My intentions of this blog are to of course showcase my talents but also to encourage others to bake! I want to show people that you do not have to attend a culinary arts school (if you do, that is obviously great!) to be successful in the baking business. You do not need super expensive equipment or a large oven to get wonderful and professional looking results. I have been in this business for a few years and I have learned so much without taking one class! And I want to share with you what I have learned.

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Sunday, June 17, 2012

I Finally Went to a Baking Class.

As a graduation gift my little sister signed me up for cake decorating classes at a kitchenware and bake ware shop called Fante's Kitchen, located in South Philly smack dab in the mist of the Italian Market. I was signed up for the intermediate course but was told that I had to switch to beginners. Needless to say, I was a bit annoyed by that but was excited about going anyway. As you may know, I have taken a class at all and everything that I know I've learned via the internet and practice.

The class runs for three consecutive Saturdays in June with three hour class sessions. I needed a ton of supplies but my sis gave me a handy dandy gift certificate so I only ended up paying about $3.00 :). The first class was spent working on borders for cake, specifically shells and backward shell borders. We also learned to make stars and rosettes using royal icing.

The second class was a bit more advanced. We had to bring an iced cake to class along with a batch of stiff buttercream, medium buttercream and thin buttercream. And let me tell you, consistency is EVERYTHING!!! All of my consistencies were off which made it difficult to practice a first (this is something that can be fixed by powdered sugar). During this class we decorated our cakes with stems, leaves, rosebuds, sweet pea flowers and bows, along with adding a shell border. We also worked on writing as well but my cake has no writing. Here is a pic...

The last class is this coming week and I'm excited. We will be working on full roses as well as making borders and learning how to make standing characters for cakes (mine will be clowns). Not sure what else we will learn. I think that I will sign up for intermediate classes so I will be ready to make my wedding cake in February! I will definitely post an update on my 3rd class.

And here is an update from the 3rd class, two weeks It was awesome! I made a clown cake, which I decided to ice with a coral colored buttercream icing. I made some cute little clowns and added some balloons, borders and awesome garland. I learned soooooo much in this class and even got a little certificate to prove it. Thanks Fante's Kitchen! I think I will be visiting again in the fall for the intermediate class :)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Cupcakes & Cupcake Stands!

I have had the chance to create two cupcake stands in the past and I love them. You can be as creative as you want to with these to match a theme for a party, wedding, baby shower, etc.  You can really show you creativity with these by decorating then with various ribbons, stickers, figurines, etc. I use the Wilton cupcake stands which are like $5.99 at A.C. Moore o Michaels. They take about 5-10 minutes to assemble but make sure if you have tape if you are using these please.

 I made a stand for my 21st birthday cupcakes last year. I decided to have a BBQ and found these cute Zebra Print & Pink invitations and paper goods to match in Target. I love animal print, giraffe print the best but they didn't have any of that in the store, so I purchased it all. I ordered these cute "21" birthday picks from some website and found some animal print candles (they're not in the pic) along with some cupcake liners to match the theme as well. I made 24 pink and zebra print cupcakes using pink dyed icing and black and white fondant, which were pretty neat. So it would only be right for the stand to match the theme. I found some pink and zebra print ribbon at the craft store and simply wrapped each layer. I put the zebra print on 1st since it was thicker and then the thin strip of pink and secured it all with tape. Oh how easy this was to put together and everyone loved the presentation and the cupcakes.

I also made one this year for someone's senior prom. Her colors were black and white so I made a stand using black and white ribbon and black and white rose cupcakes to match. I used black and white polka dot ribbon on the top and bottom rows and a sheer white for the middle row adorned with a black and white polka dot ribbon. I actually made 2 identical stands to fit 48 cupcakes. I wish that the ribbon was a bit more elegant but this is ribbon that I had lying around the house so I didn't have to purchase any extra! But they turned out beautiful anyway.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Homeade Ice Cream Cake

So here is an ice cream cake that I made for my little sister for her 19th birthday last year (2011). She is sooo special because she is a Christmas baby, born on Christmas Day! This was my first time ever attempting to make an ice cream cake and it was beyond successful in my eyes. She absolutely loved the design and loved the taste even better! I had to work pretty quickly in order to avoid melting.
 I did a layer of vanilla pound cake at the bottom and then a layer of cookies and cream ice cream and then vanilla icing on top of that. I used 9 inch pans for both the cake and ice cream. I lined one of the pans with plastic wrap and filled it with the ice cream. I froze this for about 5 hours, until it was pretty solid. While the ice cream was freezing I baked the layer of cake and allowed it to cool off. Once it was cool I placed the ice cream layer on top and quickly iced the cake and threw it back in the freezer until I decided how I would decorate the cake. My writing is a bit sloppy but is now much better. This was a really good 1st try I believe.

Elmo & Sesame Street Friends Cake & Cupcakes

 So I have sooooo many pictures of past things that I baked and wanted to share so I My god daughter turned 2 in September 2011 and her mother, my close friend, decided to throw her a Sesame Street BBQ birthday party, because she loves Elmo so much! As her god mommy and a baker, I volunteered my services and made her birthday cake and cupcakes to go along with it. I was so excited to do it, especially the Elmo cake since I had never done a character cake before. All of the adults in her life (mommy, daddy, grandparents, had to wear character t-shirts and I was assigned to be Oscar the Grouch :( even though i am far from a grouch. It was a fantastic party and I think that my cake and cupcakes helped with that!

 I used an Elmo face pan for the cake so it wasn't really hard to make. I sprayed the pan down with some baking spray and added a little flour to make sure that it wouldn't stick, threw it in the oven and Voila! there was Elmo as happy as could be! To color him I dyed some buttercream icing red and orange and used some of Wilton's pre-made black decorator icing. I used a star tip to decorate his face which was cool because it gave off that hair effect to his face.
  Next up were the cupcakes. I made these cupcakes for fun and they turned out AWESOME so I started getting orders for them, including this birthday party. I grew up on Sesame Street, as many people did, so this was really fun for me. All of the characters faces are colored crystals (they are an absolute favorite of mine if you have not noticed by now). All of their eyes are white and dark chocolate, which I melted in the microwave. Elmo and Oscar's mouths are also dark chocolate. I of course had to stick a cookie in Cookie Monster's mouth, he wouldn't be the monster that he is without Elmo's cute little nose is a red ball of candy covered in orange icing ( I replaced this with a jell bean the 2nd time around, much easier). And big birds mouth is made of banana and strawberry laffy taffy! You get and extra treat with each cupcake! There are plenty of ways to make these cupcakes but this is my way! And everyone enjoyed my treats, and the party!
There I am with the green shirt on and there is the birthday girl with the two puff balls being held by her mommy!

Yo Gabba Gabba Cupcakes!

 So if you have any kiddies or live with kiddies and you do not know what Yo Gabba Gabba is then you need to get with the program!!! Yo Gabba Gabba is only the coolest kids show on television! They have a cool host DJ Lance Rock and 5 main characters; Muno, Foofa, Plex, Toodee and Brobee that sing and dance while teaching little kiddies valuable life lessons like veggies like to go to the party in your tummy along with chicken and juice, it's not okay to bite our friends and germs make you sick so wash your hands and don't eat things that fall on the ground (whew, having a 7 month old in your house will teach you a lot about this I love this show so it was only right for me to create some cupcake in honor of the show, I want to do a cake too. Well here are the 5 main characters and I didn't do DJ Lance Rock yet :( I posted this to my facebook page and quickly got an order to make 30 of them and I was so excited!!! I made Plex a little more interesting by adding a mouth and ears and the rest looked the same as they do in this picture ( a bit Faces are done in colored crystals and their eyes, etc are either fondant and icing!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Wedding Bells!!

So, my wedding is 8 months and 8 days away from today and I have not done much of anything yet! We found a reception venue and that is about it. I've decided, on account of my budget, that I am going to be a DIY Bride!!!! Am I excited, yes, but I am nervous as heck too. I have been making these inspiration boards for the past couple of months. My wedding will be in February and has a Valentine's Day theme, which matches perfectly with my favorite color RED!!!!
So why am I putting this on here?? Well, I need to document this journey SOMEWHERE! And being as though I am a baker that means that I will be baking MY OWN WEDDING CAKE!!! That in itself will be a huge challenge along with the stresses of planning the wedding. So I will be making several posts pertaining to my wedding (mostly about the treats that I will serve). And within this 8 months, I will be doing several trial cakes so wish me luck!

Mickey Mouse and Friends

  I decided to do a very interpretive view of Mickey Mouse and his wonderful gang (Minnie, Goofy, Donald & Daisy....I didn't do Pluto, sorry). When I say interpretive I mean that they don't have any faces, mainly ears, hats and hair I used fondant to create all of the pieces and added some colored crystals, edible spray paint and beads. There were many other ways that I could have created these characters, especially Minnie and Daisy but I think they are pretty darn cute and were pretty easy to make as well!
Goofy, Mickey Mouse & Donald Duck
Minne Mouse & Daisy Duck

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