Sunday, December 27, 2009

Lightning McQueen Car Cake

I was nervous about this one, but Rob did a great job on the car as usual!

Our next 3D cake is an airplane for this coming weekend. Our first!

Stir Fried Shrimp with Mango and Vodka

Hubby has an interest in Vodka. Not that he drinks it, just has an interest in the varieties. Strange, I know. We were at the bookstore and found a cookbook on sale for $13.00 on cooking with vodka. The neat part was that it was 50% off the $13.00!!! (Plus, I had a gift card). I bought it for him on the condition he was going to make the recipes in it. This was his first dish and it was Delish!!!!

Monday, November 30, 2009


November 28th was our wedding anniversary. Hard to believe its been 22 years! Needless to say I had a wedding cake delivery that day (Princess Cake below). I just did not have time to make us an anniversary cake. Our friends Dawn & Neal ( took us out to dinner and told us dessert was waiting at Starbucks.

Dawn surprised us with this adorable cake with the bee on top. Why a bee? Back in May we were hit by a car and my van was totalled (her name was Gabrielle. Yes, we name our cars.) Rob bought me a yellow Scion and I named it Honeybee, not to be confused with Bumblebee from the Transformers movie.

It was such a nice surprise to get a cake. No, I did not eat the bee, it's sitting on my baker's rack keeping watch on the honey.

Princess Cake

Although this design is simple, I think it is very elegant. The bride wanted a white cake with the pearl dots to match the pearls the bridal party would be wearing. The women, not the men :-).

Her wedding color was turquoise and the accent color silver, so she requested the silver *brooch* on the bow (which matched the one on her dressed). She wanted it shiny and sparkly.

I airbrushed it with pearl dust shimmer then added disco dust for extra sparkle.

This is one of my favorite cakes so far.


Cake decorating used to be a hobby of mine that turned into a business. I have always loved baking (not cooking) and making things. My sister who is about 4 years younger taught me to crochet when we were in grade school. The funny thing is that we are both left handed, but she crochets with her right and I crochet with my left. We still love crocheting. I tried teaching my daughters (both right-handed),but that didn't turn out so well, although the younger one can do a chain stitch, single and double crochet. I can hand her the item I am working on and say 'please finish the row in double crochet' and she whizzes right through it.

Cake decorating as a business can sometimes get very hectic so to have some down time I decided I was going to crochet. I made myself a pretty granny square afghan a couple months back. I then found a simple crochet hat pattern. I made one for myself, then my daughters each wanted one, then my sister wanted one, then my daughters' friends wanted one. (I'm still working on their hats.) The hat patterns I have (one for a beanie hat and one for a slouchie hate) each take less than two hours to make. So I get instant gratification and unlike my cake creations, gratification lasts long after the item has found a new home.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Bugatti Veyron Car Cake

Tada! Rob was so nervous creating this cake. I think it turned out great! This is the fourth cake he's done. Yep, he's in charge of the *guy* cakes (helmets, cars, golf bags, etc).

It was sculpted out of three sheetcakes, covered in fondant, airbrushed, painted, details added on, and nerves shattered delivering this cake. A part of the side panel came down (about 4 inches long). Fortunately, I had buttercream with me. Unfortunately, it needed to be black, so we made a stop at Walmart to get black food coloring. A few minutes later good as new!

The client opened the door and her eyes got really wide and she said it was beautiful before we even had a chance to set it down.

It is very nerve wracking, but very gratifying when a customer oohs and aahs over their edible creation!


Tuesday, November 10, 2009


What is GA ICES DOS? It's the Georgia ICES Day of Sharing. ICES is short for International Cake Exploration Societee. Each state has its own chapter (there are chapters in other countries as well). Each state holds meetings at least 4 times a year.

Our meeting on Sunday, November 8 was in Savannah, GA. I LOVE Savannah! It's always a lot of fun. I guess it reminds me a little of Park Slope in Brooklyn.

I was walking passed this structure (don't know what it's called), but I thought it was striking and had to take a picture of it. Usually, I'm more into nature stuff or old buildings, but this just shouted out to me, "Take a picture of me!"

So there you have it!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Wedding Cupcakes

The bride's wedding colors were orange, brown and gold. The friend who ordered the bride's cake and cupcakes wanted brown and gold on them so I suggested this design. The cake was a 6" cake with a diamond patterns and sugar pearls with a larger heart as a topper with a gold *B* on it.

She was very pleased with the design!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Butternut Squash Risotto

I am still on the *pumpkin* kick. I found a recipe for Butternut Squash Risotto with Mushrooms. I added some chicken breast to it and it was yummy! My yo ungest daughter is a pasta freak and just ate a spoonful. She only ate the spoonful after I promised I'd make her spaghetti and meatballs next week.

I am definitely not a pasta person!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I don't like cooking....

but I do get in the mood during the Fall and Winter...on occasion! On Saturday I made fried chicken, mac n cheese, green beans and corn bread. Yes, my family was shocked and delighted! My daughter said, "I didn't know you knew how to make fried chicken."

The next day my husband asked, "Are we having more fried chicken today?" Poor guy. No, we didn't have any the next night, but it was a meal to remember.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Fall Wedding Cake

Did I mention I LOVE the fall? Here is a wedding cake I did last week. The venue was decorated with pumpkins and beautiful fall colored arrangements on the table. The windows were large and you could see the beautiful trees from them with their fall foliage.

The bride chose this design which is usually done with cherry blossoms. The *branches* were done with brown icing and the leaves I made with fondant. I added a thin, orangy brown, glittery ribbon around the bottom or each tier, piped a small bead border then added the leaves. The topper was handmade. The Star Wars figurines belong to her dad. They mounted them on a wooden heart, then the berries added in back of them.

This is one of my favorite cakes I've done.

Yep, I love the fall!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Making your own extracts!

I've been making my own Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Extract for over a year. We also use store bought vanilla, but we prefer our own because we love seeing the little specks in the buttercream. While not as strong as store bought extract, it is very flavorful and less expensive to make than to buy it. I can buy an 8 ounce bottle of Tone's vanilla for less than $7.00. That is not bad at all, but homemade is cheaper! The Madagascar Bourbon vanilla extract sells for about $14-$20 for an 8 ounce bottle.

I buy my Madagascar Bourbon vanilla beans online on eBay. I can buy 25 Madagascar Bourbon vanilla beans for approximately $20.00 with shipping. At the store, I can buy 2 vanilla beans for $5.00. I can buy two pints of vodka for $7.00 and a glass jar for $2.97.

So, for an 8 ounce jar of Madagascar Bourbon Vanila extract, it costs me about $3.00 minus the cost of the jar.

Today, for the first time I made lemon extract. We'll see how that turns out!


5 vanilla beans split lengthwise
2 cups vodka
Glass jar.

Put split beans in jar (cut them in half if necessary to fit in jar).
Add Vodka. Give it a good shake. Store in cool, dark place for a month, shaking every couple of days. The vanilla extract will darken (although, maybe not as dark as store bought).

When half of the extract is gone, simply refill with vodka, shake every couple of days. The vanilla beans can stay in the jar and be reused unti it does not darken up the liquid anymore. Just add more vanilla beans.


2 large lemons. Peel the yellow part only, not the white pith. Place in glass jar.
Add a cup of vodka.

Shake and store in cool dry place for two weeks, shaking every couple of days.


Friday, October 23, 2009

Red Velvet Cake

I never understood Red Velvet Cake. I'd eat it and I'd think...uh it doesn't have any taste. It wasn't until I made it myself and knew the ingredients that went into it that I finally got the taste. I know that sounds strange, but it's true. Flour, butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, buttermilk, cocoa, vinegar, baking soda and red food coloring (I hope I didn't leave anything out).

Once I tasted my creation I was like, "AHHHHHHHHH, I get it!" Add cream cheese icing and it's out of this world!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Vanilla Equals Boring!

NOT! When did vanilla come to mean boring and/or plain?

Native to Mexico, the orchid plant (V. planifolia) could not be pollinated out of Mexico because of the specific bee (Melipona) and the vine it grew on. According to Vanilla history around 1841, a 12 year old slave Edmund Abius in Bourbon (A French colony in the Indian Ocean), found a way to hand pollinate the bean and that is the way it's done to this day. That is where the name Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla comes from.

How many recipes do we have that call for vanilla? Tons! From cookies to cakes to puddings, custards even putting a little in our whipping cream, vanilla is a household staple. It's even used to make perfume. How yummy is that?

Here are a few other uses:

Drop a tablespoon of vanilla in a can of paint stir it up. When ready to use, ahhhhh, vanilla.

Deodoraize your microwave: Put a little in a bowl and microwave for a minute.

After cleaning your fridge, leave a cotton ball soaked in vanilla in the fridge. Leaves it smelling fresh!

Nah, Vanilla is not boring!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

See what happens when you try new recipes!

So we like experimenting with new recipes. I was at the shop today and saw a piece of black cake on the table. Hmmmmmmm. Tracee came in and I asked her about it. She said, "Oh, it's for you. I was trying a new recipe." YUMMY!!!!!!!

It's Black Midnight Cake. Boy, was it yummy and it was black!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

What I Don't Like About Cupcakes...

is that you can't eat just one! At least I can't! My favorite are almond with buttercream icing. YUMMMY!!!!!

Here are some my daughter made with leftover batter. She used Americolor Turquoise (her favorite color) to tint them. She loves everything Turquoise or Teal.

Even in that color they look delicious!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

That time of year!

It's that time of year when the air is crisp, the leaves are dancing their way to the ground and my thoughts turn to cooking and MORE baking.

Tonight I made a Seafood Potpie (pictured above). I found the recipe in a magazine I bought. My daughter requested raviolis, so I made raviolis with sauteed mushrooms, onions, garlic and a few peas thrown in for color. It was all gone in minutes.

My oldest daughter and I agreed although the potpie was good, we preferred another recipe I have called Stuffed Fish in Puffed Pastry. We've made this recipe with Tilapia and its just as good! The recipe is below. (You don't have to make it look like a fish if you don't feel like it) It's always a hit when I make it!


1/4 cup butter
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup minced celery
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
8 ounces crabmeat
8 ounces shrimp, peeled, deveined and
1/4 cup dry vermouth
salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 (17.5 ounce) package frozen puff pastry
sheets, thawed
2 pounds flounder fillets
2 egg yolks, beaten

1. To make the stuffing: Melt butter or margarine in a large saucepan over a medium-low heat.

Saute onion, celery, and parsley until all of the vegetables are just tender. Mix in crabmeat,shrimp, and vermouth. Season with salt, pepper and hot pepper sauce; cook until shrimp is finished cooking (it will be pink). Mix in bread crumbs, a little at a time. When the mixture holds together well, stop adding bread crumbs. Taste and add more seasoning (salt,pepper, and hot pepper sauce) if necessary. Set this mixture aside to let it cool.

2. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.

3. Roll 1 sheet of puff pastry onto a flat surface. The puff pastry, once rolled should be about 1/3 to 1/4 inch thick and large enough for you to lay the fish on top of it and still have puff pastry on the sides. Lay one of the fish fillets on top of the puff pastry. Spread the stuffing mixture evenly over the fish fillet. Place the remaining fillet over the stuffing. Trim the pastry
around the filets in roughly the shape of a fish. Save the trimmings.

4. Roll second sheet of puff pastry out to about 1/3 to 1/4 inch thick. Drape second sheet over stuffed fillets, making sure that there is enough of the top sheet to tuck under the bottom sheet of puff pastry. Trim the top sheet of pastry about 1/2 inch larger than the bottom sheet. Brush underside of top pastry sheet with water and tuck under bottom sheet of puff pastry pressing lightly to totally encase the fish and stuffing package. Place the sealed packet on the prepared baking sheet, and let it cool for 10 to 15 minutes.

5. While packet is chilling, roll out pastry scraps. From the scraps cut out fins, an eye and 'lips'. Attach cut-outs to chilled package with a little water. Use an inverted teaspoon to make indentations in puff pastry to resemble fish scales but do not puncture pastry.

Chill entire package.
6. While the package is chilling, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).

7. Remove the fish from the refrigerator and brush the package with the egg yolks. Measure
the thickness of the package at its thickest part. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the
temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and bake the fish for 10 extra minutes per
inch of measured thickness. Test for doneness by inserting a thermometer into the package,
when the temperature reaches 140 degrees F (70 degrees C) the fish is finished cooking

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Busy day!

What I thought was going to be an easy day turned out to be full of drama, but we won't get too much into that.

This cake was designed by the birthday girl who was turning 16. I thought the elements would make it look a bit odd, but I think it turned out pretty cool. More importantly, the mom and daughter loved it!

On another note I bought a cookie magazine. One of the first ones I want to try is Taco Cheese cookies. I know! I know! Sounds weird, yet intriguing doesn't it?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Love this weather!

So I really love the fall!!! The cool, crisp air, the leaves changing into those beautiful orange, golds and reds, not to mention all the luscious, round pumpkins! I love it so much my oldest daughter's knickname is Pumpkin. My youngest daughter's middle name is Autumn.

I love pumpkin pie, sweet potatoe pie, even white potato pie! Yes, white potato pie! My friend Deannie makes the best pies.

I absolutely love pumpkin. Yesterday I made Buttnernut Squash Soup, a family favorite. Last week I made Pumpkin cookies. They looked better in the magazine then out of my oven although they tasted good. I also have a great Pumpkin Cake recipe that tastes like Pumpkin Pie.

I wish Autumn would last all year long!

Happy Autumn!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

3rd Annual North Georgia Cake Challenge

This year I was an assistant again. The category was Wedding Cakes but no theme was given. Dawn of decided we sho uld go with a coffee theme. We have met once a week for the past twelve years to play scrabble at Starbucks. (Okay for the first year it was Caribou Coffee.)

Dawn designed a beautiful cake that incorporated chocolate fondant coffee beans made by hand, fondant coffee flowers and berries. We used Starbucks coffee cups as seperators and filled them with real coffee beans then stuck an LED light in each cup where the logo is. She made the bride and groom out of fondant and added the round Starbucks sign on top with lights! We placed 2nd out of five competitors. Not too shabby! Below are the other winners, from 1st place to 5th place.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

June News

Still recovering from the accident. Wrist is doing better. I discovered I really LOVE CAKE! Some people like it, some people don't. I LOVE IT!

I had a customer ask for strawberry cake and I thought YUCK! But I had some leftover batter, baked a small one, made strawberry buttercream and YUMMMMY!!!! So the point is, Don't Knock It til you Try It!

Here are two recipes: One Scratch, One from a mix.

During the Spring I did Strawberry JELLO PUDDING. I should have stocked up. I used that instead of the gelatin. I have also used cheesecake pudding instead of strawberry gelatin with the strawberry cake mix.


1 (18.25 ounce) package white cake mix OR Strawberry cake mix
1 (3 ounce) package strawberry flavored gelatin OR Cheesecake pudding if using strawberry cake mix
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 ounces Fresh strawberries
1/2 sour cream

Slice strawberries.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease pan or pans according to directions.

Combine the white cake mix, strawberry gelatin, oil, eggs, flour, thawed strawberries, and sour cream and mix until just combined. Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for about 25 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.


2 cups white sugar
1 (3 ounce) package strawberry flavored gelatin
1 cup butter, softened
4 eggs (room temperature)
2 3/4 cups sifted cake flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup whole milk, room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup strawberry puree made from frozen sweetened strawberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two 9 inch round cake pans.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter, sugar and dry strawberry gelatin until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, mixing well after each. Combine the flour and baking powder; stir into the batter alternately with the milk. Blend in vanilla and strawberry puree. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a small knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow cakes to cool in their pans over a wire rack for at least 10 minutes, before tapping out to cool completely.


Saturday, February 28, 2009

February's Daring Baker's Challenge

The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE's blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef.
We have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge.

Chocolate Valentino
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
16 ounces (1 pound) (454 grams) of semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
½ cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons (146 grams total) of unsalted butter
5 large eggs separated

1. Put chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water) and melt, stirring often.
2. While your chocolate butter mixture is cooling. Butter your pan and line with a parchment circle then butter the parchment.
3. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites and put into two medium/large bowls.
4. Whip the egg whites in a medium/large grease free bowl until stiff peaks are formed (do not over-whip or the cake will be dry).
5. With the same beater beat the egg yolks together.
6. Add the egg yolks to the cooled chocolate.
7. Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and follow with remaining 2/3rds. Fold until no white remains without deflating the batter. {link of folding demonstration}
8. Pour batter into prepared pan, the batter should fill the pan 3/4 of the way full, and bake at 375F/190C
9. Bake for 25 minutes until an instant read thermometer reads 140F/60C.
Note – If you do not have an instant read thermometer, the top of the cake will look similar to a brownie and a cake tester will appear wet.
10. Cool cake on a rack for 10 minutes then unmold.