Dr. Who Tardis Birthday Cake

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I’m just gonna say now that as I write this post out, I’m doing it with a British accent in my mind.  Bloody ‘ell.

Justin always loved Dr. Who, but it seemed recently he went on a bit of a Dr. Who shopping spree, especially with our most recent trip to Seattle where he bought some Dr. Who magnets and shirts at the EMP museum (Which is awesome by the way).

With his birthday party fast approaching and not that much time to spare, I decided to run with the theme and make him a tardis cake.  Admittedly, I might’ve attempted making a 3D tardis cake, but I didn’t have the guts this time around so decided to make him a cake with a dimensional image of the Tardis out of modelling chocolate on a regular 8″ round layer cake.

I’d like to clarify right now that I know nothing of Dr. Who but the little tidbits that Justin shares with me.  The only thing that seems to catch my eye in the show are the little adipose guys that were in one episode apparently eons ago.  SO CUTE!

Moving on.

I started with a 4 layer vanilla cake, pretty much identical to the cake I used for my coworker’s baby shower.  The cakes were layered with chocolate buttercream and all around.  I wanted the tardis to have a spacey background but didn’t want to dump in all that black food coloring to whip up black icing, so I figured chocolate buttercream with a few drops of black to darken it a bit would give it the same vibe.

I purchased a bag of blue candy melts from Wilton to make my modelling chocolate.  To darken the blue candy melts (because they come in a lighter blue than the tardis is), I mixed in a couple drops of my Americolor blue food paste gel into the warmed corn syrup before I mixed the melted candy melts and corn syrup together to make my modeling chocolate.

After letting it rest and kneading it to a pliable consistency, I rolled the chocolate to a 1/16″ thickness.  I printed off a picture of the tardis off the internet that I thought would be a simple template for me to use for my cake.  Using my scalpel I cut around the image.

This would be the base layer where I would lay all the other elements upon.

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I printed off multiple copies of the tardis image so that I could cut out the various elements of the tardis and use them as templates to cut around where needed.  After doing the outline of the tardis, I cut out the doors from the paper image, rerolled my modeling chocolate, and used the paper doors as my template to get my doors for my chocolate tardis.

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After letting the doors firm up a bit, I rolled out a small ball of white gumpaste as thin as I could and cut out three little squares that could fit behind the doors to serve as the windows and the sign.  I used corn syrup to adhere them to the back of the doors.IMG_2784

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Then after that it’s just a matter of continuously cutting out various parts of the tardis and layering them on top of each other.  I proceeded to do the door knob and handle, the bottom step, as well as make the police sign at the top but cutting out the blue rectangle with the modelling chocolate.

To make the police sign, I cut out a rectangle of rolled gumpaste that I tinted black.  When it had dried sufficiently, I used my Americolor white food gel paste and a thin brush to paint in the words and the border.

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And a little knob at the top for the light, again using a bit of white food gel and a brush to make the “light”

When all the pieces were in place, I took a dry paintbrush, dabbed in the same blue food coloring I used for the modelling chocolate, and used it to shade the tardis to give it some more depth.  I feel that helped to bring it to life and give it more depth.

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And with the same modeling chocolate, I used the letter and number cutters I had to cut out his name and age.  Again, with the food coloring I had, I used it to shade and highlight the letters, like I did with the tardis.

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As for the spacey mist I had in the background, I used a clean dry brush, dipped the tips in white food coloring, and sprayed it onto the cake by running my thumb across the bristles.  I had some leftover icing sheets which I painted with yellow coloring and cut out a few stars.IMG_2796

The finished cake.Justin loved the Dr. Who themed and wore his Dr. Who shirt to go with the event.  There were little adiposes, daleks, and a Dr. Who Banner to complete the look and Justin totally loved the cake surprise!

 

 

 

 

Silhouette Halloween Cookies

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Yes… I know it’s December and I’m a bit behind to be posting Halloween cookies during the Christmas season.  Ops, oh well.  Perhaps these techniques can help you out with some Christmas silhouette cookies :)

As much as I enjoy using lots of color in my cookie decorating, I sometimes forget how simplistic, minimalist designs can give a really cool vibe too.  I was reminded of that when I made some silhouette cookies for my halloween potluck at work a few months ago.

Thanks to my kopykake projector and a few images from the internet, it made decorating a breeze and I was able to do all the silhouette images in one evening.  No need to wait for icing to dry in between or nothing.

Before decorating, I flooded the cookies with white royal icing the day before and let them dry overnight.

After mixing my black royal icing, I filled my piping bag and used a #2 wilton tip for pretty much all of the cookies.  With the haunted house I switched to a #1 wilton tip to make it easier to do the fence and window lines.

A handy tip I used was for the really fine work (like the hair on the cat, or the feathers of the crow, or the stringiness of the zombie hand, I would use a toothpick (or you can use a scribe tool) while the icing was still wet to drag and manipulate the icing.

 

Give these a try with any image or silhouette, it’s a fairly easy way to get some bold looking cookies for any occasion in a lot less time than decorating with different colors of icing!

 

 

 

 

Burger Cupcakes and French Fry cookies

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What started off as a joke ended up becoming a very, very beautiful reality when I told J that I wanted to spend my birthday eating a smorgasboard of my favorite fast foods.  So, with some friends in tow we did just that, hanging at the mall food court, dining on the finest things that they could offer us.

To stay true to the theme and as thank yous for friends willing to indulge me in my wacky idea, I decided to make each of them some “burgers and fries” takeout for them to take home, as inspired by Bakerella’s post.

I started with the sugar cookies which would become the fries.  I simply rolled the dough flat, then when in with a pizza cutter doing strips of different thicknesses and lengths.

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I sprinkled granulated sugar on the sticks before baking them.  Like Bakerella’s post, I spaced my cookies out prior to baking to make sure they didn’t bake into each other and stick.  They baked up great, with the different shades of golden brown mimicking what real fries would look like.

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The burgers took a few steps.  I made the cupcake buns first using a regular cupcake pan (not the mini cupcake pan) but I made sure not to fill it up all the way so that they wouldn’t bake up too high and give me tall buns (that sounds weird).  I also used cupcake lines to ensure they wouldn’t stick to the pan.

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Once baked and cooled, I peeled off the liners, sliced them cross wise, and sprinkled some sesame seeds on them.

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The patties were made out of a baked pan of brownies, using a circle cutter.  The brownie mix usually advises to bake in an 8×8″ pan so that you have the thickness in regular brownies, but for the purposes of making patties (and yielding more brownie), I baked the batter in a 9×13″ pan so they wouldn’t be so thick. IMG_2148

I whipped up some white chocolate buttercream icing which was tinted in red, yellow and green to represent mustard, ketchup and relish (or lettuce, whatever you imagine it to be)
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Then, to keep them looking like fast food takeout, I found templates for fries and burger boxes to put the treats in.  I had kraft paper cardstock and printed out the templates on the cardstock, scored, folded, and glued them all up.  K was kind enough to help me in making these boxes (thank youuuu)!

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And the packed up treats!IMG_2153

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And of course it wouldn’t be *real* take out if it didn’t come in a paper bag.  Some of them even ended up with some “grease spots” from the cookies which was an accidental (but quite a

fun) touch.  IMG_2162Everyone seemed to have enjoyed the “burgers and fries” and who would’ve thought such a great time could be had at a food court?  I wouldn’t be surprised if a part 2 happened in the future!

Great Eats and Sweets in Cali, 2014!

Justin and I got to celebrate our 2nd wedding anniversary, while our dear friends Kathy and Alex celebrated their 1st wedding anniversary, at the happiest place on earth – Disneyland!

I will be the first to admit that I always go through through major Disney withdrawal whenever I have to leave Disneyland (cut to me sprawled on my hotel bed wearing my Mickey ears as I pathetically play “Part of Your World” on my iPhone on our last night.)

Anyways.  The goods, and some of the highlights from our trip.

We kicked off our trip by catching a baseball game since Justin is a huge sports fan.  The rest of us came along more so to eat, and because Justin paid for our tickets to lure us in going.

We took a picture of the Concession chart as a handy reference through our food choices throughout the game.  Definitely not your typical hotdogs and nachos here.

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We ended up getting some waffle fries and grilled cheese sandwiches, both of which were super.

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Justin of course needed his beer.

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And we settled in for the game.  We also had a mid game churro break at some point.IMG_1604

The following day kicked off our 1st out of 3 days in Disneyland.  California Adventures was our first stop, and of course, the first ride we ran for was the Radiator Springs Racers as soon as the park opened.  It was apparent that everyone else at the park had the same idea, but we were lucky enough to get on without much of a wait.

It’s a great ride, but be prepared to wait if you aren’t prepared to get there early before the crowds hit.IMG_1417

The Cali heat gave us a great excuse to cool off in many ways, like this salted caramel hot fudge sundae we got at the Ghiradelli Chocolate Shop.

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La Brea Bakery Cafe is also another great find.  Alex gave their clam chowder a try and we were impressed by the in-house made sourdough bread bowls that it came in.  We were so impressed that we actually came back on our third day for lunch here.

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And how can you forget all the disney treats?  I love the amount of effort that goes into all the Disneyfied treats, including these huge sugar cookies.  They can be found EVERYWHERE.

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We stumbled upon the Pixar Parade so we took a break to check it out.  It’s so fun to see how detailed these floats are, and it was themed out to all the Pixar movies, including Toy Story, Cars, Monsters Inc, the Incredibles, and Bugs Life.IMG_1488

I also indulged myself in a giant chocolate chip Mickey cookie.

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We also caught the “World of Color” show that same evening.  If you’ve never seen it, you totally have to.  It’s a half hour water show where they use water and special effects, much of which where the water is used as a canvas and images are projected onto it.  It was so great.

You can actually get fastpasses to this show, which grants you access to a closer viewing area (and this fastpass doesn’t interfere with your other ride fastpasses)

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We spent day 2 in the Magic Kingdom Park.  Justin was stoked to hit up the Star Tours ride which he missed the first time he went to Disneyland, and we also checked out Buzz Lightyear’s shooting game as well.

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Inside the line up for Buzz Lightyear.

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Display of Ironman’s various suits in Tomorrowland.

We also got ourselves a serving of Dole pineapple whip soft serve at the Enchanted Tiki Juice Bar by the Enchanted Tiki Room.  The line ups for this place are LONG so get it earlier in the day if you can.  IMG_1584

We stopped for lunch at Cafe Orleans.  The food there was pretty good, though if I were to go again I’d probably get Justin’s Monte Cristo sandwich.  It was like a sandwich using fried doughnuts as bread.  Hohhh

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Alex’s chicken gumbo.

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Kathy and I shared the seafood crepe and the salmon with vegetable ragout.

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Justin’s monte cristo sandwich

We also made a pit stop for some refreshing mint julep at the Mint Julep Bar, also picking up some fresh hot Mickey shaped beignets.

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To escape from the mid-day heat, we retreated to the “It’s a small world” ride.

Or what I also called “iI’s a long ride, after all…”

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Because we had to catch Fantasmic, we had a quick dinner at The Palace, which is a cafeteria style restaurant offering a bunch of different food options.  I went for the roast beef which came with mashed potatoes and green beans.  It also came with a biscuit but I asked for apple slices instead which they happily obliged.

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Day 3 was split between both California Adventures and the Magic Kingdom to catch up on anything we missed the first two days, and re-doing some favorites (like California Screamin’)

I was dying for my photo op with Russell from “Up,” one of my favorite Pixar films.  In order to do that, we had to join his Wilderness Explorer team.  We were probably the most mature bunch in the audience.  By like…25 years.

I was also the first in line for my photo.  I didn’t push any kids.  Promise.

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So like, he’s a bit bigger in real life.

And check out my huge badass cookie #2, and Kathy’s passion fruit macaron that we got at the Jolly Holiday Bakery on Main Street.

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And we gave our feet a rest by watching “Mickey and the Magical Map”

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We checked out downtown Disney for a bit, and their Lego Store which had some impressive Lego sculptures.

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Santa Monica beach

We spent our last two days hitting the outlets and hitting the beach, as well as hitting up some more great food.

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We had dinner at Musha Restaurant just off of the 3rd St Promenade, where we enjoyed a great izakaya meal.  We order a whole bunch of things, but here’s a sample of some of the dishes.10612649_10152361263421560_4828125804720619241_n

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And on our very last night we had a great dinner at Gen Korean BBQ house, VERY reasonably priced at $20 per person!  The array of unlimited side dishes was great, and the list of different types of meats and items you could order (both raw and cooked) was really impressive!  Epic.

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And on the morning of our flight before heading home, we had our last meal in California at Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles.  Alex is a huge fried chicken fan so I knew that he had to give this place a try, and he really liked it.  Fried chicken and waffles, what’s not to love?

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10698637_10152361273046560_3057307916584935070_nI’m still trying to work off all this food.

So worth it.

 

Letterpressed sugar cookies

IMG_2007My dear friend Joanna decided to do a late night cookie bar that would come out during the dance party following her formal wedding reception.  You know I’m all about cookies, and I had done one for my own wedding as well!

She asked several of her gal pals to each make 4 dozen of a single type of cookie; I was asked to make 4 dozen sugar cookies.

I’ve never covered cookies in fondant before but thought it would be a nice time to try.  With having to do 4 dozen of a single type, I felt covering cookies in fondant would give me more consistent results, also allowing me to do some designs that I thought would be pretty for a wedding that I can’t achieve with royal icing.

As her wedding colors were teal and gold, I wanted to do a debossed impression on the fondant with some gold accesnt.

I had a letterpress style plate, which I cleaned up, made up of the word “love” in various fonts and sizes.

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Each of the cookies measured 2″ square.

IMG_1824I prepared my fondant.  I used about a 50/50 blend of homemade marshmallow fondant and Wilton Fondant.  I enjoy the taste of the marshmallow fondant but since I don’t make it too often I was concerned it wouldn’t be at the right consistency, so the store bought fondant gave me bit of forgiveness, while the marshmallow fondant contributed to a more “marshmallowy” taste.

I tinted it with the Teal Americolor gel paste.  The perfect shade for her wedding.

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I dusted the surface and my rolling pin with powdered sugar and rolled out the fondant about 1/8″ thick, slicing them into 2″ squares to fit the cookies.  A pizza wheel cutter was the perfect tool!

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I then patted some more powdered sugar onto the square cutout before flipping it upside down onto the letterpress plate.  It takes a bit of practice, but be sure you impress the fondant well enough to get the image, but not too much that you tear the fondant.  It also helps to dust some (or lots of) powdered sugar on the plate as well.

The easiest way for me to remove the fondant square after it was impressed, was to turn the plate upside down and let gravity bring the corners of the fondant off the plate, and GENTLY pull off the impressed fondant square, so that you aren’t stretching it too much.

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With a food safe brush, cover the surface of the cookie with a light amount of corn syrup.

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And gently place your fondant on.  (Oops, you can see in the picture below that I didn’t press the fondant evenly enough on the plate.)

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Again, it just takes practice.  As I kept on going, I got more consistent impressions.  After all the cookies were covered and had a chance to set a bit, I went back to the beginning cookies and with a mixture of edible gold dust and lemon extract, brushed the gold onto select words of the cookie.

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Repeat 47 more times :)

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Everyone’s cookies looked absolutely darling placed on the different platters, and fun was had by all at the wedding.  The bride and groom looked so fantastic, and we had a great celebrating with our two dear friends embarking in their new lives together.

Congrats J and C, we love you!

 

Ombre Bridal Shower Cake

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I had the great privilege of making my good friend Joanna’s bridal shower cake.  The theme of the party was high tea, so I wanted to keep the cake simple and well, just make it pretty.

The colors for her shower were coral and seafoam green.   With the help of her bridesmaids, we decided on a two tiered strawberry cake with lemon buttercream icing.  Because of the spread of food that would be available, they opted for a 6″ round tier on the bottom, and a 4″ round tier for the top.  Cute!  The bottom tier would be ombre coral buttercream, and the top tier would be the seafoam green ombre buttercream, with a few little embellishments to finish it off.

I did a quick sketch as to what I thought the finished cake would look like.

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I learned of a really pretty flower technique off of Jessica Harris’ Craftsy class, Simply Modern Cake Design, which I thought would be fitting for the style of the shower.  I started out with a Wilton sugar sheet.

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Then punched out several 1″ round circles.

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Cut a slit half way through, and then use a little gum glue adhesive to overlap the two ends into a cone shape.

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After making several cone shapes, you just layer them and build outwards.  As your bloom gets bigger, you can switch to a larger circle shape.  I started using a 1.5″ round circle once my flower got bigger.

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The finished flower.

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I flatted a small dome-disk of yellow fondant and gumpaste and adhered it to the middle of the flower with gum glue adhesive.  I then used a pointed fondant tool to texture the middle.

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Before the flower fully set, I also inserted a toothpick up from the bottom up into the yellow middle of the flower so that it would be easier for me to attach to the cake later on.  I made two of these and set them aside to dry.

I baked up two 6″ round cakes and two 4″ round cakes, leveled them, stacked, and did a crumb coat with buttercream, as I always do.

This time, however, I inserted three bubble tea straws in the middle of the bottom tier in a triangular arrangement to act as a support for the top tier.

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I mixed up the lemon buttercream, split them into two bowls, and mixed one bowl up to the coral buttercream, which was applied to the bottom layer.  For the middle layer I added some of the white colored buttercream into the coral buttercream to lighten up the color, and the top layer was covered with just the plain colored buttercream.

I then took a small spatula and lightly dragged it around the cake working from the bottom up to blend the three layers of color together to get that gradient effect.

IMG_1286 And then with a bench scraper I tried my best to smooth it out.

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Repeated with the top teal tier (can you say that 3 times fast?)

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The two cakes once smoothed.  I also used a white frosting sheet that you can get at Michaels and cut out two circles that were the same size as the two tiers to give the tops a smoother finish.

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While I let the cakes set in the fridge, I worked on the pennant topper using two wooden skewers and some scrap booking paper and string I had on hand.

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I packed up and transported the parts of the cake to the social room of the condo where her shower was held, which was decorated so beautifully.  Her bridesmaids did a great job planning and finding such great decor!!

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And check out that spread!  They also served an assortment of hot and cold teas to guests as well.

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I assembled the cake on a cute vintage pedestal that the bridesmaids acquired at a thrift store.

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IMG_1362The shower was a great success and the beautiful bride-to-be had a wonderful time with friends and family.  Congratulations again, Joanna, super excited for you and your big day!!