Beginner Custom Cakes
From a cake maker in training!
With big shoes to fill, and a lot of apprehension, I decided to try fondant. That's right. Fondant. The culinary band-aid. I resisted as long as I could, but I caved and purchased some pink fondant for my daughter's fabulous fifth birthday cake. I really wanted to impress her, so I pulled out all the stops!
Let's back it up a bit. I've seen these barbie cakes in the window of our local bakery. Admittedly, I thought they looked ridiculous at first. Then I had a babygirl, and nothing, I mean nothing, seems ridiculous anymore. So when it came time to decide on a birthday cake, I thought back to those crazy looking cakes with the torso and head of a doll sticking out the top. Creepy? Yes. But I saw potential.
So I did my research, and came up with a game plan. First, I found the main character, the doll. This particular doll isn't barbie brand, so it was cheap, and it had pink sparkles in it's hair! (Kinda jealous!) Then I made some cakes. I use boxed cake mix, it's delish, and I made four 8 inch circles, and I used a whole box to fill a 4 cup pyrex measuring cup. Yes. If you are careful, and take some precautions, you can bake a cake in pyrex.
Ta-da! This will sit atop the round cakes, and serve as the upper part of the skirt of the gown. I put all of the cakes in the freezer (for a couple of days), and when I was ready, I removed them and layered them with frosting. Then, I cut down the sides a smidge to shape the ball gown! At that point, I was feeling optimistic!!
Then it started to go downhill....fast. I needed to cut a hole in the middle of the stack of cakes, big enough to shove the doll's legs in (which I had wrapped in plastic to keep them together). Using a tiny knife and spoon, I cut a cylinder shape in the middle of the cakes. It took forever...
Next, I did a crumb coat (thanks Dr. F.) and then pink frosting, fondant and embellishments. The white flowers are actually "wafer flowers" so they are edible! But where to put the birthday candle? We have to have a birthday candle....what if the doll is carrying a little cake with a candle for the birthday girl? Brilliant! Finally, I used some candy melts, a stencil and handy dandy parchment sheets to write "happy birthday", and make some roses. When it dried, I was able to stick it right on the skirt! Too cute.
Not too shabby for my first try, eh? I mean, I've made cakes for my daughter for years, and I always avoided fondant. But fondant gives cakes a finished look, a super impressive look. So Dr. F., you were right. Fondant is not evil. But it does taste terrible! I might just stick to my canned icing method.....
Side note: the 5 year old princess was not impressed. She said, "I wanted a strawberry cake! That's what I told you!" no joke. But she came around, and once her friends started to oooo and ahhh at it, she was all for it.
So thank you Dr. F. for giving me the background and foundation to be able to build this cake. After years of gingerbread houses, royal icing, piping bags and tips, I did pretty well. Looking forward to the next custom cake adventure!
Celebrate Halloween with Cakes!
What better time to experiment with ghoulish designs and ghastly flavors? Halloween brings out the spooky side of everything, even cake! Halloween cakes are a great way to try something different in your cake decorating journey. For Dr. F, the first customized Halloween cake took years to show up. I guess Halloween didn't seem like a "cakey" holiday, enter Pinterest! Yes, Pinterest. We all love it, we are all inspired by each other's pins....
Halloween Spider Cake
Dr. F's Spider Cake, isn't it fantastic?!? Not too scary, and perfectly sweet. With a bunch of kids at our Halloween party, this whimsical yet spooky cake was the winner! But wait until you see what happens when you cut into it....
Ta-da! Super spooky inside too! What a great surprise, and the kids loved the unusual color of the cake. But the best part of all, it tasted like a sugary, chocolaty Halloween heaven (or hell mu-wah-ha-ha). This was no boxed cake, homemade all the way. According to Dr. F., you need a good sturdy cake when making a tall cake, or working with fondant decorations. No collapsing cakes here! She uses Wilton gel food colors, they are super vibrant and easy to use.
And those spiders! So cute, and Dr. F. reminisced that they came out more adorable than she expected. While the spiders were fun and easier to make, she struggled with piping the icing in straight lines (don't we all). Anyone have any "nifty tricks" for perfectly piped confections? Way to go Dr. F., you set the bar pretty high for Halloween cakes. Anyone else make creepy cakes? Let's see your Halloween masterpieces!
Close your eyes and picture this: it's your 7th birthday. You are so excited to celebrate with your friends and family, there are balloons and streamers everywhere. All of a sudden, the lights dim and a chorus of "Happy Birthday to you..." can be heard. You open your eyes and you see it. Your very own birthday cake. It's sweet, it's homemade with tons of love, and it's got your name on it!
Everyone loves a good birthday cake, filled and frosted with sugary sweetness, decorated with flowers, letters and characters. For us, not a single birthday passed without a cake. Either homemade or Carvel, on occasion, whatever the birthday boy or girl wants. And the matriarchs of our family made sure that you felt magical and special on your birthday no matter what. My mom loved to make birthday cakes for us. And not just an out of the box slap some icing on it cakes. She made three-dimensional, decorated, adorned and lit ablaze cakes. Check out this gem circa 1993:
Let Them Eat Cake!
A family history, through cakes.
I am super pleased and over elated to announce the introduction of "Let Them Eat Cake!" After tons of anticipation, hard work and fondant, Diapers and Dogfood is rolling out the brand spanking new blog for all of the cake lovers and admirers out there. A blog for those who peruse custom cakes, and draw inspiration for their own confections. And to whom can we credit this cake wizardry? This whimsical sculpting of sugary sweetness? This awe-some archive of edible magic? Qui a fait ce gâteau? Stay tuned to find out....
Meet the cake maker herself, and get more customized cakes straight to your inbox by signing up below. Cakes are celebrations; of birth, anniversaries, holidays and special achievements. And this family celebrates a lot. We all speak the universal language of dessert. Filled, iced, ganached and set ablaze to create magic and memories. Join us! And watch the evolution of one very special cake makers' craft.
These special cakes have been hand crafted by the amazing and super talented Dr. F. Elementary school principal by day, magical cake maker by night.
Let Them Eat Cake Blog