Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Faglardo Wedding

OK, so their name isn't actually Faglardo.  Last month, my friend Adrienne Filardo married Kyle Fagan, and they asked me to make their wedding cake.  Their wedding was going to be a simple, low-key event in their back yard, but they needed the cake to serve 100-125 people.

The first stepwas baking and icing the cakes.  The bottom and top tiers were Guinness chocolate cake, and the middle tier was vanilla.  All were iced with vanilla buttercream.

They had a couple of styles in mind, but they decided on a 3-tiered peach colored cake with white icing decorations.  The cake was covered with peach fondant and the dots were made with royal icing.

The finished product.
 I have to say that the cutest part of the cake was something that we copied from - the cake topper.  Adrienne and Kyle have chickens, so when they saw an egg cake topper, they knew that was what they wanted.  It was actually really easy to make, just decorating a couple of eggs to be the bride and groom.  And, yes, the eggs were hard-boiled first.

But that's not all!  Adrienne wanted to surprise Kyle with a personalized groom's cake.  He's a home-brewer (he actually brewed the beer that was served at the wedding), so of course that was the perfect idea for the cake: Faglardo's Lager.  I told her I would make a beer mug for him, and her only requirement was that it had to be Red Velvet cake.  I was a little hesitant about cream cheese icing and fondant, but after a little searching I found a great Cream Cheese Buttercream recipe that was fantastic.

So after the wedding was over and dinner was served, it was time to demolish the cakes.

 I don't think I've seen cake disappear so quickly.  It was a great night, and I wish the bride and groom all the best.  Congratulations!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Graduation Day!

Well, as spring starts to seem more like summer, you know that it's time for graduations.  Nick, who worked in my husband's lab asked me to bake a cake for him and a few of his friends that were graduating at the same time as him.  He sent me information about each person and their respective majors, so right off the bat I knew I wanted to do something to make it a personalized treat for each graduate.  

Nick asked that I stick with pretty simple/basic flavors.  I decided to go with the two standbys - chocolate and vanilla.  The square tier of the cake was made of chocolate cake, and the top tier was vanilla cake.  I've found that when you have those two, there really is something for everyone.

Since a lot of people like to write their name on the top of their graduation caps so their families can find them, I decided to do the same with the cake.  I made a graduation cap and wrote each person's name on one corner.  Then, I decorated each side with something to represent their major.

The top of the cap was just gum paste that I cut and let dry for
about 24 hours.  I'm not sure what caused the ripple effect, but
I really liked it.  I thought it made it look like fabric.

Three of the students were graduating from the University of Florida (orange and blue), and one girl was graduating from Santa Fe College (blue and white).  Of course nobody could be left out, so I made two tassels - one for each school.

The tassels were actually not as hard to make as I thought they would be.  I died fondant the different colors and then rolled them each out into thick sheets.  I just happened to have my spaghetti maker handy, so I rolled the sheets through that to make the strips.  Then, I just bunched the strips together, bound them by wrapping another piece of fondant around the top, and placed it on the cake.  


Nick was a Biochemistry major and a Materials Science Engineering
Minor.  So, he got a DNA helix.

Kayla got her Associate's degree in Cardiovascular Technology,
so she got an EKG reading

Cassie was a History major, and she had me pretty stumped.
She ended up getting an ancient scroll telling the world's history.

Shane was a Healthcare Technology major, so he got a Caduceus
(a commonly used healthcare symbol) and a stethoscope.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Dr. and Mr. Steven Kirschner, Esq.

You may remember Chelsea Magin from the post a while ago where I made her a Sharklet graduation cake.  Well, this April, her and Steve Kirschner tied the knot.  Their wedding was so unique and fun.  They got married at the Baughman Center on the University of Florida campus and had their restaurant at a new Gainesville restaurant called Boca Fiesta.  Their table decorations were photos of the couple held up by Dia de los Muertos skulls.  Instead of throwing the bouquet and garter, they put them in pinatas and let the single men and women attack the prize like kids going after fallen candy.

A few weeks before the wedding, Chelsea contacted me and asked me to make a surprise groom's cake for Steve.  After a little while, she decided that it would be perfect to have a cake decorated like a Dia de los Muertos skull.  The decorations were piped with royal icing in the colors of their invitations and decorations.  There was never any question about what flavor the cake should be - it had to be the Guinness cake.

The cake at the couple's table.
The picture next to was their Save-the-Date cards.

Very traditional wedding decorations, right?

The cake topper on the right was actually made by their sister-in-law.
It was really incredible and looked awesome on top of the wedding cake (which came later).

Friday, June 10, 2011

Darcie and Rick's Wedding

OK, this wedding may have been small (only about 25 people), but it was a pretty big deal for me.  It was my sister's wedding.  She married my (new) brother-in-law on April 5th, which was our mom's birthday.  It was a really simple but elegant wedding held at Arizona's Boyce Thompson Arboretum.

Waiting for the wedding to start.

The happily married couple.

The (almost) finished cake
The bride and groom didn't want to have a ton of flowers and decorations since nature did such a good job providing the colors, so Darcie just had a simple bouquet of white lilies.  She wanted the cake to reflect that simplicity too.  So, we stuck with something simple, which was good since I was making the cake at my parent's house in AZ and didn't want to take a bunch of equipment on my trip.  The bottom and top tiers were left without any decoration except a simple ribbon, and the middle tier had a nice filigree pattern that my Aunt Jann helped me make.
A close-up of the filigree

A few fresh flowers are the finishing touch.

They weren't sure of the cake flavor and fluctuated between traditional vanilla and something different, so we did both.  Darcie really wanted a flavor that Rick would like, but he's not really a cake fan.  He did, however, recently try a chocolate cake that he liked, and said that he liked it because it was not too sweet.  Rick is also a pretty big beer fan.  Well, naturally I recommended the Guinness chocolate cake recipe that's been such a big hit in the past.  So, the green tiers were the Guinness cake with vanilla buttercream, and the middle tier was traditional vanilla with vanilla buttercream.

Darcie and Rick trying to figure out how to cut the cake.

Rick wanted to keep the top tier, but there was still plenty of cake to go around.  The waiters at the restaurant were a little nervous about cutting the cake, so they asked that I do it.  That was how I discovered that I am a more talented cake baker than I am a cake cutter, but oh well.  Everyone got at least one slice, and there was still some left for the restaurant's waiters that did such a great job.  

The demolished cake

All-in-all, it was a really good day, and everything went very smoothly.  Congrats again, guys!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Joe & Michelle's Wedding

My second spring wedding was for a couple of friends named Joe and Michelle.  Michelle was an amazing wedding planner - she had the cake planned more than 6 months before the wedding!  Their wedding colors were black and gold, and the bride was going have a bouquet of red roses, so the cake had to be pretty classy.  She found a design she liked in a cake book called "Spectacular Cakes" by Mich Turner, so we modeled it after that.

I ended up making a three-tiered vanilla cake with peanut butter and raspberry fillings and vanilla buttercream.  The cake was covered with white fondant and decorated with black royal icing and gold ribbon.  Black on white - gulp!  The cake toppers really made the cake.  Joe and Michelle are both really big Phillies fans, and one of Joe's friends actually made them the cake toppers in the shapes of Phillie Phanatics.  They were so detailed - it was incredible!

The bottom tier decorated in black royal icing.
The amazing cake toppers.

The almost finished cake.  It seems like it's missing something...

That's it.  It just needed some fresh red roses to make it perfect.

Now usually, this would be the end of the blog.  But, Joe wanted to have a groom's cake as well.  I think I may have mentioned that he is a fan of the Phillies, right?  So, what better way to show his love for the team than with cake?  Joe got a Phillies cap made out of chocolate cake, peanut butter filling, and vanilla buttercream.  I would be lying if I told you that more than a couple of his relatives wanted him to wear it.

The start of the Phillies cap.
The finished product

The cake table.

Joe was very gentlemanly when giving Michelle her wedding cake.
I guess it tasted OK if she's licking her fingers.
Getting ready to feed the masses.

Desiree & David's Wedding

OK, I know it's been a month or two since my last post.  Well, this was a busy wedding season for me.  I had a a bunch of friends and family getting married, so I decided to focus on the cakes and not the blog.  Then, of course I needed a little bit of a break.  But now I'm back to show what I worked so hard on.

Kicking it off was Desiree and David's wedding.  They were having a ceremony for about 75-80 people and needed a cake.  These two came to me asking if I could do something a little different for their wedding since they weren't having a very traditional ceremony (they described it as Celtic/Buddhist with a friend officiating).  Of course a traditional wedding cake was out of the question.

After a quick discussion, the couple decided on cupcakes, which I was so excited for.  Half of the cupcakes were made with the bride's favorite flavors - chocolate and orange - and half were made with the groom's favorites - vanilla, peanut butter, and chocolate.  The chocolate cupcakes with chocolate-orange buttercream were in green wrappers, and the vanilla cupcakes with peanut butter filling and milk chocolate buttercream were in blue wrappers.  I love how creative they were with the flavors.

Rows of chocolate cupcakes with chocolate-orange buttercream.
Vanilla cupcakes with peanut butter filling and milk chocolate frosting.

As far as the design, we decided to model them after cupcakes in "Martha Stewart's Cupcakes."  The ones they liked had a gumpaste heart sticking out of the frosting with an initial written in them.  Since not many people I know enjoy eating gumpaste, I suggested they switch that heart out with a sugar cookie.  Of course they had to throw in another little twist - Desiree wasn't going to change her last name, so they didn't have a common initial.  Luckily, their first names both start with D's, so it was meant to be.

One of the many trays of sugar cookies to decorate the cupcakes with.

The finished products.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Sophie Moon's Baby Shower

My coworker Trecia was getting ready to have her first baby, and she asked me to make the baby shower cake.  Of course I jumped at the chance to help her out.  The baby's name was going to be Sophie Moon, so she wanted the cake to be girlie and in the shape of a moon, but she didn't have any requests other than that.

Since it's Spring, I suggested she go with a light, fruity flavor.  I went with Lemon Lust cake with raspberry whipped cream and lemon curd fillings.  Mmm...

After the cake was baked and frosted, I had to add a few girlie touches.  A bedtime teddy bear, a little baby blanket, and some blocks did the trick.

To make it extra special, some stars were added around the cake.

I am happy to report that Miss Sophie Moon was born a little while ago, and mommy and baby are healthy.  Congrats!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Sharklet Graduation Cake

Recently, a fellow grad student of Scott's graduated with her PhD. They have worked together on a number of projects -- mostly on our research dealing with product called Sharklet.  Sharklet is a product that uses the roughness of its surface to prevent attachment of organisms like bacteria, algae, and barnacles.  It gets its name because it mimics the surface of a shark's skin, which naturally prevents growth and attachment.  It was actually recently featured on PBS's NOVA science series. You can watch the program here (and you can see the back of Scott's head in a couple of the shots!).

So for her graduation, I was tasked with making a cake for the graduation party.  Naturally my first thought was to make one about Sharklet.  I asked Scott to help out, and he actually got out a ruler and drew out a pattern for me.  He was so detailed that he was measuring to the millimeter!

Because of the recent success with the Guinness cake from Christmas, I decided to stick with that.  This cake was a Guinness cake with vanilla buttercream.Add a few gummy sharks and gummy microbes around the border (because they can't stick to the surface of course), and there you go.

Cutting the cake at the graduation party.