Friday, September 27, 2013

Minnie Mouse Cake Tutorial

FINALLY a Minnie Mouse cake.
I am always searching through cake design websites and forums and they are full of Minnie  and Mickey, but no one had ever asked me to make one.

This cake is for the sister of the little boy Michael I met through Icing Smiles.
Siblings deserve a special cake too but unfortunately she did not fall into the age guidelines set by the organization.
So, I decided I would take matters into my own hands and create an Icing Smile just for her.
Minnie Mouse!

My favorite things about Minnie are her skirt, polka dot bow, and eyelashes. I had to get all of those elements on this cake.

A few days in advance I made her ears using a mix of black fondant and gumpaste. I rolled it out to 1/4 inch thick and cut 4 circles with my 3 inch round cookie cutter ( for the top of a 6 inch cake).
I sandwiched a piece of floral wire between two circles the same way I make stars in my Avengers cake post.
Let these dry hard.

I also made the bow which I have not yet done a tutorial on but trust's coming soon.
I used my ribbon cutter set quite wide and cut out a strip of red fondant and gumpaste.
You want  a lot of gumpaste in your bows to make them stiff.
I fold each end to meet in the middle.
Grab some paper towels and roll one sheet into a log, then fold it in half so it's not as long. Insert that into the bows loop to prop it up while it dries.
Repeat on the other side.
In the middle where the 2 ends meet pinch with your fingers to narrow it.
Roll out a little more fondant / gumpaste and cut another strip with the ribbon cutter.
I pinch in 2 pleats and then wrap around the middle of my bow to cover where the 2 ends meet.
Let bows dry at least 48 hrs.
I will be doing a pictorial on this in an upcoming post.
Once my bow was dry I used the open end of an icing tip to make dots and applied them to the bow with water.

The bottom tier is Minnie's skirt.
I added the lace petticoat by using one of my border / frill cutters and making strips.

Then I used a cocktail straw to make impressions in the strips.

You do not need to use the exact edge cutter I did, any one will give it some flair.
Wrap the strips around the bottom of the cake until they meet. It's OK if you do these in sections.
Repeat for a second row and stagger them with the first.
My butter cream looks terrible but that's ok. The next step is the easiest way to cover that up...EVER!

For her skirt I rolled some red fondant out to 1/4 inch thick and draped it over the top of the cake allowing it to fall into pleats.
With the open end of an icing tip I made more dots and attached them randomly to the skirt with water.

Insert support dowels and stack the next tier.

I gave her an abstract belt made of black fondant. Rolled out and cut with my ribbon cutter.
If you don't have a ribbon cutter and you plan on making a lot of cakes it a worthwhile investment.

I found two Disney fonts, one was Waltograph and one was Walter. I prefer the Walter font but check them both out to see which you prefer.
I printed her name out on computer paper, rolled out red fondant, and cut her name out with an Exacto knife.
I have three tips for cutting out letters from a computer paper template.
1. cut out the insides of the a's , o's , d's etc this while they still have stability from the outside of the letter.
2. use a piece of wax paper between your template and fondant, the paper will stick.
3. cut the letters in reverse. I flip my template over so the print is facing the wax paper and cut from the backside so that when I am done I can brush with water and transfer onto the cake while they are still attached to the wax paper. This keeps the spacing perfect and doesn't distort the letters from stretching.
Press firmly and evenly onto the cake and then very gently peel the wax paper away.

I have a set of Mickey & Minnie cutters I purchased on ebay that I used to make her face, complete with those eyelashes!
I also happen to know where you can purchase these faces already made on ETSY just request a custom order for however many you would like to add to your cake ;)

I attached that face to her skirt.

On top I set the bow. I use a little water to hold it in place and I also stick 2 tooth picks in the cake, inside the bow's loops to help hold it in place and prevent it from sliding off the cake in the event the water just wasn't enough.

Insert the wires of the ears into cocktail straws and trim to desired length and insert into the cake and you are done.

Minnie creates another Icing Smile.

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Flavors of Fall

When is fall?
It's when Starbucks rolls out their pumpkin spice latte, forget what the calendar says.
Lately I have been asked to make a lot of cupcakes and I have to admit...I LOVE IT!

I was invited to a house warming / birthday party that I needed to bring a dish to pass. 
I volunteered to bring cupcakes.

I was inspired by my pumpkin spice latte to test out some fall flavors I had found.
Both come from the Your Cup of Cake blog.
So far I have had no disappointments with her recipes so I checked her blog first for some fall cupcake flavors.
I found a Caramel Apple Cupcake and a Pumpkin Rose Cupcake recipe.

If you would like to try the recipe as written please click on the links.
I made some changes to the icing, other than that I followed the recipes as written.

For the apple spice cupcakes I opened my can of apple pie filling and stuck my sharp knife in and chopped the apples up right in the can.

Pour all the ingredients into a bowl.

Mix until smooth

Fill cupcake wrappers, I use my 1/4 cup measure to fill my cupcake wrappers.

I double up my cupcakes pans to prevent bottoms from burning so I have to bake a bit longer than the original recipe recommends.
I baked mine for 19 minutes.
These cupcakes are a more dense cupcake, almost muffin like, but delicious!

save & print jpeg

I iced these with the cream cheese butter cream and left off the caramel topping ( only because I forgot to buy a jar at the store).

save & print jpeg

The vanilla spice cupcake recipe that is the base of the pumpkin rose cupcakes was fantastic as well.

Full of fall flavor and much less dense than the apple cupcakes.
I iced these with the same cream cheese icing I used on the apple cupcakes.
I will try the pumpkin icing next time, it looks good but I was short on time and just made one large batch of icing.

The new fall flavors were a hit, they will be in my recipe box.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Calling All Superheros !

Last year my son was head over heels for dinosaurs. Those have all been packed away and he is now convinced he is a superhero.
His superpower...he can stop the rain.
The last three times we have been in the car when it started raining here. 
Fortunately we were driving out of the rain every time so now he is convinced that he is Rainman and by singing  the " rain, rain go away " song , over and over he can make the rain stop.
Ahh to be 4 again.
Needless to say this years birthday party theme was Superhero's.
Last year was his first real party with his friends so I went to an extreme, hand cutting and stamping the invitations, painting the goodie bags, cake, cake pops, chocolates, etc...
This year I ordered the bags, ordered the invitations, ordered the pizza, ordered the capes and went with just a small cake and cupcakes.

I know how much Little B loves the goodie bags he gets at parties so it's important that I load his up with some good stuff.

My first idea was capes and masks for the little superhero's to go on an adventure with.
I found the masks at Target and the capes I had Brandon print with just lightning bolts and stars. These can now be found on Etsy.

Superhero's can't fight the bad guys without any ammo, so I loaded a can of silly string in each bag. ( we are a no gun, sword, knife kinda home )
I found some bubbles , glow sticks, and superhero coloring kits at Michaels crafts on one of my many cake supply runs.

The goodie bags I found online at  Birthday Express, where I also found some great superhero photo frames.

These frames gave me the great idea of doing a photo booth.
   Birthday Express also offer a cardboard stand up building scape that we used to create the scene.

With our digital camera and photo printer we took a photo and put it in the super cool , super hero frame for each of the kids to take home.

Time for the cake, I wish I could say I designed this with my own creative mind for my son and filled it with love but I didn't .
Truth is, he saw it on a website I was scanning through looking for party ideas and said " I want that cake" period.
The little man has spoken.
I had planned on just making cupcakes, but he insisted on a cake too so I decided to make a small 8/ 6 inch cake.
I didn't take photos of each step. This was actually a very easy cake to make.
The bottom 8 inch tier was iced in blue fondant. I made a template out of computer paper for the red fondant piece.
I used a clay extruder to make the " webs" and the spider is a toy I found at the dollar store. I inserted a toothpick in the cake and hung the spider off that.
The top 6 inch tier was iced in yellow fondant.
 I googled " wolverine mask template" and chose this one.
I printed it out, rolled out my black fondant to about 1/4 inch thick and cut out the mask.
I let that dry a bit before applying it to the cake with a light brushing of water.
The eyes were made of white fondant, rolled out and cut with an oval cutter. I then cut the tops of the oval off at an angle and piped a black fondant " eyelid above it.
Next I rolled out some flesh colored fondant to 1/4 inch thick and used my mask template again to cut out a piece to fill in the bottom of the mask for his face.
His mouth and teeth I did free hand.

These are the cupcakes that I had originally planned on being all that I was going to make.
These were such a hit I have added the toppers to my Etsy store.

Whew, another successful birthday party.
Time to start planning the next one.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Icing Smiles

A year ago I signed on as a baker with a wonderful non-profit group Icing Smiles.
This group has assembled a large network of bakers who are willing to donate their time and talents to provide special children their dream cakes.
These children have been born with some pretty serious health concerns and deserve something over the top for their birthday.
All the parents have to do is contact Icing Smiles and they call on a volunteer in that area to provide a special cake for their child, FREE!

Finally, I got my call to action.
Again, here I go with the coincidences. The little boy Michael, who I was asked to make a cake for, shares a birthday with my son.
What are the odds of that?!
Have I mentioned my life is full of coincidences.

Michael loves Caillou and his Mom requested a Caillou cake for his party.
I know A LOT about Caillou, my son went through an extended phase of only wanting to watch that show.
With that being said, I aspire to have the patience and nerves of steel that Caillou's parents have.

This was to be his " dream cake". Each child is allowed one and it's to be either a tiered or carved cake to serve up to 40 people.

I went with a tiered design and had planned on two tiers but this is a dream cake so I upped it a tier.
I had some pieces to make in advance, like stars on wires, a Caillou figurine and the number 2 so I made them one week in advance out of a fondant/ gumpaste mixture.

For the bottom tier of the cake I made a 10 inch round.
Following Caillou's color scheme I cut red, blue, green and yellow stripes to decorate it.
I used the frill edge on my FMM ribbon cutter to make the stripes look snazzy.

I placed the frilled stripes on the cake and then added some thinner stripes piped with my extruder.

The middle tier is a 8 inch round.  I made a sign similar to Caillou's name plaque and
using the Futura Light font  I cut out his name.

I added some edible dots for some subtle color.
I make these out of fondant in advance so I can color match the other accents on the cake.
I used to just buy the pre-made Wilton " sprinkles" but they never seemed to match anything I was making.

The top tier was a 6 inch round decorated with color coordinated stars.
On top I set the number 2 and the Caillou figurine.

The stars I had spray from  the bottom and middle tier.
If you use this cake as inspiration for your own please remember not to stick wires in your cakes. When I have a cake iced in white or light fondant I use Bucatini , a hollow pasta , to slide my wires into before inserting into the cake.

Normally coming up with the design and decorating is the challenge. Not with this cake.  Mike has a nut allergy so I had to take all the necessary precautions.
I started by washing down all my surfaces and tools with hot soapy water ( even though they were already clean this is very important.)
I found many products that warned that they may have been produced in a facility that also processes peanuts or tree nut products.
I had to make sure no nuts were consumed in our home while I was making this cake as well.
Cross contamination is serious business and it's best to not introduce an allergen for any reason.
I did find that Satin Ice fondant is nut free so that was not an  issue and instead of scratch I used a Pillsbury white cake mix .
I was amazed to find that my brand of flour was not guaranteed to be nut free so scratch baking was " scratched" .

I had a wonderful time with this cake and was so happy to help.
My heart melted when Michael came in, saw his cake,  smiled the most amazing smile and said " Caillou!"
Every hour, every minute, every second of my time and energy was worth making that little guy smile.

Please check out Icing Smiles and give them some support. They are doing some great things for some wonderful children.