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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A New Avenue

I have changed my ways.
After many years of suffering with digestive issues and a variety of seemingly unrelated allergies and an overall feeling of malaise, I found something to finally end my suffering and it has given me a new outlook on life.  The Paleo Diet is my new endeavor.  If you are interested, please join me at

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Halloween is not until next Sunday but I will be busy making my yard, child, and self scary. 
Please enjoy watching Buddy make a Zombie Cake.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Alien Cakes

What's cooler than being infected by an alien and having the alien decide it's done with you and come bursting out of your guts? A cake depicting the event and having all your friends eat it.

Gross Alien cakes brought to you by LA Weekly.

The cake above in my opinion (and mine is the only opinion that counts until you leave a comment telling me what a moron I am) is the the finest of all the examples (and not just because it's covered in fondant, although that helps it to look smoother and more professional). Enough actual cake to feed the hungry crowd with plenty of gore to set the proper mood. Other cakes in the set had amazing ideas but the composition of it was off... too much slime, too much gore, not enough cake. The gore-to-cake ratio depends on you and your guests, of course but my personal taste (you may be surprised to know!) leans toward more edible cake. Gore is awesome but I want people to actually eat it once I've made it.

(Geez I hope that last comment doesn't bring a bunch of Al Gore Googlrs in here... won't THEY be surprised???)

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Sculpted Camera Cake

It's not a gory severed head, which I know would make you smile. It is an opportunity to learn. Yaaaay learning!!


It looks complicated but it's the details that make it.
(...and that's what you want to accomplish. It should look difficult and amazing without causing you a coronary in the process.)

You can see that it is two simple layers of cake inside. If I were making this cake I would not use cream cheese icing, which is standard with Red Velvet. I would use a sweet, shortening-based icing (like the recipe from Wilton or the white 'bucket' Buttercream icing that bakeries use) which will do two things: 1) it will allow the fondant to stick to the icing; and 2) it will allow the cake to sit at room temperature without making the fondant buckle or sag.

The icing layer is thin so it doesn't add a lot of moisture to the fondant, which will cause tearing or bubbles.

The fondant can be tinted gray and then dry-brush a pearl powder at the end to achieve a sheen.
Writing and other small details can be made with royal icing or the same Buttercream you used in the cake. Both the Wilton icing and the bucket icing will air dry without affecting the fondant, much.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Something To Aspire To

The amazing winners of the Threadless Cake Contest. The idea of the contest was to choose a design from one of their awesome t-shirts and turn it into a cake.

If you click on the cake photos there are photos of how the cakes were assembled. If you're feeling reeeeally click-ish you can see the winners from last year and their instructional photos as well. Tons of great material here for the DIY set.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Creepy Cake Decorating -- Lesson one

From The Wilton Website

My daughter spent last year in a Magnet School for Arts. One of the first things she learned was how to sketch. She had zero desire to sketch and instead, wanted to jump into sculpting and painting. I can't really blame her... I mean, when I think about doing art, crafts, or cakes, I'm thinking ahead to what I want the finished product to look like and I want to jump in and get started. However, through many previous errors in judgement, I have learned that sketching at least a rough idea of my project (hey! stick figures work) at the beginning helps things run more smoothly later.

So before I get you into sculpting your zombie heads, I think first you should learn some decorating basics. If it helps to keep the creepy creativity rolling, you can tint your icing a gruesome green, gray, or black.

Icing recipes and tips can be found here (this is my favorite icing) or here (this one is quick and easy to make but stiffer and dries out faster). For practice, tape a piece of wax paper on a table or counter. Then, you can use a spatula to scrape up the icing, put it back in the bowl and keep going at it until you feel really comfortable with the motions and you will get a more consistent border or design. Keep practice icing as just that. It can be stored in the freezer between uses and thawed in the fridge. Sometimes you can microwave it, if you're in a hurry but be careful not to melt it unless you plan to pipe puddles.

Don't ever use your practice icing when you are in a bind and need to bring a cake to Grandma's 80th Birthday Party.

If your naughty children sneak into the freezer and eat your practice icing well... whatever happens, it serves them right.

How to do it

I told you last time that I would show you how to make a piping bag from parchment paper. Liv Hansen is amazing. Her directions are really good.

I don't anticipate any major projects coming up, so you shouldn't have to wait quite so long for the next lesson. Thanks for watching.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

So You Wanna Be a Creepy Cake Decorator?

The beginning is always a good place to start and since we (that’s you and me!) are learning some of this stuff together, I figure I’ll just give some basic decorating information so we are on the same page. Those of you who already decorate and are just here for the pictures… you can check out my flickr.

There are online tutorials that show a lot of this stuff, so whenever possible, I will post those so you can actually see a person decorating. Then, I hope you’ll go practice because you can’t get better of you don’t practice.

But even BEFORE basic decorating, what do we need to do? That’s right! Go Shopping!!!

You can’t decorate a cake with the back of a spoon or with a butter knife. That’s just not the kind of creepy we’re going for around here. So, here is a list of basic equipment and why you need it.

The Whats:

8-inch offset spatula [Wilton 13-inch]
4.5-inch offset spatula (rounded end) [Wilton 8-inch]
4.5-inch offset spatula (tapered end) [Wilton 8-inch]
Some companies measure the whole spatula, some only the blade. The smaller number is of course, the blade measurement.
small, sharp scissors that will ONLY be used for food or food preparation
(no hair cutting scissors here!)
pastry bags
decorating tips #10, #3, #21
professional turntable (don’t go away yet!)

Ok, let’s start with that. If you buy ONLY these basics you will be set back around $50.00. If you were to buy grocery store cakes, you would spend that much on just a couple of cakes. We have to be smart about this. All of these things should be purchased new EXCEPT the professional turntable. Buy one of those on eBay. They’re easy to clean up and if they have a few scratches or dings, who cares??? It’s going under your cake board. A new turntable will soak you for $60. I got mine for five dollars plus about seven dollars shipping because they are really heavy. If you intend to decorate more than one cake it will pay for itself. Don’t get lured in by the tilting turntable or the one that spins by itself. They will not work well for cakes larger than 8-inches and you’ll just be dissatisfied. Get the heavy-duty one!

The Whys:

8-inch offset
The 8-inch blade is the perfect length to ice the whole side of a cake. Shorter, and you will have lines. Longer, and your arm will get tired from having to hold your elbow at a higher angle while decorating.

4.5-inch offset (rounded)
I use this for mixing smaller batches of icing color, filling parchment bags (I’ll get to those later), and smoothing fillings in between cake layers

4.5-inch offset (tapered)
I use this for smoothing an area I have piped to fill a design with color and for quick fixes of things like, a speck of cake in your icing.

Small, sharp scissors
I use Fiskars 5-inch Non-stick scissors. They are VERY sharp, the blades taper to a sharp tip. I like that they are very small and don’t take up a lot of room in my case.

Pastry bags
I prefer the professional type disposables but unless you work in a bakery, they seem to be impossible to get. I also use Wilton disposable. They are smaller, shinier and more slippery than the professional bags but, they work. You can get a box of 100 for around $20. Pretty great when you don’t have to wash them!

Decorating Tips
I suggest you buy a Wilton or Ateco #10 round tip for piping borders (the higher the number the larger hole) plus a #3, if you’ll be writing with icing. Most people also like a #21 star tip for piping shell borders, so let’s go for that too. They run about $1 each. You can buy couplers if you want, they also run about $1 each. Sometimes, if I know I’ll be using multiple tips with the same color I’ll use a coupler, but mostly I just stick the tip in the end of the decorating bag and leave it there for the duration. Decorating tip sets end up being wasteful, usually. I have a $50 set and use maybe 3 or 4 of those tips. The standard types of tips (for flowers, ribbons, and leaves) can be purchased individually.