Thursday, November 22, 2012

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Monday, July 2, 2012

Caden's Blessing Cake

Blue and yellow themed caked with a large letter "C" block and button accents.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Chris and Lisa's Anemone Wedding Cake

My first wedding cake!  Lisa and I have been friends since our freshman year of high school and I was flattered that Lisa believed in me enough to think that I could pull off such a major task for their big day.  On top of this huge responsibility, she also asked me to be a bridesmaid in her wedding so I definitely felt a lot of pressure to help make her and Chris's day absolutely perfect.  I was happy to take on the task(s) for someone whom I love so dearly and for a couple who I truly believe is perfect for one another. 

Lisa based the theme of their wedding around the anemone flower.  Her centerpieces, bouquets, party favors, and invitations all included this beautiful flower. 

The bridesmaids' bouquets.

The bride's bouquet.

The wedding favors.  Homemade sugar cookies with an anemone design in royal icing. These were made by Lisa's sister-in-law. 

When we talked about the design of her cake, Lisa wanted something simple.  Together, we decided on a three tiered cake with just one or two anemone flowers, and gray ribbon to match the color of the bridesmaid dresses.

A sketch of the cake that I drew for Lisa.

Lisa and Chris made their cake toppers together.  They are painted Japanese kokeshi dolls.  I really love the little anemone boutonniere that Chris has on his doll.  They look like perfect little cartoon versions of themselves!  So adorable. 

The bottom tier of the cake was red velvet and the two top tiers were white cake with vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream.  I also made two 1/4 sheet cakes that were cut in the kitchen of the venue. 

The mini cupcakes were provided by Cat's Cupcakery.  Cat has really great and unique flavors such as ube (purple yam) and calamansi (a Filipino citrus fruit) along with popular choices like red velvet and vanilla.  Each one was delicious!  I should know.  I tried them all!

Photo courtesy of Jason Chan Photography
Congratulations, Chris and Lisa!  Thank you for hosting such a beautiful and fun wedding.  It will be a day that we will never forget! <3

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Phil's SF Giants Birthday Cake

We celebrated a big birthday last Saturday.  My boyfriend, Phil, turned 30!!  He is a super low-key guy and didn't want to do much for his birthday so I made him this San Francisco Giants baseball cap cake and a few friends and I surprised him with it. 

I've been meaning to make an SF Giants themed cake for Phil for quite some time but I love surprising people (if I could surprise people for a living, I'd be awesome at it and extremely rich) and since we live together that's not the easiest task.  To me, turning 30 is a big deal so I felt that I no longer had an excuse to not make him a cake.  Luckily, I work from home on Fridays and this cake was surprisingly easy to make.  I finished the entire thing in one day and it usually takes me 2 to 3 days to prep and complete a cake.  Basically, all this cake is made up of is: one 7 inch round cake, and a bill made of fondant and gum paste. 

Me and the birthday boy!

 The big 3-0.

Carrot cake and cream cheese frosting.

Here are my tips if you would like to make your own baseball cap cake:

1) To make the bill, I took one of Phil's real baseball caps and traced the bill onto a piece of manila folder to make a template.  Use whatever you have on hand: cardboard, card stock, etc.  Something stiff enough to hold its shape and won't be cut into easily when you are cutting your shape out of the fondant.  

2) I used a 50/50 fondant and gum paste mixture.  Next time I would up the ratio of gum paste to fondant to allow the bill to dry faster and harder.  

3) To get a little shape in the bill, slide a piece of card stock underneath and push in the sides to create a round bump.  Tape the card stock in place with painter's tape (I always have a roll on hand) and allow the bill to dry.  You can even stuff some paper towels underneath the card stock for more stability.  Remove the card stock and paper towel when you are ready to present the cake.  

4) For the cake, bake two 7 inch layers of your favorite kind.  I used a carrot cake without nuts or raisins.  I omitted these ingredients because I knew I would have to do a little bit of carving and the nuts and raisins would make large chunks fall out of the cake.  All I really carved off was the edge of the top tier and two notches on both sides to give the cap a little life.  

5) I've learned to use cream cheese frosting only as a filling and not as my crumb coat.  The cream cheese frosting is much too soft and doesn't hold up to the warmth of my hands when I am smoothing out the fondant on the cake.  So instead I make a dam with Swiss meringue buttercream, fill with cream cheese frosting, and then use more buttercream for the crumb coat. 

Wow!  I can't believe I finished this whole cake, and cleaned up all the evidence in one day!  After making this list of tips it seems like there is a lot more work than I remembered.  Time management in these cases is your best friend!!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

2011 Holiday Goodie Box

 Pretty freaking adorable, huh?

It's been awhile since I've made Christmas cookies.  Last month, I brought treat boxes with me to a Christmas gift exchange and one of my girlfriends said "You didn't make us cookies last year!... Or the year before!"  I know... I know... but, shit... it's hard work!  So, I figured I'd make it up to them and make them LOTS of goodies this year (so maybe I can take a break again for the next 2 years, or even 5).  In the boxes were: pistachio macarons, cinnamon sugar butter cookies, mini heart shaped apple pies, chocolate hazelnut cookies, a red velvet cupcake and soft ginger cookies.

I've made almost all of those cookies/treats before, except for the mini pies.  It was my first time making pie dough from scratch and I used Martha's pate brisee (pie dough) recipe.  It was super flaky and buttery.  Working with the dough was very easy and I had no problems making it by hand, without a food processor, but I did get a food processor for Christmas (after I made all these freaking mini pies) and made pie dough with it for Christmas day.  I would still consider both ways equally as easy but the food processor is just faster.

For the pie filling, I made a stove top apple filling first.  I based my recipe on this one.  I added twice the amount of cinnamon and my little pies took approximately 15 to 18 minutes to bake until golden brown.  I think that someone could easily make a bunch of these guys and throw them in the freezer.  When you get the craving for some pie a la mode, warm one (or four) in the oven and serve with vanilla ice cream!

To create the packages, I went to Smart and Final and got a bunch of take out boxes (the sort of flat and rectangular kind).  To keep everything cozy inside so that things could stay separate and not crack or break, I used jumbo cupcake liners, which I found at Safeway and Michael's.

Goodie box tied with a red ribbon and adorned with a homemade tag, ready to go.

I'm a little late, but I hope everyone had happy holidays and an even happier new year!

Monday, October 3, 2011

SilhouPETte Birthday Cake

My friend, Christine, contacted me to make a birthday cake for her best friend, Jessica, who is the founder and owner of SilhouPETte.  Jessica makes really great custom silhouettes of your pet to have as keepsakes or gifts.  Christine asked me to make a cake mimicking one of Jessica's pieces using Jessica's own dog, Dixon, as the silhouette.

Can you guys tell the boo-boo I made?  The damask print on the cake board is upside down!  I'm so bummed about this too because I spent quite a bit of time thinking of how I could closely imitate Jessica's art.  I'm used to making round cakes so this is actually the first time I've ever even used a rectangular cake board.  I didn't pay attention to the orientation of the silhouette when I set it in place so I didn't notice that it was upside down until it was too late.  Blah!  So irritated that I made such a silly mistake. 

I have been customizing my own cake boards lately by covering them with wrapping paper.  I think that it gives the cake a little more of a dramatic effect.  When I let Christine know that I would be doing an oval cake on a rectangular cake board, to give the cake the feel of a SilhouPETte, she requested that the pattern on the cake board be damask and sent me a picture of one of Jessica's pieces as an example.  I looked in several different stores to try and find a wrapping paper with a similar damask print as what Christine showed me but I wasn't satisfied with what I saw.  So, after endless searching on the internet for different damask patterns, one image lead me to Etsy.  I didn't know this but there are a few graphic artists who sell packages of digital prints through there.  I used VNdigitalart.  I paid a whopping 3 dollars and they sent me a link to download about a dozen images.  Pretty neat, I think.  So, I printed out a few sheets of the image I wanted and pasted them onto the board.

To get Dixon's silhouette onto the cake, I printed his image in the size that I wanted, cut it out and glued it onto a manila file folder.  Then I took an X-acto knife and cut out a stencil along the edge of the image.

Sorry for the funky lighting!

I had made the template intending to use the cut out and not the stencil, but really either would work. 

One more for Dixon's ear so that it would pop out on the cake.

The cake was red velvet with cream cheese frosting filling. 

Please check out Jessica's stuff at SilhouPETte!  Christine is also an AMAZING event and wedding photographer.  Check out her blog at  I am moved by her photos every time. 

Friday, September 30, 2011

Sneak Peek: SilhouPETte Cake

Here's a first look at this surprise birthday cake. More about it coming soon!

Monday, September 12, 2011

No Knead Bread

I'm not very versed in the world of bread baking.  I don't have bread flour.  I have a baking stone that we have only used once for making pizza with pre-made Trader Joe's pizza dough and it was far less than impressive.  I bought a jar of active dry yeast awhile back ago but I forgot to put it in the fridge so I think it all went dead.  The only breads I have really made are pretzel rolls and raisin swirl bread.  I tried to make brioche one time and for whatever reason it was a sticky, clumpy disaster.  Breads seems like a whole other planet to me in terms baking.  I kinda have to agree with my boyfriend who says, "Why make it when you can buy it at the store for $1.99?"

I've known about the No Knead Bread recipe for a long time but never tried to make it.  The bread requires 14 to 20 hours to rise (overnight), and I usually get my cravings to bake in the mornings.  So anytime I actually wanted to make this bread, I'd forget about it by the time it was reasonable to do so. 

After my friend, Marilyn, said she had a lot of success with the recipe, I set my mind to try it too.  I'm glad I did.  It was fantastic.  The bread's crust was amazing and the inside was chewy and perfect for slathering butter on.  We kept the leftovers in a plastic resealable bag and I thought that it kept pretty well.

The recipe calls for instant yeast.  I only keep active dry yeast packets in my house (buying the jar was an overestimation of how often I thought I would make pretzel buns and/or raisin swirl bread), and I read that other people still got great bread with it.  So, I warmed up the 1 5/8 cups of water that the recipe calls for and proofed the yeast first, then added it to the flour and salt.  I think I've read that others who also used active dry yeast skipped proofing and still got good results.

I'm interested in experimenting more with this recipe.  I'd like to try a finer ground cornmeal (I used polenta which is probably too coarse), or maybe wheat bran.  I might even invest in some bread flour.

I guess the bread planet isn't that far off after all. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Jenn's 30th Birthday Cake

One of the most beautiful and stylish girls I know had a big birthday this weekend.  Being such a special occasion I wanted to make a cake for her that could match her beauty and style.  So, I surprised one of my dearest friends, Jenn, with this ruffled, 2-tiered cake. It will never compare to how awesome she is but I still love how it turned out!

This was my first time making ruffles on a cake so I used this video as a reference. Ruffles are super easy to make and really add a dramatic effect.  The flowers and bows were 100% gum paste and the ruffles and letters were a mixture (about half and half) of fondant and gum paste.

It is really hard to achieve black using food coloring so I mixed together pre-made black fondant with white gum paste and added additional black food coloring gel for a darker color.  The bottom two layers of ruffles are a dark shade of slate blue/purple and actually black food coloring gel is a concentrate of really dark purple (to me it is at least) so I just used less food coloring there. 

Another reason why I didn't use all gum paste for the ruffles is because it just doesn't taste very good by itself, but adding it to the fondant gives it more stretch without it cracking. 

 Gumpaste roses.

 The big 3-0!

 Pink bow on the back of the cake.

The shininess of the bow comes from edible pearl dust. One additional thing I did to the top layer of ruffles was to trim to the tops (where it gathers) with a pizza cutter so that there would be a nice even edge.

So one of the things I dislike doing is finding supplies for cake making.  There is a baking supply store that is somewhat close to me but if I ever forget something it is not convenient for me to make that extra drive out to.  That is usually where I buy my fondant and other supplies.  Lately, the Michael's store by me has really increased their baking supply inventory, adding lots of stuff from Wilton and also Duff Goldman's (from Ace of Cakes) brand of cake decorating tools and buttercream fondant.  I read somewhere that his fondant is actually very good so I used it for the first time on this cake.

Right out of the container you can smell how buttery it is and working with it was great because it stretches really easily without causing cracks or holes.  I think this is the smoothest my cakes have every looked (underneath the ruffles).  I will definitely be using the Duff brand of fondants again. 

The flavor of the cake was devil's food cake with a dark chocolate ganache filling.

Happy birthday, Jenn!!!