World Cup Cake.

soccer ball cake

No, not a World Cupcake. a World Cup Cake. As in that thing you see every time you turn on any TV station or look at any social media site. The World Cup is omnipresent these days. And if you live in my house, you’d have to be dead in order to avoid it, as my fiance is absolutely-ridiculously-bordering-on-unhealthily OBSESSED with all things soccer, and that’s during the three off years between tournaments. So you can imagine what I’m dealing with here right now.

After about the 1 million trillionth conversation about “football” (a real soccer geek refers to it by it’s REAL name I’ve come to learn), I just couldn’t take it anymore. So I went off and did the one thing that would help restore my sanity and bring some normalcy back into my life: I baked a cake.

shapes of cake.

shapes of cake.

Now this was not just any cake. Not by a long shot. Yes, it was a classic vanilla, and separated into two layers. But these layers were different. One was a half-sphere, while the other almost pancake-like.

I began assembling the layers as I envisioned the finished cake in my mind, and coated them with a layer of the almond butter cream I had leftover from my dad’s failed cake-turned-cake sandwich.

the base coat.

the base coat.

Next, I busted out my giant tub of fondant, and started rolling a large piece to cover this mystery dome. Once I carefully placed the fondant atop the cake, I cut out my smaller pieces, and carefully began putting them in place.

there's really no escape.

there’s really no escape.

Once it was fully detailed and smoothed over, I added the finishing touch – a field to play on.

we've come full circle.

we’ve come full circle.

Once it was complete, I cleaned up, and left it conspicuously in the center of the kitchen table, so when my fiance arrived home just a few short minutes later, it was the first thing he saw upon entering the kitchen.

And that, my friends, is true love; no matter what part of the world you’re playing in. :).

More Fun With Chocolate Pumpkin…

pumpkin cake

I was so pleased with how the Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins turned out, that I decided to use the same recipe to make a birthday cake for a friend (minus the cream cheese filling). I made a small 6 inch cake, cut into two layers, and iced it with a chocolate buttercream. I went extra light on the chocolate in the main icing, and used a more chocolate-y darker icing for the piping details to make them stand out, giving it that kind of two-tone effect.

it's deeper shade brown.  yeah, yeah.

it’s deeper shade of brown. yeah, yeah.

Being that the cake was, in fact, made with pumpkin, I thought I’d add some pumpkin-themed decorations as well. So I crafted a small pumpkin out of fondant, and surrounded it with fondant leaves in fall colors. I forgot just how much I love playing with fondant…it’s like edible Play-Doh. I guess in theory, actual Play-Doh is edible. At least, I think most kids have eaten it at some point. But either way, it’s not as tasty as fondant.

fall fondant fun.

fall fondant fun.

So, The cake turned out pretty close to the way I had envisioned, and I proudly presented it to my friend on his special day. And then we cut it, ate it, and lived happily ever after (for at least the rest of the day).

Be My Baby.

Over the past weekend, I was asked to make a baby shower cake, for a baby girl, in the shape of a onesie. It was something I’d never done before, so I was totally stoked, and couldn’t wait to start working on it! The cake itself was to be red velvet, iced with buttercream, and few fondant adornments. I don’t own a onsie-shaped pan, so I had to first draw the pattern on a piece of cardboard. Once I had that done, I laid the pattern on top of the sheet cake, and carved it out.

I then iced it with pink buttercream.

ice, ice, baby.

I then grabbed some fondant (I swear by Satin Ice), colored some dark pink, some yellow, and left the rest white, and crafted the accoutrements.

we’ll make them turn their heads, every place we go.

The cake was a hit with both the person who ordered it, and the mom-to-be. And I was tickled pink. ūüôā

Bowled Over.

I was asked by a friend to make bowling cupcakes this past weekend for a bowling party for¬†her 6-year-old. She sent me this picture from the flickr¬†album of a talented baker working under the moniker “hello naomi,” and asked if I could do something similar. I loved these, and couldn’t wait to try my hand at creating my own version of them, so I responded to the request with an exuberant “yes!” and the fun began.

She wanted chocolate, so chocolate is what she got, along with a layer of buttercream, and topped with fondant bowling accoutrements, such as…

…Bowling Balls…

have a ball.

…Bowling Pins…

pinned down.

….and Strikes.

very striking.

Throw them all together, and you’ve got a bowling party in a box (minus the ugly, smelly shoes). ūüėČ

game on.

Cake art.

I never fancied myself a cake artist. I mean, I made cakes with pictures and writing and stuff like that. But I never really thought that was my strength – I would describe myself as more of a baker than a cake decorator. But often the two go hand-in-hand, so I have learned a few cake decorating tips and tricks in my time.

However, I never really thought I was awesome at it. I was decent. I could decorate a cake that looked better then something an untrained or unpracticed individual could make, but I’m certainly no Cake Boss. The taste of the cake itself was always my game, with decorating coming second.

Then, one day I was forced to take a wedding cakes class. I was not pumped – in fact, I even complained to my mom that I didn’t even like wedding cakes and didn’t know why the school was making my learn this..grumble, grumble. However if I planned on graduating, I had to take the class. So, I did.

And I was wrong. The reason I didn’t like cake decorating was not because I didn’t like¬†doing it or didn’t think it was worthwhile¬†– it was solely based on fear – fear that I just couldn’t do it, so instead of trying I wrote it off as something not worth my time. How mature. But we all do it – fear makes us act¬†in funny ways –¬†ways we’d never imagine we’d act, especially as adults.¬†I should have known better – as a kid,¬†I loved play-doh.¬†As a young adult,¬†I loved polymer clay.¬†Fondant and gum paste are so similar to those mediums, yet they’re even better because you can eat them after you sculpt them!¬†And I¬†had¬†completely forgotten about¬†my¬†clay sculpting past.

sculpts like clay. tastes like sugar.

Secondly, I love fashion РI even took a handful of fashion design courses. How does this relate to cake decorating? Well, decorating a cake is like dressing it Рchoosing the right color combinations, the right placement of various accessories, how much to cover (or let show). So fashion + clay + baking = no more fear. 

I have created cake art. And it’s¬†quite tasty. ūüôā

eat your heart out, Roy Lichtenstein.

 

 

iron cupcake.

I like to consider myself something of an “Iron Cupcake.” Cute and well-decorated on the outside, yet¬†deceptively tough¬†and able to fend off even the hardest bite. I guess that’s why I’m excited about participating in the Iron Cupcake Challenge.

I took part in this event last summer, and not only was it fun, but it was for a good cause, and is again this year, so come out and support cupcakes and causes. There are so many cupcakes, all free to sample by those in attendance, that you may just be sick of them by the end of the day. But that’s highly unlikely since getting sick of cupcakes is like getting sick of puppies.

Anyway, here’s the 411:

The Iron Cupcake Challenge

Pinsetters Bar and Bowl, in Maple Shade NJ

Sunday, July 24th, 12 pm.

All proceeds benefit Alex’s Lemonade Stand

Each challenge has a theme, and this one’s is summer, with the flavor being, appropriately, lemon. I already have my winning cupcake idea, all mapped out. I’ll be making Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes, with fondant daisies. This particular cupcake of mine is already famous – it was featured in the book “1,000 Ideas for Decorating Cupcakes, Cookies, and Cakes” by Sandra Salamony and Gina M. Brown.

the future champ.

I’m gonna win this thing, baby. Come out and see how a real Iron Cupcake takes care of business. ūüėČ