Sunday, January 25, 2015

No Power? No Problem.

As most of you know, here in the Carolinas, winter really doesn't even begin until late January. I mean the days get shorter and it is kind of dreary out. But if you are looking for snow and ice, think January or February and sometime March.

It was February/March last year when we were hit with two storms in a row. The second one lasted half a day and we were without power for the next four days. By half a day, I mean the sun was shining and ice gone by 3p. No matter, we still were without power for the next 4 days. No school, no heat and most way to turn on the mixer.

By the grace of God, I had already baked all the cakes for that weekend and even had finished most of the decorations. Just need to make frosting.A lot of frosting. That meant a mixer, running water and paper towels.

Enough time has passed I can finally share the story of that weekend and the 4 orders I finished on the fly.

 First up is this adorable set of cake, smash cake and cookies. I loved this whole design. At this point in the weekend, I was still feeling positive. Lee hooked up his generator and plugged in my Kitchen Aid, I set up the 5 gallons of water at the sink and I was ready to go!

Next, were the simple and elegant cupcakes for a wedding shower.  These were sweet and simple. No power? No problem. I did have to call and change the location pick-up because I knew we would not make it much longer in our house.

By the now time was flying, one day turned in to two. I was confounded that such a short storm could disrupt My Baking Schedule so much! I packed up the Kitchen Aid, cake, butter, sugar and, well, enough stuff to compete on Cupcake Wars and moved to the first borrowed kitchen of the weekend. That was enough time to run the mixer and frost two cakes to chill in the fridge for stacking the next day.

The next day, I moved the whole show to the second borrowed kitchen for several hours to decorate this beauty for a wedding shower at my favorite, Ellis Park. And called the customer and offered to deliver the cake to gain a little more time. I didn't even get a picture but downloaded these from facebook.

Finally, after three days and two kitchen and waking up to yet another day of NO POWER. I move to the third borrowed kitchen. Although I was so very, very tempted to cancel this order, I was so very, very happy I did not!  I was not able to print the image I wanted from my own computer but went to Staples for their help, Then got busy fulfilling this last order for the Weekend-With-No-Power.

The circles and monograms were for cupcake toppers. I can't remember how many cupcakes, nor can I find my notes.And the sheet cake was for the grooms cake. When we arrived, I learned that the bride's cake baker had also lost power and sent what she was able to complete. A very,very small cake. My heart went out to the bride and baker. Losing power is hard to overcome when your buisness is at home. And I was so very, very glad that even though this cake was not what I had planned...the guests would have cake at the reception!

What a weekend. I can't say how grateful I am for two sisters and a very dear friend giving up their kitchen for hours at a time for me to complete these orders. I've had a year to consider what kind of plan I would have next time the power goes out. Meanwhile, I'll keep praying that it doesn't!

Friday, December 19, 2014

All Things Monogrammed

This has been the Year of the Monogram. And I have loved trying so many ways to personalized sweet things for your celebrations!

Up first is Cricut cut letters with the fancy plaque fondant background.

These cupcake toppers were hand-piped royal icing on fondant circles. 
I first requested a printed monogram so I could copy the pattern from 
This one was hand cut following the same font as above. Reminds me of a nautical circle concept. 

Then there is this!!! I love this font. On the website For Chic Sake 
you can download a printable monogram. I did that first. 
Then resized it to fit the cake.
Next I used Wilton's gold Sugar Sheets and a Crayola Light Pad to 
slowly, carefully, cut this design out of the sugar sheet with an exacto knife. 

Sugar Sheet Monogram!!!

And most recent is this awesome cake topper!!
It is silver card stock from Intially Yours By Allison and Brandi 
I used glue dots and short kabob sticks to 
make it stand above the cake.

And if you are so inclined, this paper topper 
could be removed and framed!

Keepsake Monogram!
Love it!!

I have thoroughly enjoyed make each cake this as personalized as possible.
<3  The Year of the Monogram  <3

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

A little Throwback Thursday post to celebrate Thanksgiving! I am grateful for so many things: my family, my home, and this great opportunity to create something special for all the moments in life we celebrate!!

 Anna and I baked this several Thanksgivings ago! 
Back when I was just learning how to decorate with chocolate.

 These mini-pie cupcakes were a snowy afternoon activity. 
And you can't think about Thanksgiving without pie :-)

I have a great amount of respect for Bakerella and the cake pops she creates.
This takes time, patience and a steady hand. 

But the extra jelly beans are worth the effort!

Ok, so these are a throwack :-)

Happy Thanksgiving!
May God's love and mercy surround you all year long!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Can I call this cake inspiration?

Does everything come back to cake? Yes, yes, it does in my house. I saw something this morning that would be great in cake or maybe a cookie... Can I share a little non-cake with you?

I dropped by my friend's house this morning and was so excited about this project. Jennifer Isenberg, a local artist, is starting on these originals for Christmas. Each oversized stocking is her original design, and appliqued with wool.
 These two are almost half the height of the closet door! 
I didn't measure but you can see the a little of the door in the background.
What fun is this guy? I love a kart-wheeling Santa.
These are a few more designs she is working on. 
The Santa with the glasses will be a pillow. 
The cardinal will be a Christmas pillow too.
And she'll start the snowman when the white wool arrives. 
No surprise that wool is hard to find here in the south, right?

I think her plan is to offer these at the Southern Spirit Gallery downtown closer to the season. Since these take time, if you are interested in finding out more now, you can email Jennifer at 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Change is hard... but good!

Finally broke down and upgraded my computer. The blue screen of death prompted the change. I put it off for so long because I looooved my photo editing software and I knew I would have to learn to photoshop anew. Like blurring the background in my cake pics so you can't see all the great things I have in the background!

Anyway, blue screen of death. New computer, new software, blah, blah blah. Here's how it all comes around to cake: I have learned to take better pictures. :-)

The large box as a background worked for a long time. But a white box began to show marks from where I slid the cake across to the center. Marks I had to photoshop out. After looking at pictures from other bakers, I decided to try the black background approach. $2 at The dollar tree for two sheets of black foam board. And wah-lah, better cake pictures! No photoshop needed.

I guess a little change can be a good thing!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Coyote Trail Gluten Free

Most of my cakes are super moist. Super rich. Even in the traditional White Almond Sour Cream cake, I use whole eggs to add a depth of flavor and a little structure to the cake. These are the things I have been looking for in a gluten free recipe. And let's not forget, ingredients readily available.

I have tried chocolate and vanilla from Bob's Red Mill GF Cake Mix, Betty Crocker GF Cake Mix, Cake Doctor recipes, and an online recipe for a GF Citrus Chiffon.

All of the vanilla or citrus were ok, not remarkable, but not something I would say a "Coyote Trail Gluten Free Cake."

The chocolate mixes on the other hand, I could not stand. Not a one. Not any brand, nor any doctored mix,

Until.....Bisquick! I love Bisquick in everything. Even their Velvet Crumb recipe. When I saw Gluten Free Bisquick I had a glimmer of hope. It is available at every store in town, no adding special xantham gum, or rice flour.

Tried 3 recipes from the King Arthur Flour Gluten Free Baking Mix page: GF Vanilla Cupcakes, GF Chocolate Cupcakes, GF Sour Cream Coffee Cake.  I would use KAF if it were available here. Thankfully Bisquick works.

Holy Cow! 3 recipes I can get excited about! I recommend adding 2 tablespoons of pudding to the cupcake recipes. As for the Sour Cream Cake, I left out the filling and the glaze then baked it into cupcakes! Moist and delicious!!!

These are the GF Sour Cream batter baked into cupcakes. Nice and round tops, fluffy and moist on the inside. Each recipe makes a scant 4 cups batter, about 12 cupcakes or one 8" or 9" layer cake. To make the cake below would require 3 batches of the recipe. This is a GF Vanilla cake with buttercream and fondant decorations.

The last note to share is that my kitchen is NOT gluten free. However, I wash all utensils, pans and my mixer thoroughly before beginning any gluten free projects.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Up the Learning Curve

Of all the things I learned cake making last year, there a few little tips are the make a huge difference.

1. Cake Photography

If you are an amatuer photographer like me, with a point and shoot camera, the single, most helpful purchase I have made is a large cake box. White on the outside. Largest one I could find in our little town.14" square cake box.  I folded it inside out, white is on the inside, leaving the top up and the front open. It is the perfect background for cake. Also, I have taped a little bit of white tissue paper over my flash to make it not so harsh. However, placing the white box near a window during daylight is the best condition all around for lighting.

2. Measuring Ingredients

The second most important tip I have learned is to weigh my shortening for frosting. I use a 1:1 ratio with butter. Once the butter is in the mixer, I use that wrapper to weigh out the shortening. Why is this important? Simply because it is one less mess measuring cup to wash. It only makes a difference if you are also the Head Dishwasher in your bakery.

3. Stacking Cake

There are plenty of websites that describe in detail how to stack cake. If it is a small two tier cake, you can use large soda straws, not the skinny ones. Google "bubble straws" and you'll see what I mean. I can find those near the ice cream cones in our local grocery stores, for milk shakes I think.  But if you want to stack more, a lot more, you need this:

A brand new, stainless steel, unopened pair of nail clippers. These clippers are absolutely perfect for cutting wooden dowels without leaving splinters. It is easier and safer than cutting plastic dowels with a knife. Quicker, cleaner and more precise than a hacksaw for wood. No splinters, sanding or dust to worry about when you stack a cake. Give me a pack of wooden dowels and these clippers and I can stack cake all day.

A few little tips can go a long way up the learning curve!