Monday, July 26, 2010

What In The World Are Wedding Cakes Coming To? (grand finally)

I will be flying out tomorrow to go back to the USA.  I won't have my new home until later in the week and will be staying with friends and won't have access to my computer.  But hopefully I will manage to keep you 'posted' on things going on in the world of decorating!  No pun intended!

Today is the last day for Wedding Cakes Around The World!  We saw some really beautiful and interesting cakes over the last several posts and today I'm bringing you more, but with a slightly different twist!

Wedding Invitations by Wedding Paper Divas

The wedding cakes we'll look at today are the most unusual and strange cakes!  People get married every day and as I said before; culture and personality are represented in the way they choose to decorate their cakes.  And many times, so does their favorite hobby, sport, television show, holiday, etc....yeah.  I couldn't believe some of the cakes when I started looking but here is one that probably most of us have seen in the past year.  It's the James Bond Wedding Cake:

 Now you have to admit this is creative!  I mean look at the details!  Bullet holes, bad guys everywhere, plane crash, smoke stains!  This guy must have gone through hell to get this woman!

That was your sneak peak, now let's go look at some really strange ones....

Friday, July 23, 2010

What In The World Are Wedding Cakes Coming To? (Day 4)

Obviously we didn't make it to the Queen's Palace or I wouldn't be blogging today!  The weather decided to keep us home!  So without further ado I will bring you more exciting ideas for wedding cakes from around Europe!

Beginning here with a wedding cake from Finland and ending with wedding cakes from the United Kingdom, by far these aren't all the unique cakes from every country in Europe but I cover quite a few of the most well known countries.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

What In The World Are Wedding Cakes Coming To? (Day 3)

Ok, so we've seen Russian, Chinese and Japanese style wedding cakes over the last couple days.  The Russian showing individuality of the person and the oriental ones which focus heavily on culture and spiritual representation.

Hip, Modern, Exclusive Wedding Invitations!

Today, with me only having less than one more week in Europe I want to bring you cakes from around Europe.  Cakes from Holland, where I currently am, as well as cakes from France, Norway, and more!

Here's a peek at one from France!

Okay, not what we'd consider a wedding cake but this is what it is!  Follow me for more info about this strangely unique cake.

Wedding Invitations by Wedding Paper Divas

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

What In The World Are Wedding Cakes Coming To? (continued)

Yesterday we looked at Russian wedding cakes and their uniqueness in style and theme.  Today I'll bring you to some interesting oriental cakes from China and Japan.  I've always been drawn to this culture for art because of the delicate and intricate detail with the carvings of ivory and wood pieces.

Hip, Modern, Exclusive Wedding Invitations!

While I can't say I've found any finely carved cakes as such; I have found some that are beautifully decorated with symbols of life and culture.

Here's a sneak peek at one:

And if you want to see more.........follow me!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

What In The World Are Wedding Cakes Coming To?

Over the next several days I hope to bring to you a wide variety of wedding cake pictures from around the world.  We all know the traditional wedding cake but with our world changing the way it is people want to be different in their lives and in their choice of cakes!

Wedding Invitations by Wedding Paper Divas

While personality has a lot to do with cake design, so does the culture.  The way of life varies country to country and so do the cakes!  A wedding cake representing the America culture will be completely different than those of China, United Kingdom, Greece and many others.  Today we'll look at some unusual cakes from Russia  These were actually my favorite in terms of being different.  They show the individuality of the people.

Here's a peek at one: 

Hip, Modern, Exclusive Wedding Invitations!

For more just follow me from here to Russia!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Quick and Easy Fruit Torte!

What do you do when you're in Lisse, Holland and you have less than the desired supplies, counter space, and equipment (!) to create your own home-baked torte?  Something I'm really good at, you improvise! 

I've been to Lisse three times in the last year and each time I find it so frustrating that either I can't find the supplies I need as they don't stock it or I don't know enough Dutch to read the package much less communicate to the clerk just what it is I need!  (And the crazy thing is they speak English as well!) But each trip I bring something with me to help; either spices or decorating tools, measuring items, etc.  Still there's always something on the list they don't have!

This time I wanted to make a torte for a dear friend of mine who recently had a baby and was coming to visit.  I didn't have much time so I couldn't spend a day piddling around looking from store to store for what I needed.  I decided to throw together a fruit torte.  I figured I could come up with something!  And I did!

In Europe they carry these pre-made, un-filled torte layers that are ideal for what I was making!  It's very fresh and very delicious!

I've checked on the internet and they don't sell this particular brand in America.  Sorry ladies!  It might be possible to find another brand there.  After picking up a few pre-made items such as this, custard and whipped cream and of course my fruit, I headed back home to "get 'er done"!

I separated the layers and used a sharp knife to poked holes in the cake so the custard would soak through.  Then spread a nice jam on the first and second layers, then a good 1/8 inch (or slightly less) thick of vanilla custard/pudding as I stacked each one and finally banana slices.  On the top layer I spread the custard also and topped it with kiwi and strawberries and whipped cream! 

If you have time before you will be needing it you can leave it without cream topping and just let the custard soak into the cake.  It tastes better this way!  About an hour before you need it add your whipped topping and that way it is also nicely fresh.

And wallah!  Finished!  And nicely presentable and tasty!

I love this kind of dessert!  My friend ate a piece, took two with her and oooops....left the rest with me!  And yes, I thoroughly enjoyed it!  But not the extra pounds!

For more fabulous ideas check out the book links below!

100 Fabulous Cakes and Tortes
Favorite Torte and Cake Recipes
Favorite torte and cake recipes;: 232 tested recipes,

Friday, July 16, 2010

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"Hush Little Baby" Crib Cake

Learn how to make this awesomely adorable baby shower cake! 

I stumbled upon this really adorable cake while browsing today and wanted to share it with you!  What I liked most is that the process to make it is somewhat similar to the Frozen Buttercream Transfers I mentioned in yesterdays post except it's decorated with royal icing.  Working with royal icing appears to be similar as working with fondant but maybe easier, maybe not.  I hope some of you will try it and post back to me on your findings!

Since I found the directions on another blogger's post I will be directing you to her blog page for the instructions.  While you're there check out her other really cool looking cakes!  You'll have to page down to her Tuesday, February 17, 2009 post to find it!  Just click on the link below to go there!  And don't forget to post back to me please!

"Hush Little Baby" Crib Cake

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Frozen Buttercream Transfers

Have you ever wanted to draw something on a cake only to find yourself scraping the icing off and having to redo everything all over again....and again....and again because the icing ran over into another color or looked too sloppy?  Welcome to my world!

On most of the cakes I've attempted to draw on I found myself near the end of completion and then....a goof up!  And you have to either cover it up or scrape it off and start over.  But recently I learned of a new way to put a picture on a cake.  Not with printable sheets but with butter cream icing.  It's called Frozen Buttercream Transfers. 

The way this works is you basically place wax paper over an image of your choice, trace it with buttercream icing, freeze it, then place it on top of the cake!  I haven't gotten to try it yet but I can't wait!  The images below, from the January/February 2006 American Cake Decorating Magazine, detail step by step how to create your own!  I'd like to add one more thing; if you want to give texture to any part of your picture after placing it on the cake you can use additional icing tips such as the grass tip for hair and so on.  This will give it more of a 3-D look.  Have fun!

Here are a couple cakes I did using this method.  One came out terrible and the second (truck) was much better.  I realized it has to be made thick in order to peel it off the paper before it melts!
Disaster  &  18-Wheeler Cake

Until next time........happy baking!


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

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What Did Your Olympics Cake Look Like?

What better way to celebrate the Olympic games than with a nicely decorated cake? While the teams are out there killing themselves to make the medal others are toiling away with ways to make the cake! I think to most people making those perfect rings comes pretty easy; but as for me? If I don't use a circle cookie cutter or the mouth of a glass it looks like I have Parkinson's or something like that! So if you can draw a perfect circle, I'm proud of you! (smile)

Out of curiosity I decided to search the web to see what people were doing for the Olympic celebrations and ended up basically just checking out the Olympic cakes being published. My first expectations were just some basic sheet cakes with the rings in the center; but I actually found some quite interesting one's out there! Take a look at this one posted on "Serious Eats" and then we'll get serious!

Ya, I think there was a lack of communication on this one too! Too funny!

Ok, now...this was more like what I was expecting. It's a basic sheet cake, nicely done and neatly organized posted on "Kathy's Cakes".

I like this one posted on "Isn't That Sweet?" she added an abstract along with the rings. And again, a very nicely decorated cake.

This type of decorating is not as easy as just putting the rings. Unless you do a technique called a 'frozen butter cream transfer' you will have to draw the shapes on and make sure you don't exceed the border of each color.

Something you will notice with a larger view of this cake is it has tiny cracks in the icing which usually results from water being used to smooth the cake. While there are certain conditions where water is the only solution; for instance when the icing is too moist or the weather is too humid and it just won't dry on the surface, there's another technique I prefer instead of water. I use a sanitary paper towel or lent-free cloth that has very little texture to it. Once the icing has a chance to air-dry slightly you can lay the paper towel lightly on the cake and smooth it with your hand or a fondant smoother. The results are similar to fondant! This works best with butter cream icing and the like. And remember that you don't always have to use either technique. Most of the time you can get nice results with the white icing spreaders.

Another idea is to make a sheet cake larger than the desired size and cut out the shape of the rings. Like this one from "Cake Central".

Using a variety of tips you can make it a textured cake like Joanne did with this one iced with the star tip. When you cut the cake out, unlike with cupcakes, you can ice the sides and put a nice trim along the bottom. This is the way this cake was made and it's really quite nice!

This next artist, yes cake artist, made a beautifully neat cake tower for the Olympics.  She isn't just a decorator with this kind of work, but an Artist! Created by Sandra of "socake", (Flickr page).

This one appears to have been done with fondant although I'm not sure what type. It looks to be a 7" round cake on top with probably 24 cupcakes surrounding it. Very nice work!

I haven't gotten the chance to work with fondant as I've been out of the country for two months but when I return I hope to dig in and get my fingers sticky!

You can get a similar effect with butter cream icing smoothed with a paper towel, but it won't be this good! And depending on the "eaters choice" you may not want to use fondant.

I found this next one to be a really cute and easy idea for a children project and it's from Kid's Spot. It's simple to make and if you don't have time (or the pans) to bake the cake yourself you might check with that good ole Walmart bakery and see if they will sell you the pre-made cake bread! They sell just about anything that isn't glued down! No kidding!

They made this by using large and small cookie cutters and cutting the rings from a large sheet cake. Mix some food coloring with white, pre-made icing and wallah! Children can use cookie cutters and they love to smear icing! Cool solution for a boring day!

In fact, any cake decorating is a "kewl" solution to a boring day! Happy decorating! Good luck for your special team and thanks for dropping by!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

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Cake Mishaps

Anybody who has ever decorated cakes, other than just simply smearing the icing to cover the bread, has spent at least some painstaking hours learning (or trying to learn) how to make those beautiful strokes and flowers....

... or not. Let's face it cake decorating isn't necessarily the easiest art to learn but it's quite enjoyable for most. And it's an art that comes easier to some more than others.

Even after having decorated for years we could all say we've probably had a mishap or two along the way! I'm sure you remember your first cake and maybe even the ninth and tenth one! And still some people learn a year or so down the road that they really just can't decorate!

While browsing blogs I came across this site that I've seen in the past. I thought it was quite funny then, but now it's even more so as they've added much much more to the site!

I first found it while looking for a "popular" WalMart cake. I'm sure you remember this one:

Yeah, it's the one on the cover of the Cake Wrecks book. "It's the cake that started it all!" according to their blog. Cake Wrecks is truly a one of a kind blog site! In fact Time magazine said "Think of this blog not just as a collection of baking disasters but accidental art in the kitchen, at once spectacular and bizarre. (Read more: Cake Wrecks at Time Magazine)

While you're there check out the "Fan Faves" at the bottom right of the page! I couldn't stop laughing! And when I did I couldn't help but think "people really make cakes like this on purpose?". I guess they do!

Last year while working for Walmart bakery we had our own funny! The customer was an older lady buying a cake for her 70 year old husband. She didn't want his name on the cake; just a big 70 in the center and a plastic 'Happy Birthday' "clip" below that.

The sweet Hispanic lady decorating the cake thought "clip" was hia name so here's what the cake looked like:

Ya, it's funny! Not as funny as some but, because of the decorator's innocense in the matter and, if you could have seen her face; we laughed too much!

During Christmas last year I was taking a picture of my "perfect" cake I'd just decorated only to drop the camera smack dab in the middle of it! To say the least; my camera phone hasn't worked well since! Ya, it happens to all of us at some time or another! I'm sure I'm not alone....

If you've had a funny or mishap you'd like to share I'd love to hear about it! We all need a good laugh! And what better way than to laugh with each other; and at our boo boo's?

"An optimist laughs to forget, a pessimist forgets to laugh." So if you can, laugh it off and start over or learn how to cover it up!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Shaping Cupcakes to Suit Your Design

A lot of times people want uniquely shaped cakes;  like Sponge Bob or another character.  So they go out and pay the price for the pans that have these particular shapes.  The problem is there isn't always a pan the shape you want or maybe there is but it isn't as large as you had hoped it would be.  But there is a solution to that problem in most cases. Cupcakes.   

By using cupcakes to make your cake you can almost always create the shape and size of cake you want.  You have to determine first how many people you want to feed.  In most cases it's easier to make a specified shape by using a minimum of 24 cupcakes.  If you have a simpler shape such as a number or a shape like a circle and definitely a square, you can use less cupcakes and still obtain the shape fairly easily.

Once you have determined the size you need purchase your board and supplies.  You'll want to practice making the desired shape with the cupcake liners remembering to leave a little space between them for the overflow of the cupcake top.  Once you have gotten the shape you can do a lightly mark the placement of the cupcakes on the board so you won't have to redo the placement again once the cupcakes are made.  Before doing this though; one thing I always do is turn the board around so you get different views of the cake to make sure it looks balanced on all sides.

Let them cool completely after baking and lining them up with the shape drawn on the board.  When you're ready to ice it's better if you can use icing bags with cupcakes if possible.  If you don't have these simply use plastic baggies with an appropriate size hole cut in the corner.

You may have decided to use multiple colors.  If so go ahead and outline the areas of color.  Fill in the inside edges of the cupcakes first then go back over it until the holes are covered.  Save the outer edges for last so you have a smoother looking edge.  Once you have all the holes covered add extra icing over the entire area.  This is necessary with cupcakes in order to obtain a smoother surface.  Smooth cake with spatula or icing spreader.  Finally carefully outline the outer edge of the cake.

Note: One thing I do to get an even smoother surface (for butter cream icing) is to use a clean paper towel, that has little or no texture to it.  I wait until the icing has dried and then I lay the paper towel carefully on the cake and smooth it with small gentle sweeps of my hand or a fondant smoother.

Add your final touches such as eye's, fine outlines, airbrush etc. after you have the cake smoothed to your liking.  The results should be impressive and satisfying to the eyes.

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Sunday, July 11, 2010

I worked for a couple years at a Walmart Bakery decorating cakes being my number one responsibility. When I first began I had only decorated one cake in my life; my wedding cake. And I had to teach myself how to do that as it was before the Internet or other resources as such were available (makes me feel old!). The two other individuals I worked with at the bakery had decorated cakes for many years and had owned their own bakery at one time so I had excellent teachers.

It didn't take me long, about one week, to get the hang of what I was doing. I remember the first cake I touched, I plopped a pile of icing in the center and began spreading it. The other ladies just looked at each other in surprise. But one did show me how to use the "easy icer" shortly after. Over time I developed many skills and created some unique cakes that weren't this bakery's normal line of cakes. They ended up making me their "specialty" cake decorator working on projects that the other decorators wouldn't touch.

I'll be posting some of the cakes along with the "how to's" and other ideas that I've uncovered over the last couple of years as we go. Feel free to post your comments and/or questions or link back to my pages.

Wedding Invitations by Wedding Paper Divas