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Monday, October 26, 2009

Lots of baking!!

I've been doing lots of baking in the last couple weeks and haven't been doing the best job of cataloging all of it! Here's a quick run down:

Emma and Clara's 2nd birthday cake
Both girls are big fans of Sesame Street (can you tell?)

Clara and Emma's Sesame Street cake
(pre countertop clean up)

Clara and Emma's Sesame Street cake

Clara and Emma's Sesame Street cake

and a movie!

Red velvet cupcakes for my friend Shannon's bridal shower. Gumpaste flowers, cream cheese frosting.


Artsy flowers, thanks to Doug.

my favorite of the bunch

Trigg's elephant cupcakes
Elephant cupcakes for Trigg
Obviously, Doug wasn't around to take these photos - had to do it myself.

Jeana's Sweet 16 cake
Huge, heavy cake for a big birthday bash! Jeana's all about chocolate and peanut butter, so this cake was 6 layers of chocolate cake with peanut butter buttercream filling. I love these new funky letter molds (once I figured out how to use them, of course)




Much more to come!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Soccer Girl's Favorite Things Cake

Do you know what a moving up celebration is? I didn't, but maybe that's because my kids are still too young to leave elementary school and "move up" to middle school, but now I know! "Soccer Girl" loves the color green, and also loves monkeys, music, camping and, you guessed it by her nickname, soccer. This cake fit the bill. The cake was vanilla bean with green vanilla buttercream frosting and all the decorations are made from gumpaste and royal icing.

Soccer Girl's favorite things cake

Soccer Girl's favorite things cake

Her mom (and my online marketing idol) Ellen, wrote about the cake today on her blog, Confessions of an IT Girl. It's a great read, even when she isn't praising my cakes!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Cupcakes with kids

I bake cupcakes for kids, but am not really good at baking cupcakes with kids, including my own. I get pretty ocd when I'm baking - things have to be done just the right way, in the just right order, etc., etc., and even thinking of adding lots of little hands into the mix makes me nervous!

Self-analysis over. My friend Debbie Koenig, the talented chef, teacher, blogger and food writer, may have shown me the light. She emailed me yesterday looking for inspiration about how to make Flicker cupcakes for her son. Since Flicker is a Disney character and we're a 100% Noggin household, I had no idea who he was. Turns out he's a very cute flashlight guy and is just perfect for piping on a cupcake.

I gave her my favorite vanilla buttercream recipe and some decorating ideas and the rest is baking-with-kids magic. Check out her post about the whole adventure here. Just might have to give it another try sometime:)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Jesse's Curious George Cake

Jesse's Curious George cake

Jesse turned 2 last month and had a Curious George themed party. The cake was vanilla bean with vanilla buttercream frosting. Decorations made from gumpaste and royal icing.

Jesse's Curious George cake
I realized again that noses are really hard to draw! Fortunately the rest of it looked enough like George that the nose didn't matter.

Jesse's Curious George cake

Talia's Swimming Pool Cake

Talia's swimming pool cake

Talia turned 5 last week and had a pool party, so naturally she wanted a swimming pool cake, and she specifically asked for one with a slide. I sent her some ideas from flickr and the favorite was this one made by the wonderfully talented Kelly O'Brien of Glass Slipper Gourmet.

411: vanilla bean cake with vanilla buttercream and raspberry buttercream filling (my new favorite flavor!) decorations made with gumpaste and fondant

making of the swimming pool cake
9" and 8" cakes joined together, then I sliced a bit off the top of each top layer and cut out a smaller circle out of it to make the sides of the pool. Buttercream makes great glue!

making of the swimming pool cake
Ready for chilling overnight (by this point it was 2am!)

rolling out the gumpaste for the swimming pool cake
I used a parchment template to help cut out the gumpaste for the water, making it much easier to fit it onto the cake.

making of the swimming pool cake
Cake with water! I love the way the color isn't completely mixed in the gumpaste, so it looks a little more realistic.

making the beach ball for the swimming pool cake
The beach ball was a last-minute addition. I didn't have time for painted food coloring to dry, so I used powdered food coloring and petal dust for the colors.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Fire truck cake for Nicholas

The fire truck cupcakes were such a big hit, I thought I'd do a fire truck cake! Actually, was contacted by a friend of a friend to make a fire truck cake for her son Nicholas, who was turning 2. Nicholas has some food allergies - eggs, milk, nuts and even soy are no-nos, but butter, fortunately, was not.

Nicholas' mom gave me recipe she used to make muffins but had never tried as a cake. I modified it a bit (using butter instead of oil, upping the liquids) and it turned out pretty great (at least from the little crumbs that I was able to taste while putting it together).

All the decorations are made from gumpaste. I'm not a big fan of the alphabet cutters from Wilton, and have been using ones from Fox Run instead. These, called Tappits, are going to be my next purchase, I think, but I hear they're a little trickier to use than regular cutters.

The fire truck shape came from a Google search of fire truck coloring pages. I found one I liked the best, shrunk it on my copier and traced it on to a piece of gumpaste. Much better looking than freehand, especially when it's my hand doing the freehanding!

Nicholas' Fire Truck Cake

Nicholas' Fire Truck Cake

Friday, June 12, 2009

Happy Birthday, Max!

First it was Mets/Max cupcakes for his kindergarten class, then Max requested a racetrack cake for his actual birthday party, held at a local slot car racing place.

I've had a lot of practice making racetrack cakes, because it's the exact same cake Max requested when he turned 4 and when he turned 5! So this is racetrack cake 3.0! Cake was a combo of vanilla bean and chocolate with vanilla buttercream. Track "dirt" made from crushed chocolate cookies, grass is buttercream, all other decorations made from gumpaste.

Racetrack cake, circa 2009

max cake close up 2

max cake close up
(thanks to Flickr user CakeJournal for the race car inspiration!)

Max and Stella's racetrack cake
Racetrack cake, circa 2008

Maxie's 4th birthday cake
Racetrack cake, circa 2007

My friend Mike Schneider (no relation) says at a good blog is all about video, so here goes!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Maxie's (or Mets) Cupcakes

My sweet Maxie (a non-cupcake lover/eater, imagine that) turned 6 on June 8 and today he got to celebrate with his kindergarten class. He's a huge Mets fan and requested baseballs with a M on them. Actually, what he originally asked for was "a big green wall on each cupcake, with a baseball flying over it," but since he wasn't a paying customer I steered him in the direction of a ball with an M on it:)

Max and I agreed that there may be some people in his class who aren't Mets fans, including his teacher, so we told everyone, it's M for Max OR for Mets.

The circles and Ms are made from gumpaste, and I painted on the stripes with some powdered orange food coloring mixed with vodka. Have been looking for a reason to use the striped liners I got last year at Surfas, and I think these are a perfect combo.

Maxie's baseball cupcakes

Maxie's baseball cupcakes

Maxie's baseball cupcakes
Ready for their trip to kindergarten

Friday, June 5, 2009

Aileen's cupcakes

I'm way behind in getting photos of new things on here, but I'm just waiting until the powers-that-be decide to add a couple more hours in the day and then I'll do it!

Made these cupcakes last weekend for a friend's daughter's engagement party. 36 cupcakes with gumpaste flowers. Went a little crazy with the colors, but I think bright colors can be really fun, especially when on chocolate buttercream.

A couple of people recently asked me about the boxes I use -- BRP Box Shop is a fantastic resource for boxes of all shapes and sizes. You have to buy in quantities of 100, but if you've got the room and/or the business, it's totally worth it. You can also email them and they'll send you free samples. Their cupcake holders are the best - nothing's worse than a box full of smooshed cupcakes!

Aileen's cupcakes

Aileen's cupcakes
Love the color contrast!

Aileen's cupcakes

Aileen's cupcakes boxed up and ready to go
All boxed up and ready to go

Thursday, May 21, 2009

New website!

It's taken a while, but I've finally replaced my yucky old DYI Yahoo! Site Builder website with something a little more professional looking. Happy to report that as of this week www.sarabakescakes.com is up and running! Little kinks still to be worked out, including resizing many of the photos (what a pain in the butt!) and going through Flickr and adding more, but so far so good.

Doug won a free website design from a great company called SiteDesignWorks and he gave it to me. I was able to choose from a number of predesigned sites - ended up choosing one called Prismatic. They even designed a logo for me.

Is it my dream website for Sara Bakes Cakes? No. But is it a 1,000 times better than the old one? Absolutely. Check it out!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Fire Truck Cupcakes

Update! I'm thrilled that Cupcakes Take the Cake blogged about these cupcakes on March 27. Thanks!

I've always had a thing for firemen (they're the only guys who can really pull off a mustache), and now I have a thing for gumpaste fire trucks. My search for a MINI fire truck cookie cutter was fruitless, so I had to improvise and make my own.

Cupcakes are vanilla bean with vanilla buttercream, fire trucks are gumpaste. Couldn't decide if the ladders looked best up or down (Doug said up, I thought down) so I did some of both. Handpainted the number 4 with food coloring. If I make them again I'd probably use some silver dust to make the number pop a little more.

Fire truck cupcake close up

Fire truck cupcakes
(btw - I love these cupcake boxes and holders. They make any cupcake look that much better)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Dylan's Jungle Cake

Making and decorating cakes always makes me happy, but today's cake makes me SUPER happy. I love when the finished cake turns out better than I imagined it would.

The cake is vanilla bean, with vanilla buttercream and strawberry jam filling. Decorations are made with gumpaste and royal icing. I got new cutters for this project from Amazon - the giraffes are my favorite. Although my brother thought the yellow creature on top was either a hippo or cow, it's a very short-necked giraffe. That and the monkey are also made from gumpaste.

Dylan's Jungle Cake

Dylan's Jungle Cake close up

Dylan's Jungle Cake close up

Dylan's Jungle Cake close up

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Jaden's Basketball Cake

Vanilla bean cake with vanilla buttercream. Basketballs are made from gumpaste and royal icing. The basketball lollipops are my favorite. As usual, the photos are so great because Doug took them.

Jaden's Basketball Cake

Jaden's Basketball Cake

Jaden's Basketball Cake

close up of gumpaste basketball

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Sam's Penguin Cake

Sam's mom wanted a simple chocolate cake for a small family party she was having for his second birthday. Then she mentioned that he was really into penguins, so we decided on a chocolate cake, chocolate buttercream, with a couple of gumpaste penguins and snowballs as decorations.

I searched on flickr for ideas, but nothing jumped out at me, so I did a little experimenting.

(the poor guy on the right ended up getting the boot)

Sam has an older brother, so I decided to make a whole family of penguins. His mom tells me that three have survived - the older brother ate the biggest one, but soon realized that although gumpaste is edible, it really doesn't taste very good!

Sam's penguin cake
(yes, those white things are supposed to be snowballs, not eggs, like my husband and son thought)

Sam's penguin cake
The birthday penguin and his party crown

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Three of my favorite things (as far as t-shirts go)

Wanted to share three t-shirts I recently received. Each one is better than the next (actually, that's not true, I love them all dearly)

From Buy Olympia, and my Twitter friend Cheryl Smith:

From Dogbone Art's Etsy shop and my fabulous sister-in-law Jodie:

From Threadless and my best bud Sarah:

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Am always on the hunt for more shirts like this - let me know if you find any!