Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Very temporary Hiatus!

Some very exciting news for real world Jen.  

I'm moving!

Not far; just one town over.  Its a very big step, and I am really looking forward to it, but it unfortunately means that Cake Jen has to step back for a few weeks while things get settled.  I won't be taking any orders for the month of April, and will be coming back with a bang in May with a big wedding cake and cookie order for a close friend.  

Once I have made it through that, JBC will be back in business, with much more room to work in to create the most spectacular cakes you can throw at me.  

I apologize in advance if this means you can't have the cake you are looking for.  This is just a small blip in service that will only benefit you in the future!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Pink Ombre Rose Cake

Ombre Rose Cake

Talk about a blast from the past!

Jessica is a girl I have known since I was 14.  She was probably 8?  I want to say 8.  Her little sisters were 3 and 4 at the time, and for some reason, her parents decided to leave me alone with these 3 little girls for the evening.  They were all sleeping already when I got there, but I was very nervous.  There were no cell phones at the time; I had the phone number for the restaurant in case of emergency.  My first babysitting gig.  I was so nervous about these 3 little girls that I spent the evening laying at the bottom steps listening.  No music, no tv... just listening for 3 hours.  I was the younger sister in my family so I had never been around anyone younger than myself in a caring situation.  Sure, I was making $20 for my trip to England, but 3 little girls?  Just me... If you're sure Donna...

I was basically their only babysitter for 4 or 5 years.  After school, during the summers, the occasional evening.  It was a great gig.  They were the best behaved kids I had ever looked after.  They listened, they played well with each other and they were fun.  I loved them like my own sisters and they looked up to me like one.

The days got fewer and fewer that I was needed for them, and while I was happy to see them grow up and be responsible for each other, it was also very sad.  These  amazing little girls that I watched grow up didn't need me anymore.  I imagine this is what a parent experiences when their child leaves home for the first time.  You can only hope you taught them enough to do the job without you.  I really never saw them much after that.  I moved away for college, Jessica took over my role, and Samantha in turn.  Amanda then was old enough to be on her own.  

I learned all this through my mother, who was friends with the girls' mother, and it made me happy to hear that Donna knew her girls would be alright as "they had a great role model".  And hearing that they missed me made me feel better.  I wasn't forgotten. 

Donna had mentioned one day that I was making cakes, and through the magic of Facebook Jessica and I have since re-connected - now adults.  She married with children of her own, me running my own business. I look forward to getting to know this new adult, when I only knew a child.

Jessica, like all great sister-in-laws, has a great relationship with hers.  There was a party to celebrate a big birthday (30!), and Jessica wanted to supply the cake.  I was honoured to receive the call.  She wanted as pink a cake as I could make, and loved the look of the Ombre Rose cakes that have become all the rage.  I was very happy to hear this; they are gorgeous cakes, and I wanted to have a go.
I was very very happy to find out how incredibly simple this is!  With the right tip, the roses basically create them selves!  Happy surprise!

I misjudged the amount of icing I would need, and didn't get the dramatic change in colour but it turned out well, and most importantly the birthday girl loved it!

Rose Swirl Cake
So elegant, and so simple

Swirl rose cake
The top could have been planned a little bit better, but still stunning!

Welcome Baby Sebastian!

Blue Elephant Cake

I love that I have so many circles of friends.  My friends, my fellas friends, work, school, old friends... So many people to make happy with cake!

When someone at work retires, has a baby or is getting married, I wait for someone to ask me to make a cake for the party.  It doesn't always happen, but when it does, I get to go all out!

One of the newer staff members here had a baby back in October, and we have been waiting and waiting for little Sebastian to get a little bigger so we could all see him playing and laughing, rather than just sleeping in a car seat the whole time, being equally adorable, mind you.

I love making cakes for work, because I get full creative control.  I get told the number of people attending the shower, and the rest is up to me.

I noticed a really cute fondant elephant while researching, and rolled with that theme.  Blue elephants on a blue cake.  The elephants turned out perfectly.

I've been fiddling with my butter cream recipe, and think I have found a winner.  This one crusts slightly, and a trick of the trade is to let it harden slightly after spreading, then you lay a piece of paper towel on top and run your hand across it lightly.  Your body heat and the friction melts the top just enough to smooth it out, leaving you with a crisp surface.  I had never tried this before, and didn't notice the pattern in the paper towel until after I laid it on the cake.  I went ahead anyway, and to my surprise, instead of smoothing the cake out, the pattern was perfectly imprinted.  It looked like a little quilt in the background... I mean... I totally knew that was going to happen.

Sadly, I only have the one picture of this cake.  I thought I took more of the elephants, but I just had 12 of the overview of the whole cake :(  You'll just have to take my word for how cute they really are. I made it so the side ones ears all stuck out a little.

Baby Shower Elephant
I hope you can see the great impression left from the smoothing failu... er... technique that totally exists.

My only critique after the fact is that I made the little elephants too thick, and they stuck out of the cake more than I wanted.  It would have been better off making them as thin as the one on top, and making the one on top a little thicker and a little more textured and shaped.  Lesson learned!

But I loved it anyway.  It's just such a cute cake, and the elephants could easily be replaced with teddy bears, ducks or owls.  Really anything cutesy and baby-y would work.  With a little practice this style could easily become my new favourite 'baby is here' baby shower cake.  It will never beat my 'before baby' shower cake.  Those are just too perfect.  I guess I should do a post on those... I haven't needed to make one for a while...

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Na na na na na na na na... Batman!

I have to tell you, parents my age are churning out some awesome kids.  Sams daughter with her Superman Cake, my friend Cheryl whose 7 year old daughter idolizes George Lucas (her speech this year should win awards) and Nick, whose daughter hums the Imperial March while tidying up.  Some seriously awesome kids out there.

So I wasn't really surprised when Sarah suggested Batman as a theme for her daughters first birthday.  Apparently that's the toy she heads to most to play with.  If it makes her happy, then why not?

Enough of us suggested that it was a great idea that she went for it.  She found a cute chocolate lollipop with the Batman logo on a pink background, and I instantly saw the cake.  She asked if I could make it for this weekend, and while I don't like taking orders with less than a weeks notice, I couldn't say no.  This was too cute an idea.

I went very simple... a 10x10 square vanilla cake, covered in hot pink icing with the logo in black.  

Pink Batman Cake!
I'm Batman!
Happy birthday little one!  Stay awesome!

Camera Cake

If I talk any more about Samantha, you are going to start thinking that I'm a plug machine for her.  Never the less, she's a good friend, and it was her birthday yesterday!  Just a baby, she is!

Of course I had to make a cake for her party, and it could only be a camera.  She actually asked if I could make it combine cameras and her love for *cough* inappropriate things. Silly, fun NSFW type things.  Being a boudoir photographer as well, she kinda wanted some boobs in there.  I has thought making the back display be a image capture of such a thing.  I told her I would try.  And to be honest, if I had had more time, I would have been a little fancier with it and made a bunch of Polaroids to scatter on the cake.  But, that just wasn't in the cards for her cake.  Maybe that'll be for next birthday.

I remembered to take a few more shots as I made the cake, but I was rushed, and didn't get a full step by step.

I started off with two 6x6 cakes, and cut 2/3s off to stack to become the body, and used the other 1/3 to make the flash mount.  I also had a half slab cake that I was using for the base of the cake, so I cut some discs out of that to make the lens. Covered it all in buttercream and left it to harden up in the fridge so the fondant would adhere better.

I could have eaten it just like this.  So yummy!

I then had about an hour and a half before I had to leave for the party (poor planning, work and life getting in the way), so I got cracking on the fondant work.  Miraculously, I got the camera done in just under 45 minutes.  I couldn't believe it.  It looked so complicated, but was remarkably simple.  I have to stop making my cakes out to be more complicated than they are, and trust in my skill.  Have I mentioned that before?  And also have to stop thinking that I have to put crazy details into every cake.  I could have added rings, and wording on the lens, and made the displays have a greenish tint to emulate the glow, but it didn't need it.

To make up for the lack of inappropriate things, I attempted to put the camera on a 'bed' covered in red silk sheets.  It didn't work. And I must admit it looks messier than I wanted.  Had this been a customer cake and was paid for, I would have re-done the slab to be neat and tidy, but that darn time limit stopped me.  Or at the very least I would have made it look more like a bed.

Don't tell Sam... I modeled it after my Nikon.  Shhhh....

Sam, of course, loved it, and was a little upset when her hubby took it from me and hid it out of reach when I first go there.  She just wanted to see it.  It didn't take long before she got it down and got right in there.

Plates?  Then we have to wash more dishes!

Happy Birthday Sam!

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Beep Beep

A few weeks back, you may remember the dump truck cake for my nephew?  That's the one.  Well, the following weekend my brother and sister-in-law threw his birthday party for their friends and their children, so I wasn't surprised when I got the call for some cupcakes - that's a regular order for these parties. 

Creative control was in my hands again, as long as it was boy-y.

If memory serves, that was a busy weekend for me... more cakes on the go, or heading out of town, so I wanted something easy, and found a cute picture of a car topper, and decided to give it a go.  I ended up with some pretty cute cars on these cupcakes :)

Traffic Jam!

It's like a parking lot over here.

Just boy enough!  Lovingly placed by big sister Grace.

Gruffalo Cake

Did you know that a Gruffalo is a thing?  Not just a thing, but apparently a very popular children book?  2 weeks ago, had you asked me I would have said "What the heck is a gruffalo?"  Wait, that's exactly what I said when Paul and Amy asked me if I could make a Gruffalo cake for their son's third birthday.

According to my new customers, the Gruffalo is all the rage amongst 3-5 years olds.  I'll have to poll my niece to see if this is true, and perhaps go a little crazy Auntie Jen on her and demand why she withheld this information from me.  I need to know these things, and if she's in the loop, she should be sharing.  Sharing is nice.   

My first image search for Gruffalo cake came up with an adorable shaped head of said Gruffalo, followed by a bunch of just as cute but not quite me, slab cakes with him (her?) drawn on.  Luckily for me, Amy had her heart set on the same on I loved.

Even luckier for me, she told me that that picture was part of a tutorial on how to make this exact cake.  While I pride myself on making cakes from my imagination, not copying someone else's work, when I'm attempting to create something I've never seen before, this was exceptionally helpful.  Since Amy loved this cake so much, I didn't go too far off the plan.  I just opted for making it a little taller with the cut out pieces of cake rather than cutting away to make the shape.

While loading the link above, I just realized that I forgot the spines on his back!  Sorry Amy... I hope that didn't take away from it. 
My Gruffalo!
Paul described it as a Gruff Buffalo
I have to say he is super cute, and I will have to look into the books for the niece and nephew.