Thursday, February 19, 2009

Spaghetti & Meatballs Cake

I made this cake for a birthday party. It got a lot of laughs!

Here's how I did it:

I made a 10" two layer Chocolate Truffle cake with Chocolate Truffle filling and set it in a large shallow bowl. I spread more of the filling over the top of the cake just to make it even richer! I then covered the cake with Buttercream Frosting (I used butter to get the spaghetti color) using a #5 tip. It took 2 batches of icing, but I think my recipe makes a smaller amount than the Wilton recipe, so you might get by with one batch. I built it up a little bit in the center.

The spaghetti sauce is strawberry jam with a little yellow gel and white coloring. Just add a small amount of color, then mix together. You may have to add a little more color to get the affect you want and if you add too much, just add a little more jam. You really can't mess it up!

The meatballs are truffles, the ones with the crunchy stuff on the outside. After it was all put together, I grated a little white almond bark over the top.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

How To Bake A Great Cake

After you’ve been making cakes for a while, it’s easy to get to a point to where you don’t remember how hard it was before it became easy. I answered a post on a cake decorating website today that reminded me of how little I knew before I took the cake decorating classes that got me going.

Growing up, my mom was more of a pie, cobbler and cookie person than a cake person. And they were delicious pies and cookies and cobblers! But I don’t remember my mom making many decorated cakes. So I never learned to make a decorated cake.

My cakes consisted of whatever could be made in a 9 x 13 Pyrex pan and frosted quickly and easily. I never decorated them. I didn’t even know where to start. Every so often, I would get the urge to make a pretty round cake. My efforts were almost always subdued right out of the gate, so to speak. Like when I’d try to take the cake out the pan and half of it was stuck! It was kind of hard to go on and make it look pretty. If I did manage to get it out of the pan in one piece, my attempts at icing it were pitiful. I didn’t have the tools or knowledge necessary to do the job correctly.

I’m also one of these people who has to see something done to be able to do it myself. I can’t just read about it then do it. So I took cake decorating classes. I not only learned how to decorate a cake, but also how to bake a cake that is easy to decorate. That definitely helps!

Here are some basic tips for baking a great cake to decorate (out of my Wilton Course 2 book):

The cake that will be your canvas for decorating should be as perfect as you can make it. The good news – baking great cakes is easy to do when you follow these time-tested suggestions. Your reward will be a cake that is beautifully golden brown, smooth and free of crumbs.

1. Preheat oven to the temperature specified in the recipe. Generously grease the inside of the pan using a pastry brush or paper toweling and Wilton Cake Release (don’t use butter, margarine or liquid vegetable oil. Spread the Cake Release so that all indentations are covered.
2. Preheat oven 10 – 15 minutes.
3. Measure liquids at eye level in standard liquid measuring cups.
4. For best results, use large-size eggs (about ¼ cup each)
5. Beat the cake mix batter for the time and speed specified. Time the beating carefully, beating only for the length of time and at the mixer speed specified in the recipe directions.
6. If using more batter than one cake mix yields for a large pan, mix a single package at a time; reduce oven temperature approximately 25 degrees and increase baking time.
7. Bake your cake immediately after mixing, as near the center (both vertical and horizontal center) of the oven as possible. Allow at least an inch of space on all sides and between the pans. If you use two oven racks, stagger the pans so one cake is not directly above the other. Time your baking accurately.
8. Test your cakes for doneness while they are still in the oven. Because of differences in individual oven controls, be sure to test your cake for doneness according to package or recipe directions.
9. Cool cake in pan for 10 minutes on cake rack. Larger cakes (over 14 inches) may need to cool 15 minutes. If cake has cooled too long and will not release from pan, return it to a warm oven, 250 degree, for a few minutes.
10. To remove cake easily from pan, place a double thickness of paper towel over the wire rack. The towel prevents the wire bars from breaking the crust or leaving imprints on top of the cake. Place covered rack over top of cake. Invert cake and rack at least one hour before decorating.
11. Inaccurate oven temperatures account for a majority of baking problems. If your cakes have indications of underbaking, try raising the oven setting about 25 degrees. If the problem appears to be overbaking, lower the oven setting about 25 degrees. Use oven thermometer to check for accuracy.
12. Cakes can be frozen for up to three months wrapped in heavy-duty foil. Cake must be thawed complete before decorating.
13. Iced cakes must be frozen tightly wrapped. When defrosting, keep cake wrapped until completely thawed.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Cookies & Cake For Valentine's Day

I made this cake for a Valentine's Day Tea Party and the cookies were for my granddaughter to give away at school. For the cookies, I first piped around the edges, then filled each cookie with the glaze. We then drew the designs using a toothpick and different colors of glaze. It was a lot of fun! I'll definitely be doing more of these.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

School Teacher Cookie Bouquet

This is another project I did a couple years back and didn't know I had a picture of. I made this cookie bouquet for a school teacher friend at the end of the school year. She loved it! In fact, I don't think she ever ate it - she asked me if there was something she could spray on it to make it last longer!
This was only my first or second bouquet. Notice how thick the cookies are! I was afraid that the sticks wouldn't stay in if I made them any thinner. I now make them thinner and if I feel the stick needs to be sturdier, I use royal icing to cement it in place.
I later added ribbon to the front to finish this bouquet off (not shown).

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Fondant Shower Cake

I made this shower cake about three years back when I first started doing cakes, but just recently found a picture! It's a 6" and 10" square covered in fondant and decorated with fondant hearts and satin ribbon. It had four decorative silver hearts, but one is missing in this picture.
I've learned a lot since this cake and it's been a fun journey!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Train Cake For Thomas The Train Party

I made this train cake a for a one year old's birthday Thomas The Train party. It's out of one of the Wilton fondant books (same one as the dump truck from a previous post). Everything on this cake is made of fondant. A very simple cake to make.
This pic was taken at home before I delivered and set it up. Once it was set up, I added large marshmellows for steam.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Dump Truck Cake

Here's a dump truck cake I made for my great-nephew a few months back. Its' out of the Wilton fondant book, only I changed the colors up a little. I tried to show each step with pictures. It was fairly easy to do - just took a little more time than most of the other cakes I've made. And this one was completely edible - no crafting foam!

One change I will make when I do it again: the wheels look like they belong on a motor cycle instead of a truck! I should have made the tires wider with smaller hubs.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Decorated Cookies

I made these cookies for my sister's 40th birthday party. It's not a great picture - I forgot to take one and got this one from someone else. These are sugar cookies covered in a glaze icing. The shapes are: a dress, a hat and a purse. I will make the recipes available in a later post.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Strawberry Shortcake Cake Minus The Green!

I did this cake for a first birthday party this weekend. The party theme was Strawberry Shortcake. My customer said there wasn't any green in the decorations she was using, so she wanted me to leave it out on the cake. Strawberry Shortcake without green??? So I did what she wanted, only to find out when I got there that she just thought there wasn't any green!! In my opinion, it would have been much cuter had it included green dots and stripes. Oh, well.

Once again, due to my flight being cancelled because of the ice storm in our part of the world, I lost a day in my week and that was the one day I had to do my fondant. So, I had to improvise. The dots, stripes and letters are made from craft foam. The curlies around the bottom and on top are curled ribbon. The customer provided the candle.