Wednesday, October 11, 2017

New Blog Focus and Halloween Teaser

Someone pointed out to me last week that I never advertise for cake projects. He is right.  My business is strictly word of mouth, and often repeat customers.  This allows me to be choosy about my projects and also insures that I can charge what my artistic talents are worth.

That said, it got me thinking about how I can do better. People are always asking to see a cake that I had been working on. Aside from throwing a quick pic on Instagram, I do little to publish my work. 

My new goal with this blog is to go back to sharing the details of what I do. I absolutely love to teach folks things that I have picked up along the way. Whether it be foraging for plants, mushrooms, or teaching how to make soaps. It is time I applied this to baking. This blog will be a accumulation of several of my "arts". It will be mostly focused on baking, but there will be some random foraging, costume making, and whatever is my current muse at the time.

I can't guarantee that my ideas are the best way, or that they will work best for you. However, they might give you a direction to formulate your own creative plan of attack.

So here's to doing better with sharing what I know to the internet world! 


First off is the Halloween cake that I am working on. This isn't for a commission. For those that don't already know, Halloween is my holiday. As in my Halloween lights are up and will stay up until February sort of thing. In my defense, the winters are dark and the orange lights cast a warm glow in my house. Every couple of years I do a crazy costume and on off-years, I do baking projects. It has been a long time since I have made a Halloween cake.

You will have to stay tuned to see what the final is going to be. I can tell you that it is a cake theme that I have wanted to do for a year or so. Only it is the dark version :)

My first step is staging out a few design elements. One of the most time consuming will be these modeling chocolate roses. This weekend, I made the chocolate, colored, and played with a what sort or roses.  Now these have been marred by nails and re-worked until I found the whimsical style that I am going for.  I'll go into how I make these in my next post.

Thanks for listening to the random thoughts in my head and I hope you all like the blog refocus.


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Happy Holidays Star Wars Style!

I absolutely love decorating sugar cookies. It gives me an additional creative outlet that doesn't take over my entire workspace. I can bake a few and keep the rest of the dough on file in the freezer or bake the whole lot and dive right in. 

For a couple of years I have made my snowflakes. They are always a huge hit and always requested. See, pretty! 

This year I needed a change. I thought of bringing back my naughty little elf. 

But that still wasn't flipping my gourd. And then I saw a commercial for Star Wars inspired make up. Are you kidding me? Make up companies are even trying to cash in. The more I paid attention the more Star Wars themed items I noticed. Now I am a Trekkie. Not to say I don't like Star Wars, it is fun, just not a major thing with me. But after I started piecing together my templates to get the shapes worked out I started to really get into it.  In order to keep the shape quantity down I decided to put Chewie and C3PO together like Star Wars II. Nothing like a glue stick and card stock to get those creative juices going!

Here is my first batch ready for the oven. Thank you to my friend Sara for the new silicone baking sheets :)

Next came the colors. This is often the part that takes the longest. I have something against out of the box colors. And if I am going to use a color, it has to be able to be crossed over onto another cookie in the project. For instance, Yoda green has to be the green for the ATAT and likewise the brown and red of Chewbacca has to coordinate back to Yoda. Long story short, they all have to be customized to one color theme. 

Once the colors are set I started to play. Pardon my Darth Vader. I had them all going well and then I caught the flu. While home restless I worked on that one. That was a mistake, definitely not my best work! Please note, this batch was for me to play with, non were given to clients and I worked in my house kitchen not my workspace while sick :) Next time I will use some jimmies like on the Elf on a shelf cookies above. 

I'd like to thank Sweet Sugarbelle for her awesome Yoda and R2D2 tutorials. Those really gave me a great base to work off. 

This was a really fun protect that gave me a little more challenge than my typical holiday cookies. Now I can't wait to do a version for Star Trek Beyond. Maybe I'll make a 4th of July theme since the movie is projected to come out later that month. 

Happy Holidays folks! Be safe and have a spectacular new year. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Halloween Cookbook Club Episode

Today is our Halloween episode!

Here is the link - You can watch it live at 5 PM PT or click this link anytime to come back and check it out when you have time.

I wanted to put this quick post in because I realized my halloween stuff is all over the place. The format we use doesn't have good way of posting pictures without links.

So here is a roundup of past Halloween treats:

2008 -

2009 -

2014 -

And here are some random ones that I have done over the years and not posted.

Baileys marshmallow ghost
Baileys Marshmallow Ghost- Use your favorite marshmallow recipe. Substitute the water with Baileys. You can use the leaded version or the non dairy non alchohol coffee creamer. Both work well. Then pipe little ghost shapes onto parchment.

Gluten Free Sugar Cookies 

Mummy meatballs

Shruken Head Pie - Use crabapples

Meat Pies using gummy candy

The full costume
The Sweeney Todd costume was a fun project.  I made a shruken head pie using carved crabapples.  The meat pies were berry filled pastries. After they cooled, I cut slits into them and inserted gummy body part candies and painted on a little cherry jam for good measure. The hardest part was keeping everyone from trying to eat my costume all night long!

Halloween polka dot cake

Halloween Polka Dot Cake - This was chocolate stout cake for the black (easy to color!) and then vanilla from scratch polka dots.  I used Once Upon a Pedestal's method.

Have a safe and spooktastic Halloween everyone!  I will be working my way to France via Boston on Halloween. If you see these shoes walking through an airport on Halloween then way hi!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Snowflake Decorated Sugar Cookies

Happy Holidays everyone! Figured I had better get it in while I have a moment :)

For me, one of my favorite things to make over the holidays are these snowflake cookies. They are my zen. After a hectic day of knocking out caramels and other holiday treats, I can sit down and literally get lost in these. They are one of those things that don't require much concentration, no boiling temperatures to watch or beer boiling over when I take my eyes off the stove. It takes just a moment to make the cookie dough and royal icing; and as long as I set my oven timer I am golden.

These have a little citrus zest in the dough and a lemon vanilla royal icing. I've had this shape for a couple of years and can't wait to snatch up a new one at this year's after Christmas sales!

Here is the all white version:
White Snowflake Decorated Sugar Cookie

Lightest blue. This color was my favorite this year. I used Alan Tetreault's Sky Blue, just a little. The color looks like a slightly translucent robin's egg color. The camera doesn't do it justice. Absolutely lovely.
Blue Snowflake Decorated Sugar Cookie

And then a couple darker blue variations:
Blue Snowflake Decorated Sugar Cookie

Blue Snowflake Decorated Sugar Cookie

In case I don't "see" you all before the Holiday, have a happy and blessed one!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Oh what to bring to the Thanksgiving potluck

Most Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners are spent with friends.  So many folks here have little family here so we all band together and enjoy our big family of misfits :)

This Thanksgiving we were invited and were late to RSVP.  By the time we finally decided that yes, this is what we are doing (Matt is the only one in family that has a hard time committing), everything I had thought to bring was signed up for. So I decided to make pie my way.

I don't have a lot of Thanksgiving cookie cutters and this idea from Sweet Sugar Belle was perfect! I used my standard cut out cookie recipe and omitted citrus and added pumpkin pie spice.

Here is a close up of the pumpkin pie decorated cookies:

To use up some of the bits of dough I added some fall color cookies. I really loved the colors that I ended up with.

They were a hit and disappeared fast.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Halloween Fun!

Halloween is my favorite month :)  Not only do I love the festivities, but it is a time where things slow down enough for me to have time to play with my food.  Below is a little of the fun that is going on in my kitchen.

I'll start with the eyes, so they can watch over the rest of this post.

For the meringue eyeballs, use your favorite meringue recipe and method. There are so many theories as to how long to bake and what temp. You don't want these to brown much or the colors will go funky on that so keep that in mind. Simply pipe into round or oval mounds, next to each other, two at a time. After they cooled, I used royal icing for the pupils. Piping another color of meringue on top or using candies works well too.

For the above Halloween pancakes use a fairly thin batter. If you have an electric skillet that you can regulate the temp well that is best. Keep the temp around 200F to keep them from browning.  You don't want these to be too think or they will take forever to cook or not even cook completely at all.  Use piping bags or bottles to free hand designs or use greased metal cookie cutters to hold the shapes.  

What is Halloween without candy corn?  These were for the concession stand at my son's football game.  They are ridiculously simple.  Use a round pan and build from the outside edge towards the center. You can make 3 batches or do as I do and eyeball it. Once they set up use a skewer to poke in a hole and then add your stick or sturdy straw.

Have a great rest of Halloween month everyone!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Wedding Cake Round-up

What a rocking summer here in my kitch!  I'm finally at a point that I can catch up on cake posts. Gotta get it in fast before holiday baking begins.  Over the next few weeks I'll try to get these on the blog.  There will be a few halloween posts thrown in too.  It's gonna be an interesting mix :)

Each of the cakes this year were so different from each other. I have a hard time deciding which one shall go first. Let's start with one of my favorite type of style, rustic elegance.

Rustic buttercream twig wedding cake flowers fondant alaska seward the moon muse elegant

My clients were had a few rustic twig and vine style cakes, which are cool, but not as original.  After perusing the net and some sketching I suggested this one. Lucky for me, the bride loved the idea as well.

It was inspired by several spackle styles and one cake with wooden flowers.  The shape of the wooden flowers was so different compared to most cakes I have seen, almost poppy like but not quite. These of course aren't wood :)  As a finishing touch plum luster dust was brushed on the flowers to give them depth.

The top layer is red velvet with cream cheese swiss merigue filling. The bottom layer is vanilla almond cake with from scratch fresh raspberry curd.  The final coat over the entire cake was an vanilla almond swiss meringue buttercream.