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Cake Chicks Undercover

21 Sep

Have you ever wondered what a cake decorating contest is like? If you could “hang” with that crowd? If you have a snowball’s chance of competing? So did we. What’s a cake chick with a longing to do? Spy, of course! We’re so good at it, we didn’t even have to lurk around corners to get the story. We walked right in, spoke to people, gawked, took beau coup pictures, and boldly snagged pieces of each cake even though we were supposed to limit ourselves to one. Hey, it’s not my fault they didn’t say that before they started passing the plates!

Here’s the set-up: contestants arrived one hour prior to the competition to set up. They have one hour to finish decorating their partly finished cakes in front of a live audience. And they were definitely live. A little too live at times. Kids, young adults, and way grown people alike were both nervous and excited- too much so at times. While the contestants are decorating, judges interview about their creations. Eek! Go away! They only have an hour!

 After the time allotted has passed, the judges get to work and eat cake while we watch and are served our own pieces. Badda bing, badda boom, winners are announced, and we all go home entertained, full of cake, and a little more educated.

 There you have it. That’s how it works. Satisfied? *Sigh* I thought not. Okay, here’s the whole scoop on this particular contest:

 We arrive at the much disclosed location and pull up to the little booth where they keep the parking attendant hostage. When we fork over our hard-earned-we’ve-got-bills-to-pay five bucks for parking, he sees our swank attire and posh vehicle, takes pity on us, and gives us two free tickets to the event. Score!

 Park the hoopty, walk into the building, and wander around acting like we belong. The contest is being held during a home improvement show so we totally blend in. We look like we drop a hundred grand on a patio, right? Suuurrrre.

 Okay, in our zest and excitement, we’re a lil early for the contest. We get the lay of the land and now the contest starts in….an hour and a half. LOL Hey, at least right outside there’s a horse show of some sort. Let’s go check that out…. Well, city cake chick is not fond of the aroma and country cake chick still can’t stand to see a whip used so let’s not hang here too long. Blah, blah, blah, kill time and check on progress. Nope, zoo dude is still hogging the stage. Lunch? One taco, two drinks, and too much money later, it’s time to check again. Whoo hoo! Snag a couple of seats and wait for the big event to start!

 Waaiit a minute. Where’s the nekked cake? Why are these covered? They look almost done. What’s going on here? Hmmm, guess I should have read the rules a bit closer. I was ready for them to start from baked nekked cake and end with a completed masterpiece. I mean, that’s why I said, “No way am I ready for that” when asked if I was interested in competing. Shoot, had I known all I had to do on site was the actual last hour of decorating any cake I might have tossed my spatula into the ring. Or not. I’m pretty chicken, that’s why I’m a cake chick and not a cake lion or something else equally fierce.

 Cake chicks and cake roosters, there is fondant everywhere! As far as the rolling pin can reach, there is fondant. Out of 5 contestants, there is 1, yes 1, fondant free cake. Here. In middle America. In a town nicknamed Cowlumbus. Fondant. Huh. Whoda thunk it? And not just accents, either. Entire cakes covered. In fondant. I thought for awhile there I’d have to pull my fellow chickie out from under the folding chair where she was rocking herself while in the fetal position. Fondant has officially taken over the world if it’s here.

 Hey, I’m a fondant fan. I’m also a buttercream pipe dreamer. I can eat buttercream literally by the bucket if not stopped but fondant? Yes, I’ll have one piece, please- but only if it’s a kind that tastes good. I’m a wannabe buttercream piper. I’m practicing my skills dreaming that one day a client will ask for an 8 tier wedding cake with royal string work and intricate scrolls and I’ll say with confidence, “I can do that, no problemo.” In the meantime, I fondant. Not that fondant is simple or easy. It’s just a different talent and skill. One I already have. Piping does not come naturally to this cake chick- which makes it all the more exciting to try to conquer.

 Anyway, fondant is definitely here, but there’s some buttercream work, too- along with *gasp* chocolate! Yum, white piped chocolate! *Swoon* Now it’s my partner’s turn to pick me up from the floor. Where I’m crawling towards the table trying to sneak a taste. “Whoa, there, Nelly! Don’t make me harness you and put you in the ring outside!” Alright, alright, I’ll sit back in my chair. For now.

 After we peruse the offerings, the contest starts with minimal fanfare. The crowd quiets for a bit as the work begins- but no for long. Every contestant has their cheering section and some lend quiet support, but others, not so much.

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At this point, one of us is sliding in and out amongst the chairs and onlookers taking pictures whilst the other is “standing on ballerina toes trying to see over the heads of the RELATIVES WHO GET TO SEE THESE FOLKS WORK ALL THE FREAKIN’ TIME!!!!!!!!” Ahem. As I said, some were calm and others were not.

 La, la, la, la- contestants are covering cakes with fondant, applying borders, covering cake boards, piping basket weave, etc….etc…etc…. It was difficult to see due to people standing and the set up of the whole shebang. Every 15 minutes or so one of the judges announces the time left. Roughly half-way through, a local reporter/judge talks to each one of the contestants asking about the inspiration for their cakes and each caker’s experience with cake. Near the end, the crowd’s patience is at an end and they start filing by the tables, completely blocking the view of anyone polite enough to stay back and let them work without interference. Argh! A child’s curiosity gets the best of her and I see her reach out and quickly slap a cake. Aaaahhhh! I swear, this next part was pure reflex on my part. I’ve been a parent too long. I should have been given more time off as a parent. You would have done the same, I swear.

 I slapped my fellow caker. Yes, slapped. Reflex, I swear. It was as if I was reaching out to slap that child’s hand away from the cake. At the same time, I gasped, “She’s touching it!” Fortunately, the slap was gentle enough that my bud just said, “what?” like a fellow exasperated mother who’s been interrupted one too many times. Security like people (if you can call people in golf shirts security) quickly set up a barrier and the cake was unharmed. Whew! Disaster averted.

 The whistle blows signaling the end of the allotted time and we are all given one more chance to take pictures and shuffle by the cakes. Contestants cut into their masterpieces and the judging begins. We were, umm, too busy eating cake to watch much of the judging. J Hey, you have to know if it tastes as good as it looks, right? I mean, in the end, cake is for eating.

  How did it taste? Disappointing. Then again, I had pretty high expectations so my disappointment was partly my fault. I was looking at the decorators as semi-gods. Obviously, they were confident enough to enter. If they entered, they must have thought they had a decent chance of winning. Judging by their supporters, other people thought so as well. I naturally assumed a person with such high decorating skills would have equally high baking skills. I mean, it’s cake, right? You eat it. Your family eats it. Your friends eat it. Your coworkers eat it. There must be something extraordinary about it, right? Nope. Box mix, box mix, box mix, box mix, probably altered box mix. Call it fudgy chunky pumpkin whatever. It’s a box mix. Huh. So what’s all fuss about scratch vs. box again? Hey, I like box mixes. I make them a lot. It’s just that I had different expectations. I definitely didn’t expect the chocolate to be burnt, but let’s not point fingers at what I’m sure is already an embarrassing enough situation. Can you imagine when that caker got home with the leftovers and discovered that little oopsie? Oh my!

 Other unexpected discoveries were:

 Wilton boxes. Yep, flimsy as they are, every box I saw was a Wilton.

 Not a Viva paper towel in sight. I guess they all trusted their icing to remain perfect. The paper towels I saw had prints or patterns on them.

 Fondant- the homemade one was okay- tasteless, which can be a good thing. It didn’t compete with the cake or buttercream flavor at all. The stuff that wasn’t homemade and that was served was…weird. Very stretchy. The person who flavored their fondant with pumpkin pie type spices- don’t do that. Weird and ick, ick and weird.

 Square corners with ripped fondant. As we all know, that’s what décor is for, right?

 Crooked borders

 Not an airbrush in sight, but there was a can of Wilton spray color involved.

 One person out of 5 wore gloves. None had their hair covered. In fact, one long haired contestant didn’t even pull the hair back in a ponytail. Not all wore aprons.

 The buttercream layer under the fondant was maybe 1/8” thick. Mine is closer to ¼”

  Just interesting observations. Observations that make me think I’m too hard on myself and perhaps I’m ready to play with big guys. Or maybe the medium guys.

 In the end, the little details didn’t seem to matter that much. As someone said to me, “You could have Jesus spinning on top of a pumpkin, and the ‘shoe would still win.” Sorry if that offends anyone, but there’s a truth to it.

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The horseshoe stadium wins every time. Something to remember, no? I’m not saying she didn’t deserve the win, not at all. She gave a terrific explanation of her inspiration for her cake and she does a mean, fast, straight basket weave, after all.

 Check out the detail on this apple:

Dispatch Cake Contest apple compressed

“Gorgeous!” (must be said in a certain tone of voice with jazz hands) Again, to be fair, the judges were not cakers. Not that I’m aware of, anyway. Only cakers truly know the exquisiteness of a well turned out shoe:

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or perfectly executed cutey pie pumpkins:

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or the real difficulties of a chocolate collar (even if the decorator says it’s easy):

Dispatch Cake Contest chocolate collar compressed

I guess I just wanted all the cakes to win or something. Each one had their own specialness to it. Each stood on its own as a work of edible art. But dang, did you have to go all ‘shoe on them??? LOL

So, judge for yourself. I know you can’t taste them so you’ll just have to go on decorating skill alone. Which one would you have chosen?

Dispatch Cake Contest 091 'shoe cake done compressed

Dispatch Cake Contest 090 pumpkin and stump compressed

Dispatch Cake Contest 074 chocolate cake compressed

Dispatch Cake Contest 092 pumpkin house compressed

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Belaboring a Theme

7 Sep

In honor of Labor Day, let’s chat for a minute about the amount of labor that goes into our creations. Aside from the talent required to even design, much less create, a custom cake, many hours of labor are logged in kitchens all across the world to bring that idea to fruition. While I’m not going to try to talk you into spending hard earned cash you can’t afford, I would like to give you some insight into pretty much any pricing structure for custom cakery. You may be given a base price plus the costs of extras, a per-slice price, or a total price without cost breakdown, but any price generally includes the following:

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Cost of ingredients. This is what most people use to attempt to calculate our total costs. It is but the tip of the piping bag. Read on.

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Overhead: electric, gas, consumable and nonconsumable products. The electric company doesn’t care that I don’t have the money to pay the bill. No money=no electric. Period.

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Delivery charges: just the mental cost alone of having someone honk, scream, and generally express annoyance with me because I have to drive slowly during the delivery justifies this cost. Additionally, the gas station, mechanic, and bank loan dudes stick a fork, so to speak, in every delivery. Toss in my time here, too- the chip guy doesn’t deliver the greasy yet tasty crunchies for free, and neither should we. While it may seem to make sense to just pick it up yourself, there’s a snag: you don’t know how. Sorry to offend, but most of the time this is true. A lap is not a suitable place for a cake. Neither is a car seat. People and seats have a slant, just as God intended. That slant will kill a cake and it may arrive smooshed on one side. True. Very true. Put a level on that sucker and check it out for yourself. It’s not just you that wants the cake to arrive in one piece. I want the cake to arrive at your event intact, too.  Since I’m the one who knows how to make that happen, I am the chicka you need to deliver the confection.

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Marketing and office expenses: paper, ink, staples, Internet service, websites, etc…. None of this is free to you or free to me. While we make the best use possible of these resources by re-using, conserving, and taking advantage of free stuff when available, there are still costs involved.

Legal costs: one word- Bridezillas. Enuf said. Two words, actually. Better add the IRS in there before the feds come a knockin’.

 Labor: the reason for the post. Labor, labor, labor. From grocery shopping to baking to carving, to mixing, to decorating. Labor. Grocery stores may be able to toss together a cake in 15 minutes, but custom cakers cannot. Cakes are not massed baked, iced, and decorated in our kitchens. Our designs are much more than a star tip border, a couple of buttercream roses, and a two line inscription. I’m not knocking those designs. There room for every taste in this world and one is not necessarily better than another. If simple is what you want, simple is what you should get and the overall cost should reflect that. That’s why if a bride is on a budget, we may suggest white buttercream, real ribbon for the borders, and silk flowers. Simple, in this context, means keeping labor hours to a minimum. You still get our experience with baking tasty food and our talent for smoothing icing, but you don’t pay for hours on end of decorating expenses.

One hour for “ehh, they’re okay”

One hour for “ehh, they’re okay”

2 hours for 2 tiers

2 hours for 2 tiers

How much labor? That depends on the experience and skill of the decorator. For example- buttercream roses. At this point, I would have to make at least 6 roses to get one decent one. My partner, on the other hand, knocks them out like she was born with a piping bag in one hand and a rose nail in the other (Ouch! Sorry, mamma! It’s my destiny!) Ditto with writing. I can place fondant on a cake as easy as tying my shoelaces. My partner will throw a batch against a wall at least three times before it’s right enough to work. (Yes, of course, she makes a new batch each time. We’re not trying to kill anyone over here.) This is one reason having a partner makes sense. You want buttercream perfection, you get that chick. You want fondant delight- you get this chick. No extra charge. It’s not fair for you to pay for our weaknesses via extended labor charges. That’s a big bonus right there- a freebie from us to you. You don’t have to pay one hour of labor for each rose you select and I don’t have to control the urge to just get it over with and stick the danged nail in my eye. Overall, just know that labor costs are underated much more often (about 95% of the time) rather than overrated. I don’t know about you, but I can’t perfectly predict months ahead of time if humidity will add hour upon hour to a cake because everything melts, won’t smooth, or won’t dry. Only the Supreme Being of your choice knows that and he/she/it doesn’t deem me worthy enough to tell. The leaf that usually take 30 seconds can turn into a 10 minute mini-project for no discernable reason. Stuff happens, we try to cope. Sometimes by eating cookies, but we cope.

 Scroll down and have lookie at the tutorials and think about the time involved to make each vision come alive. Think about it realistically. Even simple stars don’t come out perfectly every time. Things have to be redone. Labor (and medical bills for carpal tunnel, but that’s another topic) costs happen. Covering a PITA cake in fondant can take an hour. Star tipping a soccer ball is two hours. Baking, as you know, is about an hour. Carving can take from 10 minutes to endless hours. Fondant ball borders are about an hour per tier. Seriously. Try it sometime. You will nearly go mad trying to get every ball perfectly round and smooth all while keeping the size consistent. That’s why you hire someone else to do it. Your children have already taken your sanity. You have none left to give to fondant balls so you pay for someone else’s.

 

Still think custom cakes are too high? Do you work for free? Do you say to your boss, “No problem, sir. I’d be deliriously happy to come in early and stay late. In fact, it would make me so happy that you don’t even have to pay me for the time worked. I would refuse any payment in any form. I love my work that much.” Yeah- not! You want me around next year to make your cake dreams come true? That can’t happen if I have to quietly head for the border staying one step ahead of the federales who want what’s due. Yo’, that kind of stuff is only romantic in movies. Real life is the inability to pee in the woods without removal of clothing and the lack of noggin’ space to remember which mushrooms are “magic” and which ones will keep me from finally losing the extra girth.

7 days/8 hrs at least each day, not including delivery (1 hour away) and set up (approx. another 45 minutes). How much would you get paid for 58 and ¾ hours of work?

7 days/8 hrs at least each day, not including delivery (1 hour away) and set up (approx. another 45 minutes). How much would you get paid for 58 and ¾ hours of work?

Happy Labor Day to all of you! Additionally, my apologies to those who still have to flippin’ work today because the world will come to an end if humans can’t buy gas, groceries, take-out, or whatever 24/7/365. I appreciate all of you for all your hard work and I hope you are at least recompensed enough to pay “the man” what is due. If you have today off paid work, do something radical: don’t work. Don’t clean the house, do household paperwork, mow the lawn, or scrub the crayon off the walls. Kick back, read a mag, soak in a tub. Let the kids run rampant through the neighborhood and let your partner work it out for themselves. Forget about hosting or attending a BBQ because heaven forbid someone notices your absence and knocks off brownie points. Today’s your day off. Enjoy!

Adventures in buttercream

24 Aug

Hello bloggers, Frosting Chick here.  I’ve been trying to come up with a theme for this entry, and since most of my work is in frosting, I figured what the heck?  Let’s explore just what can be done with some frosting, some time and a little imagination, shall we?

It’s not that I’m not a fan of fondant, I just don’t enjoy working with it.  I appreciate the look it provides, but, unless you have worked with it, you can’t appreciate the amount of work it can take.  For me, there are just too many variables.  We chicks don’t have a big fancy sheeter, so all fondant is rolled by hand (see the Sax cake for example).  A multitude of things can go wrong during this process, and I just find it a lesson in frustration.  Roll out, attempt to lift, get a tear, flop it back down, curse, fix dry edges/rips, curse some more, re-roll, repeat.  You get the idea.  I find it much more enjoyable to create fabulous themed cakes with frosting, and the occasional touch of fondant.  If something goes wrong with frosting, scrape off the offending area and do it again! Keep in mind that this is also time consuming.  Once the cake starts to warm up, it doesn’t behave as well as a chilled cake, so there’s a lot of pulling out/putting in the ‘fridge.  But it’s worth it.

First up; the round (ball) cake.  If you watch cake shows on Food Network, I’m sure you’ve heard the old addage ‘you can’t make a ball shaped cake’.  Shenanigans I say!  Of course you can!  And if you’re fortunate enough of have the right shaped bake ware, bonus: no carving!  I likes me a no mess cake.

First, you’ll bake the 2 halves of the cake.  Unless you’re also lucky enough to have two pans/bowls the same size and can do both at once, it’s a one-atta-time operation.  Me? Nope, gotta do it one half at a time.  Time consuming, but whatcha gonna do when you’re using Moms’ casserole dish from 1960-what?.  This casserole is also bigger than the round pans I’ve seen on the market, so more cake! There’s one dish in the cupboard, and that’s what I’m using.  Because it’s deeper than a standard cake pan, you’ll have to start watching closely around the 30-40 minute mark to prevent over baking.     P1010699  

Once baked, cooled, and possibly the teesniest bit frozen, it’s time to get down to bidness.  First thing to consider is what the cake is going to be sitting on.  A cake board?  Another cake?  Either way, the bottom half of the cake will be the first one semi-decorated.  I say ‘semi’ because the design dictates just how much frosting/decorating you’ll be doing to the bottom half.  I’ve done a couple of soccer ball cakes, and you have to get the lines matched up with the top portion, and if you’ve completely decorated the bottom half and something is off, well, let’s just say it can get ugly.  I find it easiest, at least with the soccer ball cakes, to crumb coat and chill first, then ‘draw’ the lines with a toothpick  I leave about 4-6 inches of the ‘top’ of the bottom undecorated for easy maneuverability.  For the soccer ball cakes, the ball portion sat on a ‘field’ of cake that has been grass tipped like mad (can you say ‘carpal tunnel’? Sure, I knew you could)!  You’ll have to flip it over onto the supports, hence the undecorated space.         P1010702

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Once the bottom half is placed, it’s time to fill!  Go crazy!  This part doesn’t have to be pretty, but you do want a filling that won’t ooze out or into the cake itself, so pick something sturdy.  I usually ask for the recipients favorite color, and color the frosting for a surprise burst of color when cut.  Once that is done, place the crumb coated top half.  There will be a gap that you’ll be filling in with frosting to make it uniform.  Now it’s time to finish.

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I have found, for a cake like this, you’ll at least want it to sit overnight in the ‘fridge to make delivery a breeze.  I have yet to have a ball cake roll around in the box.  I have also found that these cakes do not need internal supports in the ball itself, so there’s no warnings or disclaimers to the customers about cutting.  Except for the soccer balls. There must be supports in the ‘grassy field’ portion, or it’s all downhill from here.  So go at it bakers, see what you can do, I have faith in you!  Below are some examples of the round cakes I’ve done.

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This Pokemon themed cake was my first ball cake, thank goodness it was a simple design!  Just a little fondant for the circle thingy (sorry I don’t know what it’s called, my son isn’t into Pokemon!)

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For this golf ball, I used the end of my fondant roller to create the dimples.  Then I hand painted on the Callaway logo.

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This Death Star was my second ball cake.  I’ll admit, I was a novice with fondant, and was working on it with short notice, but the recipient was pleased as punch, and everyone pulled of the fondant anyway.  It was for one of my favorite people on the planet, who, unfortunately, lost her battle with cancer this year, and I miss her terribly.  I’m so glad I got to make this for her before she got too sick to enjoy it.  Seems strange to not be planning her birthday cake for this year. She was a total sci-fi head (a gal after my own heart), and I wonder how I would have been challenged for her this year.

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I made this pumpkin cake for a friends’ anniversary, they were married on October 31st!

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There are times where fondant can be utilized in the decor, without covering the whole cake.  I had a customer order an ocean themed cake for her sons’ “1/2” birthday.  His birthday is in January, and since that’s no fun, they party in July, how creative is that?  Of course, she also celebrates 1/2 New Years as well, but I suspect for different reasons.  I’m just waiting for her to announce 1/2 Christmas, just so she can get some gifts, greedy little wench! 🙂  She gave me creative license, so I broke out some green fondant and made fishy shapes!  Check ’em out!

 

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I airbrushed them with varying colors and layers so they would sparkle on the cake and used all kinds of utensils for scales, eyes, etc…  I also used various tips to create jelly fish and wave-like borders around the cake.  The result was pretty dang cute if I do say so myself.

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For my hubbys family reunion this year, I made a HUGE cake, airbrushed a tree, and used some fondant for leaves…  I couldn’t get anyone to cut it!  “It’s too pretty” they said.  “It’s cake!!” I replied, it’s meant to be eaten!  Finally the sweet seekers in the crowd dug in.

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And in case you’re wondering if I’ve ever done a completely covered cake, well, I have.  I made a motorcycle helmet for my brother in law, modeled after Peter Fonda’s helmet in “Easy Rider”.  4 layers of cake, carved, covered and hand painted.  I threw in the donor card as the big, bad bro-in-law is known for riding without his brain bucket.  Then we had to drive it an hour away to a state park, through some of the windiest/hilliest parts of Ohio.  For you out of staters, don’t let anyone tell you Ohio is flat, that is a misconception. I was on pins and needles the whole trip.  Thank goodness we don’t live in San Francisco!

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So there you go bloggers, don’t be intimidated because you don’t think you can do it, you can!  Remember, necessity and customers are the mother of invention!

Lessons from the Lakers (cake)

20 Jun

What do you do when your sis-n-law asks for a birthday cake for your brother (who rocks)  with 3 days notice (and skillfully avoiding her own b-day the day before, that sly she-devil)?  You suck it up, buckle down, and figure with an airbrush, anything is possible!  So begins the tale of the Lakers cake.  My bro has been a Lakers fan for as long as I can remember, and after looking at their logo, I figure, “why not?”  First up, the frosting.  I tend to make TONS of frosting when I do a cake.  Why?  It’s like looking at the gifts under the Christmas tree, never looks like enough.  Moms out there know…  So,  I broke out the big girl (my favorite, an 8 qt. battleship of a bowl my hubby got me for Christmas one year, you’ll be seeing lots of her), and I make a double batch of frosting.  I’ve got this down to about a 15-20 minute process. P1010428

Crumb coat and cold cake, can’t say enough about either.  Both are important in the final outcome of the cake.  A cold (if not frozen) cake reduces the amount of crumbage (yes, it’s a word, I swear) when you put on the crumb coat.  I use the standard method, plop a wad of frosting in the middle and work your way out. Don’t worry about the appearance, hence the term crumb coat. 

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Stacking/assembly of the cake is pretty much the same as a crumb coat, again I use the plop method, and work my way out, saving the sides for last.   Sometimes a crumb or two will surface – gotta keep a clean knife!   Simply take a sharp knife and remove the crumbs, and repair the rut.  See?  Easy as pie, er cake.  I use the hot spatula method for smoothing my frosting. 

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For this cake, I decided to airbrush the Lakers logo on the top.  I printed out the logo to the size I needed, and cut out several stencils from wax paper – *lesson time*, not a great idea.  It worked in a pinch, but I’ve got to get a better medium to cut stencils.  Hmmmmm sounds like a trip to the craft store to me!  I started with the basketball stencil.  Pretty basic, it’s a circle.    After removing the stencil, this now looks like a giant egg. 

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While impatiently waiting for the basketball to dry, I cut and prepped the “Lakers” portion of the logo.  Now, the problem with this particular cake, red velvet with cream cheese frosting, is the frosting.  Cream cheese frosting is STICKY.  Fortunately, my partner in cake, sent me a recipe that actually crusted, so the stickiness was reduced.  Still, the wax paper is going to either stick to or cut into the frosting.  My solution was to have it float above the cake as close to the cake as I could get it.  I *almost* achieved this by using straight pins.  Who knew moms old sewing kit would come in handy?  Thanks mom! 

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Airbrushing is pretty basic too.  Light strokes, with as little angle as possible will give you an even coat.  Because of the stencil I made, unfortunately, there was some under blow.  That’s the beauty of making a cake for family, they think it’s great, and it’s free so there’s no complaints!  A few details added to the basketball with black frosting, and it’s almost complete.  Oh, and see those lumps in the frosting?  When those happen, just pop those suckers with a straight pin, they’ll deflate immediately.  Don’t go too deep, don’t want to pierce the cake.

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For finishing, I decided this would be a great opportunity to work on my border skills, as I haven’t done a cake since April.  It took a few strokes to get my wrists back in action, but it finally came together, my brother was pleased, and that’s the important part. 

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So, the lessons learned here:

1) Improvising is great, if you have a knack for figuring out what to do in a pinch (as I do), but for a commissioned cake, it’s always best to have the right tools for the job.

2) I really must learn to be a better photographer.  My partner in cake is sooo much better at the pics than I am, but I’ll work on it, I promise.

3) Face mask!  I always forget about the face mask!  Nothing catches you off guard like rainbow boogers!

4) Get more than 3 days notice 🙂

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