8th Grade Cake Decorating Challenge

img_3869Each year, the 8th grade students from Trumansburg enjoy a class trip to Washington DC. There are always some students who stay behind, whether it is for dance recitals, track IACs, or a myriad of other reasons. So, the teachers that don’t go on the trip as chaperones at Russell I Doig Middle school make sure to plan some fun activities back at school!

Our first day we started out with cake decorating. It wasn’t exactly a challenge but more of an opportunity to create. We had some time pressure and several joked that it was like “Cupcake Wars” but we weren’t voting on a best cake, or even giving any rules to the groups. Continue reading

Making Marcella’s 1st Birthday Cake

A first birthday is such an exciting milestone! Parents are thrilled to invite their friends, family and of course the baby’s friends! I recently had the opportunity to bake for 1 year old Marcella and her family. They wanted a colorful cake that featured musical instruments and gum balls for fun color accents. The party was planned at a local store called Jillian’s Drawers in Ithaca, NY. It would be a fun gathering of parents, babies and friends.

Marcella’s parents hoped to have the cake colored pink and green INSIDE and outside.

IMG_5305

The cakes are ready to bake. For Marcella’s cake we used a 6″ cake and a 9″ cake. Continue reading

Rustic Wedding Cake

IMG_5327

A wedding is a huge milestone in life and the wedding cake provides an opportunity for a couple to design something perfect for them.

IMG_5329This summer I met with a couple for whom the date they met was very important. They scheduled their wedding for the same date they met and they wanted to incorporate this in their topper if possible. They were having a very small, intimate wedding for just close friends and family at Silver Queen Farm, and they wanted their cake to have some presence and they wanted enough cake to save some for their first anniversary!

The wedding was a fall wedding in a rustic setting, so we determined that pumpkin and spice would be perfect. Cream cheese filling paired beautifully with both flavors and a delicious buttercream exterior completed the cake. Continue reading

How to Cut Perfect Brownies

Every time I bake for my family, the kids come running to scope out what wonderful sweet treat is available for them. My 12 year old son scans the platter carefully, looking for the largest pieces of anything available.

I bake for Good to Go, a great natural eatery and grocery store in Trumansburg, and one of the offerings is gluten-free brownies. Naturally, I need to make sure that all of the brownies are the same size for the customers.  Continue reading

Need Another Excuse to Eat Delicious Cake, Cupcakes or Cookies?

izzy

Here in the United States, there are all kinds of “national days,” and I found many that focus on food. As a delicious public service, here’s a roundup of the special days for which cake, cupcakes or cookies will fit the bill nicely. Want to be a hero in your home or workplace? Place an order with Emoticakes in the spirit of any of these delicious days! Continue reading

Ulysses Philomathic Library Storybake Class

IMG_1400

This year marks the 2nd year of the now annual Storybake and Story Auction  at my local library. Last year, Elizabeth and I both entered the contest and had so much fun! Read about our last year’s entries. The contest asks you to decorate a cake themed for a favorite storybook.
For 2015, Elizabeth and I are sitting this one out and letting Xander have a go. I thought it would be a lot of fun to hold a workshop for people interested in participating in the event.

We offered two times; an after school time and then an evening option on the same day.

The Storybooks

Choosing a story is the HARDEST part of this!! I started with a huge selection of books that I had to whittle down to two that we’d make cakes from.

books

To decide, consider, “How will I represent this book so that someone can tell what book I’ve chosen?” Ask yourself what you’d use to design the image you want to portray. Are you able to make your scene from a combination of frosting and other edibles so that it is clear to the observer what book you have selected. Most importantly, make sure that you select a book that you’ll enjoy making a cake from. With those things in mind, I selected two of my all time favorite childhood books; Frog and Toad all Year by Arnold Lobel and The Lorax by Dr. Seuss.

Time to Decorate!

Our afternoon class for the Ulysses Philomathic Library Storybake was a large group, comprised mostly of 6th graders. My son is in 6th grade so he was among the attendees. We also had several adults (including my mom), a couple of younger students and some high school students. I was excited because this group would get to select the book they wanted to decorate. We began the class reading Frog and Toad’s book Ice-Cream (the short story I’d selected from the Frog and Toad book) and then leafing through the longer Lorax. After a lot of mind changing during our eyes covered vote, The Lorax squeaked out a victory.

I’d come to class with a baked cake, several icing colors and lots of things to model the figures with. My goal for this class was to teach the participants some decorating tricks as well as some ways to design figures with easy to acquire candies and other grocery items. We had a lot of fun making fish for our pond and talking about our scene. Of course, our afternoon ended with CAKE eating and lots of fun with frosting too!! Here are some pictures from our time together. My favorite part of this class was seeing the awesome Humming Fish that the class created with their orange tootsie rolls and gum paste google eyes!

Evening Class: Frog & Toad

In the evening, we had a 2nd class planned. This group was smaller but also had great energy. And, because it was a smaller group, that meant everyone had extra cake to take home!!

We started by reading the story that we’d be decorating. With The Lorax, I’d made the Lorax character ahead of time, and for Frog and Toad, I’d made Frog and Toad ahead of time. My figure making skills are still in their infancy, so I needed a full hour to make these little guys!! I was happy that they were recognizable to the class. After reading the story, I asked the class what scene they’d pull out from this book. One little girl in the class said she’d select the picture of Frog and Toad enjoying their sweet, cold ice-cream under the big tree. Awesome! That’s exactly the scene I had picked. We added some other parts; the pond, a path that appeared earlier in the book and even some color that wasn’t in the actual story. We talked about our license to embellish – this is a decorating contest to represent a book, but we can put some of our own personality into our design. Our class had a lot of personality and our finished product shows their creativity with sculpting. My favorite part of our cake was our awesome pretzel and tootsie roll tree and the little bird, squirrel, mouse and fish that the class sculpted.

Here are some pictures from our time together.

Frog and Toad cake

Posing with our completed Frog and Toad cake

Frog and Toad Cake

Check out our bird, fish, squirrel, and mouse and our big tree!

The Contest

If you live in or around Trumansburg, NY I hope you can come out for the 2nd Annual Storybake and Story Auction on Saturday October 24th. It is a fundraiser for the library and the cakes win based on the popular vote. You vote by putting a ticket that you purchase into a cake’s little ballot box. The best part? People WIN the cakes to take home and eat!! There is also an auction with a lot of great things that you can bid on. It is entertainment for the whole family.

 

Elsa Birthday Cake

IMG_3324The movie Frozen remains a favorite cake choice for birthday parties. I have made a few Frozen themed cakes, but this is my first Elsa birthday cake in her blue dress. The last time I had an opportunity to bake an Elsa cake, you couldn’t find the doll in the blue dress because she was SO popular!! We went with her other dress instead as she was more readily available.

Now that it has been a little while since the movie came out, you can find both dolls!! I had a blast making this cake for my neighbors to bring to their daughter’s house to celebrate their granddaughter’s 4th birthday!!

Do you want to make your own Elsa cake from the movie Frozen? Here are some step by step instructions.

Continue reading

Rainbow Cake Topper

rainbow cake topper

Making birthday cakes for kids is always so much fun!! This cake started as a plan to be a sprinkle cake (a cake covered fully in rainbow sprinkles). Even before being adorned with any other accents it is one of my favorites!! It is like eating an dish of ice cream from a place that does a fantastic job with their rainbow sprinkles.

Ursula’s mother asked for some type of cake topper, perhaps a unicorn or a pony or something pretty? I started to look around on Etsy and quickly found Unicorn Cake Topper for unicorns along with one rainbow. Ursula’s big sister really liked the idea of the rainbow so we ran with that one.

I was excited to make this rainbow. Sure, we could have ordered it, but the cake was for 5 days from the day we decided and Ursula’s mom thought it would be nice if I put my own artistic spin on the topper. This is one of my favorite things; working with some inspiration but not copying 100%. Continue reading

Mickey Mouse Golf Cake

IMG_3152

As the Northeast heads into these last final golfing days for golf enthusiasts, it feels like a good time to share a summer golf cake memory.

While on the last few days of my summer vacation to Oregon, I received a text order for a Mickey Mouse golf cake. So excited that I’d be home in time to make a birthday cake for soon to be 5 year old Lucas. He loves chocolate cake and he loves Mickey Mouse and golf!!


Continue reading

Making Ruffles

This summer, I had the opportunity to make a cake with ruffles as part of a tiered birthday cake. I was excited! I have done some work with ruffling, but usually just one ruffle on the bottom, or something that has a lot of artistic license like a doll’s dress for a cake. For this cake, I’d need 3-4 layers of even ruffles with a slight ombre effect.

The Inspiration Cake

This cake was for a 70th birthday celebration! The birthday honoree loves almond, so her daughters decided on almond cake with marzipan filling and almond buttercream filling and frosting. I received a picture of the inspiration cake.

I always feel a mixture of relief and anxiety when someone sends me the inspiration. She added that she wanted an ombre effect for the ruffles and she really wanted to have a gold heart in the center of the middle tier. She also had a very special family cake stand that she hoped we could use. I’d need to assemble the cake on the stand and deliver it on this stand. Continue reading