Tutorial Tuesday: Simple Cake Frosting

Some things are second nature to me. I do them so much that I just forget I used to have trouble with them. I just skip them as a step and casually say “Oh just go ahead and level/fill/crumb coat/frost your cake and we’ll go from there.”


Ok, so today is the most basic. How to do these simple starter bits. I know what frustrated me the most when I first started teaching myself, so I’ll try to cover these things.

Start by leveling your layers. I showed you how to do this here. Here’s a bit of a refresher though.
Remember, score only to the point you want to level, then carefully remove the top. Or whatever leveling technique you feel comfortable with. You MUST level it though. Don’t stack dome-topped cakes. lol Also, PLEASE, let your cakes cool before you do anything.

Next, place strips of wax paper on your cake board. You’ll put the cake over them, you just want to be able to pull them out from under the cake when you’re done. They’ll protect the board from rouge icing globs.
I suggest the Wilton buttercream recipe for your icing.
Now, we start the crumb coat. Whether you’re doing fondant or buttercream as your final product, you have to master the crumb coat. Remember when you were a kid and you’d get out that tub of frosting that was either too stiff because it’d be put in the fridge or too goopy because… well, because that’s just how it is, and you’d dip in your butter knife and try your very hardest to smooth that glop across your un-leveled cake, shredding the sides as you went. Maybe you didn’t even let the thing cool first. I mean… I have those memories lol. If only I’d known about the crumb coat!
First we’ll place our first layer and give it some filling. I don’t like a ton of frosting in the middle, personally. I just put enough to even out any imperfections and stick the two layers together. If you want to fill with fillings or a lot of icing, I’d scoop out a small amount of cake so that there’s an area for the filling to be in without squishing out the sides…

*IMPORTANT: Always keep a cup of hot water at hand. If you start having ANY issues with the icing sticking to your spatula, dip the spatula in the hot water and scrap off excess icing.*
Once it’s pretty smooth in there, go ahead and place your second layer on top.

Keep that hot water in mind, don’t forget it’s there. Use it often. You don’t want water dripping all over your cake so tap off excess water, but seriously, keeping your spatula hot will keep your frosting happy.
Glop some icing on top. Don’t be shy. If you don’t have enough on there, you’ll be frustrated. Start smoothing. Keep your spatula hot. This is a thin coating of frosting and you want it to gather the loose crumbs and hug that cake!

Cool. Now, toss it in the fridge just to set up a bit while you prep for round two. From here, this cake could be covered in fondant as shown here… or you can cover this cake with more buttercream.
I’ll be showing you that now.
I like to crumb coat in white, but you can now cover with whatever color or flavor you like. I’m using blue.
Again, a big glob on top. This is where you want to be very liberal. Really glob it on. The first time I iced a cake, I didn’t have enough frosting and I was so frustrated. And I can’t stress that hot glass of water enough. You might even want to refresh that glass, the temp has probably gone down some by now.
Start this the same as the crumb coat. Glob it on and smooth it out.
Little lips on the edges like this can be smoothed inward.
photo photo
Not bad, not bad. I could make myself crazy trying to make buttercream look fondant smooth all day, but I am not that good with it, so I don’t bother. This is good enough for me. Icing is an art. And I’m just a tourist in the buttercream world. Fondant is my deal haha.
Now you can remove that wax paper. Viola! Your board is clean :)
Now, as for all those bottom parts and top parts that aren’t perfect, that’s what boarders are for silly!
My buttercream was a little thinner than I like to use it here. Possibly because I threw in some cream cheese. Ah well. Still not bad.

As always, happy caking! Happy frosting! And I hope I’ve answered some questions! Also, having one of these snazzy cake turntables helps SO MUCH. I think these basic ones are literally like $5 at the craft store. It’s nice to be able to turn the cake as you smooth the sides. I think I take it for granted sometimes. Also, sorry if some of the photos suck this week. (Don’t drink Four Loko at 3pm on a Monday and try to decorate cakes… it SOUNDS like a fun idea… but you’ll wake up at 7pm in a kayak in the middle of your living room with a chihuahua on your head. True story…)

Mystery Machine Birthday Cake!

My niece Sophia turned four this year! So crazy how fast the time flies.
Last year I made her this cake:

This year she’s obsessed with Scooby Doo. Some one suggested I make the Mystery Machine and as much as it stresses me out to make vehicles, I decided I could make this happen lol…
I baked the cake for the van in a bread loaf pan sort of like this one:
Then I stuck it in the freezer for a while to let it get hard so that I could trim it down a bit without it falling apart on me. The cake itself was a hilarious idea that I had to add half a package of strawberry jello and a few handfuls of fresh diced strawberries into my cake mix! (IT WAS DELICIOUS)
The bottom cake was tiedye zebra cake :) (See how to make this type of cake here!)



That cake was gone in like… a split second haha. It was eaten about as fast as I could cut it! I think I cut almost 30 slices out of it all and there were only two left over! I call that sweet success! ;)

ps… someone send me a google+ invite!! plasticshakeupsnow@gmail.com

Tutorial Tuesday: is… a bust??

Alright… soooo…. yeah. Hmm… Hey- what’s that, over there!?!? Behind you! No? Not falling for that? Hm okay. Welllll…

That’s fair. So let me explain why I have nothing to show for you today. I have had a crazy week. I mean, it’s ALWAYS crazy, but this week has been more crazy than most!

Here’s a list of things I did while I should have been working on a tutorial for my blog:
Extremely last minute, I went to go see Jimmy Eat World. They are my favorite band ever.

Got the ol’ bike crew back together… it was a fantastic weekend here in Ohio with temps in the 60s! (Now it’s practically snowing again…)

I got a new bike! Now I have a pink one and a green one! :D

I’ve been at the gym like every evening, workin’ on my fitness.
Hello, skinnier, healthier me!

I upgraded to the iphone. (It completes me<3)

And I think the BEST part is that I even MADE A CAKE which, I was going to make a tutorial for, but I was so busy rushing around to get it done, I completely forgot to do the tutorial!!!

Well, I feel like a total schmuck.
Here’s a couple of cakes I made over the past couple of weeks that I had no time to post!

Both were sort of sports related and I really don’t know much about sports lol. So I had to do a little research! One was a football helmet!

Chicago Bears, evidently! The thing that stuck out to me the most was that the C is like the Cincinnati Red’s C. haha
The inside of the cake was layered orange and blue!

Then the wrestling cake for a very special girl. My friend Bill at work had me make it for it for his sister in law who has down syndrome. She loves wrestling.
flower tutorial 001

So, listen! I’ve been super busy and I apologize for not posting a tutorial today!!!!
How about next week, I do something super rad? Two tutorials or one super mega awesome one… or something! We’ll see what happens.

Love you guys! I know at least one of you was paying attention and realized I hadn’t posted one. lol (Jodee!!! lol)

Tutorial Tuesday: A Tale of Two Birthday Cakes

(and three birthdays… actually…)

Alright, so on January 23rd, I turned 27 years old. I spent the night of the 22nd (well into the morning of the 23rd) running around bars with my friends like a drunken 21 year old… (don’t worry, I paid for it like a 27 year old the next day with a brutal hangover lol)

But the best part about January is that my niece Tori and my niece Lauren also have birthdays in January! It used to be just Tori and I, but little Lauren has been with us for two years now :)

Tori turned 14 on the 18th and Lauren is turning 2 on the 30th. So we got together on my birthday and celebrated with the family for a lovely triple birthday!

Since, technically, I was having two parties, I decided to make two cakes! Everyone was already making fun of me asking if I was making my own cake… which… well… duh lol I know what I like!
My wonderful artist friend Crystal came over to assist on the cake for my party with our friends. She knows I LOVE zombies and since I let her decide on a concept, she wanted to do a zombie cake.
Who doesn’t love zombies? I mean… seriously. Check out this, awesome zombie math blog my friend Jodee just wrote!

So we made this awesome zombie cake!
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Crystal also made me this awesome picture and another friend gave me this Scooby Doo Zombie Island dvd lol
zombies scooby
And yeah… that’s me as a zombie:
me as a zombie
Pretty awesome… jussayin’…

So! The other cake was much less… eh… gory lol
I decided to do three tiers- one for each of us! I made it so that we could lift off the top two tiers and the girls could take them home and we could eat the bottom tier at the party.
Triple Birthday Cake

I was asked quite a few times how I did the buttons… and it’s so simple, you’ll want to put buttons on everything!
So here’s a quick, easy tutorial on how to make the buttons!

Button Tutorial

You’ll need a few circular things. I used a large piping tip, a small circle cutter and a number 2 piping tip. A bit of fondant and some powdered sugar to keep everything from sticking.

(How to make fondant for less than $3)

Button Tutorial Button Tutorial
Roll out your fondant and use your large circular object to cut out some circles.
Button Tutorial
Next, you’ll take your slightly smaller circle and lightly press down in the center, not cutting all the way through, just creating an indent.
Button Tutorial Button Tutorial
Now you just need to take the piping tip and lightly poke in your button holes. Again, not all the way though.
Button Tutorial Button Tutorial
I brush all of my fondant pieces with vodka when they’re done and let them sit overnight to dry. It melts any leftover powdered sugar and evaporates quickly not leaving behind a sticky mess like water would.
Button Tutorial
Button Tutorial

Happy button making!
Next week, I’ll be showing you how to make some lovely sweets for your sweet! Annnnnnd my first ever giveaway! I’ll be showing you how to make some delicious cake truffles and I’ll be sending one lucky reader one of these boxes full of them!

Stay tuned for details!

Tutorial Tuesday: Covering a Cake with Fondant

Oops, hey guys, turns out it’s Tuesday. I almost forgot to do this. I’m already having such a crazy week! Okay, so last week, we made fondant. Tonight, we’re going to talk about actually covering a cake with the fondant you made.

First you’ll want to spread a layer of buttercream on your cake. Some people like a thin layer and some like a thick layer. It’s up to you really. I’d say when you’re first starting out, a thin layer is best, though some would disagree with me. Some like the thick layer because for those who peel off the fondant and don’t want to eat it, they will still have a nice amount of frosting.

Next, you’ll want to get some powdered sugar (preferably mixed with a bit of cornstarch) onto the counter.
Fondant making

(You might notice that my cake isn’t a cake… it’s actually… a pyrex bowl covered in frosting haha. I didn’t have a cake ready for this.)

Now put your fondant on the counter, sprinkle more sugar on top of it and roll it out. You don’t want it ridiculously thin, but you also don’t want it too thick. You can buy mats that have circles on them to roll your fondant on. It shows you how much you need to roll out to cover whatever size your cake is. I just eye balled this. You really need to put some elbow grease into rolling it out.
Fondant making

Once it’s rolled out, you’ll want to roll it around the rolling pin in order to drape it over the cake.
Fondant making

Fondant making

Now you’ll want to start smoothing it with your hands and fondant smoother if you have one.
You’ll want to start from the top down. If you just press it all against the sides, you’re going to end up with all sorts of lines and creases.
Fondant making Fondant making Fondant making Fondant making

Use a pizza cutter to trim the excess from the bottom. Stay as close to the cake bottom as you can, but know that if you cut it too high, you can always cover it with a piped border.
Fondant making


And just for fun, I decorated this one with my airbrush. It was actually the first cake I was messing around with some stencils I got :)

Sooo there it is. Looks like I’m submitting this to post with about 10 minutes of Tuesday left lol. Oops! But hey, on the West coast, I’m on time ;)

Happy New Year!

So, I ended up taking some unintentional time off from my blog this holiday season. I ended up just being too busy to deal with everything!

I made some cakes, of course.

I made a cake for K&G Bike Center‘s Christmas party.
K&G Bike Center Xmas Cake

I also made a cake for a Christmas party at my work:

mms_picture_1.jpg mms_picture_2.jpg

I hope you all had a glorious holiday season! I know I did!

I just got one of my most exciting Christmas gifts yesterday!
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An airbrush set and tons and tons of Americolor food color!!!!

2011 is going to hold some really awesome things for this blog! I’m going to attempt to host tutorial Tuesdays! I’m working on some other ideas for theme days. We’ll see how it goes. Get ready for lots more cake!!!

Wisconsin Cake… surprisingly not made of cheese…

I have this friend Liz. We’ve met on the internet when she posted on a livejournal forum asking how to get her email to load on her phone. I answered her question and somehow from this we added each other on lj and started messaging back and forth. Now we pretty much are as “inseparable” as two people who live 6 and 1/2 hours apart can be. We spend all day texting back and forth and sending each other photos of all the hilarious things we encounter in our daily lives. It’s a really crazy thing to find a friend like that and keep in touch with them.

Well, we’ve actually only seen each other in person three times. Every time we’ve commemorated with a cake!
The first time we ever hung out was at the Hell City Tattoo Convention in Columbus, Ohio. I made an Ohio shaped cake for the event.

The second time was the Phunk -n- Ink Tattoo convention in Fort Wayne, IN… so that time, I made an Indiana shaped cake!

A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I packed up the Jetta and headed out to Wisconsin to see her in her home state! We headed out to Milwaukee with a cake to fit the theme!

Don’t worry, as soon as we arrived, she informed me of my ill-placed apostrophe! Yikes. that’s what’s happens when you decorate cakes in the middle of the night…
I did the only thing I could do… plucked it from the cake and ate it.

Now, I’ve talked on here before about near disasters with cakes… the Auburndale cake that slammed into the back seat of the car most recently.
This cake… some how did worse than that. I honestly have NO idea how it survived…

We were bringing all of our things upstairs to Liz’s apartment and had it all piled on a cart. My husband was trying to push it with one hand while talking on the phone with the other hand… evidently, the cake was perched quite precariously atop this pile… and it fell.
Not like, gingerly slid to the floor. Like… it FELL. Upside down, hit the ground with a thud fell.

Of course, I thought a blood vessel was going to burst in my brain when it hit the ground. I raced to the box and carefully but quickly flipped it right side up and opened it.

I couldn’t believe it. Not only had this car survived the 6 1/2 hour car trip, but also a totally insane drop! I don’t even think the cake separated from the board.
Here’s the cake post fall and post apostrophe’ nomming.
milwaukee! 011

See! Almost completely unscathed!

While I have your captive audience, let’s talk about how awesome Milwaukee is. I had no idea and maybe you don’t know either.

I think that when we crossed the state line, we expected it to all be farms full of cows and giant wheels of cheese instead of bales of hay along the pastures. We didn’t really see many cows… and well, obviously there were no wheels of cheese in the fields, but when we got into Milwaukee, we realized how much we underestimated it!

As it turns out, Milwaukee is totally a major city. The architecture is stunning and the downtown is amazing.
milwaukee! 050 Wisconsin 050 Wisconsin 068
Wisconsin 060

The water was just glorious. I love the great lakes because standing by them makes you feel so… small. Like the water goes forever. When you live in the Midwest, this is as close to the ocean as you can get.
Wisconsin 094 Wisconsin 095 Wisconsin 096 Wisconsin 092

If it wouldn’t have been so cold I had snotsicles on my septum ring, it would have been pretty down right soothing. Seriously, it was freaking freezing though, but the photos come out lovely.

I’ve also never seen anything like the wind farm we drove through in Indiana. It was absolutely breathtaking. I could hardly drive because I was in such awe! I had to slow down and stare.
Wisconsin 128

So yeah, that was my trip to Wisconsin. While I was there, I ate lots of cheese, drank Four Loko, stole a case of beer from Hawthorne Height’s dressing room, spent $50 on a bag of groceries at Whole Foods, snuggled a Maine Coon, got locked into a drum store, went to a craft show, had the best stromboli of my life and more things than I could ever list or remember. That’s what most people do on vacation, right?
It was perfect.

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