My love of baking started with cakes (well in truth it started with an Easy Bake Oven, but that is a whole other post). I first experimented with cakes in high school – mix from a box, frosting from a can. One night I remember toiling for hours creating a “Bon Vonage” cake for French class. Decorated with fresh carnations, I was very impressed with how “professional” my masterpiece looked. On display on the kitchen table, the cake unfortunately became a mid-night snack for our cunning dog, Napoleon, instead of my intended classmates. After a few tears and some encouragement from my mother, (and of course a trip to the grocery store for another box and another can) I headed back into the kitchen for round two.
While I am not sure that was the exact moment I fell in love with cakes, it certainly pushed me in the right direction. Luckily, I have improved since that first generic cake. Designing and building cakes has become a challenge for me. I love that each cake is different, with new obstacles to overcome and a new potential for a fantastic outcome. I’ve found that attempting to recreate a 3-D object from only edible materials takes resourcefulness, ingenuity and creativity (not to mention patience). Luckily, I seem to enjoy those types of painstaking projects.
I thought I would share some of my favorite cakes with you. These cakes are the most tangible evidence of my passion baking.
Red Sox Cake
The logo is created using a technique called “Flood Work.” I pipe a dark chocolate outline on acetate. Once set, the outlined spaces are “flooded” with colored, melted white chocolate to achieve a single design. The baseball bats are created from marzipan and dusted with cocoa for a “wood” look.
This cake was made for a good friend’s son – who wanted a Hamburger cake for his birthday, of all things. The buns and meat are made of cake and frosted to achieve their bun and ground meat effects. The tomatoes are rice krispy treats and the lettuce and onions are marzipan.
Glamor Wedding Cake
This cake was inspired by a black and white wedding dress featured on the cover of Martha Stewart’s Weddings. The bride wore blood-red lipstick.
This “shed” is a replica of my father-in-law’s tool shed. Clearly something he treasures, this miniature shed is made of molded rice krispies, covered in fondant. The “mulch” is shredded wheat and the grass is piped buttercream using a grass tip.
My Wedding Cake
Yes, I was crazy enough to make my own wedding cake. My husband and I were married int he fall, so I chose to decorate the cake with hand-painted gum paste leaves and roses. Each leaf was cut from fall-colored gum paste, then imprinted with veins, dried, and then brushed with luster dust. Two of the teirs were pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting, while the remaining were hazelnut with hazelnut ganache.
Lindsey’s 1st Birthday Cake
This 1st birthday cake was made for a friend’s daughter. I love using hexagon pans to add interest to a regular cake. The rosebuds are fondant and made in a larger, more whimsical manner than regular gum paste roses.
These animal cupcakes were made to accompany Lindsey’s 1st birthday for all the little party guests. Lambs, pigs, turtles, monkeys, and cows add to the fun of a child’s birthday party. Most of the cupcakes are piped with buttercream. I made the ears of fondant so that they would be able to stick out.
Caitlin’s 2nd birthday was all about being a girl (the third child and first girl). Her crown is made of fondant with details piped in royal icing. Once dried, I painted the royal icing with a mixture of silver luster dust and alcohol. This turns the otherwise power into an edible paint – a great way to get metallic sheen on fondant. The jewels on the crown are poured sugar into jewel molds.
This Kapa Sigma logo is made with the same “flood work” technique used for the Red Sox Logo and Abby Cadabby. The K and E are piped with buttercream.
Johanna’s 10th birthday came with a request for a ladybug cake. An artist herself, Johanna gave specific instructions to have the bugs crawling around the cake and especially on the letters. Because she was turning 10, there are 10 ladybugs hidden in and amongst the leaves on the cake. Both the leave and bugs are made of fondant.
Red Sox Cake #2
Can you tell I am a Red Sox Fan? (more so I married into one, but anyways) The glove and ball are molded out of fondant. All the stitching on the baseballs are piped with a very fine tip (#1) and royal icing. The jerseys were cut from fondant and then piped with royal icing as well.
This 2 tiered present cake is enrobed in fondant and then adorned with fondant ribbons. Each loop of the bow is made separately and dried on its side, then assembled on top of the cake.
Ryan’s 3rd birthday cake was a bulldozer. Loving all kinds of trucks, this cake was perfect for him. The two tiers are stacked to create the body of the truck and covered in yellow fondant. RYAN are cut out of colored rice krispy treats.
We upped the ante for Ryan’s 4th birthday. This cake is more challenging with all the 3-d components. The body of the vehicle is 3 tiers of cake stacked and then iced to appear one large block. The arm is fondant.
Abby Cadabby is created out of white chocolate using flood work. Because she is such a large image, her wand and both poms were made separately and then reassembled on the cake to ensure a safer transfer.