What a fun week it was in my kitchen! This week I had a request that challenged me a bit at first. My wonderful customer wanted a birch bark cake… nothing I haven’t done before (and seen a million versions of tutorials online for), but she wanted this cake to be a buttercream cake. This was new to me!
Naturally, the first thing I did was take to the internet for ideas on how to accomplish this. I found (as usual) tons of tutorials on rustic buttercream birch bark cakes, but none that matched my style. Everything I found resulted in a messy sort of birch bark cake.
I know, I know, why should a rustic cake of this style be neat? Here’s the thing: when I first started cakes, I struggled so much with the “messy” cakes – the rustic cakes or more masculine cakes such as my Planes Fire & Rescue cake (which, coincidentally, has been my biggest success on Pinterest).
When I realized that “messy” cakes were likely just never going to be my thing, I decided to take the ideas given to me and neaten them up in my own style. For example, I was asked to do a four-wheeling cake, and here was my final result.
Clearly, this was before I realized the importance of good photography, (and the customer added the four-wheeling vehicles after pickup) but you get the idea. Instead of smearing the cake with chocolate frosting before covering with rocks and other debris (as would have been the most likely plan), I chose to panel it neatly with modeling chocolate and cover the tier tops with edible dirt instead. This way, it pleased my smooth-sided sensibilities but still made my customers very happy!
Back to the birch bark cake.
After feeling frustrated with the lack of ideas to achieve what I was picturing, I decided maybe I needed to find a fondant birch bark tutorial and figure out a way to translate it into buttercream. Well, I already had a version that I was in love with and had successfully created before… Shawna McGreevy’s birch bark cake! I followed her amazing tutorial for my sister’s baby shower cake earlier this summer, and was really pleased with the clean, beautiful results.
Sooo… I did some mental planning and got to work.
What do you know… it was a success!
This is buttercream, people!
I was very pleased with the way it turned out and with only one bump in the road, to the tune of my airbrush failing on me, which I rectified by hand-painting the top of the stump. And in fact, I know that I spent more time trying to fix my airbrush than I did painting the top. Isn’t that always the way?
Anyway, I filmed myself creating this cake just because, and was able to edit it into a short little bit of cakey fun!
Keep in mind, the original birch tree cake tutorial that I used came from the brilliant mind of Shawna McGreevy here! I simply adapted it in my own way to buttercream!
Tools used in this project:
Hello, sweet friends!
I was scrolling down through some of my older photos and feeling like I was watching myself grow while doing so… all of my cakes, from the very oldest until now. I would like to think that there was not much difference, and maybe tell myself that I was always good at cakes – but that is, of course, not the case.
One thing I do notice right off the bat is the fact that it took me about a year or so to realize the importance of decorating my cake boards.
Whether it is something as simple as sanding sugar…
… or even a solid fondant with a message on it, I always try to at least cover my boards.
As I’ve grown in confidence as a cake designer, I have gotten more and more fancy with my boards.
I’ve learned how much extra detail and character it adds to the cake. I’ve even gone as far as the create a board that almost overshadows the cake itself.
Fellow bakers, if you want to feel worth the money you know you should be charging, you need to take care every detail of your cake… this definitely includes the board. A beautifully decorated board adds so much to the quality of your cake!
Really… just take my word for it.
But if you still need a little more convincing, check out this video by Liz Merrick that convinced me I was right.
I would love to know your thoughts!
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Hello, my friends! The best thing about today? It’s Saturday.
With all of the cake orders I have had in the last few weeks, I have to say that a week jam-packed full of cookies was a welcome change! While cakes are definitely my favorite creative outlet, there is something so relaxing about piping cookie after cookie, and I think everyone knows by now that I love creating beautiful things in smaller sizes.
Here is but one set that resulted from this week’s labor.
I hope they will put a big smile on our teachers’ faces!
I also pulled out my video camera for a little while and put together this fun video of the making of the chalkboard cookies. It is short and fun!
If you know anything about me, you likely know that I started decorating cookies basically out of nowhere three years ago. I take pride in all that I have learned, developed and grown when it comes to my business, especially because I am self-taught (with the help of the internet).
Incredible amounts of learning and studying up have lead me to where I am in my cake and cookie decorating!
I am guessing there are so many other people out there like me, who have had an interest but never known where to start! A few basic YouTube videos and Craftsy classes really cleared up the basics for me and gave me enough base knowledge to move forward!
I am so passionate about online learning, because the knowledge is really at your finger tips.
One of my very favorite online learning avenues, Craftsy, is having a wonderful sale this weekend… 50% off of their NEW classes!
This includes a class I have taken (ok, a TON of classes I have taken, but ONE in particular), by my absolute cookie idol Callye Alvarado of Sweet Sugarbelle. Must. have. this. class. Seriously – a class by Callye for UNDER $20. If you have been at all tempted to give it a go, this is a great place to start.
I love to share my passion for sugar… it has brought so much joy into my life and I know it could for some of you also!
Tools used in this project:
A couple of weeks ago, I had the most wonderful opportunity to create a vintage airplane birthday cake for an incredibly loved little boy. From the moment his mom sent me a copy of the party invitation, I knew I was going to love this project! And I did… from start to finish.
The airplanes on the side of the cake are hand-painted with food coloring. I just love painting on cakes… it is so relaxing and creates such a wonderful look! I especially loved the dreamy clouds on this cake. Every once in a while, there is a project that reminds me of the magic of childhood, and this one did just that!
But of course the element that I enjoyed the most was the adorable airplane cake topper!
This sweet topper was created from gum paste and was nearly all edible (minus the toothpicks). It traveled straight from my imagination to the top of this cake, and I adore it.
So much, in fact, that I created a video of the making of this topper!
A few fabulous tools used in this project:
The gorgeous “Tiffany blue” box. The delicate satin ribbon. Those tiny black inscribed letters that mean so much.
The Tiffany & Co. box is a long-standing symbol of elegance and class. For this reason, Tiffany & Co. inspired cakes are a popular and often-requested theme, especially for bridal showers and the like.
I was approached to create a small Tiffany box cake to be central on a bridal shower dessert table. The excitement of a first-time theme drew my interest immediately, as it always does… especially with it being one so prominent on Pinterest and other online communities.
One thing that most excited me in planning this cake was my client’s request for size – this cake was to be 4″. I really enjoy when cakes are ordered in the size best suited for their design and, as a Tiffany box is often small and square, this was perfect.
In order for the ribbon to catch your eye, I used super pearl dust to give it some shine and a satin-like appearance.
The beautiful lace-like look of the cake board happened by complete accident. That will have to be a story for another day. 😉 The inside of this cake was delicious dark chocolate with creamy dark chocolate ganache filling.
My hope is that I was successful in providing the bride-to-be and her special ladies with a beautiful and decadent centerpiece for their memorable event.
Used in the creation of this cake:
We see beautiful and artfully created cakes in magazines and online all the time. Even if you are not into designing or creating desserts of any kind, you may be one of those people who loves flipping through photos of them.
Have you ever wondered how these masterpieces came to be? I’m not talking about the oven or the kitchen counter. I mean from the very beginning – the concept.
While some cake decorators prefer not to bother with sketching their cakes in any form, some (like me) prefer to have a visual to create from.
When I first began decorating cakes, I was strongly against (or maybe afraid of?) having to sketch out my cake designs beforehand. I insisted that the visual was only in my head.
It took one wedding cake that was too confusing for me to explain to the bride and groom and forced me to sketch out my first cake. In that sketch, I learned that a) maybe I was not, in fact, the worst sketch artist on the planet (as I had previously thought), and b) putting my mental images on to paper was not as difficult as I had expected, and actually somewhat relaxing.
Since that time, I have also learned that having a visual to “copy” allows me the most success! Turns out I am a really great copier! Ha! Sketching out my own designs and then copying them works wonderfully for me. I now sketch out pretty much all of my more-than-basic designs.
I use Adobe Sketch and my Apple Pencil for my images, although there are some earlier ones that were done with paper and pencil.
At this point, I find that drawing out my cake designs (or even ideas for possible cake designs) is a calming activity in itself.
And I always find it fun afterward to compare the two! Of course there are usually small details that change, but I am able to see just how closely I come to my original idea. It’s refreshing and it reminds me that the idea I created in my head really did have potential!
Used in this post:
The only thing more eye-catching than a beautiful sugar rose is a miniature sugar rose. Anything tiny is bound to be adorable… Which is why tiny edible things attached to cakes are always such a crowd pleaser!
For this stunner of a vintage rose baby shower cake, I needed mini roses. And I needed a LOT of them.
I searched high and low on social media, desperate for the simplest version of a mini rose tutorial that I could possibly find. I needed the fewest pieces, the least amount of supplies and the quickest assembly. I knew that if I didn’t find this, I was in for hours of tedious (as in, even too tedious for ME) work.
So I decided to create my own method. I played and fussed for close to an hour and came up with a perfect and simple method for tiny and quick, yet adorable, mini roses.
In fact, I had so much fun, I made even more of them for the coordinating cake pops. That was 135 roses in all… In just over two hours!
This turned out to be the perfect way to wow (literally – this is what people most often say when they view this cake!) without as much work as anyone would expect.
Tools used in this project:
If you have followed me much at all, you know that I have a love for fondant cakes. I love their gorgeous, smooth appearance. I love the decorating possibilities that a fondant covering allows. I love the ease of creating color, without the use of tons of food coloring. Most of all, I love the challenge of creating a perfectly smooth, sharp edged fondant cake.
So when I have a client that comes to me requesting a multiple-tiered fondant cake, I am in my true element. Don’t get me wrong, I love a delicious, amazing smelling, smooth buttercream cake just like the rest of you, but fondant and I have found a special place together in my kitchen.
When this sweet lady sent me a photo of a gorgeous hot air balloon cake by the amazingly talented Smash Cakery and asked me to recreate it, I may have started to hyperventilate with excitement just a bit. Fondant. Pink. Pastels. Buntings. Ruffles. Fluffy white clouds. Oh my.
I created the hot air balloon base and balloon out of Rice Krispies Treats. I masked them with chocolate ganache and covered them with fondant. Boy, that last two sentences made it sound way easier than it actually was! Luckily, I expected this to be the case and finished it early in the week. Hardest part: done. For a special touch, I created the lace look around the top and bottom of the balloon basket by using a clearance craft puncher (that I had picked up a couple of weeks before) on wafer paper. Simple and beautiful! You may notice that I even used some of the leftover cutouts as detail on the balloon.
For the ruffles on the bottom tier, I cut out 1″ strips of fondant and then used my scalpel to cut wavy lines off the top of each strip. I then attached the strips with piping gel. Easy peasy!
If you thought this order couldn’t have gotten any more fun, my client requested coordinating cookies as well!
In future posts on this blog, I hope to provide some tutorials on the details of my cakes. I love talking cake!
But for now, enjoy the photos of this cheerful set and let them take you away!
don’t miss the sweetness
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- Buttercream Cake
- Cake Balls
- Cake Boards
- Cake Lace
- Cake Pops
- Carved Cakes
- Decorated sugar cookies
- Double Barrel
- Drip Cake
- Edible Images
- Fault Line
- Fondant Cake
- Fondant Flowers
- Food Cakes
- Gumpaste Flowers
- Modeling Chocolate
- Naked Cake
- Novelty Cakes
- Painted Cake
- Royal Icing
- Semi-Naked Cake
- Smash Cake
- Striped Cakes
- Sugar Flowers
- Tiered Cakes
- Wafer Paper