Category Archives: Inspiration

Cakes for Kids – Birthdays, Baptisms, and More

The following was originally posted on my first blog, The Planet Cake Intern, as I learned the art of cake decorating and began putting together the very first pieces of my cake business in Kansas City. 

Flashback - talksweettome.com

I have a file of cake photos that were completed at Planet Cake in my pre-blog time there, so thought I would share them. Here they are:

12th Birthday Cake

This client has the same cake design for their child’s birthday but with different numbers every year.

12 Birthday Cake - Talk Sweet to Me

Paint Palette Cake (Note: this photo is from the Planet Cake website…mine was exactly the same but you must imagine magenta writing on the board and of course a different name):

Paint Palette Cake

Doll Dress Cake

Doll dress cake - Talk Sweet to Me

Baby Petals Cake

I will be eternally embarassed by the piping on this one but will put my reputation on the line, noting that this was some of my earlier work, and share it anyway. It wasn’t centered and it bugged me, so I made some swirls. They look really silly, and I could have moved a few flowers and turned the figurine instead of worrying too much about the piping being centered. Live and learn! (Figurine by Handi, I think.)

Little girl figurine cake with petals - Talk Sweet to Me

3-D Number Cake

1st Birthday Cake - Talk Sweet to Me

Shabby Chic Cupcakes

These remain a favorite of mine.

Shabby chic cupcakes - Talk Sweet to Me

Pram Christening Cake (Pram – so cute! – by Handi)

Pram Christening Cake - Talk Sweet to Me

Signature - TalkSweetToMe.com

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Bride and Groom and Stilettos!

Flashback - talksweettome.com

Originally posted April 7-11, 2008

Since I promised a posting about stilettos this week, I will break my last week of work at Planet Cake into a couple different postings. Here I’ll concentrate on the stiletto and my first set of bride and groom figurines.

The Bride and Groom

Planet Cake always obtains information about dress, hairstyle, colors, and more from clients so the figurines can be customized to follow the hairstyles, hair colors and dress/tuxedo of the bride and groom…so I picked out a couple images to learn from!

Inspiration images - Talk Sweet to Me

It actually took me three tries to get the body of the groom carved correctly out of styro (too skinny once, to high a waist the next time), and took me two tries to get the bride’s body right (her waist was right underneath her boobs the first time). After a while, Handi didn’t even give me a hard time about my multiple failed attempts, just silently shook his head and handed me the next piece of styro to start in on. After finally getting it right, I gave the bride some cleavage and skin on her back:

Figurine heads - Talk Sweet to Me

Then put the groom’s shirt and pants on, gave him some hair, and added a jacket, tie and flower. The groom was nearly done!

The bride took a bit more work. After letting the chest and back dry overnight, I put on a piece of white icing for the dress and carved the flow of the fabric into it.

After the dress was done, it was on to arms and hair. Since she was holding a cascading bouquet, I didn’t need to add details to the hands since they would be covered anyway. The arms were just a single piece of icing attached to each of the shoulders. Working on her hair…

Working on figurine hair - Talk Sweet to Me

…which took me two tries to get right too. The first attempt was kind of a disaster, partly due to the difficult style (having it shown both up and half down in the picture added to the confusion!), partly due to it being the end of the day and Handi and I each lacking concentration. We even had to make diagrams on the white board!

The Board - Talk Sweet to Me

I stayed for a while after work was over to give it my best shot, but it still came out looking a little bit like Medusa was starting to emerge from the barette on the back of her head.

Medusa hair

Scary, I know. Needless to say, I scraped this off and gave it another try. When Handi and I were both fresh the next morning, we tried again and it came out so much better:

Back of figurines - Talk Sweet to Me

Then just some color on the faces…

Need faces painted on - Talk Sweet to Me

and a face or two!

Bride and groom sugar figurines - Talk Sweet to Me

So, there is room for improvement…it would be nice to make one attempt at everything and have it turn out right the first time!

Stiletto

I wish I had some more pictures of the stiletto in progress, but my description will have to suffice for now. I chose a picture out of Anna-Maria’s fabulous shoe book…a Manolo Blahnik, of course. I figured if I can’t afford a real one (let alone a pair!), I might as well make myself one out of icing.

Inspiration shoe - Talk Sweet to Me

Anna-Maria is more obsessed with shoes than anyone I know, except perhaps Carrie Bradshaw. She had a lot of great models for me to look at, including a few different heel types carved out of styro, and two different shoe types (pointy-toed and a regular rounded toe).

The first thing I did was cut the sole of the shoe out of very thin corrugated cardboard, with the “grain” of the cardboard running from the toe to the heel of the shoe. This was so I could insert #26 wires into the cardboard in about 3 different places, which made the cardboard hold its shape when I bent it.

Next, the heel was carved out of Styrofoam, and a small bamboo skewer was inserted and glued into place. This gave me something to hold onto, and would be used to insert into the cake to hold the shoe in place.

The top of the sole of the shoe was covered first, with both black and a beige color to match the picture. Next, I used strips of acetate (cut in the pasta machine to make sure they were all even) to construct the straps. The straps were attached to the bottom of the shoe with masking tape and held together where they met on the top of the foot with double sided tape. Once they were all in place, it was time to cover the bottom of the shoe, leaving a place for the heel to be glued on.

Both colors were then used to cover the heel, and icing strips were used to cover the acetate straps, secured with a bit of gel.

Here, Anna-Maria shows me what to do next:

Learning how to make sugar shoe - Talk Sweet to Me

Next I glued the heel to the cardboard (covering the styro with masking tape first so that it wouldn’t melt) and covered the sides of the shoe with a very thin strip of black icing.

Working on sugar shoe - Talk Sweet to Me

A label printed on rice paper and a bit of bling were the finishing touches.

Sugar shoe - Talk Sweet to Me

Over and out for now…

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Cubes, Cupcakes, and…Celine! Week #5

Flashback - talksweettome.com

Originally posted March 24-28, 2008

This is the first week where I’ve been exactly where I want to be at the end of each day. I got a little nervous on Monday afternoon about finishing up my ganacheing, but Ritzy stepped in and helped me finish a couple layers of my cascade, for which I was very grateful. I was comfortable with all the cakes this week too – not too much that I hadn’t done before – so things really seemed to be flowing. The only thing that (still!) gives me fits is the ganache. During week 1, I thought that by week 5 I would be much more adept at it than I am. Maybe during week 6 a light will shine down from the heavens and there will be a major breakthrough. Here’s hoping for an epiphany.

I had 5 cakes this week, and worked with Handi on one extra:

Rough Royal Cube // Exploding Stars 1st birthday // 2-Tier Roses // 3-Tier cascade // Fleur-de-lis cupcakes // Handbag for Handi’s Basics 102 Course (worked with Handi)

Rough Royal Cube
This cake was one of the strangest optical-illusions I’ve ever experienced. Although the cake looks like it is too tall, it really isn’t. And believe me, I measured it enough times to know.

Cube cake in progress - Talk Sweet to Me

There were two flavors in this cake – almond on the bottom, and white chocolate on the top. Since it was so tall, a second board had to be used halfway up the cake for support…in this case, conveniently separating the two flavors. Although I did not use a center pole this time, I would if I did this cake again. The more sturdy, the better.

Antony’s design drawing:

Cube cake design drawing - Talk Sweet to Me

And the finished cake, to have fresh flowers added by the florist:

Royal icing cube cake - Talk Sweet to Me

This cake was, of course, to be “rough, but not rough.” My favorite Handi-ism.

Exploding Stars 1st Birthday

Ahhh…exploding stars. Handi thought that my technique for securing the base rope was a bit on the ridiculous side…the poor cake looks like a pincushion. However, it is hard to make that rope stay in place with only discreet amounts of royal icing! I attached it at the corners and on the backside where the two ends meet, and let it dry overnight before removing the pins.

Placing rope around cake base - Talk Sweet to Me

Here is the finished cake:

Exploding stars first birthday cake - Talk Sweet to Me

2-Tier Roses Cake
This may have been my favorite cake of the week – simple but beautiful. To use Handi’s words, I thought the sage green color was “GOR-geous.”

Antony’s design drawing…

2T Rose cake design drawing - Talk Sweet to Me

…and the finished cake!

Two tier ivory rose wedding cake - Talk Sweet to Me

3-Tier Cascade

Hmmm…I don’t have all that much to say about this cake except that I wish there were a bit more connection between the flowers on the top tier and those on the middle tier. Other than that, I think the cascades are improving somewhat.

Pure white rose cascade cake - Talk Sweet to Me

Fleur-de-lis Cupcakes

After making these 40+ cupcakes, I don’t think it will be necessary to look at a fleur-de-lis again in my life. Who would think that 40+ cupcakes would take an entire day to complete? Even *after* the cupcake stand was already made by Handi and Anna-Maria?!? Ganacheing and icing the cupcakes was not really a problem…it was that darned fleur-de-lis on each of them that took me all afternoon. I was using a mold that was made a long time ago out of icing, so it was obviously very hard. The silicone molds are fabulous since you can just bend them and the shape pops out. With icing molds though, you kind of have to dig your shape out, which is a pretty delicate process. Maybe not quite as delicate as, say, brain surgery, but it comes close. The first technique I tried was vegetable oil spray, but that got pretty messy, pretty quickly. After a few choice words were uttered trying to do that, Anna-Maria suggested using Copha. Genius. A little bit of Copha rubbed all around the mold before pushing the icing in, and bam! The fleurs-de-lis were flying out onto the cupcakes. (For those of you who don’t know – I’d never heard of the stuff before – Copha is a form of vegetable shortening made from hydrogenated coconut oil. It is similar to Crisco but has a much firmer texture, and is readily available in Australia…but not so much in the US.)

The finished cupcake stand from the side:

Fleur de lis cupcakes - Talk Sweet to Me

And from the top:

Fleur de Lis cupcakes from top - Talk Sweet to Me

Chanel Handbag (with Handi)

I was lucky to have a chance to work on this handbag cake with Handi since I’d always wanted to make one and he needed an example prepared for the Basics 102 course over the weekend. I cut the cake from directions Handi gave me, and he helped me ganache it:

Handi ganaching Chanel cake - Talk Sweet to Me

It was relatively easy to cover since I could gather the icing at the corners, cut it, and smooth it since the rope decoration would eventually cover those areas. I added the quilting pattern, the front flap, and the top zipper and zipper pull, and then covered the board.

Chanel cake covered - Talk Sweet to Me

Handi threaded the ribbon through the chain and stuck them into the sides of the cake. The side flaps were put on while the icing was pliable so they would look natural covering the place where the chain was inserted into the cake.

Chanel cake side flaps - Talk Sweet to Me

Next, the small rope was added around the front and back edges for detailing.

Chanel cake detail - Talk Sweet to Me

Gold Chanel logos and rivets were added to the side flaps, front flap, and zipper pull, and then the large black Chanel logo was added to the left side of the cake. It was tricky to put on! The chain was secured to the board with a bit of royal icing underneath it. Ta da!

Chanel purse cake - Talk Sweet to Me

Other fun

I love the showroom at Planet Cake. It would be a pretty fantastic place to walk into if you were a bride-to-be. Or anyone else, for that matter.

Here’s what you see when you walk in:

Planet Cake showroom - Talk Sweet to Me

And the display window:

Planet Cake Showroom window - Talk Sweet to Me

In addition, this week there was a big international celebrity cake. Celine Dion’s 40th birthday happened to take place while she was on tour in Sydney, so Planet Cake produced her cake. Margie did an amazing job decorating the cake, and the rest of the Planet Cake team pitched in with some behind-the-scenes work. Paris and Jonny took the zillion phone calls about it, Jonny designed the cake, Anna-Maria did some ganacheing and covering (and Ritzy probably did too, sorry Ritzy if I am forgetting!), and Handi put the “40” diamontes on the globe. Here is Margie doing her fabulous work decorating:

Margie working - Talk Sweet to Me

Having a little fun along the way…

Margie with figurines - Talk Sweet to Me

I even got to have a (small) hand in it…Margie let me put the scattered diamontes on the skyline layer. I think this is because she dislikes putting on diamontes, but hey, I had a great time. How often do you get to work on a celebrity cake? I have never moved more slowly or carefully in my life…

Placing diamontes - Talk Sweet to Me

A picture of Celine Dion and her son with the cake:

Celine Dion with cake by Planet Cake

And Paris, Margie, and Jonny with Celine at her party…check out these gorgeous people:

Planet Cake and Celine Dion

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Soccer Balls, Seashells, and Bling – Week #3

Flashback - talksweettome.com

Originally posted March 10-14, 2008

Whew…what a week! There were a lot of cakes due this week, and most of them were due on Friday, which meant a bit of a rush. I was in charge of five cakes and I will go through four of them here:

-Soccer ball cake

-Alien cake

-Purple “bling” cake

-Funky seashells cake – with help from Margie and Handi on the Funkies

Here is a picture of me with the nearly-completed cakes from this week:

This weeks cakes - Talk Sweet to Me
Next I’ll go through each of them individually.

Soccer ball cake

The soccer ball was one of my most challenging cakes this week, but also one of my favorites since I used to play. Go Ames Flames!

It looks deceptively simple: round ball, black pentagons, some grass, etc., but it was actually extremely time-consuming. There was a lot of structure involved in setting up this cake. The bottom half of the ball is composed of Styrofoam, and carving a perfectly round half-ball out of Styrofoam is harder than you might think! The board sits on top of that. I used a 9” board to make a size 5 ball since it is pretty close in size. There is a pole through the styro and about halfway up through the cake on the top half of the ball to hold everything in place…having the ball roll right of the board would be a little bit disastrous. Jonny mentioned once it was finished that he would like to kick it. That would be disastrous too. I had to keep an eye on him for the rest of the afternoon…

To get the ganache perfectly round too, Ritzy taught me a trick. Hold up a 9” board behind the cake as you spin it on a cake stand to see where you need to add or take away ganache to get a perfectly round shape. She is a genius.

Ganaching soccer ball cake - Talk Sweet to Me

Covering was a particular challenge. Handi said I should cover it in the same way I cover a figurine head, but the problem with the soccer ball was that I couldn’t pick it up and turn it sideways the same way I do with a figurine.

Fondant to soccer ball cake - Talk Sweet to Me

Next was putting on the panels. I brought in a real size 5 ball to measure the size of the panels so I could get them right on the cake. I cut a pattern piece out of cardboard and started working from the top of the cake down to the bottom making indentations with the back of a knife for all of the seams. It is next to impossible to get all of the panels to end up perfectly, simply because the cake is not precisely round and measuring the panels from the cardboard piece results in a small amount of human error. I am not a machine! But I thought it turned out fairly well anyway.

Measuring soccer ball cake - Talk Sweet to Me

Next I spent quite a while painting on the black panels and the seams between them. I used a mixture of black food coloring and alcohol. So far, so good!

Painted soccer ball cake - Talk Sweet to Me

Next were a few finishing touches including grass, candles, a message, and some pro soccer team emblems printed onto rice paper, and it was done:

Soccer ball cake - Talk Sweet to Me

For another perspective, Anna-Maria said that she used to do the black panels differently. She cut them out of black icing, adhered them to the cake, and piped the seams black in between them. That would probably be much faster, but wouldn’t give you the indentations you see on a real soccer ball. AM, as she is called at Planet Cake, is one of the most organized, efficient, and energetic people I know. It must have something to do with that Austrian background of hers…

Speaking of Anna-Maria, she deserves a big congratulations for her winning entry in the Sydney Royal Easter Show. Congrats Anna-Maria! Here is a picture of her fantastic entry:

ANNA-MARIA’S ROYAL EASTER SHOW ENTRY

Anna Maria Easter Show Cake

Alien cake

The alien cake was really fun. I started by covering the head and carving the body of the Funky astronaut out of Styrofoam. The Styro room was a little crowded this week…

Styro carving room - Talk Sweet to Me

To cover the cake, I made small rings of icing and placed them on top of the ganached cake before covering the entire cake with the green icing. This created the craters. I had to push the centers in a little bit with a ball tool after the green icing was placed over the top, and then pressed small black circles into the middle of each of them.

Covering alien cake - Talk Sweet to Me

A close-up of the finished Funky…his eyes need to be a bit closer next time:

Astronaut figurine - Talk Sweet to Me

The alien was just made out of a piece of icing and the antennae were pieces of dried cellophane noodles with icing balls on top. Fully edible! (As an interesting side note, everyone at Planet Cake has a different name for the cellophane noodles. Anna-Maria calls them mung bean noodles, Handi calls them glass noodles, and Ritzy says they are called “haru same” in Japanese, which translates literally to “spring rain,” since they are clear and flowing…just like the spring rain.)

Here is Jonny’s design drawing…

Astronaut cake design drawing - Talk Sweet to Me

…and the finished cake.

Astronaut birthday cake- Talk Sweet to Me

Purple “Bling” cake

This cake deserves the Most-Frustrating-Cake-of-the-Week Award. Because it was a very clean, simple design with only a skinny ribbon around the base, it showed even the smallest of flaws.

Bling cake design drawing - Talk Sweet to Me

It took quite a bit of purple food coloring to make the deep shade I needed to match the ribbon sample provided by the client. This, along with the icing being exposed while I mixed in the color for so long, produced a weird texture (and fairly dry) icing. Putting dry icing over a square cake is no easy feat, let me tell you. Handi had to come to the rescue a little bit on part of the 12” tier, but I managed the others myself.

Covering purple cake layer - Talk Sweet to Me

After stacking the 3 tiers, filling in some gaps with icing, and lining the base of each tier with purple ribbon, I was ready to start putting on the bling. First I printed out each of the letters from the computer and traced them onto tracing paper. Then, in a trick I learned from my Grandma (and was reminded of by Anna-Maria), I traced the lines on the back side of the paper with an 2B pencil, placed the sheets of paper on the cake where I wanted them to go, and re-traced the original lines, transferring the pencil lines onto the hardened icing. This told me exactly where I needed to place the bling.

Tracing onto love bling cake - Talk Sweet to Me

I started out painting piping gel onto each individual diamonte, picking it up with tweezers, and putting it into the perfect place on the cake.

Placing bling - Talk Sweet to Me

I would literally have been there for hours if Handi had not shown me this trick. Painting the piping gel along the traced lines on the cake saved me from painting each individual piece of bling. Then, instead of picking up each one with the tweezers, I picked them up with my finger, dampened with water, placed them on the piping gel lines, and then rearranged with the tweezers so they were all in the correct locations. Handi is so clever.

Bling love cake - Talk Sweet to Me

The florist placed fresh flowers and the “A” and “S” bling cake toppers shown on the design drawing on top of the cake at the reception site.

Funky seashells cake

Here is Antony’s design drawing:

Beach cake design drawing - Talk Sweet to Me

The first thing that had to be done for this cake was the shells. They were completed early in the week so that they would have time to dry before I needed to place them on the cake. They were made by pressing icing into shell molds, and painted with a mixture of ivory and brown food coloring and alcohol.

Sugar seashells for beach cake - Talk Sweet to Me

Next I stacked the two tiers and drew on the waves with a pencil. The coloring was mixed (blue on the top and teal on the bottom, each mixed with alcohol) and painted on. I found that to be a little bit tricky, as you basically get one swipe with a large brush before brush-strokes become prominent and distracting. Let’s just say it is always good to start on the back side. The wavy gold line was just piped on in white royal icing, following the pencil line, and then painted gold. The snail trail around the base went on last so that I wouldn’t drip any blue on it when painting on the waves.

The shells, flowers, and pearls were all placed on the sides of the cake, and then the Funkies were put on top.

Beach cake topper design drawing - Talk Sweet to Me

They were worked on by myself, Handi, and Margie. Margie did the bodies and surfboard, Handi did the clothes, faces, and hair, and I took care of the arms and the other various paraphernalia on the top of the cake (sand and sand castles, martini glass, towels, shells, and sunscreen).

Beach cake topper - Talk Sweet to Me

The delivery-person came for the cake as I was boxing it, so I didn’t have an extra minute to check everything over as I usually do. Unfortunately, this meant that I forgot to send the 3 cupcakes that were added to the order out with the cake, which I felt pretty badly about…but everything got there in the end!

Tropical beach cake - Talk Sweet to Me

A couple of other fun things from this week

Ritzy worked on a masquerade mask…now that’s a lot of cake!

RITZY’S MASQUERADE MASK

Ritzy with mask

And a shout-out to Margie, who does amazing things every week. Here is a picture of Margie working on her jungle tree cake:

Margie working on cake - Talk Sweet to Me

I was a bit worried about her as this was her second late night in the workroom and she was starting to look a bit like Shrek as she placed the jungle leaves in her hair instead of on the cake…amazing, don’t you think?

MARGIE’S JUNGLE TREE CAKE

Jungle tree cake

Finally, it was my birthday lunch on Wednesday this week, so we went down the road to the Exchange Hotel and had a wonderful meal and a good time just relaxing together for a little while. Thanks, Paris!

me and anna maria

me and handi

lunch party

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The Real Deal – Week #1 (Part 2)

Flashback - talksweettome.com

Originally posted February 25-29, 2008

Thursday

On Thursday we try to finish all of the cakes and package and label them for delivery or collection.

In the morning I finished the orange cake with piping and arranging the flower spray on top of the cake. The flowers had to be dyed orange and yellow and then dusted in order to make them “glow” from the inside.

Dusting flowers for orange cake - Talk Sweet to Me

The spray was arranged on top in a teardrop shape, starting with the largest flowers first and working from largest to smallest after that, generally alternating colors along the way.

Placing orange flower spray - Talk Sweet to Me

Then leaves were added, which helps to hide the wires.

Finished citrus colored cake - Talk Sweet to Me

Does it look like the design inspiration??

Orange cake design inspiration - Talk Sweet to Me

Next Handi demonstrated how to finish the teddy bear funky, which will be used on a cake for next week.

Finishing teddy figurine - Talk Sweet to Me

 

Teddy bear figurine finished - Talk Sweet to Me

The Funky was placed on the cake with the block, the flowers piped on, and the message added to the board.

Finishing piping on teddy cake - Talk Sweet to Me

 

Teddy bear birthday cake - Talk Sweet to Me

In the afternoon, the 65 cupcakes were ganached and decorated.

Decorated cupcakes - Talk Sweet to Me

Here’s Handi working on his Hydrangea cupcakes:

Handi finishing hydrangeas - Talk Sweet to Me

After practicing flower placement on one of Handi’s cakes…

Learning flower placement - Talk Sweet to Me

…I completed a 3-tier cascade. This is yet another thing that is trickier than it looks. Handi brought one down from the showroom for me to work from.

SHOWROOM CASCADE

Cascade inspiration

Working, working…

Placing flower cascade - Talk Sweet to Me

Here is the completed cascade:

Rose cascade - Talk Sweet to Me

Friday

Friday is generally last-minute finishing and preparation for the next week. This morning I finished up my cupcake stand and boxed it for delivery.

Cupcake stand display - Talk Sweet to Me

Design and invitation used for inspiration:

Cupcake stand design - Talk Sweet to Me

After finishing this week’s cakes, it was time to organize the cakes for next week with Anna-Maria and make some ganache. Fifteen batches of dark chocolate ganache, and sixteen batches of white chocolate ganache. We went through a lot of chocolate today.

Before lunch, Paris gave me a constructive critique of the cascade I completed on Thursday. It was really helpful to help me see what needs to happen next time. More flow, less bunching!

Next we started preparation for next week’s cakes, but before getting too far into it, a slight emergency arose. Paris received a call from a customer who said that that the hair on the Funky baby that was delivered was smashed. Luckily we had another Funky just sitting around waiting for something to do (the one I started on Tuesday), so I gave him some arms, a dye job (brown to blonde hair!) a new pet duck, and a face.

Figurine - Talk Sweet to Me

Done!

Signature - TalkSweetToMe.com

Magnolias and Rosebuds

Flashback - talksweettome.com

Originally posted February 20, 2008

Today I started out with a Magnolia Cake. Unfortunately we were all out of white icing until the delivery arrived later that morning, so while I was waiting I prepared the bamboo sticks and the magnolia flower. I made the bamboo sticks with a dowel and white icing, cut the grooves in, and painted on the color with an alcohol/food coloring solution. The magnolia petals and center were already wired and dried, so it was just a matter of assembling the flower with floral tape.

Sugar magnolia and bamboo -Talk Sweet to Me

Sugar bamboo - Talk Sweet to Me

Next I started working on some small sugar rose buds for Handi’s massive castle cake. I started off just adding two layers of petals, then let them dry until later in the afternoon when I would add the third layer.

Hooray, the icing is delivered! I proceeded to cover both tiers of the magnolia cake. However, after they were finished we all discovered that the layers were supposed to be extended height (5”) instead of regular height (3.5”). So, unfortunately, the icing had to be taken off, more cake added to each layer, and both tiers had to be re-ganached. This meant that the cake would be finished by one of the other artists later in the week.

Pink present box cake - Talk Sweet to Me

Because of that, I worked on an Exploding Stars present box cake. I got a lot of practice covering square cakes today! The practice happened to be quite good as I learned that I was actually trying to roll the icing too thin. I started to become frustrated with the number of air bubbles I was getting, and Handi pointed out to me that the white icing was almost beginning to get transparent over the chocolate ganache. A good thing to learn! I finished and boxed this cake, and then it was back to the flowers to add the third layer.

Sugar Rosebuds- Talk Sweet to Me

Here they are on Handi’s cake (just barely visible on the bottom round cakes):

Castle cake by Planet Cake

HANDI’S CASTLE CAKE

In other exciting news, I will be full-time at Planet Cake for the next 5 (busy!) weeks through March and am looking forward to it. Certainly the weeks will fly right on by and I’ll be so immersed in cake that I’ll be dreaming of ganache and icing through most of the weekends. Okay by me!

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Madhatter!

Flashback - talksweettome.com

Originally posted February 16-17, 2008

Over the weekend I was lucky enough to attend the 2-day Madhatter course taught by Anna-Maria. There were four other very talented women in the class, and it was fun to talk to some other people who are passionate about cake decorating. It was great to hear some of their cake stories and share tips and tricks…it was a great weekend.

On Saturday we learned how to cut and ganache the bottom and top tiers. Usually if there is time it is best to also cover the bottom layer so that it is easier to put the stripes on during the second day, but we decided to wait until the ganache had some time to set and do it in the morning.

Sunday we covered the bottom tier, put on the stripes, covered the top tier and placed it on top of the bottom one, made the ribbon and bow, and placed the balls around the base of the cake. Everyone used very different colors, so it was great to see all of them together at the end.

All madhatter cakes - Talk Sweet to Me
For most of Saturday night I had color combinations swirling around in my head. Orange and green? Tangerine and aquamarine? Magenta and bright green? In the end, I was inspired by fabric on the shirt of a woman who was on the bus with me on Saturday night. Since the Madhatter has such bold lines, I figured that bold colors were best for it. I chose bright red, orange, and a dark coral color with black and white accents.

Madhatter cake - Talk Sweet to Me
I was very happy with most of the craftsmanship (or craftswomanship!) on my cake. The top tier ended up giving me a bit of trouble though. It wasn’t cut quite right (I didn’t take off enough of a wedge for the first cut), so I ended up having to stick some extra pieces of icing underneath the base of the top tier to hold it up at the correct angle. The good thing about cake is that there is usually a way to fix the problems that arise…you just have to learn those tricks, though it is of course best to avoid having to use them in the first place! The covering of the top tier was less than ideal as I pushed down a little bit too hard when I was smoothing the darn thing and it got squished on the side. But there is something to learn with every cake, and hopefully I will improve next time.

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