Thursday, June 21, 2007

flower power!

Since next week is our last class for Course II, we are supposed to bring flowers to decorate our final cake.

I was not happy with the look of the violets I did in class, and since I had frosting to "play" with, I decided to change the color from what I used for pansies to a deeper shade and make some more violets.

I think these look pretty good.

And then there was the issue of single color roses. The ones we did in class were all just yellow.

Peace roses have always been one of my favorites (my grandmother had a hugh peace rose bush that my grandfather would cut way back every fall and by this time in the summer it would be up taller than the porch and loaded with beautiful blooms)

Since I already had pink frosting and yellow frosting, I figured I could at least experiment with the idea of putting both colors in the piping bag and give it a shot.

These, I think, are neat!

As we were headed off to the grocery store yesterday morning, we drove past a house in our neighborhood that had a whole corner covered in poppies, all in full bloom. There weren't any instructions in our class book for poppies, in fact there aren't any templates for them either, but I decided to give it a try anyway.

I used the rest of the pink frosting and added a lot of orange color to get a deep orangy shade (if I do these again I will put in a little more red too). Then I took the rest of the violet and added a lot of black.

I did these on the flower nail, used the basic petal tip upside down! Pretty neat!!

poppies, poppies will put them to sleep....sleeeeep.....sllllleeeeeeeppppppp

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

by jove, I think she's got it!

Third night of Class II in cake decorating was last night.

After being totally disappointed by my failure to "get it right" on last week's frosting, I was a little apprehensive about yesterday's batch.


That one little tip in the book about the stand mixer and the amount of water made all the difference.

So, these are what I did in class:

I can tell you that I'm really happy my daughter doesn't want daffodills on her cake...these are a total pain to do....

first off you need 3 (!!) bags with different tips even for the ones that are all one color and then after you get done piping, you have to "pinch" each of the petals to give it the proper "daffodilly" look....

No wonder my mom said if you can do these you can do anything!

The pansy, on the other hand, was a joy.....

The pretty purple and yellow color combo is pretty nice

These are the really important flower (along with the daisy) for me to master.

My teacher says I've got these nailed! (she used my frosting to do her demonstration at the beginning of this section of the class, then when she came by later to look at what else I had done, she couldn't pick hers out of the bunch!)

Because Royal Icing can be made up to 6 months (or a year even) ahead of time, I can start making the roses for the wedding cake as soon as I want to. (and probably will!)

and these are the daisies.

I think I will be practicing a few more of these before I start in on the ones for the cake.

They make this really neat edible glitter for cake decorating and I think for the wedding cake I'll get some of the white one to use just on the flowers.

Next week's class is the last one, and we get to put all of the flowers we've made onto an oval cake and learn how to do basket weave piping with butter cream frosting.


Thursday, June 14, 2007

Royal (PAIN!) Icing....

This week in our cake decorating class we had to do our first batch of Royal Icing.

I carefully followed the instructions in the book (and from class)

One little detail was missing however (as I found out AFTER class from the new book on wedding cakes I just got).....when you make Royal Icing in a big stand mixer like my KitchenAide, you are supposed to use a tablespoon LESS water...

So as you can see, my apple blossoms and violets and leaves were much too soft, and they look a little "blurry" and out of focus (no, it was NOT my camera)


I get to try again next week

The color flow icing, on the other hand, worked pretty well.....I still need to finish these up, but this is the beginning of my bluebirds.....

not bad

Thursday, June 07, 2007

trial cake.....

Since I had a batch of buttercream frosting all made up from class on Tuesday and we won't be using it in class again for 3 weeks,I decided to make a cake and try out some of the ideas that I have for edging the wedding cake.
These pictures are of the 3 different attempts I made at doing straight lines down the sides of the cake either with an arc from the top, or from the bottom.
Also a new rosette edging which I actually like better than the shell thing. (the shell is at the base of the cake, the rosettes are on top)

My conclusion on the lines down the side is that if we're going to do that I need to add the piping gel to the frosting because those long "drops" tend to "break".

I've also decided that I may need a pair of those support gloves to get through a whole wedding cake....after working with the frosting bags two days in a row, my hands were pretty sore.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Summer Salad Time

In the summer there are a lot of days when I just don't want to cook.

One of the easiest ways to handle this for us is a pasta salad. On a recent weekend I used it as a side dish the first night with bar-b-que, then put in the protein additions the next day for a full meal salad. It is also one of those things that you can use to clear out little bits and pieces of fresh veggies that are hanging out in your crisper since you can toss in a lot of different veggies.

This is also a great thing to make and take to an outdoor event in the summer as there is no mayonnaise (so you won't be killing the guests!)

Here's the way I do it:

Required Ingredients:
1 pound of shaped pasta -- fusilli (twisted), farfalli (bowties), shells -- I like the ones made with veggie paste because they are pretty too, but just plain is fine

1 small bottle of Italian dressing (I like the low fat variety best)

Cook the pasta to slightly more than al dente, and use some salt in the water or the pasta will taste "flat", when its done, rinse with cold water until its all room temperature or cooler

Add in veggies:
peas (fresh are great, but defrosted frozen ones work good too)
green onions

Cut the veggies in small pieces. Try to use a variety of shapes and colors for visual interest too.

Add in proteins:
cheese -- cubed or shredded
ham pieces
grilled chicken pieces

When all of the ingredients are in the bowl, pour the bottle of dressing over the salad and mix well.

This gets better the longer it marinates together, so having some left to take in a lunch the next day is a good thing.

If you think of something that makes a good addition, let me know what it is in the comments!