Saturday, October 22, 2011

Gender Reveal!

Babies, Babies, Everywhere! It seems as though every week there's been a baby announcement within our circle of friends. And with the anticipation of a baby comes finding out girl or boy right around the half way point. Recently, I've had the privilege of making a couple of "gender reveal" cakes. The really cool part about this is being one of the first to know the baby's gender and getting to keep a secret! Here's a pic of the 1st one:

It was a complete rip off of the invite, so don't go thinkin' I'm all that creative. My favorite part about this cake is that it has chocolate icing. I've only recently begun making my own chocolate buttercream and I can't even tell you how good it tastes. However, because I'm new at the chocolate buttercream and because I was trying extra hard to make sure the icing was thick enough to cover the blue cake underneath, it came out too fudgey and cracked a little. :( Ah well, you live and you learn. But it was definitely one of my favorite cakes ever, because getting to be the first to know the gender, aside from the doctor....what an awesome feeling! I'll admit, my heart started racing as I was opening the envelope and I even teared up a bit. Here's a pic after the big reveal!

And here's another gender reveal cake that you might recognize. ;)

Another complete ripoff, but it's a perfect design for such an occasion. Notice the chocolate is a bit smoother this go 'round. :) What's also different about this cake is that the parents already knew the gender, so the reveal was for family and friends. They had a little fun with the cake by hiding a token (think king cake baby) inside and letting the lucky recipient make the big announcement. Cool idea. Here's a post-reveal pic:

So, let the baby boom continue and I highly recommend having a "gender reveal" of some sort. Such a fun idea!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

ROAR...Trace is 4!

My baby boy is all grown up! He is very opinionated, so naturally, he helped pick the theme of this year's birthday celebration...Dinosaurs!
He's such a helper, he even offered to "help" me clean up while making his cake. ;)
Now that he's older, I try to include him in making decisions for his party. So, I gave him 3 options for a cake and this is the one he chose:
It's a "Rex the Dinosaur" cake by Betty Crocker. It was super simple, cause it's basically 2 - 9 inch rounds carved into the shape of a dinosaur and pieced together. Trace's favorite color is orange, so we tried to incorporate some orange elements with the writing and candies to appeal to his tastes, while staying true to the original. We added Hershey Kisses for the spikes & big spots, m&m's for the claws & small spots, and candy rocks, well, for the rocks. ;) Here's a shot of the cake table:
We added cupcakes, cause who doesn't love cupcakes? :) Found the toppers along with everything else on clearance at a party store back in January. That's why it pays to plan ahead! :)
And dinosaur sugar cookies, which Trace helped to decorate.
Here's the finished product, candle & all.
Singing, "Happy Birthday to you..."
And, of course, he wanted to eat the head! :)

Trace Turns 3 & Toy Story 3!

June 2010 marked the release of Toy Story 3 in theatres, but it also marked a very special day in our family...Trace's 3rd Birthday! What better way to celebrate but combining the two into one?! After I found the Buzz candle at a party store, I knew I wanted to showcase it somehow. So, I did a quick Google search and this is what I came up with:
This cake looks a lot more complex than it really is. Basically, it was 2 Wilton Soccer Ball cakes, stacked with 1 - 8 inch round in the center. The hardest part was icing it, since there wasn't a flat surface, but I used a scraper to give it some texture and it began to take shape. I literally plopped some grey icing right on top and smoothed it out just a little. Then, I made some craters with a spoon and gave it some shimmer with silver icing dust. The logo was transferred on with transfer gel, but was designed by this lovely lady for the invitation.
Here is a view from behind, "To Infinity And Beyond..."!
And a view of the cake table:
Toy Story cupcakes, enough to feed a crowd.
Originally, I was planning on just using the cupcake rings as toppers, but then I found the Rex & Little Green Men sugar pieces and decided to use them, too. I think they make a nice touch, but they are VERY fragile (they must be Italian). I lost several in the making, just trying to get them off of the paper.
I think the Birthday Boy was pleased...don't you? ;)

Friday, May 13, 2011

On The Farm

Trace's 4th Birthday is creeping up on me! And I wanted to post pics of his past birthday cakes before the big day. You can find his 1st Birthday Cake pics here.

Today, we'll look at Year 2. If I had to identify a first love of Trace's beyond Mom & Dad, I'd have to say animals. Since he was a baby, he's always been drawn to them and so it became a no-brainer deciding on his 2nd birthday theme..."On The Farm". Here's a pic of the cake table:

I got the idea to do a barn when I found a "house" cake pan from Wilton. I baked 2 funfetti house cakes, placed them standing up side by side, and "glued" them together with chocolate icing. (Trace's 3rd love could easily be identified as "trocolate" as he used to say when he was 2.) :) Then I used a flat side of the basketweave tip to give it the look of wooden boards and used the same tip in white for the trim & doors. For the hay, I added brown to the red icing I had left over and piped it with a shell tip. Then I took a break from piping cause my wrist was killing me and began to work on the cupcakes. ;)

The cupcake idea, I stole directly from a Wilton catalog. Basically, they are mini sugar cookies for the faces and snouts that I stacked on top of cupcakes with icing. I had made more, but a few of them lost their heads after sitting overnight. :( Then I placed them all on green cake boards and sprinkled green coconut all around. It was rather simple, but tedious.

Here's Farmer Trace enjoying his 2nd Birthday celebration!

Stay tuned for Year 3...coming soon! :)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Mr. & Mrs. Eli Ballard!

Another Ballard got hitched! Ernie's brother, Eli, and his wife, Kassi, married in Grand Isle last weekend and we were happy to be a part of their big day. When they asked me to make their cake, I was honored but also a bit nervous about making a wedding cake on the island because of the heat/humidity and because I'd only have 1 day to do it...yikes! So, I packed up my kitchen(KitchenAid and all) and unloaded at my mom's house. I kicked my parents out of the kitchen and got straight to work after the rehearsal dinner Thursday night. I baked until midnight and got all but one layer finished. Then I woke up early Friday morning and baked the last layer of the bottom tier, then started mixing the icing, all while leveling, filling, & stacking simultaneously. I think I had the entire thing iced and ready to be decorated by 10AM and finished decorating by noon. I finished in record time and still had a chance to visit with family and relax a little before the bridal shower that evening! So here is the finished product...tada!

I was pleased that it came out level and how well the pattern & transfer came out. I was, however, a bit disappointed that I scraped a little too much icing off the middle tier when smoothing it out and you can see the cake peeking through. :( Also, in our communication about which green to get for the trim, I may have a leaned a little close to "emerald" rather than "clover". Oops. But I do learn something new with every cake that I make and this one was no exception. I previously had trouble adding ribbon to cakes because the icing would always bleed through. However, on this one, I placed strips of wax paper behind the ribbon with double stick tape and it worked out great! Overall, I was pleased knowing that I did the best that I could in the time that I had and the bride and groom seemed happy. That works for me! :)

Congrats, Mr. & Mrs. Eli Ballard! Thanks for letting me be a part of your day!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Happy Birthday, Ernie!

Ernie turns the big 3-2 tomorrow! (4/5) In honor of his big day, I thought I'd share a pic of last year's birthday cake. No, I didn't make this one. But I did pay $40 for this cake at Cold Stone, which in my opinion is just as bad. In my defense, I had just given birth to Fisher and life was kinda crazy. But I'm glad I have this because it reminds me of why I decided to make cakes in the first place. I'm not a real big fan of surprises. Anyhoo, Happy Birthday Ernie! I love love you. :)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Fisher is One!

My baby boy, Fisher, turned 1 last week and we celebrated with a Little Red Wagon-themed party. He was a little under the weather, so the party had to be downsized; but he still had a great time! Here he is enjoying some of his cake:

Nice & neat at first...

This stuff is awesome! More, please!!!

Mommy's gonna be scrubbing this high chair for days! hehe

For the cake this year, I decided to keep it simple. I wanted to do a red sheet cake and make it a wagon by adding Oreo Cakester wheels (sidenote - if you're wondering what a "Cakester" is, you're missing out on one of the greatest things in life since...well, the Oreo. Check 'em out. Seriously. Stop reading, go to the store, get some, eat some, then tell me they're not one of the best cookies you've ever eaten.) I digress...and an Oreo Funstix for the handle (these are not near as good, but they did serve as a good handle with the help of a skewer). I had also purchased a bottle of this stuff in red:

...thinking I could take a shortcut & avoid having to make the dreaded red icing that I dispise cause 1) I hate the flavor or red icing. It's just too bitter for my taste. & 2) It never seems as bold or as brilliant as some of the other icing colors. & 3) It's a pain to make. I never used this "color mist" before, so I thought I'd try it on a cupcake before I ruined an entire cake with this stuff. Boy, am I glad I did. Warning! - this stuff tastes like chemicals and it runs and smears just like spray paint. Boo Wilton. I had high expectations and this stuff was a major disappointment. Plus, the "red" looked more like maroon. So, I caved and made my own red and at first glance it looked too pink, but once it dried overnight; I think it was much closer to the red I was going for. Here's a look at the cake table:

Here's the cake, plain & simple. I wrote "Happy Birthday Fisher" in white with tip #7, then outlined in blue with tip #2. The "1" was inspired by the "1" on his shirt, only the circles were 2 shades of white on the shirt and I wanted them to stand out more on the cake, so I chose blue.

I also added a little licence plate on the backside that says "FISHER1".

This was my first time using the grass tip #233. It was pretty easy to use. I'm sure you'll be seeing more grass on my cakes in the near future. ;)

We also had cupcakes. This little wagon was supposed to be my cake topper until it came in and I realized how small it was!

And more cupcakes. Bonus points to anyone who can identify what they're supposed to be? A few people that I asked didn't "get" them. :( The winner will receive a free bottle of red Wilton Color Mist icing spray! ;)