Saturday, August 28, 2010

Butterfly & Roses Cake

I did this cake this week and thought I'd share it with you guys. It was a very symbolic cake since it was a cake made for a family who lost a loved one. They get together and remember her on her birthday. It was a very touching cake to make and I put as much love into it as I could. 

Sometimes when it gets really crazy and busy it's easy to take it all for granted. I think it's good to take a moment to slow down and think about the important people in your life. And it's even better to tell those people that they are important to you... 

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Cyclone

I've started reading "The Wizard of Oz" to my 5 year old son. I believe that kids should learn the classics and be exposed to them at home as well as at school. He's loving it by the way :)

One point that he was very interested in was the cyclone. Since we live in southern California we don't really talk about them. But we are very skilled in the Earthquake drill and my kids have experienced multiple earthquakes.
As I was explaining to my son about tornadoes and cyclones I thought about my life. Sometimes it seems like the floor is shaking, just like an earthquake. Other times it seems as if my life has been swept up in the air and tossed about. Where will I land? What land will I land in? Will a good witch will grant me safe passage? Right now it's one of those moments where the cyclone has lifted my life in the air and everything is getting tossed about. I felt a little hopeless when it started but now I'm excited to see where I'll be when I land.

Life is just getting so busy. My son's starting kindergarten on Monday. I'm not ready to let go. He's in soccer and really learning some great lessons. I've become the "Team Mom" and I'm really, really not sure how that happened. My daughter is not a baby anymore- I just keep telling her she'll always be my baby no matter how big she gets. I'm learning how to let go and learning that I'm not as strong as I thought I was. My cake business has been growing, but I'm thinking about slowing it down a little. At least until both kids are in school. These days I feel like I'm being pulled in all different directions. How does one person balance it all?

A great analogy would be a tight rope walker who's balancing people on her shoulders and those people are jumping around and dancing. The tightrope walker also has multiple ropes that are attached to her and are pulling in different directions. Like I said, I'm in a tornado. Exciting and terrifying all at the same time. Now all I have to do is try to keep my feet on the ground.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Jack Skellington Cake in buttercream

This cake was for a customer's husband's birthday. I thought it was fun, definitely different than my typical birthday cakes. And I love Halloween so this was a little bit of a treat for me to be able to do something like this. Anyway...the cake is a chocolate cake with oreo crumb filling and vanilla buttercream filling. It started out covered in smooth buttercream and I piped on all the details- this part took a long time. 

Aside from taking a few breaks for hand cramps it went really smoothly. And the finished cake looks like this:

 Around the sides of the cake are quotes from the movie "The Nightmare Before Christmas". They say "What's this? What's this?" and "I can't believe my eyes!" Both are memorable quotes from the movie.

Baking Secret: To achieve the right shade of black buttercream- use cocoa powder and black gel food coloring. 

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Every baker has her day...

Yes, I create cakes as a job. Yes, I always deliver my cakes on time. Yes, I'm proud of my work....but it doesn't always go as smoothly as it seems. If you've ever watched "Ace of Cakes" or "DC Cupcakes" then you've probably witnessed their stress or one cake collapse. It's just part of the business. When you work with sugar it doesn't want to stay- it wants to pull away, separate, melt, etc. So here I am admitting I've had my fair share of mishaps, forgotten steps and fondant failure. When that happens it ends up like this: 

But as I've told myself hundreds of times, "it's just cake. It's not the end of the world". Go ahead and get any tears out you need to. Give yourself a little break. Then come back and start over. I know it's not what you want to happen, but it just does. And it's ok. This is why I watch cake shows - as horrible as it sounds it's nice to see them stress out and see their $1,000 creations collapse. It makes me feel better :) 

But it's usually fixable. In this case my fondant didn't go on right....grrr...yes, still a lil bitter about it. But I went back and removed all fondant and cut the cake underneath (a crucial step). This is what it looked like- a bit bare:

But it turned out like this:

Hopefully this will inspire someone not to give up. Everyone has challenges, but you can work through them....even if it keeps you up till 2 am multiple nights in a row. In the end, it'll all work out and maybe it'll turn out beautiful. 

Monday, August 16, 2010

Whimsical Cake and Summer Days

This chocolate cake filled and covered with vanilla buttercream was a simple birthday cake I had due on Saturday. Kinda a fun birthday cake :) The swirls make me think of fun and carefree times.

Although, I think I'm already thinking of fun times since my son's school starts in 2 weeks. I'm feeling this urge to get in as many fun summer experiences as possible before the school year starts. Definitely going to the beach this week! 

It seems like every day life just is just getting busier and crazier. My son starts soccer this week, my daughter starts dance in 2 weeks. Sheesh! Welcome to Becca's Transportation Service for her children - lol! Well, I guess the best way to tackle this is just say "Bring it on life! I can still be carefree, fun and artistic even when life gets crazy." Well, at least that's what I'll tell myself :)

Friday, August 13, 2010

It's done!

Phew.... once I stepped back from the table and admired the wedding cake I had just assembled I wanted to jump for joy. There is a lot of work and a lot of stress that goes into a wedding cake. And this cake just happened to be delivered on Friday the 13th.... (insert twilight zone music here). 

As you can imagine the stress goes beyond the date on the calendar. It's from the being up late at night baking the cakes, filling, icing and trying to make them look perfect. It's from the bumps and turns on the road while the wedding cake is in the back of the car. It's from those late night calls from the bride worrying over the table cloth being under the cake properly. All of which is totally understandable....and yet it all went smoothly.... thank goodness. 

The venue that the bride picked out was gorgeous. The room had 2 full walls of windows that looked out onto the marina. Absolutely gorgeous. I really hope this couple has a very special day. And I REALLY hope they like their cake :) I already got a text from the bride saying it looks amazing which totally made my day. Now, I think it's time to relax, at least before tonight, when I start on a chocolate cake.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Lots of cake...

Sorry for the lack of posts recently. I'm working on a wedding cake right now so it's a little crazy. Yesterday the base of the cake was baked and filled and crumb coated. 

Today I found out from my dentist that I have a wisdom tooth twice the size of a regular molar in my lower jaw that's pushing against my other tooth, oh joy. My kids are calling it my elephant tooth and they think it's hillarious. After my lovely dental appointment I was back to baking. Today I might be able to finish the cake. We'll see how the cakes come together. It's always an adventure that's for sure. More pics of cake to come soon (and not just crumb coated ones)!

My mad scientist cake leveling I said, adventure...

Monday, August 9, 2010

Back to Reality

 Disneyland was wonderful. And between running from this show to that show and standing in lines and pushing a stroller up a hill it was enough to make me forget everything for a day. Today every single one of my muscles hurts. But it was worth it. We saw Fantasmic for the first time and it was absolutely amazing. I totally get why people camp out for hours before the show just to get a good seat. But my favorite part of the day was in the New Orleans area.

It is home to "Pirates of the Caribbean" and "The Haunted Mansion". Which I consider two of the best attractions at Disneyland. It also has really yummy food and amazing building decor. 

I'm not sure if I'd really call it architecture- because who knows how it was built. But walking around that area definitely feels like you're walking around New Orleans.

Right now I wish I could go back and sit under the large shade trees and just watch the water fall from the fountain. So relaxing...

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Beautiful Prep Time

Right now it's the "calm before the storm" as I like to call it. Next week is the start of a very busy few weeks for me. I have lots of cake orders coming up and a wedding cake due next Friday. It's too early to do much about these cakes. So this is my mental prep time. I'm basically doing all the possible laundry, vaccuming and anything that might get left by the way side during the busy time. I also started on the wedding cake bow. It will be the topper for the wedding cake with cascading ribbon down the sides of the cake. A simple, yet elegant design. Here's the bow so far:

For never having made a bow before I think it's not too shabby - and honestly, it looks even better in person. The key is in getting a ribbon that has wire in it. You can make the wire hold almost any shape. Agenda for tomorrow will be a complete mental holiday....aka...Disneyland. I've learned that I handle stress and what I call "go-go-go syndrome" if I've had a good rest. And no I don't mean sit on my couch rest- although that's nice. Sometimes I just need a day or two to clear my head and then I can be more productive :) Maybe tomorrow's your mental holiday as well- if so enjoy! 

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Homemade Ice Cream Sanwiches

Recently I went to a BBQ where the desert was ice cream sandwiches. The kids devoured them and the adults loved them too! I thought I'd make my own ice cream sandwiches for a game night I was hosting. I decided to start with the ice cream. I made it from scratch starting with boiling the cream, milk and vanilla. 

I whipped the eggs and egg yolks with sugar till it was pale and fluffy. I incorporated the boiled milk mix into the egg mix (tempering the eggs).

Once it was all in one bowl I transferred it back to the pot and continued to cook the mix on med- low heat until it thickened (enough to coat the back of a spoon). 

I placed plastic wrap directly on top of cream mixture (to prevent "skin" from forming) and chilled the mixture in the refrigerator . Once chilled, I poured it into my ice cream maker. 30 min. later  it was ready to be spread into a shallow baking pan (like a cookie pan). I lined the pan with freezer paper- wax side up. 

Then I spread the ice cream into the lined pan. I let the ice cream set in the freezer for a couple of hours. Then I used a biscuit cutter to punch out perfect circle shaped ice cream serving to go inside of the cookies.

All in all the process took a couple hours but it was worth it. You can't find ice cream that rich and creamy in the grocery stores. It brought back memories my parents' big ice cream maker that you had to hand crank. Thank goodness for Cuisinart! But truly, homemade ice cream is the best. And I offered this delicious treat along with some of BECCA'S blue BAKERY recipe cookies. I made the "Basic Chocolate Chip Cookie" with milk chocolate chips and I made the "Old Fashioned Sugar Cookies" with a hint of nutmeg, dusted with sugar. This was a treat for my hubby as well because I only offer cookies at the bakery during holidays. So he was very excited to be able to munch on a chocolate chip cookie while it was "not in season".  

Monday, August 2, 2010

Jet Cake

Tonight I have a "jet cake" due. A neighbor of mine has a boyfriend who flies jets and wanted to give him a special birthday cake. So.... she asked me if I could make a jet cake and I said I can make a jet cake however you want it. We decided on a small fondant jet that would sit on top of the cake. The cake would be decorated to look like the sky so it would look as if the jet was flying.

 I must say it made me nervous that this guy flies jets for a living and here I am sculpting one from scratch. I hope it looks somewhat like what he flies. But more than anything I hope he likes his cake and I hope my customer does too! 

I literally just finished it. Last night when my family and I got home from a work BBQ we put the kids to bed and I heated up the oven. I must say I was pretty impressed with my multitasking. I had the cakes cooking in the oven while I was on the elliptical- something I don't usually do- but I know the baking time on this cake like the back of my hand, so I wasn't worried. Usually I finish all cakes and products the day before they are due -- just in case anything goes wrong.... which happens frequently when you work with edible product. But the customer is actually taking this cake on a little road trip to Vegas! So I wanted it to be as fresh as possible when they cut into it. How awesome is this cake? Not only does it have a cool jet on it- but it gets to go to Vegas as well! This is one lucky cake! 

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