June 17, 2013

Strawberry Shortcake Cake

Last week I made a Strawberry Shortcake Cake for my step-daughter, Emily (she wanted it for her bf's birthday.. apparently he LOVES strawberry shortcake ;)  It's a simple cake, which I found the recipe for from the Food Librarian, but OMG, I wanted to eat this one myself so badly!  The recipe link can be found here.  It's just two (or three depending on how you make it) buttermilk cake layers (which smell just like buttermilk biscuits when they're baking.. you know the kind you have with regular SS?!  Yum!).. top the cake layers with macerated strawberries (fancy term for strawberries that have been hulled, sliced, and soaked in granulated sugar with a bit of vanilla).. finished off with some fresh whipped cream.. so simple but so de-lish!

Below are some pics of my version.  I was told the birthday boy loved it!


June 6, 2013

Flowering Cupcakes

This past weekend was my step-daughter, Michaela's, 'BABY BBQ' (basically a jack & jill style baby shower - though we hated to use the word "shower").. Just a casual get together for all to celebrate the arrival of her (and bf's) little princess, sometime next month!  Of course I was in charge of making dessert ;)  ..Michaela decided early on she wanted cupcakes rather than a cake.. flavors, however, came much later and after much deliberation!  She also wanted to incorporate flowers into the look of the cupcakes.  Hmmmmm..... I debated doing fondant flowers vs. frosting flowers for a bit.. then we both sort of agreed on making them out of the frosting on the cupcakes.  For flavors, we eventually settled on three.. 1) Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana, 2) Lemon Blackberry, and 3) Strawberry Cheesecake.. each flavor to be frosted with a different flower type.  

For the Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana.. I made a Banana cupcake with Peanut Butter filling, then iced it with Chocolate Buttercream in 'Rose' fashion (which is a pretty simple technique using a Wilton tip 2D, starting in the center of the cupcake and working your way outward in a counter-clockwise motion).  I have done this technique previously and it's simple yet elegant looking.

The Strawberry Cheesecakes.. a basic strawberry cupcake topped with cheesecake filling for the icing.  I again replicated a flower I have previously done, the hydrangea.  These look so realistic, I just LOVE them!

Lastly, the Lemon Blackberry.. a basic lemon cupcake topped with Blackberry buttercream (new to me and a perfect summertime frosting).  I decided to try a new flower design for this one, something I had not done previously but have seen a lot.  They sometimes refer to it as a 'fantasy flower'.. it's about 3 layers of piped petals on top of the cupcake (using a petal tip of course).  I LOVED the way this one turned out.. though my blackberry buttercream was a little soft for this design (I had to keep refrigerating it while working).. they still turned out beautiful!

Here are some pics of the completed cupcakes on my cupcake tower at the party (I wish I thought to do individual shots of each but oh well.. you get the idea)  ..Michaela loved them and I received many compliments on them as well :)

Cupcake Signage.. I find this to be very helpful when there are a lot of people at an event.. saves me (or the hosts) from having to describe flavors all day long!    

 My best close-up shot of the different 'flowers'

 The Cupcake Tower!

June 1, 2013

Gender Reveal Cake

Soooo excited that I FINALLY received a 'Gender Reveal' Cake request!!  I have been dying to do one for such a long time!  I was however surprised to discover that many don't really know what this theme is all about.. so let me explain before we go any further :)  ..It is typically a type of baby shower or gathering where the sex (gender) of the baby is revealed.  The cake is dyed pink or blue accordingly and (sometimes) nobody knows the sex until the cake is cut into.. I say 'sometimes' because in some instances the parents may already know and this is how they go about revealing it to their family and friends.  

In my case, only the couple's doctor and myself knew the baby's sex before the gender reveal party - how cool is that?!?!?!?  It was a piece of information I'm glad I didn't have to carry around for very long though.. I have been known to slip when it comes to surprises ;)  Not this time.. maybe it helped that I didn't have the gender in my hands until the week of the party (thank god!)  The other fun aspect of this cake was that the couple left their cake design entirely up to me!  I don't get this very often but do enjoy it.  It can be somewhat nerve-racking if you're not sure of the client's style or taste.  I found myself wondering if they would like the design as much as I did, but I guess that comes with the territory, and overall I like the challenge of a 'surprise' cake. 

I mulled over gender reveal designs for weeks!  Finally I settled on doing a 3-layer ombre style cake, which is simply graduating tints of the same color (pink or blue in this case).  The couple chose a confetti cake with cheesecake filling and buttercream icing.  Along with that, I chose to keep the cake simple with a bit of a rustic lookI decided on 'cake bunting' as my main embellishment and iced the cake with a rustic finish.  I knew I wanted to do fabric pieces for the bunting, which included burlap.  I also wanted to incorporate some type of message on the bunting but that took me a little longer to settle on.  Here is how it turned out!

Here's a first look at the inside of an ombre cake!

My first 3-layer Cake.. which is pretty tall!

Rustic style buttercream..

A couple close-ups of my handmade fabric bunting.. I just adore cake bunting :)

All finished!

..just after the revealing cut!