Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Flowers and Butterflies Birthday Cake

A flower and butterfly-themed birthday cake for my friend's little girl. You can't get much girlier than that. I got my inspiration here for this cake, and ran with it. I found the butterfly cookie cutters here on Amazon. They come with a variety of butterfly shapes in them.

Adding a couple fondant bows, edible sugar pearls for the flower centers, and fondant bead border upped the girly volume. Perfect for this little princess:

Make a wish!

Her mommy didn't want anything fruity, so we stuck with a butter cake with chocolate ganache filling, and a chocolate cake with chocolate ganache filling--a chocoholic's dream!

Happy Birthday, Grace! Welcome to the "terrific twos" (for your parent's sake lets hope that is what this year holds rather than the terrible twos :)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Sweet as Hunny Birthday Party

October is a big month in our household--both of our girls had a birthday. And when your husband's name is Christopher and yours is Robyn, a Winnie the Pooh theme just seems perfect for celebrating these milestones.

The first step in the birthday planning was coming up with something for the invitation. My sister and I put our heads together and came up with this little rhyme:

Eliza and Abby, our birthday girls will Bee
Eliza turning one, and Abby turning three.
Come celebrate with us where it's nice and sunny,
For our birthday girls are Sweet as Hunny!

I chose purple, yellow, and orange for the color scheme, and got busy working on the treats (my favorite part!).
I just had to do 2 cakes--one for each of them. I was inspired by a cake I saw here for Abby's Hunny pot cake. I baked 2 6" rounds and 2 7" rounds that I stacked together with the 6" layers on the top and bottom. Then I trimmed around the edges to smooth the lines together and get the hunny pot shape.

I debated on covering it with fondant or modeling chocolate, and finally decided on modeling chocolate, which I think went on so much easier than fondant would have. Some fondant honey inside the pot and dripping out was painted with some gold luster dust to add shine, and the cake was finished off with some fondant bees that I painted black stripes on with some black food coloring (same thing I did with the word HUNNY on the cake). The bees' wings were white chocolate I melted and piped into wing shapes and glued onto the bees with a little chocolate.
For Eliza's cake I was excited to finally use this Winnie the Pooh cake pan I have had in my closet for years. My husband told me I couldn't cover her cake in fondant or modeling chocolate or frosting that would crust over--he wanted it soft and messy for a first birthday cake. I found a recipe for Marshmallow buttercream here and worked great--never crusted over and tasted great. The only thing I might try different next time is substituting part of the butter with shortening to make it a little more stable to heat (especially in the bag when I am piping).

For some other treats, I made Hunny Cake Pops, inspired by Bakerella's pops, chocolate beehives from a mold I found at Gygis in Salt Lake, and Caramel Pretzel Tigger Tails. The Tigger Tails are made just like I made these zebra ones here, except using orange and brown candy melts for the dipping and stripes.

Our lunch menu consisted of some other Pooh bear inspired treats:

Peanut Butter and Hunny sandwiches
Shredded Hunny-barbeque chicken sandwiches
Tigger Tails (Cheetos)
Rabbit's Garden (Veggie Platter)
Mixed fruit with Hunnydew

I saw these darling terracotta pot hunny pots here, and just had to make some for the party. I used them for some of the centerpieces--filled with purple, yellow, and orange taffy with balloons coming out of them. I also used 2 of them to hold the cake pops, and one to hold the crayons for the coloring table for the kids when they first arrived.

We did a couple of activities with the kids--the first was Pin the Tail on Eeyore, but we started it off a little differently. I sat down all the kids and asked them who had seen the new Winnie the Pooh movie and what all the characters were trying to find--Eeyore's tail. We had hidden all the tails in the playground and each child had to go find one before they could play Pin the Tail on Eeyore. I got the printable Eeyore and tails here.

Next we told the kids that Winnie the Pooh needed our help. He was out of hunny and needed us to find us more. Luckily we all spied a beehive pinata hanging in a tree nearby. I saw this idea here and made a paper mache pinata, that I glued yellow yarn around and some paper bees.

I saw this idea here and made a pinata using 3 layers of paper mache, then glued yellow yarn around it with some paper bees. We made the kids wear my husbands black fleece vest so they could be little black rain clouds as they tried to break open the hive. When it finally opened they found lots of candy, including a few Bit O' Honey's.

For favors, I made caramel apples that were dipped in purple candy melts then piped with yellow candy melts on top for the honey. I painted the word Hunny on each of them with black food coloring. Attached to each were different quotes from Winnie the Pooh on friendship.

Well, the kids had fun, and Eliza thoroughly enjoyed her first birthday cake. It was soft and messy, just like her daddy wanted for her. The end results . . .

Poor Pooh Bear. I think he's seen better days. She might have been helped out by her older sister with this cake destruction. If you couldn't find Abby here, next to Eliza eating her cake you could probably find her here--

chomping down on Tigger Tails. That explains the orange lips.

Happy birthday my little girls! "'Sometimes,' said Pooh, 'the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.'" We love you!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Cute as a Button Baby Shower

What do you get when you make hundreds of fondant buttons and a few fondant spools of thread?

The perfect components for a Cute as a Button baby shower cake.

My friend Alisha is pregnant with her 3rd little one, and since all of us friends love to get together, it seemed the perfect reason for a fun little shower. Rachele, Emily, and Paige did an amazing job with the whole shower--food, decor, etc. I'm glad I could help out a little bit by making this cake for it too.

The mommy-to-be loves lemon cake, so I made a lemon cake which I filled with a bosenberry mousse filling and iced with a lemon buttercream. I made the various sizes of buttons and spools several days in advance to make sure they were fully dry. For the banner I piped letters onto some of the leftover buttons which were then glued onto some twine, tied to 2 bamboo skewers, and inserted through the spools of thread into the cake. I had made holes previously in the spools using a straw.

Rachele, Emily, and Paige got a lot of their inspiration for the shower from this post.
They made the most delicious pretzel bites, fruit skewers, and marinated tortelinni skewers as well as panna cotta, button chocolate suckers, and button sugar cookies.

The drinks were lemonade in mason jars with those darling straws.

I loved all these little labels. So darling in the spools!
What a fun shower. Our guest of honor is the 3rd from the left on the back row. We are so excited for Alisha's little boy to make his arrival. I'm sure he will be cute as a button!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Fondant Ribbon Roses and Nutella

I know some of you may have thought that I have gone AWOL with my baking, seeing that I haven't done anything for a couple months, but between going to a couple funerals out of town and being gone on another away rotation with my hubby for med school, baking kind of fell by the wayside. I am back, now, and am excited for some projects that I have coming up.

I finished this one for a special evening last night. It was the General Relief Society broadcast, and our stake (several church congregation groups together) had a dinner beforehand. The stake Relief Society presidency asked several ladies to bring in pedestal cakes for dessert, and I was so excited to make this one for it. It gave me a chance to try out a couple things I have been wanting to make: fondant ribbon roses and nutella-inspired recipes.

So I have made the very real looking fondant/gumpaste roses before--I really do love doing them, but they are kind of time consuming. This time I wanted to try these little beauties, and let me tell you, I am in love with them. Why? They are so EASY to make.

All you have to do is roll out gumpaste or fondant/gumtex mixture thinly (I used the 1/16th guide on my roller) and cut a 1" x 6" rectangle. Then simply start rolling it up at one end and make little pleats on the bottom as you roll. This causes the pretty ruffling at the top. After it is rolled up, cut off a little from the bottom so it is flat and can stand upright to dry. Voila! Beautiful roses in a fraction of the time.

As for my Nutella/hazelnut obsession? Well that stems from 2 trips I've taken--one to Paris where I ate Nutella and banana crepes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for 2 days straight, and the other to Venice where I had this to-die-for chocolate hazelnut gelato (I would go back to Venice just to taste this gelato again, it was that good). I have been thinking about those trips recently and have had this gigantic craving for chocolate-hazelnut anything. That is why I tried this cake.

I first made Mel's Kitchen Cafe's Best Chocolate Cake recipe (and yes, it is one of the best I've made--moist and yummy), and filled it with a variation of a Nutella Mousse recipe I found online here. Wow. That mousse is something else. Just forget the cake and give me a spoon and a bowl full of that to eat and I'll be in heaven. My variation is posted at the end of this post (just adding in extra Nutella).

(and if you are wondering about what I iced the cake with--I made up that Amaretto Truffle Icing recipe I made earlier, but substituted 1/4 cup of the butter with about 1/3 cup of Nutella, the almond extract with vanilla, and added a few tablespoons of milk. All in all it was good--not the best, but definitely good; I just wish I could have tasted the hazelnut flavor more--has anyone seen hazelnut extract in the store? That would definitely help)

I was so happy with the final product, and the evening it was for was wonderful, both the dinner and dessert beforehand, and the broadcast we watched after. I am so looking forward to listening to General Conference this coming weekend. If you have never heard of it, I completely recommend listening in. This is held twice a year and is where the Prophet and Apostles of Jesus Christ, speak to us and give us council, advice, and support. I know you won't be disappointed.

Hazelnut Mousse Recipe

1 pkg cream cheese--softened
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2-3 T honey
1/2 cup sugar, divided
3/4 cup Nutella, melted

Beat the whipping cream and 1/4 cup of sugar in a stand mixture until the cream become fairly stiff. Transfer to another bowl.

Next beat the cream cheese and other 1/4 cup of sugar together until creamy. Add honey to your desired sweetness and mix. Microwave the Nutella for about 30 seconds, then add this to the cream cheese mixture and combine well.

Carefully fold in the whipping cream to the cream cheese mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or until the mousse sets up.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Birthday Bash and Fried SD card

I've been in Oregon for the past month--another medical school rotation for my hubby. The girls and I tagged along since I have 3 brothers up in Portland and places to stay and family to see.

My sister-in-law Ellen had a birthday while I was there, and I just couldn't pass up the chance to make her a birthday cake. It was a surprise. I kept it a secret from her for a couple days, doing all the decorating at my other brother's home. This was an idea I had seen on Wilton awhile back and have been wanting to do. It is their Make Some Noise cake idea. It was a super cute idea using 3 tiers of cake. I made my tiers using a 7 inch pan, although they used an 8 inch pan in theirs.

This is Ellen. Love her to death. She is one of the funnest people to be around. Happy Birthday!

Now for my sob story--I took some darling pictures of this cake--all set out nicely, lighting just right, neat angles, etc--and what happened? . . . my SD card got fried in my computer. Yep. All the pictures were gone. So all I have to show for this cake is what others took on their phones. So sad. Sorry the pictures aren't the best. I hope you understand :)

I filled the bottom of the cake platter with chewy sweet tarts. They didn't last long--all the kids kept swiping them from the platter . . . okay, adults did too. I guess we can't blame everything on the kids.

Just a couple notes on this cake idea from Wilton--it uses quite a bit of fondant, so come prepared--especially if you want the white "frosting" between each tier to look thick and fluffy. I didn't use Wilton's imprinting roller for the texture on the swags. Instead I tried the texture tiles from Duff's line at Michaels. They worked ok--not great, but did the job more or less. I have yet to buy and use one of Wilton's textured rollers, so I really can't compare it to that yet, but I'm sure they would work fine.

Have a great day baking, napping, or doing whatever it is you enjoy doing!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Look Whooo is Having a Baby

As soon as we got back from being away for a month in Boston, I got started right away on a new cake project (it's so nice being home with all my cake supplies at my disposal--I've missed them!).

Hmmm . . . what could I possibly be doing with this owl cake . . .

and these owl cupcakes? Any ideas?

Well, take a look below:

A darling baby shower thrown for my dear friend Rachele who is due in about a week with her second little boy. The theme was "Look Whoooo is Having a Baby" with owls as the main decorating motif.

All I can take credit for was doing the cake and cupcakes. Erica was the one in charge of the event and finding all the ideas. Unfortunately, she went into labor early with her own baby and had to miss the shower, so our other amazing friends finished putting it all together, and we had a wonderful evening together.

I tried to keep the cake in blues, green, and browns to go with the color scheme that Erica gave me. The cake was a lemon cake with blueberry filling. It was truly scrumptious (but I really am very biased towards lemon cake, and you can't go too wrong with a blueberry filling).

I wish I could say my cupcakes were that good too, but I was very disappointed. They may look cute, but it was a new recipe (for a key lime pie cupcake) that I will not be doing again without some huge alterations to it. It turned out very dry and heavy. I'll have to work on that one.

All the decorations on the cake and cupcakes were from modeling chocolate I had made up. I just rolled out the chocolate and cut out my shapes using an exacto knife (except for the leaves and flowers--I had a cookie cutter for those).

Emily found the idea for these darling veggie shot glasses here

And she made these scruptious rolls. Their the "Magelby's rolls" for any of you up in Utah who knows what that is. You can find the recipe here.

These were probably my favorite part of the food table. The waffle cones with fruit is so eye catching and mouth watering. It just looks so fresh and yummy.

These darling punch stirrers were made by Paige (along with the delicious punch). The owls are from here and the idea from here.

And here is the cute guest of honor and mommy-to-be. Congrats, Rachele. We can't wait to meet your new little man.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

What's New, Cupcake?

This has been the month of cupcakes for us. The reason being? We've been out in Boston staying with my brother and his family for the entire month of April while my husband has been doing a medical school rotation here. Since we are away from home, and I am without all my cake decorating supplies, I've focused on cupcakes.

Well, I also got this book several months ago and have been dying to try some of the ideas:
It is the sequel to "Hello, Cupcake" that I've raved about before. Like it's sister, this book is packed full of incredibly creative ideas. Want to see a peak at some of the ideas? Well, here are 2 of them that I did this month:

"An apple a day keeps the doctor away"--what a cute gift to give someone feeling under the weather. They are also the best gift for a teacher, and that's what these were made for. My sister-in-law requested I make these for her to take to her kids' teachers. It is amazing what you can do with a cake mix, mini-doughnut, some frosting, and candy.

You could also give these to someone special with a note "you are the Apple of my eye."

The next one I tried out was this darling cupcake cake of a golf course. I threw it together last minute and was unable to find green cupcake liners like it called for, but se la vi (I probably just totally messed up that spelling).

It was for my brother's 37th birthday. My favorite part?--the white gumballs covered with white non pareils. They are the cutest little golf balls.

There are so many other ideas in this book--some darling, and some quite disgustingly funny (like the cockroaches and rats ideas). This book has made my favorites list, and will be well used in the future.