Friday, February 29, 2008

I have 5 cakes ... none of them are fake

I do hope I made enough!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Sugar sugar baby

Today was a day of sugar happiness. Brandy came over to play and we tested out blowing sugar with a copper pipe - it was fun and educational!
It's late and I am tired, I will leave you with some photos of the progress with the cake and wish you sweet dreams.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Sugar flowers

So I ventured into the world of sugar paste the other day. Made a batch, and then attempted to made a flower with it. I made my own petal template and then used shot glasses to help the pieces keep shape.

I sort of managed it, but Des found the flower and it died :(

So I did some research and found out that having the proper shape cutters, and technique was really key to getting decent flowers. I found a really awesome starter kit at Michael's chock full of cutters - and a very good instruction guide. With these new tools in hand, I tried again.

Until I can afford better cutters, and proper petal and leaf veiners (this set is very.. hmm.. novice? but that's what I am, soo..) I'm really pleased with this $20 purchase.

Another evening of flower making (these photos reflect the fruits of my labors for the evening - yes, it is that tedious, but I also have a little girl at my feet who needs attention, so I'd say a total of maybe an hour, hour and half of work - a few flowers died due to their delicacy ) I will move on to the humming bird, and then.. cake assembly!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

A Tribute to Ryan's Particularly Large Head

So as of last night, I wasn't going to make this cake.

I made three yellow cakes for sampling for the wedding cake - and NONE of hem turned out particularly good, or anything like he yellow cake I know from a box :( they were very much like pound cake, and quite dense and/or flavorless. After last night's total failure, I got really mad, and told Dan to dispose of all cakes for the night. There would be no tribute cake!

After work I had 2 hours before people came over, and Dan hadn't gotten rid of the cakes. So I had two round layers of two different yellow cakes. I found a cake mix in the cupboards, and made one more layer while cleaning the house. Basically, I frosted and fondant-ed his cake in well under 30 minutes, on a warm, fresh baked cake. It's ugly as far as technical execution goes, but it really did serve it's purpose - you see.. oh it's too hard to explain, but it's supposed to represent a balloon with a sharpie drawing of Ryan's face on it - this balloon (the real one, not the cake) has represented Ryan by sitting in his chair at work for the last month or so. Anyway.. here's the cake.

The only part of it I was acually happy with was the end here.

And Ryan cutting his head.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Mixer on Overdrive

Today I made stuff.

  • Yellow Cakes
    For Chris and Brandy's wedding cake, they requested a yellow cake - so I'm testing out recipes as I find them. Conveniently, we are having many people over from my work this Friday to play Rockband, and one of my coworkers will be visiting from a long-haul TDY to D.C. - so in honor of him and his particularly large head, I will be making a cake to honor him - out of these test yellow cakes - two birds, one stone. So, each batch I'm making one round tin of cake, and one mini-bunt for Chris and Brandy to taste. I made the following today

  • One batch of m.m. fondant
    This is for the next test humming bird, as well as to cover the Tribute to Ryan's Particularly Large Head (if I have enough left over after the hummingbird, might need to make more)
    Also, I used some (3 tbsp) meringue powder in this batch - I want to see how that effects the hardening of the fondant

  • One batch of gum paste
    This is also for the hummingbird, I used gum-tex and glucose which I picked up recently from Michael's. Gum Paste is, from my understanding, a more versatile (yet less tasty) version of fondant which dries hard

  • One batch of butter creme frosting (no chocolate or flavor yet this will be for the wedding cake testers, as well as the Tribute to Ryan's Particularly Large Head)

So yes. Lots of mixing, lots of baking.

Monday, February 18, 2008


My niece-in-law Barbara came over today to play with sugar. We had a grand 'ol time learning what we could in working with this medium. We came together with a solid watching-of-The-Food-Network-knowledge, as well as having read these two (one and two) very informative sites. I can't speak for Barbara, but I felt as if this was going to be an easy, conquerable task - something we could do and turn out with something AMAZING by the end of the day. Oh boy was I wrong.
Lessons Learned:

  • We are freaking awesome and can do ANYTHING with sugar, we ROCK~!

  • 300F is not hot enough - our pulled sugar pieces wilted, and never really ended up hardening, somewhere near 315F was a much more successful final temperature for our sugar- but the sugar hardened much much faster

  • FIRE should be used sparingly - we tried using the blow torch directly on a spot we wanted to "weld" and ended up with some rather large holes... heating a knife, and then using the flat side of it against the seam seemed to be far more effective for mending

  • Sugar sculptures can apparently explode.

  • Sugar sculpture is really really hard, and we have a long way to go, and a whole lot of practice in front of us before we can really say that we have any clue what we are doing

Friday, February 15, 2008

Prune Update

The prunes have been eradicated, as well as a TRASH BAG FULL of other items from our cupboards, and another from the refrigerator.
so nice to have counter space, and organization (although we all know that has a limited shelf life on it's own).

Also - while Dan was out looking for a socket wrench for the car, he happened to pick up a blow torch. Yes, a BLOW TORCH

Oh maaaan... tomorrow's plans involve sugar and extreme temperatures.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Oh the humanity!

Ok, so I forgot to take before pictures... oh well, they would have been depressing anyway. I'm no where near done - just bored of this project for now.

So, I spent nearly every penny of a recent anonymous* donation to the Cake Monkie Enterprise on organizational needs at Target. I've been needing to do this for a very long time - and Dan and I have decided that we should start purchasing flour and sugar etc in bulk from Costco, since I'm blowing through it - and he wants to start making bread at home.

Anyway. Two metal shelving units, a wooden shelf, a drawer organizer, and 4 Tupperwares (and a new set of measuring cups, since previously we only had 2 1 cup measures and a 1/3 cup measure... they come together, on a ring, how does this happen?!) later...

My new cake-making storage center- you can see over the bar into the pile of "crap I haven't yet found a home for."

New wooden shelf over sink provides more shelf space in the cupboards for food items - something we desperately need.

Not an exciting photo, but whatever.

And the ominous prunes, ready to strike at any moment.

*By anonymous, I mean my Mommy

It's like a tornado blew through here

My kitchen is awful.
It's tiny (tiny!) and always a mess. An organizational nightmare, and unkempt hellhole - except for those days which I am cooking a cake (or of course, other food) which I intend to serve people, or people are going to see my kitchen. All other times all bets are off.

And so, today I shall attempt to remedy this. I will go through the cupboards, I will match Tupperware lids with Tupperware bottoms, I will throw away the bag of prunes hiding behind the cans of vegetables which I am rather sure I purchased for cookies made Christmas before last, I will purchase shelving and storage to contain the massive amounts of sugar, flour and electrical appliances that I own. (now including an ice cream maker!!!!!)

By the end of the day - I hope - I will have a clean, and useable workspace.
There will, of course, be photos. Unless I fail.

It's contagious!

I think Brandy might be hooked - she's planning to make a cake for an upcoming event - and made one for my birthday yesterday! I'm rather excited (and proud) !

It's a Cake Monkie!!
I'm in love with his hair <3

Saturday, February 9, 2008


Had a few seconds to play with sugar today - but I burnt my finger so I stopped, all I got done was making a butterfly, and a very very failed flower.

This was supposed to be a fluted flower, but I had trouble getting the petal shapes right - and then I waited too long to shape it (just cupped in my hand, really) so the petals broke. it's a horribly ugly flower, if I do say so myself.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


Check it out. Today, I made a practice humming bird. I spent the rest of the week making fondant and cakes and such - so today was just an assembly.

I started with the wings, a layer of fondant over the wire frame, and then many many feathers of various sizes to cover the top and bottom.

I recently purchased a Roul'Pat mat, and am loving it. It took a while to find the largest size possible at the cheapest price (some places sell it for 60 bucks!) - this mat combined with the rolling pin I use = no stick fondant! faboo fer sure.
The feathers were cut out again using my trusty leaf-shaped fondant cutters.

I didn't really want to do more than one wing, once I knew I could do it, but I needed to make both so that the wing apparatus would be balanced. This was very important, considering that the weight of the wings ended up being, I'm guessing, a little over two pounds.

Next was rather easy - I had shaved down the shape of the pound cake and the rice crispy head, and then attached the head with a dowel through it and the body.
I'd never lain fondant on a cake without butter cream, but now I totally understand why it's done - it really does give the fondant something to stick to - otherwise it ends up like a sort of lose sack over the cake, which is what happened with the bird's body.

I am hoping in the end for the bird to "fly" by resting atop these three upturned glasses - I balanced this and worried about it staying long enough to take photos - so I really need to figure out some sort of support for the whole cake, as well as the wings, since they are so very weighty. I'm thinking that the tail will be a part of this support, but haven't figured it out yet.

I also have some fabulous ideas for flowers, and know what I'm going to do with the sugar shapes I made earlier this week.

I need a blowtorch.

Monday, February 4, 2008

I'm not sure what I'm doing

Feathers? Leaves? Petals? Butterfly wings?
(The colour isn't dye, it's burning. It tastes like burning!)
Not quite sure yet.

About 1/4 cup light corn syrup, 2 cups sugar - bring slowly to boil, stirring just until the sugar is all moistened - cover (if you can, leave candy thermometer in and balance lid while the thermometer is still there). Check every minute or so with candy thermometer till it gets close to 300f - leave uncovered and watch until it does get to 300. take off heat. Let sit and cool till thickens - pour onto parchment paper, lifting paper edges to make sure it doesn't spill over.

Let cool until it doesn't move around if you lift the paper - grease the heck out of the edges of a metal cookie cutter, cut shapes quickly. Let cool completely. Lift entire candy sheet from parchment, just to loosen it. Put it back down - and then re-cut the shapes with the cookie cutter, they'll likely come out clean and stuck in the cutter - pop out and you haves shapes!!

The problem I'm having is burning the sugar. See the black blob? That was supposed to be purple - I think the colouring helps the sugar heat a lot faster somehow.

I'm making another pound cake duck as I type - also made a mini bunt cake, and will make some rice crispie treat heads tonight.
Oh did I post that? Genius Erin at work told me to try using rice crispie treats for the head (apparently the ace of cakes dude does that a lot), so it won't be so heavy! faboo!

And what does Des do while I bake?

She talks on her lid-phone.

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