Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Mickey Wedding & Pet Peeves

We will make this week's blog short and a little sour..... Is there something you see in your line of work that bugs the fool out of you? We all do I'm sure. In cake decorating we all start as beginners and I never judge those people. If you charge money, and sometimes a lot of money for a cake then it should be well executed. Piping should be neat and consistent. I'm not the best at piping so I use a small paint brush to even out and blend in my lines. Sometimes, I need to scrape things off and start again . One of the most popular borders are fondant pearls. If you will pay attention some decorators don't use the right product (it needs to be partially modeling chocolate or Fondarific so it will harden in the cooler) and stretch them out when unmoulding or applying them to the cake. It's a minor thing to most, but a pearl border that isn't rounded pearls is not clean work to me.

Last pet peeve is disintegrated dragees. Whether pearl, silver or gold those little balls cannot be applied and then put in the fridge. They break down and loose their sheen all together. This really does stink because you can't apply them ahead of time. I'll give you two things that I do. First, I put them on ahead of time when the icing is a little soft so that they will not just sit on top of the buttercream. If the cake gets room temperature and those dragees aren't pushed in a little, they will slide down the cake. Trust me, we stayed almost until a wedding started just gently pushing those things in before they all slide down. Did you catch that I just told you I do what I said you shouldn't? Well at the last minute, I take the bad dragees out and add fresh ones. Yes it takes more time, but I don't have to measure last minute or get a cake soft before adding the last minute. Oh! Get a gem/rhinestone setter for applying these and not leaving tweezer marks. They are just a little wad of wax on the end of a stick. It is easier to pick them up and apply them (but not removing, stick to tweezers for that). Yeah! I got those things out of my system!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Art Party Birthday

Birthday parties now are fancy! Kids get to have all kinds of parties! Art, laser, pottery, cupcake, bouncy houses, and paint ball just to name a few. We were lucky to have pin the tail on the donkey! We did a little cake to go along with a fun painting party. It was colorful and pretty easy to create. We made a letter template on the computer and just free formed the splatters and drips. The paint tube was a bit more time consuming, but you could skip it to save a little time. I hope we all get a super fun birthday party this year with a matching theme cake!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Walnut Hill Fresh Flower Wedding


How could I ever make flowers this pretty!?!?  I arrive at the venue, Walnut Hill Farm, and the florist has left me the MOST gorgeous bunch of flowers!  Ranunculus, Peonies, perfect roses, hydrangeas and some lambs ear for greenery.   I was in love with all of them!!!  Here are some "professional baker tips" for the week.

1,  Allow yourself PLENTY of time when fresh flowers go on the cake.  If the florist is gone, it's up to you to finish the cake (my opinion and also I agree to this ahead of time).

2.  Allow wiggle room for the type of flowers and their arrangement in your contract.  This cake was supposed to be all hydrangea.  You can see how many I had and I could not have achieved this look with a small amount or with one kind.  I still get sick-at-my-stomach when I knowingly deviate from the contract.  I never want to be the vendor that blames in on another vendor.  "They didn't leave me the right kind or enough".  I should have called the florist and emailed them a sketch/size of the cake they knew what to plan.  I ask the bride to give the extra copy I provide to the florist, but that doesn't seem to happen

3.  If a customer wants to "float their cake on a bed of flowers" this is the easiest way to do it.  Just allow for a bigger board and stick them in the cake.  You could put a smaller piece of Styrofoam under the full cake for the flowers are truly UNDER the cake, but that is not nearly as stable.  Charge extra for that!

4.  Be friendly to everyone at the venue, even when you are stressed out and in a hurry.

It took me a full hour to put all these flowers on the cake, while at the same time fielding questions from the wedding party that was mulling about and grabbing a little girl's hand right before she poked it right into the cake.  I don't want to ever be unfriendly because people remember rude.  But don't you think that very early guests should give a vendor the space to do their job?  They are always on us like we are on a cake show, asking "is that fondant? I hate fondant!" or "how did you do that?".  Like that's an easy questions in the allotted time.  It would be nice if we had nothing else to do but to visit with guests and answer questions, but vendors just don't have that luxury.  Our work, food-flowers-cakes-venue-photography, is very time sensitive and we have to get in and get out.  So please don't think us rude.  We are really sweet :)

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Cornhole Groom's Cake Photo Tutorial

Whether you call it cornhole, bean bag toss, or Baggo, people are playing this toss game everywhere - tailgate parties,family picnics, and even weddings.  So I guess when a client asked for one as a groom's cake I shouldn't have been surprised.  And since it's basically a sheet cake on an incline, they're actually pretty easy to make.

We'll start with a board to fit our cake (a 12x18), a larger board for the cake to rest on (17 1/2 x 25 1/2) and a small foam wedge to give us our height (8 1/4 x 9 - 2" high).  Start by using the 12x18 cake board to determine where you want your cake to land on the larger board.  I have marked mine on the image above with some temporary masking tape.

Dry fit all your pieces together to make sure they all fit the way you want.  Make sure to mark the placement of your styrofoam wedge.  It should hold the top board flush against the styrofoam, while being centered across the board.  Once we start securing things down there's no going back!!

Normally, styrofoam and hot glue don't mix very well, but I didn't have any extra "gluing chocolate"so I put some down on the board and gave it a couple of seconds to cool down before I plonked down the styrofoam wedge.  Let it dry and make sure the wedge is very secure on that bottom board.

We don't want that old foam wedge to be seen, so the next step is to cut some black modeling chocolate and put it on all 3 sides using piping gel.  We now have the base to place our cake on!

OK, so now the cake is on our 12x18 board and has been iced smooth.  Place it on the board using your masking tape guides and make sure everything is sitting nice and flush.  Once you like what you see, put a couple dowels through the cake, board, styrofoam,  and bottom board.  This will add stability and keep your cake firmly in place.

Now we just simply finish decorating the cake, and that part can be as simple or complex as you like.  I put modeling chocolate (MC) panels on all sides of the cake, but I put a thin layer of black MC on top.  then I covered that with a regular piece of modeling chocolate, making sure my top extended over the edge of the sides, just for a realistic effect.  Use a cookie cutter to gingerly cut out your bean bag hole, and the black from underneath will look just like a hole.  Now just decorate with your particular theme or team until you've got it just the way you want it.  Don't forget to make a bean bag!!


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