Good News Everyone!

Well, it’s my very own birthday on Monday. I’ll be… twenty- eight. Woo. I had a brief moment of panic lying in bed last night thinking about how tragically old I am and how I’m going to be ancient and dead any time now.
Then I realized I’m not even 30 yet and I’m making myself a cartoon birthday cake and I’m going to drink like a 21 year old tonight. Then I felt a little better.

Anyhow, on to the cake!
My favorite show of all time is Futurama. And my favorite character on that show is Bender Bending Rodriguez!
So, first of all, this is my birthday, and I’m the cake chick… so my cake has to be awesome. I started with 6 layers of cake. Chocolate, strawberry and vanilla!
photo.JPG photo.JPG

I leveled them and stacked them.
photo.JPG
photo.JPG
This thing is like a foot tall and weighs a ton. I stuck it in the freezer for a bit before carving it.
photo.JPGphoto.JPG
photo.JPG

This was not an icing job for the faint of heart. That’s for sure. All that exposed cake is hard to frost without tearing if you aren’t experienced and using the proper tools. I had to keep heating my spatula in hot water, it turned out well though.
photo.JPGphoto.JPG

I set it in the fridge to cool a bit while I rolled out the fondant.
photo.JPG
My fondant ended up with a weird line in it from when I rolled it onto the rolling pin, but it’s ok, his eyes will cover that.
I mixed up some of my edible silver and painted the whole thing.
photo.JPGphoto.JPG

Then I added a mouth, which I drew on with food color markers.
photo.JPG
Starting to look Bendery! Also, I added his antenna which is part of the dowel I pushed into the cake to keep it from sliding around. It’s just a wooden rod I covered with fondant on top.

photo.JPG
I’d LOVE to show you my process of making the eyes, but it was a mess lol. First, I cast eyes out of white chocolate, but they turned out to be too small… so I went with these. It was okay, but the visor was really hard. I ended up sort of stacking two fondant ropes around the eyes. It’s not perfect, but it worked. I also made a cigar, of course.

“Happy Birthday meat bag!”
photo.JPG

Happy birthday to me! I planned on cutting it into pieces of each flavor, but who knows, maybe I’ll take the first slice and get a bit of each ;)

Advertisements

Tutorial Tuesday: How to make a checkerboard cake

photo

This was my first attempt at a checkerboard cake. If I could do it all again, there are things I would do differently, for sure. So keep an eye on that commentary. I’ll say this is a more advanced project. If you’re not already pretty great at frosting cakes, this probably won’t end well for you.

photo
I started with two different color cake layers which I then sliced into four thinner cake layers. Mistake #1. I either should have made four layers the original size… or I should have just worked with the two layers as they were.
I let the cakes freeze for a while so they’d be easier to cut. Then I found some round things… like bowls and containers that I could use as guides to cut rings out of the cakes about two inches apart.
photophotophoto
photophotophoto

I arranged my layers and then put some wax paper on my board and some frosting to hold down the first layer.
photo

Carefully place each layer and carefully frost the top of it. Using hot water on your spatula will help you to keep from shredding the cake. Stack and frost each layer. Don’t forget to alternate color schemes. It’s a labor of love.
photophotophoto

photo

Once it’s all stacked, you can sort of smoosh it down with your hands maybe… you can see here why my layers being too thin was an issue. Once I got to this part, I was starting to panic. It sort of looks awful…
Somehow, I used my cake frosting magic to turn that into this:
photo

From there I chilled the cake for a while and then covered it in fondant.
photo

My results were decent…
photo photo
If nothing else, strawberry and lemon always taste wonderful together.

I had a great time this weekend in Wisconsin with my bff Liz. If I get time, I’ll add some great photos from our trip at the end of this post soon!

Tutorial Tuesday: How to Make a Cupcake Tower (revisited)

Let’s make a cupcake tower like the one I used in this post!
photo

Alright kids, it’s another late one here at the Whitten house… trying to crank out helpful cakery tips for you guys to keep you informed.

Two things first… one you may have noticed the new TUTORIALS tab at the top of the page. Yaay! I spent a little while painstakingly placing all of the tutorial links on that page with a photo for each. Much easier to access now. Wowy, it’s like I’m getting all organized. I’m going to work on a cake gallery next, but gosh, it’s going to take some time!!

Second, you might notice this is sort of a tutorial I did before. I just have had a lot of questions since then and I wanted to do a more clear version of it. I hope this helps! Since last time I was making sort of a wacky/whimsical tower with odd shapes, I wanted to show you a more basic version.

You’ll need a few things to start with.
*Foam core boards- Somewhere between 3-5, depending on how big you want the tower to be and how many things you need to re-do ;)

*Something to trace- I used lids from some bowls that I have to trace for my tiers. If you want to make squares, you might be able to just measure them out. More power to you.

*Exacto knife -please be careful with this! Only responsible adults should use these. Have one help you if you are not one.

*hot glue gun- same concept here. I don’t want you guys slicing yourselves up and then getting hot glue on yourself and burning your precious skin! Trust me, it doesn’t feel good. Maybe I need a responsible adult helping me :/

*Measuring tape or ruler

*Ribbon- of your choice to go with your project.

**Extras- you might want paint or other decorations to put on your tower when it’s done**

photo photo

Start by tracing TWO of each circle onto your foam core and cutting them out. I’m doing two in order to make a very sturdy tower.
They’re not going to come out perfect, I know. Unless you’re some kind of precision robot, just do the best you can.
photo photo
Don’t worry. We get to cover those edges up later with the ribbon!

Next, hot glue your circle pairs together. Except for the top tier!
photophoto photo

photo
We’ll deal with the top tier later.

Here’s where I don’t want to lose you. I’ll try to make this make sense… really.
photo
to make the center supports steps for the tiers, measure your bottom tier. You’ll want your bottom step to be that length or just short of it. That step should only be about an inch tall. The next step, should be slightly smaller across than your next tier, and should be at least 3 inches tall, since a cupcake has to sit under the next one.
The next step, should, again, be just slightly smaller than the next tier, also, 3 inches tall. Keep in mind, each tier will be sitting on their respective steps and need to be supported, but not hanging way over the steps. I truly hope this this making sense. For my top step, again, I made it 3 inches tall and then put just a tiny 1/4″ step on top of that. I’ll explain that further on.

You’ll need to cut out two of these.
photophoto

Now, you’ll want to measure and cut half way up one and half way down the other.
photo
photophoto
You might need to tweak it a little bit to make it work, but you want them to fit into each other and sit level.
photo
If it’s a tad loose feeling, don’t worry, we’ll sturdy it up later.

Now the hard(sih) part is up. You’ll want to find the center of each of your rounds and mark off and cut out an “X” from each one. (except that top part, we’re getting there, don’t worry.) You’ll want to cut the “x” wide enough to fit over the frame you build. Basically, this bottom one needs to fit over that 2nd step. DO NOT get confused and cut the “X” the size of the bottom step. That’s the step it rests on! It only needs to fit over that second one. Does that make sense? Make sure you’re only cutting them to fit over what they need to fit over and rest where they need to rest.
photo
photo

Now, if you’d like, you could just put the top two rounds together and cut them this way as well. With just a tiny “x” small enough for that top tiny portion of the stand to fit though. Or you can try this.
Cut one round the way you cut the last ones. The next one… try to only cut half way through.
photo photo
So that you still have a smooth uncut top portion. Glue them together so that the “x”s are lined up, of course.

Stack your tower by sliding each round over the steps, guiding the last one on top.
photo photo

Ta-da! Okay! So, now that you know it all fits together… (it all fits, right? No? Okay, well go re-do the stuff you messed up like I did the first time and then come back to this step…) let’s make this more permanent!

Start gluing things up. Put some glue in the frame and stick it together.
photo photo
Follow the lines up and down and glue those two pieces together where they connect. Fill in any gaps with glue.

Next, add glue to your steps tops and quickly slip your rounds onto them. Flip it over and glue them more on the bottom as well.
photo

photo
Now it’s time to deal with those rough, ugly edges! Glue your ribbon on the outside of your rounds!
photophoto
You can use whatever ribbon you want! And before you put the whole thing together with the glue, you could decorate each tier however you want. You could cover them with cute paper, paint them, bedazzle them, etc etc! Also, while cupcakes will probably cover the rough edges on the stand itself, but you can always run ribbons over those edges as well. Be creative!!

I didn’t ACTUALLY put that ribbon on this tower. I can’t show you the final project yet either ;)
This tower is for someone and I make a point to never show finished work until the person it’s for has seen it! It’ll be worth it though. This thing is getting decked out!!

Alright, so I REALLY hope you’ve learned something today and PLEASE, ask any questions you have. I’m hoping I made this so that it makes sense! I get tons of google hits every day for my previous post, but I think this one will be much more informative for those looking for better steps!

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.”

lol

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.
photophotophoto
photo

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.
photo
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.*
photophoto
photo.JPG
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.
photo.JPG
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!
photo.JPGphoto.JPGphotophoto
photo

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.
photophotophotophoto
Little lips on the edges like this can be smoothed inward.
photo 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.
photo
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!
photophoto
photo
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…)

Tutorial Tuesday: How to Make Perfect Pearl Borders

I’ve often struggled with pearl borders. I try to do them with buttercream most of the time, but I don’t think I’m very good at it. Even with the proper tips, I’ve never been able to do it perfectly. They end up egg shaped or pointy. I have to poke each one with my finger tip once they set up a bit to get them rounded. It’s frustrating. I’ve never taken a class or had a lesson from anyone on anything, I barely know how to make proper borders in general. It’s always something I’ve struggled with!
I like fondant much more than buttercream. I know it better. It’s smoother, it’s more predictable… I love fondant!
However, the idea of rolling a million tiny pearls one at a time is obviously not appealing. I needed a better way. So, as always, I came up with a better way.

It’s so obvious that I’m sure this is already a thing. That you can buy… somewhere. I don’t know. I know there are magical places someplace where you can buy magical cake decorating stuff. I’ve never been anyplace like that though. So I made this up.

First I got some of my Amazing Mold Putty as featured in one of my other tutorials.
I rolled a long strip of it and pressed a (*cough*fake*cough*) pearl necklace into it, sort of wrapping it around it, but not all the way.
When it dried, I popped the necklace out and was left with a mold of it. :)
(disclaimer: totally washed the necklace in the dishwasher before this to attempt good sterilization lol)

photo

photo

Then I rolled out a thin snake of fondant about the length of the mold. I pressed it into the mold and squished it together.
photo

photo photo

photo

Then I popped it out of the mold!
photo

Just what I wanted!
photo

I was way happy with the first cake I tried it out with! What a time saver. I trimmed off the pinched edge left by the mold and ran a thin line of butter cream around the bottom of the cakes. Then just pressed the pearls into the frosting. It worked just great!

Tutorial Tuesday: How to Stack a Tiered Cake

People ask me all the time what they need to do to ensure the integrity of their tiered cakes. I’ll show you how I do it.

First I cover my cakes with fondant. This is a bit more tricky with buttercream covered cakes… but I do most of my cakes in fondant.

The bottom cake is given a support system. Honestly, drinking straws work awesome. I find the center of my cake and come out a couple of inches in each direction and insert a straw. Be careful not to put the supports out further than the next cake with overlap.
photo

Pull the straws up a tiny bit and cut each one so that once you push it back into the cake, it’s level with the cake and rests on the bottom of the cake board. The concept here is that the next cake’s weight will be supported completely by these straws and it won’t crush this cake.
photo

photo photo

Now, sometimes when I do a tiered cake, I’ll add a center support to keep the cake from falling over or sliding around, coming off center etc.
photo

I usually use a wooden skewer in this case. Be sure that your skewer is cut to the correct height, you don’t want it tearing through the top of your top tier. That would be bad!
This cake is going to be a three tier.
photo

This next part is very important… you have to have a board under your other cake as well. The board distributes the weight across the supports. I usually cut a piece of foam core board into a circle slightly smaller than the cake is and cover it in foil. Also important… if you’re using a center support… POKE A HOLE INTO THE CENTER OF THIS BOARD BEFORE YOU PUT THE CAKE ON IT. (See how serious I am? I resorted to capslock…)
If not, you won’t be able to properly do this.
photo

Yeah, that cake looks a little wonky. Don’t worry about that bottom, that’s what boarders are for ;)

photo

I added a third tier on top of this, putting supports in this second tier the same way as on the bottom. Once you get the cake on, it might look a little rough from the handling, but you just need to wiggle things around a little and smooth things down a little and hey, decorating cakes is all about covering up imperfections with awesome little things you create.

Here’s a photo of it with the top tier on.
photo

Happy stacking!

Cricut Cake: Take Two

photo

I sat down with my Cricut Cake again this weekend (and by sat down with I mean stood in my kitchen for hours covered in powered sugar…) and I got down to business on how to get things going with it.

I really need to get some gumtex or tylose powder or get/make some gum paste, but ya know what, I’m a busy girl. I haven’t had time yet.

Anyhow, I incorporated as much powdered sugar into this fondant as it would tolerate in attempt to make it a but more stiff..

Now, when you grease the mat with shortening, don’t glop it on, but make sure you’ve got a nice coating. You want to try to make it as uniform as possible.
photo photo

If you’re seeing a lot of white, it’s probably too thick.

photo photo
I roll the fondant pretty thin and then slap carefully place it on the sheet, trying to avoid air bubbles. Then I cut it down following the guides.
photo photo
If the fondant hangs over that guide line, it’s going to get smushed by the roller thing and it won’t be nice. It’s happened to me several times. Jussayin.

photo photo
I pop the whole thing in the freezer for 10-15 minutes. Let it chill a bit… then load it in to the machine.

photo photo
I’ve had the most luck with medium pressure and low speed.
I chose my image and quantity and hit cut…
photo photo

photo photo

Gibson was pretty unsure about the whole thing. lol

At the end of the night, I’d managed to cut out these things…
photo

Not perfect, but I’m still learning and hey, I was told that marshmallow fondant probably wouldn’t even work with this! So I think I’m doing alright.

Since these photos were taken, I’ve actually decorated two cakes using the machine! You’ll get to see them soon! I need time to get those posts together!

Previous Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: