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Baby shower tree cake

I haven’t had time to decorate cakes lately, but this past week I ended up having two cake orders for baby showers. The first was easy - an order of cupcakes (pictures of those another day). But the second was a little more challenging for me - a 10 inch iced cake.

Sure it seems easy enough, but the truth is I’ve only been making fondant cakes lately, so it had been over a year since I’ve done an iced cake. Perhaps I should’ve practiced a little before volunteering.

It also didn’t help that I had the world’s busiest week and absolutely no time to make the cake in the first place. My only option was Saturday night, the night before the baby shower.

I didn’t get home until 10pm and started quickly baking. I stayed up til 1am getting my cake dirty iced, and it wasn’t going well. The cake was uneven, icing was oozing out of the sides, one side even had a huge hole in it. Frustrated, I took a break to sleep, having lost all hope for this cake.

The next morning I got up early. The shower wasn’t until 2pm, so that gave me several hours to salvage the cake. I put another layer of icing on it, and things started looking up. I have to say though, after working with fondant, I really don’t like iced cakes. I can never get them to look smooth, no matter how much I spread out the icing. It’s definitely not ideal for a perfectionist like me.

In the end, I feel like it came together nicely. I used chocolate fudge icing to pipe a tree and made leaves out of fondant to match the colors of the baby shower. I then cut out fondant letters to spell “baby” since I was too scared I’d mess it up piping it out of icing. 

So, after all that hard work and stress, here’s what it looked like. It’s not perfect by any means, but it worked…

I’m glad I pulled it off, but I’m thinking this might be my last iced cake for awhile. I’d hate to give myself a heart attack in my 20s.

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Love bird cupcake toppers

I’m always looking for fun new ways to decorate cakes. So when I came across “cupcake toppers” last week on Etsy, I had to try them for myself. I ended up making love birds since Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. And in the end, they turned out even better than I hoped!

If you’d like to try making them yourself, it’s very easy…

  • Draw and cut a bird, wing and heart out of different colored cardstock.
  • Draw stitching around edges of each piece using a black pen.
  • Attach pieces using mounting squares or glue.
  • Draw bird’s eye with black pen.
  • Attach bird to white cake pop stick with tape.
  • Insert in iced cupcake.

What a simple way to add a special touch to ordinary cupcakes.

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City skyline cake

My latest cake endeavor was quite ambitious - a city skyline cake for our annual NYC-themed New Year’s Eve party. And to top it off, I decided to make my own homemade buttercream frosting for the first time too.

I set aside the night before for baking so I could concentrate on the decorating the day of. I whipped up a box mix, lined my pans with parchment paper, and just before pouring the batter inside, I took a second glance at the box and realized, to my horror, I had made a brownie mix instead of cake. I thought it was odd that it only called for two eggs instead of three. Great.

At that point I didn’t have much choice. I went ahead and baked a regular pan of brownies while I started to work on the cake. Unfortunately after making the brownies accidentally I was now one egg short. In a huff, I gave up for the night, finished up my pan of brownies, and begrudgingly went to bed.

The next morning I got up early to buy more eggs and quickly got the cake in the oven.

While it was baking, I started on my icing, pleading with myself not to mess it up since I didn’t want to make yet another trip to the grocery store. Luckily it was very simple to make. And afterward, I found it was much easier to spread onto the cake, and it tasted better too. I’m officially giving up on store-bought icing.

Now on to the decorating. This was by far the hardest cake I’ve ever done. Building by building, I measured out rectangles so they’d all fit together just right. Once in place, I cut out each individual tiny window and attached them to the buildings. It took hours, but the end result was amazing, and it was a hit at the party. Another cake I can mark off my 101 List (#10 - Decorate 20 new cakes with fondant).

Of course, the saddest part of this process is watching all your hard work on the chopping block. But at least everyone liked it. And I can’t think of a better way to bring in the new year than with a big piece of chocolate cake!

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The “sweetest” Christmas gift

This year I only asked for one thing - cake supplies. And I definitely got what I asked for.

From cake pans and cake stands, sprinkles and pearl dust, cooling racks and cupcake holders, and best of all, my “Cake Pops” book (which is where I got the idea for these).

Thanks to my awesome family. I can’t wait to get home and put them to good use. I can tell you one thing, the new year will definitely be full of cake!

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Little Einsteins fondant cake

During Thanksgiving break, we decided to celebrate my niece’s 2nd birthday while the family was together. And of course, we needed a cake. So my sister asked me to bring all my cake supplies to Florida and teach her how to make a fondant cake for the big party.

Now normally I pretty much wing my cake designs. I randomly choose a color, use whatever shapes I have in cookie cutters, which aren’t many, and create my design around any tears I have in the fondant.

My sister, however, had much bigger plans - a little Einsteins cake with clouds, grass and flowers, the four main characters circling the cake, and cupcakes surrounding it topped with fondant-shaped rockets. Quite adventurous for her first cake!

So while other families were watching football and taking naps on Thanksgiving, we were elbow-deep in icing and fondant, which to me was more fun than anything else we could have done on the holidays. It was also nice to decorate a cake with someone else, especially my sister. I wish she lived closer so we could do this more often.

In the end, it was the hit of the party. The birthday girl and all her little friends loved it, which made it worth all the hard work.

As for my 101 List (#10 - Decorate 20 fondant cakes), only 16 more to go.

-Lu

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Cast party cake

Tonight is opening night for “Wait Until Dark,” our latest production at Pull-Tight Theatre. And you know what that means? Our first cast party.

So before we left dress rehearsal on Wednesday night, they asked us all to bring something to the party. My boyfriend piped up and mentioned I made cakes. I’m pretty sure you see where this is going.

I decided not to make any promises just in case. I mean we are spending six out of seven nights at the theatre this week. With Thursday being our only night off, I wasn’t sure I wanted to spend it baking. But as usual, I caved.

You see, I have been dying to make an “explosion” cake - one with wire decorations coming out of the top. And I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to try my hand at it. It also puts me one cake closer to reaching my 101 goal (#10)- 3 cakes down, 17 to go.

And here it is…

I think it turned out pretty well for my first explosion cake. And I had so much fun working with the wire. I’m hoping the cast likes it as much as I do.

By the way, wish me luck tonight. It’s my first time running lights and sound at the theatre, and it’s a very light-intensive show.

Well, hope your weekend is more relaxing than the one I have ahead of me. Till next time.

- Lu

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When you wish upon a star…

A couple weeks ago, I found out my boyfriend’s mom and step-dad were coming to visit us in Nashville. Great, I thought, I always love company. What I didn’t find out until they were on their way here was that it was also his mom’s birthday.

Since I’m all about decorating cakes these days, I thought it was only appropriate that I made one for her. Unfortunately it was already Sunday evening, we were on our way to a friend’s house for dinner, and they were arriving the next day!

So in a panic, I went back home, gathered my baking supplies, and brought them along to our friend’s. Thankfully he didn’t mind me borrowing his kitchen to whip up my cakes after dinner. Half way done…

After we hung out for a bit, I packed up my cakes and went home. Now for the hard part - the decorating. I worked for hours, and at 1:30 a.m. I finally finished.

When she saw her cake the next day, she loved it. And I was so glad I took the time to make it for her. Another cake success, I’d say…

Happy birthday Shelby! Hope your birthday wishes come true.

- Lu

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Pink eye and pink cake

Today marks day 3 of my latest pink eye outbreak. Lucky me, I’ve had pink eye about 20 times in my life. And while no one really enjoys having red itchy eyes, taking drops that make the back of your throat taste like metal, and waking up with goo in your lashes, it does have its perks. Aside from the eyes, you feel perfectly fine - highly contagious, but fine.

So while I’m forced to spend yet another day in lockdown as to not infect the outside world, I’ve decided to make today fun and decorate a cake. I’m not sure I’ll have a lot of people lining up to eat this one since it may be “infected,” but I guess that just means there’s more cake for me.

And here’s the finished product…

Alright. I’ve spent long enough staring at it, taking pictures of it and writing about it. I’d say it’s about time for some taste-testing.

Special thanks to my pink eyes for giving me a fun day off of work. At least you were good for something.

- Lu

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