Apr 29, 2009

Keep Moving Forward

I have been thinking a lot about about the statement "Keep Moving Forward". If you are not aware, that statement comes from the Disney movie, Meet the Robinson's. Which I think is one of the most underrated Disney movies ever. There are so many great lessons to be learned from this movie. So how does "Keep Moving Forward" relate to cake decorating? Maybe it doesn't, because cake decorating is certainly not life or death, but as I look at the picture of this cake, as the decorator, I only see the mistakes and the flaws, all the things I wish I could redo. They are so apparent to me that they seem to scream at me. But if I take a minute and pan out, away from the cake, I can see the beauty of it. If I try to see it from an outside point of view the cake is beautiful.

Sometimes in our lives we spend so much of the time looking at the mistakes and the flaws in our own lives, we miss the beauty of the life we live. As the saying goes, We are our own worst critics.

So how do we pan out and change our perspective? I think that comes from inside ourselves. For me I try to see myself the way others see me. I try to uplift the people around me, I try to leave them better then I found them and I try to Move Forward.
Everyone makes mistakes, everyone is going to have a bad day, everyone is going to need to "vent" to someone. But then if we continue to move forward, if we dust ourselves off, I believe our world grows larger and our view broadens and then we can step back and see how far we have come. Then we can turn and see the beauty that others see.

Apr 23, 2009

Happy Earth Day

I know I am a day late, but Happy Earth Day! My son and his friends have been learning a lot about the Earth and keeping the planet clean. So in celebration of Earth Day, my kids and a few friends decided we needed an Earth Cake. Today was Take you child to work Day and since I had 4 children with me, we decided to make this cake. The kids loved eating North and South America, Africa and Asia. It was a fun cake to make.

Apr 17, 2009

Cowboy Birthday

Yehaw!!!I made this cake for a boy having a cowboy party. The party was on his grandparents horse ranch. It was a beautiful place. They had hayrides for the kids and bobbing for apples. This cake was one of the biggest cakes I have made, It was about 2 feet tall and sat on a 2 foot square base. The cake is all chocolate with chocolate buttercream icing. The horses and fence are plastic, but the mountain is all cake.

Apr 16, 2009

Fruit basket cake

These pictures aren't the best, but the cake was beautiful, if I do say so myself. HeHeHe All three teirs were done in a basket weave with cream cheese frosting. It is covered with fresh fruit which was covered with a glaze then sprinkled with sugar. This one was really fun to make.

These are the close ups of the top teirs. I was trying to get a better picture of the basket weave, but the pictures didn't turn out. I made this cake many years ago and found the pictures with the last cake I posted.

I have talked a lot about my Grandma teaching me to decorate cakes and how much fun I had watching her work. But in the past few years it is my mom who had guided me through decorating cakes. My mom was always patient with me. She spent hours helping me set up and glaze all the fruit. In the last cake, she was the one who taught me how to curl the white chocolate, then spent hours at my house chatting and curling chocolate while I finished the cakes. She has also taught me how to carefully place flowers and fruit on a cake. She has an eye for decorating and I am grateful for all that she has taught me.

Apr 14, 2009

I finally found them!

A few years ago, before digital cameras became the norm, I made some wedding cakes but had lost the pictures. So for the last few days I have been searching for them. I am so excited I finally found them!
This cake was for a really good friend of mine. I worked with her in a microbiology lab for about 5 years and she is one of the smartest people I have ever met.
The cake I believe is Chocolate or Carrot cake(It's been about 8 years, so I can't remember) covered in a thick layer of Cream Cheese frosting, then covered in a thick layer of large white chocolate curls. It was extrememly fun to make.

Apr 13, 2009

Birthday Cakes

This was a cake I made for a little girl. She told me she wanted a cake with horses and rainbows. The horses are plastic, but everything else is edible. I love to make childrens cakes and to see the excitement on their faces when they get a custom cake, made from their very own ideas.

I made this cake for my son. He asked for a Hot Wheels cake, with a race track going through a volcano. He also wanted a ramp with a ring of fire so the cars could jump through it and dinosaurs to attack the cars. This one took a lot a planning because there were so many elements involved. He loved it! He even got out his cars and was trying to play on the cake when I wasn't looking.

Apr 10, 2009

Happy Easter!

Easter was a big deal in our family. Of course for the obvious reasons, but also because of Easter Eggs. Every year my Grandma would make Easter Eggs for everyone she knew. I remember going to her house and she had racks full of about 700-800 eggs. People would come from everywhere to order Grandma's Eggs. I loved to go to her house just before Easter and watch the people coming and going as they picked up their Eggs. The eggs were made of fudge, covered in chocolate and the my Grandma would decorate each one by hand. For my entire family, the Easter Egg was the prize jewel of your Easter basket. The saturday before Easter, our family celebrated Easter Basket Day. That was the day we had the Easter Egg hunt. The men would hide everyones baskets someplace in the house and the older you got the harder it was to find. Then the kids would search for our baskets. Everyone knew which Easter basket was there's because it had your Easter Egg in it with your name on it.

Some of us would keep our eggs for days to admire them, some years we would dig the fudge out of the bottom so we could look at it just a little longer. You had to be careful that your name was the last thing you ate, because an egg without a name was fair game, you couldn't prove the eggs was or wasn't yours.

As my Grandma aged, she began to loose her vision. My mom took over the Egg making and a few years later my sister and I joined in and helped continue the tradition. This year I decided to continue the tradition, so Happy Easter everyone!

Choo Choo Train

This was a fun cake to make, it was for my son! He loved trains and was so excited when he saw his cake. The best part about cakes is you can enjoy the beauty or excitement of a cute cake and then you get to Eat it! It's the best kind of art, Yummy!

Tiffany cake and comparing fondant

For this cake, I tried a new kind of Fondant. The Wilton fondant that you can purchase at Micheal's or other craft stores is terrible, and practically inedible. It tastes like chemicals, so I found a great recipe for Marshmallow fondant. It is also called MM Fondant. It was very easy to make and tasted great. I would recommend MM Fondant if you want to try using fondant for the first time. It is cheaper then the Wilton stuff , tastes tons better and is almost as easy to work with. MM Fondant does tear more easily.but still works well.
For my next cake, I went out on a limb and bought fondant from a company on Amazon. It is www.buyfondant.com. I was hoping it was better then the Wilton stuff and I was pleasantly surprised! It was delicious and I loved the texture and elasticity. I was able to roll it out more uniform and it lays flatter on the cake. I thought it tasted as good if not better then the MM Fondant. It also wasn't as expensive as I assumed it would be...about $8-$10 for 2 lbs.
This Tiffany cake is made with MM Fondant. The Flag wedding cake is made with fondant from www.buyfondant.com

Apr 8, 2009

Military Wedding Cake

This is my most recent wedding cake. I finished it yesterday. It was for a couple who met in the military. They are on leave for their honeymoon and to meet each others parents then they will be sent to Iraq together.

The flag is made of fondant and is painted with food coloring.

Cakes and Me

I have spent my entire life around cakes. As a young child I remember going to visit my Grandma and Grandpa and feeling excited to see what new and beautiful cake she would be decorating when we got there. Her cakes were the most beautiful things I had ever seen and I would sit for hours and watch her work. She was a very particular woman and I see now why we were allowed to sit in the room as long as we promised to not touch the table. Bumping the table would get you into more trouble then any other offense. Grandpa took it all lightly and would take us into the other room and make a plan of attack. He would find a way to distract Grandma and we were to head for the cupboard. Grandpa would explain in detail where the treats were hiding and we were to steal enough for us and himself. "Lowell!" my Grandma would yell, after returning to her chair and finding that something was missing or askew. Grandpa would snicker and we would both bolt for the door. Grandpa couldn't bolt very quickly, he was a large man and walked with two canes, one in each hand. he was the kindest, funniest man I have ever known. He cared for people deeply and loved to push Grandma's buttons, in his defense, they were pretty easy to push.
Once I was older, had gotten married and had our first child, I realized Grandma was getting older too. That was a revelation to me, now that I was not so self involved and had learned to care for others. Anyway, I realized Grandma's talent and knowledge of cake decorating would go with her when she died if I did not learn from her. She made the most beautiful cakes I had ever seen, her roses where more beautiful and her detail more exquisite. I started going to her house once a week and she would eagerly teach me all she knew. I really got to know her better then.
She would tell me stories about her childhood and we would spend the evening discussing the thickness of icing and practicing new techniques.
Now I get to continue the tradition of cake decorating. Grandma passed away almost 2 years ago. I am grateful I took the time to learn from her, to watch her and to talk with her. She was a great friend.