Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Ooh La La! Fleur de Lis Cake

Finished this cake tonight. It's a birthday cake for a coworker who likes fleur de lis.

It's a double layer, 9-inch devil's food filled with chocolate Bavarian cream. I frosted it with chocolate frosting made from the recipe found on the Ghirardelli powdered chocolate can. Very yummy! The fleur de lis appliques are made from colorflow, which I painted with gold luster dust. There are eight, 2-inch tall fleur de lis around the side of the cake.

The base of the cake is decorated with chocolate sprinkles. I chose not to embellish the top rim of the cake because I thought it would have detracted from the simplicity of the design.

View the entire Fleur de Lis set on Flickr!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Glorious Ganache

This cake was very simple to make. It's a five layer yellow cake with Bavarian cream filling. It is covered in buttercream frosting and drizzled with chocolate ganache.

Ganache with Panache: Sandi's Birthday Cake

I surprised my friend, Sandi, with a chocolate cake for her birthday. She loves chocolate and chocolate covered strawberries, so I pulled out all the stops and invented a cake just for her.

It was a devil's food cake with chocolate Bavarian cream filling. I bought a can of Ghirardelli chocolate powder and made chocolate frosting using the recipe found on the label. It tasted fabulous! I then poured chocolate ganache over the entire cake. It was supposed to flow over the cake and drip down the sides but I learned an important lesson. Don't try this on a cake you have just removed from the refrigerator! The chocolate cools quickly and doesn't flow.

Then, I dipped fresh strawberries in the ganache and clustered them on top of the cake and placed them around the base of the cake. I drizzled them with melted white chocolate. Then I tried writing on the cake with the melted white chocolate. This didn't exactly work, as you can see.

But...the cake TASTED fantastic! One person said that each chocolate area was a little adventure. An adventure in chocolate. Sandi has named it her official birthday cake and said I must deliver one to her for her birthday every year.

Peeps Cupcakes

In addition to making the Sunflower Cake for Easter, I wanted to make cupcakes for the kids. I frosted some in white buttercream and others in chocolate. I piped green buttercream grass and the girls helped me place Peeps marshmallows bunnies on top. Click here to see more pictures.

Sunflower Cakes & Cupcakes

I wanted to bake a cake for Easter, but I wanted it to be something unexpected - no bunnies or eggs. I decided sunflowers would be very spring like. A quick Google search found Debbie Weaver's instructions for making sunflowers for decorating cupcakes or cakes. I baked an 8" three-layer yellow pound cake, filled with Bavarian cream. I frosted it with buttercream and followed her instructions and this was the final product. I used dark chocolate cocoa powder to help achieve the dark brown color of the seeds. The great thing was that it tasted as good as it looked. Once I convinced everyone it was OK to cut it, they devoured it! You can click here to view all of my sunflower cake and cupcake photos.

A friend of mine, Robin, saw my first sunflower cake pictures and asked if I would decorate a cake for her mother's birthday party. She brought me two 9" round lemon-flavored cakes. I torted them and filled them with lemon curd. I frosted them in a lemon-cream cheese frosting. I used buttercream for the flowers. You can click here to see all the photos.

Robin's sister-in-law, Sam, loves sunflowers. I had to bake some cakes the following Sunday, one of which was a sunflower cake for a friend and co-worker, Debbie. So I used the extra cake batter to make cupcakes for Sam. Debbie's cake was a square lemon cake. I filled it and frosted it with lemon buttercream frosting. It was a belated Administration Professionals Appreciation day cake.

Wilton Cake Decorating: Course 2

In this course we learned to make birds using the colorflow technique and we made flowers using royal icing. In the first three classes, we made flowers that we brought home to dry. For the final class, we brought a cake crumb coated in buttercream and frosted on top.

We learned to cover the sides with the basketweave technique. This is actually quite easy once you get into a rhythm. Then we trimmed the bottom using the rope technique. I trimmed the top edge with reverse shells. Then we arranged all the flowers and the birds we made in the previous classes.
My flowers were brighter than I would have liked, but I was still happy with the final product. I would like to try making a chocolate cake with chocolate basketweave around the sides. I think I'd like to decorate the top with chocolate molded leaves and chocolate covered strawberries!

Wilton Cake Decorating: Course 1

I recently took Wilton courses 1 & 2 in cake decorating. We learned to decorate cakes using buttercream icing, royal icing, and colorflow.

Our first assignment was to bake a cake using a character pan and a star tip. I chose a purse because I wanted something with as few colors possible. This technique is easy, but it causes my hand to cramp.

Our second assignment was to learn how to make a shell border, write freehand, and pipe characters from icing. We had to make clowns. I'm not a fan of clowns so I wasn't thrilled about the assignment. Basically, the trunks, arms, and legs of the clowns were thickly piped frosting with no structural support. The heads were plastic picks.

The frosting was still wet when we left class and I had a pretty long drive home. I think I hit every pothole along the way and knew there was no way the two sitting clowns would still be upright.
When I got home we all had a good laugh because the sitting clowns had fallen down. They looked drunk. The third clown looked like he just didn't have the strength to climb to the top of the cake! I dubbed it my "Drunk Ass Clowns Cake" and everyone who sees it, loves it.

Our final class had us decorate a cake with basic buttercream roses. Making a good rose is quite a challenge, but I think I did OK.