Saturday, December 7, 2013

Indiana Jones Cake

This Indiana Jones cake was a pretty big cake and took quite a bit of time to get done.  Since I don't have a fondant sheeter for spitting out nice rolled pieces of fondant and I rolled all this by hand. My wrists and forearms are killing me. I told my husband that if I'm going to keep doing these kinds of cakes I would have to break down and purchase the right equipment to make it much easier.  His comment, "Here comes the conditions!"  Ha, ha funny guy! I know that he enjoys watching the creations and he even helps with cutting sticks and making structure supports.

It's Sebby's 7th birthday and I asked him what he wanted me to make.  He has this Pitfall game on the computer  that is much like Indian Jones so we did this style of cake.  "Grammy, I want a HUGE cake!"  And this is pretty huge.  
Okay, I know some of you are saying, "Wait a minute! How can a river flow down both sides of the rock?"  Well let's pretend there is a spring up there or it's the Great Divide or something.  I needed to do something with water on both sides  and limited space. My husband told me that you can do whatever you want with cake!  In any case, with the spiders, snake, crock and scorpion it turned out pretty cool.
The cake is chocolate, of course.  Raspberry filling is in the top two cakes. I used my usual butter cream frosting and fondant that I make from scratch. Click on this site for  recipes.

Callie, my oldest daughter is turning 34 and decided she wanted in on the Indiana Jones theme. I mean - Harrison Ford?! Come on! (Sebby's and Callies's birthdays are three days apart.) So the smaller cake is an Lemon Cream Cake with lemon cream filling (her request).  The heroine is on the top of the cake ready to pound a spider to death with a frying pan or machete whichever gets the job done. 

I used the coated marshmallows for the "ruins" and root beer barrel candies for the ammo stash.  The tree trunks are long pretzel sticks.

This is the first cake that I didn't have a clear plan of what I wanted to do until I started putting the cake together.  I had the cakes baked and in the freezer.  I just didn't know how it would turn out.  I did go to the Internet to get ideas and then I just put it together.  It turned out pretty well for not know what I wanted to do though I wouldn't recommend doing cakes like that very often. I'm glad it didn't turn into a mess.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Grammy's Cran-Apple Pie

I post lots of decorated cakes but this time I am posting a Cran-Apple Pie.  I don't usually make pies because I didn't have a great crust recipe.  Then I found, and watched, Alton Brown's pie recipe.  You can go to to view the demo.  I do have to tell you that I don't use his exact recipe because I don't use lard in my baking.  I will put mine below.  The key is to use very cold butter and liquid.  Alton does have tricks to rolling out the dough too.  I found his suggestions very helpful to get me started.

Dough Recipe
(Make two recipes, one for top (lattice work) and one for bottom)
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick butter unsalted cubed (should be very cold!)
1 Tablespoon vinegar
2 Tablespoons milk or half and half
1 Egg beaten (for brushing the top to help brown nicely)


Place flour and salt in food processor. Pulse to distribute salt evenly.
Next add very cold cubed butter.  May be placed in freezer for 15 minutes prior to using.
Pulse until blended enough to look like small pellets in dough.  Don't over blend.  You want tiny balls of butter in dough and not have it blended so much it starts to glutonize or become sticky. Then you 
have tough dough.....yuck!
Next add vinegar and pulse two or three times quickly.
Next add very cold milk or half n half a small amount at a time until the dough forms pellets that when pressed together will hold its shape. Depending on where you live you may need less liquid or more. (See video for visual)
Place dough in plastic bag and form into disc and place in fridge while preparing the filling, about 30 minutes.
Thinly sliced apples cook better.
Cran-Apple Pie Filling
1 cup fresh cranberries
1 cup apple juice
6 Granny Smith Apples peeled and cored and sliced into thin slices
1 to 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
 (If you have ice-cream with this and you like less sweet just use one cup other wise add another 1/2 c sugar for more sweet.)
2 Teaspoons cinnamon (My hubby loves extra so I put in a little more)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 small lemon juiced
1/2 cup flour
2 Tablespoons corn starch
1/2 stick butter cubed into small cubes

Instructions for Filling
Rinse cranberries and place them in a sauce pan with apple juice.  Cook until softened. Set aside.
Place prepared apples in a large bowl and cover with lemon juice. Stir well to cover the apples so they don't turn brown. Combine sugar, cinnamon, salt, flour, and corn starch.  Stir well and pour over apples. Stir until apples are covered with flour mixture. Add cranberries and juice and stir till well blended. Set aside.
On a well floured surface (I use a pastry cloth and sock for my roller well covered with flour) place the chilled dough for the bottom and roll out to about 1/8 " or so.  Place in bottom of pie pan and leave some over hang of crust. If you have some good size trim scraps save them. I will explain later.  (Don't re roll them. Just lay them flat off to the side.)
 Fill the shell with apple mixture. Place the small cubed butter all over the top of the apple filling evenly. Set aside.

Take the second batch of chilled dough for the top and roll out the same as you did for the bottom.  Do your lattice top (see: on how to do it) or just lay the dough over the top, trim, crimp, (the above video shows how to tuck and crimp edges) and poke some vent holes in the top.  Brush the top with the beaten egg.  This helps it brown beautifully.
Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.  Then cover the top with foil and bake another 40 minutes.
With the extra dough I used a leaf cutter and made some leaves to put on the top for an extra touch.

I always like to have pie warm and I think this is definitely better warm with vanilla ice cream melting on top. I have updated this recipe a couple of times already. Let me know if you try it and what you think by leaving a comment.  Always looking for good critics! Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Barrel full of Flowers

This was a birthday cake order for another friend of mine who loves chocolate.  Her husband surprised her with this cake. 

The cake is chocolate decedent cake, which means lots of yummy chocolate.  The filling was chocolate ganache and the top was chocolate ganache with chocolate wafers crumbled up to represent soil. 

The barrel is made out of Kit-Kat bars.  The frosting is butter cream and the roses are marshmallow fondant.

Sports Cake

I got an order for this sport cake from a friend of mine.  It was a white cake with butter cream filling.  I used my standard marshmallow fondant and butter cream icing. 

 I knew this cake would be a challenge because of the unique ball shapes and getting it all put together. The hardest part was the baseball because of the shape of the laces and actual stitching. I used royal icing to make the laces. 

Structure was an issue as the basket ball was difficult to add on the cake.  I ran sticks into the cake to help hold it on but what helped most was lots of icing as glue.

The Football came out way better than I imagined.  I was able to get the laces right and even put stitching on.  Also, I used a texture mat for the Basketball.  You know the skid proof drawer liners you can buy in a roll at Wal-Mart? Yeah, that stuff is great!  I also use sheets of it under the cake in the car for transport so the cakes won't slide.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Pumpkins and Mice

 My Grandson's school asked for donations to a fundraiser they were having at their Fall Festival.  I looked on the internet and saw this cute cake and decided it was appropriate for the occasion. 
The cake is a spice cake with buttercream frosting.  I used my homemade marshmallow fondant and Wilton's Gum Paste to make the mice.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Old Man Cake

My friend Dianna asked me to make a cake for her husbands birthday.  She wanted an old man sitting in his chair.  I know Mike is a good golfer (scratch!), hunter, and enjoys a beer now and then.  So I came up with this cake.  The top layer is chocolate with raspberry filling and the bottom is French Butter cream with Lemon Filling.  They smelled so good while baking!

I made the "old man" sitting in a leather chair with a wooden table next to him.  I couldn't figure out how to do the beer bottle and I know he enjoys his morning coffee so I made a coffee cup. I will try to do the beer bottle next year.

Because Mike is a hunter I knew he had bagged a polar bear that he has mounted in his house.  I decided to do a bear rug.  It came out pretty cool. 

I put a putter and ball on the "green" where I placed the chair and table.  There is a small sand trap on the side and I put his age on the flag stick. 

I used the Marshmallow Fondant that I have used in all my other recipes along with the same Butter cream frosting.  It was humid and I had to freeze the cakes.  So I learned that when you are working on a frozen cake as it thaws it becomes very moist.  It was easy to stick the stripes on but I didn't want to touch it much as it left marks.

I didn't know how I was going to mold the old man so I looked on line for some ideas and printed them off.  More to get perspective than anything else.  I started with the jeans and worked my way up.  I did the head last.  I used half gum paste and half fondant mixed together.  The hands were hard and the face was tough.  It took me several times to get it right. 

I printed off a copy of Golf World magazine and superimposed Mikes face onto the front cover. On the back I also put old folks ads like Geritol, Viagra, and Centrum Silver.

I know that Dianne loved the cake and I hope that Mike did too.

Happy Birthday Mike....keep living life to the fullest!

Happy Birthday Mike.  Live life to the fullest!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Sebby's Sunshine Graduation Cake

My grandson, Sebby, graduated from Kindergarten last Tuesday evening.  I can't believe he is that old already.  Smart kid too!  I made the cake for the reception after the school program.  The name of their school is Sunshine Christian School so, of course, I had to make a sun!  This was a fun chance to do something different.  I used my smallest Pyrex mixing bowl to make to two half sphere cakes.  I use butter cream icing to glue the two halves together.  Then I covered with yellow fondant.

The sun glasses and graduation cap are made out of equal parts of gum paste and fondant. There are six stars representing each graduate.  I used the butter cream for the clouds and the rest of the cake. This was a full sheet cake with triple chocolate cake on the bottom layer, then butter cream frosting, and finally a yellow cake on top.

I use boxed cake mixes for most of my cakes.  I dress them up sometimes but they are fast and easy to adjust to altitude.  I do have some homemade recipes that I have shared in previous blogs.
He's such a cutie in that cap and gown!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Baby's First Cake

My Pastors wife asked me to make a cake for a single mother whose baby is turning 1.  I had left over ingredients from the Kindergarten graduation cake so I said sure, why not! This is a two layer confetti flavor cake because Davy told me that was the best!  I made the Marshmallow Fondant and Butter cream icing and stacked the cakes.  It is a very small cake and for a little girl.
This is the first cake that I attempted to do quilting on.  It isn't perfect but it turned out pretty good. I just did the bottom layer.
I also wanted to bake a teddy bear which I haven't done yet either.  She turned out cute. 
Hope the baby likes it!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Skittles Cake

A friend of mine ordered this cake for her daughter's graduation from college.  It is a fun cake.  She found this one on line from another cake blogger whose cake making is growing into a business. 

This is the lemon pudding cake with raspberry filling.  If you want the recipe just leave a comment and I will post it or email it to you.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Hot Tubbing Piggies

Who would have thought that lounging in a vat full of chocolate could be so fun.  These precious little piggies are just having the time of their lives swimming in the chocolate hot tub. 
My daughter posted this on my timeline of Facebook because she thought it was a cute picture of a delicious cake.  Sunshine Christian School is having a Hoedown Fundraiser April 21, Sunday from 6-8 at the Alamosa Airport. The organizer sent me a  text and asked if I would make a cake for the silent auction.  This cake is the perfect cake for a Hoedown Auction. 
It is a two layer chocolate cake with strawberry filling.  The cake is covered with a thin layer of butter cream frosting to act as a "glue" for the Kit Kat bars used as the barrel slats.  I tied a gingham ribbon around the barrel and piped grass around the bottom where I planted white Daisies. The chocolate "pool" is melted semi-sweet chocolate chips with cream to make a ganache.

 The piggies are made from gum paste and fondant mixed together. I love the little pork butts of the piggies dunking down in the pool.  What a crack up.  Who ever originally made this cake came up with a cute design - alas- it was not me. 

It actually was a pretty fast cake to make.  Sincere there is no fondant and just a small amount of butter cream it put together fast.  I wonder what the starting bid should be?

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Minnie Mouse for Audrina

 My friend, Winona, called me again this year to make a cake for her daughter, Audrina.  Last year I did the Hello Kitty cake for her third birthday. This year she wanted a Minnie Mouse cake and gave me a picture of one she found on line.  When I Googled "Images" for Minnie Mouse cakes there were many that looked similar to this.

This is a two box cake mix.  Audrina likes Pillsbury Strawberry Cake Mix so I made two tiers with a strawberry flavored butter cream in the middle.  I mixed Smucker's Jam into my butter cream frosting and it tasted really good.

Sometimes it's hard to make box mixes work with fondant covering because they are more crumbly and not as moist.  In the last post I put a link telling how you can get moist cake every time.  This time I didn't press down on the cake.  I just turned it out on cooling racks and loosely covered with plastic wrap.  It kept the cake moist from the condensation and not so dense.

The ears are made of black chocolate candy melts.  I used a round ring mold on parchment square to shape them and cooled in the fridge until I needed them.  They are attached with butter cream.

I hand painted the zebra stripes on with Wilton black coloring paste watered down with Vodka.  It handled very well. I also painted the bottom trim fondant with the same solution.

The bow is made from the Marshmallow Fondant recipe.  I used confetti sprinkles for the pink polka dots.  I just picked out all the pink ones.  Attached them with a touch of water. I used tightly wadded up plastic wrap in the bow to hold it's shape until it dried somewhat.

Needless to say my friends were very happy with their cake and I had a ball making it.  I think I have found a new passion!

Happy Birthday Audrina.  You are beautiful!!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Castle Cake for Abby and Cate

This is Abby (5) and Cate's (3) birthday cake. Their birthdays are both in the first week of March so we did their party together.  They told me they wanted a Princess Cake and I was going to do the Princess Doll cakes but I decided since I hadn't done a castle cake before I would try it.  I had a blast doing it and lots of fun doing the detail work.  I wanted to do a moat and bridge but I simply ran out of time. 

This is a chocolate cake from Ron Ben Israel's recipe  Chocolate Layer Cake. It can put you into a chocolate coma, which isn't a bad thing for some.  I used the same butter cream recipe and fondant recipes that I have used in other cakes, but I am about to bust out and find different recipes.

I used a plywood board for the cake board.  Very helpful for heavy cakes.  I covered it with foil.
Cate carefully checked out each thing on the Castle.  I put the plastic Princesses on the cake so they could have a toy when they were done eating the cake.  Abby checked out the cake too.  The girls dressed up as princesses and their guests wore whatever costume they wanted.
The front door garnishments were made from a Wilton silicone mold and then painted with bronze luster dust and vodka.  The vodka evaporates and leaves the dust adhered to the fondant. 
The walkway was Wilton Pink Sugar Sprinkles.  I made the flowers out of gum paste and used some Wilton flower sprinkles to fill in the extra spaces.

 I bought the crowns and princess hearts from Walmart.  They are Wilton decorations.  I made the baby roses out of fondant.  I used royal icing for the leaves on the tree and around the roses. I also used royal icing to glue on details.
My favorite thing to make was the "bird bath".  It was also the hardest.  But I think it turned out super cute.  I also like the stairs leading up to one of the side doors on the turret and the little vase of roses at the edge of the balcony at the top of the stairs.

The girls were so excited for the birthday party.  Their grandparents from Main flew out just for the occasion as did their Aunt and Uncle from Montana.  You can tell they just love to be Princesses.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Davy's Fourth Birthday Cake - Buzz Lightyear and Friends

 This cake was fun to do.  At first I didn't know what to do but I figured out how to make the aliens after doing some research on line.  The Buzz Lightyear is a toy that Davy gets to play with when all the partying is over.

The fondant turned out much better on this cake.  I still used the Marshmallow Recipe, but I am planning on checking into buying fondant on line. 

I used the Funfetti cake mix.  Davy likes sprinkles, a lot!  So I always do this because it is his favorite.

For doing a theme cake I think it turned out pretty good.  There is always room for improvement and I can see things in this cake I would do differently but all in all I really like it.