my journey to bake the perfect cake

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Succulents ‘Naked’ Cake

A “naked” cake.  A “succulents” cake.  I have to smile when I think of this recent cake.  Not only bcz I love who I made it for, but my little backstory.   For all the months/years of this  “naked cake” or “succulents” cake craze, I’ve been shaking my head and wondering when the fad would pass (and if I’d ever get caught up in it before it did).  I even thought, if there’s a cake I don’t want to make, it’s that.  And if there are decos I don’t want to make, it’s succulents.

You know those conversations you look back on with tremendous relief that you didn’t blurt out your thoughts prior to someone else sharing theirs?  Well, there for the grace of God go I.  Our precious friends were in that delightful “planning the wedding” time and they came for a visit to talk over their cake ideas.  I always listen intently to couples sharing their ideas/dreams so that I can get a feel for just what they’re envisioning for their cake and decorations.  It’s one of my favourite things, to just “get it!”  It’s a lot easier to do this than to have a couple say they “don’t have a preference, just surprise us!”  Really, it is.

So here’s where the grace came in… we were talking and then looking at images on her Pinterest pages.  I’m seeing all sorts of elegant pictures, soft rustic elegance.  Scrolling down I begin to see… yep, succulents.  Scrolling further, we get to the cakes.  Ahhhhh, more succulents.  [Ah, Oooo…. naked cakes.]  Ah, yes, yes, I get what you’re wanting, I say.
[In my head:  Oōōōōō, succulents on “naked cakes” Oōōō my! Oōōō my!]

And so… that began my quest to make the cake of their dreams.
I thought on it and thought on it…. over and over, I thought on it.  And then determined I’d love it, too.  So, I bought a succulent at the store… set it on my kitchen windowsill above my sink; stared at it for two weeks.  I did this so I could “get it.” I did it so it would be in my head.
I made the fondant…
 
After dividing it into several pieces and colouring each piece different “succulent” shades of grayed out greens, and streaking some burgundy and pinks into some pieces, I went to work making the succulents.

  

When they were all made (over a couple of days) I made the cakes, wrapped them well, and froze them.

On the wedding day, I made the the almond paste filling (a blend of 2/3 almond paste and 1/3 almond buttercream) and whipped up the almond buttercream frosting.


I used syrup to ‘crumb-coat’ the cakes so that they’d remain moist for serving at the wedding reception.  It seals the cake and gives it a nice sheen.

Then I added a tad bit more frosting to give the “naked cakes” a finished look.   These are the middle and top tiers filled with almond filling and frosted.


I’m so thankful I got to make this cake and —seriously— am looking forward to another request to make a “naked cake”  and/or a succulents cake. ♥

A Bella Cake Home

A cake for a special wedding

eaglewingsweddingcake

I had the privilege of making a wedding cake for a special wedding — not knowing the couple, never even meeting them, actually.  But our daughter-in-love works as for a disAbility ministry and one of the couples served by the ministry celebrated their wedding day this past weekend and I was so thankful to be able to offer something to them… I don’t know a lot about how to be helpful in the ministry to the different guests, but I do know I have something I can offer: cakes!  So, this is what I made for the small wedding reception.  And I’m so honoured to have been able to do it. ♥

A Bella Cake Home takes the cake!

valentines b’fast crêpes

valentinesbreakfastcrepes

Wanting to make sure this day started out delicious for my sweethearts, I made breakfast crêpes and served them with whipped vanilla cream, raspberries and Nutella.  I’d planned to make some pink cinnamon rolls I’d pinned to my Valentines Day page — but I didn’t get them made yesterday, so, I stayed with valentine crêpes!  I really wanted to make the beautiful lacey crepes  I’d seen on Pinterest — but, may I say, these are quite a bit easier dreamed than reality.  So, I opted for heart shaped ones… which, occasionally came out looking mickey-mouse-ish.  One thing I knew–an answer for pretty much any situation is: Nutella.   And, raspberries.  And, whipped cream. ♥

A Bella Cake Home

making wedding cakes

mousellinebuttercreambowlMaking wedding cakes is probably one of my very most favourite things to do—I know, I know, ‘

very most favourite’ is probably a grammatically incorrect way to have written that, but it’s true, it’s one of my very most favourite things to do — and I have also loved homeschooling our eleven children, too.

Being part of one the most sacred, special and memorable days of a couple’s life together–and certainly in the life of a bride who’s likely dreamed every sort of dream regarding weddings, dresses, flowers, decorations… and cakes.

So cakes.  It’s humbling to be asked to make the wedding cake — well, for me it is, anyway.  And you kn

ow why?  Because I’m not a professional–I’m not an expert.  And I’ve made mistakes.  Lots of them.  Sometimes on the wedding day, sometimes at the venue, sometimes in the cutting and sometimes in the amount of butter in buttercream frosting.  For a July wedding.

I still have nightmares about a couple of cakes.  Another nightmare about a fondant cake — my first, using premade, packaged fondant (I’ve made my own since then).   I’m sure that first try was not tasty. But it was a sincere effort.  The melting buttercream one, too.  But on a wedding day, there’s no room for mistakes, no room for blunders and no time for more time to get it right.

Still I love the opportunity.  And the adrenaline rush, apparently, because I so look forward to the next cake.  I hope it’s the best yet.

A Bella Cake Home takes the cake!

dipped cookies

oreodipped1

 

 

 

 

 

A super simple “cookie-pop!”  Just get some Oreo’s, cookie sticks and a pound of Melties (or almond bark).  Using a mini-crock, warm the melties or almond bark, stir until completely melted and smooth.  Dip the tip of a stick into the melted bark/melties and *gently!* and *slowly!* push the stick into the side of the Oreo cookie, set aside and repeat with many cookies, setting aside after you insert the sticks.  Then prepare to begin the cookie dipping (make sure you have a cup or a styrofoam board or  a mug to stand the dipped cookies in – in order for them to completely harden/set undisturbed0.  Plunge the cookie into the melties and remove quickly, gently (!!!!) tapping off the excess chocolate (or vanilla almond bark).  Just tap against your opposite index finger, not the side of the pot or cup—you want to go pretty easy with the tapping so you don’t knock the cookie off the stick.  At this point, you can sprinkle the dipped cookie with coloured sugar sprinkles or just leave them plain and stand the cookie pop in a mug or cup or poke the stick into a styrofoam board.  They’ll set or harden relatively quickly.  You can just keep moving on through however many cookie pops you’ve planned to dip.  Enjoy! ♥

  oreodippeda  oreodipped

A Bella Cake Home

Seahawks Super Day!

seahawks football cake
I made this cake for the Superbowl party! What a wonderful day it was!!   From the first 12 seconds of the first half, to the first 12 seconds of the second half,  to the last 12 seconds of the game: My-o-my, what a game!!
What a day, too, it was for CAKE!
In addition to this cake and a whole bunch of cupcakes for the Superbowl party at our son’s house, I made another football cake/cupcakes just like these for a special birthday surprise party that same day.

seahawks-superbowl-cupcakesthis cupcake is one of the varieties I made…
I’m showing you a (sort of blurry, sorry) close up so that you can see the cupcakes paper on this one… these are printed with grass motif and are quite a bit taller than regular cupcake liner papers–the effect is nice, and the candies are better contained.  To keep with the colour theme of blue & green *and* Skittles®, I pulled out all the blue and green Skittles®  On the cake plate, I sprinkled Sixlets® candies.
If I ever have to pull out certain colours of candies in the future, this experience has taught me, I’ll have no trouble finding volunteers to eat the rest! :o)

Our son and daughter-in-law made all sorts of delicious foods—dips, fish tacos, salsas and more.

I loved making this cake and all the swirly cupcakes topped with green & blue Skittles®,  green & blue M & M’s® candies — and bright, colourful Skittles!  I topped some of the cupcakes with bright green Sixlets® candies.

cupcakes-seahawks2 For the frosting, I made a whole bunch of buttercream — some to go on the cake, between the layers under the ganache and under the fondant — and some to colour different shades of green & blue.

Here’s a Tip:
To create the three tone or the two tone swirls, I put one colour in a ziplock (cut of 1/4″ of the corner), squeeze the frosting into a “log” to the corner point and set it down into the frosting bag and repeat the same thing with another colour in another bag, also inserting it into the frosting bag and squeezing them down together — I use this method when I don’t want the colours to blend.  Looking for more of a blend for the blue and green, I spooned the blue frosting inside one side of the bag and then carefully spooned the green on top of the blue down inside the bag.   And then, I carefully pressed it but not twisting it much.

To pipe a swirl on the top of cupcakes , I use a Wilton® ‘M’ tip — I like it the best for swirls!  But if you don’t have an ‘M’ tip, you can use any wide ‘star tip’ you have and start piping just beside the middle and swirl in a circle, tucking the end of the swirl under the edge of the circle to make it look like one continuous circular motion.

I made the football out of a 5″ square pan that’s 3″ tall.  I was counting on the dome of the cake to give me a rounded effect.  When it was cooled, I cut off two opposite sides of the cake.  This gave me a domed “boat” looking cake, so I continued to “shave it” into a football shape.  When I was pleased with the shape, I frosted it and then covered it with fondant I’d coloured brown.  I rolled out the fondant into a sort of pointed oval shape and fitted it over the cake ‘football’ —working quickly to smooth the fondant over the shape and pressing it out so as to eliminate puckers and wrinkles.  I used strips of white fondant to make the two football strips — one near each end and then I used a spiked rolling wheel to make three seams in the football… one from tip to tip over the top and one on each side; then I cut two very-very thin strips to make the lacing, and five of the same thin strips cut into 1/2 inch lengths to ‘secure’ the lacing. I used a point to ‘poke’ the ends into the fondant ball so the lacing would look more authentic.

I liked it well enough to leave it alone… my biggest problems in cake decorating over the years has been over-messing with cakes.  Do you do that sometimes, too?  I put the finished ball on top of the candies topping the  green ‘grass’  I’d piped on top of the fondant covered, three layer cake.

seahawks football cake cut

many blessings to you ♥

p.s. My local supplier is Dawn’s Candy & Cake

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