My son was very specific with his request for his sixth birthday cake. He wanted a cake featuring a dinosaur fossil excavation site. Preferably a carnivore fossil. Also, he wanted to have a paleontologist with his excavation tools including a "red tray." Of course, the fossil could not be a mold, I had to hand pipe it with royal icing. The inspiration for the cake came from A Blackbird’s Epiphany, and it was the only dinosaur fossil that appealed to my son when I showed him various pictures.
Once I began the cake, the ideas flowed. I looked for fonts which look like bones to pipe his name and age in royal icing. It was a unique effect and it blended perfectly with the theme of the cake. Rather than rope off the entire cake, I selected a small area and roped it off with some bones buried within the excavation site.
I designed the paleontologist to resemble my son. I was happy with the way his attire turned out, the stitching, hat, hair, boots, etc. were a perfect match to some of the pictures I found in my son's dinosaur books. Overall, he was a cute paleontologist, just not as cute as the birthday boy!
It was one of my most challenging requests probably because it was the first time I attempted to make a cake honoring a uniform which represents so many who are so integral to the life we lead as Americans. Quantico is a short five mile drive from my home so it's no wonder we have so many Marines who live in the surrounding area.
This cake was ordered to honor a retiring Lieutenant Colonel and it was served at the United States Marine Corps Museum so many people had the chance to see it and enjoy it. I worked painstakingly to replicate the buttons, the Eagle, Globe and Anchor and the Sam Brown belt. My neighbor gave me a cover (hat) which I checked for every detail as I worked on the cake. There were some challenges. I made the gold too yellow according to my friend Usha who works on base. She gave me some advice about the colors and scale of what I was making as I sent her pictures updating it as I worked on the details. I was grateful for her constructive feedback and I am so thankful that I had a chance to make her recommended changes.
I made the base of the cover (hat) out of Rice Krispies treats and the rest of the decorations were fondant mixed with gumpaste to allow the decorations to harden. I hand-made the buttons by preparing them in a mold so I could paint them to match those on the uniform. The base cake is chocolate filled with chocolate ganache and the middle and top layers are vanilla cake with raspberry filling. All are covered in Swiss meringue butter cream and then fondant.
This baby shower was a lot of fun to plan. Mostly because the three girls hosting contacted me far enough in advance so I really got a sense of what they were trying to achieve. An animal-themed baby shower with some slight, not over the top, Indian touches to pay homage to the mother-to-be who is of Indian descent. This was right up my alley and it was so much fun to make, especially the fondant elephant who I grew fond of as he dried all week and I was sad to say good-bye to him, how cute is he??!!
They also wanted me to make baby shower favors for them. These were adorable as well and I tied a tiny bell on each one to add some dimension to the packaging. My friend Lisa is an expert in bows and packaging and she helped me come up with this super adorable favor for the baby shower guests. Ironically, I barely posted the pictures when I got two more calls for the same favors...I would call that a success!
The best part of making this adorable cake and is that it was for my brother's daughter and they were fine with any design as long as the flavor of the cake was banana. So the large tier is banana with a cream cheese filling, covered in chocolate ganache. I also made the ruffles on the cake using buttercream so that it would be soft and easy to bite into even though the ruffle look of fondant is a much cleaner look. The top tier is vanilla with cookies and cream filling. Sprinkles are such a fun way to make any child smile and I have wanted to try sprinkles around a cake for a long time so this was a good opportunity to try that technique. Her birthday falls a few days after Valentine's so pink sprinkles were available all over the place. It was girly, fun and one of the most enjoyable cakes I've made in a long time...along with the rosette cake. Must be something about making whatever strikes my fancy!
Cookie favors were a great way to send guest home with a sweet reminder of the birthday girl!
My daughter loves animals so it was no surprise when she requested a jungle animal party for her 4th birthday. Of course, the animals were to be pink, her favorite color and she wanted to wear pajamas so we opted for a pajama-themed birthday party. Between parties for the family and her preschool class, I made cupcakes, cookies and a cake. The cake was chocolate, her favorite with zebra striping.
There was some creativity involved. The monkeys wearing party hats on the platter to the left, are actually cut from an ice-cream cookie cutter turned upside down. The lion faces you see here are shaped from a flower cookie cutter. The table decorations are from Hobby Lobby. The ornaments and ribbon were on sale after Christmas and I thought they went well with the theme. The same goes for the ribbon which was actually a large Christmas bow which I just unraveled and used for my purpose. The water bottle wrappers are free printables, they matched her party colors and they are so easy and for a cohesive party look. There are many creative ways to use what you have in your home, that's always my first step in planning a party!
I've always wanted to try making an ombre-colored cake, the graduated colors carry the eye so gracefully across the landscape of a cake. I've also wanted to try a rosette cake and a small, family first birthday gave me the perfect opportunity to try both.
It was one of those occasions where all of the effects came together beautifully and flawlessly in a matter of minutes. Appropriate given the vision to the left...divine, innocent, perfect...just like the cake in front of her!
My little girl loves animals and she loves pink so when she requested those two things for her 4th birthday celebration, I started with the cake and worked with her special requests.
One thing about making cakes for your own child is that you can take as many liberties as you like. I've always wanted to try an animal print inside a cake and this lovely pink jungle cake gave me just that opportunity.
I created so many rose bouquets last year that I decided to try a variation for Valentine's Day this year. Okay so I have to admit that I read the book The Language of Flowers (by Vanessa Diffenbaugh) and I loved it so much that I wanted to make something to celebrate the main character's intimate knowledge about flowers. Flower bouquets clearly speak the 'language of love' but they are also great for Secretaries Day, Mother's Day and for teacher gifts. In an effort to "change it up" I used my favorites: hydrangeas, sunflowers, daisies and of course roses! I love the bright colors and the symbolism each of these is given:
hydrangeas - heartfelt sincerity
daisies - purity, joy and innocence
pink rose - love, gratitude, appreciation
sunflowers - loyalty and longevity
When one of my favorite customers asked me to put together some platters for a girls crafting night, it was off the beaten path of what I would ordinarily do but I enjoy working with her and I love to host parties so I figured why not?!
She selected simple easy to eat items...veggies, fruits, cheeses, dips, and cookies.
Specifically, chocolate chip cookies...my husband's hands down favorite item that I make...and I usually only make them for him so he was thrilled that instead of a fancy cake order, this one entailed the cookies that he would be eating warm out of the oven!
A gender reveal cake where the parents (dad loves to hunt, mom loves bags and shoes), grand-parents and family were left in suspense until they cut open the cake to discover a blue interior...can't think of a sweeter way to find out!
I was going to have blue m&m's spill out the middle of the cake but I didn't want to take too many liberties and everyone does not love m&m's! Gender reveal cakes were never a "thing" when I had kids just six short years ago, what a fun concept!