Friday, September 30, 2011

Pretzel Day!!!!

How rare that the kids have a day off from school and I haven't got any cakes scheduled. But what a blessing it has been! My house is much cleaner than it's been in ages AND the boys were able to have a friend over.

Since I wasn't in the kitchen for work, I decided this would be a good opportunity to be in the kitchen, with the kids, for FUN and try out a pretzel recipe I've been drooling over. You can find the recipe HERE. It's a Bavarian Soft Pretzel recipe with rave reviews. (my favorite kind of recipe)

Here's a photo journal of our Pretzel Day Project.

First I assembled all the ingredients.

Then made the slurry of flour, sugar, yeast, and water. Once those little bubbles started appearing, I knew we were good to go.

So I added the salt and the rest of the flour.

Then threw it in my Kitchen Aid and let it go to town for several minutes. If it got too sticky, I'd just add a little flour.

Then I pulled it out of the mixer and formed a ball of sorts so I could divide the dough.

After I let it rest a few minutes, I started diving the dough out in equal portions. I sliced it lengthwise down the center and then got about 6 pieces from each strip.

Because I doubled my recipe, we were able to get 13 balls of dough. Which worked out great because the kids kept dropping pieces so I had that extra ball to divide up and pass around. We each got 3 balls of dough to use as we pleased.

The three little goobers hard at work.

Don't they look happy?

After we finished shaping all the pretzels, it was time to put them in a Baking Soda Bath. This is the step that gives pretzels their golden brown color. Skip it and the finish on your pretzels will resemble a loaf of bread.

After boiling the pretzels, we sprinkled them with a little sea salt.

Three very proud looking boys. Well except for my youngest. I'm not sure what expression that is, but it gave me a stitch in my side from laughing so hard. He's gonna kill me when he see's this. OOPS!

Here's the pretzel staff. They are very pleased with the outcome. Took me a few tries to get a good picture. They kept eating holes in the pretzel display.

And here's a close up of one of the braided pretzels we made. I'm a big fan of the knot of the pretzel. It's always been my favorite part of a soft pretzel. So the braids are perfect for me because they are pretty much a giant knot. As if I needed the carbs...

If you've ever had pretzels stuffed with cream cheese, cheddar cheese, or other goodies, you know how YUMMY they can be. I decided I wanted to try a version that had a quirky family favorite inside; Cream Cheese and Green Olives. (don't knock it till you've tried it!) YUMMY!!!! It turned out DELICIOUS. Will most definitely do that again!

Made a top and a bottom, spooned a little mix on the bottom piece, then inched down the edges. After I pinched the edges down, I used the cookie cutter again to reclaim the pumpkin shape.

Oh yes!!! Warm cream cheesy goodness with just the right amount of saltiness. MORE PLEASE!

And the inside of the stuffed pretzel. I know... you don't even like olives, but it looks good doesn't it!

I've never been accused of being neat while I bake or decorate. This is what my cooktop looked like after 20 minutes of dipping pretzels in a baking soda bath. Thankfully, baking soda is a great cleaner, so now it sparkles. ha ha

Happy Baking!


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Pink Mitzvah

WOW! WOW! WOW! When I walked into the Banquet Room at Hamilton Farms to delivery this cake, I was speechless! Not sure who the event planners were, but they did a stellar job! The overall feel was elegant, pink, fun, and girlie! And the perfect backdrop for this Bat Mitzvah Cake.

And I do so very much love this cake. I made lots of anemone flowers for it, including custom candle holders around the base of the bottom tier. And made a rhinestone plaque for the top tier with Daryn's name on it.

Each tier is a different flavor and filling combination to allow plenty of variety for the guests.


For the love of cake

One of the biggest compliments I get as a baker is a referral. But even more than that, when my customers come back time and again, it means they are happy. And that makes me very happy.

So when I did a wedding cake for the Byrd couple last year, I was thrilled to get a great review. But even more thrilled when Dana's mom called to order a replica of her wedding cupcakes for a Christmas gift because Dana liked them so much! And then, recently, I got a call from Dana that their First Anniversary was approaching and they didn't save the top tier of their wedding cake to celebrate with. She said it was so good, they couldn't help but eat it! Can I tell you how much I loved hearing that? Ehhh... everyone enjoys a little ego boost.

Anyway, I worked with Dana and created a replica of the top tier of her wedding cake so that she and her husband could celebrate their first Anniversary.

This cake was a very moist and delicious pound cake with homemade raspberry filling. Mmmmmm YUMMY!


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Simply Fall

Homestyle iced wedding cakes are getting pretty popular and I have to say, I can see why. They have a look to them that says, simple, elegant, and EAT ME! Some cakes, you just don't want to cut. But a homestyle iced cake is just begging for someone to dig in and start eating. And as a baker/decorator, I really appreciate the ease of these cakes. They are a breeze to decorate and assemble. It doesn't get much better than that!

This was a lemon cake with homemade strawberry filling. Fresh and delicious and the perfect compliment to the buttercream icing.


A cake fit for a Princess

Sometimes my work puts a smile on my face that stays with me ALL DAY LONG! This was one of those days! When Devon/Mama Cheaps and Lily came to pick up Lily's Birthday cake, the smile that kiddo had on her face had me smiling on the inside for the rest of the day. It added a spring to my step and gave me a burst of energy. It's one of the things that make my job so enjoyable.

Cake makes people happy... You can't deny it. But when someone goes out of their way to give you a cake that represents you and reflects your passions... well... the smiles from that are all the encouragement I need to keep on cakin'!

I mean really, look at the smile on this kids face!

Lily Bean's cake was double chocolate with whipped chocolate ganache filling. It was 2 layers of cake and various accessories to dress it up like the pretty princess castle she wanted.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

There's something about bright colors on a cake...

Whether you are assembling a cake with very little detail and a small pop of color or the entire cake is decorated in bright and bold colors, there's something about it that catches your eye and makes you happy.

Soft colors are delicate and pretty. Bright colors are stunning and bold. And they definitely catch your eye!

This first cake/cupcake combination was for a 1st Birthday. It's a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse cake that was designed after a cake I did a while back. The bold colors are perfect for young children and the figurines can be kept and played with for years to come.

This is the cake that I did a while back that served as inspiration for the smaller version.

Gotta love those bright, bold colors!


Super Hero's drive the BEST cars!

This was one of the most challenging and the most rewarding cakes I've done in a while. It frustrated and confounded me, and at the same time, it went so amazingly smooth that I was waiting for something to go wrong the whole time. Thankfully, it never did!

I baked 3 half sheet cakes for this monster, then I cut up the 3rd one and pieced it together with the first two to make a nice LONG car. I should have taken more photos of the process. But, not surprisingly, I got so involved in what I was doing that I never stopped to grab the camera.

The front of the car, top and some of the back, I carved on my own. Then the back end of this car started to confuse me with all the bumps and lines. So I called my husband over to help me finish the carving and WOWZA, he did a stellar job! So here it is, the Batmobile!!! This is the 1989 version that Michael Keaton drove.

Can I tell you how much I love that car!? It was pretty big and measured almost 2 foot long! And the best part, I got a phone call from the mother of the groom (this was a groom's cake), when she arrived at the venue. She was calling to tell me that she just saw the cake and that it was AMAZING! Yeah!!! Happy Clients make me smile!

Happy Baking!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Playing Catch Up! A small gallery of recent cake photos for you to enjoy.

EEEEEK!!!! I'm so behind over here. It's like a ghost town and there's no one to blame but me! The problem with social media is that there's so much of it! Despite my utter failure to keep the blog up to date, my facebook page is ALWAYS up to date. So I'm not falling behind EVERYWHERE. Just with twitter (which I still don't get, so I must need lessons, because I haven't a clue what a hatch tag is, but I'm told I need to use them), and the blog, and trying to figure out what the fuss is with pinterest (which would be easier if I knew what it was, but I haven't a clue), and I'm a loser with flickr too (don't laugh cause I really can't be the only one!) All in all, despite being a Social Media Mom, it seems I'm an utter failure at social media. How ironic! lol

So with summer coming to a close, rain almost every day, school starting, cake orders, and laundry piling up, the social media has taken not only a hit, but a BIG one! For those of you who loyally check every week for the latest cake photos, I'm very sorry. So here's my attempt at playing catch up.

These are my most recent cakes. In no particular order. Thanks for stopping by and being so forgiving. *wink*

Gerbera Daisy Wedding Cupcake Tree

Fall is almost here and with fall, we welcome wedding cakes that are topped with oranges, pinks, yellows, browns, and greens! Fall colors are being ushered in by the start of school and the cooler temperatures. And I LOVE it! Fall is one of my favorite times of year. I love the smell of the leaves, the crunching of them under y feet, as I walk along and take a deep breath of cool, crisp, fall air. I also adore the mums, pansies, and of course gerbera daisies that start popping up all over! Especially on a cake!

First Birthday Cake

An animal themed first Birthday cake. It's designed to coordinate with the Birthday Boy's bedroom and his party decorations.

My favorite part, the monkey's face on the smash cake. Seems he KNOWS what's about to happen to him!

Race Car

A grooms cake replica of the groom's race car. His fiancee wanted to make sure he knew that throughout the wedding planning process, he was not forgotten. And what a lucky guy to have a gal that cares so much.

It's a Girl Thing...

For a little girl's 6th Birthday. She's a girlie girl. Loves sparkle, ruffles, gems, feathers, and anything that screams FASHION! So this cake was about all things girl! BUT WAIT... there's more! She got 2 cakes.

The photos in the frame around the cake are based on a lamp that Alexis has in her bedroom. It's a Barbie lamp. With a little fancy footwork in PhotoShop, I was able to remove Barbie's face and replace it with the Birthday girls. It was a seamless transition and a big deal for the Birthday girl!

Man's Best Friend...

Another Grooms Cake. It's always nice when there's something "manly" at the wedding festivities for the guys. Generally, weddings are all pomp, circumstance, bling, frill, flowers, ruffles, and bows. So when the bride, parents, or friends take some time to make sure there's something for the groom that has nothing to do with frill, well, that means a lot. Because it's not something they HAVE to do. It's something special. To make HIM feel special. And that should say a lot about how much he's loved on this momentous occasion.

A Precious Welcome...

Cupcake Trees are a great way to have a stunning centerpiece for your special event without having to worry about cutting and serving cake. The inspiration for this particular piece was a combination of the invitation and the diaper cakes that the soon to be Grandma made as a centerpiece for each table. Each diaper cake had a different stuffed animal on top of it. So we pulled the animal theme into the Shower Cake. To cut costs, we scattered the animals throughout on some of the cupcakes and put pearls on the others. The Precious Moments topper on the cake was provided by the client.