From Cake Lab

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Wall-E Cake

After a couple "cookie cutter" cakes with the cricut, I thought it was about time I do something a little more challenging and fun. Wall-E seemed like the perfect choice.
Before I began working on the cake, I looked up other people's work to see how they took on the challenge. As with most cakes, there were some crazy cool ones, and some not so awesome ones. However, even the really great cakes I found had Wall-E bright yellow. While watching the movie (I usually like to have the film inspiration on in the background while I work), I noticed Wall-E is barely yellow at all, and if anything he is kinda flesh toned. I really wanted to get the color right so added just a bit of copper, brown and yellow dye to the fondant. I then airbrushed him slowly with the same three colors, and added some detail with red, black, and moonstone petal dusts.

I brought Wall-E into work so I didn't have to throw him out (or if he stayed home, he'd probably spend the next couple months on my counter!). He was a big hit there, but he didn't make it there 100% in tact. I don't know why I didn't think of it sooner, but using either melted chocolate or sugar would have worked as a great glue between the fondant treads and buttercream on the wheels. At least I'll be ready for the next time!

As with my last 3D cake, I took some progress photos and posted them in a Facebook album.
Overall I think it's my favorite cake to date, and I would love it if I was commissioned to make another as there are a few things I'd do differently to make him a little more accurate.

Valentine's Day Cake

Valentine's Day is fast approaching so I thought it would be a good idea to make a sample cake for the occasion. It also allowed me to practice out my cricut a little more.
Overall it was a pretty simple cake, but working with gumpaste in this dry weather is starting to become difficult. Kneading it is like another workout! Definitely time to bring a humidifier into the kitchen.

Take a peek into the cake. Made with real strawberries, it's one of my favorite flavors!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Rainbow Butterfly Cake

My parents had been offering to buy me a Cricut Cake machine for months as a graduation gift. If you haven't heard of the Cricut Cakes, they are machines that cut shapes out of fondant, gumpaste, and frosting sheets. At first I thought "no way, it is way too much" (at $399.99 retail). Even at online discount shops the price tag was pretty hefty. On top of that, I originally thought you could only use the frosting sheets to make the cutouts, which they sell at $5 a piece! So for a while I didn't see owning a Cricut in my near future.
Then I heard about a one day sale at a local craft store a few days before Christmas. It was over 50% off, so if I was ever gonna get it that was the time. I told my parents about it and the offer was still available so I am now the proud owner of a Cricut Cake machine!

I was concerned that owning a machine would take the personalization out of my cakes. It is true to an extent, but using the Cricut is really just like using any other cookie cutter, except better because you can make the shapes any size you want. With the limitless size options, the Cricut is a really useful tool.

Using the machine is definitely not as easy as they make it look. If you've never had experience with fondant/gum paste, you really couldn't just buy this machine and make beautiful cakes with a push of the button. It took me a while to get the hang of it, but once I did it became a lot of fun.

Since this was a test cake for my new Cricut, I used it for all the decorations. Once dried, the butterflies were airbrushed in sheen food colors for a metallic look. Really can't wait to see what else this machine can do!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Stripes & Dots 1st Bday Cake

Another 1st Birthday cake. This design of stripes and polka dots is pretty simple but effective. The hardest part was actually the cupcake! I couldn't find and jumbo sized wrappers that were anything but white, so I ended up spraying some food coloring on one. After placing the cupcake in the painted wrapper, the paper flared out and it didn't look right at all. Fortunately I was able to solve the problem with a little hot glue (nothing that touched the cake!) and it gave me the look I was hoping for. Also had to use a generous amount of buttercream to ensure that the chocolate cake didn't poke through.
This is my first time using a new layout for my photos. I think the cakes look much nicer with the colored background, so I'm currently going through my website gallery and giving all my past cakes the color treatment. Very time consuming but it will be worth it in the end!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Sleeping Bambi Cake

After taking a bit of a break in December, I'm jumping back into the world of cakes with full force. I have a long list of requested cakes, sample cakes, and cakes I want to do just for fun.
This week I decided to start with something fun.

While browsing cake photos on flickr, I stumbled upon a pretty cute looking Bambi cake. Not only would it be a good addition to my portfolio, but my sister had asked me to make a Bambi cake recently and I had been craving a sculpted cake, so it was the perfect choice!...even if not the most original.
Bambi gave me a little more trouble than I expected, but in the end it turned out OK. I included some in progress photos in a Facebook album as I always find it interesting to see how 3D cakes are made.
The grass was made with buttercream and I used new font cutters for the text.
I experienced many emotions while making this cake (nothing unusual), but in the end it got me really excited to get to work!

Monday, January 3, 2011

2011 New Years Cake

2010 is finally over! What a year it was.
I determined back in February that I wanted my future to be with custom cakes, but finding the right "path" wasn't so easy. Should I have attended culinary school, looked for an internship, or find a job? In the end I concluded that the best option for me would be to start my own thing in a safe environment and go from there.
I had many doubts about this path, but thanks to the support of family, friends, and even people I don't really know, I took the plunge and went for it.
For a new biz, 2010 was not a bad year, but it is definitely safe to say I only got what I put into it. I was too easily distracted by life to put all my energies into my new business, but with the new year comes renewed vigor, and although 2011 has just begun, it looks like it is going to be an amazing year.

A Look Back

Yeah...definitely not my most impressive cake.
This was my 4th or 5th cake, and looking's worse than I remember.
BUT the great thing about looking back is I can see how far I've come. After more than 35 cakes in 2010, I have learned so much about the art of cake decorating.
While the 2011 cake is fairly simple, it is a vast improvement from the previous year's, and I'm excited to see the progress that will be made in the upcoming year.