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Champagne Bottle Cake

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Over the last couple of months, I have had a very hard time being inspired to write. For me, not much has changed. I am baking just as much I was before, I guess I just haven’t gotten excited about anything lately.

I am trying to get back on track though.

In order to make a champagne bottle cake, the key is having a good, cold, dense cake to work with. Fluffy moist cakes do not carve well. Luckily, my vanilla cake recipe does seem to work well (most of the time).

To start this cake, I baked my cake in a sheet pan. Then I printed out the image I was working with exactly the size I wanted the finished cake to be.

Then, working in sections of the bottle, I cut rectangles of cake to size, so I could start carving.

When I was happy with the shape of the bottom layer, I crumb coated the layer, to trap crumbs and to give the next layer something to stick to. I sliced cake sections at an angle, then arranged them on top of my first layer.

It was tricky to get the layers crumb coated, but definitely necessary to start creating the final shape for my cake.

I put the cake back in the refrigerator and let the crumb coat firm up before adding my final coat of icing. I tried hard to get the final coat as smooth as possible for the fondant, but I definitely need more practice. 🙂

Using the printed image of the bottle, I rolled out my fondant to the correct size while the final coat of icing was firming in the refrigerator.

I gently transferred the fondant onto the cake, and carefully started smoothing with gloved hands coated in powdered sugar.

When I was happy with the fondant’s smoothness, I trimmed off the excess, tucking the bottom edge under slightly.

While the fondant was still soft, I worked on adding detail to the cap of the bottle.

Using royal icing, I carefully piped the detail onto the body of the bottle. I then let it all sit at room temperature so the fondant could start to set and the royal icing could dry.

A few hours later, the royal icing was dry enough to begin painting the body of the bottle.

It took several coats and several colors to achieve a look that was close to the color of the alcohol.

To finish up, I added the wording on the cake board and placed an edible image of the label on the cake.

When the cake was dry, I painted on the last details with gold.

As with any cake, what seems daunting at first is achievable if you just take it one step at a time.

🙂

— Angie

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Designer Backpack Cake

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I am terrified of sculpted cakes. Typically, when someone wants something sculpted, I either turn down the job, or find that the customer didn’t realize the cost involved in that kind of cake. Either way, for the most part, I have gotten away with only doing a few with only minor carving work.

So when the opportunity to make a backpack cake came up, I was hesitant, but thought it sounded like an interesting project to take on. I had a lot of fun making it, but I have no desire to make one of those crazy standing up purse cakes.

So please don’t ask. 🙂

This cake is pretty small, as it only needed to serve about 15 people. So of course, I baked an 11″ x 15″ cake to make sure I had more than enough to work with.

I drew my templates and cut them out of plain white paper, then used them to cut the cake into the sizes I wanted for the backpack and the pocket.

My original pocket was too big, so I cut down the piece a bit. I also cut some of the height off of the pocket.

I decided on an American buttercream for this project. I wanted something a little less sweet than my decorator icing under the fondant.

I crumb coated the bag part first, then added on my pocket and crumb coated that as well.

While the cake was firming in the fridge, I decided to roll out my fondant. I use a fancy double mat (The Mat system from Sweetwise), so I am able to roll out my fondant in advance, while still keeping it covered.

And then this happened…

Yep, I somehow managed to put enough pressure on the metal rod in my rolling pin to actually snap it in half! (arm flex)

I think I have been working on doing it for awhile, but it was still completely crazy to actually break a piece of metal only used for rolling fondant and cookie dough.

Despite what Urban Dictionary may say the definition for the noun (standard, not proper noun, of course) angie is, the actual definition has always been “the act of shearing a key off in a lock”. I guess now it needs to be amended to “the act of shearing a key off in a lock or snapping the metal rod of a rolling pin”.

Trust me on this one, you never want to actually pull an angie, especially the key one. They are really hard to get out of the lock once you do this. Really. Hard.

I should know.

I’ve pulled an angie twice.

Anyway. Moving on…

I managed to get the fondant rolled out with only one handle and set it aside.

Once the crumb coat was firm, I added my final coat of icing and let that chill as well.

Once it was fully chilled, I draped my fondant over the cake and started smoothing.

After that, I added my little loop at the top of the cake.

In order to provide a sticky surface for the wafer paper “fabric” I printed, I used a combination of corn syrup and vodka. I then sprayed my “fabric” with wafer paper conditioner and carefully placed it on my cake.

I decided I wanted the cake to have a shiny, patent leather finish, so I painted the rest of the cake with the vodka/corn syrup mixture as well.

Before I added the top flap of the pocket, I added my stripes and “brand” to the cake. I used a fondant tool to add stitches to the cake edge.

Strips of fondant were added around the sides and “stitched” to give the cake a more backpack type feel.

I added the flap of my pocket with some stitching, and made the zipper detail.

Once the remaining details were painted with vodka and corn syrup, I added a little silver to the “brand” on the bag, and it was finished!

This cake turned out to be much simpler than I originally thought it would be. I might even think about making another one someday. 😉

Maybe.

Don’t worry, I bought a new rolling pin, and it is marble and extremely heavy. 😉 Hopefully, I can keep it for a few years before I break it too.

(shrug)

— Angie

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When Graffiti Just Doesn’t Cut It

I just love it when I spend 4 hours hand-painting a cake only to find out I’m are not finished with it. I thought it looked great. Then I took a picture.

Not so awesome after all. Darn.

Thankfully, I have two awesome friends who help me troubleshoot.

Considering writing on cakes is a personal nightmare (see here) I was really hoping that I would be finished once I got the graffiti on the cake.

Then I realized the plain white brick was just not going to cut it.

So, what to do? Ask someone else. Or several someones.

I was told it just didn’t look “bricky” enough, and the bricks needed more definition.

So black lines? Pink? Both?

After testing on a piece of fondant, imprinted with the brick design, a blend of the pink and black seemed to work best.

In order to get color into the “mortar” areas of the brick, I thinned gel food color with vodka and used a thin paint brush to apply color along the edges of the bricks.

hand-painted mortar on the bricks

Using paper towels dipped in vodka, I then proceeded to wipe off any color that was on the surface of the bricks.

Don’t worry, the alcohol evaporates!

It took several passes in each area to have color remaining only in the crevices of the fondant.

Working in small sections at a time, I alternated areas of pink and black into the lines of the bricks. I changed paper towels frequently to avoid putting color where it was not wanted.

Though my hands were really pretty for a couple of days…

Increasing the contrast really helped to bring attention to the brick I had painstakingly impressed into the fondant the day before.

Once the wording at the bottom had been painted it was time to look at a photo of the cake once again.

“Almost!”

I really wanted the gold to pop around the graffiti, so I gave it another coat, painted the bottom cake border, and painted gold around the top of the cake to draw the eye to the topper.

Sometimes it is a good idea to take a step back and make sure that what I envisioned initially was really the final result. It took a lot more work, but the final cake was well worth the extra effort.

Before painting the brick
Finished cake!
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Under the Sea Cake

cake and cookies

Under the sea,
Under the sea,
Mermaids are swimming,
Sprinkles are trimming,
The cake that you see!

NHL playoffs really mess with my sleep schedule, and I was a little loopy…

So, the making up of new lyrics to old songs began…

Most people do not consider me silly, and I am okay with that.

Occasionally though, when the lack of sleep takes over, the non-sensical Angie stops by.

Don’t worry, she never stays long.

So…

We’ll just move on.

Oh, yeah, the reason for the song.

An Under the Sea cake, of course!

It is always fun when I am given a broad theme and no parameters for the cake design.

It is also a pain, as I am terrible at coming up with ideas at first.

I eventually figure it out though.

Sometimes even before I sit down to decorate the cake!

When it comes to baking, I am a planner.

(When it comes to just about everything else, I am still a planner. Don’t get me started on vacation itineraries…)

This is a good thing for baking (and my need for sleep). I don’t start a cake the day before it is getting delivered and stay up until the wee hours of the morning working on it.

When I plan, I get to enjoy several hours of whatever else I feel like doing time. This also means I can take on more than one cake in a week and not freak out over it.

My schedule:

Day 1—Bake
Day 2—Ice
Day 3—Cover with fondant (if needed)
Day 4—Decorate
Day 5—Deliver

If I start working at 9, I am usually finished for the day by lunchtime, giving me time to do things like write blog posts…or watch Hallmark movies.

You know, whichever seems more important at the time. 😉

By the time I got to decorating day for this cake, I had figured out how I wanted to do the background and made the cookies I wanted to add as the final decoration.

This cake is very similar to my Galaxy Cake (which you can check out here).

Before I started icing, I wanted to make sure the blues I planned to use did not clash with the mermaid cookies.

Mermaid cookies and icing
Looks good to me!

Then I made sure the blues and green I decided to use would be (go together).

Icing bowls
I do this a lot. You can learn more about it here.

Once the colors were coordinated, I made a little test palette to check the colors with the sprinkles I planned to use.

Icing and sprinkles

Yay! It all looks great!

Doing the top of the cake was similar to the Galaxy Cake. I just piped icing in rings around the top and added some of the other colors I wanted to blend in.

Swirls of icing on cake top
After the first spin around…

After I smoothed it, I decided that I did not want the top to be flat, so I gave it some texture and added a few more spots of color.

Now the finished top had high- and low-lights, just like real waves.

To do the sides, instead of the perpendicular piping I did with the Galaxy Cake, I piped lines parallel to the cake board. This allowed me to alternate colors and create a gradient effect.

The Galaxy Cake (see more here)
icing lines piped around the cake

The result after smoothing was good, but it needed more colors.

The result had subtle green and darker blue areas which I really loved.

Next, I piped a thick border around the cake bottom, so that when I added the sprinkles, they would be dimensional piles, instead of flat to the cake.

I know that there were lots of round sprinkles in there, and I also know that round things roll, but I was sure I could control the sprinkles by slowly adding them with a spoon.

My floor would disagree.

Once I put the cake over some containers to catch the runaways, the sprinkle process was much smoother.

initial sprinkles on cake

Good thing too, as there were a lot of runaways!

After carefully knocking off the loose sprinkles from the cake, I had a large pile of sprinkles I saved. It was definitely a close call!

sprinkles

To finish up the cake design, I added some seaweed with a #349 leaf tip.

seaweed detail on cake

Wording added (which was less painful than this cake), I could relax and spend 30 minutes trying to get the perfect cake and cookie pictures. (For a great tutorial on how to make the mermaid cookies, check out Flour Box Bakery’s blog and video.)

mermaid cookies
cake and cookies

I really liked the cake the way it was, but I let the birthday girl decide if we should add the mermaids to her cake or not.

I think she made a good choice. 🙂

The technique I used to ice the cake works from fathoms below to galaxies far, far away, so it is a great technique to master.

On to the next adventure!

–Angie

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When Life Hands You Lemon Cake…

Finished Easter Cake

Hope it turns out better than this.

Lemon “garbage” cake

It wasn’t a total loss. It will be reborn as cake pops someday.

The day got off to a rough start, but it ended pretty great.

The big day was finally here! Baking with my niece for Easter day!

We had grand plans and big dreams.

Her first fondant cake. She has baked with me several times before, so it’s just the fondant that was new.

We’ve got this.

All the ingredients at room temperature?

Check.

All the correct measurements?

Check.

Butter and sugar creamed together?

Whoops. We mixed the sugar in with the dry ingredients.

Instead of the creaming method, we converted this recipe to the high ratio mixing method.

Ninety percent of my cakes are made this way, so it will be fine.

Adding the eggs, lemon, vanilla, and some of the water in the final mixing stage.

The batter looked perfectly normal, so we put it in our pans, and into the oven it went.

Thirty minutes later, we checked the oven, and… huh?

Why did they fall in the middle??????

The cake centers were about ½ inch high, while the edges were about 1 ¾ inches high…

Um…yeah…

Okay, let’s try this again.

This time I read the directions thoroughly and used the creaming method to mix the batter.

It looked slightly thicker than the last batch and completely combined (as before, but slightly thicker this time), so into the oven it went.

Twenty minutes later the cakes looked great. Ten more minutes and they had fallen again. (I did not open the oven. We just left the light on and checked on them through the window. I guess they were very shy?)

After intense discussion, we decided to see if they could still be used.

If not, we were going to go to the store, buy a cake, scrape off the decorations, and cover it in fondant.

No one would ever have to know.

While the cakes were in the oven for round two, we returned to some of our other ongoing projects.

We finished making the magnets we had started the night before and worked on her baking journal.

We have been chronicling our baking adventures since 2016. Unfortunately, we are always behind, so this trip we were working on her 9th birthday in 2017. Hopefully we’ll catch up before she graduates high school.

Ghost Cake
Her cake from 2017, a ghost with spiderweb hair.

Once out of the oven, we let them sit in the pans for 10 minutes. Then we flipped them over and crossed our fingers…

Yes! Both cakes came out of the pans!
Thumbs up with cakes
We took a lot of celebratory pictures…

Luckily, the cakes were still usable, as they had not fallen nearly as much as the first ones.

The crumb was a bit coarser than I would have preferred, but this cake was more about the presentation than the inside.

And we had 3 hours before we had to leave.

Though under less than ideal conditions, we struggled on.

We leveled the cakes, filled with incident-free Swiss Meringue Buttercream (you can find the recipe here), and added fresh blueberries.

Then my niece crumb-coated the cake, and into the fridge it went.

She had picked out a cake design that had blue speckled eggs on it, and of course, we had to make those as well. So, while the cake was chilling, we melted our candy coating and molded our eggs.

She insisted on melting the coating shots.

Back to our cake, I trimmed the edges, and we tasted the trimmings. Turns out, the vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream was too sweet for the cake.

Luckily, I had some plain ole white decorator icing just sitting around. We tasted it with our trimmings, and it was much better.

Got the super thick coat of icing on!
Smoothing it out.

My niece gave the cake its final coat of icing, and then it was back to the fridge to chill before we put on the fondant.

Out came the molded eggs that were in the fridge while the cake was on the counter.

Speckling them was our next priority.

Flinging edible paint onto the eggs.

Once satisfied with the results, we moved on to coloring fondant.

Fondant colored; it was time to cover the cake!

Coloring the fondant

If you know anything about me from previous posts (here), I am a big fan of Bluprint.

Yep. I got my niece hooked as well.

She has been watching cake classes, photography classes, and I know once she gets back to England, she plans to watch some Embroidery classes.

In preparation for making this cake, she watched a basic fondant class.

As she rolled out the fondant, she explained to me how the teacher said to do each step.

Rolling the fondant
Poking the bubbles with a pin

Other than reaching over to help turn the cake, and showing her how hold the smoother to press the sides, she did the whole thing herself.

From smoothing the top…
To the finished product.

I am so proud of her! (happy heart face emoji)

Of course, the cake had to be speckled too, and even with the gigantic box it was contained in, she still managed to make a mess.

Starting to speckle the cake
I think she likes it.

The “nests” were rolled and baked from sliced phyllo dough, the eggs were arranged on top, and the best Easter cake ever was complete.

Finished Easter Cake
The finished cake!

I admit to being more than a little biased. 😉

At ten, I feel she did a really good job for her first fondant cake.

I am not sure if anyone actually ended up trying the cake or not. It was still intact when I left.

In the end, it wasn’t about how the cake turned out, it was about quality time with one of the sweetest kids I’ll ever know, and some memories to laugh at in the future.

She really needs to hurry up and move back from England.

–Angie


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A Galaxy Adventure (cake)

Finished galaxy cake with sprinkles

A long time ago… or last Friday…

In a galaxy far, far away… or maybe down the street…

A girl made a galaxy cake for a very different franchise.

This one has something to do with time.

(shrug)

I have never seen an episode.

That may make me the worst, but I would have to start at the beginning…and I feel I am a bit far behind to try to catch up at this point.

I am sure it is a fantastic show.

Also, not really the point.

While there may be words on the finished cake that mention something about something or other, the cake itself is completely stand alone. At least in my opinion.

Let’s start with a chocolate iced cake.

No wait, back up. Let’s talk about icing while the cake is still chilling in the refrigerator.

To make my black, I started with a base of chocolate frosting. This means I can use WAY less powdered food color to achieve my final black. It also means that even if there is a little food color taste, it won’t be noticeable in the yummy deep chocolate frosting since it is only going to be the thinnest outer layer on the cake. (I got the recipe from this class on Bluprint. Note: I am not receiving any affiliate income from products or services mentioned in this post.)

I then proceeded to color some white icing with royal blue food color for my blue and regal and electric purples for my violet. I use Americolor food gel.

Before I iced the cake, I needed to create a unified color palette. To do this, I added a little of blue and violet to the black, blue and black to the violet, and violet and black to the blue.

Colored icing in bowls

The effect is subtle, but the desaturation of the colors gives the palette a sense of harmony.

Time to decorate!

I removed a small portion of the tip from the piping bags. A #10 icing tip will work too, but I am comfortable using the bags without the tips, especially since there is less to clean.

Black icing in piping bag

The cake has a full coat of chocolate icing. I just want to add a very thin skim coat of color to the cake.

This means fewer black tongues!

If I were using a vanilla buttercream, I would have iced the whole cake with a full coat of white first and then colored my white icing with the black for the thin outer layer. (Don’t be surprised, but I learned this technique from a class on Bluprint. Yay for using a technique I learned! For more on my love of learning (and lack of using what I learned), check out my post on sheen dust.)

Enough about that though.

I started piping lines of black all around the cake.

It looks like a scary tree stump right now.

I wanted to have a lot of color dimensions in the icing, so I added dots and streaks of the other colors before I started smoothing my lines.

Maybe I should leave it like this? Just kidding.
That’s more like it! Still kidding.

Once I finished smoothing, I went around and started to add additional dots and streaks of color.

I then repeated this process a few more times, since I am a bit of a perfectionist.

The final time around, I wiped off my scraper every couple of inches to leave much more distinct color patches in the icing.

That makes more sense.

On the top, I first smoothed the black, then I added my dots of color.

Top of cake with colored icing dots

And then I added more color.

More icing dots on top of the cake

Most iced galaxy cakes I have seen stop at this point. The cake looks great the way it is, but when I think of a galaxy, I think of something with more texture and dimension.

This could be finished, but no!

My idea was to add a blend of various sprinkles to give the cake a more distinctive look.

To put the sprinkles on the sides of the cake, I cut a piece of parchment paper and rubbed it with shortening.

Parchment with shortening rubbed on it

I didn’t want the whole cake covered with sprinkles, so I just sprinkled some onto the parchment paper. This technique is great for putting a lot of sprinkles up the sides of the cake as well. For the top, I just sprinkled them on where I wanted them.

Sprinkles on parchment

Using the parchment is great, as I was able to control how the sprinkles were distributed. If an area needed more gold, I could easily add it before trying to put it on the cake, saving myself a headache of trying to use tweezers or my fingers.

I then lifted the parchment and pressed the sprinkles into the cake.

Stick with me, it gets better.

After the cake went back in the fridge for about 30 minutes, I put a fresh piece of parchment on the cake and used a fondant smoother to push the sprinkles flush into the icing. It was still a little sticky, but I liked the additional texture it left.

Definitely a galaxy I would not mind eating.

I mean, visiting.

Finished galaxy cake with sprinkles
See? Much better.

To complete my order, I did have to add a few more details. I also know that there is something large and blue that is going on the top of the cake, but that was being provided by someone at the party.

Finished galaxy cake

Until we meet again…or since we met last time?… this timey wimey stuff is confusing.

😊
–Angie

Now that I am writing about my cake projects, I have to be extra careful to document every step of the decorating process. Turns out it is a lot harder than it should be.

The more I do it, I am sure it will become a habit, so for now, please forgive me if I miss a step now and again. If something is unclear, please ask questions, and I will happily explain in more detail, or find photos to better illustrate the questionable item. Thanks for reading!


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The Joys of Dust: Part One

You can’t help but love it! It coats just about every surface, adds just the perfect extra touch, creates interest and dimension, and can elevate anything from drab to fab!

I am, of course, referring to food-safe decorating dusts. 😊

The big three types of dust in the decorating world are matte, sheen, and glitter dusts. Today we are going to stick to the matte dust, but don’t worry, the others will be along shortly. Matte dust is sometimes referred to as petal dust or blossom dust. (To learn more about sheen and glitter dusts, check out my part two post here.)

(Note: I am not receiving any revenue for the links posting to products or services on this post.)

Way back in the day… (I looked it up, it was 2013) I took the Wilton Gum Paste class.  This was my first exposure to the matte decorating dust. Making flowers out of gum paste is just the first step.  In order to give your flowers a more realistic look, you have to shade them.

One of the final class projects is to make a Stargazer Lily. My wonderful and amazing teacher usually let me get away with doing a little of my own thing when it came to our projects, so I found a picture of a red and orange lily online and used it as my model instead.

I started out with orange petals, and using matte dusts, I turned my dull orange petals into a realistic looking flower.

Stargazer lily (class example)
My finished lily

Since I don’t make wedding cakes regularly, I don’t think I have made a gum paste flower since. Oh well, now I have an excellent collection of matte dusts in a drawer to stare at every once in a while.

Just recently, I have learned that you can use the matte dust as a powdered food coloring.  You can add it to buttercream, candy coatings, chocolate, and even use it to color food. This makes the dust so much more versatile than ever before! Which is good, as I am running out of room to store all my little jars of dust.

If you have large quantities to color, like icing, then I still recommend good ole fashioned gel food colors, but for smaller icing projects, coloring coatings and chocolates, and coloring dry foods, you can’t beat this amazing dust.

My biggest excitement is that it finally allows me to easily create the one candy coating color that is just not found on the market. Purple!

How to up the fun with matte dust:

Using a small paintbrush dedicated to food use only, you can slowly build color onto a dry surface, like gum paste, royal icing, or wafer paper. Adding some shading gives your item depth and character.

Brown shading on the base of a baby bib
Shading on a baseball

To add color to icing, you first have to melt a small portion of icing. Adding your powder to the liquid will hydrate the dust first, allowing it to blend into your icing much better. You may have to add quite a bit of powder to achieve intense color, so again, I recommend this for smaller projects or to create a more subtle, pastel shade.

Icing colored with Sugar Art Foliage Green

To add color to candy coatings, like Wilton Candy Melts, you need to add the dust to melted shortening, oil, or my preference, melted paramount crystals, before adding it to your melted coating. For darker colors, like purple, it is much easier to start with a darker base color like the Wilton Candy Melts Lavender, than it is to start with white. You won’t need quite as much dust this way. You’ll use a lot more dust, but you can get intense color starting with a white coating base.

Petal Crafts African Violet (top) and Bordeaux (bottom)
Dust mixed in with melted paramount crystals
Paramount crystal mixture added to the melted coating
Adding more dust to coating
Original Lavender coating (center) and finished purple color (top and bottom)
This colored green coating started out as white

Since I added more dust to the lavender coating instead of first mixing it with the melted paramount crystals, the resulting purple has visible specks of matte dust in it. I only added the green dust to the melted crystals, so the final product has no color specks.

This is great if you only need small amounts of each color and don’t really need to buy a whole bag of colored coating for your project. The jars of dust are small, take up less space than bags of every color coating available, and the best part, don’t go bad. This means you can always buy fresh white coating, when you need several colors for a project, instead of wondering if the half bag of yellow in the cabinet will still melt properly.

For couverture, instead of an oil, you would melt a little bit of cocoa butter in order to add your dust.

One of the most fun uses for the matte dust I have discovered is coloring dry food like coconut. A tiny bit of dust will easily color a lot of coconut, rice cereal, or even Cheerios if your child is going through an only eat blue food phase. 😉

It is much harder to distribute the color from a wet food coloring when you are trying to achieve an even color throughout your project.

A little dust goes a long way, so be sure to add a little at a time.
Purple rice cereal and green coconut

Finally, if you mix the matte dust with a little bit of clear alcohol or clear extract, you can get a water color glazed effect when painted on dry surfaces.

Unpainted fondant leaves
Leaf painted with vodka andPetal Craft Mayan Green dust

You know what this means right?

I need to find a second drawer to put all my new dust colors in.

🙂

–Angie

If you have uses for petal dust that I have not mentioned, please let me know. I always love to learn new techniques. I can’t wait to hear from you!


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Please No… Anything But That!

No matter our profession or calling, there is always that one thing your job requires that you would give anything to avoid. Bakers are no different. You need me to do what? …or I can ice 500 sugar cookies, but please, anything but that…

As a most definitely not professional cake designer and baker, I know my limits. 3D sculpture cakes – nope. Carved cakes – basic shapes only. Fondant- sure. Buttercream – of course. Modeled figures – not my favorite, but okay. Then there is the one thing that I can’t turn down, yet I dread the entire ordeal.

I get a call or text from a potential client and my half of the conversation goes something like this:

“Sure, I am available to make a cake that weekend. How many people would you like to serve?”

“Great! Were you thinking buttercream or fondant?”

“Buttercream, no problem. Are you imagining a round or square cake?”

“Oh, a sheet cake…” Please no…

“Yes, we can do that as an edible image.” Fingers crossed…

“It should say (insert words here). Can you spell that for me?” And there it is.

“Great, I will touch base with you soon.”

Crap.

I have been making cakes for over 10 years now, and still the thought of having to write words on a cake in buttercream makes me want to cry. Trying to get all the letters to line up straight, centered on the field, or correctly curved on a round cake…nightmare.

If you have ever made a cake, you find out right away whether you have the natural gift for writing on cakes, or you have every chance of your cake photo ending up on a “what not to do” blog. This one (www.cakewrecks.com) is my favorite. There does not seem to be much in between. After 10+ years, I am finally in the in between area, and it has been a lot of practice to get to this point.

A few weeks ago, I had a cake for an Eagle Scout ceremony. Awesome! It is such an accomplishment to get to Eagle Scout, so I am happy to be able to help celebrate. And then I get a photo of the cake idea… We were not just talking about “Congratulations, John!” We were talking about the Boy Scout Law. SO. MANY. WORDS.

Needless to say, after 2 hours of painstaking work, the cake contained the required words, in the correct order, which I felt was an accomplishment indeed.

Eagle Scout Cake with Eagle Scout Law and Badge

Since I am sure that other cake makers out there must suffer from the same paralyzing fear of word writing, I wanted to share a little about my process.

Before I go on, since you might not know me too well yet, there is no halfway for me when it comes to projects of this nature. So, I did not just sit down and plan how the words would go on the cake, I got the food-use only ruler out and actually measured the exact area on the cake the words would go.

If you are not as thorough as I am, you can skip this step, but it will take a little more trial and error for the next part.

Since I knew exactly how much room I had to fill with the words I needed to write, I was able to set up a document on the computer in a way that I knew exactly how large the letters could be. I knew I was working with a 1” space, so my letters had to be shorter than 1” tall in order to work. By playing around with different fonts and font sizes, I was able to get words printed exactly the way I wanted. I then cut them out and placed them on my cold, iced cake. Working from my templates, I was able to copy the words and have them turn out much better than they would have had I tried to freehand them.

Blank iced cake with word templates
Placing the words on a cold, iced cake

I used my handwritten version for the name, and of course, the end result sloped upwards a little. Lesson reiterated. Don’t use my own handwriting!

This week, I had another Eagle Scout cake to do. Thankfully, they did not want ALL the words on the cake, but they still wanted “EAGLE SCOUT” and a name. Okay, not so bad. This time, having learned from my last handwritten mistake, I printed out the words I needed and used them for my guide. The trick is using the paper printout as your baseline for where your letters end.

You start with your word placement.

Blank iced cake with word placement

Then you shift the paper down to the regular letter baseline. In this case the capitals fall below the initial baseline, so I did not start with the first letter. Using the paper as your stop, carefully copy the letters above their positions onto the cake.

Starting to copy letters onto cake

Then shift your template down slightly, and add your capital letters.

Adding the uppercase letters to the words

Finally, shift the template down once more so you can add any letters that fall below the baseline, like “g”, “j”, or “y”.

Finished word on cake

With any luck, one day you’ll be able to stop being so scared of writing on your cakes, and you’ll be excited when a customer asks for writing.

Finished cake detail

If that ever happens to me, I’ll be sure to let you know.

— Angie


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  1. Hi, Thank you 😊 this is great for our Girl Scouts to earn their badges. I’m looking for the Leave…