Friday, December 5, 2008

Little Einsteins Rocket Cake

For my daughter's 2nd birthday, I decided to go with a Little Einsteins theme... and that meant a "Rocket" cake!

I started by baking a 11x15 sheet cake using a yellow cake mix and a football (I used Wilton's football cake pan) shaped cake pan using a chocolate cake mix... then I carved them to the shapes I needed... the football was for the top of Rocket and the sheet cake for the bottom...

I frosted the entire cake with buttercream frosting... I used the Easy Buttercream Frosting recipe from Bakerella's blog... thanks Bakerella it's delicious!

I had to use tons of Red and No Taste Red Icing Colors to get the red (oh, and a little bit of orange...) and I used Royal Blue and Lemon Yellow for the window and accents...

The rocket thrusters are made out of twinkies w/ graham crackers cut to make the fins...

Let see... what else... I covered a 13x19 cake board with two layers of a blue transparent wrapping paper that I bought at a dollar store and I made the antenna on top from a cherry dum-dum... I colored the lollipop stick with a red edible marker... oh, and the Einsteins in the window are actually a sticker from a sticker book - I put the sticker on waxed paper and then "glued" it onto the window with buttercream frosting...

This cake was a TON of work... but I think it was worth it in the end!

Can't wait to see everyone's reaction tomorrow at the party!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Key Lime Pie

Cake, Cake and More Pie? Ok... so it's not another cake... but what can be better than Key Lime Pie? Not a whole lot if you have ever had a good one!

I use my mom's recipe and it's delicious! So yummy in fact that Key Lime Pie is my designated item to bring tomorrow for Thanksgiving at my cousin's house! It's also really easy to make... (btw... the sour cream topping also makes a pretty good fruit dip!)


(for one 9-inch pie)
- 1 pkg. graham crackers (Nabisco Honey Maid)
- ¼ cup butter
- 1/3 cup sugar

- Crush graham crackers (roll w/ wooden rolling pin in gallon size plastic bag)
- Melt butter.
- Pour crushed crackers into bowl and stir in butter and sugar until coated.
- Set aside small amount (approx 1 Tbsp.) to sprinkle over sour cream topping.
- Press into pie pan (use metal spoon to press down and shape).
- Bake in 350° oven 5 minutes.


- 2 eggs
- 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk (Eagle Brand)
- ½ cup key lime juice (you can use fresh if it's available... and you don't mind juicing all the key limes!...)
- 1 tsp. grated lime rind (optional) (I never put this in...)
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 1 baked 9-inch graham cracker pie shell

- Beat eggs slightly.
- Add milk, key lime juice, 1 tsp. lime rind and ¼ tsp. salt.
- Beat at medium speed 2 minutes.
- Pour into shell.
- Bake in 350° oven 10 minutes.
- Let cool on counter-top while preparing sour cream topping.

Sour Cream Topping
- ½ pint (1 cup) sour cream
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/8 tsp. salt

- Mix sour cream, sugar, and 1/8 tsp. salt.
- Spread over top of warmed pie.
- Sprinkle remaining crumbs evenly on pie.
- Return pie to oven for 5 minutes at 425° to set sour cream.


Crust – double recipe for two 10-inch pies.
Pie – triple filling recipe for two 10-inch pies.

BTW... if anyone is looking for an awesome pie carrier... here it is! The Dual Chef's Tote by Lamarle - you can carry 4 pies w/ this! (It's basically two of the single Chef's Totes... but it includes a longer handle to carry them together...)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Chocolate Cherry Cake

So it's been a while since I've posted... We've been really busy (I had my second baby two weeks ago!) and since I'm done with my classes I haven't been baking too much. I found this recipe for Chocolate Cherry Cake online and it was so easy and tasty that I had to share it! If you like Chocolate Covered Cherries - then I highly recommend it!

Here's a couple of pictures... (I had to bake mine for closer to 40 minutes... so make sure to watch your oven...)

The cake right out of the oven...

The frosted cake...

Friday, October 3, 2008

Fondant Tool/Book, Cupcake Kit or Phone Call Giveaway!

Want to win a Celebrate w/ Fondant book and fondant cutter? How about a Cupcake starter kit and Silicone Cupcake Silly Feet? Or maybe you have some questions you'd like answered and want to talk to an expert?

Enter to win this contest at The Sugar Lane you could be one of FOUR winners! (All you have to do to enter is post a comment! How easy!)

Thanks again Donna for hosting another great giveaway!

(Contest ends October 7, 2008)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Wilton Fondant & Gum Paste, Class 4

Tonight was my final and last of the Wilton Cake Decorating Classes! It seems weird that they are all over and that I won't have to go next week! I've been going to class every Monday now for almost 4 months!

So tonight was mostly decorating the final cake. We did go over a couple of new things. First, we learned to make the favor box - very easy and cute... We also looked at how to do inlays and overlays... I decided to use those techniques on my cake... Too bad it's not Valentine's Day! My cake would be perfect if it was... The design is pretty simple, but it was still time consuming! (It took awhile to roll all the little balls for the border!) My red also didn't come out as red as I would have liked... but I got tired of added color... All in all I think the final result was pretty cute...

Now I just have to figure out what to do with all my free time!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Wilton Fondant & Gum Paste, Class 2&3

For my second and third fondant and gum paste classes we covered a ton of stuff! (It turns out I'm the only one in the class, so the instructor offered for us to do a double class to be able to finish a week earlier...)

We went over techniques like draping fondant and the handkerchief... but I didn't use these on my cake. We also learned to make the carnation (unfortunately I won't have any pictures since my didn't survive the drive home). Carnations are very time consuming, so I'm not sure when I'll use them on the cake.

We also learned the fantasy flower - which is a made up Wilton flower. It's actually not that complicated and looks pretty when it's finished.

I decided to decorate my cake very simply w/ a few daisies and leaves (which were very easy to make) and a ribbon border (also very easy). My cake is a Duncan Hines Chocolate Cake (I think it's actually called double chocolate fudge or something like that...) and I made Peanut Butter Buttercream (YUMMY! Can't wait to try it w/ the cake!)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Wilton Candy Class

Yesterday I took a Candy Class at Michaels. It was well worth it! The class was mainly supposed to be a demonstration class, but since only two of us showed up, our instructor let us participate and practice making the candy!

It was a two hour class and in that time we learned... cream cheese mints, nut clusters (made using equal parts of chocolate and nuts/pretzels/mini marshmallows/candy, etc. and dropped by clusters onto waxed paper... then drizzled w/ colored chocolate for decoration), maple cremes (first we painted the mold w/ chocolate, next we made a paste from powdered fondant, maple flavoring and black walnuts, the filling was dropped into the molds and then we "sealed" them w/ more chocolate), chocolate covered cherries (made the same as the maple cremes, only the powdered fondant can be flavored w/ almond... you can also add some or no cherry juice depending on how you like them), chocolate lollipops (pouring chocolate into molds and letting it harden), chocolate desert cups (painting chocolate into desert molds and letting it harden, can be filled w/ ice cream, fruit, pudding, mouse or whatever!) and peanut butter cups (these were really yummy! We dropped some chocolate into the mold, then some of the peanut butter filling using creamy peanut butter and then more chocolate!) I didn't have my camera with me to take pictures and the candy we brought home didn't last long enough to be photographed! :-)

I had never heard of powdered fondant before and I'm going to have to go to my local candy store to buy some! It can be mixed w/ whatever flavoring or coloring you want to make the "creme" filling for different kinds of candy! I'm thinking I'd also like to make vanilla cremes!

(We used Wilton's dark cocoa chocolate for making all the candy... it tasted really good!)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Wilton Fondant & Gum Paste, Class 1

So last night I started my fondant and Gum Paste course. (The other woman who signed up didn't show... so I was the only one there... It was really nice having the one on one class!) Anyway, we really didn't learn anything new. The instructor went over how to cover a cake board and also reviewed covering a cake in fondant.

I have to bring a cake for next week (it's supposed to be covered in fondant, but I think I'm just going to use buttercream - I'm going to be giving the cake to my mom for a dinner she has to go to and they will enjoy the buttercream better...). We're going to decorate the cake in a sample of the new techniques we'll learn in class. The only new thing I need to buy is some gumpaste.

(I'm also taking a Wilton Candy making class on Saturday at Michaels... so hopefully I'll have something to post about that...)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Fondant Tool Package or Phone Call w/ Donna Giveaway!

Two winners! - One winner will win a fondant tool package and one will win a 30 minute phone call with Donna!

Go to Designer Cakes by Donna and post a comment to enter to win!

(Contest ends August 27, 2008)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Wilton Cupcake Stand & Extras Giveaway!

Want to win a Wilton Cupcake Stand (plus you also get some striped baking cups and pastel confetti sprinkles)! Who wouldn't!

Visit Cake Space to post a comment and enter to win!

(Contest ends August 25, 2008)

Wilton Cake Course III, Class 4

So last night I finished Wilton 3! I decided I didn't want to do the white "wedding" finale cake as shown in the book. Instead I did a variation of one of the ideas they show you in the back of the book.... I also didn't use fondant to frost it... I figured I'm going to have plenty of practice with fondant in the next class and we like the taste of buttercream icing better. I did make some fondant decorations for it, though!

So here are my pictures! (Side view and top view...)

I made the fondant flower and leave cutouts a couple days ahead and let them dry on flower formers to get the curved edges... for the leaves I used the red tool (from Wilton's 10-piece tool kit) to put the veining on... for the flowers, I made a coordinating buttercream color and did the brush embroidery technique we learned in class... then I put on the finishing touches w/ a green buttercream... I was pretty pleased with how it turned out! (Especially since I didn't really like the pinkish looking flowers when I was making them...) Also, I put 8 large flowers on each layer... I meant to have 10 large flowers on the bottom layer... but I divided it wrong! :-( But, oh well, it still looks pretty nice!

(Oh, and here's a tip for using the dowel rods... for the longer one that has to be "hammered" through the top cake and cake board down to the bottom cake board... the book says to sharpen it with a household knife... I used a manual pencil sharpener at the suggestion of my husband - it worked great!)

Next is the Fondant and Gum Paste Course... but it doesn't start until September 8!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Wilton Cake Course III, Class 3

Last night was my third class of Wilton 3 and WOW! did we learn a lot in a very short amount of time! I REALLY need to practice this week!

We started class a little late and only had time to do a couple of each flower in class... also, we had to go over the fondant rose since we didn't go over last week... (there are only two of us in the class and my classmate wasn't there last week... so the instructor wanted to wait until she was here this week to go over the fondant rose...)

So anyway - first we learned the Easter Lily - it wasn't too hard... but I made my icing a little thin and the petals wouldn't stand up right...

Second we learned the Poinsettia - I think this was the easiest flower of the evening...

Next we learned the Petunia (yellow)... not so easy... I really need to practice these! And finally, the Morning Glory (blue)... even harder than the Petunia! I need TONS of practice on these! My instructors looked a ton nicer than mine... she only made one of each and my classmate took those home, so I'm going to have to rely on the book as a guide for practicing.

Here is a picture of the Easter Lily and Poinsettia my instructor made... She made two of each of these... so we could each take one home....

The last thing we went over was the fondant rose. We flew through this! (Excuse my blue rose... I used leftover blue fondant I had from my bow from last week...) These weren't too hard... but we went through it so fast I missed doing a couple of steps so it doesn't look quite right... but I'm pretty confident I can make them fairly easily by myself when I'm not rushing so much...

So next week in class we make our tiered or stacked cake. I'm planning on doing a stacked cake... I just have to decide on the design. I do know that I don't want to make the "wedding" tiered cake in the book... I won't have time to make all those fondant roses this week...

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Wilton 2009 Yearbook Giveaway - I won!

Thanks Donna for hosting the contest! I can't believe I won! Yeah!

Make sure you check out her site - she plans on hosting more great giveaways in the future! (Not too mention that she's got tons of great info about cake decorating!)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Wilton Cake Course III, Class 2

Last night I decorated my first fondant cake! I really think it turned out nicely! But WOW! was I tired by the time I was done! I spent the entire 2 hour class covering my cake in fondant and decorating it! And I never expected how much work it would be to knead all that fondant!

My cake has some areas around the bottom that aren't as smooth looking as I would like... but I could have fixed that if I would have made my bead border a little larger... Oh, and I wish I would have put my bow across the package (from corner to corner) as shown in the book... I don't know what I was thinking....

(Oh and in case anyone is wondering how much fondant I used... I took the large box to class... and only opened half... plus I have about 1/4 that I didn't touch and I still have a small about of blue left... so if I would have done the flowers, I probably would have used about 1/2 a large box...)

My instructor gave me a tip for coloring the fondant... By actually poking the toothpick w/ the color into the fondant you don't get it all over your hands (instead of just wiping the color on the fondant)! I had taken gloves, but I probably didn't even need them...

Another tip from my instructor... to keep the fondant longer once it's been opened... wipe shortening on it and wrap in plastic wrap... then double bag it! She's been able to keep it a couple of months this way... She's also had students use those food vacuum sealers and that works well too...

One more tip... don't store the cake in the carrier w/ the lid on! She said it will turn the cake to mush!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Wilton Cake Course III, Class 2 Prep

So I'm starting to get organized for my second class in Wilton's Course 3.... I'm going to make the 8" square package cake.... and I'm starting to have a lot of questions...

I'm trying to figure out how much fondant I'll need and the best way to do it... I have already purchased the 24 oz box of white fondant... which may or may not be enough to cover my cake... Does anyone know? (I think the book says I'll need 30 oz... which includes leftovers from class 1... but we didn't do anything w/ fondant in class 1.... but does the 30 oz include the white flowers they put all over the cake?)

(I had the Wilton Fondant Amounts chart suggested to me... which says I'll need 36 oz for my cake... but that assumes a 4" high cake... so maybe the 30 oz is accurate, since my cake will most likely only be about 3 " high....)

Also, the book says that to do the bow I'll need 12 oz of fondant! Wow! The pre-colored Wilton fondant has 4 colors in a box and only 4.4 oz of each color... so obviously, I don't want to buy 3 boxes of that to get my colored fondant...

Does anyone have experience making this cake? What did you do? Did you color your own fondant? From homemade or store bought? How much store bought did you buy?

BTW... does anyone have any recommendations on removing the folds from the cake dividing wheel? I've tried soaking in hot water... which helped a little... and I've also ironed it in between two towels w/ the iron as hot as I dare... the plastic was pretty hot to the touch! Most of the wrinkles are out... but I can still feel the dents from the main folds... will this effect the fondant on my cake?

I'd appreciate any comments or suggestions you could give to make my life a little easier! Thanks everyone!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Wilton 2009 Yearbook Giveaway

Wilton yearbooks are full of fun ideas! Want to win a 2009 yearbook?

Go to Designer Cakes by Donna, post a comment and enter to win!

(Contest ends July 28, 2008)

Wilton Cake Course III, Class 1

Last night I started Wilton Course 3, Fondant and Tiered Cakes. I definitely think this course is going to have the most work involved (well at least there seems to be a lot of prep for next week... a lot of stuff to gather and prepare...).

We learned Cornelli Lace and Sotas (both very easy), bead border (same technique as the shell border only w/ round tip), brush embroidery (very easy and pretty), stringwork (single, multiple and overlapping), ruffle border, ruffle garland and easiest ruffle garland (a huge time saver). We also learned about dividing a cake and using the garland marker. We only worked in buttercream on the practice board - so sorry... no pictures this week.

I think that out of everything we learned I'm least likely to use the ruffle border - at least w/ the tips they suggest. It's done using tips #18 and #127. #127 is a large petal tip and tip #18 is a star tip (used under the ruffle to keep the ruffle "up"). Tip #127 uses a TON of icing and I think it would be very heavy on the side of the cake. I do think it could be done using a smaller star and petal tip and would look pretty nice.

There seems to be quite a pit a prep for next week as well as more supplies that I need. So far I've bought a box of white fondant, 8x2 square pan, dusting pouches, garland marker, tapered spatula and the 10-pc gumpaste kit (the kit isn't needed for this course... but I've been wanting to get it and my instructor said it's great and I had a 40% off coupon...) I still need to get the small rolling pin and some colored fondant. They also recommend the large rolling pin for $22... but I have a pretty nice wooden one... so I'm going to try that first... I also have to get the creases out of my dividing wheel - my instructor recommends soaking it in hot water - she said other methods include ironing and putting it in the dryer... but I'm not brave enough for that! :-)

I also bought a rolling scrapbook tote to carry all my stuff in... It was wonderful! I have a Wilton Caddy for my tools, but I was carrying everything else I needed in a large bag. The bag seemed to get heavier every week and on weeks when I have to take cakes it was a lot to handle... juggling the cake carrier, the caddy and trying to keep the bag on my shoulder! This way, I set my caddy on top of the rolling tote and still have a free hand to carry cakes or open doors or whatever! (The rolling tote also has way more room than the bag I was using!)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Cake That Started It All...

Here's a picture of the "first" cake I made. (I say "first" because of course I've made regular 9x13 cakes w/ frosting... but this was the first one I actually took time to make and tint the icing on and then decorate...) It was for my daughters 1st birthday last year. I also made cupcakes to match! I had intended on giving my little girl a cupcake to smash... but we ended up passing out the cupcakes and then giving her the entire cake to smash! (well... actually she mainly just poked at it!)

And since I made that cake I had wanted to learn more... cause of course that one was pretty basic! (I just iced the top and actually used a tip from my cookie press to stripe the bottom to look like a cupcake wrapper...) And now I'm getting ready to start the third Wilton cake course! And having tons of fun! Yeah!

Elmo 1st Birthday Cake

Here's a cake I made for the 1st Birthday "Smash" Cake for the grandson of a family friend. I think it turned out really cute! I used Wilton's Elmo face cake pan and decorated it w/ tip #233 (hair/grass tip) instead of stars... I love the effect! It looks like Elmo really has fur!

The colors were a little challenging to get... for the black - I started w/ chocolate buttercream and still had to add quite a bit of black icing color to get it right... for the orange and red - I used my daughter's Elmo as a guide... but it took a while to get the color just right... The orange is mostly orange w/ a little bit of no taste red added... The red is half/half Christmas red and no taste red w/ some orange added.... The red icing colors had a pinkish look to them until the orange was added.

A few things I would do differently... I wouldn't try to smooth the mouth, eyes and nose w/ my finger dipped in cornstarch and/or a dampened decorators brush as recommended in the instructions. The buttercream was soft from the heat and humidity so next time, I would put the cake in the fridge for 20 minutes or so to let it get a little hard and then smooth w/ my finger... any longer than that in the fridge and it gets too hard to smooth... but live and learn... I'm planning on doing this cake again later this year for my daughter's second birthday...

We go to the party today... can't wait to see their reaction! I know my little girl loved it!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Until next week...

I was supposed to start my Wilton III cake class tonight... but my instructor had to cancel... I guess I'll just have to wait until next week...

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Wilton Cake Course II, Class 4

I finished Wilton II! Yeah! I am the most excited about this cake! I really think it turned out well! And I'm glad it did... there was tons of work involved in this cake!

Last night we learned to do basketweave and the rope border.... both were pretty easy, but the basketweave is VERY time consuming! The rest of the class time was spent decorating our cakes. I made a Duncan Hines Marble cake and used Chocolate Buttercream frosting as the filling and to frost it with. (I really like the way the color of the flowers stands out against the chocolate!)

I only did the rope border along the top instead of both the top and bottom like the book shows. My instructor thought the bottom looked so nice she said she'd leave it off... and I'm glad I did... the bottom of my basketweave was really even!

You can get a feel for the cake in the pictures... but I'm not sure the pictures do it justice! (btw... it tastes really yummy!) I decided to leave off the color flow birds and/or butterflies I made. I liked it the way it was!

Last week I signed up for Wilton III which starts next Monday. Classes in July are 50% off at Michaels so I paid $17.50. Then last night my instructor gave us a $10 off coupon! Fortunately, the great girls at Michaels were able to return the class I purchased last week and re-ring it w/ the coupon - so I only paid $7.50 for the class! Plus I bought the course 3 student kit last week w/ a 50% off coupon too! (Also, I think they give you a free gift in the class as well...) I can't wait to start the next class... we learn more flowers... some fondant techniques and how to make tiered cakes!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

$250 Visa Gift Card Giveaway

Wow! $250! Think of all the cake decorating supplies I could buy! Want to enter?

Go to! Good Luck!

(Contest ends July 11, 2008)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Good Luck Cake

One of my husbands work friends is getting a new job. So I made a cake for him to take to work. Yellow cake w/ Wilton's Chocolate Buttercream frosting (tastes really yummy - way better than the class buttercream frosting - and was easy to work with! - although not as stiff as the class buttercream... I did add the meringue powder that is in the Class Buttercream recipe...) I also filled the cake w/ the chocolate frosting as well. (Tip for making frosting - it's tons easier to weigh your Crisco vs. measuring... less cleanup... just lay some wax paper on a kitchen scale and weigh it... 1 cup of Crisco weighs 6 oz.)

For the writing and dots (tip #3) I thinned the chocolate frosting with milk and added icing colors - lemon yellow and leaf green (tons of both) - and some piping gel. It is a deep emerald or hunter green and almost looks metallic (not sure why... but it's a neat affect!) To get uniform looking letters, I used the block message set that my friend just gave me - it worked really well and was WAY easier than writing freehand! (Thanks again Jodi!)

I think the end result ended up looking pretty nice.

Close up of the dots on the side...

(btw... my husband said everyone loved the cake... he said I also got lots of comments on my "steady hand" for the letters and dots :-) He kept my secret and didn't tell them that I "cheated" on the letters! Hee... Hee... Hee...)

Wilton Cake Course II, Class 3

More Royal Icing flowers! Pansies and Daisies, Primroses and Daffodil's! None of these were too difficult... but I'd have to say the pansies are my favorite!

I only made 5 or 6 of each flower in class..... but I can't stand to waste all that icing (btw - the class book says to make 2 recipes of royal icing... but in an effort to minimize my leftovers, I only made 1 1/2 recipes... and I still had a TON leftover!)... so last night I came home and made about 30 more pansies... and this morning I've made 24 daisies... 18 daffodils... and 24 primroses....

I did the same thing last week w/ the violets, violet leaves and apple blossoms... so I know I'm going to have royal icing flowers that last for the rest of my natural life! I could NEVER fit all these flowers on one cake (unless it was a gigantic sheet cake!) But I figure... I'll keep them and whenever I make a cake or cupcakes I can save myself of ton of time by using these leftover royal icing flowers to decorate with! (Wilton says that royal icing can be kept for 2 weeks, but I don't see how... I had some leftover after the last class that I tried to use about 4 days later and the flowers and leaves just seemed to "melt" onto themselves... so I can't imagine how it would last for two weeks. I asked my instructor about it and she said that she finds she also has better luck w/ the royal icing if she uses it soon after it's made.)

Here are a few of my flowers...

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Christmas in June!

So my best friend from high school has been doing some cleaning out of stuff that she no longer uses... and being aware of my new interest in cake decorating she asked if I wanted her stuff! Of course I did! Well, wasn't I surprised to see HOW MUCH she was giving me!

-Cake pans - Ice Cream Cone, Snowman, Christmas Tree, Easter Bunny, Cross, Train, and Heart!
-Decorating Bags - Parchment triangles and Disposable Bags
-29 piece deluxe tip set! (w/ a couple extra tips and extra #9 flower nail!)
-Tupperware Decorator comb
-Decorator brush set
-9 large bottles of Icing Colors
-Script Message press set
-Block letter make any message set
-4oz Meringue powder
-Wilton's 2003 yearbook (and a couple of other small idea books...)
-Extra couplers and a #789 cake icer tip!

Anyone who's taking the Wilton classes like I am (or just likes to decorate!) knows how much this stuff is going to come in handy! WOW! Thanks, Jodi!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

3-D Cupcake Pan Giveaway!

Ever wanted Wilton's 3-D cupcake pan - check out! Maybe you could win one!

(Contest ends June 30, 2008)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Wilton Cake Course II, Class 2

Last night we learned how to make some new flowers w/ royal icing and also how to use color flow icing. I'm having tons of fun in this class and I really love the things we just learned! It amazes me what you can make out of icing! I also love the fact that these flowers can be made ahead of time! (It's been very rewarding and exciting to see how much I've learned and how quickly. Not too mention that fact that each time I learn something new, I don't feel quite as bad about all the supplies I've bought and want to buy! :-) I think my husband also feels that way! :-) I think he's been pretty impressed w/ what I've learned to do in such a short time!)

The first thing we did last night was work w/ color flow icing... I'm not completely thrilled w/ the birds, although I do think they came out better than I was expecting... I had ready a butterfly pattern also... I've seen pictures online of cakes w/ the birds and also w/ the butterflies and I think butterflies look way cuter! :-) I was so nervous about working w/ color flow since the book (and our instructor) warned us to be careful since it can dry out quickly. I'm relieved to say I didn't have any problems w/ this! We outlined our designs w/ a tip #2 and then used a parchment bag w/ a tiny tip cut off to fill them! I also have TONS of leftover color flow icing... maybe I'll make a few backups in case some break...

My best bird (I need to buy the edible markers to make the eye and color the beak...)

My butterflies...

Next we moved on to royal icing... we brought 4 colors to class - yellow, green, pink and purple... and made apple blossoms, violet leaves, and violets... I was able to make 7 or 8 of each in class and then I made some more at home last night (At the suggestion of my instructor, I dried some of my leaves on the opposite side of the flower former to have them curved in different ways..._ I still don't know what flowers I want to include on my final cake... So I'm trying to make sure I have extras of everything. (After all, they'll keep for a while - I can make cupcakes or a small cake w/ my leftovers!)

Flowers/leaves I made in class...

Closeup of flowers/leaves I made in class...

Flowers/leaves I made at home....

Next week we make more royal icing flowers! (victorian roses, daisies, daffodils, pansies, and primroses...)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Wilton Cake Course II, Class 1

Last night was my first class of Wilton 2 "Flowers and Borders".

We reviewed some basics of course 1 (how to make a parchment bag, the shell etc.). Then we moved on to learning a couple of new buttercream decorations - the Reverse Shell, the Rosette and the Rosebud (none of which were too difficult once the instructor showed them to us).

Next our instructor showed us how to make Royal Icing (the best way I've heard Royal Icing described is that it takes like "dots" candy - you know the candy dots that are on paper - it really does!). She gave us some and we learned to make Chrysanthemums! She let us take the leftover home (which was quite a bit... since there are only two of us in the class...). I was glad that she did - I made 5 mums in class and they didn't come out too good... I made tons more at home last night and I was getting better. I still have some icing left and as long as it didn't dry out, I'm hoping to make some more this morning to practice (hopefully I'll get better, they don't look too bad, but they don't look like the ones in the book...).

Part of our homework was to cut out all the flower nail templates in the back of the book (there is a template for all the different flowers we're going to work on). Our instructor let us use hers in class and gave us a great idea - she cuts hers out and puts clear tape or laminating paper on top, then she puts a magnet on the back so the flower template will stay on the flower nail! Then all you do is rub a little shortening on the top of the flower template and lay your waxed paper on it and it sticks! It really works nicely!

Can't wait for next week! - color flow... and more royal icing flowers (apple blossom, violet leaf, and violet)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

10yr Membership to Giveaway

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(Contest ends June 22, 2008)

Free KitchenAid Stand Mixer Giveaway

Interested in winning a Free KitchenAid Stand Mixer? Who wouldn't be!?!

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(Contest ends June 17, 2008)

Monday, June 9, 2008

Wilton Cake Course I, Class 4

Tonight I "graduated"! Yeah!

For my final cake, I made chocolate cake (see previous post) and used a cherry jelly for a filling. My husband and I prefer the plain jelly vs. adding the Jello to the jam... it was WAY TOO sweet w/ the Jello... although, the Jello did make the filling a little firmer... (btw, if you use the plain jelly - make sure to eat it w/in a few days as the jelly "juice" will start to make the cake a little soggy...)

I decided to make peach roses w/ a darker peach bow... I mixed orange and lemon yellow to get my peach... instead of actually buying peach icing color... My icing for my roses was a little bit too stiff and the petals are a little jagged... I like how they turned out, though - sometimes real roses can have "jagged" edges. I also didn't have room to write on my cake (I made a 8 inch cake instead of buying a 10 pan as suggested in the course book...)

(btw... I was playing around w/ my leftover icing in preparation for my first Wilton 2 class next week - I added some pink and it made the peach much prettier!)

(I did my leaves w/ a tip #352 borrowed from my instructor... It was way easier for me than the leaf tip that came w/ the kit! When I used the tip that came w/ the kit, I couldn't get the ends of my leaves to come out right... at least not consistently... the tips kept breaking off!)

(I also learned how to finish the shell border... I didn't have a problem w/ the bottom row since I was alternating shells/sweet peas... but the top was just shells... it was a lot simpler to finish off then I thought... I just had to judge if I needed one or two shells to finish - and the last shell was just kind of "fudged" into my first shell... If you look closely you can see two smaller shells near the top of my rose spray... but it's kind of hard to pick out...)

A close up of my roses...

Next week, I start Wilton 2... Royal Icing and new types of flowers! (oh, and a break from cake... I only have to make one cake for the final class of Wilton 2!)

Wilton Cake Course I, Class 4 Practice

Every time I make a cake for class, I end up w/ leftover cake batter.... so I make a few cupcakes. This week I used Duncan Hines (Moist Deluxe) Dark Chocolate Fudge cake mix. I needed a change from yellow cake... I also had some leftover icing from the last class so I thought I'd practice my roses for my final cake... I was pretty happy with how they turned out. I definitely need more practice to get more consistent. They're all different sizes :-) But my husband said they looked nice that way since real roses are all different :-)

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Wilton Cake Course I, Class 3

My third class of Course 1 was a couple of days ago.

In this class we reviewed the rose base and not only learned the rose center but how to complete the rose w/ petals! (I wish I would have had my camera w/ me to take pictures of my roses!) It's really neat how simple it is to make something that looks so complicated! We also learned the shell, figure piping and drop flowers.

Once again we were to bring an iced cake to class (or cupcakes) to decorate w/ clowns to practice figure piping. My clowns came out better when I was practicing than on my actual cake, but I'm not sure that I'll be making a ton of cakes w/ clowns on them anyway! (The clown heads scare me a little! :-) )

For this cake I used the Wilton Icing tip... it definitely helped me to get more icing on the cake (for my first cake, I kept having to lift the spatula to add more icing and as a result I got a few crumbs...). The only problem I had was that I think I made my icing too thin... it seemed to come out of the bag a little too quickly.... and it took a lot longer for it to develop the "crust" so I could smooth it w/ parchment paper... (I still need some practice icing my cakes... they look ok but up close you can see the imperfections... and in the enlarged pictures! YIKES!)

I also used another Duncan Hines cake mix... Classic Yellow this time and I used a Jam filling... I found the idea online... You take a jar of seedless preserves, jam, etc... heat it for about 30 seconds... and stir in a small box of the same flavored jello... let it cool a little and then after you've made your frosting dam... you can spread the filling. Make sure to let it set a little before you put your top layer back on. It's a little sweet, but it's definitely tasty for such an easy filling. (I used a black raspberry jam w/ blackberry fusion jello...)

I decorated the edges w/ the shell border (I needed the practice!). I did a large shell on the bottom and a small shell on top (mainly because I was running out of blue icing and was afraid I wouldn't have enough to do the large shell on top...) I also wasn't quite sure how to finish the shell border so I added a star... (I need to ask my instructor next week.... so I don't always have to use a star to finish the border... I also didn't think of that when I started... My star finish is slightly off center... Next time I'll start and end my border at the back of the cake!) I also thought the sides and top looked a little bare so I added some little yellow dots!

Next week I "graduate" and get to decorate a cake w/ roses! I've also already signed up for Wilton Course 2 "Flowers and Borders" which starts the week after Course 1... I already know I don't have to make a cake for the first class of Course 2 (which is good - my family will get a break from cake! )

Wilton Cake Course I, Class 2

For our second class we were to bring an iced cake to class. We could either make a character cake or the rainbow cake. I chose the rainbow cake. (Decorating w/ stars is very time consuming and I didn't think I'd have enough time for a character cake.... I was right!)

In this class we learned how to decorate w/ stars, zigzags, printing, writing, lines and dots. We also learned to do the Wilton Rose base.

For my Rainbow cake, I made the cake w/ Duncan Hines French Vanilla cake mix (it didn't taste too bad... but I think I like Yellow better...)... I also filled the cake w/ frosting... I also wanted to try the rainbow cake (instead of a character cake) so I could try the piping gel pattern transfer (I don't have a lot of artistic ability and can't draw anything freehand! So any designs I use will have to be done using this method!)

I don't think my cake came out too bad for my first attempt... My icing job could have been better... but considering it's the first time I've ever iced a layer cake, I was pretty happy w/ the results. I was able to get everything decorated in class except for the writing, which I did once I got home... (My clouds were also made w/ a tip size bigger than the book said... a suggestion from my instructor... to make the clouds look fluffier!)

Wilton Cake Course I, Class 1

I started Wilton Cake Decorating Course 1, "Discover Cake Decorating" and am SO excited! I've wanted to take this for a long time and have finally done it! (I also thought a blog would be a good way to track my progress!) I left the first class even more excited than when I started... It seems you'll either LOVE it (and want to take other classes) or HATE it!...

In the first class we went over the different bag types (parchment, disposable and featherweight) w/ and w/o couplers.

We also learned how to make Wilton's Class Buttercream Icing (and the different consistencies) and how to ice and fill the cake. A lot of people don't like this Buttercream Icing recipe... and while I will admit it's not the best I've ever had... it's not even close to the worse. Also, you have to take into consideration that this is a good icing to learn w/. If you were to use icing w/ butter in it and have any warm weather or humidity, you'll have problems w/ the icing consistency. Not to mention that if butter is used you won't have the pure white color you get w/ Crisco... so if you're coloring you're icing... you're colors will be off...

I also bought tons of supplies! If you're like me and think you'll want to buy more stuff... you should buy the 50 piece kit in the Caddy... it runs for around $45, but you can usually get it at 40% off from Hobby Lobby or Michaels w/ their ad coupons.... this Caddy has everything that's included in the Course Kit 1... plus other stuff that you'll probably end up buying anyway... I went the other route (bought Course Kit 1 and tons of stuff and eventually the empty caddy separately) and returned to the stores repeatedly w/ 40% off coupons to accumulate stuff at the best price possible... I started out using a small plastic box to carry everything... but the Caddy helps you stay much more organized... (I got the Caddy at Joann using a 50% off coupon from Michaels... Joann's will honor Michaels coupons, but they will call Michaels to verify they carry the item... The caddy was $5 cheaper at Joann's $19.99 vs. $24.99 at Michaels...)

I have found there are some items I wouldn't live w/o... cake leveler (who knew a $3 tool could be so useful!), turntable (makes icing SO much easier...), cake caddy (unless you have something else to carry your cake in... btw... my instructor gave me the idea of using non-slip shelf liner under my cake board... it keeps the cake board from sliding around in the carrier...)