Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Cakes on a Plane

This weekend I took a cake to my 94-year-old grandfather, since I missed his birthday at the end of August.  He lives in Florida, so I had to fly with my cake.  I had a terrible time photographing this cake ( I really need a new camera... different story), but I thought I'd tell you about how I packed the cake-- just in case you ever need to fly with cake!

I made a 6" 'Black Tie' cake-- a Chocolate Blackout Cake with Chambord Syrup and Espresso Truffle ganache.  If you look at my (not amazing) picture, you can see that the cake is sitting on the lid of a large Rubbermaid tupperware.  I have a 6" cardboard round under the cake, which I stuck to the larger cardboard with packaging tape.  I cut the larger cardboard to nestle tightly in the grooves of the tupperware lid. 

Then, I just set the tupperware over the cake and snapped it shut, like a snowglobe!  I put the whole thing in a shopping bag and put the cake through airport security like normal.  I checked the TSA website to make sure it was okay-- they say cakes and pies are allowed but may be subject to additional screening.  I did not seem to get any additional screening. 

On the plane, I folded over the top of the paper bag and slid it under the seat next to my purse.  No problem!   Of course, cakes are heavier than they look, so carrying it through the airport can tire out your arm.  Other than that, it was very easy.  The cake was not damaged at all in transit, unlike my July 4th cake that I checked in my suitcase... :) 

So if you ever want to bring a cake on a plane, that's how I did it!

The cake went over great with my grandpa and relatives. 

Friday, October 8, 2010

Autumn Gum Paste Arrangements

This week I was asked to make a wedding cake topper and 4 smaller clusters for each tier.   The 'inspiration picture' I saw had pumpkins and autumn leaves and berries.    The topper is in the first picture-- it had 3 pumpkins, about 10 leaves, and several berry clusters.

Here you can see the smaller clusters of leaves that I made for each of the 4 tiers.  The two without berries will have pumpkins with them when they're placed on the cake:

I had to do everything in a pretty short time frame, but I managed to make 5 pumpkins, 8 large maple leaves, 7 yellow ivy leaves and 8 light green ivy leaves, along with about 20 different berry clusters.  Everything was made from home made gum paste except for the pumpkins; the pumpkins had chocolate and rice cereal centers and were covered in orange fondant.  In spite of trying to reduce the weight by using the chocolate and rice cereal center, they were still really heavy!

I finished everything up this morning-- dusted in appropriate colors, steamed, and sprayed everything with edible lacquer.  Then I assembled the topper and the 4 little sprays. 

You know, it's one thing to make all of the individual gum paste pieces-- arranging them is a completely different animal!  First, you kind of have to pray that the individual pieces you made can be assembled in any meaningful way, and then you have to pray that you have enough individual pieces and that you don't break any in the process...
Anyway, I ended up really happy with how everything came out.  Still, I'm fairly interested in taking a class in floral design or something to see how the pros do it.  

I hope the couple likes it!  Meanwhile, don't you suddenly get the urge to jump in a pile of crunchy fall leaves?  Maybe that's just me... :)

Have a great weekend!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Purple Pillow Cake

After a long week of engineering grad school, I worked again this evening at Apple-Butter Bakery.  Here's today's creation:


When I got there this afternoon, this cake was already crumb-coated.  I covered it in fondant and did all of the quilting and pillowing.

For the first time ever, I got to use an airbrush!

I airbrushed the entire cake in pink and then went over it with purple to make the color richer.  I finished it off with a pearl sheen all over.  The camera doesn't fully capture the color-- I was really happy with how it came out.

I made pearls for the edges using a pearl mold and airbrushed those as well.  The tassels on each of the corners were made using an extruder.  Getting the pearls to stay on was a real pain in the butt, but I ultimately prevailed... ;)

Finally, I made some fantasy flowers.

The cake as shown is incomplete-- it will have a princess crown on it and a little banner with the birthday girl's name. 

More sugary goodness coming your way soon... :)