Sunday, December 27, 2009

Long time, no cakes...

So I feel like I have been gone from here for a very long time, but I haven't been slackin... I've just been avoiding putting anything up here for a while. Things have been steady, but not real busy in the cake department, but I did start a new full time job, so that's gonna keep me busy when I'm not takin care of my munchkins or makin cakes.

Here are a few of the cakes that I've done in the last 3 weeks or so, and I've also done some other side work (pecan pies, cheesecakes) that weren't pretty/ interesting enough to take pictures of. I also made a snowman cake for Aiden to take to school for his Christmas party at school and a "Happy Birthday Jesus" cake for a sunday school class, but didn't snap a picture of them before I delivered them to their respective places.

I also have my first big order from a paying client since the big wedding cake in September, and I get to make a full sheet cake for the local pasta plant that serves at least 100 people. I'll make sure to take pictures of that and post it later this week after it's done.

I've also gotten a few calls about cakes for January, so I should have a few more to post by the end of the month! Keep em comin people! This is still fun for me, and gives me practice to continually improve!

Snowman cake- french vanilla cake, decorators frosting, fondant details (hat, nose, arms, etc)

6" round chocolate birthday cake, frosting filling, fondant decorations

8" round white cake, frosting filling and decorations.
Cupcake evergreen tree with piped decorations, red hots and dusted with powdered sugar "snow"

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Holy Pies Batman!

So today I am working on a truckload of pies... 3 are for a customer, and the other 8-10 will be for the 2 thanksgivings that I am going to this coming weekend. So far, there are 7 pumpkin pies, and now I need to start on the pecan pies. I always seem to end up with more filling than what the recipe actually tells me I'll have (eg. I thought I only made enough pumpkin pie filling for like 4-5 pies, and ended up with 7) so we'll see how many pecans I actually end up making today.

And I hate to admit it, but earlier this week (at least I think it was this week, my days kinda get mixed up when I'm at home everyday) I ended up catching part of the Martha Stewart Show. And in the end I'm kinda glad I did. She was on with Rachel Ray and they were making pies, so I got the low down on how to make a decent crust! So for anyone who dispises making pie crusts as much as I do, here are some tricks...
  • Use cold ingredients (almost frozen butter, ice cold water, etc)
  • Use your food processer to get everything mixed together-- this works and it's AWESOME
  • Make sure you your dough and counter top with flour so that nothing sticks that shouldn't
  • Roll the crust around the rolling pin to transfer it from the counter top to the pie pan
  • If you don't want to roll it out directly on the counter, you can always put the dough between 2 sheets of wax paper and roll it out... this will keep your counter clean and also make for easy transfer
  • If you don't really like the taste of pie crust, add a little sugar to the mixture, this will sweeten things up a bit
  • If all else fails, get some premade crusts, and take all the credit for it when everyone tells you how great the pie is!

I hope that everyone has a Happy and safe Thankgsiving!!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Business is Booming

I feel like I haven't been on here in a LONG time. But it's all been for a good reason... I've been busy with cakes!! YAY! In the past week and a half, I have done 5 cakes and as of right now, I have 2 more orders between now and Thanksgiving. Thank you to everyone who has ordered and has kept me busy while I haven't been working outside of home, it's kept me sane!

Here are the cakes that I've done lately:

This cake is a 8" round chocolate cake with strawberry and buttercream filling

10" square chocolate cake also with strawberry and buttercream filling and iCarly theme

9X13" chocolate cake with Oreo Fluff filling

8"round white cake with white frosting. This ironically was probably the hardest I did, as I am not real great at making the frosting perfectly smooth... Yet.

And last but not least, 9" white petal cake with buttercream and strawberry filling.

Thank you to everyone who has ordered, especially to the 2 returning customers!! This has been great~

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Monkeys, Vikings and Pumpkins, Oh My!

I had three orders this week for cakes. Lucky for me, I had one Friday, one Saturday, and one Sunday. The first one that I did was a Monkey (Curious George) cake for the elementary principal. They were having a non-Halloween, Halloween party on Friday where all the kids were to dress up as story book characters. The principal and secretary dressed up as Curious George and the Man in the Yellow Hat, so they got a cake for the teachers to match. The cake is a triple chocolate cake with buttercream and sliced strawberry filling.

The next cake, which was for Sunday, was a birthday cake for a 12 year old boy who is in love with the MN Vikings and Adrian Peterson (#28), so the cake was a Vikings theme. The cake was a devils food cake with Oreo Fluff filling.

Saturday's cake was also for a birthday, and was for a girl who shares her birthday with Halloween, so her mom and dad ordered a Halloween themed cake. It came complete with a witch's hat, black cats and Jack-o-lanterns. The cake was a triple chocolate cake with Oreo Fluff filling.

I hope that everyone enjoyed their cakes, and had Happy Birthdays and a Happy Halloween~

Monday, October 26, 2009

Last Week's Cakes

Here are the cakes that I delivered on 10/24. The first was for a birthday, and was white cake with vanilla buttercream frosting and sliced strawberries. It was three layers of cake and 2 layers of filling. I hand painted the inscription on the top, and need to either practice more, or get better brushes... or both, I'm not quite sure. This was also the first paying order I received after putting up my signs about 3 weeks ago.

The next cake was a graveyard scene that I "stole" from a website that I found when looking for examples of graveyard cakes, and was the one that the customer liked best. it is also three layers with 2 layers of Oreo Fluff in between. This cake, I volunteered my services for the trail riders club that my family belongs to, and was used at a halloween party.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Halloween Cake

I will be making a cake this week for the Circle Trail Riders for a halloween party. They've asked me to do a graveyard cake to go along with their theme. After scouring the internet for ideas (because that's what I do, I steal other people's ideas for cakes), the hostess and I have come to a consensus on what we want to do, and this is the photo we are using for inspiration. I know that I'll be able to do everything except the ivy, because I don't have those cut-outs at this time... I'll have to think of something I can do instead!

I found this cake on the divine party cakes website, there was no bakery listed.

Other goodies made this week...

I had a busy week in the kitchen... I made 2 pecan pies, pecan bars, a cake for Emma to take to daycare on her birthday (a tye dye cake that was about 6 different colors) and blueberry bars for Aiden to take for snack for his Kindegarten class (the color of the week was blue, and I just couldn't resist). And this was all in addition to Emma's Hello Kitty cake that I made for her birthday party! I think I may have turned into betty crocker this week.

And everyone must have been hungry, because although we still have half of the big birthday cake left, the only other things I have left in my kitchen are three really small pieces of tye dye cake, and less than half a pan of blueberry bars.

The pecan pies...

The tye dyed cake before the white frosting on top.

Hello Kitty Birthday-- Happy 4th Birthday Emma!

This weekend we had Emma's birthday party, she turned 4 on the 14th! Holy moley how time flies...

We decided to do a Hello Kitty theme mainly because she likes pink and kitties. She has a couple shirts and pairs of socks with HK on them, but that's pretty much it.

And of course she wanted pretty much everything pink, so we made a triple layer cake with the first and third layer made from strawberry cake, and the middle layer was vanilla cake. In between the layers, we put vanilla buttercream frosting and fresh sliced strawberries. It was crumb coated with the rest of the buttercream frosting, and covered in pink, pink, and more pink fondant. Then the border, flowers and HK head were added. Not quite as perfect as I would have liked it to turn out, but you can tell that it's supposed to be HK, which is a definite plus.

Below are the pictures of the cake and what was left of it at the end of the day.

Thank you to everyone who came to help us celebrate!

The naked cake

If you notice the background of this cake, you will see how much of a mess I made.
I think the table might still be sticky even though it's been washed many times since.

All ready to go and displayed on the table!

The "guts" of the cake.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Short update

I am officially getting some business and have advertised around Carrington to try and get some more business!!
I am making a couple Pecan Pies tonight for a person I used to work with, I have Emma's birthday treats to take to daycare and her birthday cake this weekend, Aiden's treats for his Kindegarten class, then there's the Halloween cake for the Circle Trail Riders out of New Rockford for their Halloween party next weekend. And I need to call some people back about a baby shower cake. Woo Hoo!!
I'll make sure to post pictures of everything as soon as I get them done!!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

October Birthdays

So my Emma's 4th birthday is coming up here in almost 3 weeks, and we have decided that we'll be doing a Hello Kitty theme. Although she doesn't really have much for Hello Kitty stuff, she does have a love for all things pink and girly. And what is better than Hello Kitty for a girl like that?!?

I have scoured the internet looking for pictures to go by, and have found quite a few that both Emma and I like, and I have also found pictures to make a kitty head to match hers... I also saw quite a few cakes on there that did NOT look anything like Hello Kitty, so we'll see/hope that I don't end up falling into that category.
So here is what I have found so far for inspiration, I think I may just end up going with one of the square cakes. For some reason the square cakes catch my eye more than the round ones... or maybe I'll just have to take inspiration from one of the cakes and use one of my fancy new flower shaped pans.... oh the possibilities!!

Monday, September 21, 2009

My First Wedding Cake is Finished!!!

So all went well, I didn't dump the cake on the ground, I still want to make cakes, and I think it turned out pretty good for this being my first cake this size. We did have issues with the top layer, and I think if I don't see Carrot cake again for a while, it will be just fine. Between not having a 4 inch square cake pan (and not being able to find one at all in the Des Moines area) we had difficult time getting the cake crumb coated and ready to be covered in fondant. After getting some advice from a chef that the bride knew, we took one last try at it, and what do ya know... it worked!!! I guess the third time making that layer was the charm... good thing it was the top layer! Thank you for your advice Levi! And thank you to everyone who tried like hell to find me a cake pan!

And a HUGE thank you to my sister, Mollie, who not only helped me make all the cakes and get it put together, but for staying up with me and making me laugh until 5 AM the day of the wedding, helping me wrangle kids, and keeping me sane during this process. I love you girl!

And last but not least, Congratulations to Kelsey and Niki, I love ya both, and I hope that this cake was everything you hoped for!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Bridal Shower Cakes

So the bridal shower was a pretty good time, I spent A LOT of time on a train, and everything made it to Michigan in tact. We got to Lansing at about 10 PM on Friday night and worked on decorating cakes till about 2 AM, crashed, got up the next morning (technically I do think it was still morning when we woke up and got going), and started on the last three cakes. Although there were a few technical difficulties, we fared pretty well, and everyone loved the cakes!

When we ate the cakes, we weren't very nice to them either... we just gave everyone spoons and told them to dig in!! Everyone was trying to get into both the cake and the filling, so there was more than one cake that looked like it just had little mouse holes in it on the sides! I unfortunately didn't get a picture of it. :( When all the cakes had been tasted, the party goers were able to vote on the ones they liked best to help Kelsey and Niki decide what they wanted to use on the actual wedding cake.

Here are the pics from that night---

All 6 cakes displayed on the table
Fudge cake with peanut butter filling, covered in fondant with stripes and monogrammed.

I think this is the pistachio cake with pistachio filling and purple polka dots (frosting only)
Frosting only-- French Vanilla cake with Almond filling and piping details on side and another monogrammed top.
The green diamond one is lemon poppy seed with lemon filling (I think)
Lemon Cake with Raspberry filling, covered in fondant with a leaf design
The one with the small dots in the background is just frosting with piping details and is carrot cake with cream cheese filling
This is the cake design (from, I think) that Kelsey and Niki decided on sans the bottom layer (and the red ribbon), and they chose these flavors for the layers: Bottom layer-Lemon with Raspberry filling; 2nd layer- fudge with peanut butter filling; Pistachio with Pistachio filling and the top will be carrot cake with cream cheese filling.
Wish me luck!!!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Bridal Shower Cakes

I am in the process right now of making 6 different kinds of cakes for a bridal shower and bachlorette party next weekend in Michigan. Michigan?!? you ask... yes, I am crazy enough to make all the parts for the cakes, take them on the train with me from ND to MI, and put them together somewhere when I get there. We'll see in about a week if I am a serious glutton for punishment...

The cakes will each be a 6", round, 2 layer cake and the flavors will be: French Vanilla with Almond filling, Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese filling, Lemon with Raspberry filling, Lemon Poppy Seed with Lemon filling, Chocolate Fudge with Peanut Butter filling, and Pistachio with Pistachio filling.

We'll do a combination of fondant and icing on the outsides of them, and try out different decorations on each to get ideas for the wedding cake in September.

The other "tricky" part of this is that all of the cakes and fillings need to be egg free, as one half of the couple is allergic to eggs. Luckily, I found an easy substitution for the eggs (milled flax and water) and although it may make the lighter cake mixes look a little funny, the taste doesn't really change, and neither does the texture.

I'll be sure to take photos after all the cakes are done and post them when I get back from MI!

Wish me luck!! :)

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Ewan's Birthday

Ewan's 4th of July birthday party and his cake were a HUGE success. Although it took me a really long time to get the cake done, I thought that it looked pretty darn good, and I didn't cuss the icing!!! Thank you, Mom for your advice on the whole icing issues, and thank you to a fun new icing tip that makes it pretty darn easy too.

The cake was a 2 layer, 10 inch, square triple chocolate fudge cake with Oreo fluff filling, vanilla and almond icing and marshmallow fondant. Thank you to my sister Mollie for the recommendation of the Oreo fluff middle! It was YUMMY! And really good practice for me with all the fillings I'll need to do for that wedding cake in Sept...

I didn't have flesh or brown food coloring, so it became a bit of an experiment to get the colors I needed, but thankfully, I did have the correct colors on hand to mix together to get what I needed.

Here are the pics of the cake and of Ewan diving into it face first!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Oreo Cookie Salad

We're going camping this weekend for a trail ride with our local club, and we're having a potluck on Saturday night, it's been a while since I've broken this recipe out (mainly because I tend to gorge myself on this whenever I make it) so I decided it had been long enough.

It is extremely simple and yummy and I learned this recipe from my step mom who would make this about half of the times that we would go to see her and Dad. So if you want a crowd pleaser and only have a few minutes to throw something together, give this a try!

Oreo Cookie Salad
by Karen Crawford

2 Cups Buttermilk
16 oz container whip cream (thawed)
2 (4oz) french vanilla instant pudding
1 (15 oz) can mandarin oranges (drained)
1 lb oreo cookies

Mix the first 4 ingredients together, break up cookies and fold them into the mixture, and refrigerate until served.

Zucchini Bread

OK-- so enough with the healthy stuff... on to the good 'ol fattining stuff again.

I, for some reason, have been baking a bit more lately (must be the blog) and it's been kinda bad on my eating habits, but damn it tastes good!

I also made some zucchini bread this week, and as if all that sugar in the bread wasn't enough, I had to make sure that I added chocolate chips to one of the loaves. mmmm, chocolate...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Something Healthy for a Change-- Stir Fry

So, I decided that I would actually post something healthy today. I've been making this recipe since I was pregnant with Aiden, so almost 6 years now, and have tweaked it a bit from the original recipe I found on I was looking for recipes that were good for pregnant women that would have all the nutrients that I would need. And hey, if it's good for pregnant ladies, then its good for everyone!

What is excellent about this recipe is that you can tweak it to whatever type of meat you want!

Chicken/Steak/Pork Stir Fry

1lb Your choice of Chicken breast, Steak, or Pork
a drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 16 oz bags of frozen stir fry veggies (I get the deluxe stir fry mix from Wally World because it doesn't have mushrooms in it)
2 Cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup Water

1 cup Water
6 Bullion cubes (to match type of meat you are using)
1 tsp Ground ginger
1 tsp Ground black pepper
1/4 cup Soy Sauce
2 1/2 T. Corn Starch

Thinly cut the meat and cook in a large pan (I guess a wok if you have one, but I do mine in a 14" frying pan with deep sides) with Oil and Garlic until no longer pink. Add in Vegetables and water, cover and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

While meat and vegetables are cooking, put water and bullion cubes in microwave for 1 minute on high to soften bullion. Add in ginger, pepper, soy sauce, and corn starch. Add to Meat and Veggies.

Cook on low/med low heat until sauce has thickened and veggies are cooked through (about 10 minutes).

Serve over rice (my choice is brown rice)

MMMM, Yummy! And more than enough to also have left overs, which do warm up nicely in the microwave! Might not be as good as a Chinese restaurant, but if you want to know exatly what is in what you are eating, or live 50 miles away from the closest Chinese place (like me), it hits the spot!
Now I just need to find a fortune cookie recipe!!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Experimenting with Flax

So yesterday at one of my whirlwind trips to pick up the kids, from their 10 days with grandma and grandpa, and swing through the Wally World that was closest to my house (which I will remind everyone is about 50 miles from my house). I decided to pick up some milled flax...

Mind you, I did not pick it up for it's wonderful health benefits, but rather, I needed to find something that was a good substitute for eggs because I am making a couple cakes later this summer for someone who is allergic to eggs. I wanted to make sure that the cakes I did for this person were not the first try at using flax, so I tried it out last night.

I didn't make a cake, but used it in a box muffin mix just to get a look see at what the look, taste and texture would be like. Afterall, the milled flax doesn't exactly look pretty...

But it really wasn't bad at all!! The look was a little different than what it would have been had I used eggs (it looked like there was wheat flour used instead of white flour) but the taste and texture was just perfect! They were light and fluffy and pretty darn moist, so now I'm not afraid to use the flax at all for these cakes!!! YAY!

For anyone who would like to be able to make any food without eggs, 1 tablespoon of milled flax mixed with 3 tablespoons of water is equal to about 1 egg.

Below are the the out of the box "blueberry" muffins.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Birthday cakes

I have been looking for ideas for birthday cakes, since my Ewan is turning 1 in a month. Since he is my chubby little monkey, I thought what better than a monkey cake and a monkey theme...

Here are some of the photos that I've come across for inspiration...

Any favorites??? I really like the first one and the monkey cupcakes...

Friday, May 29, 2009

Marshmallow Fondant

I have been promising (for weeks now) to either scan and email or post the recipe for Marshmallow Fondant. Thanks to my procrastination finally wearing off now, I am posting it here.

Over the years, I have always thought that Fondant was SO pretty, and that it made a cake look absolutely spectacular. There's just one problem-- it tastes like crap.

So when I decided to make Aiden's birthday cake this year, and knew that I needed to use fondant, I went scouring all over the place for something that I could use that would look just as nice as fondant, but tasted MUCH better. I found a recipe for Marshmallow Fondant at this website, which uses ingredients that are extremely easy to find, and everyone probably already has in their pantries.

You are more than welcome to go to that website and see that I have pretty well copied her recipe and directions, I am posting it below so that you don't have to go anywhere else.

MM (Marshmallow) Fondant Recipe
16 ounces white mini-marshmallows (I used Jet Puffed marshmallows)
2 to 5 tablespoons water
2 pounds icing sugar (please use C&H Cane Powdered Sugar for the best results)
1/2 cup Crisco shortening (you will be digging into it so place in a very easily accessed bowl)
NOTE: Please be careful, this first stage can get hot.

Melt marshmallows and 2 tablespoons of water in a microwave or double boiler: If you use a microwave, put the bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds, open microwave and stir, back in microwave for 30 seconds more, open microwave and stir again, and continue doing this until melted. It usually takes about 2 1/2 minutes total. Place 3/4 of the powdered sugar on the top of the melted marshmallow mix.
Now grease your hands GENEROUSLY (palms, backs, and in between fingers), then heavily grease the counter you will be using and dump the bowl of marshmallow/sugar mixture in the middle. (By the way, this recipe is also good for your hands. When I’m done, they are baby soft.)
Start kneading like you would bread dough. You will immediately see why you have greased your hands.
Keep kneading, this stuff is sticky at this stage! Add the rest of the powdered sugar and knead some more. Re-grease your hands and counter when the fondant starts sticking. If the mix is tearing easily, it is to dry, so add water (about 1/2 tablespoon at a time and then knead it in). It usually takes me about 8 minutes to get a firm smooth elastic ball so that it will stretch without tearing when you apply it to the cake.
It is best if you can let it sit, double wrapped, overnight (but you can use it right away if there are no tiny bits of dry powdered sugar). If you do see them, you will need to knead and maybe add a few more drops of water.

Prepare the fondant for storing by coating it with a good layer of Crisco shortening, wrap in a plastic-type wrap product and then put it in a re-sealable or Ziploc bag. Squeeze out as much air as possible.

MM Fondant will hold very well in the refrigerator for weeks.
When you are ready to use the fondant, have your cake baked, cooled and crumb coated with icing.

Next, you need to sprinkle a bit of cornstarch on your counter to help prevent sticking (rub it in). Give the fondant a little kneading to incorporate the Crisco coating. It will be pretty stiff when you try to knead it again, but it can be microwaved for 10 to 20 seconds, if necessary. Start off with 10 seconds (please be careful as items that have high sugar contents can get hot in the microwave very quickly). The fondant will soften right up and be perfect for rolling out and playing with. You want the temperature to be close to your body temperature.

Now is the best time to add your food coloring. I prefer to store my fondant in it’s natural color of white. I used gel food coloring so that it would not change the consistency of the fondant. If you do need to store colored fondant, wrap each color very well in plastic wrap or Saran Wrap. Colors like red and burgundy are notorious for “bleeding” into other colors and ruining them. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Bag everything in Ziploc bags. Remember that food coloring can also stain your hands and nails. I have food grade plastic gloves that I keep around. Add your food coloring, a little at a time, and knead it in. You can always go darker but it is difficult to go lighter. Red has a tendency to get darker as it sits and “ages”.
From here, you roll out the fondant (Peggy Weaver, the recipe author, recommends to have the fondant at least 1/8 inch thick ) and place over the cake. Remember to roll out the fondant so that it is at least 1 inch bigger on all sides than the cake so that there will be no gaps in coverage. Smooth the fondant over the cake, and cut off extra with a pizza cutter held at a 45 degree angle at the base of the cake.
After the base layer of fondant, you can put additional layers of decorations on the cake. I just gently wet one side of my decorations to make them stick to the first layer of fondant, but you could also use a little bit of icing as "glue" to make it all stick together.
There are NUMEROUS tools at craft stores that you can find to help you in your decorating, so far, I have decided that Michaels and Hobby Lobby will be my new favorite places to visit any time I need/want anything to help with decorating a cake.
Good luck!! Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Graduation cake and cupcakes

So sadly, I've been busy most of the day trying to get this cake made for a high school graduate this weekend. When I met with his parents, I gave them some photos of what I thought I would be able to do, and they picked a set of lockers, which I thought "that should be easy enough". There were no elaborate designs or shapes and the decorations were extremely simple.

Well... since they decided that they wanted icing instead of fondant, it posed a bit of an issue on getting the icing nice and smooth, and nice looking. Maybe I just need some extra knowledge or classes or something, but as of today, I've decided I'm not real fond of icing. Hopefully that will change if I decide that this is what I want to do for a living!

Below are a couple photos of today's effort.

The three pans full of cake for the lockers. I wanted to make dead sure that all three lockers were the same size, and lucky me, I had three bread pans! One chocolate, one yellow cake, and one marble.

Finished product. The banner is actually paper, and will just have to be removed when cut.

They are a bit excited that Eric's graduating, so I couldn't resist giving them some smiley faces!