Sunday, June 28, 2009

Confection Chronicles: A Sandcastle Cupcake

So I have had so many ideas bombarding me, mostly cupcake ideas, that I have been forced to come up with a solution. In order to keep myself from baking cupcakes constantly I decided to make a couple of batches and then freeze them. That way I can take out one at a time and decorate them each differently. My husband thinks I'm nuts. But I'm sure I'm not alone in that. Anyways, stay tuned for the cupcake creations that I will be coming up with over the summer. With my freezer full of cupcakes and a couple buckets of frosting in my Refrigerator, I plan to do as many as I can think up. I need to build up my portfolio, right? So to start out, my oldest daughter Sariah came home from Girl's Camp yesterday and so I made her this...
It's a tomato soup cupcake, which by the way is totally yummy. Almost undecipherable from a pumpkin cupcake. Which my daughter thought it was and I totally let her think that until AFTER she was done eating it. It's not a common cake flavor here in the west but, I have heard it is quite popular in the south. I've come across Tomato Soup cupcakes several times while perusing the web and decided to try making some for myself. They are very yummy...Moist and spicy, like a pumpkin spice cupcake. I frosted it with double buttercream frosting and topped it in a mixture of brown sugar, cinnamon, white sugar, nutmeg, and cloves for the sand. I fashioned a castle out of fondant, rolled the pieces in corn syrup and then covered them with the sand mixture. The rest I just hand sculpted out of fondant. I made the cupcake wrapper below by tracing one of my filigree cupcake wrappers onto scrapbook paper.

Because I only decorated 1, I can't really say how it tasted with all the "sand" on it. My daughter loved it. Next time, I'll have to at least make one for myself.

Confection Chronicles: The Cascading Flowers Cake and Cupcakes, too!

So I have Chronicled nearly every fondant cake I have made. I can't forget this one...

I made this cake this March for my daughter Aubrey's 10th Birthday. It was the funnest cake I have made to date. The cupcakes were so fun too. I made so many of them that we didn't even eat the cake. I had just discovered these totally cute filigree cupcake wrappers and just had to use them. I also had just accquired my first fondant embossing mat and 4 bottles of sugar pearls. I embossed the ten on top and some decor for the cupcakes.

I love the colors on this cake. So much so that if I ever get my cake business off the ground I am going to use these colors. And noticeably they are the colors on my blog. What can I say, I'm a girly girl. And luckily so is my daughter, her and all her friends loved the cake. I love that I can do this for my kids. I live to make them happy. I look forward to making them cakes every year for the rest of my life.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Confection Chronicles: The Diaper Bag Cake

Okay, so I honestly have to say I just completed the funnest cake project I've ever done. I basically forced my way into this cake job because I was just dying to make a baby shower cake. I told my friend Amy that I would be seriously offended if she didn't allow me to make it. I think the word "Please" was used about a dozen times. She caved and I really hope she didn't regret it. She herself is a baker extraordinaire and she makes it really hard to bake ANYTHING that tastes anywhere as good as her stuff does. The Baby shower theme was baby blocks so we originally were thinking baby block cakes would be cute. But after looking at a few baby shower cake pics online, I had my own ideas...I NEEDED to make a Diaper Bag Cake. How cute could that be? I was luckily making a supply order for the wedding cupcakes the very next day and was able to get things for the diaper bag cake too.

It turned out so cute, if I do say so myself. (front)

(after I took these pics I put the pacifier in the middle pocket)
The weather was really humid which made my fondant all very soft. I was just very grateful that it wasn't the first cake I had ever made, or I would have been in deep trouble. I basically had to force the fondant to do everything I wanted it to. Luckily I had a little bit of gumpaste (like fondant but dries stiffer) left over from the wedding cupcakes. I was able to make...

A rattle.

Baby utensils.

A pacifier (a dummy tit, as my Irish friend Shelagh calls it).

A Bib.

A Zipper.

Baby Shoes.
The only problem with having a cake like this is that NOBODY wanted to cut it. I had to force them by threatening to never make a cake for them again. I would make cake out of Styrofoam if noone was ever going to eat it. My friends were all suggesting that the guest of honor simply keep it on her shelf for days and look at it. What??? "We're going to have to bag that Idea", I said. Cakes are meant to be eaten. That is their purpose. Cakes like to be looked at and admired and then cut up and devoured. That way they make everyone happy TWICE!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Confection Chronicles: Lavender and Yellow Wedding Cupcakes.

So about a month ago I received a call from a friend of the family asking me if I could make sheet cake for his daughter's up coming wedding. He explained that she had someone making her cake but that they were expecting a lot of attendees and needed more cake to serve.
I, being my speak my mind self, promptly informed him that sheet cake is so yesterday. The current trend is to serve cupcakes at weddings. Some brides even choose to have only cupcakes or just a small cake topper and cupcakes for the rest. So he agreed to let me do my thing. I met with the bride and went over some ideas and looked at some online pics. She chose monogrammed hearts, butterflies, and hydrangeas in shades of lavender and yellow. White chocolate almond and triple chocolate cake topped with Italian Buttercream icing were the flavors she chose.
When I was told that the lady making the cake was a woman that runs the local pastry college and has been decorating cakes for 35 years, I was a little intimidated, okay a lot intimidated, but in the end our work matched really well and I held my own. I even PREFERRED the taste of my cake. They were very different styles, hers being very French. Unfortunately my camera ran out of batteries so I didn't get pics of the wedding cake. I had to keep some of my cupcakes to take pics of the next day after my battery had charged.
So 150 wedding cupcakes later, I am totally hooked on cupcakes. They are so fun!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Confection Chronicles: A+ Teacher Cupcakes!

So FINALLY we are down to the last couple days of school. I am in the midst of making 150 wedding cupcakes right now, and needless to say quite busy. The kids made thank-you cards last night for family night. I was thinking that was going to be more than I usually give the teachers (I'm not always the most thoughtful person) but my son expressed a desire to give a gift. Well, not wanting to spend the $ or take the time to go hunt down teacher gifts, I decided to use what I had in bounteous supply before me...cupcakes.
I grabbed some of my white fondant that I always have on hand and colored it to match the cards. I sculpted an apple and cut out a few flowers...
Then I used a stamp that I had to make the little placards reading "A+" and "#1 Teacher".
They turned out pretty cute for a spur of the moment gesture. So much so that I'm fighting the urge to make some for ALL the staff at the school.
"Amanda, You don't have time."
That's me, talking to myself.
All this sugar is going to my brain.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Goodies Goodies Everywhere!

I found the cutest cupcake kit. I found it on clearance at FRED MEYER (a department store here in the west) of all places. It's by a woman named Elinor Klivans. It comes with a pastry bag, a few decorating tips, a recipe/tip/ idea book, and oodles of totally cute cupcake liners in mini and standard sizes.
I've already learned some awesome tips from her book that just helped me make the best cupcakes I've EVER made. It's nice to know a little "science" behind what makes cake turn out.

Like I said, I got mine on clearance but when I Googled "cupcake kit Elinor Klivans" I found tons of sites offering them anywhere from $10 to $20.
Speaking of sites...
I just spent days hunting down supplies for a few up and coming cake jobs that I have. There are so many sites that are huge and seem to offer everything your heart can desire BUT...
after ordering a hydrangea cutter from one such Huge site and agreeing to pay MORE for expedited shipping than the price of the cutter, they called me a COUPLE days later to tell me that they were out of stock. Annoying! So I did another search and I found this Sweet Little Site ran by the sweetest lady, Jennifer Dontz, who has turned out to be as talented at customer service as she is at cake art. Her site offers a beautiful cake gallery, tutorial DVDs, cake classes, and a very well thought out offering of cake supplies. And they have the cutter I was looking for at a better price, and reasonably shipped...Go figure?
I'm a Total FAN! Anyways, I added her to my "Sites to See" list. Check her out.
Now I get to make 150 wedding cupcakes this week. Wish me luck!