Tag Archives: Cake

Buttercream Flower Cake

If you would like to see pictures before they make it on the blog, follow me on Instagram!

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.

80th bday cake

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

If you would like to see pictures before they make it on the blog, follow me on Instagram!

Elephant First Birthday

Today (look at that timeliness!), I delivered an order for a first birthday that will be happening tomorrow.  The theme is blue and grey elephants.  Such a classic and sweet theme for a first birthday or a baby shower.  This is one of my first orders for someone that I do not know at all.  I have taken orders from friends, acquaintances, co-workers, and friends’ family members, but this was a co-worker of my friend who had the Lumberjack Party. She texted to see if I was interested.  After confirming that her co-worker knew that I do this on the side in-between taxes and kids and was not a professional, I agreed.  Like all orders that involve royal icing, this project spanned a couple days.

I baked the cookies on Valentine’s Day after our annual V-Day dinner outing to Taco Bell. Romantic, right?  The next day, my momma came over and wanted to help.  So I put her to work flooding cookies.  We had a nice assembly line going.  I would do the outline, and she would flood the icing.  It made that process go quickly which was a good thing since I wanted them to dry a bit before adding some details.

I was able to add the eyes, tail, and little white feet on later in the night when the icing had hardened a touch.  I waited until the next morning to add the ears since I was free-handing them and, wanted to be able to adjust the icing with my scribe while not messing up the base layer of icing. The ears were dry by the time I got home and the cookies were able to be packaged.  I packaged the cookies in little treat bags and sealed them with my food saver.  The topper touch was my mom.  She brought paper when she came to help me flood the cookies and had everything cut and ready to go for me.

elephant-cookies

Wrapped Elephant Sugar Cookies

elephant-cookies-packaged

Elephant Sugar Cookies Wrapped with Toppers

For the cupcake toppers, I printed a template for the shape of elephant I wanted and the size of heart I wanted for the ear.  I am not sure why I decided to template these ears and not the ones on the cookies, I just did.  Maybe because the cupcakes are going to be viewed as a group and having them look uniform appeals to me.  I put wax paper over my templates and made the toppers out of royal icing.  Once the heart and elephant were dry, I glued the hearts onto the elephants with a little royal icing.  The eyes I had made with leftover royal icing from another project when I made sprinkles.

elephant-cupcake-toppers

Royal Icing Elephant Toppers

Since royal icing needs drying time, I did all things that required royal icing first.  Then it was on to cupcakes. These were simple white cupcakes with vanilla buttercream using my favorite buttercream recipe. While I made the icing and cupcakes last night, I waited until this morning to pipe it on and add the toppers.  The royal icing will absorb some moisture from the buttercream and become a little more fragile and soft.  This is great for biting into one but not for transport. I already had the icing and tips ready to go, so the process only took a couple minutes.

elephant-cupcakes

Elephant Cupcakes

The last thing I worked on last night was the smash cake.  The smash cake was a small, two layer, 4″ round with vanilla buttercream.  I kept the design simple and added an extra cupcake topper to a stick to be the center piece. It was a nice way to tie everything together.

elephant-smash-cake

Elephant Smash Cake

Everything turned out great and coordinated really well.  I hope this little boy has a wonderful birthday tomorrow.  He has lots of goodies to celebrate!

elephant-party

Grey and Blue Elephant First Birthday 

Clara

 

Lumberjack Party

Last weekend, the kids and I had a lumberjack first birthday to attend for my best friend’s son.  I was of course commissioned to do the cake, but I always am from her!  I have been helping make her kids goodies since before I made goodies for anyone else.  I am not even sure why I let her pay me because I would do it for free just like I always have, but she insists.  Maybe she is hoping I will quit my job and bake cakes so that when she convinces her hubs that she can quit hers, she can come drink wine with me in my kitchen.  Hey, we can all have dreams, right?

It is February, so the plan was dress like a lumberjack in your fleece, eat chili, snuggle up outside under some blankets, and roast some marshmallows.  Well, turns out it was 65 degrees and sunny outside…in February…CRAZY!  We still ate chili and did turn on the fire for the kids to make a smore, but mostly, the kids played on the swing set and the adults talked.

To go with her lumberjack/outdoor theme, she wanted a bear cake and a smash cake of any kind.  We tacked on the cookies later when I found this cute buffalo plaid stencil to try my new air brush kit my sister got me for Christmas. I started with the cookies a few days before the party.  They took a couple days to complete for drying time.  I baked them on one day, iced the red the next, did the stencil on the third, and then the white icing on the fourth day.  I wanted to make sure the red royal icing was really dry before I laid a stencil on it.  I am still not sure at what point royal icing is deemed dry, but since I can only work on these things at night, I just go with the next day.

This is when I wish I had a projector or a KopyKake to help with the design on top.  Trying to freehand is really hard.  My momma told me maybe I should find a projector solution to put on my Christmas list….and I agree!  Anyway, we did with what we had and I did different designs on different cookies.  Here is the name and lumberjack up close.

Once I had the whole lot of them done, I made sure they were good and dry before I individually packed them for the party.

lumberjack-cookies

Lumberjack Party Cookies

wrapped-cookies

Wrapped Lumberjack Cookies

Now that the cookies were done, onto the cakes!  Both cakes were fairly easy to assemble. The bear cake took one 10″ round, one 6″ round, and two 4″ rounds.  The setup looked like this:

bear-cake-1

Bear Cake Setup

Once stacked, I frosted the light brown color first on the nose and ear areas.  Then, with my “hair” tip, I added the brown fur to the rest of the bear head.  All that was left was the little bit of black detail for the eyes, nose and mouth.  It was a simple but cute design.

bear-cake-2

Bear Cake

The last thing was the smash cake.  My friend wanted something simple that her son could break into during the party.  I was pondering what to do as I was staring at all the extra icing I had from the bear cake.  Then it hit me…  Lumberjack…Lumber…Stump.  And better yet, it used nearly all the same colors as the bear.  Win Win.  The smash cake was a two layer 4″ cake.  I frosted the whole cake brown and messed the sides with a fork and toothpick to try and mimic bark.  I added the light brown “rings” on top to resemble the cut wood.  At that point, I wasn’t convinced that there was no question that the cake was a stump.  So I added roots and some grass to the bottom which I think helped.

stump-cake

Tree Stump Smash Cake

The whole set was fun to do and my friend loved it.  Doing kids parties are my favorite for the themes alone.  I have another one this weekend, so look out for that post next week.  I am OFFICIALLY caught up.  YAY ME!

Clara

 

Poinsettia Christmas Cake

My last December catch-up post!!  Goodbye 2016.  I ended the year on a little Christmas cake for my family get-together on Christmas evening.  What is even better than this cake is the productive day I had on December 23rd when I made this cake.  My work was closed for the Christmas Eve holiday since it fell on a weekend.  However, my husband still had to work and the kids’ school was open until 3pm.  Give a momma a free day and a deadline of 3pm and watch stuff get done! Outside of the usual things that need done the days before Christmas (wrapping presents, grocery shopping, making dishes to take all over creation, etc), I got some quality time in the kitchen.  I had been needing a day that I could focus and stock the freezer with some fresh pasta and this was the day. While I was waiting on cake to cool, I was able to make some homemade spaghetti and butternut squash ravioli in addition to my cake.  It was a productive day and I which I had more of them.

file-47

Homemade pasta and cake

Back to cake!  Once my cakes had cooled, I popped them in the freezer for a bit.  Freezing your cake helps keep the cake moist and it is easier to build with when it has a little stiffness.  Now, you would think since I make the same buttercream ALL THE TIME that it would turn out the same each time….WRONG.  Sometimes it is a little thicker than I want and sometimes too thin.  Sometimes I simply didn’t whip it enough or the butter was a tad too cold or warm, or wrongly measured the milk.  This was one of those days.  Let me also say, that this is a really easy fix when you have some patience.  Too bad I lack patience. Instead of putting the buttercream back in the mixer and adjusting, I went with it.  Then when I am mad that the buttercream didn’t turn out the best once on the cake, I beat myself up about my lack of patience. Vicious cycle!  Anyway, I digress. I coated the cake in white buttercream and then added little poinsettia flowers on top using a leaf tip. I finished it with a pearl boarder matching one of the flowers.

file-46

Poinsettia Cake for Christmas

Even with the messy buttercream, it was a cute cake.  And since my family loves me and thinks I am wonder woman (mainly my sister), they didn’t notice!  Love is blind.

Clara

Black and White Birthday Cake

Back in December, my niece was not the only one with a birthday.  Actually, we have lots of December birthdays in the family, but my only other birthday cake was for my father-in-law.  This is what the beginning of December looked like at the end of one night of baking. Cakes for days…..

file-41

Cakes ready for the freezer

Those white cakes were for my father-in-law.  He is a white cake with chocolate buttercream kind of guy.  I love this combination because when you cut into the cake, the crisp lines of white cake sandwiched between layers of chocolate buttercream is really pretty.  I should have taken a picture of it cut, but once again, I failed.

file-40

White cake with chocolate buttercream

This cake was fairly easy to throw together.  I make this chocolate buttercream using my usual buttercream recipe however, when I add the milk and vanilla, I add about a half to 3/4 of a cup of cocoa powder.  Once mixed in, I complete the rest of the recipe.  At the end, I adjust the consistency with some milk as the chocolate really thickens up the mixture.

For the top, I had some left over chocolate from making homemade thin mints that I didn’t want to throw away.  I spread the extra chocolate on a piece of parchment paper and let dry.  Once it was set up, I cut “shards” of chocolate and stuck them in the cake.  It was a simple design that adds a little wow factor.

file-39

White cake with chocolate buttercream

This cake was only assembled for approximately 2 hours before we devoured it.  Enough time for people to arrive at the house, eat dinner, and have the kids sing Happy Birthday to their grandpa!

Clara

Cookie Dough Cake

Another catch-up post! I don’t have too many more so, I should be caught up in no time! Over the holidays I didn’t have a ton of cakes to do so, I made a couple for some holiday get-together’s.  This cookie dough cake was for Thanksgiving dinner at my parents house. Really, there was no need for me to make a cake, but I hadn’t made one for all of November and was getting antsy.  I am pretty sure we had more dessert options than real food.  Look at this spread!  And there is more you cannot even see, the buffet was full.

file-35

Thanksgiving Dessert Spread

I found the recipe for this cake on Pinterest which lead me to this blog where the pictures alone will sell you on this cake.  I really need to improve my photography skills!  Really, I followed the recipe for the cake as written.  I am an accountant, so instructions make me happy.  I always follow a recipe as stated first.  Then, if I feel it necessary or a spark of creativity comes my way, I will change it from there.  However, I did use my tried and true buttercream recipe as I love it so much. After I baked the cakes, I removed them from the pans and cleaned them so I could make the cookie dough filling.  I ended up freezing the cakes and putting the cookie dough rounds in the fridge overnight so that I could complete the cake the next day.  Everything was nice and firm for building the cake the morning of Thanksgiving.  I stacked the cake and then let it come up to temperature a bit while I made the buttercream.

file-30

Cookie Dough Cake before Buttercream

I frosted the cake as usual leaving my buttercream its off-white color.  On the top, I added dollops of icing that I could set the cookie dough balls.

Since I was going to my parents house, I wanted to put the cake on one of my cake stands. I left the cake on my turntable top for transport and took my cake stand and extra icing with me.  Once I got to my parents, I transferred the cake to my cake stand and added the bottom border.

file-33

 

My husband had high hopes for this cake and I am glad to report that it did not disappoint. I will definitely be making this one again.

Clara

Happy 60th Birthday Momma!

Back in October, my mom celebrated her big sixtieth birthday.  We tried to keep parts of it a surprise, but my family lacks all self-control and she started to piece together that it was a little more than a close family “get-together”.  With that anticipation, she, of course, wanted to show up early.  My dad told me not to worry about it and he would make sure she arrived when she was supposed to.  There was a strong probability that she would just leave him and show up the hour and half early she wanted, but my dad held strong. Thanks Dad.  After she got over her initial irritation with him, a white lie I had told her, and the fact that I sent the grandkids away for the night, she started coming around.  As the night unfolded, I think she started to realize what was going on, the preparations it took, and the love and thought that was put into the night.

My sister and I planned for MONTHS!!!!  We poured over the menu for weeks, it took two months to get her birthday present together, bought decor and other items the whole month leading up to the party, and went to 5 grocery stores the day before the party.  More on the party details in a bit.  But the day went perfect (with exception of my moms short bout of irritation.) I made the cake two days before the party.  I could not have that stress with all the other party preparations. After my simple teal and coral baby shower cake with flowers, I wanted to continue with the flower theme for my mom.  Practice makes perfect, right?  Outside of the largest flowers, I did all the other flowers on a flower nail and placed them on the cake.  For the first time, I tried color streaking the icing to have some two tones flowers.  I couldn’t believe that it worked my first time.  It gave a little extra pop to the pink that I loved.  Maybe I will do a tutorial on this soon.

Once I had the larger flowers on the cake, I filled in with some smaller flowers and leaves. I then completed the cake with a vine and a couple more flowers on the other side.   Looking back on it, I wish I would have left the cake with just the crescent design, but my need for symmetry at the time won.  My mom loved it no less and that is all that matters.

Back to the party as a whole. We did want more than a get-together.  We planned more of a cocktail party.  High top tables, fancy hors d’oeuvre, light jazz, and a fun photo booth.  Our theme was “Cheers to 60 Years”and “Memories”.  We had about 40 people come and celebrate.  Even my dad’s family that lives in Valparaiso made the trip down and stayed in a hotel.  We had more food that we needed but it all looked amazing when put together. From an over the top charcuterie board to shrimp cocktail to mini caprese appetizers, we tried to make it look like we had it catered.  The photo booth, which was a way to help tie in our theme to make more memories, was a hit.  I got the image for the photo booth at this Etsy shop and then just sent the file to a printer.  Some funny pics are floating around somewhere.

However, my absolute favorite part was her gift and was the one thing she had absolutely no idea about.  It was not an original idea as I found it on Pinterest like everything else these days.  We gifted her 60 memories. I wrote to family and friends far and wide and asked them to write in a memory or two on my mom and was not disappointed from the response.  Letters came from Alaska, California, Florida, Texas, DC, and from all the family in Indiana.  I put each in an envelope, numbered it, and then bundled them together.  I didn’t want her to read them at the party as there were some tear jerkers in there, but I explained it all in my speech.  SHE LOVE IT!  She spent the night socializing with friends and family basking in her own glory which is what we were hoping. What else do you get a mom with everything….a party with her family and friends and a lifetime of memories. Happy Birthday Mom!

Clara