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Passions of my cake “profession”…

Passions of my cake “profession”…

Well, thanks for coming back or joining me for the first time.

Last installment had me turning another year older… no big… I survived. ‘Twas a piece of cake! I also had the pleasure of making the cake for my son’s 2nd birthday. He’s a little character my little Logan. He, much like other kids his age, and older, loves dinosaurs. More importantly he LOVES Dinosaur vs. books by Bob Shea. I’d say without fail, just about every night since we’ve had the dinosaur books, he’s had at least one of them read to him. And after story time is over, the book is wedged, by request, between the side of the bed and his mattress.

So without further adieu I give you “DINOSAUR VS. BIRTHDAY”

Some of you reading may know how to execute a sculpted cake and some of you watch all the cake challenge and reality shows. I’ve never been on one of those shows (this is good and I’m greatful to enjoy my love of cake decorating in private… for now) but I imagine how incredibly challenging it might be to complete a creation in a set amount of time. Being a mom who also works full time, my cake decorating extravaganzas happen once the kids are in bed and I’m left to my own little world of sugar, spatulas and the occasional cup of regular coffee to keep me going into the wee hours of the night… morning… you get the picture.

Since this cake wasn’t going to serve a lot of people, I made a smaller cake and had a base (the dinosaurs tushy) carved out of floral foam. Very easy to cut and shave to get a nice and reasonably smooth surface.

I used half inch thick floral foam and hot glued all the layers together. Then I cut away at the foam to get this rounded shape. Topped it off with a half inch thick piece of foam core and voila, dinosaur butt ready to receive legs.

The base of the entire cake is two pieces of half inch thick foam core with two holes cut out for the legs to slide in to. There’s also a cake board on the bottom of those boards with no holes to keep the legs from falling through. Used the same thought on the foam parts. Holes cut all the way through the foam core that end with the piece of cake board on top. This gave the legs enough stability to minimize wobbling.

Here’s a rough “cut” of the actual dinosaur cake body. I actually carved the cake before splitting it to make sure that I wouldn’t cut too far in to the dam of the cake and allow the filling to ooze out. Damming is where you put a bead of buttercream or icing between the layers where the fillings are placed.

Here’s the body with a crumbcoat of buttercream. Some smoothing was done and the cake is ready for more work.

Here is the cake on top of the foam bottom. I used royal icing to help keep the styrofoam from coming in contact with the actual cake, should a spatula slip and ding the foam. I used a separate bowl of royal icing when doing this. As much as the floral foam looks like rice cakes, I doubt seriously they taste like them… well… that’s definitely debatable… I wouldn’t want to eat it either way.

The cake is smoothed. The head and tail are both made of rice krispy treats. I used another board cut into almost an egg shape to support the weight of the head. There are also dowels running in the cake to keep him from collapsing. To ensure the head didn’t tilt forward I used a bamboo skewer and ran it from almost the back of the head toward just right of center of the cake and into the boards of the bottom.

Here is the finished cake. The arms were also made from rice krispy treats. Needless to say, Logan loved his cake and the best compliment was him saying it was a “cute dinosaur”. What other reason than to make someone small could there be? This is my passion, next to my family of course. They come #1 always.

Which brings me to my second project within a week of the dinosaur cake.

I had the great pleasure of also making a cake for my future sister in law’s bridal shower this past weekend. I made a lot of gumpaste flowers. Roses, tulips, hydrangeas, stephanotis and gerber daisies. It’s definitely a nice and welcome change from the somewhat weird off the beaten path cakes I’ve made in the past. I love flowers. I love making them and putting them all together. It’s like making a mini garden.

I often get asked if I ever feel sad once the time comes to cut in to a cake I’ve made. Thankfully, I think most of them have had to be sliced in to by others, but after my first few I kind of got over it. You can’t and really shouldn’t save a cake forever. It gets funky. I take lots of pictures and when I happen to be cutting in to a cake I’m surrounded by support from family and friends.

Hope you’ve all enjoyed this installment of my recent cake adventures. Thank you for reading, share some love and have a delicious day!

On a very side note: Some readers may have been following me in my weightloss journey. I’m happy to share I’ve lost about 17 pounds and am gradually saying adios to the pounds. They didn’t all arrive at once and they’re certainly not going to leave all at once… although it’d be nice. =D I have also signed up to participate in this year’s 2 day 35 mile walk to fight breast cancer and will begin training in a week or two. Usually try to walk about 6 miles a day by the last month before the walk at least 3-4 times a week. If anyone is interested in donating please visit www.li2day.org my walker ID number is 10898. Thank you.

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They Say 35 is the New 21… Really?!

Ok. I’m totally fine accepting my fate as a soon to be as of tomorrow a 35 year old. It’s crazy. I can’t believe that on most surveys and forms I’ll be moving to the next increment of age to categorize me into whatever demographic related to the entire form I fill out after tomorrow.

It’s been a crazy week/weekend leading up to my birthday. Not so crazy that anyone outside of this house would scratch their head at, but for me… a bit more unusual. Being a parent by itself is a bit of an adventure. Last week found us helping our little one fight his double ear infection and pink eye in both eyes. We figured the fever he had had the week before was just a fluke or we could write it off as teething, but no. This wave of torture for him hit hard. He doesn’t like to play illnesses low key, he likes to get things all at once. Poor little guy. Most of last week we were first trying to figure out what was causing his sporadic fevers, to finding out he’d be taking antibiotics for a week or so, plus eye drops (not fun). Towards the end of the week, I found myself getting hit hard with back aches and congestion… yep… the little man shared some germs. Next time I’ll try to be more specific in what I want the kids to share… toys and crayons… yes… illnesses, boogers and general gross stuff… no. Now he’s just about back to his usual self again, except now he lets me know when he’s got a special “gift” for me to open.

Saturday night, really really late I happened upon an e-mail from Cake Central saying that one of my cakes was being featured with other Star Wars related cakes. Find it here. Mine happens to be the Han Solo in Carbonite cake (see below).

I made this cake for my husband 3 years ago for his birthday. This cake was two years in the making. Here’s my description from the gallery listing: Chocolate cake with caramel buttercream. Covered in chocolate fondant. Han is made using modeling chocolate. Dusted with Moonstone Luster Dust. Also, it lights up! A year later I made him a Max Rebo cake: Chocolate cake infused with “duchess first love tea” from tay tea, chocolate bavarian creme filling, vanilla buttercream covered with chocolate fondant. Max Rebo is rice crispy treats covered in colored modeling chocolate.

This weekend I also happened to be working on a small cupcake request. My husband wanted me to make Minion Cupcakes for his boss for her birthday. They were fun and super easy to do. I love how cute they came out and am proud of the great responses on not only my post of them on Facebook, but on her picture she posted of them. It makes me feel good.

Cakes should automatically put a smile on the recipient’s face. That is the BEST payment (money is definitely good too) I can get. The reaction I get from anyone who’s ever asked me to make a cake for them is why I do what I do. That is my passion. Baking, decorating and making people smile with their treats I make for them. I don’t know them, but I put heart into all that I bake. Sure, in the beginning it was dodgy at best. Anyone starting out in cake decorating has hit bumps (literally) in the road. Now it’s a craft of love and patience. The latter… well… let’s just say I have good days and bad days, mostly good.

 

So, I’m imagining, while you’re all reading this… you’re wondering where my birthday fits into all this. Well, tomorrow’s the day, as mentioned before. It’s bittersweet, and not in a chocolate kinda way either. There are a lot of things I’m so incredibly thankful for. Just about 35 years ago, I happened to come into the world of all the days on my grandfather’s birthday. He and I were like two peas in a pod. Here we are (below) at his surprise 80th birthday (my 21st). We had drinks, cake and family that day. I’ll never forget it. Do I feel like I did at 21 now? Well… maybe a little… plus a husband, more responsibility, regular job… oh and kids… they’ll make my day the way it should be… or at least wake me up for the good parts.