Sunday, July 31, 2011

Musical Groom's Cake

Happy Sunday everyone!  This week I topped 5000 page views from people all over the world!  When I started my blog on a whim earlier this year, I was just hoping a few friends and some family would look at it every once in a while.  I never expected this kind of response!  As a thank you, I’m giving away a cake…but you have to keep reading to figure out how to get a hold of this yumminess!

This week’s cake is the 2nd half of the Hornsby/Chanell wedding from last week.  The groom is a music major, so they wanted something musically-themed.  They sent a picture of a cake with piano keys, so I took that idea and created a design with piano keys on the bottom and a musical score on the top tier.

This cake also came with an added challenge: because of an allergy in the family, everything had to be egg free.  My usually cake, buttercream, and royal icing recipes all contain eggs, so this required some serious recipe testing in the weeks before the wedding.  I adapted my chocolate cake recipe to exclude eggs and the results were great!  I’ll be sharing the recipe next week!  For the icing, I made it without meringue powder and added a little extra powdered sugar for a little more stability. 

So once the egg-free cake were frosted with egg-free chocolate buttercream and covered with fondant (which thankfully is naturally eggless), it was time to start decorating!

I started by cutting out stripes of ivory and black fondant for the piano keys.

After those were laid on, I painted the music notes on the top tier.  When I met with Liz and Ben to design their cakes, we didn’t talk about any specific sheet music, but as I was beginning to paint, I thought it would be really cool to use an actual song and see if anyone recognized it J

I am happy to say that the groom noticed right away!

So here comes the challenge!  The first person to email me at with the correct song wins a cake!  It doesn’t count if you know me and I told you what it was already!  No cheating!

So put your thinking caps on and check out the cake:

The photographer for the wedding took come really cool shots of the cake as well.  This one shows another side of the cake, so it might help you determine the song.

I also really liked this picture: 

I never thought of taking picture of the inside of the cake…love it!

So, there you have it…email me at with your song guesses.  First person with right answer wins!

Fine print: Cake is an undecorated 9” round cake in either chocolate or vanilla with chocolate or vanilla buttercream.  Must be redeemed by Dec 31 2011.  Delivery within the Nashville area.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Wedding Cake: Liz Hornsby

Happy Sunday!  Sorry for my absence last week…I was so busy baking and decorating cakes, I didn’t have time to blog about them!

This week’s featured cake was for Liz Hornsby and Ben Channell (you’ll get to see his groom’s cake next week!).  Liz wanted a simple buttercream cake with a blue ribbon to match her bridesmaids’ dresses and a few simple sugar flowers here and there.

She also chose a delicious combination of vanilla cake, whipped cream and sliced strawberries, and vanilla buttercream – the perfect combination for a summer wedding!  It tasted like strawberry shortcake!

After the cakes were assembled with all their whipped cream and strawberry deliciousness inside, I frosted them with their final coat of buttercream.  I started by spreading the frosting with a spatula and smoothing it somewhat.

My trick to perfectly smooth buttercream is to use a paper towel and a fondant smoother as the final step.  (A little tip: Viva paper towels work the best since they don’t have any texture). 
Lay the paper towel over the cake and lightly rub it with the fondant smoother to buff out any imperfections.  Carefully pull off the paper towel and repeat all the way around the cake.

Liz’s bouquet included roses and callas, so I made several of each out of gumpaste to decorate the cake.  To make sugar roses, you start with a teardrop shaped piece of gumpaste, then wrap gumpaste petals around until you have the desired size. 

I start with one petal…

Then add two more to make a bud…

Then I add three petals to make a small rose…

And I finish it with five more petals to make a medium rose.  If I want to make larger roses, I add another layer of seven petals.

The finished cake was perfectly suited to Liz and her wedding: beautiful, classy, and simple.

Here is the happy couple cutting the cake…

 Check back next week to see Ben's groom's cake...and a challenge!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Coca-Cola Cake

Happy Sunday!  I made this week’s cake for my best friend’s birthday party.  She collects Coca-Cola memorabilia, so I wanted to make some kind of vintage Coca-Cola design on her cake.  I finally decided on making the top of the cake look like a bottle cap.  Something similar to this…

To make it easier for me to paint, I rolled out a fondant circle and painted that off the cake.  Once it was done, I planned to lay it on top of the cake.  When painting with edible colors, it’s almost like using dye, so there isn’t a white paint.  You just have to leave those parts unpainted…which is more of a challenge than you might think!

 I started with the red background…

I had to be really careful not to paint over the parts that I needed to leave white…

Then I added several colors of reds, burgundies, and golds to the bottle to give it some depth…

Lastly, I painted all the black details

And viola!  Just to brag, go back up to the top of this post and look at the inspiration picture again…see how well they match? J

To finish off the actual cake, I laid a larger circle of fondant on top of the buttercream and crimped the edges.  Then I placed the painted logo on top of that…

The cake was an eggless chocolate cake that I was testing for a wedding next weekend.  Everyone commented on how moist it was, so I think it was a success.  Stay tuned over the next few weeks for pictures from next week’s wedding as well as the eggless cake recipe!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Wedding Cake: Andrea Montgomery

Happy Sunday!  If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I made my cousin’s wedding cake yesterday and drove it to Indiana (about a four hour drive from Nashville). 
I built a contraption to keep the cake cool on the drive so it didn’t fall.  This was important because as the butter in the cake gets warm, the cake becomes very soft and can slowly slump.  Usually this isn’t a problem because by the time the cake gets really warm, it’s time to cut it.  But since I was going to be driving for four hours on top of the usual time during the ceremony and reception, I needed to keep the cake cold on the drive.  You can see last week’s post for exact details of my invention. 
I am very happy to report that it worked beautifully!!  The cake was still in perfect condition when we got to the venue.
The ceremony and reception were at the beautiful Granary in New Harmony Indiana.  The town was so charming and the location itself was one of the most attractive wedding venues I’ve ever seen.  My cousin’s theme was butterflies, which fit perfectly with the natural character of the Granary.
The cake was to be an ivory background with lace clusters cascading down the tiers.  We later changed the lace design from the original inspiration in my sketch to match the lace on the bodice of her dress.

After all the cakes were baked, the first step in the decorating process was to cover each tier with ivory fondant.  The fondant is rolled out fairy thin, 

Then carefully laid over the tier and slowly smoothed down the sides.  This is probably the trickiest step for me.  You have work carefully to avoid puckers in the fondant.

Once all the tiers are covered, they are ready to be stacked.  Like all cake decorators, I use wooden dowels inserted into the cake to support it.  That way each tier is resting on the dowels, not on the actual cake below.  I then push a larger dowel through the middle to keep the cakes from sliding around.

Here it is with all three tiers before it decorated. 

I piped the design in magenta colored royal icing, and used a paint brush to drag in the icing a little bit to create a lacier look.  This makes a really neat textured look.  I have used it several times before, but never with a colored icing.  I have always done it with white or ivory on a similar background.  I really liked the affect with a dramatic color.

The design had to be piped on all three tiers.  Each is slightly different and highlights a different floral arrangement from her dress.

After the cake was decorated, we loaded it up in the van using my cake cooler.  I was a nervous wreck the whole time!  But, we checked it once halfway there, the dry ice seemed to be doing its job so I relaxed....but just a little bit. :)
Once we got the reception, I added some butterflies to complete the design and tie it in with her theme. 

All in all, it was a very successful adventure.  I was so happy with the cake and with my invention.  And the wedding was sooo beautiful.  Events like this are why I love what I do!