Wednesday, December 30, 2009

I Can't Seem to Find the Time... LoL

It really is crazy how much time elapses between my posts. I think about posting all the time too!!! I haven't stopped baking, and in fact feel busier now than I have ever been. Granted, I've just been baking for family and friends, but the holidays have certainly kept me very busy! I want to say that it's driving me crazy, but it's not. My only complaint is that the day isn't long enough to do everything that I want. Since October, I have made so much! I've made a Strawberries & Cream Cheesecake, Pumpkin Roll, Caramel Swirl Pumpkin Cheesecake & Cupcakes, Sugar Cookies, Golly Polly Doodles (weird name... LoL), Gingerbread Cookies, Checkerboard Cookies, Pinwheel Cookies, Chocolate Roulade, Whoopie Pies, English Toffee, Strawberries & Whipped Cream Cake, Yule Log, a Death by Chocolate Cake, New Year's cupcakes, Chocolate-covered Caramels, Chocolate-covered strawberries, Peanut Butter Cups and Bon Bons, haystacks, and tonight I'm making more Toffee! I promise I will get some pictures up ... I would love to see the things that I have made. I make them and then they disappear! LoL.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Oh how the time flies

It's been a little bit since my last post. I've baked some cookies in between then and now, but nothing spectacular...although, I find shortbread spectacular at any time!
About a month or so ago I was approached by San Pellegrino about using one of my Flickr photos. I said they could absolutely use my photo. I am happy to say that it's finally on their website. It was really an exciting moment when I went to a website and saw one of my dessert photos featured with others.

To see it:

* Then click the picture next to "Zabaione"
* Click the "READ MORE" that's in light blue
* On the left-hand side you'll see many pictures.

In addition to that, I was fortunate enough to have one of my recipes featured on the Inn the Kitchen blog.

She posts lots of great recipes, so be sure to check out some of her tasty creations!

Needless to say, I'm very happy and am really looking forward to moving forward with my dream of being a sweets creator.

I am so blessed to be an artist. It's not easy, by any stretch of the imagination. We always hear about the "starving artist." Well, I'm far from starving, but I'm certainly not successful...yet. My roommate and I were discussing one of his lesson plans (he's a professor at UCF) and one of the assignments in his class was for the students to define was Success meant - clearly there wouldn't be a wrong answer as this is subjective. We all have our definitions.

This got me thinking and daydreaming, not that much doesn't make me do this... I know that I want to be successful in art. I am going to school for graphic design, but I just don't know that I could be happy in that field. I'm not much of a graphic designer as much as I am an illustrator.
In addition, I've just really found that I love to bake. I've always loved cooking, but I just really love to bake. In my down time, I think about baking. What can I make next?! I keep thinking of reasons to bake cakes and cookies and cupcakes, just so I can "practice." The reality of it is, I just love to do it. It's so relaxing and the end result is just the "icing on the cake."
Success for me would be being a successful baker. I would love to make a comfortable living from baking. Baking for small events or just individuals would be fantastic whether working for myself or for a small company. I will hopefully be embarking upon a business venture that may open new opportunities so that I may achieve this. If this doesn't work out, it's okay, because I'll still be baking and doing my best to share what I can do with others who want my desserts. :-)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Birthdays Really are Happy!

My friend Amanda will be celebrating her birthday this Sunday. All she asked for was a Winnie the Pooh-themed caked. At first, I was like ... "NO! You're going to be 30! I can't support this." Then, I realized that this is her birthday and it's a cute theme so why the heck not????

I decided that I wasn't going to let her know about this and I told her on Wednesday that I couldn't do her cake and I apologized. Wednesday night I made Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookie dough and tossed it in the refrigerator so that it would be ready to roll out and bake on Thursday.

Thursday I went straight home from work and baked the chocolate cupcakes and rolled out the sugar cookie dough. I cut out flowers and butterflies which I then decorated with orange-flavored royal icing.

While the cookies and cupcakes where cooling, I colored some of my marshmallow fondant and sculpted a bear that was supposed to be Winnie the Pooh... LoL. He looked similar to said Disney character and at the very least, he was a cute teddy bear. ^_^

Decorating these cupcakes and the cookies was just so much fun. Decorating just got me more excited! I just wanted to decorate all night long - and I almost did (I called it a night around 1 am).

During her lunch break I set up the cupcakes in our conference area and was grateful that she didn't see the treats until we all sang Happy Birthday (I may have been the only one singing, I didn't hear anyone over myself).

Needless to say, she was a very happy birthday girl and I even got her watery-eyed. I love it! I love baking and I love making people happy! Her reaction totally made my day! :-)

Monday, September 28, 2009

Mmmm! I love CHOCOLATE!

I made a VERY tasty chocolate cake last Wednesday! It was so yummy and very hard to stay away from! The cake was ... perfect! It was moist and dense & light at the same time. I am a fan of the chocolate cake recipe I now have. I tweaked one that I found. The original recipe has a more bitter chocolate flavor as it calls for unsweetened chocolate - my version uses sweet and semisweet chocolate and I feel like it's just the perfect combination! The cake is great with frosting or without it!

I decided to play around with the frosting on this one and decorated it simple. I was really happy with the thicker and even frosting center. I get so excited when I cut into a cake that I've made and the icing in the center isn't thin... and the even-ness... well, it just makes a girl smile! Now I just have to work on making thicker walls... I should get a cake decorating book or something. I want to decorate a cake like a pro! Ugh! I wish there were more hours in the day and more time to bake bake bake!!!

Monday, September 21, 2009

I Got A Feeling ... Woooo hooooo

I just want to bake. It's funny how I get excited about baking ideas. I sit at work and think about what I want to try next... it's usually Everything! I'm thinking that sometime this week I'm going to make a chocolate cake with white chocolate buttercream icing... Mmmm... That sounds good!!! I want that, now! LoL.

I think I'm really lucky that I've been able to make as much as I've made recently. I went to the cake supply store (the only one!) on Saturday. I saw all of the boxes that they had available and I got excited. It seems a bit silly, but when I saw them I immediately thought of all the things I could fill them up with... *sigh* ... SO ... probably tomorrow or Wednesday, I shall bake again! I will be sure to post pics, of course! Until then, thanks for reading! =)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

This Week's Journey

So, today was the delivery day for the graffiti cake and 35 cupcakes! So.... before I discuss that, I will go over my week.

As you are aware, I wanted to try to prep as much as possible so that I wasn't rushing to complete everything at the last minute. I probably spent more time making everything that I may have anticipated...but that's okay. I had a great time and really enjoyed every minute of it!

So... On Thursday, I decided that I would start the carrot cake, since its decoration was the most important. Whilst at work, I was daydreaming about the cake and going home to bake it...when I realized something. When I painted Kiana's name on the fondant, I didn't think to measure how large it was. I continued to think about this and just knew that it was going to be larger than the 6 inch cake that was ordered.

I had two options; either re-do the name or make a larger cake. I really liked the way the name came out and opted to do a larger cake and figured that this could be a nice surprise for them.

So I got home that night and compared the name to the 6-inch round cake pan. Sure enough, the name was larger than the pan. I made a 1/2 sheet cake and decided that I would cut it to the size that I wanted. Once it was ready, I cut a 10 1/2 x 6 inch rectangle and frosted it with the crumb-coat, set it in the refrigerator and told it I would see it the next day. This was completed by 12:30 AM... LoL.

Friday rolled around and I went straight home from work. I immediately started making the vanilla and chocolate cake batters for the cupcakes. The chocolate cake batter was dyed black and the vanilla was separated into 4 bowls and dyed pink, blue, yellow, and green - all VERY bright!

I baked 12 chocolate, 12 vanilla, and 12 marbled cupcakes. The chocolate frosting was also dyed black and I also tinted the vanilla frosting pink, blue, yellow & green.

I dyed the cream-cheese frosting a red-brown for the brick wall I was going to create with the carrot cake. Once the carrot cake was frosted, I refrigerated it to let the frosting set again. Once set, I scraped the tops and sides so that I could even out the frosting...this also created an awesome texture on the frosting that gave the appearance of brick! Then, I "carved" the lines into the cake where the "cement" would go. I filled those lines with white cream cheese frosting and once this was done, I placed the name on the top of the cake and outlined the name with black frosting.

Let me just say this... I was happy to see this completed. ... *sigh*... anywho... Once that was done I decorated all of the cupcakes and packed them into containers. FINALLY! I was done!!! Then, I took a step back and stared at my kitchen. Well, I knew it was a kitchen... a stranger walking into my home probably would have thought it was a disaster area. I was nowhere near done...sooooo... finally after cleaning, I was actually finished. At around 3:45 AM my bed was shouting for me; I obliged itl.

Today was the day. I woke up and went to the cake supply store to buy boxes for the cakes and cupcakes; came home, packed everything up, showered and headed to the home. I wasn't sure of what to expect and was feeling pretty nervous. I finally made it to the cake's destination and delivered the goods. I was so happy to hear the "Wow's" that I got. I wanted to cry, just a tear. I felt AMAZING! They loved the way everything looked. Hopefully, I'll receive an email from them telling me that they loved the taste too.

Summary of this project:

11+ hrs of work

3 very late nights

Countless dishes cleaned

1 10 x 6 x 2.6 inch cake

36 Cupcakes (I threw an extra in the box)

A happy 16-year old & Family

An Even Happier Yvie. =)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Getting Ready For Saturday!

I love baking... and my boyfriend, roommate, and co-workers are probably sick of all of the baking I do; however, I can't seem to stop! My boyfriend suggested I post an ad on Craigslist and I was reluctant to do it ... but he made a great point: If no one reply's, then you're where you are now; but, if they do, then ...

I took his advice and posted an ad on Craigslist (about a month ago) and on the first day I received a serious inquiry. A mother who was in the middle of planning her daughter's sweet 16 inquired about cupcakes and a 6" cake. After a few emails and a telephone conversation, I got to meet the family for a tasting. Let me just say that words don't describe how awesome that was for me. It was certainly a great feeling to know that what you love to do is something that complete strangers will enjoy! The word Delicious was even thrown my way! So, this Saturday I will be responsible for the cake portion of a young lady's Sweet 16. I am trying to do as much prep work as possible so that I'm not rushing through the baking and decorating.

For this event I will be making:

6" Carrot Cake w/ Cream Cheese Icing
35 Cupcakes: Vanilla, Chocolate, & Marble Frosted with Vanilla Buttercream or Chocolate Buttercream.

Her invitations were a graffiti theme and that's what I will match the cake and cupcakes to. SO... Bright colors and GRAFFITI!!! If you know me, and you must if you're reading this, you know Graffiti is not my style! Luckily, in the cake world, there are so many ways to create! So far, I have made all of the frostings and tonight I worked on some fondant shapes that I will use on her cake and on the cupcakes. I have painted her name in a Graffiti style on a sheet of rolled fondant (homemade, if I may add) I am letting all of this dry and harden as much as it can. Once her name is dried I will cut around it so that there is a white border and then I will outline that in more black.

I have also made some brightly colored fondant stars which will top the cupcakes. I will use some of these on the cake itself for some added color. I will certainly post pictures of the finished products this weekend. This is so fun and so exciting! Wish me luck! I am excited about this!!!!