Monday, December 17, 2012

Trying something new

A few times a year, Nicholas Lodge opens up his school for an open house. It's always amazing with good demonstrations and nosh. I always learn something (or 35 somethings) new. BUT! I rarely try the new things that I learn.

Here's what I saw this year:

Some amazing gingerbread work where some super-talented ladies turned these cookies:

into this wreath:

I know, right? I wanted to make these for my kids teachers, but something kept getting in the way and then I ran out of time.

Then there was this:
Look at the fondant on the top of that cake!


And, of course, there's the main event in the big, green classroom. Check out this stuff:
Perfection. I mean... come on!

Love the hot chocolate cupcake back there in the mug!

I've never made my own chocolates... hmmm...


Look at the detail on these!

Are you kidding me???

Even his cookies and cupcakes are dressed too the nines!

Come on!

Oh my gosh. His carrot nose!

Just... I mean... the sugar gift tag... 
I always leave the ISAC open house (full of punch and chocolates and) with the best of intentions toward trying to make some of the amazing things I've seen. I always buy a new tool (or seven) or a new ingredient... and then I either get otherwise occupied or I'm too chicken to try them out.

This year, I got a little sick right after the ISAC open house and I haven't even touched my purchases until tonight. It's not much, but I tried the new fondant that they had this year, Fondart. I gotta say... I like it. A lot. It's very elastic and soft as a baby's butt. I made this:

It's a bulldog paw because Opelika

I *think* this birthday girl came to the Psycho Path this year which makes this cake extra special. The back of this cake has some pudgy fondant rolls, like bulldog wrinkles. The Fondart pudged up really nicely for that part. I gotta remember to get some more of that stuff*.

*I'm not trying to sell Fondart, I'm really just writing that part so that I'll remember how it worked for me. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

the algebra of creating a bakery

I believe it was Shakespeare who said:

"Your heart is true,
You're a pal and a confidant.
And if you threw a party
And invited everyone you knew
You would see the biggest gift
Would be from me
And the card attached would say,
'Thank you for being a friend.'"

And he really knew what he was talking about, too. 

You know how, sometimes, you put more on your plate than your stomach can actually hold? "Your eyes are bigger than your stomach," they say.

Turns out, that can happen at auctions, too. Your eyes can be bigger than your wallet... or your car... or your storage space. Before you know it, you've bid on and won six really huge items at a closed supermarket auction in Montgomery and you have no idea how to get it to your storage space. And by "you" I mean "me". 

But come on! Doesn't it just scream, "Cupcake Display"?
I am very lucky that I have an amazing, supportive family. My mom was willing to wrangle the kids while my husband and I borrowed my brother's car and trailer to make the trips to Montgomery then Auburn then Montgomery then Auburn and then back to Atlanta. But we ended up being able to move all my purchases into the storage space... with a  little metric crapton of help.

At the store in Montgomery, we loaded up the trailer with the first group of stuff and drove it to Auburn... never going over 55mph. 

awww, yeah, making a move, Clampett style
There's a lot of stuff on that trailer, y'all. A lot. But we got it to Auburn and safely stored it in the storage unit that Mr. Cakeapotamus let me get after I bought the first oven for the bakery.

Then it was time to load this:
love. this. thing.
That's my display counter. It's 7 feet long and weighs about 937 pounds. And I love it so so much. But it weighs 8,326 pounds. We couldn't get it onto the trailer. 

Luckily, that guy from the auction- you know, that guy? The one who bid against me a few times? Yeah, him. He was there and he had a forklift. So he and some absolutely adorable college-age boys helped us load the counter into the trailer. Pure, random, kindness of strangers. Strangers in Bama shirts. Seriously. It was beautiful.

You have died of dysentery.

So once more, we toddled down the road at a cool 55mph with a trailer loaded with my lovely counter. We got back to the storage unit... and... huh. How were we supposed to get this thing off the trailer and into the storage unit without a forklift? 

We tried. We pushed, we pulled. We swore. I cried a little. Did I mention it was raining? And then the answer came in one of my patented Flashes of Brilliance. Call Mike. 

When in trouble, Friend Mike can make it better. 

Sure enough, Friend Mike came to our rescue. And between Mr. Cakeapotamus and Mike, the display counter is now safely stored in the display unit.

Now, follow me here. If it took three guys and a forklift to get the display counter on the trailer, but it only took Mr. Cakeapotamus and Mike to get the counter off the trailer and up into the storage unit... assuming that Mr. Cakeapotamus does the work of three brawny college boys... carry the two... thus, Mike = a forklift.

Algebra. Study it, kids. If for no other reason than to prove that one of your friends is a fork lift.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

I'll just send myself to the box truck, baby!

Every once in a while, someone (usually someone who doesn't spend much time around me) will ask when I'm going to go on a cake show. The people who spend time around me every day don't ask this question. They know there's enough crazy on tv already.

Cake Boss: The Next Great Baker is currently accepting applications for season 3. I looked over the application, and... wow.

To illustrate why I have no business on television, here are some of my favorite questions from the application and my answers:

"Any other names you have been known by?" Really? You want to know that my mom used to call me by my brothers' names when she was talking too fast?

"If you are selected as a contestant, what name would you go by?" Ooooohh.... I pick... Stacy. No, wait. Stacie. More exotic.

"Describe your family & living situation. With whom do you live?" Since when does Buddy Valastro have such good grammar? "With whom"? Really?

"Would you be available to leave home for approximately 5-8 weeks in (approximately) mid-August 2012 until early-October 2012?"  Yes! I can leave now. You guys are going to send someone to clean my house and paint the kitchen while I'm gone, right? Perhaps that Ty Pennington fellow is available. 

"How much of TLC’s The Cake Boss have you seen?
_____None _______A few episodes here and there
______A full season _______Never missed an episode
______Other (please explain):____________________" What could "Other" possibly mean here? I'd be tempted to write "What's the Cake Boss?".

"Complete this sentence: If I were an ingredient, I would be ________"  Really? Ummm... I'll say, I would be... imitation awesome extract.

"What is your all-time favorite ingredient and why?" Based on your last question, I'm going to say me.

"What is your unique “Baking/Culinary Point of View”?"  1st person?

"What is your favorite topic of conversation in a social setting?" Talking animals and surgery. Oh, and things my dog has thrown up. Also, how much I love to vacuum (really) and philosophical questions like, "What if you could fly but you had to pee out your nose? Would you do it?"

"What topics are off limits?" Apparently not much.

"How would your toughest critics describe you?"  I'll say... in hushed tones over a camp fire.

"What about you and your background would make you a good contestant on the show?" This show? Nothing. Dateline? Just about everything.

"What styles of baking turn you off and why?" "Styles of baking"? Ummm... I'll say... naked baking. Just a bad idea all around.

"Please list any skills from above you don’t have experience doing and explain the details:"  WHAT??? Like... origami and sheep herding? What details do you want? If I don't know how to do something, how detailed can I be? You know, questions like this explain how the Kardashians got on the air.

"What are your top 3 ORIGINAL baking/ingredients/decorating tips that demonstrate your 
baking/cooking knowledge? (Be specific, give us information, and teach us something. This is a chance for you to show us what you’ve got)."  Hey! He's trying to steal my know-how! Hands off, Valastro!  

"The series may involve challenges which may be stressful and/or involve rigorous physical activity, such as heavy lifting, running, and/or climbing.  Do you have any mental or physical conditions or have had any surgery that could interfere with your participation on the show in the event such demanding activities are required? If so, please explain in detail:" How much time do you have? 

"Have you ever had a temporary or permanent restraining order placed against you or has anyone tried to obtain a temporary or permanent restraining order against you? If yes, please provide details, including, without limitation, date(s), place(s), name(s) of the party seeking temporary or permanent restraining order. Whether it was issued and the basis upon which it was issued:" Now I really want to audition just so I can ask the producers what happened that led to this question being included on the application. 

No, really. Those are the real questions. Here's the link:

So...if YOU were an ingredient, what ingredient would you be?

Monday, June 25, 2012


I learned something new this weekend! I mean, I learn things all the time, usually by screwing something up. But this weekend was a deliberate learning experience.

I went up to Nashville for a Sugar Play Day with the good people of the Tennessee ICES chapter. This time, we were working with gelatin. But not the wiggly, delicious, sweet JELL-O style gelatin. Just plain, pure, gelatin.

Come to find out, it can be pretty! I wish I'd taken more pictures, but here's what I did:

my learning space

It's a shiny, edible bow! With texture even!

a butterfly with iridescent wings

using pens to make this butterfly's wings dry correctly

Good times! Wonder what cool new cake adventure I'll encounter next?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

A funny thing happened on the way to the party

At least, I think it's funny. See, I made this cake:

Cute, right? When Ina ordered it, all I could think about was a SuperDave cake. I mean, a super Dave cake, not a Super Dave cake.

Remember when he was on HBO?

So I made that cake up there and, as is my habit, I posted a picture of it to Facebook when it was finished.

Well, Cakepot Jennifer saw the picture, and I guess she thought it was pretty cool. She shared the photo onto her brother's wall since his name is David and it happened to be his birthday, too. Turns out, this cake was shared onto several Davids' walls this weekend. Happy BirthFathers Day, all you Davids!

Anyway, Cakepot Jennifer's share happened like this:

Did you catch that?

A Cakeapotamus fan (whom I've never met and lives in another state!) shared a cake she liked on her brother's wall not knowing the cake was actually for him. Weird coincidence, right?

It's a Small World after all.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

I like this cake alot

First of all, if you think that I misspelled a lot, please click here before you read on:

That's an ALOT for anyone who just needs a quick refresher.

The creative genius who wrote that nugget of awesome has been MIA from her blog for a while. I've been missing her as have many others. And I've been worried- I don't know Allie in real life, but I love to read her stuff. (p.s. have you read The God of Cake? Priceless.) Her last post was about depression, though, and that just... sucks. I mean literally, depression sucks your energy and your time as well as your happiness. And, depression lies.

Today, in light of all the crazy that's been going on around me, I decided to make a cake, just for shiggles, to decompress... and play with the airbrush. I love that airbrush. There are about a half a jillion cakes in my mind that I want to try, and so today I chose the ALOT. It came out like this:

Why are the horns pink? I'm glad you asked. The horns are pink because I forgot to make them and stick them on before I airbrushed. Then, it was WAY too much trouble to get the whole airbrush set-up out again, just for some piddly little horns, so I picked some petal dust to color them. This was the prettiest color I had. No regrets. Plus, it almost kinda matches the pink cake board. A little. If you're colorblind.

Now, I know this isn't my best cake execution. I worked fast and fun on this one. I mean, the carving took less than five minutes. Fun. I like this cake alot.

I hope Allie (and others- you know who you are!) beats her depression soon. I hope she remembers that depression lies like a horcrux. Actually, I hope that she already beat her depression and that the reason she hasn't been blogging is because she discovered that simple dog can actually do calculus on an ipad and has been contracting him out to NASA. Or something similar. 

So, for Allie and everyone else dealing with depression... for me and everyone else living in a swirling vortex of whackadoosy... I hope this cake brings you alot of happiness. 


Sunday, May 6, 2012

Just say, "No"!

Remember that time on Diff'rent Strokes when Nancy Reagan came by to casually plug the "Just Say No" campaign?

I should have paid more attention.

I'm not talking about drugs- I mean, I don't even like taking Advil. I'm talking about saying "NO!" to that little voice in me that says, "Sure, we can make one more cake work this week. On top of finals. And teaching. And the family. And the other cakes we're already doing..."

NO! Shut up, stupid little voice who hates to see people disappointed.

So this week, there was a lot of cakery:

I took this wedding cake on pretty short notice. After I promised myself that I would only do three this year. But, when I talked to the bride, she sounded just like me when I was thinking about my wedding cake 100 years ago. I ended up with a cake from a grocery store because I didn't know and I didn't really care what I was talking about. So it was like a do-over for me...

I made some of these for my surgeon because...  let's face it, he did a great job.

I made this graduation cake. The mom who picked up this cake was awesome, y'all. She was so gracious about picking it up at early o'clock at my kids' school and she was so sweet. I just loved her.

The eye of Sauron cake for Scooter Pie's UN-shower. I learned that it's not pronounced Sauron. Turns out, it rhymes with moron. Who knew? Obviously, I'm more of a Harry Potter girl than a Lord of the Rings fan. But I saw a cake like this on the interwebs and I wanted to try to make the icing all textured and fiery like that.

Last cake of the week! It is the most humbling honor when someone calls me to make a birthday cake for the same kid I caked for last year. I am so very grateful that I've gotten to make some fun cakes for this family and the others who call me at the same time each year. And I'm terribly thankful that this mom let me try that new (to me) technique on the top tier. 

So that's my week. Seven days of cake, final exams, and assorted other shenanigans. 

Only one cake next week. Whew!

Sunday, January 22, 2012


My daughter won't believe me when I tell her it's "Valentine" not "Valentime".

It's been a long long long time since I've just messed around with cake, playing for the sake of experimentation. I made a Valentiney cake today, just for shiggles.

I baked  a lemon cake and covered it in pink fondant. Then, I tried a new lace cutter to make a border:

Cute, right? 

But I got another new lace cutter for Christmas, too. I wanted to see what it could do. I made the other lace and then brushed it with pink petal dust to make the design more visible:

Fancy schmancy. Remember that rose mold I bought 2 years ago that I haven't tried yet? Let's make some roses out of fondant, too:

Meh. Let's try this lace mold in white:

Huh. That is so not me, but I bet someone else would like it. 

Remember that button mold from that baby shower cake a couple of years ago? Let's make some buttons to go with the first lace border:


 Let's try some stuff on the top. I can emboss some hearts into the fondant:

Or make some fondant heart confetti:

Yeah, this isn't really me. What kind of Valentine cake would I like. Oh, spiders! Holding hands.

See, they're on a date. That's why she's wearing a bow.

And maybe I can make a heart out of colored sugar:

That's enough decorating. Let's cut this bad boy open.

This was my first attempt at making a cake with polka dots inside. I'm partially pleased. Next time, less food coloring on the dots so they look less like... meat. 

Happy Valentimes!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Big Oh-4

I see that I have not blogged any cakery since Boo's birthday in September. I thought I was being lazy and slacky during the fall. It turns out that I was sick, though. In retrospect, with the broken gallbladder, teacher job, part-time student gig, and family, it's a miracle I made any cakes at all. At least, I think I made some cakes. I don't actually remember... December. The gallbladder thing is fixed now, though, so the cakery can reconvene.

Anyway... hey, it's Bug's birthday!

We started talking about the cake right after Boo's candy cake party. My girl wanted a princess cake. We looked at a bunch of pictures on the 'net and finally found the right cake plan for her.

The cake had to be chocolate:

This is the first time I've used that center cone thingy for large cakes. I'm a fan. That's what that circle is in the middle there.

Make it white:

The icing was a challenge. I haven't been keeping on top of my inventory in the past few weeks and I'm low on a lot of things. Like ALL the flavors for my icing. I used them all up last night. There was some creative flavor substituting.

So then, I tried to get the outline of the picture on there:

At this point, I was worried. It was around 9 at night, the kids were in bed, and I was crossing my fingers that I could get this mess to look like something that wouldn't make Bug cringe before the 11am party.

Maybe some color would help:

Oh, sweet horror.

Maybe more color will help?

Better. Thank goodness. What the heck is wrong with Cinderella? More colors:

I got to this point around 2am. Don't judge, mixing colors takes a while. I decided that Bug would probably like it OK. I mean, she's four! And Cinderella would just have to stay like that.

Border, name, and number four:

Here's the birthday girl with her cake:

And now I need to go order some icing flavors.