Saturday, September 26, 2009

Orange cream cheese frosting

I tried a new recipe on these carrot cake cupcakes: Orange cream cheese frosting. (Tinted orange for flair, of course.) The hint of orange was nice with the carrot and cream cheese flavors, but to make sure it remained subtle and not become overpowering, I put a half and half mixture of the orange with the regular cream cheese frosting on the cupcakes. It tasted like orange sherbet--I will definitely make this frosting again.

Here is the recipe I used, adapted from an old (classic?) Better Homes and Gardens cream cheese frosting recipe:
1 stick of butter
8 oz cream cheese
2 tablespoons of orange juice (no pulp)
2 teaspoons of orange extract
4 cups powdered sugar
Mix the butter, cream cheese, orange juice and orange extract together, then add the powdered sugar a little bit at a time until well blended.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The not so pretty wrapped cake

I made a carrot cake for one of Lowell's coworkers and decided to try another chocolate wrap. Since carrot cake, cream cheese frosting and dark chocolate don't sound like the best combination, I went with white chocolate for the collar and bow. The cream cheese frosting was white, so I tinted the chocolate orange for some contrast. Apparently, since the first chocolate wrapped cake went so well, I didn't think I needed to be very careful. Big mistake. I didn't let the chocolate set up long enough and was too far away from the cake when I put the chocolate collar around it, so I made a huge mess. After wrestling with the chocolate covered acetate for what had to be an eternity to get the collar around the cake, I realized the chocolate had some thin spots on it where I could see a hint of the frosting underneath it, and one small area where the chocolate had slid down and left the icing utterly exposed. To make matters worse, I made my frosting for the top of the cake way too stiff and it didn't flow as nicely as it should have. I did the best I could to doctor it up and sent it on it's way, feeling like a failure. In the end, it tasted good and looked sort of ok...from this angle. You can only see a little bit of the white showing through the chocolate in the middle of the cake here. I couldn't bring myself to document the carnage.

Lessons learned:
1. Have a sister nearby to help you get the collar around the cake.
2. Wait until the shine fades on the chocolate to put it around the cake.
3. Even though it seems like a waste of time, tint the frosting that is under the chocolate to somewhat match the chocolate collar so there is not such a stark contrast between the case you have areas where the chocolate is a bit light.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

More sterling earrings

Just a quick post! More hammered sterling silver earrings. These rectangles are attached directly to the ear wires so the don't dangle and turn like earrings do if they are in two separate pieces...I think I am keeping these for myself!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Baseball cake

This cake was for a 50th birthday and had lots of details that were new for me. After some internal debate, I used royal icing to pipe the logos on the shirt and hat. I like how that turned out, but had to handle the figure very carefully once that part was done so I didn't break the icing off. The figure is fondant and gumpaste with royal icing hair. There were some specific requests for this one, like the Ray Ban sunglasses and Yankee hat the guest of honor wears and the Cracker Jacks he collects next to him on the field. Because of scale, it's a little bit hard to see the Cracker Jack box, so I bought a couple boxes and used the popcorn for the cake border. I don't know how that will taste, but it was the best way I could think of to bring that element into the cake.

The topper:

...and the finished white cake with vanilla buttercream frosting, showing the Cracker Jack border:

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sterling silver disc earrings

Both sets of these earrings are hammered sterling silver. I own a pair of each of these, and have had to replace them because people bought them from me while I was wearing them. I am trying to think ahead for the Bizarre Bazaar for November by making sure I have some of the more popular items on hand. These seem to sell well, as do my lampwork glass pendants and earrings...which means I better get a couple of lampworking sessions in soon!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Softball cake

This was a nice change of pace--a cake without a topper scene. It was a white cake with cream cheese frosting--a birthday cake for a young softball player. I used the Wilton ball pan for the softball and put a nine inch round cake underneath it for stability. I baked both cakes, then carved out a section of the nine inch cake to cradle the ball cake. It had to travel a long way, so I didn't want to risk the ball rolling around in the box before the birthday girl got a good look at it. This was my first attempt with the ball pan, and the cake came out perfectly with no trouble at all. I also got to get a new, huge grass piping tip for this cake since the smaller grass tip wouldn't have been the right scale for it.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Chocolate wrapped cake

Last weekend, Sara was here and we spent an afternoon cooking and baking. She made this cake and I decorated it: a white cake--from scratch!--with cream cheese frosting (Sara selected the blue color and it was perfect--I had been leaning toward pink). I wrapped it in chocolate and made a bow out of chocolate by making the loops individually and then attaching them to the top of the cake.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Baby shower cake

This topper was for a baby shower--it sat on top of a chocolate cake with cream cheese filling and frosting. The figure and flowers are made with fondant and gumpaste, surrounded by royal icing grass. It isn't visible in the picture, but the mother to be is sitting on a tree stump made from modeling chocolate.

The topper:

...and the cake:

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Byzantine bracelet

This bracelet is made from 18 gauge sterling silver wire. I coiled the wire around a mandrel and used flush cutters to make jump rings, then put them together following a tutorial for the byzantine pattern. The clasp is more of the same sterling silver wire, formed and hammered flat on a stainless steel block. I work hardened and polished the bracelet with a 24 hour run in the tumbler.

Kimball bought this one, but I may have to make another one for myself...I like how it looks and how solid it feels.