out really cute and I hope they enjoyed it.

Week #32 – Blue Ombre Cake

For my friend Shawn’s birthday cake I was told 3 things: vanilla cake, fruit center and he likes blue. So I decided now was the time to try out this buttercream ombre effect.

It’s pretty easy to do.  Using a piping bag with no tip, cut a large hole.  Pipe one large ring around the cake in your darkest color on the bottom.  Then lighten up that buttercream by adding in some white and pipe another ring higher up the cake.  Repeat until you reach the top.  Once all the rings are piped, use a straight edge spatula to flatten out that buttercream and it will organically create this lovely ombre effect.

I was really happy with this cake but next time I may make more of a contrast from the darkest color to the lightest. The cake was vanilla butter cake with raspberry jam on the inside (yum!).

Sorry about the pictures – we lost a card with photos on it so most of these are from the iPhone.

Week #31 – Threadless Challenge Attempt 2

This cake was the trifecta of cake decorating for me. I wanted to make a sculpted cake (specifically a dog), I wanted to make a mustache cake and I wanted to make a hipster cake. Bam! All three.

The design is called “Boston Intellectual” and you can buy a cardigan with this lovely fellow embroidered into it here.

The hardest part of this cake was definitely the glasses and the mustache. Getting them to defy gravity was very hard. What I discovered is that the thinner I made the gum paste, the better off I’d be. Even though it could break easier, the weight wouldn’t pull it off the cake. So I used my pasta roller to get the gum paste to a nice, thin consistency.

I loved making this cake. It was such a fun design and fairly straightforward to execute. I made the head out of 2 round cakes, one 8 inch and one 6 inch. I made the ears out of rice cereal treats on toothpicks and the glasses and mustache is gum paste. All other details are fondant. I put plastic drinking straws down the center so the cake could hold it’s own weight.

The cake is vanilla butter cake topped with blue vanilla icing.  I had some blue icing left over from another cake. Waste not want not.

I have a ton more pictures but I will put them up on my flickr page.

This is the cake I decided to actually submit to the contest.  You can see my entry here.

UPDATE:

I brought the cake into my office for my coworkers to enjoy.  They had a lot of fun with the cake.