Friday, June 25, 2010

Patriotic Treats

Mostly due to my cake decorating class, I have decided to volunteer making desserts for everything that I can.  Our ward had a Patriotic Party last week and since I will be out of town for July 4th, I thought it would be super fun to actually make something patriotic.  So, I did cupcakes and a cake.

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I kind of went crazy and did any patterns I could thing of with the frosting I had left-over from my class and other practice sessions (thus the strange blues I used).  My very favorite ones are the red stripes and the dots.  If I had two 12’s I might have done just dots and stripes in both colors rather than doing everything that entered my mind :).


I also decorated a cake so that I could practice getting the frosting on smoothly…I think I’m getting better though the uniformity of the dots on the border could use a little more practice.



Here’s my little boy doing the “hover” around the treats once he woke up from this nap.


Monday, June 14, 2010

Let them eat cake….

As some of you may know, I’ve started taking a cake class at our local Michaels.  Around Mother’s day I was really depressed and lonely feeling.  Jared and I decided that I need to have more to think about than the in-and-out day-to-day mommy things and do something that is for me.  Of course we both are school addicts.  For me at least I think it’s the feeling of accomplishment I get while I’m working on a course as well as the challenge of staying organized and getting assignments completed.  I didn’t necessarily want to take a college course though with the way those are priced.  Since I enjoy crafting and sewing we called the local Michaels to see what classes were available.

The only ones offered at that time were Cake decorating classes.

Honestly, I make the UGLIEST cakes known to man, woman and children kind.  They taste great but they lack in the looks department.  Part of this may be that I don’t like frosting.  I scrape it off to the utmost bare minimum because I really hate the taste of it.  When I decorate a cake I’ve always tried to keep it as thin as possible.  Well, those days are over.

I’ve decided that this is the best time in my life to practice decorating.  Vivian is almost 6 months, I will take the three courses offered over the next 3 months and (hopefully) by the time her birthday rolls around I can make her a cake that is not only delicious but nice to look at (at least until we eat it).

Jared went into Michaels with me a few days later and we signed up for my class and got the supplies listed by the instructor.  I was honestly a little shocked (and still am) over the lack of complaints about price from Jared.  I knew it was going to be expensive but I didn’t know if he comprehended it.

I took my first class last Wednesday.  I got really excited when she told us that to make black icing it’s best to start with chocolate (duh, why didn’t I think of that when making Christian’s 2nd Birthday cake?!?), and that you use thin icing to ice cakes not thick because it pull up on the cake (mistake from Christian’s 4th Birthday).  I’m so excited to know that if I really just learn the proper techniques, what in the heck each odd looking tool is, and have the right materials, I too can make a good-looking cake.  What a relief.  I was really thinking it was just me and that I’m incapable of making something good-looking that you eat.

I’ve been practicing as much as I can and this is what I made last night…

june 2010 019

I still need a lot more practice but at least I forged ahead.  It took me about 4 hours from the time I pulled out the supplies until I had cleaned them up (I baked it the night before).  The icing started melting (thanks to AZ heat) and I still need to work on uniformity, straight lines, control…etc, but I think I’m getting better.


Here are some of my frustrating cake decorating experiences from the past four years:


#1   Here’s Christian’s 1st Birthday cake.  Look familiar?  Actually, I didn’t really end up decorating this.  I got all ready to do it, freaked out and let my wonderful sister-in-law Megan, who’s pretty dang good, take over.

Christian'sBirthday (8) 


#2  This is from Christian’s 2nd Birthday.  He wanted a lion cake.



1) I didn’t find the pictures I had printed out of a cartoon lion before I starting to frost

2) I feel like a complete idiot about this, but I got brown and black food coloring at the store, started from white frosting, and worked my way up; only to realize later that chocolate is BROWN!!!

Now I know that if you start with chocolate black is faster to get.  It probably took me at least an hour to get the little amount I need to be black.


Honestly, this cake wasn’t that bad all things considered but it took forever to do and just made me frustrated when it was taking so long.


#3  This is Christian’s rocket-ship cake.  I think that my ideas are actually pretty fun but it’s my execution that stinks.  I used a #10 can to bake this cake and let me tell you, it took FOREVER just to bake (thank goodness I learned my lesson from the previous year and started two days ahead).   It looks a little more like the tin man’s hat than anything.  The icing was the problem on this one as was most everything.  I think if I did two #10 cans it may have worked better.  The icing on this just wouldn’t get smooth but now I know that I must have icing consistency problem.

CHRISTIAN 3RD B-DAY cropped blowing candle


#4 Christian’s 4th Birthday was a “Book of Mormon Hero” theme so we used two 9X13 baking pans.  I sliced each one in half and then layered them on top of each other.  I used sandwich cookies for the rings and then used black piping gel for the lettering. 



The biggest problem with this cake is that it started falling apart.  I have now learned that you actually should add a little extra water to cakes in AZ as well as thin your icing a little more because it’s just too dry here and the icing started to pull up on a dry cake.

I’m really hopeful that these cake decorating courses will really help me.  Jared has been teasing me because I’ve been dreaming up all of these ideas for cakes since I started the class and my sleeping dreams are full of decorating cakes.  What can I say?  I get excited about something and it becomes an obsession until I get skilled.  I also have signed up to bring a dessert for the ward party this weekend and have begged my friend Christina to decorate her son’s 1st birthday cake next week. Hooray for extra practice that I don’t have an opportunity to eat!