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New Blog Location!

I just realized that this old blog was still up from SO long ago!  I no longer use this blog, but have started a new one with my friend Cathy at Petal and Posie Cakes!  Come check us and our new cakes out!  We also have a Facebook if you’d like to get to know us a little better. ;)  Thanks for the support!

 

Cortney

I’m so excited for this new year.  2010 was pretty great, but I know that 2011 will be wonderful as well!  Here’s why:

1. I will be getting married!

2. I’m starting a new baking project with my dear friend, Cathy.  More details to come!

3. So far, it’s been a year of growth and maturity both spiritually and emotionally, and it can only get better.  Praise God!

So that’s why I am already celebrating this year.  Speaking of new beginnings, let’s get to the sweet stuff – the CUPCAKES!

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My friend Katy got married to the man of her dreams on January 9th.  I’ve known Katy since high school, and she has always displayed class and sophistication.  That’s why when she asked me to make her cupcakes, I got so excited!  This girl understands the cardinal rule of classic beauty: less is more!

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I made three different flavors of cupcakes: red velvet with cream cheese frosting (their favorite), chocolate with vanilla buttercream, and spice cake with cream cheese/buttercream (some had one, some had the other).  Katy wanted gold cupcake liners and simple piping; nothing more.  Let me tell you, this girl has a good eye, because they turned out beautifully.  No additional decor needed!

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The cupcakes were all on white or clear stands, but the cutting cake stood on a beautiful jadeite stand made by Mosser Glass Inc.

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On display at the ever-so-charming Marin Headlands Center for the Arts.  This former WWII bunker was the perfect place for a beautiful wedding.

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Congratulations, Katy and Josh!  Thank you for allowing me to be part of your special day!  It really was an honor! =)

Birthdays and Holidays

Wow, Christmas just came and went for me this year.  My wonderful boyfriend and I got engaged on December 3rd, and since then, things have been going nonstop!  I did have a chance to do two cakes this month.  It felt good to bake a cake again after a month-long hiatus. =)

First, there was the birthday cake I did for Robert Flory: avid snowshoer and skier.  It was my first time making a gumpaste person, and I must say..it looked a lot like Robert himself.  Must’ve been the beard.

Robert’s favorite color is purple, so I gave him a purple jacket!

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I made the cake with buttercream to make it look like snow, and put fondant snowflakes and pearls on the outside.  The inside was lemon – Robert’s fave!  Unfortunately, during transportation, the banner broke right in two.  I was able to piece it together and set it on top of the 1st tier. =(  Did I mention that I HATE transporting cakes?  It’s definitely not my specialty!

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Well, the word is out.  My mom’s side of the family knows I like to bake, and my aunties made me promise that I’d make a cake for the family for Christmas Eve.  I decided to make something more traditional and stretch my pastry skills.  There are a lot of talented chefs on my mom’s side of the family, so the pressure was on!  I had to deliver something good!

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I decided to make a cake from my favorite baking book, Baking, by award-winning chef James Peterson.  I’ve written about this book before, and I can’t tell you how much I love it!  It’s such a great resource.

BEHOLD!  Chocolate Almond Cake with Almond Buttercream and Almond Dacquoise!!!

I only have small pictures because I am stealing these from my sister’s Facebook. =)

Here we go..layer by layer, top to bottom: chocolate spongecake, almond buttercream, almond dacquoise (pronounced day-quahz), etc. etc., all covered in a dark chocolate ganache!  The original recipe called for hazelnut, but almonds were much cheaper and easier to find.  Bless my fiance’s heart for blanching all those almonds for me! (FUN FACT: Jarred accidentally poked his finger in the cake!  You can see it on the edge on the right side. Haha!)

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A dacquoise is a nut meringue disc.  It’s hard to cut into, but it’s really tasty and adds a lot of great texture to the soft spongecake.

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A close up of the almond flowers, inspired by Martha Stewart’s adorable pinecone cakes!

 

 

 

 

Rosey Frills Cake

I’m super delayed in posting my latest cake, but that’s because I just got back from a cruise to Mexico!  It was a lot of fun, and seeing Cabo was absolutely beautiful.  It’s good to be home, though (despite my motion sickness and sea legs).

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A couple of weeks ago, I made a wedding cake for a beautiful vow renewal for Tracy’s parents.  I never got to meet the couple, but if they are anything like the rest of the family, then they must be wonderful.  Tracy told me that her mom absolutely loves pink and chocolate.  I wanted to think of what would look pretty and classic, without looking too modern or too old.  I saw a cake with some scalloped piping on it, and was inspired and came up with this!  I love it when a customer gives me free reign on the design of a cake.  Having creative freedom really helps me grow as a cake designer!

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The tier sizes are 10, 8, and 6 inches.  It’s chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream and a layer of raspberry filling.  There’s fondant on the outside with gumpaste rose petals and gumpaste roses on top!

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I wanted to make different shades of pink, so I made lots of gumpaste flower petals ahead of time so that they’d be extra ruffly to make them look realistic.

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I love pretty ruffly things!

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I didn’t have any petal dust to make it look more real, but next time I’ll have to get some for sure.  I really liked how the lighter pink ones turned out. =)

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That’s it!  Hopefully I can get a picture from the actual party to post on here some time.  Sigh…it feels good to do another blog entry!

Love Birds

On Sunday, my friend Catherine married her one and only love, Dan.  As a wedding present, I made Catherine a small wedding cake to cut into.  She said that she and Dan weren’t too crazy about cake, but the one flavor she did like was lemon.  Also, she said that the only..the ONLY..frosting that Dan likes is butter roux (a boiled milk frosting).  So lemon and butter roux it was!

I made a chiffon lemon cake (the recipe is linked above), but little did I know that you HAVE to have a tubed pan to make a proper chiffon cake!  I made it in a regular cake pan and it sunk in the middle a bit…  I wasn’t sure if I was going to use it, but I tasted the scraps and it was suuuuper tasty, so I just trimmed it to make it level.  So just a word of advice: use a tubed pan if you’re planning on making a proper chiffon cake. If you’re not sure what a chiffon cake is, it’s a cake that has beaten egg whites folded into the batter, thus making it light and fluffy.

See how it sunk a little?  It’s a bit embarrassing that I didn’t completely follow the directions on the recipe, but it still turned out yummy.  Just thought I’d share this to give a heads up to those who wish to make one in the future.

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Okay, back to the wedding!  Cat is a classy simplistic gal.  She didn’t want any fondant, and only wanted piping at the base of the cake with a few fresh flowers around it.  Oh, and some cute owl toppers to add a personal touch.  =)

I was given an array of flowers to use, and I just couldn’t pass up the dahlias.  They’re so pretty!

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The owl with the pink is the bride, and the owl with the blue is the groom!  I shaped them with rice krispy treats, spread some buttercream on the rice krispies, and covered/decorated them with fondant.

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Cutting the cake!  They’re so cute!

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I think the inside of cakes can be just as pretty as the outside, don’t you think?  I had lots of fun with this cake.  Thanks, Cat and Dan for letting me be part of your special day!

Macarons from NYC

I know it’s been a while since I’ve tried making macarons, but don’t think that I’ve forgotten about them!  I still want to learn how to make the perfect macaron.

My mom went to NYC for a week.  Before she left, she asked me if there was anything I wanted.  I told her hat the only thing I request is that she find an amazing New York City bakery and buy me some macarons. =)  My mom was gone for a week, and she came back with a LOVELY surprise – maracons from Macaron Cafe. This place specializes in different flavors of macarons, and it’s located on Madison Ave (fancy!!!).   I didn’t get to see it in person, but my mom took pictures of the lovely bakery.  I also looked at their website, which features dozens of flavors of macarons!

Such an adorable shop (photo courtesy of my momma)!

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They arrived in this adorable box

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Open up the box, and what do you see?  A dozen little macarons looking at me!

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Left to right…

Top row: pistachio, pistachio (I like the pistachio ones!), wedding almond, mango

Middle row: dark chocolate, espresso, cassisviolette (a mix of crème de cassis and violet flower), almond

Bottom row: cappuccino, rose (it tastes like how a rose smells!), raspberry, vanilla

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All sweet treats taste better when served on a cute platter!  I got this adorable cupcake plate from my dear friends Sarah and Sharon for my birthday.  It’s made by Whitney Smith, a local ceramics artist from Oakland!  You can purchase her stuff on Etsy!

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As soon as I took a bite of one, my immediate thought was, “So THIS is what a french macaron is supposed to taste like!”  I can’t even describe how great the taste and texture of these little treats is.  It makes me excited to try my hand at these again, and I’ll be absolutely thrilled if they even come close to these!

Hochzeitstorte

That’s how you say “wedding cake” in German… I think.  haha  If it’s wrong, I blame Google translator!

I made a little wedding cake for some friends who got married this last weekend.  The beautiful, sweet bride, Yvonne, is from Germany, and she just got married to her wonderful fiance Matt.  Yvonne has great taste in flowers.  I know this because she requested gumpaste daisies to be on top of her cake!  Gerbera daisies are my favorite flower as well!

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The cake was a small 6 inch cake for the bride and groom to cut into, and the guests were served cupcakes.  Yvonne told me her main color was burgundy.  Although I wasn’t sure how to achieve this dark color, I was able to mix pink, black, and white fondant with a bit of burgundy food gel to get the right color.  I tried my best to make the flowers look as real as possible.  Hopefully I’ll have to chance to practice gum paste flowers more in the future.  I love realistic edible creations!

After a VERY hectic wedding cake experience a couple of weeks ago (a story I can’t bear to go into), it was nice to make a simple small cake to boost my self confidence. =)

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I just love flowers!