Introducing Tooly Tuesday!

Welcome to my latest blog addition… Tooly Tuesday!

I have been thinking about what I could add to my blog that might be interesting and inspiring, and different from what I am already doing. So, I came up with the idea of featuring a different cake decorating or pastry tool.  My intent is that this won’t necessarily be a tutorial, but more of an inspirational piece that will give you ideas of things you can try.  I will show you a tool, talk a bit about how it is used, and try and touch on some unusual or uncommon uses.  If I touch on anything that you want to know more about, let me know! I am always open to ideas.

So, to kick off this latest addition, I thought about what tool I wanted to feature. Something new? Something old? Something unusual?  Then I thought, why not start at the beginning? When I am teaching brand new decorating students, we start with the Star Tip. Bingo! The star tip it is…

The star tips come in two basic types, Open Stars and Closed Stars.  Today I am sticking with the Open style, we will leave the closed ones for another Tuesday.  The Open Stars are tips numbered 13-22, 32, 172, 199, 362-4, 2110, 4B, 6B, and 8B (to see examples of all those tips check out the tip chart).  All the following photos were done using a tip 18, except for the shell border and basketweave, which I opted to use a tip 21.

Okay, so anyone who has even attempted to decorate has probably used a star tip. And obviously, a star tip can be used to make stars.


However, did you know you can use the star tips for more than stars? In my Wilton classes we teach five more uses:
1. Rosettes

2. Zig-Zags

3. Shell Border

4. Reverse shells

 5. Basketweave
**This technique can be done with a variety of tips, but we use the star tip in class

There are tons more uses for the star tip beyond what I teach in class. In fact, I think I could probably teach an entire course using just the star tips! Here are just a few more uses to spark your imagination:

E’s, C’s, and S’s
(when used in combination with other tips, these can look pretty cool, so look for these to show up again in a future Tooly Tuesday)

(another one that looks especially good when used in combination with other tips)

Flur de lis
(These are a combination of one shell, and two reverse shells)


Rope Border
(I sometimes throw this technique in as a bonus when teaching the basketweave in my flowers class since it makes such a nice border).

Whew! So many uses for such a little, unassuming tip. So with all these uses, could you decorate an entire cake with just the open star tips (other than the character pans of course)? 

 You bet!

I hope I have inspired you to dust off your star tips and try using them for more than stars and shells. Happy Decorating!

If you have a tool that you would like to see featured on Tooly Tuesday, leave a comment and let me know! Also, if you like my blog, why not consider becoming a follower?

I've come a long way baby!

Not long ago I realized it has been exactly two years since I made my very first fondant covered cake.

Yes, Father's Day 2009, marks my very first foray into the world of fondant. I had no idea what I was doing. I never took any classes (still haven't had a fondant class), and I hadn't read anything about how to use it or cover a cake with it. Keeping that in mind, I think it wasn't too bad! Oh, I would definitely do it differently now, but I am still kind of proud of that first attempt, especially since it wasn't a round cake (which are the easiest shapes to cover).
Fast forward to about the same time in 2010:

I didn't make it for Father's Day, but it was made in June for my friend's birthday. This one was my first time covering a ball in fondant. Covering a ball is not easy and is something I still struggle to get right, but for the first time I think I did pretty good. The handle and spout are also in fondant since I still hadn't really started using gumpaste yet.

So now we come to 2011:

Definitely a long way from the tie cake.

I still have a long way to go and a lot to learn, but looking back at how far I come in such a relatively short period of time, I can clearly see that God has blessed me with this talent. Even though He has not opened the doors to allow me to turn this into a business of any kind, I am currently content to bless my friends and family with cakes for their various occasions... they sure keep me busy! So thanks to everyone who has allowed me to share my talents and who have encouraged me along the way. I've come a long way baby!

Happy Father's Day!

Go D-Backs!

This year my son had the opportunity to be on his very first t-ball team! He had a lot of fun playing ball and we had privilege of meeting some wonderful families from the Natomas area. Well, sadly, t-ball is over for the year, but our team wanted to get together for one last end-of-season bash! It was a potluck, so of course I volunteered for dessert!

I have been wanting to try my hand at a Topsy-Turvy cake for a while now, so I thought this was the time to give it a go. The first thing I learned, don't try to do one of these cakes with a box mix! I wanted to cut down on the cost since I had already spent so much on cakes this month, so I went with the good old box mixes... big mistake. They simply cannot hold up under their own weight! The top edge of my first tier is slowly sinking and falling away from the rest of the cake. I feel certain that by morning it will have hit the floor, so I am already planning out my repair strategy.  Thankfully I have a couple extra cake layers in the freezer for just such an emergency!

But for now, it stands. It isn't all pretty, but there are parts I like. I think the baseballs came out pretty good! They are rice crispy treats, almond candy and fondant.

The Diamondbacks snake logo turned out pretty good too.

I hand painted the pennant. After I cut and dried the flag, I realized that I did it backwards. I had planned on making it double-sided, but the "paint" didn't dry fast enough for me to flip it over without messing it up. If my edible markers hadn't run out of ink, I wouldn't have had that problem.

Although I hated it about halfway through the process and I told my hubby I was not going to let him take photos of it, in the end I guess it isn't so bad... and my son likes it, so really that is the most important thing to me, and that makes me happy... as long as it is not on the floor in the morning!

Simplicity Revisited

Nothing is as simple as we hope it will be. ~ Jim Horning

This thought is never so true as when dealing with cake! The more simple the cake design, the more difficult it is to pull off flawlessly. A cake with lots of details looks amazing, and all those details can be used to cover up little flaws. But when you have a simple, plain cake there is nothing to cover up any imperfections! This was my next challenge.

My pastor's son, Shay, recently got married and because the wedding was in another state, they were planning a reception here and they asked me if I would be willing to make the cake. Jerolyn, Pastor Jim's wife, told me that she just loved one of the cakes I had done a few months back, one I called Simplicity. That was the cake they wanted me to reproduce, but larger. No problem, I can do that.... or can I?  Sure, it looked good in the pictures, but you don't see all the fondant I shoved under the pedals when they all broke as I was trying to put it together! I never felt that I was very successful with that flower even though I was able to make it look nice for the photos. So here was my chance to make it work!

The other challenge with this cake is, as I mentioned earlier, simple cakes are really the most difficult to do well. My plan for this one was to do a four tier version of my original. That means I have to make four perfect cakes.

Well, they weren't perfect, but I am really pleased with the finished product.

Congratulations Shay and Haley Bogear! May the joy of your love last forever and may the Lord pour His blessings on you. 

It's Merely a Trifle

If you ever need an impressive looking dessert that is easy to put together and uses up a large amount of cake scraps that you have in your freezer (or maybe I am the only one with several bags of cake scraps taking up space!), then I have the dessert for you!

Doesn't it look impressive?

I would love to say that I slaved for hours over this Trifle, but in reality I think it took me about 15 minutes to put together (including the time to make pudding and slice the fruit)? Maybe a little longer because I was trying to make the fruit look nice on the side.

Want to know how I did it? Here is how you too can make one of these scrumptious desserts:

Start by crumbling (or cubing) cake for the bottom layer. The original recipe I think called for two 8" circles, but I really did not measure anything and it came out great (Also, all the measurements will really depend on the size of the bowl you want to build it in.) Then I added a layer of fresh, sliced strawberries (I mixed them with some sugar and let them sit for a bit after I sliced them). On top of the strawberries went a layer of sliced bananas (mixed with some orange juice which kept them from browning). Then a layer of vanilla pudding (I used one large box), topped with a layer of blueberries.  I topped that all with a second layer of cake crumbs, used my remaining strawberries and stuck them to the side of the bowl to make it look pretty, and topped the whole thing with whipped cream.

Didn't I tell you that was easy? Now you know what you can do with that cake that didn't quite rise correctly, or that broke in half when you moved it.... or that your toddler helped herself to (after removing the parts she touched).

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