Tuesday, January 18, 2011

3 Tier Hawaiian Themed Going Away Cake for my 4th Sister, Rachel. *UPDATED WITH MORE PHOTOS*

I have known Rachel since the moment she was born and we have spent our entire childhood growing up together. We lived next door to each other for years and my mother baby-sat her 5 days a week until she was in High School. She has been at every birthday party, holiday, graduation and even served as a bridesmaid at my wedding. To say that she is like a sister to me is an understatement...because for me, she is a member of my family and she always has been.

She is my 4th sister.

Rachel was married in March of 2010 to a super awesome guy, Dustin.
Dustin is a marine and has been serving our country since their wedding and Rachel is set to start her married life next month with Dustin...in HAWAII.

She asked me months ago, October I think if I would make her a fabulous cake for her Going Away Party...Done!

She wanted a sunset themed cake with palm trees and little beach chair toppers...Done!

I drew up this sketch for her (don't judge me, I only had highlighters at work) and she gave me her stamp of approval. She wasn't crazy about the flower so I omitted it from the cake plan. This would be my very first 3 tier cake...and I wanted it to be great.

Please oh Please be great!

I broke down the process into 10 steps:

Step 1: I ordered these adorable mini Adirondack Beach Chairs online, painted them and wrote the lovebird's names on them.

Step 2: I used a mixture of black fondant (1/4) and gumpaste (3/4) for the palm trees. I wanted to get them as dark as I could, which is why I added the bit of black fondant. I needed them to be 100% dry to stand straight and hold form so I made them 3 days in advance. Carving them took some time and patience. The morning of the party, I put a light coating of black frosting over the palm trees and them covered them in black sand sprinkles.

Step 3: Bake a whole lotta cakes! Rachel requested Vanilla cake for the bottom and largest tier, Chocolate cake for the middle tier and Red Velvet for the top tier.

Step 4: Strawberries....mmmmmm....Strawberries. My sister, Amiable came over to help me dice 4 baskets of Strawberries and then mix them with a small amount of strawberry glaze. All the cakes had this as it's filling.

Step 5: Stack 'em up. The Vanilla and Chocolate tiers were frosted with Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream and the Red Velvet was frosted with Cream Cheese Frosting.

Step 6: Once all the tiers had chilled and set in the refrigerator and I took a break for some Taco Bell, I covered each one in white Buttercream Fondant then let them chill a bit more.

Step 7: Time to paint. I pulled out my sketch and grabbed several different colors of food gel coloring. One color at a time, I added vodka to create a water-color paint consistency and painted the fondant with a regular paint brush to make sure I had the cool stroke marks to blend the colors. The dark pink was a challenge and I wasn't able to achieve the color I was looking for so that the purple blended better, but it looked decent.

Step 8: My boyfriend doesn't let me use his tools, including his sheer cutter thingy...whatever. So he cut all my dowels for me so that I could stack the cake. Once it was stacked, I used black frosting (pre-made) around the bottom of each tier. I smeared it with my finger to get in between the tiers and a bit on each tier so that my sprinkles would cover up everything. This was the last of my work at home, the rest would be done on site since I live in San Jose and the party was in Oakland. I didn't want to take any chances with the Palm Trees breaking during the drive....silly me to think it would be that simple.

Step 9: The morning of the party when I frosted and sprinkled the Palm Trees, one broke. Super bummer. I tried not to cry and told myself I could fix it once I got there. The drive went fine, no crazy bumps or breakages. I put the broken palm tree back together and attached the other....only for it to fall off 30 seconds later and break. So now I have 2 broken palm trees and a bunch of guests watching me, cool. I managed to piece the other back together as well, but the whole standing effect was no longer happening as I had to lay the trees right up against the cake so they wouldn't fall again. Sigh...

Note: I will be watermarking all my pictures from this point forward and someday when I have A LOT of time on my hands, I will watermark all my previous pictures.

Step 10: The easiest part of all....I placed the two beach chairs on top of the cake.

I bought this cake stand at the flea market for $6 months ago...and it finally got to show it's face.

Cutting this cake was an adventure, I'll have to do some research on how to do that better...but by the end of the party only a couple pieces of cake remained.

I will always remember making this cake...not just because it was my first 3 tier cake, but because it was for someone very special.

I will miss my 4th sister, Rachel...lots and lots...but I am so excited for her to start her life as a wife! (Hey, that rhymed!)


Friday, January 14, 2011

Coming Up...

In the next couple months I have some really cool orders going on...be sure to come back and check them out!

3 Tier Hawaiian Sunset Cake (this weekend)

Divorce Cake (February)

2 Tier Cupcake Theme Baby Girl's 1st Birthday Cake (February)

Microphone Birthday Cake (March)

Oakland Athletics Birthday Cake (March)

Baby Boy's 1st Birthday Cake...theme TBD (March)

I Love Lucy Bridal Shower Cake (April)

I've also got some Weddings coming up...very exciting!

Thanks to all you who follow my little blog, you make me feel famous =)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Sara's Baby Shower

My brother's Baby Mama is due on January 30th!

I am so excited to meet my new niece, Emily.

My sister and I threw Sara a Baby Shower this weekend and it went a little something like this...

The few nights before, I had lots to do:

1. Go grocery shopping with my sister for all the food.

2. Bake & Frost 2 dozen Strawberry Cupcakes

3. Bake & Decorate 50 sugar cookies then package in favor bags

4. Roll, Dip and Bouquet 3 Cake Pop Prizes

5. Cut up all the fruit and veggies

6. Wash, Dip and Decorate Strawberries

Thankfully, I had already organized the games and decorations...

Here's what actually happened:

1. Went grocery shopping with my sister for all the food

2. Baked & Frosted (the morning of) 2 dozen Strawberry Cupcakes

3. Bake & Decorate 50 sugar cookies a totally different (easier) way than originally planned and forget to take any pictures

4. Roll & Dip first batch of cake pops, only for them to crack and fall on the floor causing me to have a melt down and throw them all away

5. Cut up all the fruit and veggies

6. Washed, dipped and decorated strawberries the morning of

Note to self: When hormonal and tired...don't take on more than you can handle.

It's totally my fault, I should have handed some of this off to my sister who was already a huge help...but I have issues with asking for help sometimes.
Shame on me.

Even though I didn't have the time or strength to pipe on cute buttons and Emily's name on the favors and the cake pop bouquets were a total bust...it worked out.

I drizzled pink and purple white chocolate on the cookies and packaged them two to a bag.

Unfortunately, in my tired and delusional state - I didn't get any pictures of the finished product. Boo :(

I decided to do something special for my niece Hailey who is going to be a BIG SISTER soon...I wanted her to also feel special and included so I made her her own cookie favor that spelled her name =)

In the morning I went to Lucky and picked up some fresh chocolate chip cookies, brownie bites and Hershey kisses then Amiable assembled bags in the buckets for the prizes.

I had purchased this glass drink dispenser set months ago at Bed Bath & Beyond for $20...I had no use for it at the time but couldn't pass up a deal like that and I'm glad I didn't because they are super awesome and were a perfect fit for Sara's shower.

The colors for the shower were pink and purple...if you can't tell already.

We served pink lemonade, grape juice, bottled water, mini ham and turkey sandwiches, potato salad, macaroni salad, white chocolate covered strawberries, grapes, watermelon, pineapple, carrots, celery, broccoli, veggie dip and of course, cupcakes.

We played only a few simple games...no one likes long drawn out Baby Showers with a million games, right? I don't.

There was the diaper raffle...everyone was asked to bring a pack of diapers for a chance to win a prize and Sara drew the winning raffle number.

There was the "Guess how many safety pins" game...which Hailey was happy to help with so she could give the guests hints as to how far or close they were to the correct answer.

Then there was my favorite....the "Name that Poop" game!

We melted 8 different candy bars into 8 diapers, passed them around and had the guests guess the candy bar...by any means necessary!

After the games, Sara opened all her gifts and favors were passed out.

It was a very nice day...and it makes me very excited for my own Baby Shower in May!

Star Wars the Force Unleashed 2 Birthday Cake

When a friend of mine told me her son wanted a Star Wars the Force Unleashed 2 cake for his 9th Birthday, I relied on Google to tell me what the heck that meant. I thought it was a movie, but no - it's a video game!

I googled and printed the following pictures for inspiration:

The Birthday Boy requested 1/2 French Vanilla 1/2 Milk Chocolate Cake with my super yummy Oreo Cookies n' Cream filling.

I did just that, then covered it in Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream and Green/Blue marbeled fondant.

I added squares around the bottom of the cake just for some extra texture.

I made two red light sabers out of fondant and placed one on each side of the cake.

Then I placed a 9 in the center of the cake and piped lots of "Force" electro thingies coming out of it and all over the cake.

Happy!! Birthday Devin!