Retro Rocket Cake and Dessert Table

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Hudson's 1st Birthday Cake

Hudson’s 1st Birthday Cake

This is my little baby boy’s 1st birthday cake.  I made some curtains for his nursery out of an adorable fabric by Michael Miller called Retro Rocket Rascals, and I just couldn’t get enough of it, so I decided it would also be the theme for his first birthday.

Bottom Tier of Cake

Bottom Tier of Cake

The white decorations on this cake are made of gum paste, and created using the Cricut Cake Machine.  I got my Cricut machine a few years ago and haven’t used it a ton, but it is great for cutting out intricate, detailed decorations.

Rocket men

Rocket men

A lot of work went into making the retro rocket boy figure atop the cake.  When making a special figure, I often make two just in case something happens to one. Everything here is made out of fondant and gum paste with spaghetti used for the supports.

Retro rocket boy face

Retro rocket boy face

I made a lot of different faces because it took a while to get it just right.  The hair is made of royal icing, and I used luster dust to color the cheeks.

Second retro rocket face

Second retro rocket face

Here is the alternate face.  In this photo you can see that the royal icing hair is still wet.  The black part of the eye is painted using AmeriColor Super Black gel paste.

Finished retro rocket figure

Finished retro rocket figure

Hudson loves a party, and he actually had two parties for his 1st birthday!

Retro Rocket Dessert Table

Retro Rocket Dessert Table

I saved the top tier of his cake to make the cupcake tree for the dessert table.

Top Tier of cake

Top Tier of cake

There were a lot of fun treats for the babies, and I found some straws that fit the retro rocket theme!

Peach Juice

Peach Juice

The paper cups and pretzel cups are from Meri Meri and Paper Eskimo.  I love all of the cute stuff they come up with!

White fudge covered pretzels

White fudge covered pretzels

Popcorn isn’t baby safe, but having snacks for parents is always a good idea!

Kettlecorn

Kettlecorn

These rocket pop cookies were a big hit with the kids.

Rocket pop cookies

Rocket pop cookies

The cupcake toppers and “Happy Birthday Hudson” banners were made using the Cricut Cake machine. I love these Red Wave Baking Cups from Wilton.

Cupcake tree

Cupcake tree

Hudson loved all of the birthday festivities and attention!  He is one perfect little guy!

Hudson eating cake

Hudson eating cake


Teddy Bear Cake Pops

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Teddy Bear Cake Pops

Teddy Bear Cake Pops

My son just turned two, and we had a teddy bear picnic themed party to celebrate!  I wanted to make some extra special treats for the kids, and thought teddy bear cake pops would be perfect!  I don’t have much experience with cake pops, so I stuck to the basics.  I used store bought cake mix and frosting because I was short on time, and didn’t know how difficult this project would be.  It turns out that cake pops are pretty easy and fun to make, so next time I won’t hesitate to branch out with different flavors and frostings.

Cake pop mixture texture

Cake pop mixture texture

Here is what the cake pop mixture looked like.  I baked one box of cake mix in a 9×13 pan and then crumbled it up and added about 3/4 of a container of store bought chocolate frosting.

Cake pop balls

Cake pop balls

Next I rolled the mixture into balls.  These are about 1″ in diameter.  I set them on a parchment lined pan to prevent sticking.

Cake pops on sticks

Cake pops on sticks

I used 4-1/2″ lollipop sticks for these cake pops.  To get the cake balls to stay put on the lollipop sticks, I dipped the end of each stick into the melted chocolate about 1/2″ deep.  Then I immediately stuck the lollipop stick into the cake ball and placed it on the styrofoam block to dry.

Dipping the cake pops

Dipping the cake pops

I used two 12 ounce bags of Wilton light cocoa candy melts to cover 48 cake pops.  The Wilton melts worked wonderfully because they were the perfect consistency.  With other brands, I usually have to add shortnening or paramount crystals to thin the coating; but with the Wilton melts I didn’t!  Pouring the chocolate into a tall narrow glass like this pint glass is helpful because it allows you to get the most dips out of your chocolate.

Dipped cake pop

Dipped cake pop

My technique for dipping each pop is to fully submerge the pop in chocolate and then pull it directly back out without swirling the pop around in the chocolate.  I found that if I moved the cake pop around in the chocolate, there was a much higher chance that it would fall off of the stick.  When I dipped the pop straight in and back out, I had almost no problem with cake pops falling off the sticks.  Once I had the pop out of the chocolate, I would swirl it around right near the surface of the chocolate (as shown in the above picture) to get excess chocolate off.

Cake pops drying

Cake pops drying

The cake pops dried surprisingly quickly (probably withing 10 minutes).  You can see the change in sheen once the pops are dry to the touch.

Rolling out the muzzle

Rolling out the muzzle

The next step is decorating the pops!  This is the fun part!  I used fondant for the decorations and colored three small pieces brown, black, and tan.  I used AmeriColor chocolate brown, super black, and ivory gel pastes to get the shades that I wanted.  For the muzzles I rolled out the tan fondant using my small fondant rolling pin with pink bands.

Tools

Tools

I used the bottom of a standard decorating tip to cut out the circle that forms the muzzle or mouth area of the bear.  The toothpick cut in half is used to make a small hole for the mouth.

Cutting out muzzle

Cutting out muzzle

Decorating tips work great when you don’t have a small enough circle cutter for what you are doing.

Making the ears

Making the ears

To make the teddy bear ears, I rolled a bunch of small brown balls of fondant and used a fondant sculpting tool to indent the center of each ear.

Cutting the ears

Cutting the ears

I cut each of the indented ovals using an x-acto knife and used the top portion as an ear.  Originally I cut these in half to make two ears, but I found that the ears were too small so I just cut them about 3/4 of the way to the bottom and re-rolled the excess fondant.

Eyes and nose

Eyes and nose

The eyes and nose are just small balls of black fondant rolled into oval shapes. The eyes should be smaller than the nose and more oval in shape.

Plain undecorated cake pop

Plain undecorated cake pop

Once you have the eyes, nose, ears, and muzzle all ready to go, things come together pretty quickly.  Here is a plain cake pop with no decoration.

Step 1 - Add the muzzle

Step 1 – Add the muzzle

Step 1 – Add the muzzle.  My fondant was sticky enough that it adhered to the cake pop just by itself.  If you are working with a drier texture of fondant, you could use melted chocolate or royal icing to stick the details to the pop.

Adding the ears

Step 2 – Adding the ears

Step 2 – Add the ears. Put them on the cake pop so that you can easily see them when you take a step back.

Step 3 - Add the nose

Step 3 – Add the nose

Step 3 – Add the nose.  Again my fondant was very sticky so the nose easily stuck to the muzzle, but you could use a bit of water to get the nose to adhere.

Step 4 - Create the mout

Step 4 – Create the mouth

Step 4 – Create the mouth.  I used a cut toothpick to make a tiny hole for the mouth.  For the teddy bear pop that is smiling in the first picture of this blog, I just used a fondant sculpting tool with a flat edge.  You could also use the tip of a ruler.

Step 5 - Add the eyes

Step 5 – Add the eyes

Step 5 – Add the eyes.  Here is where your teddy bear really comes to life!

Cute teddy bear cake pop

Cute teddy bear cake pop

The only problem with these cake pops is that they are almost too cute to eat!

Bow-tie bear

Bow-tie bear

I had a great time making these cake pops, and will definitely make more cake pops in the future, but as I learned at Hudson’s party, they do have one limitation, heat. The temperature was 82 degrees, and even in the shade it wasn’t cool enough for these poor bears!

Melted teddy bear cake pop

Melted teddy bear cake pop

 


Where the Wild Things Are Cake

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Wild Things Cake

Wild Things Cake

This is a very special cake that I made for my husband’s 30th birthday.  The book, Where the Wild Things Are, is his favorite children’s book; and as you can probably tell, this cake was inspired by that beloved classic children’s story by Maurice Sendak.

Max in his boat

Max in his boat

This cake is super detailed, and my husband had a lot to do with that.  He loves designs that are very realistic, intricate, and detailed, and this cake is a perfect illustration of his style.  The cakes I usually create are a bit more clean and simple, so I definitely made and exception for this one.  But the bottom line is that you really want the recipient to love the cake, especially when it’s your husband!

Monsters

Monsters

Dog

Dog

 

 

 

 

 

 

This cake is frosted with buttercream, and the figures are all fondant that has been etched and painted with food coloring.  The buttercream waves on the top of the cake are probably my favorite feature.

Sea Monster

Sea Monster

My second favorite thing is this sea monster.  It reminds me of the Loch Ness Monster and I just love the colors.

More monsters

More monsters

Bottom Tier

Bottom Tier

 

 

 

 

 

 

Each tier of this cake is covered in scenes from the book.  It’s hard to capture all of the details, because the scenes wrap all the way around the cake for a full 360 effect.

Room and Monster

Room and Monster

Tent and palm

Tent and palm

 

 

 

 

 

 

There were so many different colors of buttercream for this cake, I had a real mess on my hands in the kitchen!

Cake in progress

Cake in progress

There were so many details on this cake, both of our sisters had to jump in and lend a hand with the fondant figures.  Thank you sooo much Abi and Leandra! This cake was truly a family affair and there was a lot of heart and soul put into the making of it!

Goodnight

Goodnight


Sunny Yellow Gerber Daisy How-To

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Gum Paste Gerber Daisy

Gum Paste Gerber Daisy

Edible flowers are wonderful decorations for cakes, cupcakes and more.  I made these gum paste flowers for the bottom tier of a wedding cake, and I love the vibrant colors.  Gum paste flowers are easy to create and make a big impression.  Keep reading for a step-by-step on making the yellow Gerber Daisy in this photo.  There are so many different techniques for making beautiful edible flowers, and I am excited to share my tips on making this simple and sweet yellow Gerber Daisy.

Flowers in flower forming cups

Flowers in flower forming cups

To make this sunny yellow Gerber Daisy, start with some bright yellow gum paste.  I make my gum paste by simply adding Tylose powder (1.5 tsp per pound) to my fondant.  I generally add the Tylose after I have mixed my color into the fondant, but you can add the Tylose to uncolored fondant and then color it as well. The color used to make this vibrant shade of yellow is AmeriColor Lemon Yellow. Once you have your gum paste colored, you need to roll it out to about 1/16″ and cut out the flower shape using the largest cutter from this daisy cutter set.  I like to use my small fondant rolling pin with the pink bands for rolling out gum paste; it makes it easy to get that perfectly uniform thickness that you need when working with small detailed items like flowers. Once you have your flowers cut out, place them gently into your flower forming cups.  These cups help your flowers to form into a natural cupped shape while drying. If you don’t have flower forming cups, not to worry, you can use a regular drinking glass.  Just cover the top of the glass loosely with plastic wrap and then push down lightly to create a little hammock for your flower.

Feathered petals

Feathered petals

To make the small feathered petals that surround the center of the flower, use the smallest cutter from the Wilton fondant daisy shapes cut out set. Roll your gum paste as thin as possible to make these shapes.  Cut the six-pointed flowers in half and then cut each point down the center to make two points.

Cutting the daisy shapes

Cutting the daisy shapes

Push the outside points of the cut flowers inward so that the little petals are bunched together.  For the base of the Gerber Daisy, stick two large daisy cut outs together, using a bit of water, so that the petals are staggered. Now you are ready to stick the feathered petal pieces to the rest of the flower.

Putting the petals on the Gerber Daisy

Putting the petals on the Gerber Daisy

Use a tiny bit of water to stick the feathered petal pieces to the center of the flower. If necessary, use small pieces of parchment paper between the top and bottom daisy cut outs to keep the flower petals from sticking to each other while drying.  The parchment can also help add dimension and texture to the flower.  Stick a few pieces of parchment between the petals and remove them once the flower is dry.

Petals in the center of Gerber Daisy

Petals in the center of Gerber Daisy

Continue to work your way all around the center of the daisy until the tiny petals make a full circle.

Gerber Daisy tiny petals

Gerber Daisy tiny petals

Continue adding more small feathered petals until you have several layers of texture.  There are three full circles of feathered petals on this flower.

Sunny Yellow Gerber Daisy

Sunny Yellow Gerber Daisy

For the center, roll a small ball of dark brown gum paste and flatten the ball into a small circle.  To get the texture shown on the center of this flower, press the gum paste circle against the bottom of a medium sieve. The harder you press, the more pronounced the texture will be.  Luckily if you overdo it, you can just re-roll the ball and try again.  Attach the center using a dab of water, and your sunny yellow Gerber Daisy is complete! Experiment with different color combinations and designs.  The fun thing about edible flowers is that there are no rules!  You can make them look as realistic or whimsical as you like, so just have fun!


Pink and Black Dessert Table

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Pink and Black Dessert Bar

Pink and Black Dessert Bar

Dessert bars are so much fun, I knew I couldn’t resist when my friend, Amanda, told me she wanted one for her 30th birthday.  I was completely sold on it once she told me the colors were hot pink and black! This was the first dessert table I had ever done, so I put a lot of time into baking and planning.

Pink and Black Dessert Bar

Pink and Black Dessert Bar

The party was held at my friend’s tasting room, Malm Cellars, so I knew I would need to transport all of the desserts and items for setup.  Creating a dessert table requires a lot of coordinating, and having some store bought items can make things a bit easier.

Dessert Bar

Dessert Bar

Lucky for me, there were a wide variety of store bought candies and confections that fit the pink and black color scheme.  I purchased pink snowballs, black jelly beans, Good and Plenty candy, black and white ribbon candy, black licorice, white mini meringues, pink stripe candy sticks, white fudge covered pretzels, pink and white ice candy, white nonpareil gumdrops, pink rock candy, M&Ms (in pink, black, and white), black and white peppermints, and pink button candy.

Snowballs

Snowballs

The items that I made were chocolate covered cheesecake hearts, mini pink velvet cupcakes, mini pink macarons, and pink rice krispy treats.

Truffles

Truffles

If you are running short on items, you can always wrap truffles in tissue and tie with a bow that coordinates with your color scheme.

Button Candy

Button Candy

I love the button candy because the little dots really pop and make such a cute display.  I just cut the pink portion from a rainbow strip of button candy and then used tape to secure it into a roll. The stacked rolls add a lot of visual interest.

Cheesecake Hearts

Cheesecake Hearts

The cheesecake hearts are a crowd pleaser and I am always looking for desserts on sticks because they add height to the dessert table.  Whether it’s cake pops, cookie pops, pie pops, or cheesecake pops like these, I like to include at least one “pop” item on every dessert table.

Candy in apothecary jars

Candy in apothecary jars

Apothecary jars filled with colorful candies are a great addition to any dessert table.  Getting enough candy to fill the containers can be pricey and one way around this is to make some of the items or fill the jars with large items that take up a lot of space.  I love to include rice krispy treats in my dessert tables because people really do love them (they are almost always gone first), and you can make them in any color just by adding food coloring to the melted marshmallows. You can also cut them into different shapes and sizes using a cookie cutter sprayed with non-stick spray.

Candy

Candy

The mini pink velvet cupcakes are a smaller version of my pretty n punk cupcakes.  They are frosted with vanilla buttercream and topped with black sugar pearls.  I still love Bella Cupcake Couture cupcake wraps, and these are the mini version of their Lu Lu Damask Black and White wrapper.

Dessert Bar

Dessert Bar

You may want to consider offering some gluten free or sugar free items for people with dietary restrictions.  The french macarons are made with almond flour so they are perfect for gluten free guests.  Also rice kripy treats, meringues, and most hard candies and jelly beans are gluten free.

Mini pink velvet cupcakes

Mini pink velvet cupcakes

Here are some photos of the dessert bar items in the making.  I use sheets of shelf liner cut to fit my baking sheets to prevent the cupcakes from sliding around.

Chocolate Cheesecake Hearts

Chocolate Cheesecake Hearts

Chocolate covered cheesecake is not only delicious, but also easy to store.  I freeze these pops and store them between sheets of parchment paper in plastic ziploc containers right up until the event.  They thaw very quickly and some people prefer the taste of them frozen!

Sparkly macaron tops

Sparkly macaron tops

I just love these sparkly macaron tops! Pipe your macarons and then dust with a sprinkling of hot pink sanding sugar to get this effect. All these sweets are making me hungry!

Dessert Table from the top

Dessert Table from the top

Amanda had a great birthday, and the guests enjoyed overdosing on sugar, so I think my first dessert bar was a success.  I had a fun time with it, and I hope you had fun taking a look.  I am always looking for new ideas and items to include, and would love to hear any of your dessert bar tips, tricks, and adventures!