Diatom Cake!

This is the cake I have been dying to share with you.

 

 As you may or may not know, I am also a full-time student at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. Even as a psychology major, I don’t do well with hardcore science. Like chemistry or biology stuff. That being said, science electives are required no matter what (boohoo) so I HAD to take a science class this year. So, I decided on taking an Earth and Ocean Systems class, revolving around the study of Ocean Ecosystems. With the class over and done with, I can genuinely say I enjoyed this class! Although my grade would speak otherwise to some extent, I learned a lot about our planet, about the importance of the ocean, and the extraordinary and abundant microscopic life that is contained with our beautiful oceans.

 

So, when our professor encouraged us to get creative with our final assignments, right away I knew I wanted to do my project in cake form. All throughout high school I did my projects in cake form. I was absolutely thrilled when I was given the go-ahead from my prof! The cake served as the creative portion of my project on “Sea-ice Diatoms and their Adaptations in the Arctic”. This cake was thus inspired by Victorian diatom art, which I think is just beautiful! Diatoms are essentially important primary producers of energy in the ocean, so when their discovery emerged with the creation of the microscope, the Victorian era saw a surge of diatom art, wherein individuals would take water samples from bodies of water and then search for diatoms within them, and then arrange these diatoms in a beautiful, intracite pattern as in below.

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It is simply exquisite, don’t you think?

Here is my diatom art inspired cake for my class project:

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This baby got me that much needed A! Woop!

 

 

Let me know what you think of this creation in the comments below! 

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Pugs and Cheetah Print

Hello again!

Woah – two posts in a matter of days! I’m a woman of my word 😉

The cake I will be featuring today was made for a very special young lady who turned 3! This little lady was very particular about what she wanted on her cake – herself , a pug, and cheetah print. An interesting combo indeed!

So to make her cake dreams come true, I created this cake for her:

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The two figures are made from fondant and gumpaste, as well as the “3” topper. The cheetah print was created using my airbrush machine (seriously, I love that thing), and was super duper easy! I airbrushed on some light brown in spots randomly around the cake tiers, and when I was all done with that, I went around each spot with black in small strokes with a paintbrush, not really caring for technique or shape – I think that’s what made it more realistic!

Let me know what you think of this creation in the comments below!

 

Happy Baking xoxo

Champagne Taste

Hello all!

Well, it is has been quite some time, hasn’t it! I am finally back after the most stressful exam season of my post-secondary career, and my third year of undergrad finally under my belt – hooray!

I have A LOT of catching up to do with y’all. Despite being bombarded with exams, final projects and presentations, I remained caking as it is my medium of relaxation. Before I started baking and decorating cakes as a job, I routinely would bake something out of pure relaxation and found it was my number one method of coping with stress. I find I can just get lost in a cake, yenno? I know, call me a crazy cake lady.

Anyway, I have some awesome cakes to share with you! I will be posting one per day, or every other day, and I am looking forward to your feedback on my creations!

So, this cake had me dreaming weeks before I got around to making it. Royal icing scares me at times – I am not the best piper in the world, I tend to have a “go-to” scrollwork design that people seem to like for some odd reason, but other than that, I fail at this whole piping thing. Even more daunting, my client wanted champagne buttercream. CHAMPAGNE. Alcohol in a buttercream. I’ve heard of others being successful with this, but I just couldn’t wrap my head around making it so that the champagne flavor wasn’t totally masked by the sweetness of the sugar, and the sugar wasn’t overpowered by the champagne. I had never done this type of icing before, so that in itself was nerve wracking.

When the weekend of this order finally came around, I put my big girl apron on and got to work, practicing for a good chunk of time before I started on the real deal. And my oh my, I loved the end result.

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Isn’t it pretty? I think the white piping really stands out with the peach fondant – and looks oh so classy!  It looks a little vintage-like, no? It is definitely one of my favorites now. And the champagne buttercream wasn’t so scary after all! After hours (okay maybe like one hour) of researching champagne buttercream, others had noted that it was easy peasy – you just replace the liquid in a regular buttercream with champagne. Huh, who woulda thunk it! All the blood, sweat, and tears (okay maybe just sweat) was really worth it with this one!

*Note, If you want to try to tackle a champagne buttercream for your next cake, here’s a quick tip! REDUCE the champagne to the amount of liquid you will need in your buttercream recipe! For example, If you need 2 tablespoons of liquid in your recipe, put 4 or 5 tablespoons of champagne on the  stove to boil until it reduces to 2 tablespoons – this way, you will get the most concentrated flavor without having to add more champagne and sacrificing the consistency of your icing!*

 

Let me know what you think of this creation in the comments below!

 

Happy Baking xoxo

Tiffany Box Cake!

Hello lovelies 🙂

Here is a cake I made last week for a bridal shower! It is a Tiffany & Co. inspired cake, red velvet on the inside with cream cheese frosting! What do you think?

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Again, I am sorry for the poor quality pictures! I’m working on getting a new camera and picture backdrop set up very soon. You’ll only have to bear with the poor pictures for a little while longer, I promise!

Oh, look, I got a picture from one of my previous clients! I love love love the simplicity of the cake with the gorgeous decor:

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I hope you all are having a wonderful weekend!

Happy Baking ❤

I’m back! This week’s cakes: Damask, Chanel, and Bellinis

Hello lovelies!

I apologize for being so M.I.A – school is kicking my butt at the moment, and in between exams and papers and cakes, a blog post is the last thing on my mind, although I should be posting more! I hope these cakes help you forgive me.

So one of these cakes is from a week and a half ago. I was given creative freedom with this one as well – my client told me to just go with purple, gold, and elegant for a birthday cake for her mom. I had bought these silicone onlay mats online a little while back, and had been dying to dry the damask onlay. SO, given that I was able to put my creative juices to use, I tried out the damask onlay on this cake! I was super happy with the results – however, the onlays are advertised to be super easy and quick. Mind you, with practice it would probably come easier, however I found it really difficult to get a clean onlay in the beginning. It did take a significant amount of time to make sure everything was perfect. It was totally worth it though – I LOVE the look of the final product! The cake itself was a rich chocolate cake with a creamy vanilla buttercream. What do you think?

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The next cake was a Chanel inspired cake for my older cousin! She asked for anything black and white, since I know her favorite brand is Chanel, I decided to make an elegant Chanel cake! The cake was a yummy vanilla with a Swiss Meringue Buttercream.

Yes, you read that right, Swiss Meringue Buttercream. I almost always use traditional “American” Buttercream, but – OH MY GOSH YOU GUYS – I am in LOVE with Swiss Meringue Buttercream. It brings me close to happy tears in that it is so amazingly magical. It is silky, creamy, velvety, light… Seriously, it is that good. I’m thinking of permanent changing my caking routine to only use SMBC – now THAT is a big step. Here’s the cake:

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The last cake was a Bellini shaped cake – vanilla cake with a bavarian cream filling. The birthday girl does not like fondant, so this cake was mainly buttercream with a whole lot of bling and a few fondant pearls! This was one of the few times I’ve made bavarian cream filling – and I fell in love all over again. Seriously, I scraped the “extras” bowl clean after I filled this cake. And I don’t even feel guilty about it because it’s just that friggin’ good. Here’s the cake:

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In other news, I am completely BOOKED for the 2014 Wedding Season! I am super stoked for the Wedding Season to start – and in celebration of that, this week I made a few of my brides some cupcake samples for their cakes!

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There were over 16 different cupcake/Swiss Meringue buttercream combos for these samples – phewf! Included were:

– Red Velvet cake with Cream Cheese SMBC

– Lemon Cake with Vanilla SMBC

– Lemon Cake with Lemon SMBC

– Marble cake with White Chocolate SMBC

– Marble cake with Vanilla SMBC

– Marble cake with Mocha SMBC

– Chai Tea Latte cake with Vanilla-Cinnamon SMBC

– Vanilla cake with White Chocolate SMBC

– Vanilla cake with Vanilla SMBC

– Vanilla Cake with Coconut SMBC

– Vanilla Cake with Pistachio SMBC

– Chocolate Cake with Butter Rum SMBC

– Chocolate Cake with Vanilla SMBC

– Chocolate cake with Mocha SMBC

– Chocolate cake with Hazelnut SMBC

– Chocolate cake with Mint SMBC

I hope this makes up for lacking in posts for the past two weeks! Let me know what you think of these past few cakes in the comments below 🙂

Happy Baking ❤

This week’s creations: Canucks, sparkle, & pirates!

Hi all!

Yet another busy week has gone by, and the proof is in the pictures! This week was full of midterms, meetings, and cakes (obviously!).

This week, I had the honor of making three wonderful birthday cakes. The first one was a Vancouver Canucks themed cake. It was chocolate cake with a caramel cream cheese filling with a nut crunch and a caramel buttercream, decorated in our beloved Vancouver Canucks colors and topped with a handmade fondant logo! I used an airbrush machine to get that rich dark blue color. It allowed me to sharpen up on my airbrushing skills a tad too!

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For the next  cake, I was told to make it “purple, girly yet classy, and sparkly – super sparkly”. So I covered this chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream in a pretty purple, handmade a cute bow and roses, quilted the fondant, and airbrushed it in pearl lustre dust – and viola! I think I followed the directions well 😉

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The above picture doesn’t do justice to how sparkly this cake was! The following picture does a little bit better of a job of showcasing the glitteriness – but still. You can NEVER have enough sparkle.

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A tutorial will be up soon (within the next day or two – hopefully!) on how I made the bow and roses. My very first tutorial – yay! So keep your eyes peeled for that if you’d like to know how I made the bow and roses for this cake!

The next cake was a super last minute cake – I was given about two days notice for this to design, bake, and decorate. PHEW, I’m glad i had it done on time. I was told the theme was “Jake & the Neverland Pirates”, so I Googled some images and got to work! The cake was vanilla cake with a chocolate pudding filling – yummy. The figure that is supposed to be on top of the cake will be provided by the client, so don’t mind all of that blank space on the cake!

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What was YOUR favorite cake of this week?

Happy baking! ❤

Red Velvet Cheesecake, Anniversary Cake, and a Petal Cake! [RECIPE]

Phew! Another crazy weekend is over, and I finally have time to write up a blog post. Not to mention, I am on Reading Break (a knock-off version for spring break for university students. It’s only a week, in which profs make midterms THE DAY after reading break – so studying takes up most of the “break” usually. Yeah, you could say I’m a tad bitter), so I must admit I do have a little bit of down-time.

Also, as mushy-gushy love posts flooded virtually everywhere this past weekend, I was kind of sad that I didn’t receive any “true” valentine orders this week – you know, all laden with hearts and sayings like “be mine” and so forth. Instead, I made a couple of anniversary cakes and a yummy red velvet cheesecake! I guess there is some indication of romance in there lol!

I’ve been wanting to share this recipe for a while now; it is a DELICIOUS red velvet cheesecake. I first discovered this recipe about a year ago when a bride had inquired about her favorite cake at “The Cheesecake Factory” asking if I could make a comparable version. So I set out on a mission to find the perfect recipe. My mission ended shortly with the following recipe. If I may toot my own horn a bit, it is divine. When my bride tried my version of the red velvet cheesecake, she order another big slab of it for her wedding party! There are quite a few steps to this recipe, but let me tell you, it is SO worth it.

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Cheesecake (Make this first!)

2 (8 oz) packages of cream cheese, room temp

2/3 cup granulated white sugar

Pinch of salt

2 large eggs

1/3 cup sour cream

1/3 cup heavy whipping cream

1 tsp vanilla

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Place large roasting pan on the lower third rack of the oven. Place some water on the stove and let it boil. Spray a 9inch springform pan with nonstick spray and line the bottom with parchment paper, and wrap a double layer of foil around the bottom and up the sides of the pan. For this particular cake, I used a 8″ square cake pan, and lined it with foil all around, leaving some foils coming over the sides of the pan to allow for easy lifting when it was done cooling.
  2. In a large bowl, mix up the cream cheese until its nice, smooth and creamy.
  3. Mix in sugar and salt and blend for 2 minutes.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, blending well after each addition. Finally, mix in the sour cream, whipping cream, and vanilla. Mix until smooth.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Set the pan into the pre-heated oven, and carefully pour the hot water that you heated up on the stove into the roasting pan so it surrounds the cheesecake (the pan should be about an inch deep in the water).
  6. Bake for 45 minutes. It should be set to touch and not jiggly. Remove cheesecake from roasting pan and let it cool for at least an hour. When it has cooled, place in the freezer and let it freeze completely (this will enable easy handling and assembling later!)

Red Velvet Cake: 

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups granulated white sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups vegetable or canola oil
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup (two 1-ounce bottles) red food coloring
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons white vinegar

Cream Cheese Frosting:

2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted lightly to remove any lumps
Two (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare your cake pans (I used two 8″ square pans) with parchment paper as well non-stick baking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Add in eggs, oil, buttermilk, food coloring, vanilla, and vinegar to the flour mixture.
  4. Using an electric mixer on medium-low speed. Beat for 1 minute, until blended. Then beat on high for 2 minutes.
  5. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pans. Bake 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean. When done, let the cake cool in the pan (for at least 10-20 min) then transfer the cake to a wire rack to completely cool.

Time for frosting!

  1. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium high, beat powdered sugar, cream  cheese, butter and vanilla until it is smooth and creamy. Try not to eat too much from the bowl – trust me, it’s hard to resist! 😉

 Yay! Everything is now made – we can assemble the cake

  1. Place one of the red velvet layer into the center of your cake board, cake plate, or whatever you would like your cake on.
  2. Remove the cheesecake from the freezer, taking off the foil and parchment paper. Place it in line with the red velvet cake layer. Then, put the other red velvet cake layer on top of the cheesecake layer.
  3. Frost the cake! I like to just slather on the icing, not worrying about making it pretty or anything. This particular frosting is not so great for piping, but there are other great cream cheese recipes that are thicker in consistency, making piping a breeze.
  4. Keep this cake refrigerated!

Recipe retrieved from: Recipe Girl !

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The other two cakes I made this past weekend were both anniversary cakes! One was for my second set of parents, my aunt and uncle. They have been married for 32 years. The other anniversary cake was celebrating 30 years of marriage – what milestones! It is a breath of fresh air and an inspiration, especially around Valentine’s day, to have a reminder of what committed love looks like. Congratulations to all the couples that stick it out through thick and thin! I hope I have that one day 🙂

Here are the cakes:

This one was for my wonderful aunt and uncle. It was a vanilla sponge cake with a coffee buttercream filling. Before, the cake was simply all white with the buttercream “petals” going all around. My mom then suggested I add in a silk flower to really make a statement. I think it ended up looking very pretty. What do you think?

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For this cake, my client asked me to just make it simple and elegant with scrollwork and red ribbon. It was vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream – a classic!

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I hope you had a wonderful Valentine’s day/week!

Happy baking all xo