Saturday, September 30, 2006

Baby Boy

A baby shower cake for the about-to-be grandson of a renowned pro baseball player. Can you count the baseball bats in this picture? Bats, balls, blocks and baby booties are all fondant. Grass, laundry line, clothes pins and trim on the baby duds hanging on the line, are all buttercream

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Blondie's Birthday Cake

Another purse cake. This time for girlfriend of youngest daughter. She's off to college until Thanksgiving, her birthday happened after she went off to school, and she's a purse nut -- so we're sending her this little cake. Hope she likes it.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Twenty Five Years!

Our wedding cake never arrived on that gorgeous September day back in 1981. The bakery had the date wrong. So two friends raced to the grocery store during the ceremony, bought two decorated birthday cakes, took them back to the reception hall, plopped them on top of one another, and voila, instant wedding cake! No one seemed to notice or care that it wasn't the super-healthy no-sugar whole wheat carrot cake with cream cheese frosting that we had ordered. Imagine that.

Our girls are putting on a big shindig for us in celebration of the past 25 years, so you KNOW I just had to make our first-ever official Wedding Cake for the party. I can't even remember what our original cake was supposed to look like -- but I'm sure this one is way prettier.

That's my giant "diamond ring" pin on top. Kind of an inside joke.

Sunday, September 17, 2006


A birthday cake for Annie's mommy (see Annie's cake here)

Daddy brought the flowers, Annie and I made the cake. I'm totally frustrated by my lack of photography skills. This cake is so much more impressive than this picture portrays. Where's my photog-daughter when I need her? Anyway ... it's a German Chocolate cake, iced in chocolate buttercream, with decorated chocolate-slabs stacked around the edge to simulate a 2-level chocolate vase. Enough to make a chocoholic swoon!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Ladies' Luncheon

This cake was made for the Ladies' Altar Guild of a nearby church. They're having a luncheon today to thank all current members and to hopefully recruit new members. Their fall-colored theme for the luncheon is "Hats off to YOU!", with all attendees required to sport a festive hat for the occasion. I thought it might be fun to do a Hat Cake for their dessert, and here's what I came up with. The ladies provided the awesome cake stand.

Monday, September 11, 2006

A friend's birthday cake

Sadly enough, our friend's birthday happens to be 9/11. I made this tiny little personal cake for her. Tried to lift her spirits a bit with a take-off on the classic Victoria's Secret goodie-box. No sexy lingerie inside, just chocolate cake.

Will deliver it to her as soon as (and if) this delicious and very welcome rain lets up ...

The Inside Story

One of most frequent questions I get from folks who have only seen pictures of the outsides of my cakes is, "But what does it look like inside? How can there possibly be a cake in there?" (Okay, that's two questions.)

Well, thanks to the intrepid work of my sister-in-law, we now have a picture of the inside of the white-gold purse cake! Not only did she transport the cake from New Jersey to the fancy Central Park restaurant flawlessly, but she provided the candles-to-blow-out AND she took pictures. After the cake was presented and ooh'd and aah'd over sufficiently, the restaurant removed it to the kitchen for slicing, plating and presentation. I think they did a lovely job. And I was actually surprised to see how pretty the cake looked even after slicing, myself. (Word is that it "tasted amazing", too.)

Friday, September 08, 2006

And ... it's off!

UPDATE: It has arrived successfully intact after 1415 miles of overnight travel-by-air. Yippee!!!

Off on the FedEx plane, that is. Winging its way to New Jersey, to be transported by wheels to NYC on Sunday. I'm much more calmed down about it all now. The cake seemed to "settle into shape" quite nicely as the afternoon wore on. I don't know what it is ... some kind of odd maturing process or something that a cake has to go through after I finish it, before I like what I'm seeing.

Please pray to the Cake Gods that the FedEx Fairies do their job especially well and this masterpiece arrives none the worse for wear. Thank you.

Now, who's fixing my dinner?

Nervous, but no breakdown

Yet, anyway.

The shipper-cake is finished. All I see are its flaws. (This is normal for me, so don't worry.)

Me talking to myself: "Is it 1/64" too tall to fit in the shipping box, now? Is it still too soft, not hardened-off enough, to survive the trip? I KNEW I should have had it done by noon two days ago! Is it awesome, spectacular, even just impressive enough? It's such a small cake, it's hard to make it totally impressive. Have I truly done my best? Is it even halfway interestingly creative? Will she love it/kinda like it/hate it/be disappointed? Should I have gone with an entirely different theme? Does it reflect her personality adequately? Will she 'get' the fondant Rose thing? Does she hate gold and only like silver? It is SO not perfectly symmetrical. It is SO not perfect. Blahbedy blahbedy blah-blah-blah."

Yes, I've been known to drive myself nuts with self-doubt about my creative endeavors.

Youngest daughter just blew through here between classes and work and proclaimed it "...absolutely awesome and perfect for Grandma!" But then, she tends to love everything I do, no matter what. We'll see what photog and chef daughters think.

But even if they proclaim undying admiration, I'll still be on tenterhooks until Sunday afternoon when I find out what GRANDMA thought of it all.

A picture will be posted by late afternoon today.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Further on the concept

Whoops. How'd it get to be Thursday already? Not only that, but it's after 4 pm and I wanted to have that cake iced, carved into its proper shape, iced again, and ready to cover with fondant by now!

Oh well. At least I DID already:

take out the butter to soften (for the buttercream icing)
take the cake out of the freezer to thaw

Don't cringe when you read the words 'cake' and 'freezer' in the same sentence, please. Any carved cake worth its salt (or sugar) needs to be frozen overnight after baking in order to settle, stiffen up, densify, or just in general, get groovy and solid enough to be carved into the amazing shape you have planned for it. This minimal freezing gig does NOT affect the taste of the cake at all. Not my cakes, anyway.

So now I tear myself away from my beloved brand-new Home Office/Guest Room in which my computer now resides, and move to the kitchen wherein I shall make the buttercream, slice and fill and stack and ice the cake, and stick it all back in the freezer for a bit so it can be carved efficiently into the "secret shape". I'll make a batch of fondant while the cake is in the freezer. Then I'll start dinner, finish the laundry, serve dinner, clean up the kitchen, and go back to covering the cake in fondant, then decorating it appropriately.

I plan to have it totally finished by noon tomorrow. Eldest daughter will come by to take pictures in the early afternoon, I'll upload one of the best pics to the local Walgreens via Snapfish, pick it up a few minutes later, and put it into the extremely clever frame that will also be part of Mother-in-law's birthday present. Then I'll have to pack and pack and pack and pack it, then ship.

I might just have a nervous breakdown over all this, come to think of it.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

A concept...

As I raced through the aisles of the grocery store yesterday afternoon, eager to gain the essential supplies for the next cake-on-order before youngest daughter needed the car to go to work, I had a thought. Perhaps I could blog about every single ingredient, thought and tool or supply that will go into the cake I'm making this week. Perhaps that would be interesting to someone out there, to see the timeline/map of what all it takes to craft and deliver a cake.
So, what the heck. Here we go.

--July or August some time (I forget exactly when) -- the cake is requested for delivery on September 10. It's a birthday cake that will have to be shipped to NYC. I start to research how to ship a cake over 1,000 miles and have it reach there in one (still deliciously edible) piece.

--By early August (I think that's when it was), I've figured out how to ship it, and what shipping will cost, more or less.

--I then begin to contemplate what form the cake will take, given the recipient's personality, the birthday luncheon location in NYC, etc.

--By mid-August, after a few hours of internet research, I finally know exactly what cake I'm going to create. I make a trip to the cake-supply house to lay in any required supplies that I don't already have.

--Last week found me rounding up all boxes, boards and shipping supplies I will need.

--This week finds me ... 1. Securing communications on the other end, to ensure the cake makes it to its proper destination. 2. Racing through the grocery store gathering butter and sugar yesterday afternoon (how could I possibly be short of those two essential ingredients at this late date?) 3. Baking the cake.

That's it so far ... as of Tuesday night. More to come.