Sunday, July 27, 2008

Lessons Learned from the Vanity Project

Dan, having lived through me while making that cake wanted to be sure that I assess and record all the lessons learned about this cake - so it doesn't happen again!

He's so awesome. The cake I had planned was actually larger than the finished project by 2 more cakes - but at the last hour, we decided that the cake stand just wouldn't be sturdy enough to hold it all. He was my voice of reason as I started freaking out, claiming that the cake was a huge disaster and mistake (about 11 pm night before cake delivery).

So anyway... here are some points to consider while making a large cake with a specialty cake stand.

  • Even if you have months to plan, everything will still fall apart at the final hour, and usually end up OK

  • Test and verify the integrity of your cake stand BEFORE putting the cake on it

  • Assemble on site if at all possible

  • If your favorite piece of the whole thing breaks, it's OK because no one will notice the gluing except you

  • Royal icing is an awesome glue

  • I need to practice laying fondant. Like - a lot

  • Poured sugar is mysterious and devious, perhaps learning more in depth the science behind it all would help. Who knows, man I hate working with sugar.

  • Storing poured sugar: wrap well in plastic wrap. Make sure any gum paste or fondant pieces with it are totally dry first. Use silica gel - be sure to check and dry out the silica if needed often.

  • When cooking poured sugar, once you reach clarity, turn the burner way up.

  • Leveling a cake is a two person job.

  • A Dremel is not just a garage tool.

  • Husbands are amazing and quite indispensable. Listen to the husband, he's sane while on the last night before the cake is due - you are not.

  • Measure the fridge and your cake stand before anything begins

  • Figure out and plan how you will transport the cake ahead of time. measure the car and your cake stand before anything begins.

  • Clean as you work. clean clean clean. leaving it all for after is a bad idea because you'll be exhausted

  • Yey Rockstar!

  • If you have a cake in multiple pieces that will end up being under one sheet of fondant, be sure that you have a board big enough to hold the whole thing, 'cause you're going to have to *move* it all as one piece.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

KMR Make-Up Academy Vanity

I just got back from dropping it off with Kristi Ryan, the make-up artist, teacher, and owner of KMR Make-Up Academy, which is now open!

This cake has been... a bit more than I knew it would be. It didn't end up like I thought it would, but I think I'm happy with the results. Krstie was very excited about it, and that's the thrill about cake making.

I learned so much from this cake. I feel like I should blog about it all, but really, for now, I'm going to sit here with a big beer while Des naps and stare at the TV for a while. I'm exhausted. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you Brandy for helping me get it there :)

Here are some photos.

This cake is 24" x 16" in the vanity, and 10" diameter in the chair.
The Chair is a white cake with lemon butter cream and MM fondant.
The Vanity is white cake with butter cream and fresh sliced strawberries, all under MM fondant.
The mirror is a combo of poured sugar and gum paste.
The accessories are all gum paste.
The cake stands are wooden bases covered and styled with gum paste.

And here is my original planning design. Mad Photoshop skills here.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

KMR Cake Update

Today I painted (Yes, I've been really taking my time on this thing. The event has been pushed forward enough that I've been lazy about actually working on it)
These still un-finished pieces are sitting on top of part of the cake stand. I have gum paste EVERYWHERE. And the other day, I took a Dremel to some of the larger gum paste pieces! (Instead of sawdust, i was covered in sugar!) It's been an adventure.

Des painted too.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

An Itsy Bitsy Wedding

My friends Chris and Brandy were legally wed yesterday (Yey California!!!) in a small ceremony. I decided to make a small wedding cake to mark the event - because you just have to have cake! It's fashioned to look like a single sugar cube (we always gifted Chris sugar cubes for her birthday, it's an old joke/tradition - and coincidentally yesterday was also Chris' birthday!)
The interlocking hearts are poured sugar.
The cake was a simple white cake.
Chocolate ganache between the layers.
Violet buttercream and white chocolate fondant, all dusted with loads of sugar.

I really wish I had gotten better photos. I need to actually start staging things instead of taking haphazard, last minute "OH! I should blog this!" photos.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Queen of Hearts, she made some tarts all on a summer's day

Had some berries going bad, so Dan requested I figure out what to do with them.

The tart is reminiscent of a delicate Orange Juilus flavor, the berries add a nice bite to it all. After Dan's first bite - of the still-warm-not-quite-set-I'm-too-impatient-to-wait-till-it-cools-all-the-way-tart was a sudden - distracted from WOW - "Oh MMM!"

Orange Cream Berry Tart

Shortbread Crust

2 cups flour
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp or so salt

preheat 350
Beat butter, shortening and sugar till light and fluffy
mix in flour, salt, and baking powder
press into greased pan on bottom and up sides - it'll be rather thick.
prick all over with a fork to avoid too much puffing
Bake 15 minutes or till just starts to turn golden brown.

Orange Cream Tart

4 eggs
2/3 cup powdered sugar
2/3 cup orange juice
2/3 cup whole milk or cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients, mix to blended well, try not to overmix. Strain out the larger egg yolk lumps as you pour into the cooked pie crust.
Cook in oven at 350 for 20-25 minutes. the middle will be runny - it'll become sold as it cools. Cool completely.

I topped this tart with three different berries, blackberries, raspberries and .. white raspberries?

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