Gingerbread Castle Cake

Nov 25, 2010

This cake was for a birthday party that our church had for Jesus!  How fun to make a birthday cake for Jesus!!   This was a team effort for me with my friend Rachel!  Together we baked this 7 layer, 3 tiered cake with the idea that it should look like a gingerbread castle!  The idea was inspired by Lisa’s CNIB cake – the spirals on top got stuck in my head and transformed down into this ambitious idea!  It was a very whimsical and fun cake to make – and most fun to have worked on it together with Rachel!

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Ballerina cake

Nov 22, 2010

This was a cake for a 6 year old girl’s ballerina themed birthday party. I wasn’t sure how to complement that in a cake except to actually make a ballerina, so eventually I  gave up trying to think of something easier and started to work on making a figure.  It’s the first time I’ve done such a large 3-D figure that you see from all angles, and I think it worked out pretty good  (although admittedly the front looks better than the purposefully unpictured back).  She is completely edible, save a skewer and a toothpick for support; her body is cake, her limbs fondant and her head is actually a hollow chocolate sphere filled with smarties. I think she’s pretty cute, so I’m not sure I’d want to be the one getting at the smarties.

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Digger Birthday

Oct 29, 2010

A special birthday for a special little guy!!  This cake came after a 3 month cake-break for me so I thought I’d be full of energy and ideas but, really, I was just out of practice!!  We had a digger theme and I kept things quite simple using chocolate buttercream for this cake and blue, black and yellow fondant for the “caution” band with the Birthday Boy’s name.  The cake itself was quite an accomplishment for me. It’s hard to find great cake recipes for a little boy with an egg allergy.  This was my first very successful, moist, egg-free chocolate cake! The “secret” ingredient is quite  a surprise (zucchini!!) and there wasn’t one complaint! To find the recipe click here: http://www.suite101.com/content/dairy-and-egg-free-chocolate-zucchini-cake-a129222

Hopefully my creative flow will be back soon and I’ll get the chance to practice some new ideas!!

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Literacy Conference Cake

Oct 28, 2010

The literacy department of CNIB’s deaf-blind services teaches communication and literacy skills to people with significant vision and hearing loss. It’s an amazing service which gives people who could otherwise feel quite isolated the opportunity to communicate, learn and live more  independent lives.

I was excited to be asked to make a cake for the staff across Ontario who teach in this department as part of their 2-day literacy conference.  They asked that the cake have a bit of a halloween-y feel given the time of year, but other than that the organizers left it up to me.   I ended up with this colourful combination of Halloween, CNIB and Braille, and I think it went over really well.

A nice cake for a nice cause.

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One More for the Road!

Jul 03, 2010

One last cake before I take a break for the summer!  It really was my pleasure to make this cake for Alyssa to share with her friends for her 12th birthday!! Lime green and pink with polka dots was the request for this one.  I actually did it the “regular” way first – with all the polka dots randomly scattered, but it reminded me too much of some kind of an alien or sea creature so I went with a more graphical pattern.  This is one of my favourite things about working with fondant – if I don’t like something, I just peel it off and do something else!  I think it turned out fun!  I hope you had a great birthday party Alyssa!!

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Welcome here!

Jun 28, 2010

A friend from work asked me to make a cake to greet family members from overseas. I love cakes that already have a personality like this, so I had a lot of fun designing it.

I also tried some new techniques when I made it, so in addition to having some fun with it, I felt like i learned some things too:

1) practice helps with fondant;  I think this is the best looking side of a cake I’ve done so far.  Steph, yours are still much better, but I know you’ll be proud of me for this!

2) using a tiny sharp knife to cut out details is so much easier than a normal kitchen knife (which admittedly took me too long to learn) I dipped it in a tiny bit of water first too, and it seemed to keep the edges a bit nicer.

3) using a (clean) paintbrush to paint with food colouring directly on the fondant works really well.  I tried first just to give some shading on the map and it worked so well that I abandoneded trying to cut out all the bits on the Union Jack, and just decided to paint it on – much easier!  I’ll definitely be incorporating this new technique into upcoming cakes when I need fine detail. I quite like painting, so this opens up a whole new world to me!

Hopefully the visitiors got a kick out of the cake, and get to enjoy some quality time with family!

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Camping

Jun 25, 2010

This was a fun cake request – a friend wanted a camping cake!  Camping is so fun on it’s own – adding a cake to kick off the adventures is sure to broaden the smiles! This was meant to be kid-friendly – it’s chocolate cake with lots of candies and such with just a thin layer of fondant. Some of the trees are starburst candies rolled out, the windows are cadbury chocolate, the logs are a variety of chocolaty treats, and lots of mini rolos for everyone!

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Opa Turns 93!

Jun 24, 2010

Before I go into retirement for the summer I thought I would post one last cake.  Last weekend I had the privilege of making a cake for my grandfather’s 93rd birthday.  This cake took a lot out of me – lesson learned: fondant and humidity don’t mix!!  Never have I had a stickier, messier cake experience – but, no matter, it all worked out in the end!!  As you can probably see in the photo this cake was very shiny because it was so SWEATY!  I think Opa had a great birthday and I hope I honoured him with this cake.

It happens to be my Uncle Henry’s birthday on the very same day as Opa, so I made him a little matching mini cake!

… I’ll be back with Bennett’s 4th birthday cake in September but in the mean time stay tuned for more adventures by Lisa!

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fondant recipe

Jun 23, 2010

Recently we’ve been getting quite a few requests for this, so here it is!

This is just the way I do it. I’m sure others might have different tricks or tips, but I’ve found this works for me and I hope it will work for you too!

250g marshmallows

3 cups  icing sugar

1 Tbsp water

1 tsp clear vanilla extract

Coat the bottom and sides of a big glass bowl with shortening or butter flavoured cooking spray.  Put the marshmallows in the bowl, drizzle with water and microwave for 1 1/2 minutes.

Stir until smooth.  This is usually when I add the vanilla extract but you can add it earlier too. (and Lisa adds butter flavour too.)

Slowly begin to add the icing sugar and stir.  Fresh icing sugar is the best for this because it’s usually nice and fluffy and free of lumps.  If you’ve got lumps then sift them out before you begin to mix it in.  Mix in as much of the icing sugar with a wooden spoon or spatula as you can and then begin to kneed it in with your hands. (coating your hands with shortening will help it stick a little less!)  Keep kneading it and adding more icing sugar  in until the fondant is smooth, no longer “dusty” and no longer sticky.  (sometimes you will use a little less or a little more icing sugar.  The goal is always to make it so that it’s pretty solid and is not at all sticky when you roll it out.)

Then I coat the counter with shortening and knead it some more until it’s a plump little ball (adding more icing sugar if needed). …incidentally, my camera was covered in shortening at this point too, which my photographer friends might not be so impressed with.  Next time one of you needs to come over and do the photographing for me!!

If you want to colour the fondant you can do it at this stage. Using a tooth pick and gel colour you just stick your colour in all over the place and knead some more!  (my wrists and hands are usually tired!!)

Next step: roll! (notice my humungous tub of crisco!)

and then, TA DA!

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Summer birthday

Jun 22, 2010

For my brother’s birthday and father’s day my sister-in-law hosted an outdoor BBQ at their lovely home, so I thought it would be nice to bring some simple summer treats. I made 2 mini cakes and some orange and lemon no-bake cheesecakes using the fruit as the dish. It was cute. I’m not sure cute is really his thing…but it worked for the setting. To be honest I was more creative last year. I think it was the third cake I had decorated with fondant, and it looked pretty good  – here’s a picture…

I hope you had a great birthday Craig!

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