I made this sushi roll cake at work last week. The sides and top of the cake are covered with rice krispy coated in Fluff to achieve the look of white rice. The “avocado” is made out of icing: a blend of light green with a yellow buttercream. The “cucumbers” are green licorice sticks cut into small cross sections, and finally the “crab” are gummy candies that I twisted and cut to achieve the right look. To finish the cake, I pipped a thin line of black frosting for the nori. This cake was a lot of fun to make, and with only a day’s notice, I think it came out alright.
This cake was made for a Baby Naming. The highlight of this cake is clearly the edible 3-D baby blocks that sit on top of the cake. To create the baby blocks, I formed rice krispy treats into small squares. To ensure smooth sides, I used a serrated knife to trim each side of the block to remove all the “krispy bumps.” Next, I iced each block with a thin layer of buttercream. This helps not only to fill in the gaps the occur naturally in a rice krispy treat and further smooth the sides, but also helps the fondant to stick to the treat. After each block was trimmed and iced, I then covered them with white fondant. The letters and decorations (the sides of the blocks have bottles, ducks, carriages, etc that aren’t visible from the pictures) were cut from fondant and then applied with a small amount of water. (Because fondant is a sugar prodcut, a little water makes the surface tacky and it sticks to itself quite nicely). To finish off the blocks, I piped the boarders with royal icing. After the royal dried on each block, I was able to carefully transfer the blocks onto the sheet cake.
This is the cake I made for my Mother-in-Law this year. The cake is a pina colata creation that I tried for the first time. (The mojito cupcakes were such a hit, I have decided to further explore “cocktail” cake flavors.) This particular cake is a pineapple cake (boxed cake made with pineapple juice instead of water and added crushed pineapple) layered with a coconut pastry cream, finished with a coconut rum whipped cream. Although I could have had fun with more flavor-inspired decorations (shredded coconut and fresh pineapple) I wanted this cake to be elegant and feminine for Mother’s Day. To achieve this look, I simply placed royal icing flowers around the edge of the cake to create a flower wreath. I kept the flowers all the same color, but made them in three different sizes. Allowing some of the flowers to “fall” over the edge gives the flowers and more natural look.
Stay tuned for instructions on how to make your own Royal Icing Flowers.
Recipe: Pina Colata Cake
This is my newest cake creation – a Backyardigans Cake – made for my boss’ son’s third birthday. (For those of you who are not familiar with the latest kid’s craze, I have included a picture of the Backyardigans below.) Everything on the cake is edible and all formed from gum paste and fondant. I won’t lie – this cake was a lot of work. The characters were molded over the course of a week, forming each body part separately and then assembling on the cake. The ribbon loops were made ahead of time and allowed to dry so they would hold their shape and then all clustered on the cake to achieve the bow.
Shaping figures from gum paste is still something relatively new for me. I learn more tricks and techniques every time I attempt them (I think these are only my second or third set of figures). Like most things, you learn most from doing, and of course, your mistakes. For example, I started making the figurines from fondant, however due to an unseasonably warm spring – complete with high humidity – I switched to gum paste half way through. Gum paste is meant to dry hard, while fondant stays soft. Fondant is mainly used to enrobe cakes (ie the smooth wedding cakes) and is meant for consumption – a hard crust on a cake would not be that appealing. Gum paste, and its hardening tendency, is more designed for the use of decorations. I should have started with gum paste in the first place, but because it dries hard, it is also more fragile and breaks easily. I tried to get away with more pliable figurines to make transport easier, but hey, live and learn, right? All in all, I am very pleased with the cake.
These egg-shaped cupcakes are the perfect treat for Easter. With endless decoration possibilities, these individual cakes offer a fun twist on dessert for the holiday. And the best part is, they taste as good as they look!
For these fun little cakes, you will need a special “egg” baking pan. I came across mine years ago at Williams-Sonoma, but they have become so popular, you can find them at various kitchen supply stores. Wilton carries a “Mini Egg Pan” that can be found at craft supply stores or on their website. Ok, so once you have the pan, the rest is relatively simple. I am about to share a massive secret, one which at times I thought I would take to the grave: More often than not, I use box cake mix. I know that many of you are thinking, “what self-respecting pastry chef uses a box cake mix?” I admit it, I do. I find the box cakes produce a fluffy, moist cake and you simply can’t beat the convenience factor. Now, these mixes are not all the same and are not suitable for all uses. For example, when I make wedding cakes, I do not use the box cake mix. (more…)
Here is my latest cake creation. My husband works for ESPN and every year, at the beginning of the NCAA tournament, they throw a small party (they are ESPN after all). I sent in basketball cupcakes the first year, then a basketball court cake the second, and here is year three! (I have ideas for next year’s cake already…). Anyways, the backboard of the cake is a half sheet cake, and the ball is a dome of cake sculpted from two 10″ round cakes. (This means I started with a cylinder of cake and then slowly shaved off pieces until I had a rough dome shape – a good coating of buttercream and voila! – a basketball) I pipped the red border with buttercream, made the hoop from fondant, and pipped the net with royal icing.
Check out my latest Basketball Cake “2.0″
Scott keeps advising (as a member of the wiskthis.com board) that I should write about what I do all day at work. (I am the pastry chef at The Crown Market in West Hartford, CT) So, I thought I would share with you a new cake that we are offering at the store. This Charlotte is comprised of a layer of yellow cake, topped with a layer of fresh blackberries, filled with a fresh orange mouse and then wrapped with delicate lady fingers. An orange ribbon adds the finishing touch. I was very happy with the way the cake turned out and look forward to creating other seasonal varieties as new fruits come into season. Because we are still technically in winter, I wanted to utilize the great citrus available…I find that the slightly tart blackberries make a great compliment to the silky, sweet orange mousse. The 7″ cake retails for $14.99
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