Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Some Fun Little Carnival Themed Cupcakes

I had fun doing these cute little carnival themed cupcakes for a friend having a little carnival themed birthday party for her 4 year old.  Cute little popcorns, cotton candy, and ice cream sundaes!  I had so much fun whipping these up,  that I just had to post a cute banana split cake I found on another blog I follow after seeing it.  How cute is this! 

It's so fun making food out of other food!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

There Seems To Be Some Confusion....

For those of you who are fluent in the custom cake world and also those who may just be hobby bakers....you probably understand how much time, effort, hours and resources actually go into each custom cake.  Even the small ones! 

So, imagine multiplying it, every weekend, all by yourself, and all in your own home.  As much as I love creating cakes and especially making people excited to receive them....the work was slowly becoming NOT worth the reward. 

Cakes, cake supplies, dates and deliveries started taking over my life and my home!  It started out gradual at first....Okay, so I was just a little busy, that's all.....I love being busy.  I've always thrived on the pressure of an upcoming deadline, that's when my best work usually comes out......but then as referrals progressed and inquiries started pouring in, it snowballed into a full-blown take-over. 

Having even only 2 cakes on a weekend, though doesn't sound like a whole lot, is actually almost total chaos.  Work has to start on a Tuesday or Wednesday.  All the layers have to first be prepared and baked.  All the fillings have to be made.  Most cakes consisted of more than one flavor and filling, especially tiered cakes....so there was always a lot of different batters, fillings, and frostings and all their ingredients going on at the same time.  It turns your kitchen looking like a pastry science lab.  After everything is baked and all the fillings prepared and set and ready....All the cakes have to cool and then be leveled and carved and then chilled over night.  The next day usually consists of stacking and filling and then crumb-coating everything.  (Crumb-coating is the process of covering all the cakes and cake tiers in a thin layer of frosting to hold them together, retain the moisture, seal in the filling and flavors, and provide a smooth surface for decorating.)  After crumb-coating, all the crumb-coated cakes must be returned to the fridge to chill for atleast a few hours, but preferably overnight.  (This is where more of the take-over starts coming into play...depending on how many layers and cakes and stages in the process you have going on at a time....there's always chilling and setting needed to be done.  So, this requires fridge space.  I had 3 different refrigerators and 1 freezer going on all at the same time in my home and on different levels.  I had to stuff cakes where I could, running up and down steps, back and forth, all the time between all these fridges!) 

Once everything is nice and chilled and set....you can finally begin the first steps of decorating.  Any fondant being used has to be prepared, measured out, and then colored.  Some cakes have so much fine details and so many colors...it's not uncommon to have more than 20 different colors going on at once for just one cake.  Especially, for character cakes....all the different colors needed for their hair, eyes, skin, mouths, teeth, highlights, shadows, clothing, background....etc.....you get the idea.  Not to mention all the different decorating supplies and tools!  It gets crazy.  They not only take over your kitchen storage space, but then  you have to find more room elsewhere.  I had cake supplies in my laundry room, my basement, and our rec room.  Some decorations require being made days in advance so that they have time to dry and harden properly. 

It can be very detailed, time consuming and monotonous work that takes hours and patience.  Harder to accomplish with a toddler.  Especially, when your toddler is your full-time job.  Some other mothers get the luxury of  getting to drop their kids off at the baby-sitter's or daycare and then they get to go to work and do just that---WORK---while someone else is doing all work of taking care of their child-- all the feeding, and diaper changing, and dressing, and teaching, and playing and cleaning up.  But, that's not the case for me.  I am my own child's daycare.  (That's why most of my work was done overnight.  I could do my normal day and then put my daughter and husband to bed and then have the whole quiet night to concentrate and get work done.  It just made for a harder sleep-deprived next day.) 

I didn't get that bonus of leaving my home to go to work either.  Everything was done in right in the middle of everything!  It was really starting to stress out my poor husby.  He already works hard.  He's actually the most-dedicated and hardest working  and unselfish man I have ever met in my life.  He works hard, so that he can feel comfortable that one of us doesn't have to work outside the home and can concentrate on raising our daughter and in the most preferable way.  (He may even be more opinionated about it at this point, than I am.  Our daughter is now 4.  He couldn't have imagined now, her being with a sitter or a daycare this whole time.  I have always highly valued being a stay-at-home mom.  I wouldn't have it any other way and anyone who knows me, knows I have always held a strong opinion about it.  I would have sacrificed anything I needed to (and have) to be able to do it.  If our household income was lower, it wouldn't have mattered.  I would have lived as cheap as I needed to, to be able to raise my own daughter.  If it meant living in a apartment or sharing a car or living with family or anything drastic like that----I would have done it in a heartbeat.  No career, or financial advantage or amount of money would have ever made a difference.  There was no job on this planet worth more than the job of taking care of my own baby and I had no problem putting my career on hold to concentrate on my family. There's no way I would have ever been able to pay someone else to do it while I went off to "work" every day.  Not in a million years.  Thankfully, our situation made it comfortable to be able to do that.  I feel like 2 incomes can be very deceiving, too.  If you do some research, you'll find that most double income families actually spend way more and ultimately wouldn't necessarily even need both incomes.  (And please note...this is only my own opinion and what I feel works best for my own family and my own situation.  Not to demean anyone who may make a different choice.  People have different situtations and ways of doing things that work the best for them.  I only would wish them the best and hope their choices make them the happiest they can be.)

I never take it for granted either.  I am very lucky we have such a strong marriage and team and family dynamic to make it work and work very well.  We have such a fun time and happy little family!  I've really been able to enjoy the last 4 years and they have been the best in my entire life.  I think I may also be the only mom on the planet that doesn't say "it goes by so fast", because I actually honestly don't feel that way at all.  I feel like I was able to soak up each day and have always looked forward to the next milestone.  Actually, sometimes it felt exactly the opposite.  When she was 2, it felt like she was 2 forever!  

And, in all this...I can't help not crediting my husband and how awesome he really is.  Love you, Babe! 

Cakes had always just been a fun hobby for me.  I had loved to bake since I was a little kid.  I had no idea I would get so popular as I got older, and so fast.  I always said I would stop as soon as it wasn't fun anymore.  If it's taking over my home and my time with my family, then it's not fun anymore.

It was getting very hard. But, I have always been a hard worker and enjoyed being given the challenge--especially to get a crack at being a superwoman!  I first felt giving it up would be like giving in.  Like, I wasn't strong enough or I was just a quitter, so it wasn't an option.  I thought I would just cut back a little. 

Working just overnight wasn't enough to keep up with the demand anymore.  It was creeping into my days.  I was having to do work during my precious day time too.  Thankfully, my daughter was reaching preshcool age at this point and would sit with me at the counter and "make cakes".  Fondant is just like play-dough (acutally, only better!) and I would give her scraps of fondant and she had her own little rolling pins and cookie cutters and would sit for hours working on cakes with me.  Through, all this though, I still felt a little guilty.  Especially, if it was a nice day outside and we were wasting it away working on cakes when we should have been playing outside or at the park.  We were starting to get too cooped up and it wasn't healthy for her.

To top it off.  I had totally lost my weekends.  Cakes are due on weekends.  That's the way it is.  Who has a party in the middle of the week?  So, after working hard during the week ON the cake, then I had to spend our weekends driving and delivering them and setting them up at their venues.  If you're a cake person, you know that the most stressfull part of the whole cake process is the delivery.  Nothing is worse.  The cake can look perfect on your kitchen counter.  But, it's not for  you---it has to look good for the client.  Now, you had to get it to it's destination looking the same way with absolutely everything against you.  Cake is the worst traveler in the world. 

It wasn't fair to my husband either.  He worked hard enough for the both of us.  I didn't "work".  Cake was always just a hobby.  It really wasn't supposed to be an huge business venture and we weren't relying on any type of real income from it.  So, poor husby had to work all day, supposing to come home in the evenings to spend time with his family, only to have to be greeted by a cake bomb instead!  (Cake decorating is SUPER MESSY!)  This is no fun for him.  But, he's so unselfish and lets me do just about anything that makes me happy and would just put up with all the cake.  Then, he had to sacrifice his weekends---his only free time----to go on these cake deliveries with me.  Cakes can be super heavy.  Not only did I need him to help with some deliveries for the muscle advantage, but even with the smaller cakes, I needed help with either setting up or taking care of our daughter while I set up.  So, his weekends ended up being sacrificed to cake too.  When all he would have wanted was to spend time with us.  This also meant no trips or vacations or anything like that, either.  We couldn't make any plans if I always had cakes due.  And, we absolutely love weekend trips and plans.  Especially, since our daughter was at such a fun age to do all this fun stuff.

So, I finally had to make the hard decision....it wasn't fun anymore.....the time with my husband and daughter is way more important than my hobby.  I prefer to spend my time with them and therefore it was a no-brainer.  It was time to take a cake-hiatus.

Therefore, I am not currently taking any cake orders.  I'm not sure how this will all end up or what my cake future may be, so that's why I decided just to call it a hiatus at this point and then see where it goes from there.  I really miss it sometimes, but I still get to do one every once in a while for the family or a really close friend, so it's just the perfect amount right now and after being cake-free for a few months now, I'm really happy with my decision. 

I think it's good for anyone to be able to take a step back and examine their lives and see what is most important and where some improvements can be made.  It's nice to be able to stop and look at everything and trim the fat where necessary.  People tend to get so caught up sometimes in their routines and forget whats important.  They get wrapped up in status, or perception or even their designer handbags, luxury cars or job title and end up losing out on what really can make you happy.  I know, because I used to be more like that.  My life now has shown me that I'm the happiest now spending the least amount of money.  You don't realize how much you actually could care less about all that stuff until you start to let it all go.

Now, time for me to get off the dang computer so that I can be the awesome mom and wife I'm so good at being!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Puppy Dog PAW-ty! Doggie Cupcakes!

Doggie Party!  Complete with Doggie Cupcakes and a Doggie Bowl Personal Cake on top!  (I just had to throw in a pic of the cute Doggie Bag party favors I made too!)  I apologize for the cell phone pics.  :(

This was for my 4 year old's 4th birthday party.  She wanted a Doggie Party with cupcakes instead of a big cake this year.  The cupcakes were Chocolate with Peanut Butter Buttercream and a Chocolate Fudge middle and decorated with a free-hand piped Dark Chocolate paw print.   The other flavor was Vanilla White Cake with Vanilla Buttercream (tinted violet) and decorated with a free-hand piped White Chocolate Doggie Bone.  Then, to top it off....a small 6 inch round Chocolate Cake carved to shape and covered in Vanilla Fondant and decorated with Chocolate Pieces to represent dog food and finished with a Vanilla Fondant doggie bone to make the cute little personalized Doggie Bowl----the perfect topper to blow out her candles in!  Super fun!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Thought I Was Done With Cakes?

Okay, so......

I thought you were retired from cakes, you  may be wondering.....well, I thought I was too!  Just so happens that I had agreed on a cake request back in January that by my error, never really got finalized or on my cake calendar.  After receiving an update email from the client, I quickly rushed to order some supplies I needed.  (Since deciding to quit, I had made sure not to replenish any of my stock and try to use up as much of everything that I had.  So, I had to order a couple things.)  I was so glad they emailed me in plenty of time to allow for shipping, as the items I needed aren't available for purchase near me. 

So, this is officially the last one!  I was so glad this one got to be it.  It was a fun cake to do and I was so glad to finally get to do a Dr. Seuss cake!

Dr. Seuss Baby Shower Cake!

This was a White Vanilla Cake with Vanilla Buttercream and Strawberry Cake with Cream Cheese Buttercream. 

Monday, May 16, 2011

Last Week's Cakes! (....and the last of my client cakes and start of my "cake retirement")

Yep! That's right! I've officially started my "cake retirement". It's family cakes only from now on. No more client orders. I will only consider cupcake orders from here on out. Here are some pics of the last 2! They both ended up being small figure-character based cakes for little girls' birthdays!

Tangled Cake

This was Alternating Chocolate and Vanilla Cake with Cookies and Cream Buttercream.

Dora Cake

This was Chocolate Cake with Cookies and Cream Buttercream. (I know. Cookies and Cream Buttercream has been a popular flavor! It really helps when you're working on two cakes at the same time and they have the same flavors!)

Happy Cake Retirement to me!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

60th Birthday Cake

This was Butter Yellow Cake with Vanilla Buttercream and alternating Chocolate and Vanilla Cake with Oreo Cookies and Cream Buttercream.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

It's Inspiration Sunday!

It's Inspiration Sunday, again! Meaning, I like to try to take some time out and find and share cakes that I think are awesome.

Here are 2 really good ones!

Okay, first....although I am absolutely not a fan of McDonalds and think their food is really super gross, and I don't eat there, and I don't think anyone else should eat there either, EVER.....I still appreciate this Big Mac (Debbie Goard, debbiedoescakes)!

I bet it tastes much better than a real Big Mac!

I came across this awesome Wall-E Cake made by Don Buciak and just HAD to share! What I love about this cake is the buttercream! Everything is freehandly piped with buttercream icing!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Luggage Travel 60th Birthday Cake!

This was a 60th Birthday Cake made for someone who loved to travel and had been to tons of places. This was a representation of her actual personal luggage set and included were little trinkets representing some of her most favorite places she's been....Paris, Australia, Egypt, and Vegas.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Oldies, But Goodies!

Remembering Those Darn Baby Cakes!

I was doing so many of those Baby Cakes for a while, I even stopped posting them. I was getting so tired of them and thought it would be too soon if I never saw another one again! Well, I guess eventually I ended up getting my wish! I've been so booked with other cakes, and though I had only received a few Baby Cake requests anyway, I hadn't been able to take any. So, now I kind of miss them. Afterall, these Baby Cakes are what jump-started this whole thing in the first place! So, here's to them! And, here are some of my favorites.....oldies, but goodies:

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Inspiration Sunday!

It's Inspiration Sunday! I get to post pics of the cakes that I think are awesome and that inspire me and the kinds of cakes I wish people would ask me to do! Here are some of my favorites!

Let's start out with an awesome Peacock Cake:

Okay, now...come on! How awesome is this next one!

Oh my gosh, and I can't believe this is even cake! Doesn't this sea turtle look so real!?!?

Okay, now...this has got to be the cutest, most awesome-est, most adorable gingerbread house EVER!

Boxing Fan?


Neverending Storrrrrrryyyyyyyy!

I run across other cakes on other cake blogs and websites that I follow. Most of these I ran across on cakewrecks.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Award Winning Peanut Butter Pie! I just had to try!

(First I apologize for the cell phone pics. My camera died, and this is all I have for now.)

Okay, so...

I had never made a Peanut Butter Pie before. I really haven't made very many pies in general. I really loved my Apple Pie experience and have been branching out into pies ever since. Since I love Peanut Butter, I wanted to have my own wonderful Peanut Butter Pie I could add to my baking must-haves and share with my family and friends as a new tradition. So, I was on a mission. It could also be that I'm currently on my "must look good in my swimsuit this summer" program and won't eat things like this. It makes me just bake more and to have my family enjoy for me!

Anyway, back to business. So, I was on the search. I wanted to find a super fabulous to-die-for Peanut Butter Pie recipe that makes everyone request you bring it to every function and beg you for the recipe. After reviewing several Peanut Butter Pie recipes, I wasn't feeling them. Then, I finally stumbled on what sounded like the close to perfect (just needed some Sarah-fied adjustments) Peanut Butter Pie recipe! It was the 2009 winner of Best In Show in the National Pie Competition. An award winning Peanut Butter Pie? I just had to try!

This pie has an awesome cookie crust, with 2 different peanut butter layers. It's very smooth and has the best peanut butter flavor. I loved what I did with the crust so much, that I plan on using this crust as my go-to crust for other cream pies from now on!

So, after adding my own personal (secret) fabulous adjustments...here is my awesome version of this award winning masterpiece! Too bad you can't lick the screen!

(This pie was pretty darn perfect the way it was. However, I am more of a "less is more" person and don't always necessarily need the super-rich additions to great flavors that are strong on their own. With that said, I would like to try this pie without the Peanut Butter Cups. I think it will be just as awesome, maybe even better without. In the future, I also may reduce the whipped cream. I don't think it needs as much.) I also loved this pie so much and am confident everyone else will too, that I am willing to make one for free for any of my friends who ask me! It's THAT good. Just ask and provide me with your favorite 9 inch baking pie dish and I will return it to you filled with this awesome goodness!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Inspiration Sundays!

I wanted to start a new thing. See, I am limited to only getting to do the cakes that people want and ask me for and that they can afford. So, I decided to start a new thing I'm calling Inspiration Sunday. I decided I would try and take time out every Sunday to post the cakes that I love and inspire me and that I wish people would ask me to do. So, here's an absolutely positively super adorable Dr. Seuss Cake that I came across on another blog (Cake Wrecks) and fell in love with and just had to share. And while we're at it, some super cute Dr. Seuss cupcakes too!

A Darth Vader Cake (that killed my camera)

It was hard for me to get a distinguishable picture of this cake. I had to troubleshoot and fidget with my (almost 8 year old) camera and find a setting that would actually produce a viewable picture. I got a couple in before my camera finally died on those settings too. So, this is all I got. Sorry it's not very good, but it was the best out of the bunch. This was a half Chocolate with Chocolate Buttercream and half Butter Yellow with Golden Oreo Cookies and Cream Buttercream. Hand carved and sculpted free-hand, covered in an extra thick layer of Vanilla Buttercream for extra yumminess, and then wrapped in Black Vanilla Fondant. Though the pictures do not show it very well, it was sprayed with an edible food lacquer to mimic that ultra glossiness and shiny of the real Darth Vader and the screws and details of his mouth piece thingy (I am not well versed in Star Wars, so I do not know the correct terminology) were painted in silver (which you can't really tell that either in this pic) So, may the force be with me on the next cake. Hopefully, I will have a new camera or at least a substitute that can get me by.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Attention Candy Bar Lovers!

Snickers Cupcakes! Chocolate Cake with a miniature Snickers candy bar surprise baked right inside! Topped with a Caramel Buttercream, Caramel drizzle, and then finished with some crumbled candy bar pieces right on top!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Another Dora Cake

Butter Yellow Cake with Vanilla Buttercream. Decorated in Vanilla Rolled Fondant. Dora's head, body, backpack, and balloon are all made out of cake.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Baby Shower Cupcakes

Cute little babies, cute little onesies, and cute little footprints! Chocolate cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream and Yellow Cupcakes with Golden Oreo Cookies and Cream Buttercream.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Go Diego Go! Giant Chocolate Chip Cookie

My Chocolate Chip Cookies have always been pretty famous among my family and friends, so I've recently been asked to do a couple Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies here and there instead of cake. Diego and Go Diego Go logo are freehand (as always).