Thursday, November 6, 2008

Palatable Penguins

Recently my sister-in-law enlisted my help, (okay, maybe I talked her into it in the first place,) making penguin cupcakes for her daughter's 4th birthday. "Happy Feet" was the theme, and these penguin cupcakes seemed like they would be perfect! As always, the project took much longer than anticipated, (as is usually the case with 5 children underfoot,) but I think you'll agree that the finished project was worth the effort. We had a few minor casualties (heads detaching from bodies during the chocolate dipping process, multiple attempts with different materials to try and create not-too-scary-looking eyeballs, and one penguin in particular who frankly just looked like he needed some good rehab. Anyone know a good physical therapist for penguins?) But thankfully enough penguins survived to provide a welcome feast at the birthday party. Without further ado...

Mmmmm...cupcake...frosting...chocolate donut...frosting...donut hole. It doesn't get much better than that.

More frosting.

Dunk in melted chocolate frosting; add marshmallow belly slice, Starburst beak, and cookie wafer arms.

Kick yourself for not baking them in paper baking cups. Poor melty-looking bodies!

And finally, the finished product.

They looked better with paper baking cups added at the end. And eyeballs. :)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Take it or Leaf it

My latest creation challenged me to delve into the deepest darkest caverns of my creativity. The order? "A birthday cake that says 'Happy Birthday Mom, Rachel & Bethany.'" That's it, no other instructions. Not flavor, not theme, nothing. I think I lost sleep for 2 nights wracking my brain trying to figure out what on earth to do for this cake. I've only ever made kids' birthday cakes. Not only was this my first adult cake, I had no idea what they wanted! I figured going seasonal was a safe bet, and my Hello, Cupcake! book had instructions on making edible fall leaves. So I gave it a shot...

Step #1 Bake Cake.

Step #2 Gather Fall Leaves, wash them in warm soapy water

Step #3: Microwave candy melting wafers & mix appropriate colors (one helpful hint I learned the hard way: rather than add blue food coloring to yellow melting wafers to try and get 'the perfect green,' remember that GREEN food coloring is also in your cupboard, and is a much easier way to turn candy green. Duh. It only took me 3 failed attempts mixing in the blue to remember I had green in my cupboard.)

Step #4: Paint melted candy onto leaves, harden in fridge and carefully peel leaves off of candy to create edible leaves.
Step #5: Repeat steps 3 & 4 to remedy broken leaves, until enough salvagable leaves are present with which to decorate the cake.

Step #6: Roll caramels into egg shapes to simulate acorns.

Step #7: Dip 'acorns' into melted chocolate frosting & chocolate sprinkles.

Step #8: Frost cake. Practice basket-weave border.

Step #9: Carefully insert fragile leaves into cake. Place acorns.

Step #8: Carefully pipe LOTS of lettering on the cake, praying everything is spaced correctly and spelled right. (Though it's one of my favorite blogs, I don't want to end up on Cake Wrecks!)

Step #9: Take pictures of the finished product to add to my blog (& my portfolio!)

Step #10: Recruit husband to help deliver the cake so I can hold it on my lap for the car ride and not worry about it sliding around on the seat. Growl at said husband for each bump he hits on the way there.
Step #11: Drop it off and breathe a sigh of's done! And she loved it! Yay!
Step #12: Thank husband for helping deliver, and apologize for growling. All in a day's work. :)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

A Little Background

About me:

I'm fairly new to cake decorating, but am at the point in my life where I want to make it more than just a hobby. (Or at least try to make it a semi-lucrative hobby.) :) "Officially" I'm a physical therapist, but since having my sweet baby girl just over a year ago, I've transitioned to being a work-at-home mom, and I wouldn't have it any other way. Currently I work (very) part-time, mostly just to maintain my professional credentials, (and slowly shrink those pesky student loans!) But recently I decided it would be nice to have a way to earn some extra cash while working from home. And to have a creative outlet! Thus...the idea for Sweets 'n Stuff was born. I've made cakes for my nieces, my own daughter, and friends, and now I'm ready to expand. It seems my 'specialty,' if you can even call it that, has so far been kids' birthday cakes.

My designs:

I'm willing to try any Wilton designs you send my way; if I need to purchase a special pan, a small fee will be added to my regular charge, or you can purchase the pan yourself and simply loan it to me. I can also reproduce an image of a favorite character or design on top of a cake, as long as it's not too complicated. The most challenging image I've done so far is Shrek. My new favorite sweets book is Hello, Cupcake! I recently purchased this book and am just itching to try out these adorable cupcake designs. Feel free to check out this book from the public library, or browse through it the next time you're at Borders or Barnes & Noble, and let me know which cute creation you'd like me to make for your next occasion! Personally I'm looking forward to making the pumpkin cupcakes this Halloween. You can view photos of some of the cakes I've done in my Picasa web album, which has a link on the tool bar to the right.


I need at least one weeks' notice for any orders, but 2 would be preferable so I have plenty of time to gather supplies. For moms (or dads) on a budget, if you'd prefer to bake your own goods and bring them to me to simply decorate, I'm willing to do that as well, for a discounted price. Price per cake will be at my discretion, based on the complexity of the design, my estimated cost and hours to make, and will be quoted up front. I'm hoping to keep them in a range of $20-40 for an average birthday cake. So....if you're interested, leave a comment and I'd love to do business with you!