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juliscakes

Life is short. Eat dessert first!

The final display! I am so proud to have made Justine and Dan’s wedding cake.

Well folks, its been a while, and I apologize. Since the last time I posted here I graduated law school, studied for the bar, passed the bar (woot woot!) and got married. So while I’m a bit embarrassed about my lack of postings, I am pleased to be back….with  my first wedding cake!

Onto the couple of honor! Justine and I met nine years ago when she moved to Vermont from Germany. We became good friends immediately. Flash forward roughly 6 years and she meets Dan, a wonderful guy also from Vermont. This weekend they got married and I had the honor not only to be a bridesmaid, but to make her wedding cake.

We decided on a cupcake tree with an 8-inch round cake at the top. The cupcake selection was as follows: Chocolate with fudge frosting, vanilla with fudge frosting, and chocolate with salted maple frosting. Each cupcake was topped off with a white chocolate “M” embellishment.

Cupcakes, cake and all… ready to go to the wedding site!

I made the embellishments using a 16 oz bag of white chocolate and 2 T of crisco. Using a double boiler, I filled the bottom pot with about a cup of water. Then I melted the crisco on the upper pot, while the water boiled. Finally, I added the chocolate. First I used a spoon to mix, then as I tried to eliminate the smaller lumps, I whisked. When it was smooth, I poured the chocolate into a pourer and made chocolate M’s (their last name is Morse) on parchment paper.

After the M’s were dried, I used edible white glitter to brush the M’s. Voila! Embellishments for the cupcakes.

The cupcakes were the easier part. After they were made and cooled, I frosted using a number 1M tip. Then I delicately popped each embellishment on top. WARNING: they break easily! Finally, I topped off each cupcake by applying a laser cut cupcake wrapper that I purchased from Michaels ($3.99 for a package of 12. Make sure to use your Michael’s coupon!).

Finally, it was cake time! I crumb coated the cake with the salted maple frosting. After letting it sit in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, I then added…fondant! I used the fondant recipe found in my August 2011 posting, except to make an ivory color I added some vanilla. It was a fantastic addition, as it really added some flavor to the fondant, other than sugar. Unless you need a true white, I’d recommend using vanilla in your fondant every time.

Justine and Dan cutting the cake. This was a proud moment for me, for so many reasons.

To frost the cake I used a variety of round and star tips. I wanted the cake to be very ornate, since it was all ivory. Finally, I topped the take with piped roses.

Putting together the display was so much fun. I used a “floating tier” cake stand. Basically, instead of having columns below each tier, the stand is held together in the back. It’s a really beautiful way to display any cake or cupcakes.

As you can see, there were too many cupcakes for the stand. I simply arranged them around the bottom of the stand in the same circular fashion.

When Justine and Dan cut the cake, I was so proud. I really hoped everyone enjoyed it. As much as I love decorating cakes, I want people to enjoy them even more.

As they head to Mexico on their honeymoon, let us all wish Justine and Dan a joyous marriage!

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I’ve taken a pretty long hiatus from this blog due to school and work….but I haven’t taken a hiatus from baking! I’ve updated the pictures on the cake page, so be sure to check it out! I’ve also updated the look of my blog. Hope you like it.

I will share my latest creation, which was a cake for the Superbowl. As you can see, I had my first real trouble with fondant. It was starting to wrinkle, but fortunately people were more impressed with my creating a fondant Patriots logo rather than all the things I missed up!!!

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In other news, I’m very excited because I recently purchased two fun baking goodies: a fondant mold and professional food coloring. Bright colored cakes, here I come!

Happy [tr]eating!

Juli

Jonathan's second birthday cake!

Hi folks! Sorry its been a while since I last posted, I started my FINAL year of law school in mid August. Sadly, I have been doing more reading than baking. The good news is in less than one year, I’ll have way more time to devote to this wonderful hobby! And eventually, start my own cake making business!

Ok, so onto this week’s topic. Remember how we had a surprise birthday party for our friend Jonathan, who was away for the summer? Well we promised him a party that he could attend, and of course I had to make a cake. Last year I made him a classic piped cake so this year I wanted to do something really creative.

Jonathan loves to tubing. In fact, for his birthday last year we went to Harpers Ferry and floated down the river. I thought this would be a really fun cake to make. It’s also a perfect cake to make using fondant!

First I made gray fondant by dropping equal parts of the following colors: green, yellow, red blue. Then I broke off 2/3 of the fondant and put it aside to sit overnight so I could roll it out on top of the cake. I used the remaining 2/3 to form rocks. Then I made modeling chocolate (first time!) and formed it into tube shapes.

The rock formation for Jonathan's Cake!

To make the frosting look like grass, I tried to taper it at the top.

The next day I rolled the fondant and layered it on top of the cake. I made a rock mound by stacking the rocks on top of one another, and set them into place with toothpicks. Then I used a Wilton #47 tip to make the grass. Just for kicks, I piped some grass in between some of the rocks. I used blue piping to make water, and I stuck a toothpick with blue food coloring in the water to make it different shades of blue in different places.

I iced the modeling chocolate with black icing and printed out a picture of Jonathan to put him in the tube. Finally, I made the “happy birthday” sign with leftover rolled fondant, which I affixed to toothpicks and stuck in the rock.

It’s official- I love fondant. Its such a wonderful and creative tool. My hobby has expanded thanks to fondant!

Happy [tr]eating!

Juli

So this week I had to make a birthday cake for my boss, whose birthday remains unknown. The gals at my office decided to celebrate her birthday on a random day this week!

My boss wears a lot of pink and purple so I decided to make a pink fondant cake with brown accents. I had some leftover red frosting, an color that’s impossible to achieve, so I decided to use it to make red roses. I’d recently picked up gold pearl dust at the kitchen store, and I thought it would be an excellent accent to the roses!

Pear dust is both easy and difficult to use. Its easy in that all you have to do is brush whatever you want with it. Unfortunately, it doesn’t spread evenly. This makes it difficult to dust across a large surface. You can see this on my cake where I tried to brush it onto the top of the pink fondant (the dark spots). I would suggest you pick up an artists brush when using pearl dust on a large surface.

I usually don't include pictures of my cakes in the box, but this picture highlights the gold pearl dust accents.

My fondant did crack this time, which was frustrating. I guess this is just a reminder that fondant is fragile and you need to be tender with it when fitting it to the cake. This is why you see a thick border around the bottom of the cake in a darker pink color. I decided to cover the seam of the ribbon bottom with a bow.

Happy [t]reating!

Juli

Cory's Circus Cake!

So this week was Cory’s birthday. Since he’s turning 25 and is not a big birthday celebrator, I really wanted to do something special. I’ve never used fondant before but I knew Cory really likes those kind of cakes.

I’m more of a classic cake decorator – I love piping- so I was reluctant to go down the fondant path. Admittedly, I was also intimidated by it. After trying a couple recipes I decided upon a marshmallow fondant recipe. Its pretty easy to work with and it tastes great too.

On Friday my friends and I held a birthday party for our friend Jonathan. I thought it the perfect opportunity to try my hand at fondant before I moved onto a more elaborate cake for Cory’s birthday. I made a simple fondant cake with a twisted ribbon base and star prints on the actual cake. It was easy and I think it came out nice for my first try!

Jonathan's Birthday Cake. It wasn't a masterpiece, but I was happy with the result given that it was my first-ever fondant cake!

My idea for Cory’s cake was something fun. To me, fondant is very fun. Of course it can also be beautiful, but I didn’t think a 25 year old male was interested in a fancy ribbon and pearl fondant cake! I decided to go with a pseudo-circus theme. To top it all off, I bought clown heads and sparkler candles.

All-in-all, I don’t think the time commitment was that different than making a buttercream cake. I think the time was allotted differently. There are many stages in fondant. First you have to make the fondant and let it sit. Then you have to crumb frost the cake and let that sit for a while. Then you can start decorating. With buttercream everything can happen all at once.

If you’re thinking of trying fondant too, check out this website. They have videos showing you how to do everything. I’ve included the marshmallow fondant recipe below. The only tools I think you really need to buy are the fondant smoother and the matt to roll it out. Otherwise, you can use everyday kitchen items. For instance, I cut the fondant with sharp knife instead of a fondant cutter. You can also use a pizza cutter for this.

In many ways, fondant is easier to work with. If you mess up with piping, its hard to correct. Its also heavily based upon being even handed and detail oriented. That being said, I haven’t done anything too dramatic with my fondant. I hope my experience inspires you to try a new decorating technique or baking adventure!

Happy [tr]eating! And happy birthday to Cory and Jonathan!

Marshmallow Fondant Recipe

  • 1 16oz bag of mini marshmallows
  • 3 tablespoons of water
  • 2 lbs. powdered sugar and optional flavoring

1. Put marshmallows in a microwavable bowl. Pour in marshmallows and pour water over.

2. Microwave for 2 minutes. Stir until all marshmallows are melted.

3. If your fondant is going to be all one color, I suggest you add the coloring at this point.

4. Add powdered sugar and stir. At a certain point when it becomes to tough to stir, you will have to sprinkle powdered sugar on yoru rolling matt and begin kneading the fondant. Knead until the fondant is no longer sticky.

5. Cover the fondant in plastic wrap. Roll your wooden roller over it to knead out all the air. Let sit for at least a few hours.

See how much better the cake sits when you use homemade whipped cream!?

Well folks, I went with the flag cake! We had an indoor “bbq” as we’re not allowed to have real bbq’s at the apartment. It was still delicious- especially the cake! Pictures below 🙂

Cory and I with our fourth of July "BBQ"

A flag cake I made a couple of years back- using cool whip. I strongly suggest you make your own, as you can see here the fruit was buried in the cool whip. Plus its easy and yummy!

Happy fourth everyone! Every holiday is an opportunity for baking in my book, but fourth of July can go so many different ways!

I’m currently deciding whether to bake my classic flag cake or traditional homemade apple pie. Both recipes are below in case you’re looking for ideas too!

1. Flag Cake

Bake or buy pound cake and lay in the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan. Layer strawberries and blueberries on top. In a side bowl, beat heavy whipping cream with sugar until it forms a whipped cream. Spread half the whipping cream on top. Layer with more pound cake. Spread the rest of the whip cream on top. Count 50 blueberries and place on top left of sheet, to represent the stars on the American flag. Slice strawberries and create rows to represent the stripes on the American Flag. Voila!

*Make sure to refrigerate this baby in the summer heat!

2. Classic Apple Pie

Pie Crust: Use this recipe or buy from the frozen aisle at the grocery store!

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter- make sure to cut into pieces.
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4-1/2 C water

Cut the butter into the flour, sugar, and salt using a pastry fork (or regular fork). Add water until there are no flakes. Or if you have a food processor, combine all and pulse several times. Briefly kneed the dough to form a ball and separate into two pieces. Roll out the first piece and place into your pie plate. Save the second piece for the top of the pie!

Pie Filling: Slice 6 or so apples and toss them in a bowl with 1 T cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. nutmeg, 1/4 C sugar, 1/2 cup apple sauce, a splash of apple cider, and a tablespoon of tapioca (helps keep the contents together).

Pour the pie filling into the pie crust. After its filled, four 1/4 cup of maple syrup over it. Then roll on the top crust. Pinch the sides of the crust together. Brush the crust with milk and then sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top. Cut a few lines so the hot air can escape.

Bake at 375 for 50 minutes and enjoy!

I wish you all a wonderful holiday weekend- next week I’ll be hosting a guest post from my friend Leslie.

Happy [t]reating!

Juli