Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A Few Of My Favorite Things

Happy New Year ! 

2012 was a great one and I'm hoping 2013 is even better. 
In one years time I went from making approximately 8-10 cakes a year to 52 !!! That would be 1 each week except it doesn't work that way for me. Some weeks I'll have 3 or 4, and then I won't have a single cake for a month. 

This year also ushered in the cupcake for me. Who knew those little things could be so much fun?!? 

2012 also was the year of the cake pop. I have nothing more to say about those .

With the increased workload I also was pushed to discover new cake gadgets, accessories and must haves. 
As did Oprah, so will I , share my favorite cake tools and must haves. 
Unfortunately I do not have Oprah money so I will not be giving all of these away as gifts but if I could, I would. 

The following are my Favorite Things of 2012 and a great list to build a hobby or a home business as I have done.

#1 is my Kitchen Aid 6 qt mixer. Just the right size for large batches of icing and batter.

...and to go with it I have recently discovered this wonderful attachment that scrapes the sides of the bowl while it whips up your buttercream. I am quite jealous of my friend who has one , not once did she have to stop whipping and scrape. Definitely adding this to my kitchen collection soon.

All my cakes are baked using parchment paper lined pans, wrapped with a bake even strip.

I cool and store them on a stacking cooling rack which I have found to be a great space saver when I am making more than 1 cake.

Once they are cool, it's time to level.  The most frustrating task used to be leveling and torting the cakes. I am from the school of the Wilton wire leveler. The wire would catch and tear the cakes. Counting the little lines to match up the sides became impossible with my aging eyes. It was a splurge but I finally bought an Agbay cake leveler. If you are serious about cake, this is a gem!

I used to use the re-usable decorating bags for everything. This year I had to speed up my process, and cleaning all those reusable bags was cut from the program. Being able to use and toss these has been great.

I do still use a reusable bag fitted with a cake icer tip to ice my cakes. I'm always scared I'll split one of the disposable bags.

I put them on a turntable and let them spin. 

Once the icing is on, I have found a bench scraper to be a wonderful smoothing tool!

Most of my cakes are 2 tier or more. Stacking and support is VERY important. I was using cardboard cake boards and wooden dowels. This year I switched to plastic separator plates and plastic dowels and LOVE them. Much more support than the old method.

Fondant, everyone seems to want fondant now days. 
My go to fondant is Satin Ice. I have found it to be wonderful to work with, and tastes better than most.

Rolling it was an intense work out until I bought The Mat. This is one tool I could not live without.

When it comes to decorating I try to avoid flowers ( I just don't have the patience ) . But when they are unavoidable I couldn't do it without my assortment of flower cutters ( the photo is just 1 of thousands out there), gum paste tool kit, stamens, 26 gauge wire , floral tape and drying rack.


Borders and designs! I used to spend hours rolling little fondant balls for borders. Until I found First Impressions silicone molds. I used the large bead one all the time! My clay extruder has been a great tool for both of these tasks also.

My new best friends are cupcakes! To get started the Wilton Cupcake Kit has been wonderful and includes every tip I have needed so far. Filled cupcakes are very popular, a cupcake corer makes it a simple task.

Packaging was something I had never explored until last year. I was fortunate to find great cupcake packaging that I can also reuse. These Cupcake Containers make transporting a breeze!

Of course you will need some pan sets. I buy 2 of everything to cut down my baking time. I also only use 2 inch pans, much better results in my opinion.  

Tips and a tool caddy are also very important and can be built over time. Along with decorating dusts, gel colors, sprinkles in every color.

...and let me not forget the dreaded cake pop. When left with no other choice but to make them, these tools make it easier.


One last thing, it's not necessary, but it's fun!  I finally invested in aprons with some pizazz. On the days I have to drag myself to the kitchen, putting one of these on makes me feel so much better ( and sassy ;) !

All of these things helped make 2012 an epic cake year! 
Thank you for your support and taking the time to read my blog,  email, offer tips, and encouraging words. The cake community rocks !

~ Melanie

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