Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Brag corner

Wow!Three posts for today, that's a new record :-)
I just couldn't miss the opportunity to tell you that I've just won the Grand prize on Creative-baby-shower-ideas.com!!!
I've totally forgot that I've signed up for it but they've contacted me yesterday to tell me I've won :-)
I can't begin to tell you how happy am I!!!
This is my first competition ever, the cake that I participated in with is my first fondant cake ever, and I won the Grand prize!
That is a cause for celebration!!! Have a cake on me! LoL
The cake that the one I've made for my friend Rose, you all remember probably the " Pox News" post, when it turned out my daughter had the chicken pox and I've made 2 cakes for 50 people each. Remember now? Well, I've cried the whole weekend, since we had to eat the 100 pieces ourselves, but if somebody have told me then I was going to win this competition, I wouldn't believe it!
Thank you Creative baby shower ideas!

Here is the cake, just to remind you:

Rose's babyshower cake

Rose's babyshower cake

Rose's babyshower cake

Rose's babyshower cake

Rose's babyshower cake

The photo quality is not great, but this was Pre-Canon era. :-)

My very first fondant cake...Wow!
I still can't believe it...

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Care Bears birthday cake

Hi all,
although it is very simple, I had quite a trial with this cake. It was like my hands weren't mine! On top of that my daughter ( 2y) ate the first decoration with royal icing, so I had to make fondant patchwork, which was way difficult that I expected, considering I didn't have a mold or cutter or anything! I was just looking from the picture, I coulndn't use even the transfer paper, because it turned out my pencils give the fondant " dirty look"! Terrible! Then my Royal icing all of a sudden just started to melt on top of the cake ( that was a first one!) overall, it wasn't my day. Sorry about the bad pitures, I just so didn't like it that I didn't want to bother to even try to take good pitures.

As I said before, the top is a patchork, not a drawing.
Did I mention that my thingy that makes the tiny little ropes finaly broke, so I had to make them by hand ( sigh)?

The cake was supposed to be different, but now I just hope the girl likes it.
We are going to pick up our puppy in couple of hours, so I'll be posting today again I guess :-)

Friday, October 31, 2008

The H day :-)

Ok, I won't torment you any more!!!
Here are the pictures from the October Cake challenge that we organized from the BG-Mamma forum!
This is my cake of course :-):

I take great pride in the tail :-)
The actual bird took me a week, not because it was that difficult, but it was very tricky and VERY FRAGILE and that alone was enough to give me some trouble :-)
Thanks again to Scott Clark Wooley, I had my luster dust in time! I almost had a heart attack when I found out that I ran out and it was a day before I was supposed to cut the cake :-)
My cake was about the legend of the Firebird, a Bulgarian fairytale, concerning golden apple and a bird ;-)
You can check the whole album here, to see how I made the bird, the cake etc.
My oven wasn't working right, so I couldn't bake the bottom tier ( huge mistake), so I had to use a different( caramel cake), less stable than the fruit cake I had for the top and middle tier. This led to a structural problem, then the lights I used when taking the pictures started to melt the fondant, it was not a very good photo shoot :-) But I know where my mistake was, I've done better before on the structure, so I am sure it was one time problem :-)
I am going to post probably in the next couple of days the recipes.
If you have any questions or comments, you can either use the blog or you can leave comments right under the pictures in Flickr.
See you very very soon ( I have another cake to make for 10th)!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Dora the Explorer and Co.

As you can guess from the title, the theme of the actual birthday party my little girl had was Dora the Explorer. As I mentioned in the previous post, I had an accident and my hand and arm were sore for quite a while. Unfortunately participating in the cake challenge with the wedding cake didn't help at all , so I was really worried if I am going to be able to make my girl a cake at all. That was the reason why you are getting less " cake news" from me this month compared to last year, when I had to make 4 cakes in a month. Well, my beloved husband had to blow the candle on a ice cream box, and perhaps the same fate awaits me next week :-) I just want to give my hand a rest as much as possible, but leaving my little girl with no cake was not an option.
I am glad, that I had the strength to actually finish it and even my hand wasn't that bad, surprisingly! You can see more pictures of the finished product here.
One important thing I had learned from this cake is that I can't make a fondant figure following step-by-step instruction by other person. Don't ask me why, I have no idea, but looking at a picture and making my own figure works way better for me. Having in mind that, you can tell I looked at other website how to make Dora and Boots, and in my opinion I could have done a lot better if I didn't. For the other figures I looked at pictures of the actual characters and I think I did better job.
Well, considering that I almost couldn't make the cake, I think is perfect :-) At least the little girl's eyes were sparkling that day! :-)
I apologise for the bad pictures, but to be honest I have other worries at the moment and I didn't feel up to " staging up" the cake or process the pictures for that matter.
They are more " just for the record" and not the "magazine type" but if everything is OK, I think I'll have something else to show you sooner than you think! :-)
The next cake challenge starts 1st of October and on 1st of November we are going to show the cakes, the theme is " Nontraditional story characters".
I am sure you all are eager to see what all the amazing cake ladies are going to do, so am I! Have some patience, I'll keep you posted!
Thanks to everybody who wrote me for support and the ones who had me and my family in they prayers, I really need that at the moment!
See you all soon!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Cake challenge!

I know that you've waited for this for a long time, but here we are :-)

The BG-Mamma Forum's Cake Challenge is over! It's “ Judgment day” LOL!

You can see all of the wedding cakes here. The picture I've posted is of my cake, it is called “ Butterfly Bliss- Tandoori”. As you can see I am playing around a lot with my new camera :-) By the way you can leave comments under each cake from the challenge if you want, English or other language, it doesn't matter. :-)

The girls did an amazing job! The most difficult part now is the discussion and the criticism we have to give and receive :-)

Here are couple of words about my cake:

The bottom tier is an old-fashion coconut cake from the Dessert Bible with coconut buttercream ( just bake the coconut and add it to the buttercream), the top tier is mocca cake with chocolate cream with sliced almonds.

I had a lot of work with this one, especially because of the pipping- it took me 1 hour to actually make the inside lace on the cake. This was my first time working with embossers ( lace etc), it took a little bit of practice but at the end it was OK I think, for a first time :-)

The ball is plastic Christmas tree ball, that I covered with fondant and then “glued” it together with water. I cut the pieces of fondant with the embosser and placed them on top of the ball. The butterflies are fondant as well, a little bit of pipping there too.

Overall...my right hand was 3 sizes bigger ( I told you in the previous post how I had a stupid accident, but the pipping made it even worse), so I had trouble taking the pictures, but overall I am OK with the result, because it turned out exactly as I imagined!:-)

The other news is that I officially "left" Webshots and transfered my pictures at Flickr, so I have a new cake albums and collections if you want to see them.

I hope you enjoy it! :-)

Monday, June 16, 2008

June news

Oklahoma Sugar Art show and Wedding cake competition, does that ring a bell?
If not, wait until October 2008 and I'll show you what I am talking about :-)
I really REALLY and I mean R-E-A-L-L-Y hope to go! If I do, I'll provide you guys with updates and pictures :-) I promise!
If anyone per chance has love for cakes and is going too- leave me a comment, maybe we can exchange information!

Now, no to keep you in the dark, I am working on perfecting my bagels! I've been doing this for couple of weeks, they are still not the perfect ones I wish to make! But I am getting there, no worries! Once I do, I'll post step by step instruction and pictures. Until now, all my neighbours are very happy I continue with the experiments :-)

Another thing I started is promoting the idea of a cake challenge at the Bulgarian forum I am a member of. It is going to be in July and I will keep you posted with news and pictures of the stuff I make.

Until then, I am keeping busy busy, busy and " thinking Bee" ( by the way great movie " the bee movie" !) !

Have a nice summer!

Friday, June 13, 2008

An old recipe with a new flare to it!

This is a recipe I've used for Kalin's famous Buzz Lightyear cake, but we liked it so much, that after more than a year, I decided to make it for Ellie's Tinkerbell as well.
The difference is, that this year I shot step-by-step while I was making it, so here it is now with the corrections and changes.

The original recipe for this cake ( Heavenly Devil's food cake) is again from Christopher Kimball's " The dessert bible".

- First make sure that all ingredients are room temperature! It is extremely important!
- Preheat the oven at 350F. The original recipe calls for three 8 inch cake pans but I needed a 9"/11" sheet cake pan( both for Ellie's Tinkerbell and Kalin's Buzz Lightyear cake, so I double the recipe. Cover the bottom of each pan you use with a piece of parchment paper.
Ellies3rd Bday cake001


( Note: this is the original recipe, not the doubled one! If you want to use it in a sheet cake pan, double the ingredients! If you are going to use it in three 8 inch cake pans- use it as is!)

1 1/4 cups boiling water
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate chopped
1/4 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cake flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 pound ( 2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened but still firm
1 1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt

1. Stir in the boiling water, chocolate and cocoa together and reserve.
If for some reason ( like if your chocolate is to coarsely chopped) you can't melt the chocolate with boiling water, you can use a Bain Marie ( water bath) to do that. Then gradually add the boiling water and cocoa.
Ellies3rd Bday cake004

2. Combine the dry ingredients- flour,salt, baking soda and sift together.
Ellies3rd Bday cake007

3. Beat the softened butter on medium high for 1 minute.Ot's supposed to look creamy as on the picture. No lumps allowed!
Ellies3rd Bday cake003

Ellies3rd Bday cake015

4. Add the brown sugar, vanilla and beat until fluffy. You can still see the pieces of sugar, but it's creamy!
Ellies3rd Bday cake018

5. Add one egg at a time and beat on high for 30 seconds. Be very careful with the last egg you add, you might want to beat it in less than 30 sec, since sometimes ( depending on the size of the eggs) it can be too much on the butter and you risk to overwork it. Add the sour cream( I prefer it tan yogurt and beat until well combined on medium speed. Be sure to scrape the bowl often! ( I apologize for the pictures here, but unfortunately I forgot to turn on the flash :-(

Ellies3rd Bday cake012

6. Add half of the chocolate mixture to the cake batter( be sure to stir well before you add it) and half of the dry ingredients. Beat on low or even stir and then add the rest of the chocolate mixture and the rest of the dry ingredients. Scrape the bowl and continue to stir by hand ( just folding).

Ellies3rd Bday cake020

7. Pour the batter into the pans and bake for 20 to 25 minutes( if you make a sheet cake I would double that, but check it around 40 min), as you rotate the pans halfway through. When it is ready, let it cool on a baking rack for 10 minutes. Then release the edges with a knife and turn it over on the cooling rack. Peel off the parchment paper. Let the cake cool completely before you start working with it.

Ellies3rd Bday cake021

If you are going to sculpt a cake you might want to freeze the layers before shaping.

I'll post the Tinkerbell pictures a little bit later :-)

/>You can check the recipe for the all purpose lemon cake here.

The long overdue cake recipes

I know, I know...It has been almost a month since I promised to post the recipes for the cake layers of the Buzz Lightyear cake.
Now tonight, even if I am half asleep, I'll post them!
I used 2 basic recipes - a Devil's food dark chocolate cake layer and All purpose yellow lemon cake. Both are from the book of Christopher Kimball " The dessert bible". You probably got tired of me singing him praises, but what can I do?! He is just unbelievable! I had never tried a better tasting layers in my entire life! The lemon one was moist, rich and the lemon flavor exploded in your mouth, but the chocolate one...Gosh, just by thinking of it...it is mouth watering! Rich chocolate flavor and so moist, that I bet you have never tried a better one!

First make sure that all ingredients are room temperature! It is extremely important! I finally bought a digital thermometer and I am sooo happy with it!
Next thing, preheat the oven at 350F.
Grease two 9 inch cake pans and cover the bottom of each pan with a circle of parchment paper. Now, for the Buzz Lightyear I used recipe and a half and baked it at 9"/11" rectangular pan.

Master Recipe for All-Purpose Yellow lemon cake

2 1/2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons ( 1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened but still firm ( 58-65 F)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
5 large eggs at room temperature
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon extract
1 tablespoon ( or more) lemon zest

Mix the dry ingredients together.
In a mixer bowl stir the butter, then gradually add the sugar , beat around 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating on high speed for 30 seconds. Now at this point if your butter looks grainy- it is too cold! It has to be room temperature! The batter has to be smooth!
After all of the eggs are beaten in. beat for 1 more minute. Add one third of the flour and the milk and beat on LOW speed until incorporated. Add the vanilla and lemon, then the remaining flour and milk. Scrape the bowl and continue to mix by hand. Divide the batter between the 2 pans and bake for about 30 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking.
When the layers are ready, take them out of the oven, let them cool for 5 minutes and then take them out. At this point I left them to cool down completely, then I wrapped in plastic wrap and put them in the freezer. It is so much easier to work with frozen layers!!!
And that's it :-) Sorry I don't have a better picture of it, but you can get the idea.

The recipe for the Devil's food cake follows.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The suffering of my Lightning McQueen cake

I have never thought I could feel so sick and be able to actually do a fine work as a fondant figure!
A friend of mine asked me to make her son's birthday cake and I was happy to do it, until I got sick( not contagious thing, no worries)! I could barely stand on my feet from pain, it was horrible!
I started the cake around 1 pm, from scratch of course and the cake is supposed to be ready for tomorrow morning. Nothing had the time to dry up, I really hope the cake can stay together before cutting. If I hadn't promised the kid, I would have just climbed in bed and would ask nobody to bother me, but that's what we do for children.
I am not happy with the result, because my initial idea was a little bit different, and I could definitely have made the car much, much better, but I was in pain and it is really difficult to concentrate and do stuff in situation like this.
On top of that we had a plumbing problem, so I couldn't use the kitchen sink, my washer almost died today...not a very good day overall.

Now I am going to show you how I made Lightning McQueen, and again, I apologize for the pictures quality, I couldn't repeat shots because I was so in a hurry to finish it and lie down.
Everything started with a big lump of red fondant:

I found it more convenient to work with my hands, rather with the tools, but they had their usefulness as well.
Then I made the basic shape:

Then I made the back of the car

And the front of the car again:

Then I made the windows and ceiling:

And the "eyes" as well:

And the "eye lids":

And at this point my camera died AGAIN.
But basically I looked the original toy car and I tried to make it look like it. The initial idea was to actually stand on the wheels, but the fondant was so soft, because it didn't have the time to dry up, so I had to "toothpick" the wheels ( you can actually see the toothpicks on the pictures, I am going to remove them tomorrow morning, when it is a little bit more dry).
As much as I was excited to do another Pixar character, I felt so sick, that unfortunately I didn't enjoy it very much.
And Lightning really has a lot of possibilities for making, it is a shame I didn't have the opportunity to make it a little bit better. But well, what can you do..At least I think the kid is going to like it :-)

I made chocolate cake with chocolate ganache ( an order from the little guy :-)) and almonds.

The idea about the extra wheels came up later in the making ( I can't believe I was actually able to think at the time), so we can place the candle on top of them tomorrow.
I know I could have done a better job with the words, but cut me some slack, I could barely see at the moment.
And Lightning up close ( and personal):
Left side view:

The black and white squares were easier than I thought to make, I am happy I didn't have trouble with that.

Here the toothpicks are almost invisible :-) I hope it is dry enough tomorrow to take them out.
My husband was amazed with the Rust.Eze sign :-)
Well, I hope Deni likes it :-) Will let you know! :-)

Friday, May 23, 2008

A Buzz Lightyear cake - tribute to Buzz, the best space ranger ever -Part 2

A little pre-history if you are interested in keeping the chronology:
- the first posting about how to make a Buzz Lightyear from fondant
- the second posting about the finished Buzz Lightyear figure
-the first posting about baking the Buzz space ship cake
Here you are going to see how I made the small parts for the cake. Before we start I should mention, that if you have letter embosser, your work is going to be much, much more easier. I don't have one, so I had to do each letter by hand. First I printed the picture of the letters from Internet, then with the needle tool I punctured trough it onto the fondant and finally I cut with bot small paper scissors and a palette knife. It was very difficult and frustrating, and the result is not satisfying for me, so my advise( and note to self)- buy an embosser!

Here are the ready letters and the small "picture pins" that I made for the wings:

You can see the "pins" up close here:

This part I cut out of fondant, added the "rocket" body so it would look like a 3D, then I let it dry for a couple of minutes and painted it with food colors on top:

Then I "glued" everything with water
I apologize once again for the bad quality of the pictures, I am getting a new camera soon!

I forgot to take a picture of the 2 black stripes on the side, the one has " Space" the other "Ranger" sign.

And front view again:

Side view of the finished cake:

Left side view:

Right side view:

Top view:

Up close view of the top:

Ladies and Gentlemen, now is the moment of truth, would Buzz like his new ship or not :-)

Light, camera, action:

Buzz sure likes to be a model ( a top model I would say ;-) )

And at this point my camera died and I couldn't take a single picture after that.

Now I am waiting my very good friend whom I called (again) at night time, to bring her camera and take couple of pictures. I will post them when I have them :-)
I would really appreciate your comments and if you want to know how I did this or that, just ask!
-How to make a Buzz from fondant
- The finished Buzz figure-
- How to make Buzz's ship ( this is the one I think would be most use for for you, because you can see the shape of the layers)
- Decorating Buzz's ship
- The cake recipes ( yellow all purpose cake layer)
- The cake recipes 2 ( the Devil's food cake layer)

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