Sunday, March 23, 2014

Of Import. And Cake. And Chocolate.

Hello ladies and gents. This post may be slightly depressing and whining, so turn back now or continue and never look back! You've been warned. 

I suppose I've been whiney a lot lately. I've been very stressed about my home based bakery (among other things). I barely make any money and I have a difficult time keeping repeat customers. Since I do everything from home and there's no high demand for my business, I have to buy my ingredients for the same price as everyone else. That being said, although I may sell my goods for about the same price as an unnamed grocery store down the road, that unnamed grocery store makes twice as much for a sloppier, less tasty product that IS in high demand. For example, shitty grocery store birthday cake made with hydrogenated oil and absolutely zero natural ingredients. I have to admit, I've gone pretty crazy over store bought chocolate cake. It's just so hard to go wrong with chocolate. 

But back to my main point. Seriously? WTF. Shitty, sloppily decorated cake versus a wondrous masterpiece of homemade edible work of art? (I say in a sarcastic tone)

I'm lost with no direction. I will continue baking and decorating because it makes me happy, but I've come to the realization that if I quit, it wouldn't upset the balance of the scales one teeny weeny bit. No one would be sad that they couldn't order delicious confectionary treats from me. No one would pass by my non-existent bakery and say, "Man, I really wish they hadn't closed. They had the best (place random confectionary item name here.)" Basically, myself and everything I've been struggling to accomplish with this bakery thing is all for naught. I learned a lot. I could do things for free for my friends and family, I know everyone wants a piece of that action, but once you put a proper price tag on it people tend to shrivel away. I know that success doesn't come easy. There's always struggle and hardship. I just don't see any silver linings in my horizon. 

I just gotta find my niche. My thing that makes me stand out from everyone else.

Now that the ballad of whiney is over, I would like to represent to you all, my latest works of art! I am continuing to improve with fondant. I will still need more practice though. I'm pretty happy with these, and now that I have a better steamer for my cakes, I won't have anymore issues with corn starch showing up on my fondant. For those that don't already know, steam makes fondant shiny and gets rid of all those little bits of corn starch on fondant. Just as a hair dryer does to modeling chocolate!

I shall now present, my latest confectionary masterpieces!

This first cake was for a wonderful masseuse's birthday. He requested a massage table, someone on the table, and a person standing up like they were about to give a massage. When talking to the customer, I remembered a joke he told me about his friends picking on him for having to massage "old, fat guys." I decided to give him a heavy set hairy man to massage. Let me reveal the awesomeness of this cake (besides it being a decadent strawberry-filled lemon cake with lemon buttercream.) 1. The blanket comes off to show a fat, hairy booty. 2. The table is made of Rice Krispy treats! 

The second cake was a definite challenge for me, as I had to cut every single square by hand with a pizza cutter and a measuring fondant mat. I have a rotary cutter that is supposed to cut strips of fondant to a certain length, but of course that didn't work. That would just be wayyy too easy on me. Either way, I worked hard and tried to keep myself from being a complete perfectionist and I'm happy with how the cake turned out. Decadent chocolate icing upon decadent chocolate cake. It's freakin' decadent. (I should rename this blog *Chocolate* because I can't seem to refrain myself from discussing my fondness for chocolate cake. 

Thoughts? Suggestions? All are welcome here in this baker's refuge. 


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Vacation, Cakes, Love, and FOOD!

Since I've been away from the blog for such a long time, I thought it would be a good idea for me to update you guys on everything I've been doing. I've really taken a hiatus from cake decorating since the beginning of December.  I made a really awesome Marbled Pumpkin Spiced cake for Halloween. I hand painted the fondant, which was superrr fun! I used candy corn an candy pumpkins for decorations, along with some modeling chocolate decorations and buttercream decorations. I had a blast decorating this cake! I'm still not happy with my fondant. I can never seem to get the edges straight without having to pinch something in the back. I'll have to practice more, especially now that I have a square cake pan set to work with!

In November I had a giveaway on my Big Awesome Cake's Facebook page. The two winners would receive one mini cake each, and would get to choose one of my two most popular Fall flavors: Apple Pie Cake or Spiced Pumpkin. One winner requested a fall themed Spiced Pumpkin cake. The other winner wasn't able to collect her prize until December, so she received a Winter themed Apple Pie cake!

Sometime around the end of November I got my first 21st birthday cake request. I was really scared because I've only ever done traditional type decorating. This birthday cake had to be fun and flirty and a little bit boozy. I finally came up with the perfect recipe: Bushwacker Cake! I made a coconut rum soaked cake with creme de cacao mousse filling and a Kahlua buttercream. After a few test rounds and some finite changes, the results were phenomenal. I really wanna get wasted eating that cake. *ahem* Naturally I had to give that barbie some sprinkle vomit. I got the bottle decorations that are on the cake from Etsy.

In December I started selling my annual Christmas cookie and treat tins. They were a huge hit. Unfortunately, the divinity was a big problem due to all of the rain we just happened to have those few weeks, but everything else went swimmingly (just imagine I said that in a British butler's voice.) I came up with a new cookie and a new candy to sell in the tins: Peanut Butter Swirl Old Fashioned Fudge (none of that "can of condensed milk" BS - no offense, it's just not nearly as good as the original) and Pecan Pie cookies (with a sugar cookie crust!)

My boyfriend and I took a vacation for our anniversary at the end of December. (I can't believe he's put up with me for so long. Muahahahaha I've got him hooked!)  We're usually pretty tight on funds, so I saved up just enough Money to surprise him with a trip to Louisiana. I planned it all out, paid for the hotels, which I got extreme discounts for, planned some things for us to do on our trip, and printed it all out for him to read. He was so happy he nearly cried, but if you tell anyone that I'll kill you with my icing spatula. Our first night we stayed in a lovely, beautiful, and romantic B&B in Covington, LA. We also went to the Abita brewery nearby. Beer is poison. That is all. Then we traveled to the magical land of New Orleans where we ate pork belly and king cake, among various other cajun delights. We also went to the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas.

Probably my favorite picture from the Audubon Aquarium

The B&B we stayed at before reaching New Orleans.

Savory Cheesecake at Annadele's

Audubon Aquarium

Audubon Aquarium

Big Sexy's new hat from a shop in NOLA

Caramalized Apple Stuffed French Toast from
Surrey's Juice Bar

Pork Belly Banh Mi from Booty's
It was absolutely delicious.

Our room at the Whitney Wyndham!

The view from The Riverwalk.

The bar at Booty's. 
They have local artists do installment in the bathrooms!

Our room at Annadele's B&B. 

The dog we got at 'Dat Dog. YUM.

Salu had very delicious Spanish influenced food.
(not to be confused with Mexican or Tex-Mex.)

Our dessert at Salu; Churros!

Voodoo Juice is goooood

Menu at Booty's Streetfood

Menu at Annadele's Plantation

We had a blast. We came home with empty wallets and full bellies.



Thursday, February 27, 2014

Mid 20s Crisis and A Broken Computer

So my computer broke, my boyfriend's computer broke, and I'm having a mid 20's crisis.  I feel like this:

I haven't baked or decorated a cake in months. I haven't posted a blog update in months. My only way of posting an update was through my smart phone or iPad mini and I really can't STAND typing a lot on those things. I'm a good old-fashioned keyboard lover. So guess what, y'all? I got a keyboard! It's literally the size of my hand but it allows me to vent to you all without using a touchscreen to type, so YAY! Now I just have to deal with my mid 20's crisis. I'm trying to be a grown-up and work to make a living but I also need to finish getting my degree and I really don't want to go back to school. What do I want to do, you ask? I WANT to bake and decorate cakes and sell my goods (no, not THOSE goods, jeez) and open a storefront, but I can't. The cottage food laws are different in Mobile than they are in Mississipi. It's so much more strict, that it makes it nearly impossible to get yourself out there, and even IF you are able to get out there, you're still only allowed to sell your goods at state sanctioned farmers markets.

So I'm at a crossroads. Either way I will be getting my degree, but will I continue as a baker/cake decorator or will I give up and pursue an actual career? All I know for sure is what I love to do, and that I have to remember to keep my hopes up.

Also I made these.
Cranberry Blood-Orange Sweet Rolls with Blood-Orange Glaze.

Be jealous. And remember, you are loved.


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Cake Decorating, Ninja Style part 1

I don't keep up with blog as often as I should; if it were a plant it would die, like most of my plants do. Fortunately, even though I have a brown thumb with plants, I have a vanilla thumb (?) with cake! I started this cake decorating venture about a year and a half ago and I'm extremely happy with how much I've learned. Thanks to YouTube, Google, my followers, and a million wonderfully helpful blogs on the net, I feel like I've accomplished so much over this short amount of time.

In fact, one may even call me a CAKE NINJA!

Nice pants, cake ninja.

.......Not that kind of ninja, I hope.

I have been working with fondant for a cake I designed for a friends birthday. She loves shoes just as much as me and her favorite color is red, so whilst browsing the internet I came upon this image and designed the cake based on that:

I have leftover houndstooth sugar sheets from a cake I made last year that I've been wanting to use and would be perfect for this shoe. I've never ever EVER made anything like this before, so it will be a definite challenge for me. I'll have to keep you all updated.

*Update* I did not finish the shoe in time for her birthday, as there was a death in the family. The shoe project will have to continue at another time. 

Most of the time I'm too hard on myself. Like one of my close friends says, "If I treated anyone else like I treat myself, I'd hate me!" I'm a 25 year old almost-graduate, renting a little apartment with my boyfriend and all of my animals. I don't have a store front or some crazy awesome kitchen, or even an amazing desk job where I look like a smart business woman. Speaking of smart business women: 

Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion

That last part actually sounds pretty boring, compared to the fact that I play with cake and fondant and paint ALL THE TIME! So, I started looking through all of my pictures of my completed works and I decided to be proud of myself. I've accomplished more in a year and a half than I ever thought possible. My most recent cakes were extremely successful, and I did them both on one weekend, while I was going out of town! Man I'm the bomb. (Thank you, Randy, for doing all of those dishes <3)

One order was for a boy's first birthday party, with a mustache theme. They sent me the invite, so I designed a cake and cupcakes to match the theme. I made Blueberry Lemon Zest cupcakes with chocolate mustaches, a mustache shaped smash cake, and a blue and green chevron cake with a cursive "P" on the cake. The chevron pattern and letter were made of modeling chocolate.

I searched and searched the internet to find information about applying modeling chocolate to buttercream, and all of the small amount of information that I found claimed it would work fine. In the past it's worked for certain decorations, but I've never tried to use it to replace fondant, like with this cake. It wasn't bad, but fondant definitely would have looked better. The modeling chocolate was heavier than fondant, so it started to sag on the buttercream. Other than that, everything turned out great! I used handmade stencils for the decorations. For the mustache cake, I used a grass tip and chocolate icing. I smoothed out the sides, and added the stringy texture with my decorating tip. (I tried using the fork technique thing suggested by results from Google. It failed. THE INTERNET LIED.) I think my stringy mustache looks better than the forky thing anyways :)


Well, that's the end of part one. I'll have to continue telling you about the other order I had that weekend in part 2!

Here's a sneak peak :) Have a great night everyone!