Sunday, December 18, 2005

"I want Mountains, Trucks and Trees"

"I want Mountains, Trucks and Trees!" That is the response I got when I asked my son what he wanted on his cake for his 6th birthday. I'm lucky he said what he did. I already had a round 2-layer cake baked and iced. All I had left to do was decorate.

I had to think fast of things in the house that could possibly be turned into "Mountains, a Truck and Trees".

While I pondered the possibilities, I made the road...a truck has to have a road, doesn't it? It's made from oreo cookie crumbs. I just happened to have some in the cabinet for making pie crusts.

The truck was easy. I just washed one of my sons trucks.

The trees...well, I has some pretzel sticks left over from making my chocolate dipped pretzel sticks for the holidays. I just piped icing onto them and they became trees! 
Doesn't it remind you of the Lorax? Looking at them now, I think if I ever need to make a Dr. Seuss cake, I'll make the trees the same way except I'll use pink, orange and blue icing.

As for the mountains, I had some ice cream cones in the cupboard that I covered with brown icing and cookie crumbs. Then I decided to go one step further. I colored small amounts of icing red, orange and yellow and melted them down. Once melted (just until pourable) I poured the icing on one of the mountains letting it run down the sides. First with the red, then the orange and finishing up with the yellow. Ta-daaa! A volcano!

Hey, the kids recognized it as a volcano and they all wanted THAT part of the cake.

So, if you look around, you can surely find something already in your kitchen that will make a great cake and make a child very happy.

Saturday, July 2, 2005

XBOX Controller Cake

Deciding on appropriate cakes for men can be difficult - especially if they’re not big into golf, football, basketball, or some other sport. However, if the man in your life loves to play video games (like my brother), it's probably safe to make him a video game controller birthday cake. This is a quick, easy cake-decorating project that can be adapted to whatever video game console resides in your home. It doesn’t take much more than a box of cake mix, some store bought icing and assorted candies and, if your brother is like mine, he’ll be happy to dispose of any extra candies for you.

1 standard box of cake mix (whatever flavor you prefer), baked in a 13”x9” pan and cooled completely - If you need assistance in baking and cooling your cake, please refer to these video tutorials on “How To Bake A Cake”.
How To Bake A Cake (Part 1): Preparing Your Baking Pans
How To Bake A Cake (Part 2): Mixing & Baking Your Cake
How To Bake A Cake (Part 3): Testing, Removing and Cooling Your Cake
1 container of chocolate icing
8 Jelly beans - One white jellybean, 3 black, one yellow, one red, one green, and one blue (or purple)
2 Reese’s Miniature Cups
3 Oreo cookies
A handful of green vanilla flavored candy wafers (can be found in the candy making isle in craft stores)

Wax paper – long enough to cover the entire 13”x9” cake
1 sandwich sized zipper sealed bags
Spatula (for spreading icing)
Knife (for cutting jelly beans)
Large plate, cake stand, or cake board for displaying your finished cake

Draw and cut a template out of wax paper for the basic shape of the “controller”. Any video game controller will do. My brother just happened to like the XBOX (and this is before the new white XBOX 360 came out). The cake is a standard 13"x9" cake.

If you have not already done so, bake your 13”x9” cake according to package directions. Be sure to grease and flour the pan thoroughly. Baking spray alone won’t do much good for this cake. Once the cake has cooled in the pan for about 10 minutes, remove it from the pan by flipping it out onto a wire cooling rack. The easiest way to do this is to place a wire cooling rack on top of the pan and, using a hand on either side to keep the rack and the pan clamped together, flip the entire pan over. Set the rack down on the counter top and gently lift the cake pan to remove. If some of the cake sticks to the pan, just use a scraper to remove it and place it back on the rest of the cake. It won’t show once the cake is decorated. Continue cooling the cake completely. If it is not cooled, your icing will start to melt and slide off the cake.

Transfer your cake to a large cutting board. Place the template for your controller on top of the cake and carefully cut around it. Set aside the excess cake. You won't need it and you will have something to munch on while you put the cake together. You could save it for later to serve slightly crumbled in a bowl with ice cream and chocolate syrup.

Place your cake right side up on the plate you will display it on. If you prefer, you can place your cake on a cake board (cut to the shape of the cake) and move it to it’s permanent home once it is completed. However, most of us don’t have cake boards handy. The cake pictured here is resting on a large glass plate.

I chose to ice the entire cake in chocolate icing because I wasn't about to try to make that much black icing...and I didn't want to EAT that much black icing. Using your spatula, ice a thin layer of icing all over the cake. Pay particular attention to the sides where you made your cuts. This layer of icing is meant to “seal in” the cake crumbs so they don’t get all over your finished cake. Allow the icing so set and firm up a bit. Ice the entire cake as usual with a nice thick coating.

For this particular cake, use the picture (or an actual XBOX controller) as a reference for where the Oreo cookies should go. Push the Oreo’s into the cake until just the top cookie is above the surface of the cake. Lightly ice over them. For the controller joysticks, unwrap two Reese's peanut butter miniatures and place them upside-down on two of the Oreo cookies.

To create the “outlines” of the controller, fill one sandwich bag 1/3 full with some chocolate icing. Push the icing toward one of the bottom corners of the bag. Snip a small hole in the corner of the bag with your scissors. Twist the excess bag to create a decorating “piping bag”. Place the “twist” in the joint between your thumb and the rest of your hand. Close your hand over the rest of the bag. View a video tutorial for this step if you are unsure how it should be done. To decorate your cake, you will squeeze the bag. Try it a little on some wax paper to get used to it.

Now, take the piping bag and, using the picture as a reference, pipe icing onto the remaining Oreo to create a “directional pad”. Then, pipe icing to outline areas of the controller. In this case, a little bit of piping was all that was needed to draw attention to the XBOX written in the middle of the cake.

Pipe a curling “cord” on the plate coming out of the back of the “controller”.

The buttons are all made of jellybeans. One white jellybean, 3 black, one yellow, one red, one green, and one purple (I didn’t have a blue one). Two black one are used to create the “start” and “back” buttons at the bottom center of the controller. The red, yellow, green, and purple (or blue) ones make up the “A”, “B”, “X”, and “Y” buttons. For the black and white buttons on the controller, since they are slightly smaller, cut both the black and white jellybeans in half before positioning them on the cake.

Melt down some green candy wafers and spoon the melted candy into a sandwich bag. Allow the candy to thicken up a little bit so it will be easier to pipe onto the cake. Cut a hole in the corner of the bag just as you did for the icing. This should be a tiny hole. Then pipe the XBOX “logo” in the center of the cake. You can use any extra melted green candy to write a message to the guest of honor. A good place for this would be directly on the cake plate between the handles of the controller.

Congratulations! You have just completed a cake that men (and boys) would be proud to dig into!

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Pumpkin Cake

I saw this cake as an ad for Kraft Food & Family online (I already subscribe to the magazine - it's free!) and I HAD to go online to find out how to do it.

My husband LOVES pumpkins. He say's they are peaceful and happy. In fact, he loves them so much, we have pumpkin pillows, a pumpkin rug, a pumpkin cookie jar, teapot, soup tureen, fruit bowl, salt & pepper shakers...we have a lot of pumpkins in this house. And they aren't jack-o-lanterns. They are unaltered pumpkins. We didn't buy all of it ourselves, some were gifts.

Right around Halloween of last year, I was flipping through my Food & Family Magazine when I saw a picture of this great pumpkin cake. My husbands 40th birthday was coming up (in 8 more months) and what could be a better cake for him than a pumpkin! I wasn't much of a cake decorator. I had managed to throw together cakes for my kids birthdays and I never heard many complaints, but I like to have a "wow" factor at birthday parties.

This cake is basically a bundt cake with an ice cream cone upside-down in the top hole. (It's a cake cone, not a sugar cone). Ice the cake then place the cone in the top and ice the cone.

Update 4/02/2014: The Kraft Food & Family Magazine is no longer offered as a free subscription but I found the cake on their website...the Great Pumpkin Cake.

Welcome Message

Welcome! This blog is collection of cakes I have decorated.

You don't need to be a professional to make these. If you did, I wouldn't be here...I am NOT a professional. I just like decorating and making something that the kids will smile over.

My first kids cake was a very basic chocolate 2-layer cake with a blue stick figure on it for my oldest son's 1st birthday back in 1994. I insisted on making my children's first cake. Later, when I got sick of the hum-drum too sweet sheet cakes from the store, I decided try something a bit more "fun". I started with the pumpkin design in 2005 for my husband's 40th birthday (he loves pumpkins) and I worked up from there. You won't find these cakes in your grocery store! The kids never ask for anything from the bakery anymore either.

I am trying to include pictures and instructions for each cake. You don't HAVE to attend cake decorating classes. (I didn't) And you don't HAVE to have a lot of tools to get started. All it takes to make these cakes is a little patience and some imagination. If you don't want to bother with the imagination part, just check through the designs listed to the right for something that interests you. I am constantly clipping cake and cupcake pictures from magazines for inspiration. I have seen some really cute stuff out there!

For those of you who are inexperienced when it comes to BAKING a cake, not just decorating one, I have a 3 part video tutorial series on
Yahoo! Voices online. Check it out!

Cake decorating is a part-time hobby for me. I don't sell cakes or cake products. I only make about 5 or 6 decorated cakes a year and occasionally will decorate cupcakes for a holiday or just for fun. Enjoy the blog! If you have questions, feel free to ask and I'll do my best to help you out. Thanks for coming by!

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