Monday, May 25, 2009

I love to see the temple...

I'm going there someday... Those must be the only two lines of this children's song from church. So the theme this year for Stake Women's Conference was Joy and Happiness. What a better way to represent eternal happiness than the Temple?The ride to Hancock was a little harrowing. The unfortunate breaking incident described in the Graduation cake delivered the same morning did a number on the construction of the temple cake. It leaned a little, and the driveway to the church wasn't much of a help either.From the ends it looks a little better. I had to have help to carry it into the building. It had 10 pounds of fondant on it and 7 layers of cake - 2 strawberry, 2 chocolate, 2 yellow, and 1 white. Once on the table, I added the spires and fixed and nudged as best as I could.The cake stood 28 inches high (compared to 288 feet high on the actual temple), 24 inches long (240 feet), and 13 inches wide (136 feet). Essentially 1 inch of cake equalled 10 feet of temple. Here is a picture of Sister JaNae Barnes on the left and that's me on the right so you can see for scale. This cake was massive.The spires were carved from green floral Styrofoam from the top level of the cake to 2 inches below the tip of the gold spires. From there a tooth pick (4 smaller spires) or a bamboo skewer (end spires) supported the rest. The spires were then covered in gum paste and shaped for the tower and spire details. Then the upper-most portions were painted with a yellow wash and coated with gold pearl dust like I did when I originally formed the Angel Moroni.And I would be remiss if I didn't provide the obligatory cake carnage pictures of the aftermath.There were sisters who hovered and waited as layers were cut and served so they could get their favorite flavor further down in the cake.
My friend Amy had the camera for most of the carnage and decided to take a picture of me standing over it with a knife in one hand and icing-covered fingers on the other.

Some one asked me how I felt cutting into one of my creations. I replied that I was relieved that I didn't have to obsess over the lean any more. I'm glad I learned one lesson from the castle wedding cake. Moroni's trumpet broke during the trip up, but I had my trusty hot glue gun there to save the day. Lessons learned from this cake? 1. Always have someone on the trip with you. 2. Less cake, more foam, or at least better plan the construction so that there is less of a risk of leaning. 3. Once it is set up, put on blinders and quit fiddling with it. Anal retentiveness is sometimes a bad thing...

Congrats Grad (and a welcome home) !!!

You might remember the skateboarder cake one of the members of my church ordered from me a few months ago. She referred me to Rita who was planning a surprise graduation party for her son, Daniel. Daniel was graduating from Hedgesville High School, loves computers, guitar, and weight lifting, and is joining the Air Force this summer.We decided to incorporate all of his likes into the cake for his graduation. Oh, he and his brother are both are both BIG fans of German chocolate cake with coconut-pecan icing. The cake did have a pair of dumbbells in front of the guitar, but an unfortunate breaking incident caused the computer tower to crush them. There was nothing I could do to save them.

Everything on the cake was cake except for the guitar which had a wood backing and neck. This was the only piece of the cake that didn't have coconut-pecan icing filling it. This piece was specifically for Rita because she's not a fan of the icing.
Here is a close-up of the computer screen, keyboard, and mouse. Daniel and his friends took turns having their picture taken "typing" on the keyboard. At first they didn't believe it was cake.
This is the welcome home cake for Daniel's brother, Chris. He is in the 82nd Airborne, and he was home for leave before his deployment overseas. He didn't even know he was getting a cake. Hehehe!!! This cake, too, was German chocolate with coconut-pecan icing as filling and covered in fondant. I carved the cake into the unit patch, covered it in fondant, then painted the colors onto it.
This is a shot of the two cakes together.
I was privileged to be there to present and cut the cake for the party. This cake and the Temple cake (in Hancock, MD) were due on the same day, so I delivered and presented the Temple cake then came back to Inwood to present this one. It was a wonderful party with my friend Christie from The Answer is Porcini catering a delicious taco bar, and GSProductions Entertainment providing the entertainment and MC (pretty cool guy, I might add). It seems that everyone enjoyed themselves, and these guys are lucky to have Rita as their mom. Congrats, guys!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Renaissance attire optional...

This has been an interesting week. I finished my little ferocious guy earlier while baking the layers for this cake. I constructed the center of the castle and covered the towers Friday night and finished the walls and remaining details Saturday morning. This is what the cake looked like on my kitchen counter...

(from the back) (from the front)
I ended up having to line the walls (cake) with a piece of cardboard toward the inside of the cake for stability. I must have used at least a dozen bamboo skewers! I was worried that the walls would fall over during transit, so I used some shortened skewers inside the "court yard" to support the walls.
We only had two of the towers fall during the trip, and when we got to the reception, we found that the tip of the dragon's tail and the sword arm of the groom had broken off. Grrr! While I was setting up everything else, my faithful assistant (my husband) went looking for super glue to reattach the arm. Unluckily for us, the weather took a turn for the worst, and humidity coupled with rain and a strong gust of wind blew the front wall of the castle over. I'm glad now that I kept some extra skewers with me. I ended up propping up the front wall with some shortened lengths, and used to full sized skewers on either side of the draw bridge. Hubby and I stood behind the cake to block the gusts that threatened to tear down the wall again.
Here it is at the reception...
The humidity also wreaked havoc on the fondant covering the turrets, and some of the flags leaned a little more than I liked. I ended up sticking them in strategic locations elsewhere. The sword arm of the groom kept sliding off... apparently Loctite doesn't set up well with gum paste. My fingers are now a permanent shade of blue and purple from all of the adjustments.
You remember this guy, right? Here he is with his new dye job (and attached tail). He looks a little more vicious in green than he did in white!So, lessons learned: 1. Bring the hot glue gun. 2. Make the walls out of foam. 3. Bring an extra set of gloves to prevent finger dying. Got it. Ready for round two?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Snarrrrll... (cont.)

You remember this guy, right?
I was at it again last night and will be until Saturday, but this is the last sneak peak I'll give of this particular cake. I'm coloring him tonight, making the people, and putting everything together over the next couple days. I finished his other wing, covered the rest of his body, gave him some plates on his belly and spikes on his back. So here he is in all his ferocious gum paste glory...
Grrr, grrrrr! Still trying for that "I'll eat you" look. Still debating on fire. To scorch or not to scorch, that is the question!

Monday, May 11, 2009


I'm still working on details for the wedding cake this weekend. Friday night I was up late carving Styrofoam for the towers and spires for the Temple cake due next weekend, and decided to work on the dragon as well. I didn't want to make him entirely out of gum paste because he would be too heavy, and probably wouldn't dry in time for the wedding. I decided to do most of the body out of foam, carving the basic shape and adding limbs and such as I went. Please remember that this is the work in progress. I promise he will have the other wing tonight, and maybe some plates on his belly and spikes on his back. I'm considering coloring him first with green to accent the scales and then with a black wash for the evil two-toned look.I was going for an angry look, but then a friend of mine from work said he was cute! Grrrr.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Another sneak peek...

I said in a previous post that I've been busy working on gum paste details for a series of cakes due around the same time. This sneak peek is for the Fairytale Wedding Cake. Without giving away too many details (I'd like you to be surprised when you see the final product!), the turrets of the castle will each have a red and black flag at its peak, and there will be a final banner atop the castle itself. Tomorrow evening I'll be working on the figures and more...

Thank you... and I'm not Lion!

My friend, Patty, asked me to do another cake. Her husband works as a janitor at Heritage High School, and wanted to show his appreciation for the office staff that have helped him out throughout the year. The school colors are red and black, their mascot is a big lion, and their motto is "Welcome to the Pride".

The cake itself is an 8" yellow round, iced in vanilla butter cream icing. The lion was first a 7" black circle, then the red face overlaid on that, then white accents for the mane. The thank you banner is also fondant with my best paintbrush-calligraphy.

I've been busy...

I've been working on the little details for three cakes due in the next couple of weeks. I actually had to stop baking last night because I ran out of eggs. So while the cake is in the oven, I'm working gum paste things for on the cakes I'm making. Last night I finished possibly the most difficult piece for the temple cake - the Angel Moroni (for more information click here). It took 30 minutes to form him, over night to dry, and 20 minutes last night to paint him with a light yellow wash and dust him with gold pearl dust for that shiny metallic look. This little guy is only 2 inches tall and will sit atop a 28" tall cake representation of the Washington D.C. Temple.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Viking Ship

Alex likes anything Viking, or so I'm told. Considering his stature, I could see him as a Viking from long ago with the horned helmet, pillaging the country side or on a ship similar to this one... The original thought was to make the ship out of cake, but after researching long boats, I found that they are very long, very narrow, and very shallow. Let's face it, these dimensions are not very cake friendly. Instead we decided to make the "ocean" out of cake, carrot that is, and the ship out of gum paste. The cake was a home-made, from-scratch recipe I decided to try for the occasion, and the cream cheese icing as well. No store-bought here!

I made a negative mold for the boat out of cardboard, fashioning the head, tail, and hull with carving tools. I took a knife down the length of the ship for the boards and painted away. I decided to cheat a little and made the sail out of some white fabric and a bamboo skewer. The ropes are out of #10 cotton yarn in the natural color.

I got a call to say that Alex loved his cake, and the beautiful part about it all is that he can keep the ship for his collection!