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...