Cooking with Alison

Archive for the ‘Cake Decorating’ Category

How to Make a Diaper Cake (and my Favourite Baby Shower Games)

In Cake Decorating, DIY and Crafts on March 22, 2014 at am

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This DIY diaper cake tutorial should have been written five years ago – when I actually made the diaper cake and when this trend was the most popular.  But regardless of whether or not this is a new idea, I still love it and I can’t think of a better gift or centerpiece for a baby shower.  I’ve now been involved in throwing a few baby showers, and planning the games is always my favourite part.  So I’ve shared a list of my favourite baby shower games as well.  I’m sure it will come to no surprise that 2 of the 3 are food related.  😉

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My First Wedding Cake (and the Sugar Shack that Anthony Bourdain went to in No Reservations)

In Cake Decorating, Cakes, Reviews on September 17, 2011 at am

Two of my good friends got married on September 10, 2011 at Sucrerie de la Montagne in Quebec, Canada.  On a side note, Chef Anthony Bourdain went to this very sugar shack for his television show, No Reservations.  My friends had an intimate wedding and invited their friends and family to bring cakes for dessert.  So I took this opportunity to make my first wedding cake.  It was a one-tier, two-layer chocolate cake with strawberry raspberry jam and vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream.  It was covered with marshmallow fondant and topped with fresh, fall coloured flowers.  I was very happy with how it turned out and people loved the way that it tasted.  My cake decorating skills have come a LONG way since my Michael’s cake decorating course.  🙂  This cake was surprisingly easy to make.  See below for the recipes and a few tips.

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Fondant Recipe

In Cake Decorating, Cakes, Cookie Decorating, Cookies, Cupcakes on September 16, 2011 at am

Fondant is used for decorating cakes (especially wedding cakes), cupcakes, and fancy cookies.  It creates a beautiful and smooth covering that makes your homemade desserts look professionally made.  Fondant is actually quite easy to work with, but store bought fondant is expensive and, in my opinion, doesn’t taste good.  Homemade marshmallow fondant, however, is easy to make, is much more affordable, and tastes good.  Thanks to the step-by-step photo instructions from this website, I was able to make my first wedding cake.

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Swiss Meringue Buttercream with Flavour Variations

In Cake Decorating, Cakes, Cupcakes, Other Desserts on September 15, 2011 at am

Swiss merginue buttercream is so good and versatile that it truly deserves its own post.  Think of it in this way:  swiss meringue buttercream is to buttercream frosting as Egyptian cotton is to 200 thread count bed sheets.  Swiss meringue buttercream is stiff enough for piping and cake decorating, but it feels and tastes light, satiny, smooth, elegant, and luxurious.  I love it when people taste it for the first time and turn to me with wide, adoring eyes, to ask, “What is this?”.  🙂  This is the stuff that the professionals use and you can easily make it yourself.  It will take your baking to a whole new level.  Although swiss meringue buttercream is slightly tedious and time consuming to make, it is definitely worth the effort.  You can make a large batch and store it in the refrigerator or freezer.

I have used swiss meringue buttercream for strawberry cupcakes, mini chocolate cupcakes, chocolate cake, and a wedding cake with great success.  I originally shared the recipes for strawberry and vanilla swiss meringue buttercream in my yellow cupcakes and favourite moist chocolate cake posts, respectively.  I recently made chocolate swiss meringue buttercream for my dad’s chocolate birthday cake and it instantly became my new favourite chocolate frosting.

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Kitty Litter Cake

In Cake Decorating, Halloween on January 27, 2010 at am

I’ve made this Kitty Litter Cake twice now and it always gets the best reactions out of people.  I’ve had people laugh, gag, and I even had someone think that it was actually kitty litter sitting on top of my table  🙂  The best part is that everyone’s always surprised at how Good it tastes.  There are several variations on the internet but this is how I’ve done it.

 

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Foosball Cake

In Cake Decorating on January 20, 2010 at am

To celebrate my long awaited purchase of a foosball table, I threw a foosball tournament among friends.  So, naturally, I made a foosball cake.  I used teddy graham crackers for the men, a white gumball for the foosball, and red and blue sour crazy straws for the bars.  For the goal posts, I found two finger football games at Dollarama, discarded the pieces I didn’t need and turned the football posts upside down.  It was a Really great find.

Gumpaste Recipe

In Cake Decorating, Cakes, Cookie Decorating, Cookies, Cupcakes on January 18, 2010 at pm

Gumpaste is used for decorating cakes, cookies, and cupcakes and is actually very easy and cost efficient to make.  I think of it as an edible cake decorating play-doh.  It holds up better than fondant so I use it for decorations that need more structure.  Also, unlike fondant, once gumpaste decorations dry out, you can keep them forever.  I buy tylose online and use the recipe provided by Nicholas Lodge’s isac (international sugar art collection).

Please note that you need a stand mixer to make gumpaste (although I wonder if a food processor would work… let me know how it works out if you try it).  The first time I made gumpaste, I broke my handheld mixer.  I was So Happy when it happened because then I knew that I could finally justify buying myself a Kitchenaid stand mixer.  You see, I try to only purchase kitchen stuff that I absolutely need and I try to be resourceful with my already versatile tools.  Even while sticking to these strict rules, I’ve still managed to accumulate a Lot of kitchen stuff, haha.  In October 2009, I bought the Kitchenaid Professional HD model from Costco for $275 (on sale).  I chose the stainless steel colour because it reminded me of an industrial kitchen.  I absolutely adore it and use it all the time.

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Mice in a Boot Cake

In Cake Decorating, Desserts on January 18, 2010 at pm

After watching many cake decorating shows and competitions on the Food Network, I made my first attempt at a 3 dimensional cake.  In August 2009, when I moved my little sister into her first home, I gave her this cake.  I designed the “mice living in a boot” cake based on her favourite childhood toy that was lost years ago in a move.  It was an orange and brown plastic boot that had plastic mice and furniture that you could hide in the toe of the boot.  When she saw the cake, she knew exactly what it was and was just speechless  🙂  See below for details on how I did it.

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Pink Rose Cake

In Cake Decorating on January 15, 2010 at pm

This is the third cake that I decorated after completing the course.  Here’s a link to my favourite yellow cake recipe.  I tried a new leaf tip that I bought to replace the one that came with the Wilson student kit and I was very happy to see that it worked beautifully – much better than the first one I had.  The icing wasn’t stiff enough so the roses turned out a bit flat.

If you want to know how I did any of the decorations (ie. tip number, icing consistency, etc.), feel free to ask me in a comment and I’ll post the details in a reply.

Hello Kitty Cake

In Cake Decorating on January 15, 2010 at pm

This is the second cake that I decorated after completing the cake decorating course.  Here’s the link to my favourite yellow cake recipe.  I realized too late that I got the colours wrong.  I made it for a friend of mine who finds the character, “Hello Kitty” amusing.

If you want to know how I did any of the decorations (ie. tip number, icing consistency, etc.), feel free to ask me in a comment and I’ll post the details in a reply.

Monkey Cake

In Cake Decorating on January 15, 2010 at pm

This is the first cake that I decorated after completing the cake decorating course.  It was also the first time I used piping gel to transfer an outlined pattern onto the cake.  I made this monkey cake for my dad’s birthday because monkeys always make him smile (and because he’s kind of a baboon himself)  😉  Here’s the link to my favourite yellow cake recipe.  The dark frosting is simply chocolate buttercream.

If you want to know how I did any of the decorations (ie. tip number, icing consistency, etc.), feel free to ask me in a comment and I’ll post the details in a reply.

Cake Decorating Course

In Cake Decorating on January 15, 2010 at pm

In January of 2009, I took a beginners’ cake decorating course at Michael’s Craft Store.  I highly recommend it and in my experience, you really only need to take the first course.  Any new techniques after that can easily be self-taught.  You can use these techniques to decorate cookies and cupcakes too.  Class was only once a week for a month but there was surprisingly a lot of homework.  I [half] joked every week about being really stressed out about my cake decorating class.  🙂  Each week you had to go to class with a cake and batches of differently textured and coloured icing.  So I took this opportunity to test 3 different yellow cake recipes.  The link to the yellow cake recipe that I liked the most is here. Note that the Wilton buttercream frosting recipe does not taste good, because it was designed for the purpose of practicing techniques in any climate (ie. to hold up in humidity).

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