Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Tennis Shoe Cake

We made a pair of Air Jordon shoes and their box as part of a larger groom's cake.  We have made two other shoe cakes.  A pair of Converse All-Star's and a pair of fancy high heels with a shoe box.  Lucky for us, the bride let us pick the shoe design, it just had to be accurate as the groom was a collector.   The easiest avenue for any 3D cake is to have the item in front of you, or at least a 3D model (like a car).  I find it so helpful for all those little things, like accurate measurements!  We picked these because they looked easy compared to all the rest of the Air Jordon line.  Shoes are notoriously deceiving so keep that in mind when you're planning.  It took us eight hours to make the pair.  Some people may think that is crazy long, but I have not figured out a way to "hurry" on a project like these.

Let me tell you what I learned/did wrong with this project.

1.  Black fondant FADES!  I added extra black food coloring when I started but I truly believe that the fondant faded just in the time it was exposed to lights.  I saw these girls on "Amazing Wedding Cakes" practically working in the dark to avoid their black from fading.  I thought they were crazy!  I'm sorry ladies, you are sane and black fondant is stupid.  MAYBE if I was doing this exact same project again, I would airbrush the shoes before adding the soles and edible images.  MAYBE that would have helped.  They really didn't fade until I had the details on and at the point the air brush ship has sailed.

2. Make paper templates of sections so that all sides are exactly the same.  For example the side squares with the dots and without the dots.  I should have made all the templates and pinned them on one of the shoes before I started scoring the lines.  I wouldn't have gotten "off" had I done it that way.  Every cake has a backside!

3. CK Edible lacquer is super awesome!  The shoe had shiny parts and I sprayed some lacquer in a paint cup and used a small paint brush to apply it precisely when it was supposed to go.  Lesson here, the stuff dulls the longer it sits.  What until a couple of hours before the event to apply this if possible.  It won't go away over a day or two, it's just less shiny.

4.  Edible image paper is my friend!  Chad found a little dot pattern and printed out one page.  I used my templates to cut the pieces a tiny bit larger and then used a clad tool to bend them into the seam. 

5.  The sole is so important!  I used straight fondant for the black parts, but the red and white parts were 100% modeling chocolate.  The white part was put on as one big, thick piece and I took a ball tool and carved the lines and details in.  I should have spent much more time on the sole as the real shoe had more ridges, but I was out of time.....

6.  I have lost my ticking tool.  The one that makes it look like you have a sewn line.  I used some Wilton tool, but it just looked bad so I didn't add anymore detail with it, but once it's done you have to live with it. 

Remember to plan EIGHT hours or more and charge accordingly :)  Now I have to go and order my missing tool!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Easy to Make Chinese Takeout Box Cake

I had to make these Chinese takeout box treats for a larger cake recently (coming soon!) and they were actually pretty easy to make!  Want to make your own?

I started with a couple of clean takeout boxes from my favorite Chinese restaurant.  We went there for dinner one night and I just asked them for a couple of extras.  They didn't even charge for them, so that's a bonus!

OK, we're going to use the boxes for 2 reasons - to mold the cereal treats and to make the patterns for the outside of the box, so treat it carefully!

The boxes are wax-coated, but I still gave it a good spray with pan spray so the RKTs wouldn't stick.  Then just pour in the cereal treats, let them come almost to the top (leave maybe 1/2 an inch) and then close the box so that it keeps it's shape nicely while it dries.

Once the cereal treats have set up, you'll want to coat the sides to smooth things out.  In this case I used royal icing.  While that's drying we can make our patterns.

To make your patterns, start by taking out the wire handle.  It was a little difficult to do without messing up the box, but keep at it and you'll get it.  Once the handle is out, the box unfolds nicely.  I used a piece of card stock to draw out the panels around the box, including the top flaps, but not the very bottom.  I then used those patterns to cut each side piece out of white modeling chocolate.  Once you have all your pieces, you can start assembling your box!

I used a little tylose glue on the royal icing start putting on the panels, just make sure you save the overlapping flaps until last.  Now you can start putting in the food!  Use whatever you want for food, but my extruded fondant noodles really did look the most convincing, and I had a blast making cute little noodle loops coming out of the box!  Add your desired logos using edible images and your almost done!

Almost done, why just almost?  Well, at this point you can be done. but my "food" wasn't looking saucy enough until I hit it with a little edible lacquer.  I was really surprised at how that little bit of shine really brought a lot of realism to the piece!

FULL DISCLOSURE:  As a member of the Amazon Affiliate program, I receive a small commission if you buy a product from the links on my blog.  I actually own the products I recommend and all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Calla Wedding for Out-Of-Town Bride

We recently had a bride from Texas contact us.  She was getting married the Monday after the 4th of July holiday weekend.  There was part of me that thought "this just can't be right".  The Mill was kind enough to recommend us and she said they spoke highly about our work.  I believe she got most of her vendors by other vendors recommendations.  She was so sweet and EASY to work with.  She sent me a picture of almost the exact cake you see below.  It didn't have as many calla lilies and wasn't iced as pretty :)  She picked basic flavors and booked the cake.  Like I said she was easy to please.

We deal with a lot of out of town brides.  Far more than I would have guessed since Chattanooga, TN isn't a real tourist destination.  Many people move away for school and careers and want to come home to marry with their families.  The holidays are a very busy time for these brides as they all are home anyway.  I try to save weekend openings for out of town brides too.  I don't even list them on my online calendar because in towners would take them all.

If you have a bride that will do everything over email and phone, you would think that is easier but it's not.  All the information I go over in a consultation, almost two hours, is a class on wedding cakes.  They leave much more informed and understand how their particular cake is constructed and designed for them.  They get to know me and hopefully like me which leads to trust.  I really prefer sitting down and getting to know them and their event.  Sometimes the cake they want, just doesn't go with their event and you need to lead them in the right direction. 

I suppose this cake was "easy money" but I feel like we both missed out on a experience that would have added to the specialness of the wedding day.  Unfortunately, this poor bride had some other mishaps and bad vendor experiences like the hair/makeup person cancelling the day of the event.  That is just horrible!  Much less her grandmother got stuck in an airport across the country and a groomsman broke his nose in a car wreck the day before.  I'm glad that I spent some extra time making the cake a bit better than she was expecting.  I know it didn't make up for the rest of it, but I sure didn't let her down either.  Maybe I'll still meet her one day?

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Another Bottle Cap Groom's Cake

I've blogged about bottlecap cakes on several different occasions.  They are a great option for clients that enjoy their brewskies (or any drink for that matter!)  The great part is that they're relatively easy to make and they're budget friendly.

The funny thing about these bottle cap cakes is that once the groom hears that I offer a chocolate cake with Guinness stout beer they are sold.  There's just something about a cake with beer in it that reaches out and grabs men by their tastebuds!  If you haven't tried the chocolate stout cake yet, you can get the recipe at King Arthur Flour's website.

This cake offered us a mildly different challenge.  Normally we just cut out the pieces we need.  This logo was more of a negative image; it took up all the space and the pieces we cut out were the pieces that got thrown away.  And the graphic is based on a 16-inch round, and our cutter will only cut a 12 x 24 inch graphic.  So we had to make a common cut and cut the logo in two separate pieces.  It really helped to have the graphic printed out full size when pulling out the "unwanted" pieces.

Thanks for stopping by and have an awesome week!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Cigar Humidor Groom's Cake

The entire time I worked on this cake I called it a cigar box cake, but it is in fact, a humidor cake.  A humidor is more than just a fancy cigar box; they have a hygrometer that helps keep the cigars at the perfect humidity for maximum freshness.

I had this cake on the books for a while and the week before it was due I saw an ad for Sharon Zambito and Wayne Steinkopf's humidor class.  I was very interested in how they did did the lid mechanism for the cake.  I have made cakes with "lids" before and each time I have used a different technique with varying complexity. Here I used a simple piece of foamcore as the back lid of the humidor.  It was much easier than making the lid hinge forward or back  I'll definitely be using this in the future.

I did use a little different technique for the cigars though.  I had some chocolate cigar molds and while they were tasty, they didn't look anything like cigars.  I made some tobacco colored fondant very very thin, and rolled each of the chocolate cigars.  Some scans of the groom's favorite cigar bands on edible images completed the look.  When they were done they looked very similar to the cigars I purchased as models.

This was a fun cake to do, but making it sure brought back a lot of memories of my dear father, Ray Sills.  Daddy loved to take a few puffs off his cigar or pipe every night after dinner.  A cigar would last him a month or two.  Like most dads, he was almost impossible to buy presents for, but I always knew I could get him a good cigar and he would be happy.  I can't stand the smell of cigarettes, but any time I smell a cigar or pipe I always smile and think of my Dad; he would have loved this cake!


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