Sunday, July 31, 2011

Twins! cake

I made this lemon cake with cream cheese frosting for a fashionista mother who had twin boys.  She has fabulous shoes, so the gumpaste slingbacks seemed like a good choice, adding a baby into each one.

The mother's sign of good luck is a red bird, so I used an exacto knife to cut one out of fondant and added it to the back of the topper.

It's been a very long time since I made fondant figures, and I forgot how much prep time goes into them--lots of tools spread out over a large area.  I used to have this process organized fairly efficiently, but I'm sure this time it took me much longer than it needed to because I kept putting away tools and having to get them out again...hopefully I will remember those things for the next time?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Floating gems

I've been thinking about making these rings for a long time but couldn't devote the bench time until last weekend.  The general idea is that the settings sort of float between your fingers when you wear them--very little of the shank is visible. 

I made two of them--think assembly line--and I almost gave up on both of them.  In the planning process, I apparently gave not a single thought to the fact that I would have to balance the settings on the flattened top of the ring shanks to solder them on.  I finally got them on by sweat soldering the spots and using cross locking tweezers to drop the tube settings into their resting places.  That might have been attempt #17, and I was just relieved to get something to work.

All of the stones are 2mm; one ring has lavender cubic zirconia in the tube settings and the other, peridot.  I'm happy with the end result, but I don't know that I will be making more of these anytime soon...

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Wedding cakes and cupcakes

Last weekend I made 96 cupcakes and a couple of small cakes for a friend's wedding.

On the menu:
  • Chocolate malt cupcakes
  • Raspberry lemonade cupcakes
  • Chocolate cupcakes with raspberry buttercream frosting
  • Lemon cupcakes with cream cheese frosting
  • A double layer six inch flourless chocolate cake with cream cheese filling and frosting
  • A double layer six inch chocolate cake with cookies and cream filling and frosting.
These were all recipes I have used before, so it was just a matter of organizing my time to get it all put together in time to deliver.  I put all of the frosting ingredients out on the counter so the butter and cream cheese could soften while I got the cupcakes ready so I could just pipe the frosting on right before transporting them.


I was happy with the results--this is the way I would want to do a party myself.  Lots of variety and interesting flavors.

(Incredible cake photos by Hally Crangle)

The two best recipes to come out of this combination were the cookies and cream frosting and the flourless chocolate cake, so I'll share those:

Flourless Chocolate Cake

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 36 ounces of semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 cups salted butter
  • 12 eggs
  1. Prepare two six inch cake pans by spraying with olive oil spray and lining the bottom with parchment paper. 
  2. Heat the water, salt and sugar on the stove until all combined and set aside.
  3. Melt the chocolate in a glass dish in the microwave in 30 second bursts, stirring in between each session. Put this into the electric mixing bowl
  4. Cut the butter into pieces and add them to the chocolate very slowly--beat in each piece before adding the next. Then add the hot water/sugar mixture. 
  5. Add the eggs to the mixture very slowly, one at a time.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Put each of the cake pans into a larger cake pan then fill the outer pan about halfway with very hot water to create a water bath.
  7. Bake the cakes in a preheated 300 degree oven for 55 minutes or until they firm up a bit; the centers of the cakes will still look wet when they come out of the oven. 
  8. Remove from the water bath and cover tightly (while still in the pans) when cool enough to handle. Chill the cakes overnight in the fridge. To remove, dip the bottom of the cake pan in hot water for 10-15 seconds, run a knife around the outer edge of the cake, then invert onto a plate or cake board.

Cookies and Cream Frosting

  • 1 cup of salted butter, softened
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla
  • 4 to 4.5 cups of powdered sugar (adjust to desired consistency)
  • A couple of sleeves of crushed up Oreos or Newman O's, whichever you prefer
Beat the butter and vanilla until fluffy, add the powdered sugar a cup at a time, then add the cookies and continue to mix.  This is not a frosting that can easily be piped onto cupcakes because of the cookies--better for spreading on a cake or using for filling.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Copper fold forming

I made a giant copper cuff bracelet last year that people were very drawn to.  At the Bizarre Bazaar, people would be walking by my booth and stop when they saw that cuff, even if their intention seemed to be to pass me by.  The problem with it was that it was really too big; most bracelets are about seven to eight inches in length, and the cuff was more like nine.  I kept thinking about cutting it down, but I put it in my Etsy shop and got involved in other things.  About a month ago, it sold (much to my surprise); I shipped it out but decided I would make another one in a smaller size.

I love the process of fold forming because it's so organic.  I don't feel like there is a wrong way to do it and the textures and patterns are incredible.  Fold forming in copper is oddly gratifying because it is such a soft metal and seems to be a natural fit to the technique.  Don't get me wrong--sterling is great too, but I would pick copper any day over the silver when it comes to fold forming.

I ended up making one much like the original:

as well as another fold formed cuff:

and some fold formed earrings:

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Random bits

I've been pretty scattered the last couple of weeks with cake and jewelry work, and getting the photos up just never came together.  So this is more of a catch up post than anything else.

I did some sterling fold forming last weekend that I used for earrings.  The first pair is about an inch long and the second is about an inch and a half--pretty big pieces.

I've done several lampworking sessions lately and am starting to put the beads to use--this pair of earrings was a gift, so I had to get them done and out first.

On the cake front, I helped my friend Kelli do the decorating for a wedding cake.  She was looking for a way to get a floral damask pattern on the cake without piping it on in frosting.  I downloaded an image and used the Make The Cut software with the Cricut Cake to cut out the pattern and we arranged it on the cake tiers the night before the wedding.  Make no mistake--this was her project; I only helped with the damask pattern on the sides. Kelli baked the cakes, she covered them, she added the monogram and the flowers. It turned out fabulous, if you ask me--we make a great team!