A studious bear for a growing girl


When your friends ask you to make a smashing cake with cupcakes for their little girl’s first birthday, it’s impossible to say no especially when the given criteria includes reading and animals. The result is a fun little cake featuring teddy bear on a grassy hilltop learning how to read.

The studious bear was shaped using sculpting chocolate while the toadstools and flowers were made from fondant.

The Cake Gotham Deserves

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I love any kind of decorating challenge but my eyes glaze over with excitement when I’m asked to make a Star Wars cake or a Bubble Bobble cake. So imagine my face when I was asked to make a Batman cake with full reign on design. Choosing the design was the real challenge because, as you can imagine after over 75 years,  Batman has gone through so many makeovers, shifts in tones, different forms of media, all contributing to its iconic status in our popular culture.

I went with Bruce Timm and Paul Dini’s Batman + Adam West’s “POW!” and “BAM!”

He also has no arms because I suck at molding appendages.

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Happy birthday, Dad!

(This is not his cake but I’d feel like a dick if I didn’t say that)

Star Wars: The Fondant Awakens

 

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I was recently asked to do a Star Wars themed birthday cake for a young padawan named Maggie. Excited, I was! And while my ambitions and creativity expanded to a galaxy far, far away, timing and — let’s get real — my abilities would hold me back. But, you can do a lot with a little bit of fondant and a catalogue of Star Wars characters.

Lucky for me, someone gifted me with a set of Star Wars cookie cutters and with some extra fondant to give dimension to his eyes and nose, a confectionery Yoda was born!

The others, however, required a little more fun and attention to detail.

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The setting along the side of the cake was of Tatooine (not pictured is the planet’s dual suns over the horizon). I was going to go with a non-figurative representations of jawas but then I remembered this is for a kid’s birthday… and without sleeves they were essentially erect penises on the side of the cake.

And now you can’t unsee it. Moving on…

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C-3P0 was enormous fun to build! His detailing was very simple and translated well into fondant. But what’s a 3P0 without his R2?

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With a dome coloured with silver pearl dust, some strategically placed blue fondant, and a few indented lines, R2-D2 came alive to accompany C-3P0. If I had more time and room, I would’ve loved to create all the characters!

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The surface of the cake might not be anything to write home about, but I know one little girl who was very happy with her cake. One day, I’ll make a cake depicting the trench run scene, or a 3D ewok cake, or maybe a detailed Millennium Falcon cake; but until then, I’ll just keep training practicing.

Meow-Meows takes a bath

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“She will lose her shit,” said the doting father of a two-year old daughter named Cecilia, who loves bathing her TY Beanie Boo Muffin cat (aka “Meow-Meows”).

If ever there was a review for my cakes that I would wear with pride, it’s that I made a toddler lose her shit.

So here was the criteria:
1. Make it chocolate.
2. Include this cat:

TY Beanie Boo Muffin Cat

TY Beanie Boo Muffin Cat

3. She loves bathing Meow-Meows.

Rubber ducky was a bonus:
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#NailedIt

An Evolution of Holiday Cakes

xmascake2013So this is kinda out of season (however, given the horrendous snowfall we received yesterday, perhaps it is just giving the white Christmas we should’ve had instead of that ice storm back in December). I decided to dig up some old photos of some of my earlier attempts at holiday cake decorating. I would never say I’m a pro now but it is quite humbling to see how I started and how much I’ve learned through the years. So if you’re attempting to make a cake and it just cannot hold itself together, don’t get discouraged. We’ve all been there; pre-crumbcoat. Practice makes more practice perfect.

Pictured above is the cake from Christmas 2013. The tree is made from an ice cream cone and presents are shaped using rice krispie treats and wrapped in fondant.

Now brace yourselves for this blast from the confectionery past (2006 to be exact). I believe this was my first multi-tier cake, and believe me, there were multi-tears alright:

wondayxmas2006Well, you gotta start somewhere!

Next up is 2007’s holiday cake where I learned to dial back the crazy a bit using cones for trees for the first time, and a gingerbread house that was actually made with graham crackers:

xmas2007Then in 2008, I went back to the lab kitchen to experiment with decorating again. This time using wafer paper for designs. Looking back on this, I think I can execute this better… and by “better” I mean do it completely different:

xmas20082009 was a trying year – due to an accident, I was out of commission for a while but I was determined to have an epic cake comeback with multi-tier cake with a spinning snowman! Suffice to say, I’ve had all evidence of its existence destroyed.

There were many other cakes since then that have helped me hone in my skills. Perhaps they’ll eventually find their way to this blog but until then, Merry Cakemas!

A Couple of Ways to Dress a Vanilla Cupcake

vanilla cupcakeI tend to judge a Chinese restaurant by their fried rice, a Thai place by the Pad Thai, a pizzeria by its pepperoni and cheese, and a bakery by its vanilla cupcake. The beauty of its simplicity lies in how versatile it can be yet how it can stand alone as a dessert show-stopper untouched. Two ways I’ve played with this recipe is first by giving it a tropical flare by topping it with toasted coconut and candied dried pineapple, and then filling the cupcake with something (in this case, some candy… more on that later).

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Shrek-themed Gingy Cake

ginegy1The cake is the Magnolia Bakery vanilla recipe (yes, this Gingy Cake is not a ginger cake). I also used my usual pudding filling with a splash of bourbon for between the layers.

Now let me explain this cake design: a friend at work has expressed his hatred for the Shrek movie franchise on a number of occasions… so naturally, his birthday cake was going to be Shrek-themed. Shrek’s face was too hard and hideous to construct so I took the easy route and fashioned Gingy out of actual gingerbread cookie. This would have been great if my friend had actually seen a Shrek movie and got the reference

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