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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Quick and Easy Cake

I just made this cake for a guy my husband works with.  He takes care of my dogs when we go out of town, so even thought I feel terrible today (I feel like poo, which is kinda like having the flu - but different) I felt obligated to get it finished.  So, although this wasn't my original design, I really like the way it turned out.

I just wanted to show you a cake that was really quick and easy, that you can totally do on your own and get a lot of ohhhh's and ahhhh's!  I made this cake using the technique that I showed you yesterday in this post.

Sorry about the bad quality - too tired to take more pictures!

Hope you like it and I would LOVE to see any cakes that you make!!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Cake Tutorial #1

As promised - sorry it took so long.  Its been a really busy couple of weeks, but I did finally get around to putting together that tutorial I promised.

As I was making this cake I realized the one key thing that you can do to make your cakes look more professional.  Level your cakes before stacking them.  This is so easy to do with a large serrated knife.  A level cake makes all the difference in the world. 

Next, something easy that you can do to give you cakes so wow factor is adding fondant decorations.  I had a question on one of my other cakes "Do you use the cricut to cut out your fondant decorations" - the answer is no.  I usually use either cutter (gumpaste/fondant cutters or cookie cutters) or I use an exacto knife and a template of some sort.  So this is were we will start!

You will need:
Fondant
Tylose powder (optional)
Pasta roller (or rolling pin)
Template of something you want to cut out
A new exacto knife
A smooth cutting surface (like a cutting board)
Shortening
Powder Sugar
A cookie sheet lined with parchment or wax paper

FONDANT:  you can use store bought  or make your own fondant.  I have never really had much success with making my own fondant and frankly I'm usually running so far behind I don't have time to make it!  So I buy my fondant (order it online) - or you can buy it at Walmart/Michael's.  I have it on good authority that the Wilton Fondant has improved their taste considerably!  I prefer to use Satin Ice and I also buy precolored fondant - especially red and black!


TYLOSE POWDER:  Although I put this as optional it will really make this process much easier!  It will also be essential if you plan on using your cutout as a topper as I did in the Batman cake.  Its fairly cheap and lasts a long time, however, it is not easy to find and you will need to buy it at a cake decorating supply store or order it online.


TEMPLATE:  Google Image is my friend.  I love Google Image.  Almost anything that you can think of can be found there.  Its my "go to" place to find pictures of anything!  For this cake we needed STAR WARS!  I went on Google Image and printed out the logo.  Next I wanted to add the birthday boy's name, so I searched for the Star Wars font to make it all go together - I found it for FREE at dafont.com - another site I LOVE!!  I printed out both the logo and the b-day boy's name. 


Now - grab your trusty scrapbooking scissors and cut that bad boy out!  I just wanted the letters, so I cut out each individual letter.

You will then want to knead some tylose powder into your fondant - you will only need about a 1/4 tsp of Tylose Powder.  Continue kneading until your fondant is pliable and easy to knead and stretch.

At this point you can either run your fondant through a pasta roller (easiest!) or you can use a rolling pin to roll it out.  I always start on the thickest setting of pasta roller.  I use it thick for a stand up topper and a little thinner to add accents to the side of cakes.  Make sure to dust your fondant with powder sugar before running it through the machine or rolling it out by hand.  Also dust your cutting surface or your fondant will stick.


Once you have your fondant rolled to the desired thickness - lay it on your cutting mat/board.  Grab your cut-outs, exacto knife and some shortening.


Rub a little shortening on your fondant and the stick your paper cut-outs on top.


Use your exacto to cut around the templates - the shortening helps to keep the cut-outs from moving while you are cutting. 


If you have jagged edges just use your finger to gently tap or rub them out - you can also purchase a steamer (like the ones used for clothes) to make your finished accents look smoother.

Place your cut pieces on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper to dry, or to just move them so you don't accidentally mess them up (yep - done it!).

Its finally time to add them to your cake!  I use gum glue to stick my fondant pieces on the cake (1/4 cup warm water and 1 tsp. tylose powder - mixed and left in the fridge overnight).  If you don't have time or tylose you can simply use water.  Just use a small clean (never used for anything but food) paintbrush to add the water or gum glue to the back of the letter/accents and gently put them on the side of your cake. 



And the final cake looked like this:



Buttercream iced all accents are fondant and handmade.  you can see a little flaw in the buttercream on the right - poor Darth Vader took a tumble off the top of the cake :(  Oh well - I still like it!

Please feel free to let me know if you have ANY questions and if you have an idea for the next Cake Tutorial please let me know! 

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Winner Winner..... AGAIN!

I never heard from our first winner of the CSN Stores Online $60 gift card - so.... here we go again...

And the winner is:  JOY at mommaskindacrafty.blogspot.com!  Joy is a follower.  Joy - please email me at mackenziescraftymom@gmail.com within the next 48 hours to claim your prize!

Congrats!!!!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Winner Winner!!!

Congratulations to:  ROCKIN DEALS who is a follower.

Please email me at mackenziescraftymom@gmail.com within 48 hours.  If I don't hear from you, I will be forced to pick a new winner.

Thank you all so much for making my first giveaway a huge success!! 

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Only 3 days left! CSN Stores Giveaway

You only have 3 days left to enter the CSN Stores $60 Giveaway!!!

Your chance to enter will end at 11:59 on the 13th.  Hurry Hurry Hurry!!!!

Become a follower of my blog (click the little "follow" button) for one chance to win.  For another chance click the link above and leave a message telling me what you would use the $60 on!

Friday, May 7, 2010

All the Cool Kids are doing it!!! CSN Stores GIVEAWAY!

I was really suprised when I was approached by CSN Stores to do a giveaway on my blog. I'm also really excited for one of you who will win a $60 gift certificate to any one of CSN's 200 online stores! Oh yea - 200!

After I was contacted I noticed that a couple of the blogs that I follow are also doing a CSN giveaway - I've always wanted to sit at the cool kids table at lunch!!

One of you lucky readers is going to win - so you better get shopping, with over 200 stores it could take a while!

Some of my favorites? Oh, I'm so glad you asked! I make most of my cakes in my kitchen and if I had the gift certificate I would spend it on some new lighting! All I can say is Track Lighting has come A LONG WAY BABY!

I can totally see a row of 3 or 4 of these babies hanging over the bar in my kitchen!


I'm pretty sure that these are the lights that are hanging in my Dr.'s reception area.  I usually just sit there are stare at the lights - they are SO PRETTY!


All of those lights can be found at CSN's online Lighting Store.  Other places to shop with your gift certificate include:  Cookware.com - SERIOUSLY!  I couldn't be more excited about this site!!

Check out this cake plate - they have TONS!  And frankly I think I'm in love with all of them!



Or, you could shop at the main CSN Store - where they have more stuff than the mall!  Their kids and baby section is TO DIE for!  I mean SERIOUSLY!  This baby bedding set makes me want to have another baby and pray for a BOY!  (if you know me, that's huge!)


Ok - now that you are going to spend the day shopping at CSN Stores - here's how you enter to win the $60 Gift Certificate.

1.  If you are a follower you are automatically entered (so if you are not a follower - click that little button over there and Follow Me!)  There is no need to leave me a comment about being a follower.
2.  Leave me a comment telling me what you would buy if you win the certificate - be specific - go shop and then let me know. 

Its that easy!   MacKenzie will draw a winner on May 14th!  So make sure to check back!!!!

Disclaimers:  Open only to US and Canadian residents.  May be responsible shipping charges and shipping charges may be more for canadian residents.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Teacher Appreciation/Mother's Day Gifts!

In true slacker fashion I waited until the LAST minute to make something for M's 5 teachers!  Its ok though - Its crazy cute and super easy!!!  Wanna see?!?!?!  Ok....  I'll share - AND, I tell you how to do it!


Aren't they CUTE!!!  And really these are so easy to do!  I did take some time and paint the pots with Chalkboard Paint - made them all the cuter!!!

Are you ready to get started?  Ok - here we go. 
Step 1.  Bake your favorite Cupcakes, try to keep the top fairly level, it will make piping the flowers a little easier.


Step 2.  Grab some yellow buttercream, a piping bag, and a tip 352 (leaf tip).  Put the tip in the piping bag and fill with your yellow buttercream.  This leaf tip looks like it has a V in it.  You will want to hold the tip so that the V is facing the side, not the top.  Holding the bag at a 45 degee angle and with steady pressure squeeze and then start to pull out, stop squeezing and continue to pull - you just made your first petal!  Do 2 rows of petals on the outside of your cupcake: 



Step 3.  Grab some chocolate fudge icing - its ok if you cheat on the chocolate (I do!):
(just don't use the sprinkles.)


Again you will want another piping bag and a tip 16 or 18 (star tip).  Put the tip in the bag and fill the bag with chocolate icing.  Make sure that you do not leave the icing in a hot environment or in the fridge before you use it.  To pipe the middle, just fill it with stars.  Hold the piping bag at a 90 degree angle with the tip almost touching the cupcake.  Squeeze, stop, lift, repeat until the whole center is completely full.  (if you use chocolate cuppies and you miss a spot, no one will know!  shhhhh!)


BEAUTIFUL!!

YUMMY!

Now, if you have had enough and you want to quit - grab a cute box (michael's) and give 'em to the teachers or your mom.  BUT!  If you want the real WOW factor - Keep reading!

Grab a couple things:

Flower Pot; Foil, Styrofoam to fit the pot, Small wooden skewers and your FABULOUS sunflower cuppies!
(the picture shows sucker sticks also, but I did not use these. So... ignore those.)

Wrap your styro ball in foil - don't want all that messy foam getting on your cupcakes!


Next, use the tip of your skewers to poke holes in the bottoms of your cupcakes (not just through the paper but actually into the cupcake) - this makes it easier to put them on later.

You will then want to start by pushing one of the skewers into the styrofoam ball - the angle depends on how many you want to fit into the pot.  I do them one at a time.  Then when I get to last one I place the middle one as well.  Make sure that you push the skewers in far enough into the foam that they will not poke through the top of the cupcake. 


Once you get all the cuppies on - YOU ARE DONE!  Wasn't that EASY!


After I made this one, I decided that, for teachers it would be so much cuter with chalkboard paint!  So, I made THESE:


At the last minute I also decided that it would be best to cover the edges and the styrofoam ball with crushed up oreos - like potting soil.  I love the look!!!

I got SO MANY compliments on them just carrying them from the parking lot to the classroom.

Feel free to jazz up your pots however you like - the sky's the limit - HAVE FUN!!

Really - what could be better than flowers you can EAT!



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I got a Makeover!!!

Do you like it?!?!?!?!?!? I cannot tell you how much I LOVE my new blog! I even have a new button!!! GRAB IT! SHARE IT! WEAR IT!! It the hot new fashion accessory for your blog!

But seriously! Jenny Buttler from Simply Delightful Designs is AMAZING!! I actually won a complete blog make-over during Today's Creative Blog's Spring Fling. I was so shocked that I won something I actually GASPED when I read my name on the list! I needed this!

I loved my blog before, but now I feel like I'm home.

Jenny was so amazing to work with - especially for my undecided, computer illiterate self! I just cannot say enough wonderful things about her.

So, if you need a blog makeover, a button or anything else for you blog - go check her out, she can hook you up in style!!

Thank you so much Jenny!!! YOU ROCK!

(dontcha just LOVE my signature!!!)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Holy CAKE!, Batman!

One of MacKenzie's little boyfriends turned 4 this past weekend. He had a Batman themed bowling party. We had so much fun! And, for the first time I really really like the "boy" cake that I made for him.

Check it out!!


The topper is an edible image that I got printed at a local bakery. I brought it home and then I put it on a piece of fondant mixed with tylose powder and then cut around the image with an exacto knife.

The edible image was difficult to work with and if you look close you can see that it ripped in a couple places. I think I did a pretty good job of piecing it back together!

This is definately going to be my next "cake" purchase! Edible images are so amazing and I think with some practice I can make it perfect!!!!


I freehand cut the buildings out of the same fondant/tylose powder mixture that I did the topper. Then I used some melted yellow candy melts to put the details on the buildings.


Tylose Powder = can be purchased in most upper end cake decorating stores (you will not find it in your local craft store). Its not very expensive. You can mix it with fondant to give it some extra body/stiffness and make it dry much faster. This makes it easier to cut out images and outlines.

I got an email asking me if I use the Cricut on my cakes and although I have 2 (yea I know! I couldn't help myself!! - I'm a little ashamed!!) I do not use it on cakes. I have one set aside for just that purpose, but it takes some work to get the fondant/gumpaste to the right thickness and the right setness (totally just made up a new word!)and frankly it's easier and quicker for me to use cutters or an exacto sometimes.

I also had a question about my black fondant - NO! I do not make my own black fondant. I don't even make my own fondant. I live in north Florida and with the drastic weather changes that we have sometimes my homemade fondant is fine and sometimes its a nightmare. I just don't have the patience for all that. I buy Satin Ice fondant and I order it from FondantSource.com - cheapest prices you will ever find. They also have precolored fondant - like Black and Red - the "nightmare" colors.

I have finally made some decisions from the last post - the giveaway is coming!!!! AND! I finally decided on the first Cake tutorial. If you want to try out what I'm going to share with you, you will need the following things:
1. Fondant
2. a pasta roller
3. a new exacto knife/cutter
4. shortening
5. a cutting board without a texture (wood is best)
6. an image that you want to put on a cake (a more basic shape is best to start with)

Can't wait to share some of my "secrets" with you guys!

- Janel

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Zebra stripes!!!

Zebra stripes are HOT right now - especially in cake. I'm not usually one that really likes things that have gone overboard in the trendy world, BUT! I love Zebra Stripes on cake!

So I was really excited when my friends daughter picked out a cake with zebra stripes and hot pink! I really really love the way that it turned out - there are a couple flaws that just stand out to me, but overall I LOVE IT!

I actually made this cake last week right after the butterfly cake. To make a VERY long story short - I had a 5 hour drive home and a very sick kid and absolutely NO sleep!

So, based on those circumstances, I am beyond thrilled with how it turned out!

All vanilla cake with butter vanilla buttercream and Satin Ice Fondant - everything is edible. I really liked the topper which really pulled the whole cake together - unfortunately you can't see the sparkly black sugar that covers that #9 in the pictures... trust me it was there!




So - there is my cake! I hope you love it as much as I do (minus that stupid air bubble that I see screaming at me from the top tier!)

NOW - I have a question (ok questionS) -
1. I have been thinking about sharing some of my cake knowledge with you through some tutorials. My questions is - What would you like to learn??????
2. I also have been approached by a company wanting to do a giveaway - I haven't done one yet and I'm a little nervous. If you could register to win anything what would you want to win (besides a million dollars!)?? Kitchen? Baby? gift certificate???? craft supplies?

Let me know what you want and I will try to make it happen for you!

I have another cake to post so stay tuned and get in touch with your inner Batman!

- Janel

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