Friday, August 30, 2013

3-D Cat Cake

I've seen photos of carved cat cakes on other websites, so I thought I'd try one of my own. Here it is:

No, just kidding - this is my cat Smokey! He was my model for the cake!
Here are the photos of the real cake:

It took many hours to carve this whole thing out - starting with two 9x13 cakes. I achieved the color with an airbrush (you can see the overspray on the counter!).
I'm not exactly sure if Smokey liked it - although I do know it startled my father every time he looked in the cake's direction and thought it was the real cat laying there!

Peanut Butter "Dog" Bones

I know this isn't much, but I thought I'd include it here for a laugh. I found a cheap dog bone shape chocolate mold at a craft supply store, and thought I'd use it for something. Plus, my dog 4-H club would get a kick out of it.

Here's what I made with it:

I mixed a half bag of Wilton white candy melts, and a half bag of peanut butter Wilton candy melts, with a little bit of crushed up chocolate jimmies to make these. They're so realistic! I think they're supposed to say Milk-Bone on them, but it's hard to make out.
Imagine this for an April Fool's day surprise!

A Cake for Connections - Double Zebra Cake

As a student of Connections Academy, I wanted to contribute to the online cookbook. And of course, I wanted to do a cake. I didn't want to do something difficult that would be confusing for beginners, but not something way too easy that looks too simple. I thought doing a double-zebra cake would be a good choice. It's time consuming, but easy. I had to type up the entire recipe with decorating instructions to submit for the cookbook, so I tried to make it as simple as possible. It looks like the person that published it doesn't know what fondant is, as they said you need cups of fondant! Who measures fondant in cups?

Anyway, I don't think the cake was half bad. Sure, maybe I used a little leftover peanut butter icing for the center instead of plain buttercream, but they don't know that over at Connections! ;)

You can see my page here:

And some of my own photos (for some reason they only used one):

I originally called this the "Double Zebra Cake" but it was published as just a zebra cake. Oh well, you can see it here on the blog. And I don't think I need to explain the "double" part of the name...
Go ahead and make a zebra cake for yourself! Just make sure you don't use cups of fondant!

Bathtub Cake

Yes, I finally decided to do a first carved cake. But I wasn't sure what. I wanted to do something simple, but not so simple it looks boring. How about a bathtub cake?

I purchased a set of oval cake pans with a 40% coupon at Michaels to use for this cake. The bottom layer of the cake is homemade rice crispies, which I packed into the cake pan. I spread margarine on my fingers and in the pan so the marshmallow in the rice crispies wouldn't stick. On top of the rice crispie layer are two layers of chocolate cake. The reason for the rice crispies is simply for stability. Especially because I didn't leave the cake as a straight, basic shape. I carved pieces off the cake downward, creating the sloping sides of the bathtub. Then I cut a hole in the first layer of cake for the bathtub cavity. After two layers of buttercream, I covered the cake in fondant. I sculpted the little ducks from fondant and stuck them in the "water." I think it came out pretty cute - not bad for a first sculpt. I think this would be a neat idea for a baby shower cake. Here's how it came out:

Aren't the little duckies adorable? They didn't even take that long to make!
What was your first sculpted cake?

County Fair 2013 Entries - A Cake and Cupcakes

Fair time again! Back to twenty-five entries in 4-H, twenty-five entries in School Exhibits, and around 10 in other open departments! Why twenty-five? It's the maximum for the department! I would do more if I was allowed. ;)

Anyway, this year there were some new classes, one of which was decorated cupcakes! (Of course, I didn't see the new class for decorated cakes until after preregistrations were due... oh, well, next year!) I immediately had the idea for a campfire s'mores cupcake - a chocolate cake with marshmallow buttercream frosting with a campfire decoration. I made fire by melting down crushed cinnamon and butterscotch candies in the oven, and breaking them apart into triangles to use as fire. The logs are pretzel rods broken in half, and I roasted the mini marshmallow with a kitchen torch, also burning the top of the toothpick for some character. Unfortunately, the judges didn't taste the cupcakes since they were entered as decorated - they were delicious!

Here are some photos of the tiny campfires:

I only had one other competitor, and this person stuck a gingerbread man cookie into the cupcake, that was all. I won first place! :)
The other edible art I entered into the fair was a PA Preferred chocolate cake. To be PA Preferred means it was grown/raised in Pennsylvania. You can visit the website here:
I entered a chocolate cake with chocolate icing, with a piped chocolate PA Preferred logo on top. I thought it tasted amazing, and that the chocolate logo would at least give me a few points for creativity. Unfortunately, I didn't place. I suppose there were just too many entries. Here are some photos of my cake:

That's all the edible art for this year's fair. Maybe next year there will be more!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

4-H Clover Cake... with Spahgetti (cake)!

I have been a 4-H member for many years now. My original club was a dog club, but eventually I just had enough with its rude leaders and a member. It wasn't long until I discovered a new dog club in need of some organization. Turns out, I went to school with all, except two, girls in the club. And the other two I hadn't met before were nice - unfortunately they needed to leave for college shortly after I joined. This left me in the position of president, as I was the most experienced (not saying this arrogantly) in the club at the time. Later on, I joined an insect club led by a friend of mine, but it wasn't long before I quit that one due to lack of communication.

Today, I'm still in the dog club, and we're much more organized than we were when I joined.

So here's where the cake comes in.

Recently the first annual 4-H family picnic was held for my county, which I, of course, attended. Technically, I was supposed to bring a salad according to the organized list I was sent, but as a cake decorator, I didn't feel like bringing a salad. At a Good Production Practices (basically just information telling you how to care for your animals) meeting, I asked Sherri, the program coordinator, if I could bring a cake since I was into cake decorating. She agreed, so I was on to making a cake!

My original idea for a 4-H cake before I even asked Sherri about it was to do a carved clover cake. For those of you who don't know, here is the 4-H clover:

You can see this would be a difficult task with the deep cuts and all, but I never realize that sort of thing until I'm actually doing it... I always see the finished product, and not how to do it.
I originally tried carving this with a chocolate cake recipe that was supposed to be great for carving. However, I couldn't touch it with the knife without it falling apart. So I used a white cake recipe instead, that was supposedly great for carving as well.
Luckily, this one was good for carving, and worked amazingly! I think the recipe should be called miracle cake, not carve-able white cake.
As I carved, I had a little section that I couldn't carve because the cake wasn't long enough. So I took the excess cake pieces, iced one side, attached it back to the cake, and perfecto! No more cut off clover.
Then I had the problem with covering it in fondant. I couldn't get the fondant into the deep cut areas, so I cut it and airbrushed it. Being a perfectionist, I wasn't completely happy, but it could have been much worse. I don't think anyone at the picnic realized it. Good enough for me!
Here's what I came up with:

The reason for the square cupcake with the code on it is because you can only have an official 4-H clover if it is the proper color green and has the 18 USC 707 code. Everyone thought that little detail was really neat. :)
I wasn't sure the 4-H clover cake would be enough to feed everyone, so I decided to do my signature spaghetti cake. No, it's not real spaghetti. It's icing! I made this in the usual "take-out" pan to make it more realistic. Here are some photos of it:

When I brought the cakes to the picnic, Sherri told me to put the cake on the dessert table. So I put down the clover cake and the spaghetti cake. She gave me a funny look and asked if I shouldn't put that on the food table. I started laughing and explained that it was a cake as well. Everyone definitely got a kick out of that one!

Birthday for A Biker - Harley Davidson (Or Marley Dinosaur?) Cake

A friend of ours has always admired my work, be it cakes or general crafts, she let me know every time how much she loved what she saw. Her "significant other" is a biker, so I thought I'd do a cake for his birthday.

He owns a Harley, so I figured incorporating the Harley Davidson logo into the cake somehow would be appropriate. I decided on a carved tire cake done in fondant. This is yet another chocolate cake.

I didn't expect much of a turnout at the planned picnic for his birthday, but wow, there was quite a large amount of people there. Neighbors, friends, you name them. Well, once they all saw the cake, cell phones appeared in many hands taking pictures of the cake. Maybe you'd do the same.

I piped the logo entirely out of chocolate, and let it harden before placing it on the cake. It came out perfectly the first time I tried it I piped the lettering countless times until I, the perfectionist, was finally satisfied. But when I did the black, let it harden, and flipped it over, I still didn't like it. Actually, (to me, anyway) it read easier as "Marley Dinosaur," rather than "Harley Davidson." Don't you love perfectionists? As my mother repeatedly told me it was fine, I had an idea. Why don't I just pipe royal icing over the chocolate lettering? So I did, making it read "Harley Davidson" once again, and created a cool effect with the raised lettering. So, what do you think?

Monday, August 12, 2013

Ammo Can Geocache Cake

So I suppose it's about time for a first post!

I made an ammo can cake for the Tri-State Treasures Geocaching Event on 6/30/13. It was decorated as if it were hidden someplace and found during the fall, as I put fall colored leaves around it. This was a chocolate cake - as most of my cakes are anyway. It was covered in fondant.

Perhaps I should explain geocaching for those of you who haven't heard of it. Geocaching is a worldwide sport/hobby where you use a GPS-enabled device to find a hidden container. The container will contain, at minimum, a paper log for you to sign your name on. The larger caches usually have trade items inside.
You can learn more about geocaching here:

Of course, the only trade items inside this cache are cake and icing. But don't bother trading - have a piece for free. ;)

Kevin DeVizia, the host of the event, has posted a photo of my cake on the Tri-State Geocachers Facebook page. Check it out here:

Here are a few of the photos I took:

Compared to a real ammo can:

And alone:



I can't wait for Tri-State Treasures EIGHT! In the meantime, I'll be dreaming up new ideas for another geocaching cake!