Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween-themed baby shower cake

This cake was for a baby shower with a Halloween theme. The costume on the puppy matches the one the family dog is wearing for Halloween this year and although the angle doesn't show it too well, the mummy is pregnant. The chocolate cake has chocolate malt buttercream frosting and candy corn trim. The figures and pumpkins are made from fondant and the grass is buttercream frosting.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Lampwork jewelry

This weekend I used some of the lampwork beads I made over the past couple of weeks to make pendants and earrings. Ben worked with me, handing me the beads and pliers, humming as he helped. He has designed some pendants that we still need to finish...hopefully later this week.

The beads I posted last week, in finished form:

A couple of pairs of lampwork earrings:

...and two lampwork cupcake pendants (these almost didn't make it...I wasn't sure whether or not to go through with making them into pendants, but decided why not?) :

This week, I hope to take some inventory of what I have ready for the November show and make a plan to fill in the gaps. I have a few cakes to do between now and then, but it should all be fairly manageable...hopefully there will be more to post soon!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Haunted house cake and classroom cupcakes

Since Ben's birthday is so close to Halloween, I made him a haunted house cake to celebrate. I used a pound cake since I knew I would be stacking the cake so high and it did seem to make a difference in the stability. I made the cake in two square pans (eight inches and 10 inches), then cut them into strips to make the shape of the house.

Here are the five layers with the vanilla buttercream crumb coat:

I made marshmallow fondant to cover the house. Since the crumb coat had dried, I added just a couple of drops of water to the back of the fondant to make it stick to the frosting, smoothed it, and used an impression mat to give the side of the house a stone texture. I knew I would be putting some darker color on the walls and wanted the pattern to provide shadows across the surface.

The house, covered in fondant:

I needed something more rigid than fondant for the shingles, shutters, and doors of the house, so I mixed the remaining fondant with gumpaste (in a half and half mixture). Square cutters made quick work of the pieces I needed. I set them aside to dry and went back to work on the house.

I don't have an airbrush machine, so I used black color spray to get a darker color on the house.

Now, on to the fun part--adding the details! I piped a bat for the top of the house out of chocolate, and attached the shutters and door with frosting. I used edible glue to attach the shingles to the roof, and did some final outlining with orange frosting.

The demolition begins:

Ben and I also made cupcakes for him to take to school to share with his class. I frosted them, then Ben decorated them generously with Halloween sprinkles:

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Glass work

I did some lampworking over the weekend to prepare for the upcoming Bizarre Bazaar in late November.

The beads are made with Effetre/Moretti, a "soft" glass from Italy (mine always comes from a glass company in California...but you get the idea). I start with glass rods and heat them over a torch fueled by propane and oxygen. Then I wind the molten glass around stainless steel mandrels in whatever colors I want, shaping it once I have enough glass to work with. When the bead is done, I put the mandrel in a kiln to cool slowly (this prevents stress fractures from the glass cooling too quickly) over several hours. Once the kiln cools down, I remove the beads from the mandrels, clean them, and use them to make jewelry.

These quarter-sized beads will become pendants in the near future...I will clean them tonight to add the silver findings.

The same beads, showing the other side of some of them:

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

XBox 360 cake

Gage picked this cake for his birthday...the beloved XBox 360. He asked for the white cake I make with soda, cream cheese frosting, and marshmallow fondant, so that's what he got.

I underestimated how much time it would take to do this one...for starters, it took FOUR cake mixes to get the double layer cake. I put a piece of parchment paper on top of the XBox and traced the shape, then used that to cut out the shape of the cake. Since stacking cake pans in the oven messes with the baking, I baked the two sheet cakes separately. The form is pretty simple, but covering it with the fondant and putting on the details took a while. In the end, I was pretty happy with it. A side note...I know putting fondant in the fridge is taboo, but I didn't have a choice last night since the cake had cream cheese frosting on it. I put it in a cardboard cake box to help keep the condensation at bay and everything was fine this morning when I took it out to peek.

Here is the recipe for the cake made with soda--it's really easy and cuts the calories and fat and makes it really moist:

1 box of cake mix
12 ounces of soda to match the mix (diet sprite for white cake, diet coke for chocolate)
Bake according to box directions.

I know Sara is shaming me about the box mix. Sorry, Sara.

Here's the cake:

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Scout baby cake

This cake was for a baby shower. The parents-to-be were both active in Boy/Girl Scouts when they were growing up, and the hostess of the party wanted the baby to be dressed in a cub scout uniform. Boys enter Scouting as Tigers, so that is the uniform I put on him with the orange neckerchief and badge. Dad is holding the Tiger field book.

The cake was white with chocolate malt frosting, hence the Whoppers candy around the trim.