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!