Runs in the Family

Nope, still not back, but thank you everyone for the well wishes and prayers! I did try to film the other day but after changing the batteries 3 times and still getting a “low battery” signal on my camera, well, I can take a hint. Message received Lord!

Anyway, I did want to share a couple things. This has been a banner year for my family of bakers. Last July my oldest daughter entered a cake at our local fair and won not only first place but also Best of Show. You can imagine how excited we were!

I had also entered the Hershey Chocolate Cake contest and won 1st place which allowed me to compete at our state capital where I had to compete against about 80 other cakes. I won 5th place!

This year I decided to try something different, I entered my apple pie at the fair and won 3rd place.

And my middle daughter was finally old enough to compete so she made cupcakes, winning both first place and Best of Show!

I’ll be gradually posting the winning recipes, they were a lot of fun and I’m really proud of my girls. Two more years and my youngest will be joining her sisters :D

Ok, after all that bragging, let me catch my breath. *whew* It was an excellent year, and we’re thankful but we know that while these things are fun they really don’t matter. Patience, perseversance, love….these are the things we are trying to learn and teach, and of course winning and losing graciously :)

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The tide is high but I’m holding on…

Got that song stuck in my head but it rings true for what’s been going on. So…where have I been? Enh, took an extended break for various reasons, one of the main ones being the tendinitis. I took 4 whole months off (that’s like 10 years for a caker) from caking and had 3 cakes planned for April. After the first one though I knew I was in for it. Seriously, how could I forget how to stack a cake?? And I was so wiped out and irritated with the whole thing that I didn’t even bother taking a picture. Yeah, that was….not the person I was a year ago.

The next cake I did was just as bad, everything turned out fine but by the time I was done I was in so much pain that I couldn’t have cared less if the cake made it out of the house or not. I decided (the next day when I was able to think clearly) that at least a year off cake decorating is needed. I know what kinds of treatments there are available and I appreciate everyone’s suggestions but I am going to wait this out.

The weird thing is that I’m ok with all this. A year ago the thought of not being able to decorate cakes would have had me in tears. But….God is so good! Not only have I had peace about it but I feel triumphant somehow, knowing He’s got my life and future in His more-than-capable hands is comforting and reassuring.  I have plenty of other hobbies and interests to fill my artistic needs, round that out with still being able to bake and I’m on top of the world! 

Mmmmmm

I’ll still be here, answering questions, posting occasional recipes for baked goods along with pictures. I’m looking forward to what’s ahead :D

Posted in Uncategorized | 21 Comments

Cake Pops/Balls

Story behind, I can’t help help myself, as a woman I cannot simply state the facts. I must tell not just A and skip directly to Z, I must tell all the letters inbetween. lol, just so you guys know, also doesn’t help that I’m thorough (or as my husband might say, long-winded).

So, I’d heard about cake balls almost as soon as I started caking. Well, really, once I started checking the forums like cakecentral.com (DO NOT hang out there for an extended period, you WILL become addicted). They sounded good but at that time I was too excited about just decorating cakes. Then last year I found Bakerella’s site and was very intrigued, she made the cutest of everything! I decided to try something simple, just the cake balls without any decorations…and while they were delicious I was kind of upset that nearly all of them split. Plus I really didn’t like that I could see the cake peeking through the bottom as shown in this video.

I read more, experimented more and am still not ready to post a full tutorial on how to make the pops themselves but here’s yet another video, this time it’s from someone else and their ideas worked pretty well for me. I still had a few fall off the stick but no cracking because I was now putting the pops in the fridge instead of the freezer.

On to the decorating, the last I made these I really felt like it was time to experiment with decorating them. I melted some candy melts, put them into a plastic decorating bag and snipped off the end. I tried to just do some simple lines but they were sharp, flat lines instead (pop on the right):

I thought that the way the candy melts came out of the end reminded me of a petal tip. Hmmm…..well, why not? I did more experimenting and thought that the next time I would go all out (not having time or energy to do more that night).

New Year’s Eve provided the excuse I needed. I melted red, yellow, green and blue candy melts in little bowls. To the red I add a couple orange candy melts and to the blue I added a couple of purple candy melts, just to get some color variation. I didn’t do this until both original colors were completely melted, and when I added the extra colors I didn’t stir so they wouldn’t get lost. 

I cut just a bit off each end but for the leaf bag I needed to cut it differently, to make it like my 352 tip . The seam edges of the bag were the ‘valley’ side, the middle of the bag was the ‘mountain’ side.

Now for the sad news. Yes I filmed it but things didn’t work out. Worse still is that it will be a while before I make another cake (or cake pop) decorating video due to tendinitis (which seems to be taking over nearly all my joints-adding feet and legs to my elbows, knees and hands). I only decorated 15 of the 55 pops I made and my hand was numb :P

I really loved how these turned out! Before giving them a try I’d suggest practicing on something else first, get the hang of the flow of melted candy melts. Try different angles to see how to get the shape you want. You’d be surprised at how many pretty decorations you can make! All the pops in the pictures below are decorated with the candy melts and the plastic Wilton decorating bags.

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Red Velvet mystery…unsolved

So even after making it I’m still not sure what the obsession is. It’s good, it’s velvety, but it’s not AMAZING. Sorry Red Velvet lovers, I do believe you will like this recipe and I’m adding it to the recipe box just in case anyone requests it. But I’m reserving the word AMAZING for say…..peanut butter brownies. And hey, it’s ok that I’m not in love with it right? To each his own :D

I have the recipe posted, hopefully I can get cracking on the video for it soon…

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

What’s the deal with Red Velvet cake?

I’ve been asking myself this question for the past several years and haven’t come up with a good answer. I have tried it…once….and it didn’t strike me as anything I’d like to make. I’d have to say though it could have just been a bad sampling, the cake was dry, bland, unremarkable except for the awesome cream cheese frosting.

But…fans keep asking if I have a good recipe and I’ve finally had the chance to try it out. Care to see how it turned out? Stay tuned, it’s in the oven :D

Posted in recipe | 7 Comments

To business, or not to business, that is the question…

My original dream when I first got into cake decorating was to have my own business, perhaps 1-2 cakes a week. I got a few orders from some ladies that worked with someone I knew and I felt like I was off to a good start. My first order was a Bowling cake , that didn’t turn out well at all. The next 2 cake orders were for the same week but those orders turned into 4 cakes and 24 cupcakes. It was 3 days of work and by Friday I was losing my mind. I had a 6 month old crawling around my feet and her 5 yr. old and 2 yr. old sisters were chasing each other through the house. I remembered at the last minute that I had planned on making a scroll cake by baking it in a cookie sheet then rolling it up. The cake went into the oven and next thing I knew I smelled something burning. I ran into the kitchen and to my horror, the cake had overflowed the pan and was spilling onto the bottom of the oven! The batter caught on fire! I yelled to the kids to stay where they were while I quickly used a spatula to get the flaming piece out. I was also waiting for a couple to come pick up their 2 cakes and cupcakes so I had to rush and clean up everything before they arrived, hoping the kids would play quietly and not make a mess.

When they arrived everything was presentable and I thought I was fairly calmed down. That is, until the wife accidentally dropped the bag containing some of the cupcakes and I broke out in laughter. Seemed like the stress of the week had definitely taken it’s toll.

That evening was rough, I was tired even before I began working on the cake. I put as much effort into it as I could but I could hardly keep my eyes open. At that point I was saying, “I’m done. No more orders. No more cakes. It’s just not worth it.” After a few days though I was playing with some tootsie rolls and made some roses out of them. It wasn’t over but I learned that I did not want to bake for strangers. Too many things can go wrong that I don’t have the time or manpower to fix.

More than that though, my kids came second over those few days of caking. That couldn’t happen. Not only am I a stay-at-home mom, but I am a homeschooling mom as well. The kids HAVE to come first. And they need to know that they are more important to me than making cakes for other people.

I still take orders but only from friends and family, people that I know would be understanding if I made a mistake. Some months I might only make 1 cake, others 4 and then I know I need a break.There’s a routine now when I’m doing a cake, things go more smoothly but I still do not want to start a business. Decorating cakes as a hobby keeps the pressure off, but now I have other outlets for talking to other cakers so when I’m not caking I’m talking about caking :D

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Every cake has a story….

And I’m going to try to add some of the stories with each picture. Some cakes were quick and easy, others were long, drawn out, and somewhat painful.

Take this one for instance.

I had read that a frozen cake was easier to frost than a room temperature one. My mom was on vacation for Mother’s Day (2007) so I thought it would be the perfect opportunity. The idea behind this decoration was actually from my jammies and I went through how it would all come together; vines, beautiful two-tone roses on the top and sides, my mom would be floored!

The day she came home I took the cake layers out of the freezer and got to work. I noticed right away that my frosting wasn’t crusting over like it had before. I checked at 15 minutes, 20, 45….I was about to pull my hair out! I did the best I could but there were still patches where the frosting stuck to paper towel. The side that I took a picture of was the best side so you can’t really see it.

While I was waiting for it to crust I made up my little roses on bits of waxed paper and popped them in the freezer so they’d be easier to handle. I gave up on perfect smoothness and began decorating, noticing as I turned the cake that part of the frosting was pulling away (far upper right). I gently smushed the frosting back into place but it refused to stay. I tried putting the roses on only to watch them slowly slide back off again.

At this point there were multiple trouble areas and I was ready to throw in the towel. I finished as best as I could, most of the roses I planned for the side ended up on top. I quickly took a picture before anything else fell off (more roses jumped to their doom) and was thankful that this was for my mom. Who loves me. Regardless of how her cake turns out.

I did try to do a remake after I’d learned to pipe roses directly on my cake but what I now know is that it’s very hard for me to duplicate one of my ideas.

This was for a friend’s daughter and I’m happy with how it turned out, lol, and thankful for the lesson I learned on the other cake.

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Thanksgiving

A happy Thanksgiving to all my family, friends, and fans! May your day be filled with happiness :D

Let’s also remember to be thankful for the freedoms we have in America and what our forefathers went through to get them. After reading so much about the Pilgrims over the last few days I’ve had a lot of thoughts swirling in my head. They could have given up. They could have said that serving the Lord just wasn’t worth all that trouble. But they persevered and with the help of the Indians were able to establish a colony.

I’m thankful they didn’t give up. I’m thankful that they felt their beliefs were worth it. I hope I can be so brave :D

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Homeschooling

Yep, I am a homeschooling mom! Probably makes sense to some of my fans, I do love to teach :D

This journey actually began when I was 13, my dad homeschooled me for 2 years and during that time I built a very good relationship with my parents. I look back on that time as the best of my teen years; I was no longer worried about what my peers thought of me, I could be myself. And my parents were no longer my enemies, I learned that they were people with ideas, plans, and dreams. I learned to trust their advice.

When we started having kids the topic of homeschooling was brought up. I had known several homeschooling families and couldn’t get over how well-behaved and interesting the kids were. They were polite, could easily converse with anyone no matter the age, and were smart. My husband agreed to let me try it for a year and see how things went. Well, I am not a procrastinator, my daughter was 3 1/2 and I thought if I only had a year then I better get cracking! I bought some simple preschool books, shapes, letters and numbers and was surprised at how quickly we went through them. Because I read to her every night before she went to bed she already knew these basics. I bought a 500 page preschool book, then a 500 page kindergarden book, and before we knew it, she was 4 years old and reading her first words.

That was how it all began. We’ve changed curriculum a few times and have settled on My Father’s World. Now to the best part. Through homeschooling I’VE learned more than I could have ever imagined. About God, about myself, about my children, about the world….the list goes on and on. I’d like to start sharing these things with you :D

Posted in Homeschooling | 4 Comments

Craziness!

I’m trying to get all my pictures in order, and saw that hubby posted pictures from his computer that I had completely forgotten about. It’s funny seeing how not only my style progressed but also how I took pictures. I’ll try to make them so the oldest are shown first, so you all can see what I mean :D

(first attempt at chocolate buttercream, May 2007)

Posted in Old Stuff | 1 Comment