Favorite Quote Ever :)

A party without cake is just a meeting (and not a very fun one, at that!)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

2014 North Carolina State Fair Competition Cake

I always struggle SO much with deciding on a design to attempt for my State Fair cake - I like to use my competition cake as a way of pushing myself and trying new things and I just always have so many techniques or things on my "cake decorating bucket list" that it's just so hard to choose! Thankfully this idea wasn't too hard to settle on! I've slowly been working my way through learning various sugar flowers and thought it would be fun to really create a lot of them to go on a cake - certainly more than I've ever attempted to make & place before! I also wanted to attempt some wood grain and can't even begin to say how excited I am with the outcome there - most folks don't realize the bottom tier is fondant as well until I tell them, so taking that as a good sign. It's hard to see in my photos, but I also made one of the white tiers slightly different - when kneading my fondant, I mixed in some pumpkin pie spice to give it little "flecks" that almost resemble linen! My family will be visiting the Fair on Monday, so we'll see if my attempts garnered a ribbon then :)




Monday, October 13, 2014

Sweet Potato Cupcakes

Ah, Fall baking! A pretty big part of why I love Fall so much! :) Give these a try if you dare...you won't be able to stop eating them!

Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Maple Cinnamon Swiss Meringue & Sugared Pecans

Sugared Pecans:
1 cup chopped pecans
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
2 tbsp heavy cream
Cooking Spray
-Preheat oven to 350 F. In a small bowl, combine pecans, brown sugar and heavy cream. Mix thoroughly. Spread into a baking pan, sprayed with cooking spray. Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes, or until coating is dry and slightly crystalized, stirring once. Remove from oven to cool and stir once more.

Cupcakes:
1&1/4 cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp allspice
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
¾ cup sugar
6 tbsp butter, at room temperature
6 ounces (or one small) sweet potatoes, peeled & diced
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla
-Heat the oven to 350 F and line a 12 cup cupcake pan with paper liners. Steam the sweet potatoes until fork tender, about ten minutes. Set aside to cool slightly then mash with a fork until smooth. In a medium bowl cream together the butter and sugar until light in color, about three minutes. Add the egg, sweet potato, buttermilk and vanilla. Mix until well combined. In a large bowl sift the flour, spices, baking powder, baking soda and salt together. Pour the wet mixture into the dry and whisk until no large lumps remain. Do not over mix. Divide the batter evenly between the baking cups. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until the cakes are golden brown and spring back when lightly pressed in the center. Cool for three minutes in the pan then remove the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.

Buttercream:
2-3 large egg whites (75 grams)
½ cup plus 2 tbsp light brown sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp maple flavoring
Pinch of salt
Pinch of cinnamon
-Add egg whites, brown sugar and salt to mixing bowl and simmer over a pot of water (not boiling), whisking constantly but gently, until temperature reaches 160 F. With whisk attachment of mixer, begin to whip until the meringue is thick, glossy and the bottom of the bowl feels neutral to the touch (This can take up to 10 minutes or so). Switch over to paddle attachment and, with mixer on low speed, add softened butter in chunks until incorporated, and mix until it has reached a silky smooth texture. Add vanilla, maple flavoring and cinnamon, continuing to beat on low speed until well combined.
 Pipe buttercream on top of cooled cupcakes and top with sugared pecans, if so desired. Enjoy!

*Makes 12 cupcakes

Owl First Birthday

Fun little buttercream cake to match the birthday girl's party invitations! Vanilla cake, vanilla buttercream filling and frosting with fondant details.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Navy & Coral Wedding Cake (And an Exceptional Location!)

I had the pleasure of not only making this lovely bride's wedding cake, but also attending her wedding - set at Willow Oaks Plantation in Eden, NC. And let me just say...the drive was worth it! With the sun setting just as the couple completed their vows - it was truly magical! The couple selected several flavors, their favorite being quite a popular choice this time of year, pumpkin spice with cinnamon cream cheese filling. They also chose chocolate with caramel swiss meringue, vanilla with vanilla swiss meringue and red velvet with vanilla cream cheese. The cake was covered in fondant with piped scrollwork and a ribbon at the base of each tier. I created coral pink peonies from gum paste to top everything off - loved working on those!


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Spiderman Birthday Cake

I've had quite a few requests for Batman cakes, but finally a Spiderman cake! Had so much fun with this one! Vanilla and Chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream filling, covered in fondant with fondant details.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Sofia the First Cake & Cupcakes

Who doesn't love this cute, spunky little Princess? A fun cake with matching cupcakes for a Sofia the First fan :) All fondant decor, gum paste tiara and toy Sofia figure.


Monday, September 8, 2014

Watermelon (Cake!)

So this little mini-cake (only a 4" round) and matching cupcakes was made for a bridal shower - loved, loved, LOVED the theme! Unfortunately the flavor isn't watermelon - could not find a SINGLE watermelon when I went shopping for the ingredients! (I know - really?!) Instead, I used gel coloring to tint the vanilla cake pinkish-red, mixed in mini chooclate chips for "seeds" and then paired that with green buttercream - watermelon flavor, no - but still cute and tasty!


Saturday, July 26, 2014

Doc McStuffins & Minnie Mouse Birthday

What do you do when the birthday girl loves Doc McStuffins -and- Minnie Mouse? You give her both on her cake, of course! Marble cake, vanilla buttercream filling, covered in fondant with fondant details and a toy Doc topper. So much fun to design and bring to life!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Ninjago Birthday

I'm actually quite surprised that I haven't had a request for a Ninjago cake before now (especially that I haven't had a request from my son being the Lego nut he is!) Really had fun with this design! Chocolate cake, vanilla buttercream filling, covered in fondant with fondant details and vanilla cupcakes with vanilla buttercream and fondant toppers.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

One Direction Birthday

I get so excited when I receive a "call to action" from Icing Smiles, Inc.! I do believe this was cake #4 that I've been blessed to work on for them - the birthday girl was a BIG One Direction fan! The cake was vanilla and chocolate with vanilla buttercream, covered in fondant with fondant details and I'm told it was a hit with the birthday girl!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Pink Sugar Peony & A Highly Recommended Online Class!

I am so excited to share my picture with you today! My very first open sugar peony - I have been wanting to tackle one of these for FOREVER!! Finally did with the help of a great class available on Craftsy - have you had a chance to check their offerings out yet? If not, I highly recommend it! They do have a number of free classes and tutorials available, but this one was SO worth the $! And compared to live classes, extremely affordable at only $20! (I did snag it when it was 1/2 off!) The class I just finished is "Cakes in Full Bloom" by Erin Gardner - again, she show some beautiful techniques and how-to's on sugar flowers - a really fun and well-done class! (And no, I haven't been paid a dime to review this class - just wanted to share!) My peony still has a way to go before I'm completely happy with it...but so excited to finally attempt one - always a work in progress! :)


Thursday, July 3, 2014

"Preppy" Floral Striped Birthday Cake

This fun little cake was designed based on the Birthday girl's party invitation - it featured the same bold stripes and colorful flowers that adorn the cake - I just fell in love with them! This was a vanilla cake with lemon swiss meringue filling, covered in fondant with fondant details.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Teacher Retirement Celebration Cake

So, a few weeks ago I had the ultimate privilege of making a cake for one of my very favorite high school teachers, who just retired. I will never, EVER forget how he took his own personal time after school to help me when I was struggling with Algebra - ended up becoming one of my favorite subjects in school! My class as a whole was probably quite the "challenge" for my math teacher - but he was there every day with a smile (and usually a corny joke or two!) I hope he enjoys his new "job" - enjoying time with his family and grandkids! :) I found complete inspiration for this cake design from the fabulous "Icing on the Cake"! The cake was vanilla with vanilla swiss meringue and chocolate with vanilla swiss meringue, covered in fondant with all fondant/gum paste details.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Hunger Games Cake

This was (I believe!) my 3rd cake I've had the utmost pleasure of working on for Icing Smiles, Inc.! I was contacted about working on a cake for a very special young lady celebrating her 17th birthday -and- it just so happened she was a HUGE Hunger Games fan! (Um, can you say - match made in Heaven?!) Knowing the AMAZING team over at Duke Children's Hospital goes ALL OUT decorating & planning for these kids - I knew the cake needed to be just as fun! I made Miss Hannah a chocolate cake, with chocolate vanilla buttercream filling, covered in fondant with fondant & gum paste details. Really loved how well the Mockingjay topper turned out - I cut out the circle using some of my cutters, then just formed the mockingjay itself by hand - started with a lump of gum paste! (Really glad it came out looking like a bird lol!)

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Double Minion Birthday Cake

As one of my "standing" yearly requests - I always enjoy finding out what theme this little guy is going with for his birthday! This year's was a "minion" theme, from Despicable Me and I couldn't have been more excited - especially since the overall design was completely left up to me! I wanted to attempt a cake using not only the familiar yellow minions we've all become so accustomed to, but also the crazy-haired purple minions as well, and I was so pleased with how these party animals turned out! The cake consisted of one tier of chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream filling and one of vanilla buttermilk cake with vanilla buttercream filling, covered in fondant with fondant details. Have to admit, I was kind of sad to have to let these guys go! ;)


Friday, May 23, 2014

Buttercream Minnie Mouse Cake

I love making pretty, girly cakes - what can I say? I SO enjoyed making this little Minnie Mouse themed cake for my Nephew's little girl, who turned two years old - she's such a cutie! I wanted to decorate this cake with mainly buttercream - I love covering cakes in fondant, and tend to do mainly that - but really wanted to practice my buttercream. Still need SO much practice there! This was a chocolate and strawberry cake, with vanilla swiss meringue buttercream filling and frosting and fondant accents. I used one of my lovely cutters from Not Just Cakes by Annie to cut the name plaque from some white fondant, pulled up a picture of "Disney Font" on my iphone, and used that as a guide to freehand the birthday girl's name (using an edible food-color marker) - have to admit, I was pretty pleased with how well it turned out!


Monday, March 10, 2014

Well hi, there! Long time no post?!

Well...I have not been held captive, not kidnapped by aliens and not taken some time to "find myself"! I have to admit that I did *slightly* forget about my blog for a time...shameful, I know! I AM trying to not over-schedule myself with cake projects though - I'm trying, really I am! So even though I am posting now, just know that my posts will probably not be as frequent as they had been in the past! So, on to cakes!

For now, I'm just going with one of my favorite cakes from 2013 - my entry for the North Carolina State Fair Decorated Cakes competition - my entry was for the "Decorated for Wedding" category. I have always enjoyed looking at all the entries - even before I started "playing" with cakes! It's just so much fun to see what everyone brings. I tried to go with a slightly "North Carolina" themed cake using our state flower, the dogwood, as the main feature of my cake. These were my first attempt at making dogwood blossoms out of gum paste and I really enjoyed using petal dust to make them come to life! I also had a lot of fun working on the ruffled layers - it was a time consuming technique, but a fun one as well! I was so very excited to find a blue ribbon on my cake when we visited the Fair and as usual - I'm already enjoying thinking about what I'd like to attempt next time! :)


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Breakfast at Tiffany's Birthday

This was my 2nd call to action from Icing Smiles, Inc. - I was so very excited to be asked to create a cake for Miss KeeCee who was turning 17! The hospital let me know they were throwing a "Breakfast at Tiffany's" themed party (which is just one of my absolute favorite themes!). The cakes were vanilla buttermilk with vanilla buttercream filling, covered in fondant with fondant details. I was so very blessed to be able to meet KeeCee's parents and her staff of caregivers when I delivered the cake - isn't it funny how you're trying to be a blessing to someone else and you end up being the one that's truly blessed?!

If you're a baker - please check out Icing Smiles - I guarantee you there will never be anything close to the experience of putting a smile on a child's face when they're going through such a tough time!

Icing Smiles, Inc. - Website




Friday, August 2, 2013

Blue Chevron Ombre

This is one of my first buttercream cakes I've been truly happy with! I still struggle so much with getting my buttercream to look the way I want it too - something I'm continuing to work on! :) Vanilla buttermilk cake, vanilla buttercream filling and frosting. I used my "Marvelous Molds" brand chevron mold/cutter to make the fondant chevron strips and piped the buttercream ruffles on the top tier. The fondant/gum paste topper was cut using one of my fabulous cutters from "Not Just Cakes by Annie" - was so happy to finally get to use that!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Elegant White Wedding Cake

Well, here's the monster of a wedding cake I survived! ;) Wedding cake for my Cousin's outdoor reception (that had me hyperventilating alone) - alternating tiers of chocolate cake with chocolate ganache filling and lemon blueberry cake with cream cheese filling, covered in fondant with fondant details and gum paste hydrangeas. The lace and hydrangeas were to coordinate with their wedding colors and they loved cakes that had fondant draping and the "C" for their newly shared last name. I really was so pleased with how everything came together and the fact that I (and the cake) survived the delivery!!




Friday, June 7, 2013

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Cupcakes

After seeing a picture on Pinterest of a cupcake with this styling, I was inspired to create my own using recipes already on hand - I was quite pleased with the results and this turned out to be such a yummy (albeit rich!) flavor combination! Rich, chocolate cupcakes dipped in chocolate ganache, fluffy peanut butter buttercream, another drizzle of chocolate ganache, topped off with a mini pretzel and a sprinkling of sea salt!

S'mores Cupcakes

Mmm...a new love of mine - s'mores cupcakes! I make these by using my favorite moist chocolate cupcake, topped with a marshmallow frosting, rimmed with crushed graham crackers which is then put under the oven broiler for just a minute or two. Then I take a bite (especially good when just out from under the broiler) of the melty, chocolatey, marshmallowy goodness :)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Gardenia Anniversary Cake

Simple little cake for a couple's 15th Wedding Anniversary! They requested purple and gardenias be incorporated and this is what I came up with. I was pretty happy with my first attempt at a gum paste gardenia! :)

Monday, May 20, 2013

Pirate Ship Birthday

This was a birthday cake for one of the sweetest little guys I know - our good friends' little one turning 3! He loves Veggie Tales and ADORES the Pirates Who Don't Do Anything, so Mom requested a pirate ship cake! The cake was strawberry with vanilla swiss meringue filling, covered in fondant with fondant/hand painted details. The sails were just printed card stock. :)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Leopard Print Baby Bottom Cake

This being my first attempt at a "baby bottom" cake, I was quite pleased the little feet came out looking like...well, feet! :) Strawberry cake, vanilla buttercream frosting and fondant details. I hand painted the leopard print design.

Zebra Print Cakes!

Zebra print cakes have been quite popular as of late! Worked on both a brightly colored zebra print Sweet 16 and a zebra print 21st! :) Hand painted zebra print on both cakes was fun to do!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Instagram

So, if any of you are on Instagram, feel free to give me a "follow" :) My photos are mostly cakes or cupcakes   (go figure!) with the occasional kiddo or nature photo thrown in - so if that sounds like it might be up your alley, come on by! http://instagram.com/beckyann79

Puppy & Kitty Cupcakes

Fun little cupcakes for a special girl's birthday - she LOVES puppies & kitties (obviously)! Chocolate cupcakes, chocolate buttercream and custom fondant toppers.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Owl Birthday

Fun birthday goodies designed to match party plates :) Vanilla cake and cupcakes with vanilla buttercream, covered in fondant with fondant details. Fondant cupcake toppers as well.

Beachy Birthday

Fun, beach themed goodies for a special lady's birthday! Vanilla buttermilk cake and cupcakes with vanilla swiss meringue buttercream and fondant details. Shells and starfish were molded chocolate.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Jungle Baby Shower

Cake designed to match "King of the Jungle" party ware for a baby shower! Vanilla buttermilk and chocolate cake, vanilla buttercream filling, covered in fondant with fondant details.

Mickey Mouse Times Two!

This was the second year I've had the pleasure of making birthday cakes for these two little cuties! They had a Seuss themed first birthday last year and this year they went with Mickey Mouse! Vanilla buttermilk and chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream filling, covered in fondant with fondant details. I also made them cupcakes to match, with a special cupcake for each of the birthday boys! :)