Saturday, December 18, 2010

Mrs. Grint

You know, I have some frighteningly cool friends. They come in a myriad of flavors: tall, short, fat, unfat, refat, crazy, nutty, and just plain wacky. And they have a variety of jobs: this one is finding the cure for weird diseases while that one thinks he has weird diseases. This one works with people with autism, that one works at NASA (potato, potahto). These are students and those are teachers. That one's both.

But all that's fairly obvious. The really cool stuff comes from uncovering my friends' hidden talents. Or slightly visually obscured talents. There are some neat skills out there. I'm not gonna say who can tie their shoes without using their hands...

Anyway, not naming any names, but I have this friend from college. And she has ridiculous artistic prowess. I mean. Really. So, on a whim, I asked her one day to make me a Cakeapotamus logo. From my very specific and helpful request ("Ummm... I don't know... maybe something like a blue hippo eating some pink cake or something?") she made this:

Bam! I mean, really? I met you at Georgia Tech? So I was like, "Hey, can you make me a Christmas logo too?"


So, when it came time for her birthday, I wanted to make her a cake she'd like. But what?


I know she's a Rupert Grint fan.

I'm not gonna say how big a fan, but you see that card he's holding? Yeah, she made him that.

So a Harry Potter themed cake seemed like a good idea. Better than Thunderpants, anyway. Not a sorting hat, that's not Ron-related. Gryffindor stuff could be anybody's. Scabbers? Ew. Broken wand? No. Hmmm...

So here's what I did:

I made some cereal treats. And cake. Lots of cakes. Because I had no idea what I was doing.

I stacked said cakes onto the base Mr. Cakeapotamus built. Carved. Crumb coated.

See where I'm trying to go here?

More carving and teal:

Gray windows. Some clouds and some little finishing touches and it's... the Mater version of the Ford Anglia.

But I think she liked it OK.

The end:

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Paying My Dues

If you look at a cake, not as just a confection, but as a step along the path of cakery enlightenment, well then, a cake is a little journey unto itself. Nay, an epic battle for sweetness. Sometimes the battle is calm. Sometimes, the cake fights back. Today, I got burned.


See, I was trying to make a Christmas cake. I was gonna use some of my new knowledge from the ISAC demos. So I made this cake:

Cute, right? Embossed fondant, snowball border... cute. The plan was to pour some sugar Christmas lights and put them on there. Adorable! But... see, poured sugar is hot. Really hot. So there was this:

And I was stuck. I'm too chicken to try the sugar stuff again tonight. Not that I could do much anyway without my right thumb and index finger. My fingers hurt. So, piping on the cake was out... fondant work was out... what to do with the unfinished cake?

Of course! Dragees! I freehanded a snowflake out of silver dragees on the top. Thank you, Hallmark Channel, for the inspiration.

I gotta say, I'm proud of this save.

Christmas Cakespiration

I love me some Nicholas Lodge. That man has mad skill. Mad, I tell ya. He can make crazy sugar art look effortless. It's really cool to watch, and I got the chance to watch it again yesterday.

ISAC (Nicholas Lodge's school) was having their annual holiday open house and I went. I mean, it's a great deal... only $5 and you get a $5 credit in the store to use after the demonstrations. How could I say no?

The first demo was in the brand spankin' new classroom, Studio B. I love it. Everything at ISAC is perfectly decorated- even the bathrooms. But Studio B is probably my favorite room:

The colors! The perfect, perfect colors!

The accessories!

The Muppet cakes!

I managed to tear my eyes off the decor for a while to watch the delightful Kathy Scott do a demonstration on making Christmas lights out of sugar:

No, really, that's all sugar. I'm gonna try this later today. Wish me luck!

Next, I went to the Nicholas Lodge classroom to watch the man himself:

This classroom is green:

Even the Christmas tree matches:

Look what he made:

I don't know why these are sideways. Blogger is weird.

Look at this other stuff:

That is a great gingerbread house.

Now I'm all inspired to bake some Christmas. Happy Christmas, y'all!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Climb Every Mountain

You know those people who you love real real hard? One of mine is getting married and she's letting me make the groom's cake. The groom wants a German chocolate mountain cake to serve about 140.

Here's why I was nervous: You know that gooey coconut pecan stuff that goes on German chocolate cake? That stuff seems too slippery for a large, mountainous, stacked cake.

Once again, it was Mr. Cakeapotamus to the rescue. He built me another cake stand- this one was a manly round wooden base with a tall pvc pipe sticking up around which I could build the cake. Perfect.

So I baked and baked and baked. 30 eggs later, I had a bunch of cakes. I poked holes in the middles and stacked with with that gooey stuff in between each layer:

I let it sit for a while with heavy bags of sugar on top. That's how the cracks happened. But it was good because there was no settling or sinking after it was decorated.

Next came the waterfall:

That's just plain buttercream. I had an idea... what if I mixed green buttercream with the coconut goo and used it to cover the rest of the cake? Let's find out:

Cool. Very rugged and mountainous.

What if I make some green royal icing, skewer a marshmallow, and pipe the icing onto the marshmallow to make trees?

Hmmm... let's airbrush this thing and add a little more green foliage:
Some marbled fondant rocks and we're done:

Now I just have to get the thing to Birmingham...

Monday, October 4, 2010

Cake Camp

OK, in the interest of full disclosure, I wasn't at THE cake camp. I was at A camp doing cake stuff. But that's the closest I'm gonna get for a while. So here we go:

This weekend, I had a marvelous cake adventure. It started Thursday night with a late, late cake night. I made some Dora cupcakes (sorry, no picture!) and a Hello Kitty cake. It was Hello Kitty that kept me up until 1am. But it turned out pretty well:

Hello Kitty came to school on Friday from which she headed out on her own epic adventure. Destination: certain annihilation... ummm... Mississippi. Done and done.

After work, it was home for a quick shower, kiss for the kids, and loading the Dora cupcakes in the car. I was on the road by 4:30! A little tired, but adventure beckoned.

I hit the road, headed to the town of Hiram, Georgia. I think I only got lost once on the way there, so that's a win. I delivered the cupcakes to their rightful owner whom I was meeting for the first time. Love her!

(Side note: I've made cakes for several people who found me through Facebook and they have all been delightful. Every time, I get nervous that they won't like their cake or me or something, and every time, it's a delightful encounter.)

From Hiram, I headed up and left toward Tennessee. I got lost once on the way to 75, but from there, it was smooth sailing. But late. And dark. Just me and the Glee soundtracks for six hours in the car. Oh, and coffee. I almost pulled into a hotel to rest a few times, but, in the end, I stuck it out and made it all the way... to the Group Lodge at Cedars of Lebanon State Park.

Have you ever seen that Friday the 13th movie where they're in the woods, at camp, and the psycho killer is stalking them as they walk about, completely oblivious to their impending demise? Yeah, it was like that. No lights, no people, just woods and psycho killers. But I made it in the end.

The Tennessee ICES folks had the lodge for Thursday through Sunday. (ICES is a cake group, in case you're unfamiliar.) It was wicked awesome. There was a HUGE room that was part ginormous kitchen and part meeting room. There were two dorm rooms with a bunch of bunkbeds. Remember the showers and bathrooms at Girl Scout camp? Yeah, like that. Good times. I got there late on Friday night, so I had missed the classes on Thursday and Friday ('cause I couldn't afford them- $400- what?!?!). But this is what they did on those days:

Ho-Ho's! Aren't they cool! They're cake! And they're all different. This one's my favorite:

I love it. Partly because the eyes are so good... and partly because of his hand position. Santa's in the hizz-ouse!


I know what you're thinking. Who, you're wondering, could have taught such a cool cake class?
Who, you're wondering, has such neat (pink!) tools:

Who, you're wondering, did I get to see on Saturday?

It's Bronwen!

Who doesn't love Bronwen Weber? That's right. Nobody. On a scale from one to awesome, she rocks my face off. AND, she did demos on Halloween cakes!

I took a ton of pictures.

She has mad skill (so does her husband!). And so much fun to watch.

So, I was like, "Let's take a picture!" and she was like, "Sure!" and she pulled off my nametag and I was like, "Now how will I tell us apart in the picture?" and she put on my nametag. 'Cause she's adorable.

Oh, and she made some cakes:

I am in awe of her skill. Good cake, good times, good stories.
But it didn't end there! After the Bronwen stuff, I hit the local McDonalds to scam some free wi-fi and take test 3 for my online business test. I found a Halloween store and explored for a while. Then, I met up with the ICES peeps for dinner at a local restaurant. I swear, the food at ICES was incredible. The food served at the classes was amazing. And check out this weird chicken salad from Demo's restaurant:

Yeah, it's served on 1/2 a pineapple. Weird.

Speaking of weird, there was this:
This is the park ranger they called in to handle the snake that was waiting for us in the meeting room when we got back on Saturday night. It was a cute little itty bitty snake.

Then, it was time for Sunday. Tennessee ICES has cool demos at their Days of Sharing. Check it out:

See this guy? He and his wife did amazing things with sugar. Just plain old sugar. And they made this:

and this:

That stem is hollow! Insane.

Oh, and I got to make these:

Huh. That's anticlimactic, isn't it? Ummm... I made these Christmas cookies too:

Huh. Ummm... yeah.

Hey! How 'bout that Bronwen?

Yeah, that's vodka. I learned more about vodka that day than in all 4 years of college together. The things they don't show you on t.v. cake shows.

And speaking of t.v. cake shows, ya know this guy?


You will.