my journey to bake the perfect cake

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A Bella Cake Home

my birthday cake {plate}

Every now and then I’ll be browsing in a shoppe and come across a cake plate or cake stand that’s simply irresistible! I saw this one the other day in Mimi’s, a shoppe on First Street in Snohomish. I could practically hear it calling my name, saying, Pick me! Pick me! And… it being nearly my birthday… well, it seemed only the right thing to do! 🙂

This company, MudPie, offers such adorable gifts {and many other items!} for special occasions. But, need there be a special occasion for cake?

I don’t think so either. 😉

A Bella Cake Home Birthday Cakes

“Bowling Pins” Birthday Cake

One of our grandson’s is completely enamored with bowling –and– CAKE! Since he was old enough to walk and push a ball, he’s loved bowling! It matters not where, he loves to set up pins and knock them down and his favorite outing/event is to go bowling! That was the inspiration behind this cake. And CAKE! I don’t know anyone who delights in cake more than this little guy! ~smile~

I didn’t know how I’d do the pins, initially, but one night I was thinking and rethinking this cake and I mentally counted out the pins – then the letters of his name and years he’s passed. And then it came to me: it’s just the right amount… the letters of his name and that he’s knocked down four years.

The pins and ball are made of fondant. I should’ve made them days prior to the decorating for the party so that they would’ve hardened — two days prior was not long enough. I rolled the fondant into a ‘log’ and evenly cut lengths. To ensure they were the same size, each cut from the “log” was one ounce. To shape the pins, I rolled them completely smooth, rounded at each end and tapered in the top third. The bowling ball was more difficult to colour solid black–so I used a piece of navy fondant and rolled it over and over again in black coloring. {I order these colours from Amazon AmeriColor Soft Gel Paste}

I baked the cakes, this time making the Epicurious Guinness Dark Chocolate cake. On the day of the party, I frosted and filled them with buttercream and dark chocolate ganache. I coloured and lettered/numbered the pins and placed them on the cake top where I piped six dollops to be the base to hold the six pins and then arranged the knocked down 4 pins, piped four hearts for the candle placement — this, a nod to this little Valentine’s February 14th birthdate.

A Bella Cake Home Celebration Cakes

Graduation Cakes

These two graduation cakes were sure a treat to make. I had a theme to work with for the 2017 Cake – New horizons and trails ahead – frosted and fondant covered and decorated 12″ and 10″ tiers, three filled layers each.

For the 2018 Cake, the class colours (black and gold) were chosen and an elegant style was set and so I was able to just imagine the cake for this one and, in the end, tried to create what I had imagined.

I made the two tiers, three filled layers each, frosted and covered with fondant, and for the third, the cap, I baked the cake in a bowl so I could have the round/dome graduation cap base. I covered the cap and mortarboard with frosting and then black fondant, and attached a black fondant ‘rope’ and ‘tassel’ from a ‘button’ on the top.

I made butter cookies, using the cap/mortarboard cookie cutter I’d ordered from Amazon. After rolling out the cookie dough, I cut out each cookie and placed each one on the parchment lined baking sheet. I pushed a long cookie stick (Wilton) into the bottom of each cookie. It took practice from other cookie stick “baking events” to stagger the cut cookies on the sheet to allow room for the sticks. Essentially, placing a cut cookie in one direction down one side of the pan (sticks inward) and turning the pan and placing cut cookies down the other side (sticks inward / parallel to the first row).

After the cookies cooled completely, I frosted them with Royal Icing and wrote the graduate’s names and piped the tassels also. After the cake was delivered and assembled, I put the cookies (still on sheets for transport) around the tiers of the cake. In this case, I used gold paper straws as decorative “sleeves” for the sticks into the cake tiers. This method looks much nicer than the white cardboard sticks.

Royal Icing
2 egg whites
1 Tblsp Lemon Juice
3+ Cups Powdered Sugar
Mix until very smooth/well blended
Pipe an outline (#4 tip) on each cookie, let dry/harden and then “flood” each cookie with a tablespoon of frosting, quickly smoothing it to the ‘edges’ (hard frosting outline). Again, allow to dry/harden completely
With a smaller tip (#2)
(add powdered food colouring to royal icing to colour)
‘write’ on each cookie – names, sayings, designs, whatever.
Again allowing to dry completely.

I *lift the cookies with a *spatula. Tip: resist picking them up by the stick off the baking sheet :-/ *experience! 

A Bella Cake Home Wedding Cakes

Cinnamon Roll Wedding Cake

 

This was such a fun wedding “cake” to make! It’s hard to believe it’s been 6 years since this beautiful wedding and the “Cinnamon Roll Wedding Cake” for all the guests to enjoy!

I made so many cinnamon rolls–far more than are pictured here in this ‘cake’ picture. I baked all the rolls in cake pans so they’d have the appearance of round cakes. I make the rolls, filling them and placing them in the round pans, and frosted each ‘tier’ and stacked them with dividers — drizzling frosting down the sides for a pretty cake!

I made a several batches of rolls so there would be plenty of cinnamon rolls for all the guests. Per request, I made a few batches of cinnamon-raisin rolls. I hope I have another opportunity to make a Cinnamon Roll Wedding Cake in the future as it sure was fun and the guests were delighted. 🙂

A Bella Cake Home Wedding Cakes

Adobe Rose Dream Cake


I was so honoured to be asked to make our nephew’s wedding cake!
I loved the week in southern california leading up to the wedding… all the family gatherings and all the wedding preparations going on while I was baking the cakes, filling and frosting, and making all the flowers I placed on the finished cake.

My sister-in-law blessed me so much as she had gathered equipment from friends for me to use in the cake preparation! I had brought many supplies and tools with me so that I could make the cakes, etc., –especially all the gumpaste roses, peonies and leaves for the cake.
My sister-in-law has a dream kitchen, by the way, and made especially more so with all the sunshine and family gathered there for the big event!

The wedding was held at the beautiful El Adobe de Capistrano  in San Juan Capistrano.
What a terrifically beautiful wedding venue it is — and the dinner was absolutely delicious!
The evening was thoroughly California dreamin’ to me!!
Thus, the reason I call this cake, the Adobe Rose Dream Cake.

Home again… I opened my suitcases…
TSA love notes…. happens every time. 🙂

A Bella Cake Home Celebration Cakes

Winter Wonderland Cake

You can make a “Winter Wonderland” cake for a variety of occasions — a bridal shower, wedding, birthday or any other wintertime event.  Soft lighting, soft greens and sparkles will make any occasion beautiful!!

Make cakes (easily done in advance;  wrapped and frozen), then on the day of, or day before the event, fill with tasty filling and frost with white buttercream frosting.

From there, you can pipe snowballs, white flowers, pearls or whatever and then add clear sparkly sprinkles, white sprinkles or other various piping around the cake to look like snowy swirls or snowballs. Cakepops work well for snowballs!


For my most recent cake, I made a batch of white cakepops (without sticks) and put them around the cake as snowballs. I made snowflakes out of royal icing and after they had thoroughly set (24 hours), I put them on the cake and around the sides.

♥ Royal Icing for making Snowflakes

4 Tablespoons Meringue Powder
16 ounces Confectioner’s Powdered  Sugar
6 – 8 Tablespoons Warm Water

Beat all ingredients until stiff peaks form, adding water a tablespoon at a time until you get the smooth whipped consistency.

Be sure your bowl and utensils are completely grease-free — if not, the icing will not whip up properly.

To make Snowflakes, draw or trace snowflakes on a sheet of parchment paper. Turn parchment over BEFORE you pipe the royal icing on the lines you’ve traced!!!

These Snowflake Cutters from Amazon are very beautiful — not only for making outlines for this application, but also beautiful cookies, white chocolate cut-outs, other craft projects, etc.
I have this Snowflake set for fondant and cookie cutouts.

  • Make Royal Icing.
  • Fit a piping bag with a round tip and fill with the Royal Icing.
  • *Remember to turn the parchment over after tracing the snowflakes or you will have the snowflake stencil/pencil print on the underside of the royal icing snowflake!
    {trust me! 😉 }

  • Using your round tip/piping bag, begin making your snowflakes by following the outlines from your snowflake cookie cutters.  Or you can make a variety of sizes of snowflakes by piping six sided crosses with ‘arrows’ on each line.

Leave the snowflakes to set up *undisturbed* for a full day. And, be sure to make plenty of snowflakes for your cake project — in other words, make extra to make up for the inevitable breakage!

The snowflakes will *easiliy* lift from the parchment.  They’ll stand up on, or out of, or into, the sides of the frosted cake.

If you make a batch of white cakepops you can use these as ‘snowballs’ on or around the cake.

A Bella Cake Home

auction 2017 wreath cake


I made this cake for an entry into the annual Christmas in October dessert auction held at our church.  The donations and proceeds of the auction are divided among several of the missionaries/missionary families supported by the church — these gifts are above the regular monthly support they receive.  These are gifts for them to use at their discretion however they want/need at Christmastime.

Additionally, more than a fund raiser, I think its just a fun way to spend the evening — in that sense, it’s a fun raiser! — a way to get together as a body to share in blessing one another for the purpose of sending tangible loving support to missionaries.

A Bella Cake Home

cake is speech

Anyone who makes cake knows this: cake’s a labour of love. Cake is an expression of oneself. Cake’s a work of art.  Cake is more than butter-sugar-flour deliciousness:  Cake is speech. After years of attacks and legal battles facing bakers and bakeries, the US Department of Justice  has issued a brief stating, in part, that …

A Bella Cake Home

A Good Time For Cake

When you think cake: well, most of the time, you think, Yum!  And then you think, a party! or a celebration! or a commemoration of something good — something big!

When new friends came over for dinner last night, I was sure glad I’d made a cake.  I made it bcz it’s my husband’s favourite cake and so, I wanted to serve it for dessert as a blessing to him (and to share with the new friends, of course).  Well, I now have a new reason to be ready with cake!

We’d been talking in our living room, sharing pictures of our family and stories of days gone by.  They saw a picture of us that caught their eye… it was a picture on the railroad track where there’s a 37.4 mile marker post in the foreground.  We commented that we were married that long in the picture.  Our friend said, that’s us today! Thirty seven years!
What?!?  Today? Today’s your anniversary?? Yes, they said.  Well, how ’bout that! When my husband invited the friend, and he accepted the invitation to come over, he didn’t mention it was a special occasion for them.  But from that moment and for the rest of the evening, we made it a celebration here!  It reminded me that a party without cake is just a meeting!   How thankful I am this morning… looking back on last evening’s special time.  And, I’m so glad I’d made cake!  It was a good time for cake! 🙂 ♥

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