Thursday, November 30, 2006

Masculine Birthday Cake

These are always a challenge. Not sure why. Perhaps cakes and frostings just naturally lend themselves to pretty, fluffy, pink frilly girly stuff. In any case, this was a birthday cake for a woman to give her husband. Chocolate cake, chocolate frosting, slabs of chocolate all 'round, tied with olive and red ribbons, and bits of fractured chocolate piled on top. Sure looks good to me!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Twins Turn Five

Two cakes for darling boy-and-girl twins who are turning five. The girl loves penguins. The boy loves bugs. Turns out, he loves turtles more, but bless his heart, he was very gracious about having lady bugs on this cake ... so he gets a tiny little turtle cake next week along with his big brother's baseball cake. (It's a secret though, so don't tell him.) Check back in here Tuesday for pics of the tiny turtle cake.

One cake vanilla, one cake chocolate. I'm going to try to post a bunch of views of both cakes here so you can get an idea of the whole thing. Blogger drives me crazy with their picture placement stuff ... who knows what this will turn out looking like.

I didn't have time to do the white-background version of the pics, but Kate graciously took pictures right on the kitchen table, even after they arrived to pick up the cakes ... so you see them in their raw splendor, and not 'artfully posed'. No doubt you will also notice the sterile cotton balls still holding open the package bows on top of the cakes -- holding them open 'til they dry sufficiently to not collapse in on themselves ... the cotton balls DO get removed before cake presentation.

Thursday, November 23, 2006


A pretty little cake, ordered by a daughter for her mother's 50th birthday ... all she said was she wanted it to be chocolate cake, and Victorian in style. So here's my version of Victorian. Let's hope she likes it. The puffy heart-shaped chocolate cake is frosted in white buttercream, then covered with a soft peachy-pink fondant. The lace doily and all other fancy frou-frou touches were done with royal icing. And those silver dragees are my second favorite thing to use on cakes, after gold and silver luster dust ;-)

Mod Girl

Another little cake for a 20-something cool chick. This one is a carrot cake with plenty of buttercream icing. Stripes and flowers and polka dots are fondant. This one and the one above are due today, Thanksgiving Day, and I have two more due by noon Saturday, and another one due Sunday morning. Plus Thanksgiving dinner for 19 by 5:00 this afternoon!

I need to get busy ...

Sunday, November 19, 2006

The new little sheriff's cake

For a baby shower for 50 people. Chocolate cakes, buttercream icing, covered in denim-blue fondant. All the little pockets and bandannas, teddy bears, rope and blankies, are made of fondant. I hit everything with a tiny bit of silver to echo the shiny sheriff's badge theme. Loved making those tiny teddy bears.

And here's the back side ...

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Sheriff's Badge

I'm prepping for the baby shower cake due this coming Sunday. The shower theme is "There's a New Sheriff in Town." How cute is that? So this is the Sheriff's Badge that will stand at the top of the cake, with the little Buckaroo's name inscribed on it. The badge is made from gum paste, which dries a whole lot faster and more dependably than fondant does, down here in humid ol' Houston. Still totally edible, just not very tasty. Kind of a flat, overly sweet taste. Probably better as a keepsake. I think it would last forever.

And for those of you who check this blog daily -- I spent yesterday working on my soap blog, so haven't posted anything here for TWO days now! I hope the multiple posts to my other blog count for my one-post-a-day commitment. Check out Urban Suds at any time you're frustrated with a lack of posts on this blog ;-)

Monday, November 13, 2006

More Bailey

As I experiment with pictures ... trying for two at a time in this post. Placement of the pics (my original complaint with the original Blogger) isn't looking too promising.

Okay, well ... it's not all that bad. But what shows up out here vs. what shows up on the page where I create this stuff is totally different. Whatever. The pink number on top happens to be her double-lined flannel jammies. And I'm sure you'll recognize the purple/gold/sage/orange outfit as her "fall costume." Her previous dresses were either pink and white or a Shabby Chic pink and pale green -- and we all know not to wear those colors after Labor Day.

P.S. You can certainly tell Bailey's mother is a professional photographer ... have you ever SEEN a dog pose this nicely during a 30-minute photoshoot? And she doesn't even look too chagrined at being forced to wear outfits. Does she?


I know. This isn't cake-related. But it IS another of my creations. The dog's dress, I mean, not the dog. Eldest photog daughter acquired this little pipsqueak a few months ago. She bought one dress for her at the mall and I had a fit when I saw the price tag -- so I was immediately enlisted (not really - I volunteered) to be her wardrobe creator. Bailey now has more outfits than I do. I'm not kidding.

This is her Thanksgiving dress-up dress. You can't tell, but the print ruffles are of pilgrims and turkeys and corn and pumpkins and Indians. The black ruffles are a black crushed velvet that I cut off the bottom of one of the girl's too-long witch costumes a couple of Halloweens ago.

Another reason for this post -- I've finally discovered where the German gremlins were hiding in here, and have restored my end of things to the English language. Thank heavens. I just wasn't learning German all that well. (See my "Totally Weird" post in the October 2006 archive if you're wondering what the heck I'm talking about.) Also -- I've upgraded to the new beta version of blogger as of 20 minutes ago, so I'm testing out all their promised features. Supposedly it's easier and faster to upload pictures. We shall see. A couple more doggie dresses to come.

Ready for the Cake Cutting

I liked this pic with their beautiful champagne flutes and the bride's flowers ...

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Fall Wedding - Finis!

Ta da! Here it is in all its glory - Chris & Lewis's wedding cake! It was a big hit, looked absolutely gorgeous in the reception hall, and many people commented on how incredibly light and delicious it was. I loved how the miniature fruits turned out, and I'm glad I tinted the icing ivory. It looked like it was made specifically for that reception hall, with their wall color and trim color and all the chair covers and table coverings. Erin will probably have some better pictures of it later in the week -- I may post another one.

I've been up since 4:30 stressing on making this one perfect -- I think I'll go take a nap now.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Gilding the ..... nuts?

Gilded pineapples and mixed nuts -- part of the cake's fall themed decor. Cake topper will be a miniature gilded pineapple nestled together with a tiny crab apple, a miniature bosc pear, and a few gilded nuts.

I've sliced the other mini-pines in half, so that they'll fit on the sides of the cake, along with the other mini-fruits. I have them sitting out on several layers of paper towels overnight so they don't leak their juice all over the icing and ruin the cake tomorrow.

Of course -- it's been in the 80's today with high humidity levels, and now we've got a lovely thunderstorm happening ... so keep your fingers crossed that this icing doesn't slide off the sides of the cake by tomorrow morning. If the promised cold front actually follows this storm, we should be all right.

Off to the engineering portions of this creation now.


The three tiers are now filled and crumb-coated. Awaiting final icing coat, stacking (aka engineering) and decorations. 3 layers in each tier, of vanilla spice cake and ivory-tinted buttercream icing.

Oh my gosh it's delish! (I baked an extra layer just in case I needed it -- but have only had to use it for sampling purposes, since the chef needs to KNOW that it tastes fabulous before ultimate presentation. Right?)

The bride saw it a few minutes ago, even in its unfinished state -- and pronouced it beautiful and delicious -- so I think we're good to go.

For those of you who like to lick the screen ...

... the first of four batches of buttercream icing that will transform those cake slabs into delicious delightfulness.


Finally got my hands on a camera to take this picture. First stage of wedding-cake-creation. The layers are baked and ready. Icing to be created soon. Pictures of that to come. Then pictures of crumb-coated layers, pictures of iced layers ... then the final creation. Yee-haw! Fun, fun, fun!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


A celebration cake for the end-of-season party for a local T-Ball team named The Astros. Chocolate cake, buttercream icing, fondant bats, balls and bases. Paper and drinking straw flags. I'll paint the red stitches on the balls tomorrow morning. And add the "T" at home plate. Baseball cakes are fun!

And did I mention that our dishwasher has had a fried motherboard for the past two weeks? Who ever came up with the bright idea to even PUT motherboards into dishwashers, anyway? My hands are scalded red from the superhot water I've used to wash and rinse the dishes BY HAND for over 14 days in a row now. Thankfully, the backordered part has finally arrived, and the dude will be here tomorrow to free me from dishwater-hands hell. Or so he says.

Too bad you're not here to enjoy the aroma of spice cake layers baking up in the oven. The wedding cake for Saturday is a vanilla spice with ivory buttercream icing. Yum!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Wedding Cake Week

I have a cake due this week for an 11:00 am Saturday wedding. Woo-hoo! I'm so excited about it. Just got back from shopping for all the ingredients, and thought it might be fun to document at least some of the creative process as the week proceeds. To the right you will see revealed SOME of the secret ingredients that go into my confections. And to the right of the massive pile of butter, sugar, flour, eggs, milk, pudding and sour cream, you'll see my trusty alchemist, "Big Red Machine".

Stay tuned for updates this week as these pedestrian raw materials are transformed into an elegant, contemporary, sophisticated Fall Wedding cake. I just adore the creative process.

Funny how the "Jell-O" brand name pops out more than anything else in this picture, isn't it? They've got some real advertising geniuses over at Kraft Foods.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Mod Birthday

Almost forgot to post this today. This was a last-minute request for a quick birthday cake for a young woman turning 23 who isn't into either pink or girly. So she gets a mod-funky-uptown cool chick cake!

Chocolate fudge cake, chocolate fudge icing, marshmallow fondant accents. The fondant balls spiraling out of the top are stuck onto lengths of jewelry wire twisted into funky shapes, and stuck down into a straw that I poked down into the top of the cake. That way, the wires don't cut through the cake itself, the straw holds everything upright, and the wire never touches the cake. (Jewelry wire is not officially considered "Food-Safe" by the FDA, so it needs to be either wrapped in self-stick saran or stuck down inside a straw. Those little coffee swizzle sticks are perfect for single wires ... but I drink my coffee black so I never have any on hand.)

Friday, November 03, 2006

Baby Nurse

Our youngest is in her first year of college, working her way toward eventually becoming a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner. She came home today with her very first, super-duper, official ID swipe card that allows her access to the newborn nursery at the nearby Level I Trauma Hospital. She is absolutely walking on air and can't wait 'til 9:00 tomorrow morning when she starts her volunteer work, holding and rocking and feeding all those teeny tiny precious little babies.

While trying to figure out a way to tie this post into cake-making, I realized I'm a far bigger cake nerd than I thought. I didn't take my first (and only) Wilton class until a few months after youngest daughter was born. But by golly, I had a two-layer, 9x13, homemade carrot cake frosted in cream cheese icing, decorated with pink-and-blue buttercream blocks spelling out "Welcome Baby", finished and wrapped and waiting nicely in the freezer, two weeks before her due date.

The minute I went into labor, I started obsessing about getting that cake out of the freezer so it could thaw out and we could eat it in celebration, immediately after she was born.

She was born at home, and her daddy delivered her, because my labor went so fast that the midwife didn't have time to get there. I had also invited our chiropractor to attend the birth, and he arrived after the event, as well. But he had a HUGE laugh over the giant, lavishly decorated, Welcome-Baby cake sitting proudly on the dining room table. Said he'd never seen anything like it before.

Even HE knew I was a cake-nerd. Way back then.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Carving Contest

My official November 2 entry in the November NaBloPoMo thing.

One of our family traditions over the past few years has been to host a pumpkin-carving contest. It has proven to provide much fun and entertainment, not only for the participants, but for all the trick-or-treaters and their parents who come our way. This year's entrants are arrayed on the steps leading up to our front door.

Problem is, we live in Houston. Sea level. Tropical weather. 2,000% humidity levels. Rampant mold growth.

The minute you stick a knife into a future Jack-O-Lantern down here, it begins to melt, mold, morph and mildew.

We did this gig on Sunday evening, and everything managed to stay relatively intact through Tuesday night.

But next year -- I'm not sure what we're going to do. Carved pumpkins can't stay intact for more than two days down here, and we're all too old and tired to host a carving contest on a week night.

Maybe we should investigate the powers of dry ice .......

It's official. I'm a Nerd.

Remember those fabulous fall cookies below that I spent multiple hours on, in order to donate to youngest daughter's employer-school's Bake Sale? Well. I was SURE the bake sale was scheduled for Halloween. So I had them done and ready for daughter to take them to work on October 30.

I was a week early.

Bake Sale is scheduled for November 7. It is spelled out, clear as day, on the school's flyer. Why I didn't read the date right, I have no idea. Menopause, maybe?

The ladies in the office were gracious enough to take them anyway, and set them out to sell as a "Bake Sale Preview Special."

Daughter told the story to one of her college friends, who said, "Your mom is such a nerd!"

Little did he know -- he was exactly right. I AM a nerd. Always have been, always will be. And oddly proud of it. I just didn't realize that my nerdness had flowed over into my cake/cookie creations yet. Happy to know it has ;-)

Oh, the pressure!

I've decided to post some little tidbit every day on this blog, during the month of November, in honor of NaBloPoMo (click on this link to find out more about this challenge). Every post won't be a picture of a delicious cake that you can lick off the screen, since my entire life doesn't revolve simply around cakes, but every post will probably reveal a bit more of me and mine, and all (scratch that -- SOME) of what happens inside my head-and-life each day. And lucky you -- November is shaping up to be a very exciting month around here!

So, since this announcement of the fact that I've taken on this challenge will probably not be considered my first post, since it's not really a post, I shall soon post what should have been yesterday's post, then will go on to today's.