Trolls Birthday Party

I know I said a trolls post was coming soon in my last post (weeks ago), but I had a vacation last week.  Anyone that travels with small children know that packing for said vacation takes an additional week and recovering from the same vacation takes yet another week.  So here we are.  At the end of April, a friend of mine was having a  joint birthday for her daughters.  The youngest is a trolls fanatic and that dictated the theme.

The order was for two dozen trolls cookies and a small cake for the girls to blow out candles.   Starting with the cookies, I picked out two of the main characters, Princess Poppy and Branch, and ordered come cutters off of Etsy that can be found here.

Doing characters are really hard.  Have I mentioned I need a projector?  I think so.  I think characters prove to be difficult because there is already an expectation of what the character looks like as opposed to a general animal or item that can take on different interpretations.  But when my kids recognized the characters, I relaxed a bit!

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Princess Poppy and Branch Troll Cookies

Once I had my cookies made, I worked on the cake.  I went with a fun, very pink drip cake with some royal icing picks.  It was trolls theme without having the characters slapped on the cake.

 

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Troll Buttercream Cake with Royal Icing Picks

This was a 6″ cake with a chocolate ganache drip and topped with buttercream dollops and homemade royal icing sprinkles.  The pinks coordinated with the Princess Poppy cookies and the blue hearts were added to help pick up the blue in her headband and the blue/gray of Branch.  I think it all tied together nicely.  From what I hear, the birthday girls loved it and that is all that matters!

I have taken a small break in May due to vacation, but graduation season is right round the corner! More soon!

Clara

Tea for one hundred

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Last weekend, my mother-in-law helped host a ladies tea at her church to raise funds. With seating for 100, different members “host” a table and decorate it to their liking with a common theme around tea.  It is a good reason pull our the fine china and to show off your vintage tea pot from grandma. Here is a picture she posted of one of the tables.

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Lady’s Tea Table

I was unable to go due to my sons baseball pictures and first baseball game (which got rained out) but I did offer a helping hand.  She asked if my mom and I could make tea cup and tea pot cookies as the dessert for the event.  She wanted them individually wrapped so they could be set at each place setting.  My mom is the one who has the cutters for this and had been practicing designs, so I really played a backseat roll in this one.  She baked all the cookies, packaged them, and delivered them.  I just showed up to decorate with her which is the best part.

We mostly stuck to her designs except for one.  I like to operate without much of a plan and changed one of them….luckily mom was in agreement and to decorating we went!  I worked on the polka dot design while she worked on the roses and flower inset cookies. We spent about 4 hours decorating and got nearly all of them finished.  I think she had to put some finishing touches on some the next day due to drying time.

Each one was placed in a bag and topped with a floral spring paper.  It was a cute addition to the ladies tea this year and from what I hear, they were a hit!

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I am almost caught up through April, one more to go! Be on the lookout for a Trolls party.

Clara

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Woodland Critter Cookies

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About a month ago, my cousin Betsy featured my veggie cookies and garden theme cake on her blog MelandBetsy. As a result, I had a couple of her friends reach out to me for some cookie orders.  One of those was for these woodland critter cookies for a birthday play date at a local park.  The great thing about these being Betsy’s friends is that she goes to the parties and takes pictures for me!!!  Thanks Betsy!

The request was just for woodland theme cookies, and any critters or trees, acorns, and the like were fair game.  In an effort to not go and buy a number of cutters, I used a standard cutter and put different critters on each.  I found some ideas on Pinterest and went to work.  Now let me tell you…..these cookies ended up being way more challenging that anticipated.  Free handing critters on cookies, even while looking at a picture, is HARD.  I probably redid the raccoon three times before I finally went for it.  Each time I do a new cookie, I am validating my case for a projector.

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Anyway, once I had finally got my critters on the cookies, I decided to accent a few with white icing.  I felt like they needed something more but I didn’t want to over do it.  I think the end result was just what I was looking for.  The cookies were a hit at the party, and thanks to my cousin, I have some cute photos to show for it!

Clara

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Lemon Wedding Cake

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Easter weekend, our troop was splitting up.  I was headed up to Northern Indiana with the kids for Greek Easter with my family.  The hubs was staying behind to do some serious planting at our farm.  The Monday following Easter, a co-worker was getting married in a small wedding on the north-side of Indy.  She had asked me a month earlier how I felt about doing wedding cakes, and I said I don’t do them.  The confidence is just not there.  I am not that good and could not manage the stress of ruining someones day!!! Two weeks before Easter, she still had not purchased a cake and asked me seriously.  The wedding was for fourteen people and really low-key.  I decided to go ahead and do it knowing I was going to be out of town most of the weekend.  EEK!

The request was for lemon with buttercream.  She just wanted something simple and had bought a Harry Potter topper for the cake.  Easy enough but it still made me nervous!  As soon as I agreed to do the cake, I made my lemon layers to make sure my cake came out nice and sturdy.  Thankfully they did first shot!

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Lemon Cake Layers

After all of the Easter weekend festivities, I got to work on icing the cake Sunday night. She was borrowing one of my cake stands, so that was helpful in making sure everything was set before going up to the venue.  I made both layers but left them separate to transport.  The worst part of making goodies for people is the delivery.  I am sure it would have been fine, but I did not want to leave anything to chance on someone’s wedding day.

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Base Cake Layer

The morning of the delivery, I put the supports for the second tier into the cake and boxed everything up.  The cake made it just fine and I was able to quickly stack the cake and add the border to the first tier.

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Harry Potter Wedding Cake

It was simple, but elegant and perfect for her fourteen person wedding.  Maybe she will send me a cutting the cake picture to add to the blog.  Now I will stick to kids birthdays for awhile!

Clara

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All the Wild things….

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Did I mention that April has been crazy?  I think I did.  Work has been nuts, kids have had so many activities, and we have had a lot of other family stuff to get done this month.  Now that it is May 1st, I can get caught up more on my April baking adventures… 200 cookies, 30 cupcakes and 6 cakes later.

A couple weeks ago, I had two parties with one common theme…..WILD!  One was a “Where the Wild Things Are” party, and the other was “Young, Wild, and Three.”   While they were both WILD, they could not have been more different.  One was fit for a prince with gold crowns and black and white arrows while the other was girly-girl with pink and teal feathers and arrows.  Both were very cute.

Where the Wild Things Are

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Where the Wild Things Are Cookies

Where the Wild Things Are was a cookie order with a small smash cake for a one year old boy.  The request was for crowns and arrows in a gold, black and white theme.  I have started using Americolors because of their production in a peanut free facility, so I had some playing around to do with the gold color since I had used Wilton colors before. I bought this starter Americolor set from Amazon, and so far, I have been able to make every color I have needed.  It seems expensive, but the colors come in 4.5oz bottles that will last awhile.  The gold that I was looking for was more of a yellow gold since it comes from a story book as opposed to a true gold.  I ended up using 10 drops of yellow and 2 drops orange with a touch of red.  It was the exact color I was looking for for the crowns.

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Where the Wild Things Are Crown Cookies

The arrows were requested to be black and white.  After starting on them, they started to not tie into the theme and looked a little skeleton like.  So I added touches of gold to some of them to help tie everything together.  I got the cookie cutters for both of these off of Amazon here and here.

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Where the Wild Things Are Arrow Cookies

After the cookies were complete, I worked on the little smash cake.  The customer just wanted a little simple smash cake for the birthday boy.  I used some of my extra icing to make a little crown topper.  I iced the cake in my standard buttercream and used some chocolate ganache to make a drip to tie in the black color.  It turned out so cute!

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Where the Wild Things Are Smash Cake

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Where the Wild Things Are Party

Young, Wild, and Three

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Young, Wild, and Three Party

The second party was the Young, Wild, and Three party for high-school friends of mine.   They wanted cupcakes and a cake for the birthday girl.  They sent me the invitation and some of the decor with the colors and a few ideas, but told me to just run with it.  I find that for kids birthdays, simple white cupcakes and buttercream works best from a mess perspective.  With that kind of blank canvas, it allows me to make cute little cupcake toppers that will stand out!  I started my royal icing cupcake topper a couple days ahead of time.  I made some templates that I could put under wax paper and taped them to cookie sheets to that I can easily move them around my kitchen.  Even with my expanded island, I feel like I am always looking for more space.

The night before the party, I baked up all the cupcakes and topped them.  The cake I decided to make pink so that the birthday girl could have something a little more colorful to blow her candles out.  Like the Where the Wild Things Are party, I used my extra royal icing to make a little tent as a topper for the cake.  Everything turned out really cute and this may be one of my favorite color combos to date.   I dropped everything off the night before the party and forgot to take pictures (GRRR), but they sent me some when the party was all set up the next day (YAY).

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More fun cookies and cakes are coming, so keep a look out!

Clara

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Vegetable Garden Themed Play-date

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Earlier this year, my Cousin Betsy started a blog with one of her besties about parenting, organization, and entertaining while wrangling children called Mel & Betsy.  They have 3 children each and are seriously out numbered.  I would say they have figured out a thing or two about keeping those kiddos entertained and engaged.  Back in February, Betsy asked me if I would help with their Easter themed blog post.  She wanted to have a Peter Rabbit/Mr. McGregor themed Easter play-date for the kids to feature on the blog.  My contribution was some vegetable cookies and a small cake….and my rambunctious boys of course.

I was really excited to do this order because how often do you get to make something as ordinary as vegetables into something cute and delicious!  I started with the cookies and made carrots, radishes, and lettuce.  The carrot cutter was a Wilton cutter that came in a three pack for Easter. The lettuce cutter was a flower cutter that I modified a little bit for the lettuce.  The radish cutter was a little harder to find, but I found it on here on Etsy.  Below you can see the progression of each.  I was able to mostly finish them in one night with the exception of the lettuce.  I let the base layer dry over night before piling on the heavy lettuce top.

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Vegetable Sugar Cookies

Most of the royal icing was applied using a tip-less bag.   You can buy a bunch of them on Amazon for cheap.  So far, I have liked these ones the best from the Amazon selection. The carrot and radish tops were done with a leaf tip.  You can get the crinkles in the leaves by shaking the tip back and forth as you move.  The lettuce tips were done with a rose tip in a circular zigzag pattern.  When they were all done and dry, I couldn’t believe how adorable they were!

Veggie Cookies

Vegetable Sugar Cookies

Sticking with the garden theme, I thought a cake with some little veggie rows would be cute.  The cake was only a 6″ cake so the design on top couldn’t be too large.  Like buttercream flowers, I used flower nail to make tiny veggies out of buttercream on parchment paper and stuck them in the freezer to harden.  While the veggies were in the freezer, I iced my cake with buttercream.  Using some leftover chocolate ganache that I had from my french macarons, I covered the top of the cake and added a drip to the side to make it a little more fun.  This gave the top a black background so that when I filled the top of the cake with crushed Oreos for dirt, white buttercream did not peak through the Oreos. I used dollops of white buttercream as a “fence” to hold in the Oreo “dirt”.

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Garden Drip Cake with Oreo dirt

Once I was done prepping the dirt, my buttercream veggies were nice and frozen.  I carefully peeled them off their parchment and added them to the Oreo dirt.  The cake really turned out better than I had planned.  I love this one.

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Garden Party Drip Cake with Oreo Dirt

Once I got to Betsy’s house for the play-date, everything came together so wonderfully.   Of course, she had a perfect little table to put all the goodies on that made the cake and cookies stand out even more.

Go check out their garden theme blog post for more pictures here.  It was a cute party and the kids really had a good time.

Clara

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Buttercream Flower Cake

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I cannot believe it is April!  Since I am an accountant, April marks the start of Q2….. the second quarter of the year.  After I feverishly help close my company’s books for the quarter, I start looking forward to all things Q2 brings such as warmer weather, vacations, Easter, trips to our farm, and shaking off the winter blues.  Isn’t funny how all of a sudden you can wake a little earlier, do your usual morning routine, and then unload the dishwasher, fold a load of laundry, and pick up a few things all before work? It is like we become more productive as we come out of hibernation.  Well good thing because I am BOOKED for the month of April doing sweet treats and will need all the productivity I can get!  Apparently April also marks the start of party season and I feel like I haven’t sat down yet this month.

My first weekend in April,  I had two orders, one of which was a 80th birthday cake for a friend’s mother-in-law.   Outside of knowing that the cake was for an eighty year old woman, my friend was thinking a blue cake to go with the silver decorations.  We ended up settling on blue and violet to make it a little more feminine.  When I am not sure of the hobbies of a woman, I go with flowers.  They are classic and I am always looking for a reason to practice!

blank cake

Cake iced with buttercream

I should have taken more pictures, but with two projects going on at once, I was not quite on top of it.  This was a ten inch layered white cake with buttercream icing.  After I had my cake iced with the best buttercream icing, I worked on the flowers.

If you are just starting to think about trying buttercream flowers, I have good news.  You don’t make them straight on the cake!  You do them on a flower nail and transfer them to the cake.  Once I realized this when I started on buttercream flower cakes last year, it seemed a little less daunting to start my first cake.  There are a number of different flower nails, but they all pretty much serve the same purpose.  If you are just starting out, this inch and a half one by Wilton is pretty standard.  As for flower tips, a good starter set is the Wilton flower and leaf tip set.   I used pieces of this set to make the leaves and the little purple blossoms.  I also used a Wilton D2 tip for the hydrangeas, a Wilton M1 tip for the larger flowers,  and a Wilton 81 tip for the mums.  I put a piece of parchment on the flower nail so that I can easily remove the flower from the nail.  So you can mess up 20 flowers and it will not matter.   Just keep trying until you get some that you like.  Then pop them in the freezer to harden.  When they are hard, you can gently peel them off the parchment paper and put them on the cake. I did add the hydrangeas straight on the cake since it is easier to build them around the other flowers as a filler.

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Buttercream Flower Birthday Cake

Once all of your flowers are on your cake, you can add green leaves where you see fit.  I finished off the cake with a simple HAPPY BIRTHDAY and a violet boarder.  It turned out really cute and I heard that it was a hit with the birthday girl, so that is all that matters.  I have many more April posts, so keep a lookout!

Clara

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