October 29, 2012

Crazy competitive

Fact: I am crazy competitive.

I don't know if it's good or bad. I don't want to be outdone. I want to be the one who's always the best. Sometimes, I find my teeth clenched as I am cooking up ways and devising schemes to get better at whatever I set myself to achieve.

I am a self-taught cake decorator, and I haven't been doing it for a very long time. However, in the less than two years that I've focused on it, I believe I've done so much on my own already. But I am not satisfied. I am not yet as good as I would like to be.

I am restless when I get into this state of mind. Sometimes, I become too consumed with what I want to achieve that it is all that fills my mind whether I am asleep or awake. I am fired up to just do my very best. I know that I won't rest until I perfect my craft. I look at the works of some of the best cake decorators I know, and I think to myself "I can do better. I need to do better."

I am crazy competitive. In my head, the competition with all these other clueless cake decorators has begun. I am very sorry, but I find you guys too good. I want to be just like you...or way better than you.

Ballerina cupcakes

I made ballerina cupcakes, and I think they are super cute! I am so proud!

Doctor-themed cake

My regular customer, Belle, asked me to make a doctor-themed cake for one of her best friends who was celebrating her 29th birthday.

For Dr. Martinez from her friends: Belle, Bianne, Pilar, Teenie, Ma-an, Yani, and Tatc

Inside the special gift box

This is a 7-inch round, 2.5-inch thick red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting inside. 

I hope you enjoyed it!

October 28, 2012

Superman and Halloween sugar cookies

I made sugar cookies earlier this week!

Here they are!

Halloween shapes made from excess cookie dough and royal icing from Superman cookies

All dried up!

Me adding faces before eating them

Ready to eat!

I've been making cookies for a long time but this is the first time that I got the right consistency for the royal icing. I've been using the Wilton Color Flow recipe since I began making sugar cookies, but it never came out perfectly just as they did when I made this batch. I think it must be because of the plastic squeeze bottle that I used. But then again, when I used a pastry bag and a steel icing tip, the royal icing still flowed smoothly unlike before. I still couldn't figure out what I had done differently this time. I hope I get the same results when I make my next batch of sugar cookies!

October 25, 2012

Shabby chic cupcakes

Last Tuesday, I've been asked to make shabby chic cupcakes. I knew immediately that I should have some fondant roses. However, that's one of my weaknesses. I can't make flowers the right way. I bought of cutters and an instruction book, but any fondant flower that needs to be assembled (that means it is composed of more than one flower shape and arranged around a stamen) is way beyond my capabilities at this point. I watched countless tutorials and racked my brains to device a plan so that I can come up with an acceptable looking fondant rose. Thankfully, I was able to think of  a way to make fondant roses (I'm planning to come up with my first ever tutorial for this one), and here are my shabby chic cupcakes.
A closer look at my fondant roses

I think I made a pretty bunch of cupcakes! I am happy!

October 24, 2012

Bloom from Winx Club and more of Pooh!

I had a very busy week last week. I rested on Sunday and went to work on Monday. I didn't have time to post my creations in between.

Last Monday, a friend asked me to make a fondant version of Bloom from Winx Club. It was very difficult, but I loved the challenge. Here's what I came up with (I don't even know how it ended up being this cute!).

I also made a fondant birthday greeting (Happy Birthday Fia) in the Winx Club font (found it online, printed the greeting, traced it on fondant). When my friend gives me the go signal to grab her picture of the cake, I'll share how everything looked like. 

I had another batch of Pooh orders. Hands down, Pooh is the most popular character I've ever made. Here's the cake and cupcakes I made for three-year-old Chelsea Blake.
I'm too full of honey! What a wonderful life!

I was a tired, but I was very happy with everything that I made!

Fondant toppers on a tray

October 20, 2012

Little Mermaid cake

A friend wanted a Little Mermaid themed cake with a 2D version of Ariel for her daughter Hailey. However, after I saw a post on www.bakehappy.blogspot.com (can't see that exact post now, but you can check out the rest of her blog for tutorials and inspiration), I wanted to sculpt my own Ariel since I've never done it before. So here's what I've made.

Ariel under construction

Front view of Ariel on top of this small cake (bottom tier 7 inches round 2 inches thick,  6 inches round 3 inches thick).  

Side view with the birthday girl's name, Flounder at the bottom (bubbling up), with a crab and Sebastian on top. (My apologies for the picture that's not centered.) Oh and you can see a starfish in the far back.

Top view of Ariel. There's a pink seahorse on her right side, a yellow shell behind her, and an orange shell and another red starfish below her. She's holding the number "8" because the birthday girl is 8 years old.

Until my next post!

Minnie Mouse cake topper

Some people like to bake their own cake, but they can't make fondant toppers, so they order from me. That's perfectly fine with me. I can't limit my product offerings to finished cakes. If I want to expand my customer base, I have to cater to those who would like a finished cake and to fellow bakers who don't know or don't have the time to make customized fondant toppers.

Yesterday, my sister's friend asked me to make a Minnie Mouse topper for a cake that she'll be baking on her own. Here's what I made:

Just like before, I followed Torte in Pasta di Zucchero Sugar Factory's Mickey Mouse tutorial. 

I hope you like it!

October 17, 2012

October 16 projects: Another Winnie the Pooh Cake, Transformers Bumblebee cake, and bag and shoe cake

I was really busy right after I made my three-tier cake (which is my most popular post here on my blog, by far) . I had three cakes that came after that, and as a result, I am now so tired. I think I have fever! Or maybe just sore muscles.

Anyway here are my latest cakes.

Bumblebee transformers car

Another Pooh cake 

Shoes and bag cake

Bad lighting...sorry...cupcakes to match the shoes and bag cake
Whew! Finally got everything done! Today's my rest day. Back to the daily baking grind tomorrow!

October 13, 2012

Lessons from my first three-tier cake ever

I've made quite a lot of cakes, cupcakes, and small double-tiered cakes, but today was the first time that I got to deliver (I started making the cake since the beginning of the week) a three-tier full fondant cake that I made on my own (but I did get help from my sister and my friend Arnie). I was nervous and skeptical to take  on the project at first, but then I realized that I'd never know how it is to make a three-tier cake if I don't try it. I drew strength from this quote by Theodore Roosevelt:

"When you are asked if you can do a job, tell 'em, 'Certainly I can!' Then get busy and find out how to do it."
Anyway, here's how it turned out.

This cake is for a 29-year-old guy who's an architect, a photographer, and a dancer. The bottom tier is supposed to represent the architecture tier. It's covered with edible floor plans and surrounded by T-squares, a pencil, and the guy's favorite structures such as the Eiffel tower, the Pyramids of Giza and the Great Sphinx, and the Roman Colosseum. The second tier is the photography tier, showcasing his best photos on a film strip. I had to feature Mr. and Mrs. Smith, his Canon EOS7d and EOS600d DSLR cameras. The top tier is the dance tier. I had his name in edible graffiti font on the brick wall with breakdancing silhouettes all around the tier. I also had to make a breakdancing figure of the birthday boy.

Here are the lessons that I learned from making this cake.

My cake tiers were too big.The base at 14 inches was okay, but I should have made the middle tier 8 inches so that I have ample space to put things around. The top tier should've been 6 inches for the same reason.  Maybe I should've made the figures smaller (in fact, the photography tier is supposed to be at the base of the cake, but I had to move it up because Eiffel Tower and the other structures wouldn't fit in the space), but I think that if I made them smaller, they would be barely noticeable on the cake. 

Don't use water in sticking edible paper to fondant.
Well, no one told me that the material was going to crinkle up! I discovered it after putting a dab on the back of one of the photos! That's when I realized that it was actually rice paper, and it would be sensitive to water. So I got my tub of shortening and slathered a lot of it on the back. The pictures stuck pretty well. I also placed some shortening over the pictures to protect them from moisture.

Dowel, dowel, dowel.
My cake didn't fail in this area because I placed a lot of support inside the bottom and middle tiers. 

This was a fatal mistake that I made. I usually prefer to make my fondant a day ahead so that they could rest well and so that the additional two tablespoons of tylose powder that I add to the mixture could properly work its magic. However, due to time constraints, I made two batches of fondant and used them to cover the cakes less than 30 minutes after. Bad idea! They were too soft, and they tore easily. 

Let the fondant rest for sometime before using it to cover your cakes.
Giant projects require ample amount of time and effort for preparation. No matter how much you prepare, something will always go wrong. Therefore, it is better to set your personal deadline way ahead the time your customer wants the cake to be delivered so that you'll have time to take a deep breath and work out the minor or major kinks that will arise.

Time management and planning is key.I should really learn how to sketch. 
Now, I've mentioned this before. I don't know how to sketch or draw! Let me show you the original sketch that I had for this cake. It was pretty awful.
It's actually a very funny looking sketch, and it looks nothing like the original thing. 

I still need to improve on a lot of things, but I am very happy that I accomplished this. Yehey!

October 12, 2012

My upcoming cake project: first three-tier cake

Tomorrow, I will be delivering the first three-tier cake in my young cake decorating and baking career. Am I nervous? Yes! Am I excited? Yes! Am I finished? Not yet! Actually there is still so much work to be done. I've been working the entire week on this project. There are still so many things to do. I am pressed for time! But I have never been one to buckle under pressure. Am I stressed? Hmmm...not really. Am I confident? Sure! But I don't know why.

Oh well. Wait for tomorrow. Let's see how it turns out.

October 08, 2012

Under the sea cupcakes

A client asked me to make cupcakes that would complement a Little Mermaid-themed cake. Here's what I came up with:

I had help from my friend Arnie in molding the sea shells and Flounder's base. She came over to learn how to work with fondant, and she was a very willing apprentice. 

Oh, and I also cheated with the sea horse and Sebastian's body. I used my sea life mold on them too. Actually, even the cute starfish was molded. Only Flounder was sculpted entirely.

Anyway, these cupcakes look perfect in the picture, but after I placed them in the box and brought them to the car, an accident happened. The bottom of the box wasn't very sturdy and folded in so my cupcakes went tumbling inside. I had to clean them up and refrost them. I hate cake emergencies!!!

Anyway, here's another batch of Pooh toppers that I delivered this morning. As I said, it's Pooh month this October. I am just getting started with him and his friends. I feel like I could sculpt them while closing my eyes. Really.

October 07, 2012

Lightning McQueen cake for Liam

Yesterday, I made a Lightning McQueen cake for a four-year-old boy, who was jumping up and down when I arrived at their house to deliver his cake. I got instructions on how to properly mold the car from http://www.lovelytutorials.com/forum/

Dull red right? Let's make it shiny!

McCormick red food color plus McCormick strawberry flavoring equals bright red car

I love the cactus that I made...and the two wheels

Top view...letters are too big...my new cutters will arrive tomorrow

Front view

Side view
From the looks of it, the recipient was very satisfied with what he got. Check out the FB picture that his mom took of him while "murdering" his cake.

Oh! I love it when I see client's reactions!

October 03, 2012

October is Pooh Month...and my frustration over not being able to draw

I am not yet done with Pooh! Believe me, I am just getting started. I have more orders this month for Pooh and his friends. I think Pooh might be my lucky charm. Anyway, here's the second batch of Poohness that I made.

Baby Pooh mugshot

Pooh and Piglet 
Pooh, Eeyore, Tigger, and Piglet

Pooh with Roo, Eeyore, and Piglet

More friends

All the cupcakes I made today
My Pooh cupcakes are a hit! Well, who wouldn't fall in love with these cuties?

Anyway, a former schoolmate wants me to make a three-tiered cake for her brother. It's quite a complicated cake with a lot of details. These details, unfortunately, are all in my head. I can't translate them to paper. I JUST CAN'T FREAKIN' DRAW!!! I can sculpt these figures, but ask me to draw Pooh, and you won't get anything that you can appreciate. I'm having a really difficult time putting down my design in paper. It's a good thing that my friend got what I meant by discussing the details of each tier. All I could come up was a doodle of some sort. It's a pitiful sketch. 

My theory is that there's a disconnect in my brain. I lack that gene/cell/neuron that commands my hand to draw what I see in my head. Oh well...a girl can't have everything.

Until my next post!