Tuesday, December 10, 2013

My Little Pony Friendship is Magic Cookies

Made for a little gal I've never met, but who needed an extra hug this Christmas.

These are the cutie marks of the main 6 characters in the show.  

Three of the "Mane" 6.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Cake Pops

Quick cake pops for Pastor Ben, for Pastor Appreciation month.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Baby Shower Cookies

These were made for a baby shower at our church.  

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Coffee Mug Cookies

Just something cute for a Women's coffee social at church.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Minions Cupcakes

Made just because I wanted to try them. LOVE them.

All homemade MMF,  hand-colored. Very time-consuming, but much appreciated by my co-workers.    I took them to work on my 18th Work-Anniversary this week.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Paintball Cake

As a favor to a fellow church-goer who saw my "Milk Gone Bad" cake, I made a cake for her son's birthday.  He's turning 16 and is  going on a paintball birthday bash.  I sent her a few ideas from Cake Central and she chose this one done by several bakers on that site.

Not too hard too do, just a lot of prep work and time.  Three 8" chocolate cakes (homemade, not boxed mix) with chocolate butter cream frosting (homemade), covered in (homemade) chocolate marshmallow fondant.  The accents were colored gumpaste carved from a stencil I drew onto cardboard.  I also got a new toy; a Wilton Circle Cutter, which helped with the target on top.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

When Milk Goes Bad

The youth pastor at our church is leaving. I only know him from sight; Isabel's too young to be in the youth  group yet and Jake's too old.  He's an energetic (ENERGETIC!) man who loves the Lord with all his heart.  He and his wife are moving and the church planned a going-away party, with the theme "I Hate Milk!"

Totally confused by this, I pondered making a cake for the potluck dinner this past Sunday.  The first image that came to mind was this:

It was an image I saw on a T-shirt on-line.  I wanted to make milk going bad, but I wasn't jazzed about the guns.  I sat in the loft and sketched my idea; a milk carton that's robbed a bank.

Mmmm, white chocolate ganache.

Still a little lumpy.  Need to add more FAWNDANT.

The finished product.
I really like him!

I took Mr. Milk to the church, all nervous as usual.  It was a wonderful time and everyone who walked by the cake commented on how great it was.  I was asked to help cut it up too.

P.S.  Oh, the "I Hate Milk" theme?  His motto for the youth group was "Milk Sucks!"


Hebrews 5:12-13

New Living Translation (NLT)
12 You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. 13 For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn't know how to do what is right.

He teaches the youth to be adults in their walk with God, not babies on milk.  Hate milk.  Love solid food.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Home is Where the TARDIS (cake)

I attempted to make a TARDIS cake.  Go on, Google.  I'll wait.

We LOVE Dr. Who and I thought "I can make that!"  Sometimes, you just have to tell your brain to shut it.

This cake was more "Dr. WHAT?"  than Dr. Who.  :D

It's coming out of a time vortex, hence the wibbly wobbly.  THAT'S MY STORY AND I'M STICKING TO IT!

Oh, at first the "vortex" that the TARDIS is coming through was just yellow and red.  My son looked at it and said "What is that, a hot dog vortex?"  It indeed did look like ketchup & mustard, so I added more colors.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Wedding Cakes Revisited: Pricing and Expectations

I won't do wedding cakes.  I've mentioned this before.  I don't have the time, nor the space, nor the guts to do them.  On one of the most important days of a woman's life, I will not be the cause of someone's high expectations gone to pot.

I've made exactly one wedding cake; my sister's.  It was slightly tilted, but she helped and still loved it.  She can overlook flaws. That's what sisters are for.  And it was free to boot.

I recently got asked if I would help someone out to" save money" on a wedding cake for 450 guests.  Four hundred and fifty guests, and they came to me to see if I could help cut costs.  The average is anywhere between 100-200 guests.

I was shocked.  And not at the same time.  People really just do not understand cake pricing at all, so I can't blame them.  At the same time though, I am taken aback that someone thinks I am o.k. helping someone else I don't know save money by spending easily 20 hours (for a cake for 450!)  of my personal time to do this.  I have a full-time job.  Prepping would take weeks, because it would have to be done on my nights and weekends.  My personal time.

When I bake, I am baking out of pure love for the people I am helping.  I bake and create these fun cakes just to see their faces.  Makes me so proud and so happy.   I LOVE seeing my sister's, my friends', my co-workers', my nieces'/nephews' faces when I present them with this bit of my love in cake form.

I know that I am not a professional baker.  My many, MANY mistakes and failures that I publicly post on this blog are proof. I'm not scared to show you all I'm human.  What I am not is someone that will do something for free or cheap, just because I am *not* a professional,  because guess what? For every failure, I have 5-6 successes that I am SO proud of.  I have skilllllzzzz.

So let me educate ya'll on wedding cake pricing, okay?

EVERY baker will quote differently.  Buddy from Carlo's  (I love your skills and your show, Buddy)  is going to charge WAY more than the local bakery down the street.

What we do quote the same, though, is a "per slice" price.  Bakers range from anywhere in the $1.50 to $3/per slice range for plain old vanilla cake with butter cream frosting and maybe  some sugar flowers to $4-$10 per slice for fondant, custom figures, custom shapes etc.

PER SLICE PRICE for 450 people.  Do the math.  This is a really big wedding.  The average is anywhere between 100-200 guests.  This is 450.  This is not your average wedding. This is way above average.

Buttercream Cakes:
$1.50 (SUPER CHEAP)  x 450 = $675
$3.00 x 450 people = $1,350  ( and this is my "rate", and mine are with fondant!! Fondant pricing below.)

Special cakes (fondant, gumpaste, figures, unique designs, labor intensive):

$4.00 x 450 = $1,800
$5.00 x 450 = $2,250

etc. etc.

You're seeing these prices, yes?  Know what we hear?  "What? I can get a cake at Walmart for $50!"  (not a wedding cake, you can't.  Also, Publix's wedding cakes will run you about $200-$300 to serve 100-200 people, and that's buttercream.)  The reply?   Well then you, ma'am, will have a Walmart cake at your wedding.  You will not have a custom-made cake that someone spent 10, 15, 20 hours on.  You will save money and have yourself a nice cake.  What you won't have is what you're hoping for and see on tv and in bridal magazines.  Hey, I'm not knocking Walmart cakes, or Publix cakes (and I LOVE ME some Publix cakes) but if you want something spectacular, you're going to have to pay for it.

I seriously doubt 450-people wedding couple are going to want to spend $1350.  Heck, even if I was uber-crazy and said "I will make you a small fondant cake. Then I will make you tons of sheet cakes you can hide in the kitchen and I will do this for $675 (the $1.50 a slice rate that's crazy-cheap)," I doubt they would do that. They're calling me to save money.  I cannot help them. What I can do is prepare them for the shock they're about to meet up with.

Let's look at cake serving sizes now.  We are not talking a big ole pie wedge here.  If you don't know this, now you do.  Wedding cake servings are small.

Two inches by two inches!  Tiny pieces!

If I am reading this one right, these servings are even smaller
than the picture above this picture.  They want 450 servings!
 Look at # 9.  That's not even half the guest list!

Here's someone's pricing chart I found.  $990 for 180 people for a 3 tiered
fondant cake.

The cake would have to be a tower.  This is not realistic.  Your best bet is to have a nice small 2 or 3 tiered cake (4", 6", 8".  It's small.  About 26 to 46 servings, depending on how you cut it. Teeny teeeny to get 46 out of that) or any of the permutations in the second picture, remembering that the bigger you go, the more $$ you're spending.  Then have several flat sheet cakes in the kitchen ready to be cut. The baker could probably give you a better per-slice rate for those.  You're still looking at a little over $600 for all this.

OR, you bake your own flat sheet cakes and then spend about $150-$200 on a small, pretty decorated cake made by your decorator.

Just a little education so you understand why cakes are so darned expensive.  You're not paying just for the flour, eggs, butter and sugar, the cake boards and the dowels.  You're paying for that expensive fondant, the gumpaste and most importantly, the decorator's time and skill.

Monday, March 11, 2013

My Little Pony Friendship is Magic Cake

Happy 9th Birthday to my Angel-Muffinlumps.

Gumpaste Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Rose Cupcakes and Cake Pops

The church we attend was having a Woman's Day retreat this Saturday that I signed up for.  I mentioned that I happen to bake and asked if they would like a cake?  Sure, but can you make them cupcakes? Ok. And what else can you bring?  Um, brownies?  Good,  What else?  Errrr, cake pops?

And that's how I ended up making all the desserts for the day.  LOL No joke.  Thank goodness my mother-in-law was here to help with the cake pops because they are really labor intensive.

Carrot Cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

I made pink rose cupcakes too (wish I had taken a picture), as well as brownies that I cut and individually wrapped in bags the church supplied for me.  

Yellow cake cake pops with vanilla frosting and white candy melts,
decorated with sprinkles or pink candy melts.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Monkey Cake

The final Monkey Cake for a friend's 19th birthday.  Practice cake can be seen here.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Spider Cake

This cake was made for a company gathering in Orlando of people from NY, MA, MD, PA, NC, GA and FL as a surprise for some people winning awards.

Tee Hee!  He's wearing a Harness
Kinda looks like an ant, I know.  Everyone loved it.  AND as an added bonus, I was given a $100 Massage Envy gift card as a thanks.  SO psyched!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Monkeying Around

Happy 2013!

The holidays were low-key, baking wise. I did make cookies for co-workers and teachers, and I can't find a single picture. Nothing too exciting.

My son's friend Lauren has been asking me to make her a cake for 2 years now for her birthday.  Every time in February, we have had something come up where I cannot make it for her.  This year, I committed to making her 19th birthday cake for her February birthday.

She loves monkeys so she & I searched for images and she chose this one from the now-closed Cake Girls in Chicago (fire in 2010 destroyed their storefront. They now just sell supplies on the web.)

Another baker on Flickr, Sweet Xpressions Cakes, made this cake with a few tweaks.

Monkey Cake
Shiny!  That's usually done with steam on fondant.

I decided to have a trial run because  I always do trial runs!  I don't want to start on a cake that I have never attempted before.

For the trial, I use box cakes (which I do not like at all for making the final cakes.  Too moist, not nearly as tasty as my homemade cakes either) just to save time and money.  I made homemade marshmallow fondant (mmf) too.

I decided to make rice krispie treats (rkt) for the monkeys' heads too, and see if I preferred that over solid fondant/gumpaste heads.

Notes I made:  The rkt is lumpy obviously.  I would need to put two coats of thick  mmf over them to cover the lumps or coat them thickly in royal icing before putting the mmf over it.  I only put one layer with no icing this time, so they looked lumpy.

I might just make them out of fondant or gumpaste after all.

Also obvious, box cake is way too moist, so I was not about to carve the top of the crate flat, but I knew this going in.  So ignore the rounded tops and sides.  Also box cake won't hold the weight of the monkey heads, so there was drooping.  That won't happen in the real trial.

I was mostly trying to see if I could make the monkey heads look good and how I would work the wood grain.

Considering the materials for this cake cost me a whopping $9 to make, I'm happy with what I made. I know what to do and what not to do, and when I make the real cake, those corners should be nice and sharp and the top nice and flat.

I sent pictures to Lauren on her cell as I was making it.  She was very excited to see the progress.

Test Cake, Used box mix, so too moist = droopy. But testing a cake design for a February cake
Messy, I know.  

RKT Monkeys, Rice krispie treat monkeys covered in marshmallow fondant.