Sunday, April 29, 2012

Thomas the Tank Engine Cake

So, Thomas the Tank Engine is one of those characters that most kids would have grown up with. If not liking Thomas, most children are at least exposed to him and his friends through one method or the other. Personally, I know one very cute little boy who absolutely loves everything in Thomas's world. So, when I was asked to make a small cake that would feature Thomas, I was delighted.

If you look at this cake, you are probably thinking, THIS MAKES NO SENSE. And you're right, I kinda pulled Gordian Knot effect by putting a tunnel exit where there is no train, but in truth, I was hoping that Thomas was going to look like he was coming out of a cake, not a tunnel.

I like the overall esthetics. While the colors are muted, this cake is for a small boy who is too young to know esthetics of bold colors. So I'm happy I was able to throw this all together. I especially like the fact that I used the round to create a background as well as a platform from the cake! I cut two cakes in half and stacked them, like a diorama!

Okay, not much to say, I'm off to help out with the High School play. Ciao!

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Flower Bouquet Cake

Hurray! SPRING!
I've been watching the weather change. WE OFFICIALLY HAVE GREEN BUDS ON OUR TREES! That is super exciting. Today I was even fantasizing about swimming in Rainy Lake. I remember last year in May taking a plunge in freezing water when there was still ice moving out. This year, the ice is long gone after that wonderful March weather, but it is still far too cold to go for a dip just yet. If you've seen my polar plunge photos, you know that the cold does not bother me. Luckily, the flowers are blooming again, so here's my latest cake creation:

A friend of mine celebrated her birthday in April, along with a bunch of her co-workers. She asked me if I would not mind doing a communal cake to celebrate the four birthdays they shared this month. Since I was only given short notice, I make something quick with buttercream. I've been dieing to try out the flower tip I have, and since most of my work is done in Fondant, this was a welcome change.

I particularly like the little flower centers. I used some non-perils I ordered from Bake it Pretty. Super sweet. I think they finish it all off.

This week the photos were taken by myself, and my friend Caren, who, along wither her super awesome camera, came to play with light and colour. We sat on the floor with our little lighting set-up and played with flowers, scarves, blankets and everything else we could for the setting. Honestly, I was in love with her camera. I guess after 5 years, it is time to get a new one... I love my little Fuji Finepix, but Caren's camera was soooo awesome ლ(இ益இლ

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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Baby Cookies for Baby Carson

Babies! I've got none yet, but I am a very proud Aunt of three wonderful little ones. Little ones always make me smile especially when they laugh! Melts my heart.

I am happy to announce that one of my coworkers has recently given birth to a little one of their own. Carson was born last week to two very proud parents. Since I figured they had all the 'things' they could possibly need, I decided to do what I do best and bake!

These cute little cookies are inspired by some rather cliché designs, but none the less, are adorable! Looking through my files, I noticed that I've not done any (I think) baby-shower/baby-themed cookies. HOW! For three years now I have been blogging up a storm, and I have yet to do baby cookies!

Not that all my cookies have to be complex. I wanted to show a cute little tip for those of you who have less time but still want to bake cookies for little kiddies. These Button cookies are the perfect solution. (see them all around the decorated cookies?) They are simply my sugar cookie recipe(or any sugar cookie) dyed to the proper color.

Now, take a look at the loose buttons around. Those are a great cookie to make for those who are busy! Let's give you a little tutorial on those!

First Find three Round cutters. I used my piping tips, 1M ( large star tip), a smaller round large tip, and a regular 3 round tip. You could use any small round things to do these, and even make bigger buttons. Roll out your dough, and using the larger of the three circles, cut out a circle for the button.

Next, take the medium round circle and, very carefully, place it in the center of the large circle and apply slight pressure (don't go all the way through). This will be the little indent of the button.

Finally, using the smaller circle (my 3 round tip) punch holes all the way through for the button holes. AND Voilà! Bake as normal! (5 min @ 325 Degrees)

Now you know  a small, simple way to make cute baby cookies. These ones will be packed off and sent to the proud parents. Hope they like them!

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Thursday, April 19, 2012

CASIO Calculator, because my Husband says it is the best

My husband, the science teacher, is always telling his students that the only way to go in the Calculator department is with a Casio. I don't know why, but he espouses the virtues of the mighty Casio.
So, on a boring day, when him and his students were killing time, he showed them my blog. They browsed through the cakes, cookies and desserts here. I mostly use this blog as a reason to bake... somewhere to show my desserts so I remember them.
Funny how things go when I get a letter from the students, written formally in pink ink, asking for a cake in the shape of a Casio Calculator. How could I resist?
So, I decided, WHY NOT?! I don't usually do requests from students, only their parents, but these kids are good, and with my husband's blessings, I began to make them a delicious treat.

The cake itself is Chocolate Fudge with Mocha Buttercream, covered in Chocolate MMF and accented with a gumpaste Mr. Spooner (AKA Hubbie). 

I had to look at Hubbie's calculator to get the writing just right, and hand painted each of the symbols on with wondrous Americolor gels (mixed with white to help them show up). 

It was good fore planning on my part that I was able to do the cake. I knew I would not have a lot of time tonight to do it, so I did most of the work last night. Good thing too, my back went out. I am happy to report that I am feeling better after some rest, but I was worried this cake would not get its finishing accents. Luckily, they were small, and easy to do.

Now, I am looking forward to a simple and easy weekend with no obligations and a really good book!
Hope you all have a great Weekend!
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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Springtime Flowers with April Showers

One of the things I still struggle with as a baker/blogger is photography. Photoshop is my friend. When my 5 year old camera takes bad photos, or when the light is off, or things look shady, I like to know that I can plug my pictures into Photoshop to make them just right!
Take the cookies I made this weekend:

With the rainy weather, and the ugly damp, I stayed in most of the week. With nothing better to do, I decided to make some cookies. You've maybe noticed that I've been in a cookie funk. I have been making many cakes, but the last time I made a decorated cookie was, Oh right, just before my anniversary, so mid February.  That is a long time to have waited to make cookies. I decided to make up my own reality, whereby the rain from outside instantly cleared up and the flower started to bloom!

My reality also had random pigs. I don't know... I just wanted to use the cutter.

Back to my original comment about Photoshop. Take this photo for example:

The original photo was grainy, yellow, and off. While the final product is less than perfect, it is at least useable, especially considering some of the cookies have already been eaten by Hubbie.

I played with the contrast, sharpened, enhance, enhance, enhance, enhance, ZOOM, enhance, enhance, enhance, enhance, "Meet me at the club tonight, it all goes down, XOXO VB". Stupid reference, Okay, but Photoshop does help.

So, now I'm hoping that the rain will clear, we won't get the forecasted snow, and I will be able to continue to wish for summer and swimming. The only consolation in this is that I saw my first Dandelion this week... They are my absolute favorite flower. I love how happy they are!

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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Cupcake Course 2012

Hurray for Cupcakes!

The first ever Fort Frances Cupcake Course ended on a high. Most likely a sugar high! Participants decorated, mixed, piped, modeled, and ate their way through the 190 cupcakes I baked the day before. It was a absolutely amazing experience. And I thank everyone who participated for your patience and encouragements.

Here are some highlights from the course:

A Happy participant holds their beautiful cupcake creation. What an amazing rose!

Above: A bunch of creative cupcakes piped and decorated. Great experimentation!
Above: One participant was a little hungry, but not for sweets.

Cuppy-bears take shape!

Busily working to make various cupcake creations during experimentation time. 

Two participants show off their creations.


A Class Photo of cupcakes which represent the various members. 

This summer the College is planning a youth camp, and a Cake course for the fall. I have been super lucky to have been a part of this, and thank all participants for their feedback. The next course is going to be even more crazy! 

Hope to see you there!

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Sunday, April 1, 2012

Butterfly Flower Birthday Cake

So, I had a request from a friend for another Flower Birthday Cake. The sad thing was that this request was made on a Wednesday, so I had to do a little creative changes to make the time work for me. Rather than an elaborate Flower-Box cake, I made a flower-garden cake. The cake design was simple, Strawberry cake with Strawberry Buttercream, topped with Sugar flowers and a Sugar Butterfly.

Since this is for a young girl's Flower Birthday, I wanted to make the flowers POP! The butterfly on top really accents the colors chosen (Purple and Pink). The only direction I got was that the little girl loved strawberries. Well, Sugar Strawberries make a cute accent. I love strawberries on cakes!

For the Flowers I used Cherry Blossoms, Anemones and a few 'accent' made-up flowers (Click for Tutorials). The colors do not lend themselves to 'reality' flowers, but the effect is just as cute!

Okay, First Blog post since the new upgrade to Blogger. I've got to say, I don't quite like it. The images are difficult to past, and I have to go into the HTML editor to delete useless code and get between the images. What a strange and sad change.I would love to complain, but who would listen. Any other bloggers feel the same? I hope so! Maybe I'm missing something......

Hope everyone has a great week. Easter is coming!

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