Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Sweet Geekery

I've done two really geeky bakings lately. The first was my brother's groom's "cake":
That's 128 devil's food cupcakes with peanut butter icing. They say "Chip loves Maren" in binary.
*Update!* I sent a pic of these geeky goodies to the peeps at Cake Wrecks, and I got the coolest response from Number One:
Hey Mandi,

That is so awesome! Completely and totally unique and the best part is that nobody will really know if you're wrong. It could say "My cat has vociferous gas" and nobody would be the wiser. So cool. We might actually use it in a Sunday Sweets geek Wedding post.

Thanks and Wreck On!

john (the hubby of Jen)"

OK, how cool is that? I have arrived.

Then, there are these:

I made these cookies for my husband.

I feel that I've reached my geekiness quota for the month. Maybe it's time to bake something pretty. Perhaps for Sunday...

Monday, June 14, 2010

Mr. Cakeapotamus

I have an awesome husband. He's always been supportive of my wacky schemes and this whole cake decorating thing is no exception. He stays with the kids while I go to cake classes, ICES meetings, and random Starbucks for cake deliveries. He never says a word as box after box gets delivered from Global Sugar Art, Bakers Nook, or other vendors. He samples tons of cake and icing flavors and always finds something nice to say. Even with that batch of coconut icing. I know I'm very lucky.

But wait, it gets better.

Did I mention that my husband also has carpentry skills? He can build things. And, best of all, he can translate my incoherent sentence fragments, "with a thing like that but not there," into real carpentry-like plans. And what he builds is exactly like what I had in my head, despite my poor explanations. For example:

In this case, the request was, "Can you make me a thing out of wood to go there and hold these like this?" And voila, a beautiful rack to hold and organize my colors. (If you're wondering, the top row has no labels because they are powder colors rather than Wilton gel colors.)

And then there's this:

If you can't tell what that is, don't worry. I'll show you in a few days. But it's AWESOME! The single greatest cake accessory in the history of cakery. I am wicked excited about this one. And it came out just like I wanted.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Challenge me that...

I love PPGR. Unfortunately, she's gotten married, and her initials changed to PCGR... not the same. I mean, I'm glad she got married, true love, happily ever after, blah blah. But she'll always be PPGR to me.
Anyway, this morning, PPGR posted a challenge to her blog. Never one to shy away from a challenge (unless it's something I don't want to do), I'll accept it. You're supposed to post 5 pictures that you love and explain why you love them. Then, you're supposed to post 5 things you like about yourself. Since this is my cake blog, I'm going to complete the challenge with cake pictures and likes. So here goes:

I love this cake, hardcore. Not because it was huge (30+ pounds) and not because it's pink or had zebra stripes... no, I love this cake because of who ate it. My girls. Love them.

I made this cake when I was still VERY new to cake decorating. I like it because it's my own original idea and design. There are 3 full-sized cakes in that bowl, and the cake flavors are really chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry.

What's better than Halloween? Nothing! This cake is mix of techniques: colorflow, airbrushing, sculpting, piping... it was fun. Really fun.

OK, obviously this cake isn't that complicated. But, it's the only cake I've made so far that has any reference to Harry Potter. And, really, if I were going to make a horcrux, it would be a pink cake.

The pink castle. This cake took more time than any other cake I've ever made. But didn't it come out well? Pretty. I like the gray marbled fondant on the bottom tier. Also, this cake has gotten more attention than any other I've made. People seem to like it.

Now, the five things I like about myself (cake version):
1. I like my piping skills. Except for my cake handwriting which is abysmal, I can do good things with buttercream.
2. I like my vision. When I think of a cake I want to do, I like the way bring that cake into being.
3. Roses. I can make buttercream roses well and I've gotten pretty good at the gumpaste ones too.
4. Sculpting- I love carving cakes. It's hard, but I generally like what I come out with.
5. Character piping. I've only tried a few times to pipe a well-known character onto a cake, but they came out well.

There it is. Challenge completed. If you have a blog, you should try it!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

As Seen on T.V.

Have you ever watched those cake shows on tv? You know, where the people get 8 hours to build a ginormous cake, eight feet tall, and have to make every detail completely flawless? Then, after 8 hours of back-breaking, heart-wrenching labor, Kerry Vincent tells them how disappointed she is in their cake. I love those shows. Especially that time that caker* made that Kerry Vincent muppet. Oh, Kerry Vincent. I wonder sometimes if the character of Sue Sylvester is based on Kerry Vincent.

Since I started on this whole cake adventure, I've learned how freakin' amazing those tv cakers are. There is some mad skill on those shows and that stuff is WAY harder than they make it look. The first tv caker I met in real life was Barb Sullivan.

Barb was on TLC's Ultimate Cake-Off and she was totally robbed. Her cake should absolutely have won. Whatever, judges. I met Barb at my very first ICES meeting. I left that meeting thinking that it couldn't get any better. I mean, come on! I was sitting at the same table as a tv star! A tv star with a great manicure, by the way. I was starstruck and awed by her wicked skill. I want her skill, but I'm still working up the nerve to try using the Sugar Veil I got for Mother's Day.

I thought meeting a tv caker was a fluke- like a one-time-thing. I mean, I did karate for years and never met Jackie Chan. I've been teaching for years and I've never met... ummm... Severus Snape? So what are the odds of me meeting another famous tv caker?

OK then. Yup, that's Nicholas Lodge**. THE Nicholas Lodge. And I love him. I got to attend a demo that he did today and it was fabulous. I learned a lot, and I can't wait to use what I learned... in about 20 years after I've developed the necessary skills. Seriously, that man has crazy fondant skills. I'll admit, when he covered that cake and made it look so effortless... I got a little cake crush.

So there it is. About a year of cake decorating experience and I'm already palling around with tv superstars. As of right now, I have a wacky scheme that will hopefully score me a picture with Bronwen Weber in October. We'll see when Kerry Vincent crosses my path...

*I totally made up the word caker. But I enjoy it and you know what it means.
** Yup, that's Barb Sullivan and Amanda Combs behind us.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

It begins...

OK, to be more accurate, it began last January. I took a cake class so I could make my daughter's first birthday cake. Not that you have to take a cake class to make a cake. You can make a cake with no instruction whatsoever. I certainly did. Yeah.

Note that fabulous fondant work. Yeesh.

Knowing that first birthday cakes are forever immortalized in baby books, I decided to get some professional instruction before I tried to make Emi's. And so, with the first class of the first Wilton course under my belt, I made the cake.

At the time, I thought it was pretty cute. Still do, actually. And, it was fun. So, I kept taking classes and I kept making cakes.
Every once in a while, I have a cake adventure that I want to remember. Something happens with a person or a cake that strikes me as funny and it makes me wish I had a blog to record the story. So here we are.