Art Deco!

I love Art Deco! I like the clean lines, the geometric shapes, and I love the era it represents.  It is certainly fun to see this style making a comeback, especially when it comes to weddings. Really these days weddings are becoming more theme based rather than tradition based. Pick a theme that fits you and run with it! I think that the Art Deco style, which in it's heyday represented luxury, glamor and decadence, is perfect for a wedding!  It is the one time that people get to throw a huge party to celebrate with their friends. Even budget conscious weddings are big affairs for most people.

This wedding was beautiful! I wish I had pictures of the location, but the bride and groom picked a beautiful outdoor location at a winery and they really did a fantastic job with the Art Deco theme without going over the top. I loved everything they did.

I was also thrilled to be able to contribute to the affair with this Art Deco inspired cake!


Horizontal stripes are really tricky to get right!  It took some work, but in the end I was pretty happy how everything turned out. The gold sections are a shiny gold, but it doesn't show in the photo.

Almost all of the shapes were hand cut from a template since I didn't have cutters the right shapes or sizes.


Kourtney, the bride, also wanted to surprise her groom with a cake just for him, so I made him this off-roading cake with a replica of his truck on top.  I really love how this cake turned out.  My favorite part was the little tire tracks behind the truck, but unfortunately we didn't get a good picture of that (you can kind of see them in the photo below).


I really like the "mud" too... which is all chocolate ganache, and smelled really, really good when I was putting it on the cake! The truck is rice treats covered in modeling chocolate and then covered in fondant and hand painted. The mud on the truck is ganache too.

Congratulations Kourtney and Ryan!  Thank you for letting me be a part of your very special day.

Steampunk!

This is one of my favorite cakes so far... I think I saw that about a lot of cakes, but it is true! This cake took a lot of time to create, but I am super happy with the finished product.

About one month ago, Celia of Celia Rose Inc, contacted me about creating a cake for a window display that would be created at Sparkle Bridal Couture in Sacramento.  I was absolutely thrilled, and truth be told a little nervous, to be a part of such a wonderful project. She sent me color ideas, the window sketch and gave me a theme: Steampunk! For those who haven't heard of steampunk before, it is best described as the Victorian era meets the Industrial age. Very 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. It can actually be taken in lots of different directions, but Celia gave me free reign with the cake design, so this is the direction I went.

Let's start at the top and work our way down, shall we?


The very top layer was a top hat! I decided to hand paint the stripes because it kept the over all look clean but still with a bit of rustic imperfection.  The roses are all hand made sugar flowers and the feathers are also hand made from rice paper.  I added a few gears in there too because you really can't have too many gears when doing something steampunk!


The hat was cocked jauntily off to one side , and I added in more sugar flowers, feathers, and a handkerchief and broach to fill in the void. The handkerchief is also edible and is made out of gumpaste.


All of that is perched in top of a corset layer.


At the base of the corset I added another broach and handkerchief along with a couple more roses.


 The Corset is perched upon a "metal" patchwork tier that has been aged a bit.  Then everything rests on the top of an old wooden chest with a fun series of gears working their way up the sides. All the gears are made out of fondant and airbrushed in metallic finishes.




And there you have it! My very first Steampunk creation! I love this style and I am looking forward to my next opportunity to create something like this again. 


 After I completed my creation, I brought it to Sparkle and helped put their window display together.


 Here they are placing one of the gowns in the window. There was a videographer on site working on a video about the window display.


I wish there wasn't so much glare on the windows, but this was the best picture I was able to get of my cake in the window.

Thankfully Carmen of Carmen Salazar Photography was on site and she took these wonderful photos:







Owl Baby Shower

In all the excitement and craziness of last week I totally forgot to put this blog together! Well here you go... an owl baby shower!

This cake was fun to make and you really can't go wrong with cute forest creatures.And when you put them together as a family...


You have the perfect recipe for a cute baby shower!  This particular design was based on the plates and napkins.  I love being able to bring those inspiration pieces to life!


This family of owls was perched atop a tree that wrapped around all three tiers. There were lots of polka dots and flowers and a banner was stretched around the tree to welcome the newest addition to the family!

My own little minion!

This year my little girl turned 4! I thought for sure I was going to be making a cake with ponies, but at the last minute she changed her mind (as kids tend to do), and decided that she wanted a minion of her very own.  I can't say that I minded very much as this cake was fairly easy and fun to make!






I found this idea on Pintrest and my daughter fell in love and begged me to make it. This mamma cannot resist the pleading eyes of her tiny daughter, so the minion cake was born.  Considering we were going to be traveling with this cake 3.5 hours to celebrate with other family and take a much needed vacation, I was happy to make a design that would hold up well to travel.

So a very happy birthday to my sweet little girl! Mommy and Daddy love you very much and we are so very proud of you!

Star Wars Birthday

One of the boys in my son's Cub Scout pack was celebrating his 7th birthday this week!  I had so much fun making this cake. I even got to use my recently acquired lego block making skills again!


For this cake I made 20 light sabers (in blue, green and red), which was lots of fun, and even though you can't see it very well in the picture, they were even sparkly. The challenge on this cake was definitely the characters. They are so hard to get right!


I still am not entirely happy with either one, but they were pretty cute and my 8 year-old son thought they were pretty awesome. Whenever I do a cake for a child, he helps me out by critiquing my work. If he likes it I know not to be too hard on myself. I can be a pretty harsh critic and I see all the little flaws in everything I do... which causes me to stress out sometimes. 


Kids cakes are lots of fun to do though!  I get to play and have fun and although I still try to make everything perfect, I think I enjoy the process more than I do with wedding cakes. But I guess that really depends on the design; some are definitely more stressful than others.

All in all, this was by far one of the most fun and satisfying cakes I have done in awhile. I added glitter and sparkles, and I just couldn't help but love it in the end.

So, Happy Birthday Nick! I hope you had a great birthday and I really hope you loved your cake.

Lego Cupcakes!

This week my baby boy turns 8! Wow... 8 already. Time sure does fly doesn't it? I definitely think that is a concept that you truly do not understand until you have kids.


Anyway, at this moment my son is totally obsessed with Legos, all kinds of Legos.  So after changing his mind multiple times, he finally decided that this year he wanted Lego cupcakes.  I was going to make a small cake for him so we could put his candle and stuff on, but one layer of cake came out looking very much like a cupcake, so he decided he wanted it to look like one giant cupcake!

I went into this project thinking... Legos, no sweat! How hard can it be to make a brick with little buttons on the top? Wow... I had no idea. I have made a lot of cakes and some super complex things to go on them, but after 4 hours of work and only one brick to show for it, I was beginning to wonder if I had met my match. I started out making a mold of a Lego thinking I could just make them out of poured chocolate. It worked great... once. After that I could not get them out of the mold without the little buttons on the top breaking off.

After several different attempts I finally settled on a technique that was actually not too difficult and turned out pretty well, at least good enough to recognize! All the bricks were made out of  modeling chocolate, and I made some in blue and some in chocolate brown.

I was originally going to make a mini figure to hold the candle on his cake, but he decided he wanted a tower of Legos instead, score one for mommy! 


All in all, I think they came out pretty well, and he is happy so that is what really matters. Happy birthday to my not-so-little boy! Mommy and Daddy love you very much and we are so very proud of you!

Red, White and Blue Birthday!


This cake was a lot of fun to make! I love the simplicity of the design, but it is still pretty and fun! The other part that might surprise a few people is that this cake is completely gluten free! See? Gluten free people can have amazing cakes too!


Gluten free should taste good too! Being a newly gluten free person myself (it will be one year in August) I still know what the real thing should taste like and I for one don't like to settle for "good enough."  Just thinking about this cake makes my mouth water! I love cake.... 

But I digress... back to cake design! This cake had a single sugar flower sitting at the bottom. I really do love making sugar flowers, even if they are time consuming. there is something satisfying about making something that looks real but is made of sugar!

First Birthday!

I created this cake for a little boy who was celebrating his first birthday!  I had a lot of fun putting this colorful cake together! I love the combination of polka dots and stripes and the cute "stuffed" lion perched on top.


The stars popping out all over make a perfect final touch on this wonderful cake for a fun celebration!


To complete the display I also made a couple dozen cupcakes in chocolate, red velvet and lion!



These little guys took longer than I expected to make, but I am really happy with how they turned out! 

Allergen Free Banana Muffin Recipe!

I made several variations of this recipe, and had a hard time getting a picture of any of them because we ate them all before I could grab a camera! Here they are will some fresh blueberries mixed in... oh so yummy!
This is a first for me... my very first recipe! I have never posted a recipe on my blog before, but there is always a first time, right?  As some of you may know, almost one year ago I discovered that I have a plethora of food allergies and sensitivities. This revelation turned my food world upside down and I have been re-learning how to cook and bake ever since. My main challenges are staying away from gluten, dairy, and eggs when baking. My mom discovered her food allergies a year and a half before I did, but of course we don't have all the same sensitivities... this recipe is one we both like!

I found a recipe on another blog, and it was vegan, but not gluten free... so after some tweaking and re-working I have a wonderfully fluffy, tasty, I-can't-believe-it's-gluten-free muffin! I really think this is the first recipe I have tried that didn't make me feel like I was settling for something. And it didn't contain any of the things that both my mom and I have to avoid. Win-win! 

So here it is:

Super Yummy Banana Muffins


Ingredients:

  • 1 to 1 1/4 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 3)
  • 1 ¼ cups brown rice flour (198g)
  • 5 tablespoons Potato Starch (53g)
  • 3 tablespoons Tapioca Starch (23g)
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder (make sure it is gluten-free)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup margarine (use the vegan kind if you want it vegan or need to avoid dairy)
  • 1/2 cup milk, (coconut, almond, soy, rice, cow's, whatever you like)
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Spray non-stick muffin pans with floured cooking spray, or grease and flour the pans.
  2. In a small bowl, mash the bananas; set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine flours, xanthan gum, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and stir to incorporate; set aside.
  4. In a mixer, combine granulated sugar, banana, butter, milk, brown sugar, and vanilla, until well combined. My butter was in small pieces but that seemed to work well.
  5. Add dry ingredients and mix well. My batter was on the thin side, maybe just a bit thicker than pancake batter.
  6. Optional addition: I added a couple of handfuls of large flake coconut (which was yummy), blueberries might be pretty yummy too! 
  7. Using a cooking sprayed one-tablespoon measure for a mini muffin pan or a sprayed one-quarter cup measure for a regular sized pan (or what is appropriate for your pan size). Fill the cavities between 2/3 and 3/4 full; don't exceed 3/4 full. You can also split these into two loaf pans.
  8. Bake until done. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter. I baked mine at 400 for 20 minutes, at which point they were nicely domed and golden around the edges but still batter in the center. I then reduced the temp to 350 and baked for an additional 10 minutes and they were perfect. Watch your muffins, not the clock.
  9. Allow muffins to cool in pan for about 10 minutes before carefully turning out onto wire racks to cool completely. 
  10. Sit back and enjoy! I have found that these are still soft, moist, and yummy several days later (if they last that long)! They also freeze well!
This recipe can easily be altered to make many yummy versions! Like coconut? Mix some in! Like chocolate? Leave out the cinnamon and nutmeg and stir in some chocolate chips! Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, are all wonderful additions!

So what do you think? If you have food allergies or sensitivities, what types of foods are your biggest challenges?

Happy Baking!



Emma Jaine's Icing Smile!

Several years ago I remember hearing about Icing Smiles and some of the wonderful bakers that work with them to provide amazing cakes to families who are dealing with the critical illness of a child.  Recently another baker I know posted a photo of a cake she did for Icing Smiles and I thought, "Wow, I wonder how I could get involved?"  I think it was just two weeks later, after submitting my application to be a baker, that I received my first "Call to Action"! I was so very excited to help!

I was asked if I would make a cake for a little girl, Emma Jaine, who was celebrating the end of  2 years and 4 months of treatment for leukemia. Wow. I really cannot imagine what that must be like for her or her family. I wanted to make something amazing for them that would be appropriate for such a wonderful occasion!

Emma loves Monster's Inc, so off I went to design a cake. I actually went through several designs, and just a couple of weeks before the date I threw everything away and started over with a totally new design that I thought was unique and fun!  I even did a sketch... which is something new for me and an area I am trying to improve. I have always had a clear idea in my head of what I wanted, and sketching isn't my forte.  I used to be a fairly decent artist at one time, but I am way out of practice. 

Not a lot of cake artists will post their sketches online, but the few who have, have really helped me, so I thought if anyone else sees this and finds it useful to further their own designs, then it is worth it. As you can see, cakes never (or rarely) turn out exactly as you draw them. Things happen as the design comes together and what looked like a good idea on paper doesn't always work out like you think in cake. I tend to think these changes are for the better.  Besides the changes in colors, I think the most obvious change is the bow on top of Mike's head. It never made it on the cake. I knew that eventually I would be adding in some wording, but I was not exactly sure what we wanted to say on the cake, so I didn't know where exactly I wanted to put it. Once I knew what we were going to say on the cake, the location was obvious... Mike needed to be holding it over his head, announcing Emma's Amazing-ness to the world.  So away went the bow and the banner took it's place.


 I had fun with all the details. I really wanted the doors to look like the doors during the credits, kind of cartoon-y and hand-sketched, but not perfect.


My favorite part by far was making the tentacle arms that came up and held the second tier.  They are made completely out of white modeling chocolate. This was the first time I have really had a chance to work with modeling chocolate and I really liked it! Definitely not a great medium in the hot summer months, but then again, not much is great when it gets really hot.


I had so much fun making my first Icing Smile! I am so glad that Emma and her family liked her cake and I wish them all a wonderful and blessed future.

*Please note that I received no compensation for this cake, and I cannot normally make character cakes. Thank you for your understanding!

Wedding Ruffles


 There is so much that I like about this cake! A few months back this lovely bride contacted me about making her wedding cake. She already knew exactly what she wanted so the design part was easy.


The topper of this cake is all done with sugar flowers. I ended up making a lot more roses that I had originally planned, but it turned out great, so I don't mind. 


I broke out my pasta roller for this cake and it came in super handy for rolling out all the gum paste for the roses and all the fondant for the cake ruffles.  Awhile back I found instructions for modifying a pasta machine for use with clay, which involves taking apart the pasta machine and removing all the unnecessary parts, leaving only the rollers and the thickness adjustment. I have been scouring the internet looking for those instructions so I could link them here for you, but I have been unsuccessful. If you happen to find that info, let me know!

Anyway, using the pasta machine sure saved me a ton of time (not to mention sore arm muscles from all that rolling)! So between the pasta machine, my new metal ball tool (so very awesome), and my new veining press, I am so very happy with my roses!


At the very top of the topper I made a kind of briar rose/fantasy flower. Since it was a wedding I used pearl stamens just to add a touch of bling without going over the top. 


I also added a bit of sparkle with some luster dust, just on that one flower. Unfortunately that does not show up in pictures well at all.  You can see hints of sparkle if you look at the above photo in full-size, but only just barely in spots.


Overall, I think this is my new favorite wedding cake.

Cub Scouts 2013

I can't believe it is time for our scouts to move up in rank again! It seems like only yesterday my little boy was putting on his Tiger uniform for the first time... and today he became a Bear! I am so very proud of him and all the scouts in our pack! They have all worked very hard and today they get to proudly stand in front of everyone and show off their new colors.

It was my honor to make a cake for this event again this year.


This year I decided to go for a topsy-turvy cake with lots of whimsy.  There were various scouts all over the cake either sitting and hanging out, driving the derby car, holding up the cake, or climbing up the sides. 


I think the climber was my favorite.  

I don't do a lot of figures, and I generally avoid people because honestly they are probably the most difficult to make look right. So this time I just wanted to make them more cartoony than realistic. I kept the faces really simple and I think it worked out pretty well.

Everyone loved the cake so in the end, it was a job well done. Thanks to everyone for all their kind words! Congratulations again to all the scouts on achieving their new rank! Now on to all the summer fun!

Buttercream Ruffles

This cake was fun to make! With the exception of the flower, which was gumpaste, the entire cake was done using tip 104 and a key lime buttercream!  I had to do some layout work to keep the chevron pattern even, so I divided the cake into 16ths and roughly laid out a quilted/diamond pattern on the cake. Then all I had to do was follow my lines and fill it in (which I suppose wasn't quite as easy at it sounds with all the extra lines I made, but not bad once I got going)!


I really enjoyed watching the whole design come together and the sugar flower on the side was the perfect accent to finish off the design and add an extra pop of color. What do you think?

Jungle Safari Baby Shower

This cake was so much fun to make!  I love sculpting the animals and I had a lot of fun trying to bring the animals to life.


 I had this idea of trying to walk the line between completely flat characters and full-blown 3-D sculpted, free-standing characters. I wanted to have parts stay flat in the background and have parts of the animals pop off the cake.



I loved the idea of having the animals hanging the welcome banner.





The monkey is definitely my favorite. He was the first one I made and in the end, I loved how he came out. 

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Sacramento, California, United States
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