I've moved! Please come visit!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Keri's mini cupcakes

My lovely wonderful brilliant friend Keri had a rad party last weekend and she asked me to bring some mini cupcakes. I made four different buttercreams: vanilla bean, chocolate, green tea and spice with matching cake flavors. I've had a teeny can of matcha powder for a long time and was happy to have a chance to use it. I think the buttercream color is awesome.

Doug took the pictures.

Keri's mini cupcakes

Keri's mini cupcakes

Your dessert is served


For the "and then some" part of this blog:
I've been going to Brimfield, Mass at least once a year with Carol, my fantastic mother-in-law, for the last six or seven years. Three times a year Brimfield holds one of the largest open air flea/antiques markets in the country.

We went last Friday and it was a great day. We don't really go with anything particular in mind, but always end up with some interesting treasures at the end of the day. The things at Brimfield run the gamut from $10,000 credenzas to tents filled with stuff you couldn't pay me to take away!

My favorite tents are the ones where I can't afford anything - there are at least two or three places with the most fantastic collections of glassware from the 40s and 50s, stuff I'm obsessed with but have no more room for and to be honest, how many sets of primary colored Pyrex bowls can one girl have or use? I just like to look at everything all together.

There's always a lot of haggling there, but this year the buys seemed better than most. I left with an old glass creamer and sugar set, more vintage dish towels (trying to break my addiction to paper towels), an enamelware mixing bowl, another old apron (when/if I start a bakery, I'll have the best-dressed staff in town), and a cool piece of backyard folk art - a painted flower made out of horseshoes (should have taken a photo, because it's much cooler than it sounds!).

Posting some other photos to get a feel of the place. Get there if you can, and keep your fingers crossed for nice weather!

creamer and sugar bowl
First purchase - $5!

Azurite at Brimfield
Even at 20% off, it's still too expensive

bodies in a trunk
Bodies in a trunk

vintage tricycles
Love these

My new dishtowels

glassware and bakelite
More glass

Brimfield tents
Brimfield tents

Rehearsal Dinner Cake

I've mentioned before that I work very part-time at Provisions, a fantastic little bakery/cafe in Pelham, NY. (For local Westchester readers, it just won "Best Prepared Foods South" in Westchester Magazine's Best Of 2008 awards). The owner, Nannette Conners, received a request a couple of weeks ago from a soon-to-be bride who wanted a cake that recreated the night she and her now-fiancee got engaged. They were on a futon and both were wearing casual clothes (she was in black and white checked pajama pants - a detail that you'll see later in the photos).

I made the people (I still don't know their names, so I've been calling them Ken and Barbie) out of gumpaste, something I've never done before but thought it would be fun to try. It was fun, but I decided almost at the beginning that they DEFINITELY were going to be cartoony-looking people, rather than trying to replicate them exactly.

In addition to the checked pj pants, she (Barbie) gave us specifics -- he (Ken) was wearing a blue shirt and a backwards baseball cap, she wore a pink t-shirt and had on big silver hoop earrings, AND there was a leopard print pillow on the couch next to her.

My favorite part about Barbie was the hair. I used a garlic press to make it, but gumpaste is incredibly sticky and completely gummed up the press the first couple times I used it. The bangs came together perfectly, and there was actually some resemblance!

The next day I transported Barbie and Ken in a shoe box to the bakery where I worked with Nanette to figure out how to make the cake. Turned out it was easy enough. We stacked two sheet cakes, cut it in half, and cut one of the pieces in half again. It looked a little top heavy, so I took of one layer and we had the dimensions we were looking for. The complete perfectionist side of me wanted to spend the next four hours making the futon look as realistic as possible, but I had to move on!

My first thought with the checked pants was to use black food coloring (liquid food coloring watered down with vodka works best) to paint black dots on the pants but this time the perfectionist side of me won out and I hand painted the checks on the pants. In the future I'd probably just do the dots because that was easily the longest process of the whole projected!

Two minutes before closing time I put Ken and Barbie on the couch of a trial run - they looked pretty good, and I hear the bride was happy. I'm looking forward to doing more of these - anyone need a gumpaste likeness of themselves?

boy in a box
Ken, without a hat or hair

here she is
Barbie, including silver hoop earrings

finishing up the pants
Painting Barbie's pants

Cutting the cake, a little too top heavy

Finished cake!
The finished cake!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Gabe's snake cake

I've had this post sitting in my drafts file for a week and I'm finally getting it together to post. Gabe turned 5 at the end of June and requested a snake cake -- specifically, one that "looked like a giraffe." I had no idea how I was going to make a cake big enough to feed the hoards of kids at his party (40+) with just one snake (and a 13" x 17" board), so decided late the night before to add a bottom layer made out of two 9x9 cakes. Cake was chocolate with vanilla bean buttercream (pretty much the only buttercream I'm making these days - it's that good!). To make the snake I made 4 6" layers and split each one. Then assembeled three cakes with three layers each, all spackled together with buttercream. Cut a hole in the middle of them and then sliced in half sideways and pieced it together. I used the remaining 2 layers to cut out the head and the tail (the remainder of the cake is still in my freezer, where it's slowly being chipped away by Doug and I).

The scales are made out of gumpaste which I cut into diamond shapes a couple of days before. Bad move - they were way too hard to bend on the cake, so I placed them on the night before and by morning had melted enough to smoosh them on. Finally, my overly warm kitchen is good for something! Last thing - see the nose? I didn't even think about snake's having noses until my 5yr old told me. Learning new things every day!
snake cake, making of the
Bottom layer

snake cake, making of the
One of three three-layered 6" cakes

snake cake, making of the
Piecing the snake together

snake cake, making of the
Snake on a cake (this one is really blurry for some reason, not sure why)

snake cake, making of the
Adding the head and the tail

snake cake, making of the
Frosted snake

snake cake, making of the
Pointy scales

Gabe's cake
The finished cake, taken by Doug, in our attic studio