Sunday, May 18, 2008

90 Years Young

Grandmom is 90 years young... Today was a special day to honor the oldest member of our ever-growing family, Grandmom is the glue that holds us together. It's always fun to get together with our entire family. The rain kept us indoors today but it didn't keep us from enjoying great food and company.

I choose a daffodil themed cake for Grandmom because it's one of her favorite flowers (the other are roses) and as kids, in the summer, she used to take us out in her yard to cut daffodils to take home.

I don't think grandmom could have know how special she made us feel. It's one of my fondest memories of our Sunday visits to grandmom and grandpops house. The other was listening to "box car willie" on the record player in the living room and watching the Lawrence Welk show on their "big" t.v. but that's for another blog... :)

Steps to produce this cake:
1. Baked 2-8inch; 2-9 inch; 2-6 inch cakes and 24 cupcakes (couldn't decide on what to make so I over baked in case I messed up or changed my mind)
2. Level, filled and crumb coated 2- 8" and 1-9" cake for pot (you can see from the picture above that the gel was leaking from the layers. this cake was destined for problems...)
3. colored gum paste and made flowers and leaves (My first Gum Paste flower is pictured above)
4. Colored MMF for pot (took a half an hour to mix the color in... my hands were a lovely shade of tera cotta)
5. Rolled fondant onto cake, rolled strip and placed around the top
6. Rolled and cut the grass to fill in/cover up the bottom of the cake
7. crumbled chocolate cupcakes for dirt
The cake had a few issues or "lessons-to avoid future cake issues " as I like to think about them.
I filled the cake with red raspberry filling but in doing so made the cake unstable and it ultimately cracked on transport to the party. I also carved the cake to angle the bottom to look like a pot. This also made it unstable because it was heavier on the top and proceeded to fall over by the end of the night. Since I carved the cake I took away some of the icing damn holding the filling in so it oozed out causing a problem with the structure as well. I also struggled with the Marshmallow fondant I had made the week prior for mother's day. It was stiffer and crumbly. Very hard to color. So lesson learned, fresh MMF is best used right away and not stored. To try to cover how poorly the fondant covered the cake I put a ring of grass around the bottom. It didn't look much like a pot but I tried... Next time I would carve a dip on the top of the cake so the "dirt" would stay rather then fall off the sides.

What I liked about the cake: The daffodils and leaves. They were fun to make. This was my very first time making flowers with Gum Paste. It took a little while for me to understand the directions in the book but I eventually got it. I didn't have flower wire so I improvised with skewers and toothpicks. I used toothpicks to attach the gum paste leaves but learned that the butter cream and the filling in the cake "eats away" at the gum paste leaving the toothpick inside the cake... so it's best to use the wire so you can easily pull them out because you can make them closer to the top surface of the cake instead of inserting the leaf further into the cake.

Overall, many lessons learned but that's why I'm doing this. I want to keep practicing to get better. I'm hoping to play more with gum paste flowers over the summer and eventually start building some bouquets of flowers... More to come....

Monday, May 12, 2008

My Mom

A cake for my Mom... It was especially important to me to make this cake for her since I credit my mom for giving me my crafting skills. Mom has ALWAYS been working on something... Wreaths, clay, crocheted towels, painted Santa's, paintings, scrap booking etc... You name it, my mom can make a craft out of it. It's always fun and an adventure to look into mom's crafting room where she is "storing" her raw materials that are just waiting to be turned into a masterpiece. Now that mom and dad are retired, they hit the yard sales and auctions so mom is routinely finding me cake pans and other fun treasurers to add to my ever growing mound of cake decorating supplies (I don't have a crafting room... yet). Mom gave me the heart shaped pans I made this cake in. The inspiration for this cake came from a cake I found on cake central. I made roses and the ribbon out of fondant, the original used real flowers and ribbon. The bow cracked by the time I made it up to my parent's house but otherwise the cake survived my driving...

I made marshmallow fondant for the first time for this cake. It worked! I was so excited. I had visions of a bad experience with the marshmallow but amazingly it worked. Once the marshmallow cooled the fondant was a little hard to roll out so I counted it as an upper body workout as I was rolling it thinner and thinner. The Marshmallow fondant has a different texture then regular fondant so I used regular fondant for the yellow flowers and the ribbon. I love the way the marshmallow tastes and will probably use as a base fondant for cakes from now on....

My friend Leigh came over while I was making the cake. Bourbon Slushies are always helpful when decorating a cake. I enjoyed the company as I was rolling and we were talking... I added a picture of Lindsey, because she is so darn cute...