Saturday, July 16, 2016

New Toy for Cake Decorating - Cricut

I bought a Cricut machine to cut do-dads for my cakes, but before I work on expensive gum paste I have been practicing with inexpensive cardstock. And I have been having so much fun. The Cricut Design Space software is pain to work with, but if you a patient, and watch a bunch of YouTube videos, you can get things done. Here is a tag I made while learning how to use the software.


The lace tag shape and the script font are from the Design Space's “free” collection...



and the outline of the dress is something I traced in Corel Draw and then imported into Design Space. (The shape of the dress was inspired by a tag I saw on the web somewhere.  If I can find the site again I will post a link to her awesome card-crafting blog.)




I can’t wait to start designing things for my cakes and cookies !!!


Happy Crafting,

Carol
 

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

4th of July Explosion Cake

I do so love to try out new things, and this 4th of July cake gave me lots of new things to play on/with.  As usual, some of the experiments worked out great and other not so great.


Experiment #1 

The bottom tier of the cake is my semi-failed attempt at freezing a fully fondant decorated cake.  I read somewhere that this was possible, so I wanted to give it a try.  I crumb coated the cake, and then covered it in fondant and added the red stripes.  I let the cake sit for three hours so that the fondant could dry, and then I carefully wrap the cake in plastic wrap.  After three days in the freezer I removed it and keeping the plastic wrap in place I let it defrost.  Once defrosted I removed the plastic wrap and found....

Welllllll.....

The cake itself froze just fine, but the defrosting caused some issue with the fondant (Wilton Preferred).   The fondant didn't crumble and the colors didn't bleed, but the texture of the fondant got very soft and very gummy.  And the plastic wrap I used to cover the cake left little marks all over the fondant.  Maybe I did something wrong.  Maybe I took the plastic wrap off too soon, or maybe I should have frozen the cake a bit before I wrap it in the plastic wrap???  Someone recently told we that I should have place the cake in a cardboard box instead of wrapping it in plastic wrap.

Who knows... anyway, I'm not going to freeze a fondant covered cake again.



Experiment #2

Now the inside of the cake was my attempt at the famous "Flag Inside the Cake" cake.


My "Flag Inside the Cake" didn't come out too, too bad.  The red torted layers were a little bit thinner than the white layer, but overall it looked pretty good.  I also tried adding little snow flake sprinkles to the blue batter hoping it would give the look of stars in the baked blue layer, but most of the snow flakes just sank to the bottom.  You can see a few poking out of the blue section, but I would have to call the snow flake experiment a flop.



But one thing that worked really well was using a 4" cookie cutter to cut out the interior of the blue layer.  Then I used the same cutter to cut out the red and white layers that fit perfectly inside the blue layer.  The instructions from the Land O' Lakes web page say to spread icing around the inner cut edge of the blue cake before you slip the white and red layers inside, but my cakes fit so tightly together that I couldn't fit any icing.



Experiment #3 

The top tier of the cake was made to look like an exploding fire cracker.  Surprisingly this part was really easy to make, and the top tier came out looking pretty good.

You start by cutting out circles of red white and blue fondant.  Also cut out a piece of wax or parchment paper the same size.  I used my trusty 4" cookie cutter.


Then stack the circles with blue at the bottom, the piece of parchment paper next, and then the red followed last by the white.  The parchment paper will keep the red from sticking to the bottom layer of blue.


Next place the stack of fondant round in the center of the cake, and then cover the cake and the fondant stack with blue fondant.  Note: This is a dummy cake and that is why the sides are so straight and the top edge so sharp.


Score the top of the fondant, cutting down to the parchment without cutting through it.


Carefully curl back the blue-red-white layer of fondant to make the explosion look.


When all the wedges are curled out, remove the parchment paper to expose the blue fondant underneath.


Next decorate with fondant stars, confetti, and streamers.


I also filled the depression with red, white, and blue Sixlets.  Those things are so good.


So all-in-all not too bad.  I learned a lot of things with this cake, and my family was impressed with the "Flag inside the Cake".


Happy 4Th of July everyone !!!

Carol

Friday, July 1, 2016

Zebra Bundt Cake that looks more like a Seahorse

My baking adventures always have a way of going off course, but even this one surprised me.

A few weeks ago my inbox was being bombarded with amazing images of Zebra Bundt cakes.  The cakes was formed by laying down alternating, paper thin layers of vanilla and chocolate batter that when baked formed arches that looked amazingly like zebra stripes.  The cakes looked so phenomenal I decided to give it a try -- but sadly the inside of my finished cake looked more like a seahorse than a zebra.  And a buxom seahorse at that!




I was so distraught. <sniff>  I thought I did everything right... <sniff, sniff>  I had thin layer of chocolate and vanilla, but when the cake baked all my thin stripes just disappeared.   I swear I had more than three layers of chocolate.  I though I had about ten or twenty or maybe even thirty.  




Oh well, my cake certainly didn't look like a zebra, but it did taste wonderful.  It was moist and light, with a fine, melt-in-your-mouth crumb.  And chocolate, lots and lots of dripping chocolate.





The recipe I used is a bit of a mystery.  It was pieced together from several different recipes, and according to the folks at work - It was the best marbled Bundt cake EVER!  

So take that you Zebra Bundt Cake pros.  Mine doesn't look as pretty, but it tasted damn good.

(In hindsight I guess I should have written down all the extra stuff I threw into the batter.)

Happy Baking,

Carol