Adventures in Chocolate

Jun 13, 2010

So, I wanted to try something new… hmmmm…  this one came with a bit of a learning curve!  This cake for Katie’s birthday is a chocolate devil’s food cake (thank you Martha!) with chocolate mousse and a white chocolate “collar.”  YUM!  (although I didn’t actually get to taste this one because it’s sugar free month.  arg.)

My Hubby always tells me to measure twice and cut once – I don’t like doing that because it takes too long!  But, he’s right and I should have done that here.  I carefully measured out a template on parchment paper but forgot to double check and ended up needing to patch it together.

Anyway, I started with the orange polka dots, waited for them to dry and then poured the white chocolate and spread it out over top.  The next thing I learned was to spread carefully!!  Some of the orange polka-dots smudged…

I waited a little while until the white chocolate set and then wrapped the collar around.  The third thing I learned was that it hardens quickly when it touches a cold cake, so next time I need to work faster!  As a result mine’s not a perfect circle, but I think I’ve got the hang of it for next time!  Then I filled it with chocolate mousse and topped it with K A T I E.  The last thing I learned was that chocolate letters DON’T stand up in chocolate mousse!  All in all a really fun cake to try.  I learned a lot from this one and can’t wait to try again (which I think I might do next weekend!).

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Monograms

May 23, 2010

I’ve been meaning to get around to this post for a while!  One of my  absolute favourite things is a monogram, and it feels only natural to have on a birthday cake!! Combine that with polka dots and  I think this is definitely my favourite cake to do. Here are a few of the different versions that I’ve done…  these are all iced with fondant.  One trick I learned in this process is to make sure you stick on the little balls with regular icing (because if you don’t, when the cake is cut you’ll have little fondant balls rolling and bouncing all over the place!).

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Soccer Cupcakes

May 21, 2010

These Soccer cupcakes were for 11 year old Alex! Lisa helped me brainstorm these and that was really fun for me!  Two heads are better than one!  The “grass” cupcakes are buttercream icing on vanilla cupcakes with foil wrapped chocolate balls stuck in with toothpicks.  The “soccer ball” cupcakes are fondant with black buttercream.  The banner and little jersey were fondant too.  I was so nervous (as I always am when I get an “order”) waiting for them to be picked up, but when I opened the box for her she squealed with delight!  That’s what makes it all worth it for me!  I LOVE birthdays!!

The next couple of pictures are of our new logo!  Lisa and I are really excited about using it (it will be added to the blog when hubby gets some time!) and here it is in action:

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Underwater Adventure – L’s first birthday!

May 16, 2010

This is a project I had a lot of fun with; my nephew’s first birthday!  I procrastinated so long trying to come up with an idea, and ended up only having a few hours to work with so I skipped the fondant and went back to basics with buttercream!  Buttercream was the perfect thing to work with though to make the underwater effect I was going for.  I used my new vanilla cupcake recipe for the cake and it turned out super dense but still good!  It’s a 3 layer, 6 inch cake with mini cupcakes stacked on top.  Happy first birthday!!

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Baby Blocks

Apr 22, 2010



I made some little block cakes for a friend’s baby shower this weekend. There were 7 blocks total which spelled  ‘baby’ and the last name of the excited soon-to-be parents. I made 3 blue which were chocolate inside, 2 pink which were white cake and 2 yellow and green covered carrot cakes.

It was a really fun project – if you’d like to try it here’s what I did:

I started a couple of weeks ago making all the little extras to go on the sides of the blocks, as well as the squares for the sides (7cmx7cm), and froze them all. Then this weekend,  I baked sheet cakes and cut them into squares with exactly the same dimensions as the fondant squares I had made previously, each about 2cm tall. I stacked them three layers high, with icing between each (I added a thin layer on the top if necessary to make 7cm). I then coated each in icing, and stuck the fondant squares (now hard) onto the sides.  This all worked surprisingly well actually, the only glitch was when I decided to finish off the edges; that took a bit longer than expected, and it was tricky to line them all up.  I really think the borders finished them off nicely though, so I’d do it again.  Here are a bunch of pictures of all the blocks – i think it would have been pretty cute to stack the blocks, but the words only made sense if they were side by side because some blocks had 2 letters – next time!

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Personality Cakes

Apr 16, 2010

These were some cupcakes I did for a Stag-n-Doe door prize.  The mother of the bride asked for some cupcakes that would represent the bride and groom.  I’m told the groom is an electrician and enjoys playing baseball!  And the bride loves sand and surf and works in Travel and Tourism.   Making little fondant figures is definitely more Lisa’s expertise, but I decided to be adventurous and give it a try!  The challenge here was the red and black icing of course!  As I’ve said before, mixing colours is my biggest challenge!  The “sand” is made from crushed up oatmeal Teddy Grahams (thank you, kids!), and all the figures are made from fondant (thanks to hubby for making the airplanes!).   My hope is that the airplane and globe cupcake is a good representation of “travel and tourism” and doesn’t look too much like a space ship!  Here’s how they turned out.

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happy birthday the cupcake way

Apr 11, 2010

How do you make a masculine looking cupcake?!  This is my attempt for my father in law’s birthday.   White buttercream and brown and blue fondant circles. (polka dots – yes, but polka dots are my FAVOURITE!)  The two cupcakes at the top of the photo were for my kids – my egg free success! (finally!)

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Cupcake Adventures – bridal shower!

Apr 10, 2010

I had so much fun with these cupcakes for a bridal shower!  I’m thrilled with my new vanilla cupcake recipe! (http://www.marthastewart.com/recipe/billys-vanilla-vanilla-cupcakes) I used Buttercream icing and fondant accents.  The Bride’s colour is mauve, so I tried my best to make that happen!  I also had fun taking photos, so here’s a whole bunch!

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Spring cake

Apr 08, 2010

I made this cake for a combined birthday/Easter dinner our family had. The only new thing I tried in terms of  technique was making a carrot cake from scratch, and that part of it turned out really well. (Thanks for a great recipe, Cindy!) Otherwise all the decorations were made out of marshmallow fondant similar to the Canada Day cake I posted before. Originally I wanted to make  a big carrot coming out of the green base with edible dirt around it, but couldn’t quite figure out how to do it and make it look interesting – maybe I’ll think of a clever way for my next carrot cake. In the absence of a coherent substitute plan, it ended up being a combination of a few different ideas. I’m not sure how much sense it made; my guess is that a bird would know better than to build a nest on a stump, but either way, it was fun to make, and very spring-y

For all of you who have tried covering a cake in fondant, I’m sure some of you are like me and have a hard time getting the sides smooth. I’m not good at that at all, I always get big creases when I press the fondant onto the icing. To circumvent this problem, I plan cakes with little add-ons that I can use to cover the sides, in this case grass and bark; that way I can practice making it smooth, and then cover up all my mistakes. I’d like to think I’m getting better at making the fondant smooth, but this one was particularly bad under the grass.  I have to say I was very pleased with how smooth the top of the grass part was, it was almost a shame to cover it with a stump!

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Egg-Free experiments

Apr 06, 2010

In our family at Easter we (we being a loose term for Mom and Mom-in-law) make a sweet bread topped with icing and sprinkles called Paska.  Since my son can’t have eggs I thought I’d try to make him some egg-free cupcakes that look like the Paska that Nana makes.  It didn’t really work out that well… The cupcakes never really got baked in the centre and then they sunk and cracked when I took them out of the oven.  Thankfully my little guy is only 3 and didn’t really notice a difference!!  He was very happy to be able to participate in dessert, although he did keep asking for “the big ones that Nana made.”  So, on to a new egg-free recipe next time!!  here’s how they turned out… it was convincing enough to a 3 year old but over all, not so great!

I think it blended in well enough!!

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