Sunday, June 14, 2009

Life's a Beach

I had someone ask me to make a cake and some cookies for a 90 year old woman's birthday party. Apparently this woman loves the beach, the party was "down the shore" (a NJ way to say it for my non-NJ friends) and so of course a beach theme was necessary. For the cookie trays, I wanted some seashells and some starfish, so I made shells out of white chocolate and teeny tiny starfish sugar cookies. The idea was good, the execution of the little starfish was harder than I was planning, especially for late night decorating. They are hard to pick up without messing them up! But the outcome was cute.
I wanted to include a few "staples", things that I know people will eat no matter what else is offered. Chocolate chip cookies and some devilish brownies were in order. I also made a heath bar brownie, some peanut butter covered oreos, and some white chocolate coconut cranberry cookies that are ridiculously hard to stop eating once you start (I made the mistake of making too many and eating every single extra!) due to their moist coconut-y flavor and the sweet of the white chocolate balanced out with the tang of the cranberry. Sooo good. They are a popular cookie for the summer parties I go to.
The cake was fun to make. The request was to make it not too hard to transport, since the ride was about an hour or so, and the customer had seen the sandcastle cake I made a few years ago that was about 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide. She was excited to have a theme cake, but nervous because she knows I can go crazy when left to my own devices. So, trying to restrain myself, my immediate idea of a tall, fondant covered lighthouse was out. Trying to keep "small scale" in my mind, I made a little lighthouse and some other beachy things out of fondant before really deciding the layout of the cake.
I knew I wanted a sandcastle somewhere on the cake, but not like the other one I had made. So I started pieces made out of Nilla wafers and frosting that I molded into towers. The outcome of the towers was pretty good, but it was a very messy project. The "sand" and frosting combo was not as fun as Play-doh, that's for sure. Each tower took me almost an hour!
When it finally was close enough to the due date, I started making cake. There was no requests for flavor, so I made some chocolate and some vanilla which should please most guests. The frosting was all vanilla buttercream, and the whole cake was put together with white frosting before the rest of the cake was decorated. I didn't want tons of support pieces in the cake because it makes it harder to cut and the people wouldn't know how to take it apart to serve it. So the layers are just stacked with frosting in between each one.
This is the outcome.

Here are some other pictures. Almost everything is edible. The the seal on the rocks, and the turtle and whale in the ocean (made out of over 4 cups of sugar) are not.

The sugar was done in layers to get the effect of moving water. What do you think?

The writing didn't look so good on the flags, but I couldn't make new ones.

The lone bird on the back of the cake.

Let's Eat Flowers!

I was asked to bake for a very cute little girl. "Something girly" was the only request regarding the design. Hmmm. I've been working in the garden so much over the last couple of weeks that flowers were the only thing on my mind. And flowers are "girly", right? I personally don't know any girl that doesn't like flowers no matter the age. So flower cupcakes it is!
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Monday, June 8, 2009

End of the School Year

It's that time of year when the sun is shining, the weather is warm, and SCHOOL GETS OUT!! It's also the time of year I crank up the oven and bake gifts for the teachers. I have been making teacher gifts for sale every year, even when I'm "not baking anymore". It seems that I am not ever really "not baking anymore" because I still love to do it, and people still ask me to! I just try to limit how often I do it, and my family (and my waistline) seems to appreciate that. I always say "when we renovate the kitchen, I will do this more often" but I think that my grandkids will have gone to college before that will happen. Order while you can!