Sunday, December 27, 2009

Navy Retirement Cake

I know...It has been way too long since I made and interesting cake...but frankly, I cannot bring myself to make a large, elaborate, expensive, detailed cake just to take a fork to it...or let Andrew just gobble it up as if it took no time at all to make...No, I just do not have the heart (or money) to do it...So, I put an ad on Craigslist ( I know I know) and eventually an order was received!

A very nice woman wanted a cake for her husbands retirement from the Navy...she was throwing him a surprise party and wanted something with her husband saluting a ship. Well, I needed to make it more detailed than that of course! I made sure to get a picture of her handsome husband, a description of his uniform and the name of the ship on which he was stationed...Let's just say the ship was no row boat and it was a pretty HUGE aircraft carrier. So that meant I needed so fighter jets!
I made some white modeling chocolate and sculpted these fighter jets...which was very fun!

After the models firmed up...I covered them in homemade gray Marshmallow fondant and painted the details with food coloring and a tiny brush and some serious patience.

I also took some time to make the Navy retiree out of some modeling chocolate and sugar paste...he came out pretty good but not as buff as his picture..the hardest part was making his eye glasses...not so fun!

The ship was GIGANTIC, the pictures do not do it justice (as if I will ever learn..i used my cell phone camera..I know I need to take the picture taking more seriously).
I had to make A LOT of cake and didn't have big enough pans so I used cookie sheets (apparently you CAN bake a cake on a cookie sheet (and also in a pot...see the Chicken Nugget Wedding Cake). I used tons of chocolate frosting and stacked and stacked and carved and covered in fondant, then airbrushed, then hand painted get the idea! I also made ocean out of poured sugar and waves and well..It was a LOT of work!

I really wish I had better pictures!

I am waiting for pictures of the cake at the soon as I receive them, I will post them!

I also do not have a picture of the COMPLETE cake...since this cake had to be delivered across town I did not want to put the sculpture of her husband on the cake until it are not complete either .. bummer!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Treats to be Thankful For

I UN-acceptable amount of time has passed since the last cake I created and i apologize .. but it's not entirely my fault. Cake making (well making these fun, detailed cakes) is not cheap and after the cost of the move to Vegas from NY and the cost of finally moving into our sweet apartment I haven't had much time or money for anything more than multiple banana breads, pumpkin breads and some truffles (which I of course did not take pictures of because, well, I don't know..but I didn't).
So this was my very first major holiday away from the family and let me tell you... BUMMER!!! It is funny how when your a kid all you want to do is shove that plate of food down your throat and get back to the neighborhood to hang with friends...but now all i wanted was for the family to come on over and taste some delicious cakes! I also missed the BIG FAT ITALIAN THANKSGIVING because nothing can compare to the holidays with a big fat Italian family and i really kinda missed that stuffing that I used to complain about as a kid...

Okay, enough about my sad holiday (it really wasn't sad since I had Andrew who always happily eats and tastes everything that comes out of my kitchen..or any kitchen for that matter, but I did have a broken toe and missed the fam so I broke even)

So ABOUT THE FOOD!!! For a while now I have been looking into a good chocolate cake and I love banana so when I found a recipe for Banana Foster Cake covered in Chocolate Ganache I knew I had to make it and add a few touches... I made a super yummy double chocolate cake with chocolate chips (3 layers)...then I made banana foster filling (chopped banana, rum, brown sugar and butter) some home-made cream cheese icing, and chocolate ganache (use your fav recipe but all are pretty much 1 part good chocolate and 1 part heavy cream and a pad of butter for shine) let everything cool a bit...then assemble.
Cake..then a thin layer of cream cheese frosting (you don't want it to be too sweet) then the banana foster then cake...repeat until you top it off with your third layer of cake. Then sit your cake on a wire rack over a baking sheet lined with waxed paper (this just makes life less messy) and pour the cooled ganache over the cake and put it in the fridge to chill... I sprinkled on some shaved coconut flavored white chocolate that I found (which is sooo good I think Lindt made it)...That is it..super time i might just used fresh sliced banana and some strawberry instead of the foster. The best part of the cake was its yummy texture and that semi-hard chocolate ganache on the top and outside..LOVED IT!

I am not a huge Pumpkin Pie fan but I wanted to make a pretty pumpkin pie and I figured I would mix a few recipes together to make this pie WHICH WAS AWEEEEESOME!!!! SERIOUSLY this was the BEST pie I have ever had!It is a mix of fresh pumpkin pie and a NY style cheesecake mixed into this yummy concoction!!
I will post the recipe soon.
Start with a pie crust recipe or ... screw it and buy the Pillsbury stuff from the fridge (no one has to know)... Place it in a pie dish and bake it for about ten minutes (weigh the inside down with beans or something) then fill it with the pumpkin mixture all the way to the top (it will shrink back worries) and bake until it stops looking like liquid ( a knife or toothpick inserted near the middle..not IN the middle will come out pretty clean) it is done let it come to room temp and then fridge it...I though it tasted better the next day straight out of the fridge!!!
To make the pretty decorations, I used a paring knife and just cut pretty leaves and stuck them on...simple but time consuming...but delicious!!

Now that I perfected this pie I just need to work on my cell phone blog photos...sorry!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Having Cake-Making Withdrawel

Viva Las Vegas....We are here to stay...aren't the Bellagio fountains beautiful!?!

Hey guys...I know it has been way too long since my last cake post, and TRUST me I am having major withdrawal symptoms from not baking and designing a fun new cake!!
After driving across the country in a giant Uhaul with our car in tow and our dog Jackson in the passenger seat between us, driving for four LOOOONG days and sleeping in cheap hotels for three nights and eating awful fast food, we arrived in Vegas exhausted, full of cholesterol and totally broke...but we got here, yay!
Luckily we missed the 100 degree heat and it has been pristine spring/fall-like weather =).....but enough about the weather and my very serious hatred toward McDonald's, I need to make a cake...STAT! Unfortunately right now I do not have any extra money to fund my own love for cake making but I will surely make the exception since Halloween and Thanksgiving is soon approaching!
Oh yea, and my sister's birthday is right around the corner and the HOT DOG CAKE I made for her birthday last year is what sparked this "cake-making fire" under my butt. So yea expect a cake in the near future!
One thing for sure is I have been cooking up a storm since getting to Vegas and staying with my extended family, Andrew's brother and wonderful wife (who is expecting little baby Sophie soon). I have made three banana breads, cheesecake truffles, red velvet balls, chocolate covered bananas, and two pumpkin cakes and we have only been here 2 and a 1/2 weeks!!!
Well, thanks for sticking with me and I promise to have something fun posted soon!!!

Here are some fun pictures from our recent Vegas adventures...
And if you've always dreamed of seeing the sights between New York and Nevada here is a link to some photos. ROAD TRIP

Pumpkin picking in the toasty warm weather is a nice change from NY cold!

A great awesome martini bar off the strip with yummy tapas!
Yea, Andrew ordered an Almond Joy martini while i like a straight dirty but hey, I'm grateful he has such a sweet tooth since he is my #1 taste tester!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Cholecystectomy cake

Okay..this cake is pretty funny. This cake was requested by friendly coworkers of a man who was undergoing a cholecystectomy (he had his gallbladder removed) and they asked me to make a cake for the occasion. I never met him and had the idea of making him in the hospital operation style even though the surgery is usually done by laser now. So i asked for a picture of the guy so that I could sculpt him out of chocolate.
I think it pretty much looks like him...what do you think?
This is the first time i ever made a realistic sculpture of anything let alone a person and to do it in modeling chocolate was not too easy but I got it done since I only had a day or two to buy all my supplies, make my fondant, make the modeling chocolate and of course make the cakes and the frosting from scratch.

The actual cake was dark chocolate with peanut butter filling and chocolate icing, covered in home-made marshmallow fondant. Everyone who asks for a cake seems to request this chocolate cake - peanut butter icing combination...I knew it was pretty yummy but it must be really really good.

This poor guy...I don't think that he expected this after his surgery.
And in case you were wondering...his insides are anatomically correct...and edible of course!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Little Mermaid Cake

Okay, Soo...this is what took up most of my time in the month of August. It was a very important DOUBLE 3rd Birthday and the request was for a Little Mermaid Cake!

Here are the beauties; Dani and Nikki in their dancing school costumes!

And in the middle is their big sister Erianna.

One thing that was for sure is after making this cake I wish I had a few things... ALL the supplies and the correct tools and the SPACE to make such a large and heavy four-tiered cake!
While my boyfriend is a great assistant I sure could have used an extra set of hands (that did not eat everything it came in contact with). Andrew is great help but for everyone who knows him he will work for food and if he is working WITH food that means he is eating it too!
So, yea, I would love a team of experienced helpers since I, myself am not really even experienced. I would also sell my first born (have to give an IOU til that baby is born) for that machine that rolls out fondant and other dough because by the time I was finished with making my own fondant and rolling it nice and thin, my entire house was covered in powdered sugar. My living room, coffee table even poor Jackson!
My favorite part of this cake making process was making all the fun little fish and creatures that were hiding all over the cake.

Even Sebastian the crab and Flounder looked pretty good.
The problem with making these characters was the fact that they are made out of home-made modeling chocolate during the HOTTEST week of the entire summer and my apartment is on the top floor of my building and I only have air conditioning in my bedroom. So getting these guys to stay in their shape without turning to liquid was tricky.
I decide the main character, Ariel, would have to be made out of something that would hold up a bit better. I made Ariel out of gumpaste which is slightly less delicious but still edible. It was NOT easy and the whole time i sculpted her i wished I had taken an advanced sculpturing class in college!

The cake had lots of features that I have never actually done before. I poured colored sugar to look like coral and water. I made modeling chocolate. I used gumpaste. I did ALOT of stuff and just "winged" it, googling what I did not know how to do! The sugar pouring was especially difficult since I did not have a candy thermometer, but it all came out great!

It was pretty hard trying to find a board that would hold this super-heavy four tiered, 8layer cake! But eventually I did and turning into a beach scene was fun!
The kiddies really liked the cake and I was soo happy that they recognized right away that it was The Little Mermaid! Phew! Thank Goodness, kids are the toughest critics! When they saw the cake they were pretty excited and picking out their favorite creatures!

That Octopus was very popular and as the cake was being cut lots of kids wanted a piece of the poor guy! I also heard them saying that the sand was real and that they couldn't eat it...but I assured them that absolutely EVERYTHING on this cake is edible!

Here is a shot of the back of the cake. I decorated it even though everyone said "you don't need to decorate the back of the's like the back of a Christmas Tree" I wouldn't leave it empty of course and I had more than enough stuff to cover it.
While the end result was quite busy, ( I definitely did not edit my design, and at one point I had Andrew and Erica "food-gluing" whatever they wanted wherever they wanted because I was being tooo meticulous and would have spent days with this cake!) so while it was a busy cake it was also fun, and colorful and definitely a kids cake!

Soo, just in case the cake did not taste as good as it looked I made some yummy cupcakes and even yummier truffles.

But while these were sooo good and were gobbled up as quickly as they were put out...the cake was DELICIOUS and it really was eaten up!
The top tier was a confetti style cake with confetti custard in the middle.
The second to the top was a chocolate chip cake with creamy chocolate filling.
The third tier was yellow pudding cake with yellow custard.
The fourth and bottom tier was dark chocolate devil food with oreo cream filling!

All that hard work....but it was delicious and beautiful!
Even these chocolate oysters and pearl are home-made and edible!