Friday, December 26, 2014

Poinsettia Candle Cake

Wow, I can't believe Christmas is over for 2014 already. I purposely didn't make many cakes this month because I wanted to be able to focus more on my family and other projects. I did, however make a cake for our church get-together at the beginning of the month, and finally have time to sit down and share it with you.
What do you think? I was so excited when the idea in my head, came out in sugar. It doesn't always happen that way.

I used this tutorial by Shawna McGreevy to make the candles. They are essentially rice crispy treats covered in modeling chocolate with a birthday candle inserted in the middle. I don't have cutters for the poinsettia flower though, so I looked at lots of pictures, drew out 7 different size "leaves" and hand cut 4 of each in red and 5 more of the largest one in green. Hopefully the next time I get to make this flower I will have time to photograph, or even video tape the process so I can share a little tutorial with you.

It's hard to see in the pictures, but there's a sparkly, tone-on-tone flourish around the cake. I made a paint with petal dust and lemon extract and then stippled that on the side of the cake using a stencil. The snowflakes were cut using PME cutters. I wish I'd had more time to do this as I would have made the snowflakes a bit sparkly too.

Here's a picture of it at church with the candles lit. So fun!!!

I guess that's it for now. I have a bit of a relaxed schedule this next two weeks, so hopefully I'll be able to post a few more of my cakes from this last year.

Till next time...
God's love and blessings!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Wafer Paper Mini Book Tutorial

Hello there! Welcome to my sweet little corner of the web again. Today I am going to share with you a fun tutorial for making mini books. These are great for cupcake toppers, and I thought they were rather appropriate with everyone in this house heading back to school this week.

I recently made this storybook cake for a baby shower:
Along with some matching cupcakes.

Since this was the second time I've made these books, and I had a lot of questions about how I made them the first time, I took pictures as I worked so I could write up a tutorial. Hope it makes sense. :o)

The first couple of steps I don't have pictures for, sorry. I went to the library and checked out books that I wanted to use. Then I scanned each side of them, including the spine, into my computer and used PhotoShop to put the pieces together. Then I laid them out in a document to fit as many as I could on a sheet of wafer paper at about the size I wanted them to be. I actually could have made them a bit smaller and they would have looked fine. The next step was to use my edible printer to print the book covers onto wafer paper.
Once they are dry to the touch, you need to cut them out. I used a paper cutter, but you could easily use scissors for this as well. Then I measured the size I wanted for the pages and cut them with the paper cutter as well. Now, my inside pages were blank. You could print these as well, but that was WAY more work than I was willing to do. I liked that I could stack a couple of sheets and cut them at the same time. This was also a good way to use some of my wafer paper that got kind of crushed in transit to my house. (You can see the torn corner on this one.)
The next step is to glue the pages together. I used a paint brush to apply piping gel just to the "spine" edge of the paper and then stacked another one on top. I think I did 6-8 pages/book. Depending on the spine, you could do more, but these were children's books, so they're not very thick.
Now, back to the covers. You need to roll out some fondant. I think I went to 3 or 4 on my KitchenAid pasta roller. (LOVE my pasta roller!) You could go thinner if you'd like. Once rolled out, I used piping gel all over the backside of the book covers and "glued" them to the fondant. Then I used an exact-o knife to cut around the edges.
It helps to fold the book in half for this next step just to help you see where the spine is. Fold it, and then lay it out, with the inside face up. Run a line of piping gel right along the spine.
And then "glue" your pages inside. The fun part about this is that the book can be somewhat opened to see the individual pages inside.
Because the covers are made with fondant, they edges tend to get a little ragged with handling.
Simply tap the edges on your table top, and that will push in any fondant that may have squished beyond the wafer paper edge and kind of even things out a bit. You'll want to do this on all three of the cut edges.
 Ta-da! Nice and smooth.
And there you have it. Lots of cute mini books to decorate with. These can be made several days ahead to make things easier on baking/decorating day.
If you don't have an edible printer, I've heard there are places where you can send your picture and they will print it for you. I just don't know who they are. You could also simply wrap the wafer paper pages with fondant, let it dry a bit and paint your book cover with food coloring or edible pens. A Bible would be pretty easy to do with this technique as you would really only have to draw a cross on it.

I hope this tutorial will be of help. These really are fun to make, and there's just something about miniature things that are just so fun to play with. :o)

Till next time...
God's love and blessings!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Knights in Shining Armor--Icing Smiles Cake

Thank you for the sweet comments and thoughts on my last post. We do still miss Cindi, but I am enjoying getting to know her kids and grand kids through this awesome thing we call social networking. Just wish they would hurry up and invent some kind of teleporter so we could visit each other more often. :o)

I know I've been pretty terrible at posting here, and it's usually because life is pretty busy. Busy with home schooling, making cakes, taking care of the house, making cakes, yard work, more cakes. I think you get the idea. Anyway, we are done with our school year and I have 2 cake-free weeks, so I thought this would be a good time to try and catch up here a bit. 

This cake was done a couple of months ago for Icing Smiles. This is the second time I've been able to do a cake for them. You can see my first one here. This time I was asked to do a cake for the siblings of the sick child and it happened to be for two brothers. They wanted a "knight in shining armor" theme and I was pretty much given free reign to do what I wanted. I only wish I hadn't been so swamped with other cakes that week and would have been able to put more details in.  
My very first, ever castle cake was a disaster. It was in my early, early years as a decorator and I knew absolutely nothing about fondant. I decided to stack cupcakes and skewer them together for the turrets and just cover them with buttercream. Yeah, not such a great idea. I actually had two castles to make for that for a girl and one for a boy. When we arrived, one of the boy's turrets was completely fallen down and ripped right down the middle. There was no saving it. I was nearly in tears when the dad ran back to his kid's room and brought out his toy knights and cannons. He quickly set them up by the cake and pronounced that castle as "under siege". He saved the day and probably my future as a decorator. :o)
This time I made the turrets of rice crispy treats and I am SOOO glad I did. I ended up driving down a horrible dirt road to deliver this and we had another downed turret. :o( Two downed knights as well, but since they were made from gumpaste with wire supports inside, they were fine. We just placed the turret back up and re-positioned the knights and we were good to go. :o) If I ever decide to do one of those amazing multi-tiered, turreted castles like this one, I may just have heart attack getting it delivered.
This story is about more than just cake though. These two brothers have two younger sisters, one of which has been very ill. She has been on dialysis for most of her life and desperately waiting for a new kidney. That prayer was answered yesterday as a complete stranger was willing to donate hers and they have finally been able to have the surgery. I've been so blessed to see how God has taken care of this little one and I pray she will continue to heal well and have no issues with the new kidney they've dubbed "Bruce". I also pray for the sweet lady who was willing to travel thousands of miles and undergo major surgery to give a piece of herself to this little girl. Amazing love there! Simply amazing. I am sure they would covet your prayers as well. You can read more about it and see updates  here.

Well, I'm finding that my two weeks of cake-freeness is quickly slipping away, so I am going to close this and go do some fun crafty stuff (my other hobby :o).

Till next time...
God's love and blessings!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

In Memory...

Hello there. I'll be honest. I'm having a really hard time with this post. I almost didn't post it at all. I almost went through my computer and deleted all the photos of this cake, hoping maybe if the photos were gone all the bad memories would be too. It doesn't work that way, though, does it?

March 21st I got up a bit early to snap some photos of this cake in the daylight since I was up late the night before finishing it and my hubby was taking it to Cindi, one of his co-workers, on his way to work. She had the day off because her family was coming to visit from out of state and had asked me to make this cake for her Son-in-Law to celebrate his birthday. They never had that celebration. I received a call that afternoon from my heart-broken husband. Cindi had gone to the store after Mike dropped off the cake. She was in an accident on her way home. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

I have to say there was a huge amount of sadness and crying here, but there was a lot of good things too. I guess there really was a celebration, just not the one Cindi had planned for. Instead, we celebrated her. We laughed, we cried, we reminisced, we cried some more. I can't possibly put in words what a wonderfully, amazing woman Cindi was. I had only known her for the past 5 years, but in that time, she had become very special to us as a family. I will always remember her smile, her laugh and her joy.

I finally decided that I needed to blog about this cake because I think there are things Cindi would like everyone to know. The first one, and I'm sure you've heard this many times before, is that you have no idea how much time you have left on this earth. Are you ready for eternity? I'm so glad to know that Cindi was. While I still cry for her at times, (for some reason it seems to always be while I'm washing dishes), I am so excited to know she is up in heaven with our Father, worshiping and praising Him.

What about you? What if it had been you in that car? Where would you be right now? I've blogged about this on my family blog. The Bible teaches that God created us and He loves us. He wants us to love and worship Him, but in order for it to be true love and worship, He had to give us free will. It's not love if isn't our free will. But that means we have choices-to love God, or to sin. Sin simply means not pleasing God and the Bible teaches that we ALL sin (Romans 3:23). While He's a loving God, He is also a just God and His judgement for sin is eternity in hell. Eternity is a long, LONG time. He knew we could never be good enough. We can never work our way into heaven. No matter how much you go to church, or do good things, there will always be sin. We need help, so He provided that help by sending down Jesus to be the perfect sacrifice for us. He was perfect. He never sinned, and He loved us so much He was willing to pay the price for our sin for us and die in our place. Salvation is a free gift, but, like any gift, you have to receive it. It isn't automatic. God wants you to:
Admit you are a sinner and Ask for forgiveness
Believe Jesus is God's Son, He died for you and rose again
Commit your life to Him. Allow Him to be not only Savior, but Lord of your life
and Don't have no idea how much time you have left.

The second message is for those who know Christ as their Savior. One of Cindi's daughter's made a comment to Mike and I. She said, "I want you two to know how special you were to Mom. You were Jesus to her." I was taken aback by the comment. Mike and I hadn't done anything special. She was our friend. We loved her like we loved our other friends, but we weren't aware of things that had happened to her in the past and what a hard time she had had. We just loved her, and we didn't realize what an impact that love had on her. Her daughter told us of comments she'd made during their phone calls and the change she'd seen in her mom over the last several years. A new joy she'd seen in her. It warms my heart to know that God used us to show love to her. We got to give "God Hugs" and didn't even realize we were doing it. I guess what I'm trying to say is that what you do (or don't do) makes a difference in other's lives. You may not know it (we didn't), but God can use you to help someone through a rough time and bring some joy into their lives. You can give "God Hugs" too. I, for one, plan on asking God to show me where He wants me to be helping and "hugging" others for Him.

Well, now that my keyboard is all wet, I should close this and find a tissue box. I do pray for you that if you're not sure of your salvation, find a good, Bible believing church (and unfortunately there are many out there that do not follow the Bible) and talk with a pastor. Or, better yet, find a Bible, open it up to Romans and read. Ask God to help you and He will.

Till next time...
God's love and blessings.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Hello there and welcome again to my sweet little corner of the web. We've had some extreme ups and downs the last couple of weeks. I have another post for a more recent cake, but I'm still working on that one. It's a tough one to write about. Anyway, since I've been doing a lot of masculine themed cakes recently I thought I would continue that theme with some of the cakes I've done in the last year.

This first cake pretty much speaks for itself. I was given the toy to use as a model. I made the plane from rice crispy treat and covered it in fondant and gumpaste.
This is one of the few cakes that I've carved. I stacked the cake and then carved a ramp for the train to go up. My friend wanted a train car for each of the party goers to have so I made them from modeling chocolate rather than gumpaste. I really do need to work on scale though. I often find that my decorations are too big or too small for the cake. This one was just on the border of being too big.
I used wax paper as my template to know where to cut the cake.
Covered in buttercream.
And finally in ganache. This took some time to get nice and smooth.

And, my favorite. I used Carlos Lischetti's book, Animation in Sugar to model the car on this one. In the book, the car is a cake, but I made it smaller and used rice crispy treat for it instead. He provides all the patterns for the many, many pieces.
Here's some of the pieces after their paint job. The tread on the tires was hand piped with royal icing. That took a while!
I was extremely happy with how this turned out.
Well, I've got more cake to work on so I better close this here. I will do my best to finish my other post and show you some masculine cakes I've been working on more recently.

Till next time...
God's love and blessings!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Emma's Rainbow

Hello there! If you follow my Facebook page, you are aware that the last few weeks has been "guy month" in my kitchen...knives, shotgun shells, snowmobiles and tractors. I think I need to make something pink and sparkly next week. ;o) Till then, I thought I'd share this pretty cake with you.

I actually can't believe I haven't posted this cake yet. It was one of my favorite ones to do last year. It was done for Icing SmilesIcing Smiles is a nonprofit organization that provides custom celebration cakes and other treats to families impacted by the critical illness of a child. (From the Icing Smiles site)

I was so excited when I got an email asking me if I could do a cake for little Emma. I designed the cake around several things her mom told me were special to Emma--pretty flowers, rainbows, a heart and her new stuffed puppy.
The rainbow was made with gumpaste and dried flat. I attached lollipop sticks to the back to insert into the cake once it was dried. The puppy was made from fondant. I think this was one of the first cakes I used my new Tappits on too. Love those.
Emmas' mom gave me permission to post this photo. This, my friends, is what it's all about. That smile. This is why I love baking, to give a blessing to someone else and give them a smile.
So blessed to get to do this cake and looking forward to doing another one for Icing Smiles in May. Well, I've got a tractor waiting for its tires to be attached. Guess I better get in the kitchen. :o)

Till next time...
God's love and blessings!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Wafer Paper Flower Tutorial

Hello there! Welcome again to my sweet little corner of the web. I'm here to show you a cool new cakey medium. Well, it's new to me anyway. I'd heard about it a while ago, but didn't know where to find any or how to use it, so the ideas were filed in the already-too-full head of mine, until now. Thank you, Craftsy for a new addiction. In case you didn't figure it out by the post title, it's wafer paper. I've included a link to where you can get some so you can get addicted to it too. You're welcome. :o)

This medium is a blend of two of my favorite hobbies--paper crafting and cakes. After taking a Craftsy class, to get familiar with it, I soon realized that with a little tweaking, my paper crafts could now become edible! Fun! Below you can see two flowers I made using a paper punch from Stampin Up!. The one on the left is made with card stock, and the one on the right is wafer paper.
And guess what? I took pictures when I made these so I could share with you how I did it, in case you'd like to be able to make these super cute flowers yourself. Wouldn't they look adorable on cupcakes? So, let's get started.

Here's what you'll need:
Stampin' Up! Blossom punch
wafer paper
petal dust (optional)
clean paintbrushes
Ignore the piping gel you see in the photo. I ended up not using it.
First you will need to punch out 6 flowers with the punch. The paper is super easy to punch through. Then use your scissors to snip between the petals a bit. I stacked all 6 together and cut through them pretty easily.
Now, with card stock, you would roll the petals around your paint brush handle, but that doesn't work well with wafer paper. It can be a bit brittle and break too easily for that. Instead, take a SMALL amount of water on your paintbrush and gently brush along the edges of each petal on the smooth side of the paper (that's the front). I've highlighted in pink on this flower so you can see where I brushed the water. At first, the petals will begin to curl away from the side you put the water on, but that's OK. Just wait a bit and they will start curling the opposite way.
Here you can see the flowers in the back were the first ones I brushed and they are starting to curl up. The bottom left one is the last one I brushed and it is still curling down here.
Take the first flower that you brushed. It should be still somewhat wet and flexible, but not gooey. You may find that you need to re-snip between the petals if they are stuck together. Put a tiny bit of water on one edge of one petal and roll it around your paint brush. Hold a second till it sticks and then remove the brush.
Now take the opposite petal and brush a tiny bit of water on both edges, bring the petal up and glue it to the first petal.
Take two opposite petals, apply a tiny bit of water on the edges of one petal and glue the two together around the first two petals.
And do the same with the last two petals. These two may need glue on both petals as they may not meet all the way. There, your center is finished.
To help the petals fill out a bit on the remaining flowers, take a little water and apply it to the base of the petals on two flowers. Again, I highlighted this in pink. This will cause them to curl up a bit. These two should be on top of the stack you will do in the next step.
Now, apply a little water to the middle of a flower and stack another one on top, staggering the petals. Keep doing this for the remaining flowers till they're all stacked. and "glue" your center in the middle.
Very gently gather the petals up a bit. You may need to add a little more water at the base of specific petals to help them lift up. If you hold them for a minute or so they will dry and hold their shape.
Then you can use the petal dust of your choice to add some color to your flower. You could even use Wilton Color Mist or an airbrush if you have one of those for cakes.
All finished. Isn't it pretty? It almost looks like a peony in this photo.
What do you think? My head is swimming with ideas with this new medium. Just wish there was more time in my day to get to play. :o) By the way, if you're interested in the card stock flower, I posted a tutorial for it on my craft blog. You can check it out here.

I will leave you with a picture of my first wafer paper cake project. I made this for a church fellowship. They always get to be my guinea pigs when I come up with new ideas. :o) The flowers are wafer paper, as are the stripes on the side of the cake. This was a dark chocolate/orange cake with almond/orange buttercream. Yum!
Well, gotta go finish some chocolate snowmobiles and a John Deere tractor.

Till next time...
God's love and blessings!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Fairy Cakes

Hello there! Thanks for visiting my sweet blog today. I've not been very busy with cakes the last week, so this gives me a chance to showcase some of the ones I missed posting about last year.

With all the snow outside, and spring around the corner, I thought I'd share the two flower-filled fairy cakes that I did for two sweet little girls. The first one is modeled after this cake by bubolinkata. Her cakes and cookies are AMAZING!!!! I loved the design of the cake and the fairy's dress, but since this cake had to travel across state lines, I knew my fairy would need to be sitting down.
I did use a mold for the body that I was given by my Mom who did cakes when I was a little girl, but I used techniques I learned from Craftsy's Cake Topper Techniques Class to make the clothes and hair. Painting faces still gets me nervous. I mean, what fairy wants two different size eyes, or crooked lips? I have learned that a little lemon extract can be used as an "eraser" in emergencies.
The next cake is one of my favorites of this past year. I was asked to do a "woodland fairy" cake. Um, yes, please. My head was immediately spinning with all kinds of fun details to add to the cake. The hard part was narrowing it down so it wouldn't be critter overkill. :o)

Every woodland fairy needs a tree trunk house to live in, so I used fondant logs to shape the outline of the window and door along with the roots, and then draped more fondant over the top and used a veining tool to add lots of bark details. After I took this picture, I added some lighter fondant to the top for the inner rings and did some shading with petal dust to give it a little life.
Then I had fun adding the fairies, flowers and critters. There were ladybugs, caterpillars, bumblebees, snails and butterflies. I thought the fairies needed a little extra room so I added a rice krispy mushroom house on top. There were flowers everywhere and even sunflower seed doorhandles. I just wanted to shrink down and open that door to see what was inside the house. (If I remember correctly that was a strawberry lemonade cake with chocolate ganache in there. Yum!)
My favorite part though were these two little fairies. The one on top is unaware that she's not only watering her garden, but her little friend as well. :o)
So, so, so much fun to do.

Till next time...
O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusts in him. Psalm 34:8