Sydney’s Baptism

April 9, 2013

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It’s been 10 months since I took a cake order. I had to go back and look through my blog posts to find that out and I can’t believe it’s been so long! April contacted me about a month ago about making a cake for her daughter’s baptism. Nearly 3 years ago, I made the cake for her older daughter, Reagan’s, baptism, and I love when I get to make cakes for multiple events in the same family, so I happily took on the order.

The cake was virtually the same as Reagan’s cake – carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. I love this combination. Carrot cake doesn’t seem to be that popular, but it really is SO good. I was planning for a half sheet cake. I used to make these 2 layers – 2 pans with a single recipe of the cake in each pan – but I’ve found that’s a little bit of overkill. This time I just doubled the recipe and made it all in one pan. It’s technically the same amount of cake (more really, since there’s less trimming needed for a single layer). This size cake supposedly feeds up to 40 people, and since many of April’s 40 guests were children, this seemed to be the right size.

For the decorations, I tried my hand at rosettes. They were remarkably easy with the large closed star tip (Wilton’s 2D) and they came out looking very nice for the cross. The smaller ones for the border were a little trickier. I used a smaller closed star tip for these and I found that the consistency of the frosting was very important (too cold/firm and the icing didn’t flow or got stuck in the tip, and too warm and the shape wasn’t recognizable). I also risked writing on the cake in script – not my strong suit. But I felt that script fit the occasion and I think it turned out decent. Writing on cakes is surprisingly difficult!

One more note about this cake. The cake I delivered was actually my second attempt at this cake. I originally baked the cake on Thursday night (as I do for Saturday deliveries) but when I went to turn it out of the pan, it broke apart, got stuck, etc. This problem is of course not unheard of, especially with cakes made by novice bakers. But I don’t consider myself a novice baker and this has literally never happened to me on a cake order before! And it’s not like I’ve never made this particular cake before and of course I prepped the pan like I always do. So when my fury subsided, I re-baked the cake the following night but this time, I lined the pan with foil-backed parchment paper. I’ve never used parchment before, I always figured it was unnecessary when greasing and flouring the pan works perfectly well. Well my mind has been changed! I will be using parchment from now on! The cake slid easily out of the pan in one beautiful piece and I just peeled the parchment off the back. Sold 🙂

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Banana Pudding Cake

March 8, 2013

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I saw this banana poke cake on Pinterest and it looked delicious, so of course I pinned it and made it right away.

Um. Yeah that is not at all how it usually goes down with Pinterest stuff, but I really did want to try this so I was able to make it happen. It was ridiculously easy, in large part due to the fact that it uses all pre-packaged ingredients: boxed cake mix, pudding mix, Cool Whip, and Nilla wafers. I’m sure you could make a from-scratch version of this if you wanted to, but the point of this (for me) was to make a quick and easy dessert so the “easy” part really appealed to me. It took just minutes to put it all together. I spent more time washing the dishes afterwards.

Bill was excited about this cake and I assume he liked it since he ate a couple pieces. I also liked it. It’s kind of like a trifle, only neater.

But…I shared it with family and coworkers and at first it seemed that not very many other people even wanted to try it. Maybe it’s the bananas? Perhaps banana pudding isn’t that popular? But it turns out that my coworkers just weren’t paying attention! Once they discovered the cake, they ate it up.

This recipe can easily be changed up with other cake and pudding flavors. Maybe a chocolate one would be more universally crowd pleasing. But something about a light cake, Cool Whip, and a “fruit” pudding lets me trick myself into thinking that what I’m eating isn’t that bad for me 🙂

This is the first cake I’ve made “just because” in a long time. I need to bake more! I have plans for a St. Patrick’s Day cupcake in a week or so AND I actually took a cake order for the first week in April, so stay tuned for updates on those. I know this blog has been heavy on the baby stuff, light on cake lately 🙂


Look Whooo’s Having a Baby!

January 21, 2013

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Lame owl pun? Check.

The 6th baby shower cake I’ve made for one of the girls in this group of friends? Double check.

The FOURTEENTH child about to be born into this group of friends? Triple check, and holy crap that’s a lot of children that just a few years ago didn’t even exist!

Wawa is expecting her baby girl at the end of next month, so naturally we all got together to celebrate with cake, food, presents, and a few of those didn’t-exist-a-few-years-ago children. Of course I volunteered to bring the cake, but it had been 5 months since I last made a cake and I was a little rusty.

I picked out the decoration for the cake using this photo from a Google Image search as inspiration.

I went back and forth over whether I was going to use fondant or buttercream for the decoration but I ended up deciding that fondant was a little too ambitious for how things are going in my house lately. I used 4 different colors of buttercream and did the owl picture with several different round tips. Usually I would fill in the design with star tips, but some of the sections were so small and I knew the star tips wouldn’t fit. I basically just used small round tips and toothpicks to fill in the spaces. I’m back and forth over whether it looks “rustic” or just messy.

I decided at the last minute to make a from-scratch version of Funfetti cake and I found the recipe on one of my favorite blogs, Annie’s Eats. I used my normal vanilla buttercream for the icing, filling, and decorations.

Since there aren’t anymore baby showers on the horizon among my friends at the moment, I took a look back at the 6 baby shower cakes for friends I’ve done so far. I’m so happy to have been able to celebrate with each of these girls!

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Welcome Sprout!

August 27, 2012

It seems like its been forever since I made a cake – the last one was Caelan’s birthday cake – so I was very excited to make a cake for a friend’s baby shower this weekend. I “met” Lindsey on my message board about 4 years ago and now she is expecting her first baby – a little girl nicknamed Sprout.

Lindsey is an excellent baker, cook, and hostess herself so I was slightly intimidated to make a cake for her. I ended up using a recipe from her own blog, Our Share of the Harvest, for a lemon cake that she raved about. I love lemon cake also and love an excuse to make one!

I was also going to use the recipe in her post to make a homemade raspberry filling. Unfortunately, I messed it up. No one wants raspberry filling with clumps of cornstarch in it! I didn’t have time for another attempt, so I just went with raspberry jam for the filling.

For the icing, I used my favorite vanilla buttercream (1 1/2 batches, but I think just 1 would have been enough). I assembled the cake and crumb-coated it with white icing and while that was setting in the fridge, I divided the rest of the icing and colored it. I used Violet and Red-Red for the purple color and different amounts of Lemon Yellow for the yellows.

I saw this icing technique on Pinterest and it was actually pretty easy. I spread the purple on the top first, smoothing it out and letting a little bit go over the edge. Then I put on a (messy) line of dark yellow around the bottom and then the light yellow went in the middle. I took my icing scraper (aka a large plastic putty knife from Home Depot) and scraped the sides of the cake while turning it. The icing colors blended perfectly. To be honest, I was kind of surprised at how well it worked! I kind of wish I had made the dark yellow section thicker or that I had been a bit messier in applying the icing so that the layers wouldn’t be so defined, but I can try that next time. I think this technique would look particularly good on a taller cake.

I topped the cake with some silver and pearl sprinkles. I thought it looked really sweet and feminine and I was temped to not write on it because I knew my handwriting would mess it up! I thought the cake called for writing in script, not print, and my script writing is just not very good. That would be why I’m not including pictures of the entire cake in this post, just the edges 🙂

I had to leave the shower before cake time so (as is often the case) I didn’t actually try this cake. I hope someone at the shower enjoyed it!!


Arbonne Cupcakes

June 14, 2012

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My neighbor sells Arbonne products and she is often hosting parties. She mentioned to me awhile back that she may be wanting cupcakes for an upcoming party and asked about a gluten-free option. When this party rolled around, she initally asked for about 4 dozen cupcakes – some gluten-free, some gluten-tastic.

But when it came down to it, she only needed 2 dozen cupcakes, and none gluten-free. So it ended up being a much more simple order than I expected.

I made 1 dozen chocolate cupcakes (1/2 of this recipe) and 1 dozen yellow cupcakes (1/2 of this recipe). I made 1 1/2 batches of vanilla buttercream icing and flavored half of it with almond extract for the yellow cupcakes and left half of it vanilla for the chocolate cupcakes.

The little toppers are similar to the ones I made for Caelan’s cupcakes, but with only 2 dozen to make, I got them done in no time!


Caelan’s Birthday Party: Cake and Cupcakes

June 8, 2012

Obviously, I was going to make the cake/cupcakes for Caelan’s party. Given how many cakes I’ve made for other people’s birthdays, baby showers, etc it would have just been weird if I didn’t make a cake for Caelan. Plus, my mom always made our birthday cakes growing up so it seemed like the right thing to do. And, of course, I wanted to 🙂

Although, my mom also made our Halloween costumes and I think I’m going to have to let that one go. But I digress…Back to cake 🙂

I decided to do a cupcake tower/display for the guests and a smash cake for Caelan. Here are my inspiration pictures – party supplies from the theme I chose.

I had a ridiculous amount of indecision regarding how many cupcakes to make, how many flavors, which recipe, etc. I was annoyed with myself by the end, but for our 36 guests, this is what I ended up with:

  • 1 6″ round yellow cake
  • 1 batch of vanilla buttercream frosting (divided: blue, brown, medium brown, light brown)
  • 4 dozen yellow cupcakes
  • 1 batch of vanilla buttercream frosting (orange) – 16 cupcakes
  • 1 batch of lemon buttercream frosting (yellow) – 16 cupcakes
  • 1 batch of lime buttercream frosting (green) – 16 cupcakes

I used this recipe for the cake and cupcakes. The frosting is all from the same recipe, I just switched out some of the vanilla extract for lemon extract or lime juice for the lemon and lime versions. I made and colored all of the frosting the weekend before which was definitely the way to go. Having that all ready to go when I was putting things together at the last minute was awesome. Frosting the 4 dozen cupcakes took all of about 30 minutes.

For the smash cake, I printed out the monkey from the napkin (pictured above) and traced his face onto some wax paper. Then I laid that on top of the iced cake and traced the outline into the icing. I used various star and round tips to fill in the monkey’s face with the 3 shades of brown icing. It’s kind of a lot of effort to go through for a cake that’s (hopefully) going to be smashed by a 1-year-old, but it really didn’t take that long to do, and it was cute 🙂

A few weeks in advance, I made the cupcake picks. Using the noise makers (pictured above) for inspiration, I designed some cupcake toppers using MS Word. I cut them all out using a giant hole punch and I also cut out cardstock circles in coordinating orange, yellow, and green. A couple evenings of watching TV and gluing paper to toothpicks, and they were ready to go!

For such a large amount of cake and cupcakes, it actually didn’t take me that long to put together. Honestly, the biggest challenge was clearing space in our fridge for 2 large cupcake boxes and a cake box! But it was a good excuse to clean out the fridge 🙂


Gradumacation

May 21, 2012

Or something like that…you know.

When I met Bill years ago, he had just started working on his graduate degree. In the years since then, he bought a house, we moved in together, we got engaged, planned a wedding, got married, did some major home renovations, got pregnant, had a baby, and raised an almost-one-year-old. So yeah, it’s been an eventful few years. But Bill managed to also take classes, study, write endless papers, and now he has earned a Masters in Information Assurance from UMUC!!! It’s a wonderful accomplishment and I am extremely proud of him for working so hard.

Family pic. Yes, this baby is chewing on a plate.

Naturally, a party to celebrate was in order

I invited a few people over to celebrate. It was nothing fancy, but there was food, there were presents, and there was cake (obviously). I made a chocolate cake and while I normally do 2 layers, I thought that would be overkill for the number of people we were going to have. So because I like to torture myself with math (apparently) I made 1 1/4 batches of chocolate cake so the single layer would be a little more substantial, but still wouldn’t overflow into my oven. I made a double batch of vanilla buttercream for the icing. I did a Google image search for “computer security” and came up with a lot of pictures of computers with padlocks, so since Bill’s degree is in computer security, that’s what I went with for the design. Nerdtasically delicious if I do say so 😉

Computer Security Cake!