Tuesday, January 7, 2014

How to apply Luster Dust!

Today is my birthday! And although many receive on their special day, I thought it would be fun to give all of you a fun little "How to" tutorial. I get this question a lot...

How many times have you tried to apply dry luster dust to a very small piece of fondant without it getting everywhere?

While there are many variations as to how to properly use luster, petal, or even disco dust on your fondant, gum paste, or modeling chocolate decorations; here, I'll show you an easy way of how I prefer to apply my luster dust without it going to places that should not shine!

It's quite simple, really. I can't really remember how I came about doing this but what I did find out was that my toppers came out cleaner, shinier, and all around just neater without it looking like my six year old had a disco party on my toppers.

I'll begin by showing you how they look before applying the luster dust.

Once my toppers have dried I like to finish them off by applying some vegetable shortening (such as Crisco) with a small brush. Not only does this give the fondant a nice sheen, it also removes any corn starch or powdered sugar that may have stayed on your fondant. Then I take another small brush and lightly apply the dry luster dust on the piece that I want shimmered. What I like about the shortening is that the luster dust adheres to the shortening quickly and you are able to glide the brush back and forth just as if you were painting. It really allows you to even out the dust without it getting clumpy in certain areas. If you take a look at the first pic you'll see what I mean. Certain areas look clumpy vs the image below looks as if you've use an airbrush machine.

And here is the finished product.

I hope this helps and thanks for looking!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!

Wow! What an amazing 2013. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I could do as much as I've done this year.

This year has been filled with so many blessings for my family. I am forever grateful to my family, friends, peers, supporters, etc who encourage and inspire me each and every day to be the best I can be.

In March of 2013, I had the craziest idea to start this blog and journey my way through this wonderful world of cakes. With no proper training it has become my obsession to try to learn as much as I can on my own and document all my trials and errors. Thank you for all your support, love, and encouraging words. It really means a lot to me.

In April of 2013, I had the pleasure of creating a Beach Bridal Shower cake for a sweet friend of mine. Thank you Amy for believing in me. This cake holds a special place in my heart as I had no idea how I was going to execute it in a weeks time. There were so many elements that went on to this cake that I hadn't even tried before. I was even inspired to do a mini tutorial. I have a new found respect for all those great cake artist out there who take the time to make these tutorials; free or paid. I have learned about photography, staging, lighting, software editing, and lots and lots of patience. God was definitely with me on this one!

As I sit back and reflect on all the wonderful things that I have accomplished, I do know one thing...

I've grown to be a better person thanks to all the wonderful people who surround me. May the New Year fill your heart with happiness and peace.

                      Here's to an AMAZING 2013 and an even better 2014!!!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer Cake

                                          Happy Birthday Anderson!!!

Over the Holidays I had the pleasure of creating this cake inspired by the classical movie Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer The Musical.

The party venue took place at the Orlando Repertory Theater and after learning about the theme I was so excited to re-create some of the most beloved characters from the movie. Check out some of the party pics sent to me by Rebecca (Anderson's mom.)

Anderson turning 5!!!
As with everyone of my creations, I plan, re-plan, and then plan again all the little details that go on to these cakes. But since I'm still in the learning process of things, it's always something new to overcome. With this cake I originally intended to make Rudolf standing up from this image that I found on the internet.

Instead he ended up like this. Sitting down...

The problem was, he wasn't drying fast enough! I made the head and the body first and let him dry. Then I made each legs separately and let them dry as well but when it was time to glue everything together the legs started cracking and breaking. It was just a total disaster. I re-made him like three times. After countless hours of brainless activity it occurred to me that I should have made a structure first and them made him out of modeling chocolate instead of gum paste. I haven't done that many figurines, so he was a bit of a challenge for me. I would love to hear from you if this has ever happened to you. A definite first for me. As for my sweet little critics, they would agree with me that my last attempt at Rudolph did look like him; instead of  the cross-eyed reindeer in the pic below. Ooh, girls! I love you so much for your honesty.

The cupcakes were a real treat to make. I actually got the face templates from the internet and then cut them out by hand with an X-Acto knife. I even gave Rudolph a shiny nose by using a mixture of corn syrup glaze. I also used this same technique here. It was so shiny that the guest thought that they were red hot gumdrops.

So there you have it. I am still a working progress when it comes to cakes but one things for sure I am thankful and grateful for those who believe in me more than I sometimes believe in myself. Seeing the reactions in peoples faces just knowing that I made their day just that more sweet is enough to keep me in this journey to better myself. Until next time my sweet blogger friends. And thanks for looking.

                                                   Happy Holidays!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Crafty Class Giveaway!

Hey guys, just wanted to inform you of Jessica Harris weekly Crafty class giveaway. All you have to do is head on over to her blog and share with friends and family.

I personally took her Clean and Simple Cake Design class and it is amazing. Not only will you improve your cake decorating skill; you will have the confidence to take on any challenge. So head on over to her blog and show some love or visit Craftsy.com and while your there you can join me here as well.
Happy Baking!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Trick or Treat- Devil's Food CupCakes

In the spirit of Halloween, I thought I'd share a little something with you guys to get you started early on your Festive Holiday baking. I don't know about you guys, but as soon as October rolls around I get so excited about the holidays because this means more baking and more sharing with family and friends. How can you not! You didn't expect  me to eat all the goodies, now did you?

I served these delicious cupcakes during a Halloween party at my daughters dance studio. Let's just say it was a huge success. Instead of the traditional Apple Cobbler, Oatmeal Raisin, Carrot, or Cinnamon & Spice cupcakes I decided to go for more of a dark side.This moist, rich, and airy cake is quite different from the traditional chocolate cake. Its use of cocoa powder as opposed to chocolate is what makes this cake much darker and richer in flavor. You could say it's somewhat "Sinful!" I believe it's in our nature to always gravitate towards the bad. As for me, the more indulgent it sounds, the more I'm drawn to it!

If you want to give these a try, here's the recipe. Tell me what you think!

Devil's Food Cupcakes
Yield: 18 Cupcakes

For the Cupcakes:
    • 6 tablespoons (85 g) unsalted butter, softened
    • 1 cup (230 g) packed dark brown sugar
    • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
    • 1 large egg, at room temperature
    • 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
    • 3/4 cup + 2 teaspoons (115 g) all-purpose flour
    • 6 tablespoons (38 g) unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon (3 g) baking soda
    • 1/2 teaspoon (3 g) baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon (5 g) kosher salt
    • 3/4 cup (180 ml) buttermilk, at room temperature
    • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) mayonnaise
    For the Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream: 
    • 5 large fresh egg whites (150 g)
    • 1-1/4 cup (250 g) superfine granulated sugar
    • 1-1/2 cups (340 g) (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, cut into cubes 
    • 150 g (3/4 cup) melted bittersweet Belgian chocolate (I use Callebaut )
    • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) pure vanilla extract
    • pinch of salt
                For the Cupcakes: 
      1. Preheat oven to 350° F and line a muffin/cupcake pan with your favorite cupcake liners.
      2. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, brown sugar, and vanilla on medium-high speed until lighter in color and slightly increased in volume, about 5 minutes. Lower the speed to medium and add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until each is fully incorporated before adding the next.
      3. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and baking powder into a medium bowl. Add the salt to the dry ingredients after sifting, and whisk dry ingredients.
      4. Alternate dry ingredients and buttermilk into creamed mixture, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Mix until just incorporated, or finish by hand gently.
      5. Fold mayonnaise into batter with a whisk, until just blended.
      6. Fill cupcake pans 2/3 each and bake for approximately 17 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into center of cupcakes comes out just barely clean (a few crumbs).
      7. Let cupcakes cool on wire rack for 10 minutes, then gently remove from pan and continue to cool on a wire rack. Let cool completely.  

        For the Chocolate Swiss Meringue:
      8. Wipe the bowl of an electric mixer with paper towel and lemon juice, to remove any trace of grease. Add egg whites and sugar, and simmer over a pot of water (not boiling), whisking constantly but gently, until temperature reaches 160°F, or if you don't have a candy thermometer, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot.
      9. Place bowl back on mixer and fit with whisk attachment. Whip until the meringue is thick, glossy, and the bottom of the bowl feels neutral to the touch (this can take up to 10 minutes, or longer). Switch over to paddle attachment and, with mixer on low speed, add softened butter in chunks until incorporated, and mix until it has reached a silky smooth texture (if curdles, keep mixing and it will come back to smooth).
      10. Add vanilla and salt, continuing to beat on low speed until well combined.
      11. Add melted  and cooled bittersweet chocolate and continue beating on low speed until well combined.
    1. Cupcakes are best enjoyed the day they are made, but these keep particularly well in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
    2. If you do refrigerate, serve at room temperature--particularly Swiss Meringue Buttercream cupcakes, otherwise the buttercream is too hard and butter-like. 
    3. The buttercream calls for superfine granulated sugar also known as caster sugar. Superfine sugar is granulated sugar that has been ground into finer crystals than regular granulated white sugar. If you cannot find superfine sugar, you can easily make your own superfine sugar using just a food processor and granulated sugar. Turn the processor to high speed and process the sugar for about 1-2 minutes.After you process it, let the dust settle back into the processor for 10-20 seconds, then remove the lid. Your superfine sugar is now ready to be used! Store it as you would regular sugar.

    Southern Devil’s Cake Recipe adapted from, Sweetapolita

     Enjoy & Happy Baking!

    Sunday, September 29, 2013

    Harper's 1st Birthday- Pool Party Cake & Cupcakes

    Happy Birthday Harper!

    What's not to love about this a super-cute Pool Party Themed Cake and Cupcakes?! Harper's mom was sweet enough to give me total creative control over these delectable desserts, and I had so much fun creating them. The 50 cupcakes featured edible fondant pool balls, flip-flops, towels, umbrellas, and Fun-in-the-Sun shades.

                                             It was quite the "Splash Bash!"
    So cute!!!
    It also included a 6" smash cake just for the little one. Here she is diving right in.

    I really loved the way these toppers came out. It's a bit hard to tell in the picture, but I added a bit of glossy sheen to the splash tier drops. It's quite easy to do and it gives it a realistic look. Just mix together equal amounts of corn syrup and clear alcohol. You can  also use vodka. If you'd like more information about this great technique then head on over to Craftsy.  There's a great article on this and other techniques to achieve this glossy appearance.

    A special thanks to Chrissy (Mom) for providing the extra photos.
    I am in total "love" with how this all came together.
    Enjoy and until next time...

    Friday, September 13, 2013

    Labor Day Hamburger Cupcakes

    I've been wanting to make these adorable "Finger Licking" mini burger cupcakes for quite some time now. I finally got the chance over Labor Day weekend to make them for my husband's managers as a thank you for their contributions.

    They're really easy to make and are a super fun weekend project with the kids. I know my girls loved making them as much as they enjoyed eating them. They were so cute. Assembly line and everything! I wish I had taken a picture of them.

    I'm sure you've seen them around everywhere. I saw them on Bakerella's blog awhile back and knew I had to try them. Since I had some chocolate cupcakes already made from the previous day I figured I'd use those for the burger meat instead of making a batch of brownies as it calls for. I'll definitely have to make them again and try the difference with the brownies. Oh, and I'll have to add on a side of french fries to compliment.Yum!

     Enjoy, and Happy Baking.