Monday, October 30, 2006

PTO Bake Sale

It's been many a year since I participated in one of these. Youngest daughter now works at an elementary school, and their "fall fundraiser" is upcoming. I was happy to have an excuse to try my hand at decorated sugar cookies, as opposed to cakes. Love the fall leaves and acorn cookie cutters.

I made 6 dozen, and 4 dozen managed to make it to school in those fancy packages. I hope they make a bunch of money off of them. The school's mascot is an owl, thus the package labels.

Saturday, October 28, 2006


Created for a little boy's birthday. Vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream. Flags in the outfield are paper (I love my PrintShop) taped to straws. Bases, balls, bats and on-deck circles are fondant. Dirt is crushed gingersnaps. The hot dog, Coke, glove and peanuts are Wilton candles. How clever that they packaged them in a foursome, perfect for a four-year-old!

I had to draw heavily on Uncle Ron's baseball wisdom for this one. And even DR had to remind me that the pitcher's mound is gingersnap dirt, NOT grass. Duh.

And no, NOTHING herein is to scale. But then, no one has ever accused me of being an architect.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Another pretty little present cake

...from a husband to his wife.

Chocolate fudge cake with vanilla buttercream; boxtop of lavender fondant; ribbon, bow, flower and pearls of gumpaste. Super pearl luster dust all around.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

My own birthday cake ...

I admit it. I love Fall the best. As an October-baby, I love anything pumpkin-y, apple-ish, golden, orange, crimson, spicy, crisp and cool. So I decided to make a pumpkin cake for my birthday. This one features alternating layers of caramel-spice and vanilla-caramel cakes, iced in buttercream and covered in pumpkin-colored fondant. Add a stem of brown fondant, a few leaves and twiny vines of avocado fondant, and a fall celebration cake is born. My favorite part was painting the finished pumpkin with an amazing mixture of vodka, terra cotta, gold and soft brown food colors, plus the always exciting golden luster dust. I swear, this cake looked like it was a lovingly hand-crafted ceramic cookie jar!

A little BlueBell Cinnamon ice cream seemed to be the perfect accompaniment.

And yes, it was finally cool and dry here today. Halleluljah.

... and her little brother

I made a smaller version of my pumpkin cake for daughter's boss's birthday, which is close to mine. His cake is 3 layers of chocolate fudge, covered with the same buttercream and fondant.

These were the most amazingly fun cakes to make, and I was astonished at how beautiful they turned out to be ... if I do say so, myself!

Dirty Martini

A last-minute cake made for daughter's girlfriend who turned 25 yesterday. Guess what the birthday girl's favorite drink is? My favorite part of the cake is the fondant olives. I put them on a wooden skewer, only later realizing it could have been even more exciting to thread them onto either a super-tall birthday candle or a sparkler. Oh well. There's always next time.

A group of them met for dinner at a local Mexican restaurant, and daughter snuck the cake into the restaurant's cooler before the birthday girl arrived. The restaurant was more than accommodating of their celebration, and much of the cake was shared with the waiters.

This is another chocolate fudge cake, two layers all around, baked in a 10" square pan and a 6" square pan. I cut diagonally across the squares to make 2 triangles from each; stacked the triangles on top of each other with chocolate fudge frosting slathered in between; then cut a 2" vertical slice out of the middle of the larger martini "cup" to form the stem of the glass. Plastered some more chocolate fudge icing between the two halves of the top triangle, shoved them together, then frosted it all with vanilla buttercream and decorated with 'dirty-martini-pale-green' royal icing.

Normally I would cover a cake like this in fondant, because it's so much more finished and elegant looking. But I had both time constraints and humidity issues with this one. It's hard enough to craft a decent buttercream-iced cake when the temp is 88 and the humidity is 8,000%, but it's nearly impossible to pull off a fondant-covered cake under those conditions.

Sugar is hygroscopic, meaning it literally pulls moisture out of the air, into and onto itself. The marshmallow fondant that I make is nearly 100% sugar, with a little gelatin (talk about hygroscopic!) and cornstarch thrown in for good measure. Thus, it gets all swollen and bloated and ornery whenever it's rainy and humid outside. Even our wonderful Trane air conditioner running at top speed can't adequately handle the bloated beast that is fondant on a hot, humid, rainy Houston day.

The weatherman tells us there's a cold/dry front moving through here tonight. He'd better be right. Because I'm making my own birthday cake tomorrow and I darn well want to use fondant!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Totally Weird

I don't know if this is something hinky within, or something I did unwittingly on my own, but suddenly the comments portion of this blog, AND the part where I post things and do stuff and manage the darn thing, are all written in GERMAN!

What in the world.....?

What you guys (and I) write still shows up in English, but everything around it is in German from my end. Does it show up in German on your end of things? Please let me know. I know no German. Thus, I can't figure out how to get this German language thingy off of my site.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Happy Birthday

A pretty little "present" cake ordered by a husband, for his wife who likes chocolate and the color lavender. I hope she likes it, and I hope it gets where it's going okay. We've had 89 zillion inches of rain today (okay- I exaggerate) and for a while I thought I might have to launch it off in a canoe.

For those of you who like to hear all the details (i.e., lick the screen), it's a two-layer chocolate fudge cake, iced in chocolate buttercream, with chocolate cornelli-lace decorating the gift box. The lavender ribbons-and-roses and the green leaves are all fondant, painted with a bit of silver luster-dust for a pretty sheen.