Saturday, September 25, 2010

Cute Animal Cake

So, the last couple weeks I've spent a few hours working at Apple-Butter Bakery in downtown Atlanta.

Yesterday, I spent my evening decorating this cake for a baby shower:

Made at Apple-Butter Bakery, Atlanta, GA

I didn't do the baking, and I didn't stack or ice the main cake, but I did ice the cupcakes and I made the figures and little faces out of fondant, etc.  Also, I did not design the cake-- I worked from a photo.

Apple Butter Bakery

I was supposed to finish this cake in 4 hours or less... took me closer to 6.  I need to work on my speed!  I am not used to actively hurrying when I work on cakes.  I also hate leaving out details!

The baby's name will go in the empty space... ;)

Enjoy your weekend! :)  More coming your way soon, I hope!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Wedding Cake Competition-- Finally!

After much anticipation..... ta da!

My final design featured isomalt gems and board, gum paste flowers: 60 hydrangea, 80 stephanotis, 25 fully blown roses, 5 rose buds, 1 mid size rose, 16 dendrobium orchids and assorted rose and hydrangea leaves.  There were also some fondant pearls and string-work, as well as a 50-50 paste bow and brooch.

From the bottom up, my flavors were: cream cheese pound cake with amaretto cream, chocolate blackout cake with espresso truffle filling and chambord syrup, butter cake with white chocolate raspberry cream, and another chocolate blackout cake on the top.

Finally had the competition yesterday-- I'm still exhausted and I feel like my head is going to explode.  :oP  I was pretty happy with my cake overall except that I wanted the tiers to be blacker and squarer.

My friend Prem came over before the show and took a bunch of really great quality pictures for me.

Then I had to transport this beast...

Unfortunately, my seats in my car aren't completely flat (though I tried to compensate a little with some extra foam), but in the 90 degree weather, things slid a little bit.  I also had to take off my top tier and carry it separately so that everything would fit through the door, and it slid a little bit in its box and destroyed its ribbon around the bottom.  So when I set up, my cake looked like it was leaning and that ribbon was just a disaster.

I fixed things as best I could (my friends swore that the table was sagging and that was contributing to the leaning issue) and then I just had to walk away because I was so frustrated.  If I hadn't been so tired, I would have thought to shim the cake board under the front left corner, and I think everything would have been much better.  Now I know.

This event was soooo long.  I set up @2:45, judging started at 4, and they didn't announce the winners till 8!  I was STARVING!  And sleep-deprived, and tired of standing by my leaning cake... 

One thing that I find frustrating is that I wonder if I even understood the 'rules'.  I put rules in quotations because their rules consisted of a couple sentences saying that you had to have at least a 10" base with variable height.  Totally edible, cakes and cupcakes in any combination.  'Creative Wedding Cake and Cupcake Competition.'  Okay, from that I take away 'I need to make a wedding cake with at least a 10" base, and I'm welcome to use cupcakes as well'.  Until one of the judges came up me and asked where my cupcakes were.  Ummmm..... ?????  Seeing as how the winner and runner up both had cupcakes in their designs, I wonder if I completely missed the mark on my design.  Unfortunately, I didn't get score sheets, so I really don't know what the verdict was.

After judging was completed, I was overwhelmed with people wanting slices of my cake.  And my mother suggested bringing boxes for the slices, which turned out to be brilliant!  People loved my cake and loved more that I could package it in an easy-to-carry mini cake box for them.  When I was fast enough, I put on little 'Cakes by Roxanne' stickers, designed by my wonderful Aunt Carol. All in all, it was a big success.

Now I just need to clean up my poor apartment.

And I'll be sticking to much smaller projects for the foreseeable future. ;)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Another Status Update

The problem with making huge, detailed cakes is you spend weeks prepping them. My next competition cake will be done 1 week from today.  I've been working on different pieces of this cake for weeks already.  Here's where I am now:

I was up past 1 last night finishing up the dusting, steaming and glazing for all the roses and leaves-- hydrangea leaves are the big ones and the smaller ones are rose leaves.

The pictures legitimately don't do the roses justice.  They are much brighter in real life.  I dusted all 32 of them last night.  And steamed them.

You know you're OCD when you actually add thorns.  ;)

You can see some brooches I'm working on in the bottom of this picture.

The pictures don't do the hydrangea justice either.  They're actually all dusted with no less than 4 different colors. 

The dendrobium orchids are actually a very light pink on the edges... which you can't see in the pic. :(

Final count: 27 fully blown roses, 1 mid sized rose, 5 tight rose buds, 60 pearled stephanotis, 122 hydrangea, 22 hydrangea buds, 18 dendrobium orchids, 18 hydrangea leaves, and 14 rose leaves.

I also made isomalt gems today:

Isomalt is a sugar substitute known for its clarity.  However, if you overcook it, it starts to yellow, which is why some of the gems are like low-grade diamonds. ;)

More of today's labors:


And I made a custom board for the cake:

It has feet, so you can get your fingers under it to lift it:

All this and I haven't even started baking yet! :oP 

Don't worry-- I'll be sure to get better pictures of the final product next week before the show.  In the mean time, trust that I haven't fallen off the planet.  Quite the contrary, I'm busily caking away! 

In case you haven't heard yet, I did not win anything in Threadcakes.  I wasn't expecting to, so it's alright.  The important thing was that I tackled a really big 3D cake project and I was happy with the outcome.  At the end of the day, it didn't seem to be in the same style as the winning entries.  Sometimes you have to make a trade-off between doing what you want to do and what you think the judges will most appreciate.  That said, I hope the judges appreciate this cake I'm working on now, hahaha.... :) 

Enjoy the rest of your Labor Day weekend!