Friday, December 25, 2009

Happy Holidays!!

I hope you had a wonderful holiday. Unfortunately this year was the first time that I didn't spend it with my family. A typical holiday for me is everyone in my family (that's like 20-30 people) gathering in one person's house on Christmas Eve and playing games, eating, talking, and just enjoying eachother's company until midnight when we open presents. It normally takes about 1-2 hours and my immediate family and I go back to the house around 2am and open our presents and then it's sleep time. Then on Christmas morning I spend it with my boyfriend's family. It works out quite perfectly that his family celebrate Christmas day and mine celebrate Christmas eve.

This year did not turn out as planned. First of all, I got sick a few days before Christmas. I took 2 days off from work but didn't have much strength for anything else. Finally started my baking the 22nd. I had the idea to make red velvet cupcake presents for my family and a Christmas cake for James's (the boyfriend's) family. I should have realized I was taking on too much. I mean I had to make about 35 cupcakes in all (with name tags for each person). Well, needless to say you will not be seeing how the cupcake presents turned out because it looked much better in my head. If I ever attempt it again I will post it. However, the Christmas cake came out wonderful. With the assistance of my wonderful boyfriend and without further ado, the perfection that is the Christmas Cake:

Here comes Santa Claus. Here comes Santa Claus.

That awesome boyfriend of mine gave me a fondant ribbon embroider for xmas. That's how I got that pattern on it. He also made the Santa hat and the actual bows for the ribbons. So talented! haha

Santa with his rosy cheeks and the presents were made with fondant. The eyes and cheeks were colored in with food coloring markers (best invention ever!)

Therefore, even though I was sick and had to work Christmas eve and day, Christmas didn't turn out too bad. I was able to train a new assistant and we had a great time decorating the cake together. It's too bad that I wasn't able to spend more time with the families but there's always next year.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Oh, to be 4 years old again

I just finished my full work week. I must say that I miss being a kid. There were no worries, no concerns -- just happy times and fun games. Work wasn't that bad. It could have been better but you have to do what you have to do in order to pay back thems bills.

As mentioned in the previous post, I started baking because my niece turned 4 this past July. Since she goes to day care, she needed 2 sets of cupcakes. Everyone was working hard and being as I was still unemployed I volunteered to make them. I bought the most amazing book to get some ideas:

 I told the little princess that she could pick out any cupcake she wanted. She decided that the dog cupcakes were the best choice so we had a dog themed party. The first batch were for daycare. I didn't realize how long it would take but I spent all day and most of the night baking/decorating. This is what some of the first PupCakes looked like.
<--Some came out pretty decent.


Others needed some work-->

These were some of the first batch. I made 25 of them but just dalmatians and chocolate labs. Later for the party, I tried other breeds.

However, my all time favorite has to be (drum roll please)

The resemblance is uncanny.

I also made a few mini cupcakes that said "Happy Birthday Angelina"

The Pupcakes were quite easy to make. Just put the marshmallows in place and just make sure you smooth out the frosting on it (that's what I didn't do with the first batch). The tongues were made out of pink now and later candies and red cherry flavored tootsie rolls. Then just decorate accordingly.

Friday, November 27, 2009

A Magical Confection

There I was, fresh out of college with a B.S. in Nutrition and no idea what to do with it. After the grueling last semester I had I knew that medical school or graduate school was definitely out of the question...well for at least a year or two. Since I was out of school and couldn't find a job, I was elected to make cupcakes for my niece's 4th birthday. However, I had so much time on my hands I wanted to go above and beyond the typical amateur cupcake that I'm used to making. This is how it all began...

From July until November I've focused on learning as much as I can on my own about cake decorating and baking desserts. I bought cooking books, followed baking blogs, and never missed my two favorite cake shows -- Cake Boss and Ace of Cakes. I even considered going to pastry school but decided against it. Here I am 4 months since I first started and I just began a new full time job that I love and still continue to bake for special occasions like this one that made this for my sister's 14th birthday.
It is based off the Harry Potter series' characters Fred and George Weasley. The Weasley twins were inventors and practical jokers. While at Hogwarts they developed many different gadgets. When the Weasley twins left Hogwarts they opened up a very successful joke shop called Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes on Diagon Alley.

I began by making the little decorations 4 days in advance with fondant so they would have time to dry. My awesome sister was there to assist me with coloring the fondant and making the decorations.

The ears are Extendable Ears and made of flesh colored fondant. I used the back of a rounded pen to make the curves and indentations on the ear. (Why spend so much money on tools when you can just use household items and you just need to make sure to disinfect it.) The pink bottle is a love potion. The word love and the hearts were drawn on with edible food coloring markers. The fuzzy purple ball is called a Pygmy Puff which is cuddly pet they sell at the shop. This little guy is a large cakeball (if you haven't heard of cake balls you must look at Bakerella's website. They are delicious) covered with dark chocolate melted frosting and purple frosting.  The little candy two-toned squares are Skiving Snackboxes. These were so simple, I just got a 2 different types of Starbursts (so they're were more color options), cut the candies in half and pushed them together with another color half. The little black creatures are Decoy Detonators. These were inspired by their descriptions in the book and this bomb guy from the video game Mario Bros.

The resemblance is uncanny. haha.

After all that, 2 days in advance, I made the cakes and covered them with fondant. My sister and I made the twins out of fondant as well. I made the bodies and she made their heads and faces.

The day before the party I put everything together and and piped on Happy Birthday Claudia. I also made green jello for the top.

The day of the party I put the jello in the hole on the top. This gave the effect of a swamp for the Portable Swamp invention by the Weasley twins. I quickly added the trees and used a green edible food coloring marker for the grass to make it look more swamp like.

Tune in for some more of my magical confections and creations!