Sunday, March 28, 2010

Kickin' it old school!

So, this weekend I had the opportunity to do a cake I've been wanting to do for a very long time....a Super Mario Bros. themed cake:

This cake has been on my wishlist of themes for a while.  The cake itself was chocolate with chocolate mousse filling.  Using a few of the ideas and techniques that I learned from Sharon Zambito's Successful Sheet Cakes Dvds, I brought this cake to the next level!  The entire cake is covered in buttercream with an edible image on top.  The coins and supporting characters were all edible images cut out, mounted on gp and left to dry.  The pipes and pirranha-plant heads are fondant with tylose as are the brich strips that line the top and bottom of the top of the cake.  I used a brick impression mat to give the brick feel and used the same mat to emboss the bc on all 4 sides.  Needless to say, the client was thrilled, and the employees of the venue the party was being hels at said this beat any sheetcake they've ever seen brought in for a party.  I posted the pic to my Facebook profile and group before I delivered.  By the time I got home from the delivery, I had a message from someone requesting that cake for her son's party in 2 weeks!  (Too bad I threw out all of the extra brick and character pieces I had - lesson to all, don't throw leftover pieces away - you never know when you'll need them!)

I learned another valuable lesson this weekend.  A few weeks ago, an acquaintance messaged me on facebook and asked about a cake for her daughter.  Friday morning, before leaving for the office, I was checking fb and she had posted on my wall asking if a cake for Saturday was pushing it.  I didn't have any plans for Friday night, since my other cake was for Sunday, and agreed.  I gave her my office number and told her to call with details.  Low and behold, my phone rings at 8:30 and it is a friend of hers calling about the cake.  I had already agreed, and couldn't back oout now hearing that it is for a first bday and their previous cake decorator (a friend of the baby's mom) had backed out last minute claiming illness.  So I continue emailing the client back and forth, and am told they want a 3D replica of the baby's favorite stuffed toy, a dragon named Scorch:

Really cute, right?  The client says they only need it to be a smash cake, so something about a foot long would be great.  As the day went out, I was continually distracted by one thought - Mark, you haven't carved alot of cake, are you going to be able to do it that small?  By mid-afternoon I realized it - NO SLEEP TONIGHT!!!  The cake ended up being 100% cake (save a small piece of foam core to support the head and 4 toothpicks that held the wings in place), about 5 inches tall and 18 inches long (approximately, I didn't think to measure it).  I was happy with the final outcome:

Even though I didn't charge nearly as much as I should have, I just had this gut feeling that told me I was doing the right thing and that this cake would make an AWESOME picture.  Not only did the clients like it, the birthday boy had a huge smile when he saw it, and I may have added some new clients to the roster!  All in all, a very satisfying day, considering they mentioned an upcoming wedding that they'd like me to do their cake for! 

I started this year telling myself to head Duff's words, "Make it bigger, make it badder, make it awesome", and this would be the year that I start the five year plan towards my own shop!  Until next time, Happy Caking!

PS:  Exciting News!!  I registered this week to take Jennifer Dontz' posies class this June in Ottawa - I am super excited (especially since it is the weekend after my birthday)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

A Thug's Life

So last week, I had to do a graffiti cake for a very good customer. Her cousin's daughter wanted a brick wall with "Happy 9th Birthday Tiashia" written on it. I am by no means artistically inclined, and was a little worried about the graffiti part. I did some research online and was able to download a few alphabets in various graffiti forms. I found the one I liked best, cut each letter out from gumpaste, let it dry and then airbrushed in pink and purple per the Birthday girl's request. The brick wall was easy enough - fondant cut out and laid out like a brick pattern then airbrushed red:

I was very excited this week to receive the latest DVD in Sharon Zambito's collection. It is all about SHeetcakes and new techniques to liven this former grocery store fodder up a bit. Many cakers detest sheet cakes, and I for one used to feel they were so boring to do. Until now. I didn't have much time to really pay alot of attention, but picked up enough to come up with this:

This cake was for my niece, Sara's 4th birthday. She wanted Wow Wow Wubbzy, and she got him. This was done using Sharon's run sugar technique. It was Chocolate cake with cookies n cream mousse filling.

The rest of my weekend will be spent making assorted goodies for next weekend's craft fair. I've got this good nervousness going on, and can't wait until next weekend! Before I go, I am thinking about starting a new feature - DVD reviews. If you're anything like me, you don't have much access or enough $$$ to travel and study with Cake greats. I spend my cash on DVDs - that way I can always go back and review, and I still get to learn from the greats. If this is something that interests you, post a comment and let me know what you think.

I'll try and post next weekend after the craft fair with pics and a detailing of how it went.

Until next time, Happy Caking!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Always Coca-Cola!

This past weekend, we celebrated my wife's uncle's birthday. He is a collector of everything Coca-Cola, and has decorated his family room with all kinds of Coke paraphanelia. This cake was my wife's idea. When I got my Cricut for Christmas, she had the idea to do the can of coke cake. I liked her idea, but thought a closed can of coke would be boring. Instead, I opted to do a spilled can of coke. The cake was chocolate filled with white chocolate vanilla bean caramel ganache. The cake was airbrushed in red shimmer for that metallic effect. The top and bottom of the can were airbrushed gold. The silver tab (to open the soda) was done in silver - unfortunately the close up of the tab didn't come out as well as I thought. Needless to say, the wife's uncle was really happy with his cake and was even comparing it to a real can of coke.

This was my first time making my own mould using silicone plastique. SP is a 2 part putty where you mix equal parts of the white and blue componunds and roll it out. I had an over-sized tab from a fruit cup that I placed in the compond and allowed to set for about an hour or so. I then removed the tab and now had a mould that I could fill with gumpaste. Can't lie - I love this stuff and am now obsessed with thinking of other things to mould.

The SP was bought from Flour Confections, an online supply store located here in Canada and owned by acclaimed sugar artist Lisa Bugeja. Flour Confections has so many cool cake toys, that it is hard to not constantly spend money there :) Not only does Lisa offer great cake items, but you can also find fantastic instructional DVDs and info on all of her courses including those given by celebrity instructors. I am dying to visit her in Pickering to do a class, just waiting for something that can fit my schedule. Visit Lisa over at and see for yourself the array of goodies for sale. Lisa has amazing customer service, reasonable prices, and fast shipping. She also ships internationally, and is now taking pre-orders for the new Cricut Cake machine.

Until next time, Happy Caking!