Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Happy 2000


Another reason for me to smile today is that my "cake box" video reached 2,018 views already. I love this cake so much. And I hope that in the future I will be able to make something that has a similar theme to this cake. Anniversary and wedding cakes always gets my attention. These kinds of cakes sparked my interest with cake decorating in the first place.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Cake for a star

This is the first time that I ever made a fondant cake for my husband. At first he was a little bit confused why I would make a cake for him. I figured he was not big on cakes but I wanted to make him a cake since I make cakes for other people as well.

The cake was a little bit of a challenge even if it was only a single tier since the topper needed so much detail in it. My hubby is a "big kid", meaning he loves playing game consoles and other stuff a kid would normally enjoy too. And since he is a big fan of Star Wars, I knew it would be the best theme for his cake.

The Design
But this cake was a replica of a Star Wars cake on Flickr , it seemed perfect for me since Obi Wan Kenobi was my husband's favorite character. Although I decided to copy the design, I made some alterations. The position of the topper was altered since I wanted to Obi Wan to flaunt his light saber ( sword ). I also omitted the stars since it will take me a lot of work. I wanted the design to be simple, I had to be practical with my time since I had to do a lot of things aside from making this cake. I got my cake topper how-to's from Debbie Brown's Book, her book really helped me with my last two cakes - figure making wise.

The Cake
There's two recipe that I have been dying to try out in my cakes for sometime now, its a chocolate cake recipe and chocolate ganache. For me, making a chocolate cake from scratch always seemed like a lot of work. But I was corrected when I made this cake -my first chocolate cake ( from scratch ). One thing that I know my husband love is chocolate, and he's more chocoholic than I am. So I thought chocolate cake frosted in butter cream and ganache would be a perfect base for his cake. Ganache is a very nice frosting and it is true that you cannot help but sample it once you're making it, Kate Sullivan wrote that on her book. I am not a real big fan of chocolate but for me ganache is simply heaven. It is a very good medium to crumb coat your cake, frosting cake with it leaves a very nice shiny finish. And if you let it stand and allow it to thicken it creates a sturdy base for fondant which is perfect. And even without the fondant, your cake will look and taste good. I just had to cover mine since we would be travelling and the fondant will keep my cake in place until we reach our destination for hubby's party.

My Discoveries
One challenge that I always have with MMF aka Marshmallow fondant is coloring it. But for tinting the MMF blue for this cake I added generous amounts of the coloring to the melted marshmallow until I got my desired hue prior to adding the powdered sugar. Mix the color fast by using wooden toothpicks.And viola! I have blue MMF. I figured that the white powdered sugar will just blend in.To add more depth with your color once you've covered your cake, just rub small amounts shortening on your cake. Tinting fondant is such a pain for me, finally a solution!

Another Cake Project?
That will be for my son's 3rd birthday, and guess what he decided for the theme? Star Wars! I would say he is a big fan of his dad but not purely Star Wars so he likes what his dad likes. No choice...I will have to make another one, but perhaps another design or character.I really had fun making my husband's cake, I was once again challenged.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Most Ambitious

My 6th cake was a success, if I must say. It was the most challenging cake I've ever done in my cake decorating experience. It took me 4 days to get it all done and I still feel that my preparation wasn't enough. I assembled the cake at the venue since I didn't want to risk having a cake disaster. During the assembly of the cake I felt I was in a Food Network Cake Challenge since I had audience. I was not very early so some of the guest were already there. But it felt very good to get all those compliments from those people since I slaved myself for the cake for days.

Here are things that I learned from this new cake creation experience:

Lesson#1 Be Resourceful
When I started with this hobby I always believed that I can do a lot of things or create things without the help of fancy cake decorating tools. I am a very practical person and right now I don't have a real plan yet of making this hobby into a career. So I felt that there's no need for me to invest on things that I don't intend to use all the time. For this cake I made the tiny flowers (on the girl's dress) by hand using a paring knife, but they do have tools for this. Another thing is I painted the details (eyebrows,eyes and lips) on the girls face using a x-acto knife,toothpick,gel icing colors and clear vanilla instead of an edible marker pen. I have these kinds of pen but I didn't have the right colors.

Lesson#2 Have a Plan
This is important, very important when you make cakes. I've read it from Kate Sullivan's Book (Fancy Cake Decorating: Tips and Techniques for Decorating Unique Cakes for Any Occasion by Kate Sullivan) that it surprises her that she still need to work until wee hours in the morning just to finish her cakes, come to think of it she's already an experienced cake decorator herself. Make a plan of the things that you need for the cake - from ingredients to cake parts. For a 3-tiered cake I think 4 days wasn't enough so it probably should have been 5 or more just to be safe.

Lesson#3 Study your Cake
I did watch a lot of YouTube tutorials for my cake since I used a new medium - Royal Icing for the some of the details in my cake. I also researched on some ideas how I can put it all together. For my cake, I was informed months before the event so I had sufficient time to study on my desired cake structure.

Lessons#4 Don't be afraid to experiment
Since my cake was given as a gift for my friend's daughter, I was not very afraid to mess it up. But of course I wouldn't want to mess it up as well. I tried 2 new things for this cake - Royal Icing and Pearl Dust. And I was not disappointed with the result. Hopefully, in the future I will be using them again.

I'm very happy with how the cake turned out. Through this cake I was able learn a lot of things and its satisfying to know that I was able to make something this huge. It challenged my cake making abilities. And by far, its the most complicated cake I've made. But inspite of all this, I know I still have a lot to learn about this craft and a long way to go.

Click here for a closer look at the pictures: