Friday, June 17, 2011

Pillow Cake

First attempt at a pillow cake.
I've noticed that pillow cakes have become somewhat of a trend over the past few years. They're always so ornate, detailed, and pretty. It's really just cake that is either carved or baked into the shape of a pillow. Once it is decorated though, it truly does look like a stack of plush pillows.

The first time I saw one, my thoughts were 1. how does the fondant not just fall off of the cake (the picture I saw had a different color fondant on the bottom side of the pillow), and 2. how are they assembled so that the tiers are steady? I tried it on a cake for a class that wasn't for anyone, just in case there were some issues. Luckily, there were none! It turned out beautifully, and although there are some flaws in my embossing and the way I tucked the fondant underneath, this cake always gets people's attention.

I can't wait until the next time I do a cake like this now that I really have it figured out. The fondant doesn't fall off because it's draped over the top and tucked under, and the construction is steady because you stack pillow cakes the same way a regular tiered cake is staked, just with a smaller base.

Tiara topper is an actual hairpiece that was never used!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

One Year Ago

My husband and I were reflecting on the past year since I have started decorating cakes. I started in Spring 2010 by doing cakes for friends and to celebrate mine and my husband's first anniversary. Then, I never thought I'd be doing what I am doing now! I took classes in August 2010, and since then my skills (though not perfect) have developed so much that when I finish a cake- I shock myself! I cannot believe that I can look through photos online or at cakes in magazines and think, "Oh I could do that." I immediately think next, "Wow, I really could do that!"

It has been so much fun, and it truly is a blessing.

Here I just want to post some pictures of the first cakes I have worked on. They're not all pretty, but I had to start somewhere. My cake instructor always told me to save my first royal icing flowers I ever made- I never did because they were just too hard to store. However, I am so thankful I have pictures of my first attempts at cake decorating so I can look back and just see how far my skills have progressed.

Another thing that I am also glad that has progressed are my photography skills! I apologize for the poor quality of some of these photos. I am fortunate enough to have a husband who has taken the time over the past year to teach me how to use his Canon DSLR. =)

This was my first cake. Pink velvet actually. To my surprise- it worked! It was for a baby shower for some dear friends of ours. What I learned from this cake: an icing spatula would have made the job 10x easier!

These cookies too were for the same baby shower. Adorable? Yes! What I learned from making these cookies: I cannot write with frosting (in this case chocolate). I had 2 other friends do the writing and they did a fabulous job!

This cake was made to celebrate a friend's engagement (she's married now- congrats Lindsay!). What I learned from this cake: using a hint of lemon in a vanilla cake will make it taste more vanilla-ey. Yum!

This cake I made to celebrate our first wedding anniversary. I did not want to save our real wedding cake, and this tasted way better that the original would have anyway. Lemon raspberry with buttercream. What I learned from this cake: torting a cake isn't as difficult as it seems. I was surprised with my perfect layers.

I made this cake for my mother in law's birthday. Her favorite cake is chocolate cake with white frosting. What I learned from this cake: 1. Chocolate cake turns out better with the addition of sour cream. 2. Swan's Down cake flour is the bomb.

This was my very first Wilton cake. I made it week 2 of cake decorating class. It looks pretty cute, but the layers were a complete mess inside, they fell apart like crazy. What I learned from this cake: buttercream frosting can fix most mistakes.

This was my second Wilton cake. I impressed myself with this one. Vanilla cake, dark chocolate ganache, and orange mousse.What I learned from this cake: never over-whip butercream or it will be full of air pockets.

I made this cake for my friend's 18th birthday. It was lemon raspberry. I made all of those little apple blossoms by hand and they were perfect. What I learned from this cake: write on the cake first, then decorate around it, otherwise the text will get squished at the edge... oops!

This was another Wilton cake. Cute daffodils, huh? What I learned from this cake: always let royal icing flowers dry out overnight, or they will never dry.

I also learned that royal icing needs to be whipped for 7-10 minutes before use.

Well there is my cake decorating journey in a nutshell. It's been so much fun. The most important thing I've learned though is that anyone can do this. Really! It takes immense amounts of patience and practice, plus a steady hand, but it is a truly attainable skill.

Thank you to all my my very supportive friends who have given me endless encouragement since day one. I know I have filled your Facebook homepages with countless photos of cake, cookies, cupcakes, and chocolate, so thank you for your response and kind words.

Thank you to those of you who have actually paid me to make your special event cake. I always feel so honored when asked to make a cake for someone, especially since there are some fabulous bakeries around here! Thanks for the opportunity!

Thanks to my husband, who has stayed up late with me torting cakes and making frostings, and has thought up many ideas for many cakes I have made.

Finally, thanks to you blog readers. Not sure who many of you are, but I am always surprised to see my blog traffic even when I have not posted in awhile. It encourages me to keep going.

*Later this evening, I was looking through some older photos from 2009 ( I know this post is 1 year ago, but there were only 2 so I have to throw them in!) and came across 2 more early cake decorating projects. In 2009 I was a newlywed and had a lot of time on my hands- that is when the baking thing really got rolling.

Sugar cookies. I decorated these in summery colors just for fun to experiment with piping. What I learned from making these cookies: piping is A LOT harder than it looks.

Spice cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. What I learned from these cupcakes: close up photos of frosting and sprinkles are never a bad thing.