Saturday, November 26, 2011

Let It Snow...flakes!

I finally got to make my cookie donation for work's United Way bake sale this past week: snowflake gingerbread cookies. I'm glad they sold out, as well as most of the other baked goodies; more money for the charity!

My other set of snowflake cookies were for a colleague's university alumni event. She wanted half the order gingerbread, the other half sugar. They were so cute and enjoyed by all!

My last snowflake item was for little girl's party. Blue and white cake pops with snowflakes; sounded like a simple order at the time. I had problems with the quins because they didn't want to stick onto the chocolate (too much chocolate coating resulted in the quins drowning; too little chocolate dried up quickly and the quins wouldn't stay on). The snowflake quins were also a bigger sprinkle, so it made it harder to work with. If I had more time, I would've attached each quin individually onto the pop.

Blue pop: chocolate cake; white pop: vanilla cake; both pops have Swiss meringue buttercream mixed in the cake, then dipped in white/coloured chocolate and snowflake quins

Christmas is less than one month away! Let all the bake-a-thons begin! :)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Something Blue Manolo Blahnik Shoe!

This was my first completed shoe ever... fortunately, it only took me the second try to get it right! Researching online, I encountered someone who made as many as nine attempts before she was satisfied. I do not have that sort of patience.

So, my colleague turned 24 and wanted me to create a shoebox cake (she's shoe-crazy). She decided to challenge me to make Carrie Bradshaw's satin "Something Blue" stiletto from the first "Sex and the City" movie. And challenging, it was! If the shoe was a sandal, instead of a closed-toe full pump, it would've been a breeze.

For structural purposes, it had to be made out of gumpaste, with a bamboo skewer in the heel. The blue parts were brushed with pearl lustre dust to give it a satiny look. The blue shell and the beige lining were on top of each other so that it would match up when it was cut. I cut a rectangular opening in the insole, then wrote the label onto a frosting sheet to appear under the opening (because my research showed the label in inset in the insole instead of on top of it). Finally, all the edges were finished with stitching marks, including around the label.

The shoebox is made up of three layers of chocolate cake filled with ganache, iced with ganache, then topped with marshmallow fondant. The real shoebox is just plain white, so I wanted to give it some flair with some contrasting striping, which was also brushed with some lustre dust.

I truly enjoyed the process of making this shoe (not the first attempt, though) and the results. I could not find a template for closed-toe pump, so it was only by trial and error that I was able to form the shape. At least I know now to use a sole pattern that is slimmer in width to achieve a slender toe box.

Bring on the next shoe order!

Happy Birthday, Vasiola!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Buttercream Galore!

19 years is a long time... it may feel even longer, if you're talking about marriage. Well, my colleague's wedding anniversary was this past week, and she specifically requested for it to be a heart-shaped vanilla and chocolate cake with vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream icing. Other than that, it was up to me to do whatever design I wanted. My intention was to colour the icing orange, but it turned out peach instead (because the buttercream was originally a pale yellow due to the butter).

I decided to make buttercream roses. I haven't done that since my first Wilton class, so I was kind of rusty and this was my first time creating flowers with real buttercream (Wilton's class buttercream is made up of icing sugar and shortening - also known as "American buttercream.") It was very melty because of the butter, so I had to work quickly. After a few tries, they managed to resemble roses. The goal was to put 19 roses on the cake, but they didn't all fit within the heart. I was told that everyone enjoyed the cake with the not-too-sweet icing.

Happy 19th Anniversary!

* * *
The movie "Sixteen Candles" was the theme of this birthday cake, for a teen turning 16. She loves all movies of the 80s (for now) so I surrounded the cake in pink ruffles and rosettes. Did I mention the cake was six inches wide and six inches high? Yes, you heard right... due to the three cake layers. The cake box lid had to be propped open.

The cakes were chocolate with vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream filling. I dressed up the border with sugar pearls and made chocolate transfers for the text. I hope she'll be happy with my cake rendition of a frilly pink party dress.

Happy Birthday, Celeste!