Monday, January 30, 2012

One John Deere Loving Boy Birthday Request

If there ever was a fella who loved John Deere more, I don't know who that could be.  This young man has lived, breathed and admired John Deere tractors and equipment ever since he could toddle up and say "tractor".  Most every make, model and their uses have  been brought up in nearly daily conversations.  It doesn't help that his uncle owns a large equipment repair shop or that he lives surrounded by fields that get plowed on a regular basis!  "He" is one of our three grandsons. And he is posing in front of his cake at the park.

But as with all things cake, it didn't start out this way.  If you want to take a walk with me, I'll share this cake "journey" with you.  Or you can just keep me company.  Come on.....

Here is my journey to make a wish come true...

"MiMi...if it's not too much trouble, could you make me a cake with a tractor?"  "Sure"    "And could you make the tractor in a field?"  "I think so"  "And could you use Oreo's for the wheels?"  "Uh Huh"  And if it's not too much trouble could you make some pigs?"  "I will do my best"  "And....."       "Jackson!  That's enough! (his momma)"   "oh...ok....that's cool"

So we first worked on the tractor.  Obviously, I began work before I did my current research on actual tractors.

Rice Krispie Treats
I do not know who decided to package these homemade jewels, but it was a brilliant idea!

They cut, they mold, they shape, they are not heavy...and fondant covers them well!

Shape the tractor and cover with green-colored fondant, smooth and whala!

I did not use the big Oreos.  Because I was in the store and saw these marshmallow pinwheels (picture above) and almost skidded to a stop.  "Tires!"  So, a bag of "tires" came home with me.  But I did get mini's and regular oreos as well....Spare tires?


Made my first pig and fell in love...
Just could not stop until I had 3 little piggies.
Complete with curly tails and  piggy snouts.

Every farm has dirt and every tractor has to plow, don't they?

This one might have a little mud, but that's just going to be ok!
The plow discs are Murray Sugar Free Mini Cookies.
The rest of the plow is a hardened strip of fondant painted green with food gel and water  and a little floral wire.  It will have to be assembled upon arrival....if the hail storm doesn't  make its appearance....(All the rain held off  until they had played and ate.)
Thank you Lord for your mercy!

Many times we have plans...."a"   "b" "c"....

Leaving the house we had plan "a" until my sweet husband wanted to help.
"Wait a minute and I will open the doo...r"
And in an instant with a door bump and a tummy touch
we are already planning how to mend...

Up to plan "b"
ALWAYS carry a 911 box!!!!!

Then there was this farming accident:

   Now we are up to plan "c"
Isn't he pitiful?

I wasn't going to show him, because I thought I was still in mourning...Nah

So...I needed another driver!

Piggy volunteered.  He had been secretly hoping to be molded into a people anyway.

AND Beacause I hurt his brother's feelings...
He decided to run and jump in the muddy rows.

Dirty, silly piggy!

It's official
The pigs can play
And so can the birthday boy and his friends :)

I almost forgot...the fence is piped with melted Wilton Candy Melts.  Just in case you were curious, ya know. 

 I believe Jackson was very pleased!

HaPpY  bIrThDaY!!!!!

Monday, January 16, 2012

A Baby Shower Firetruck....

Don't you just love different ideas?

My (baker) daughter has a friend.  Her friend has a sister who is expecting her first baby.  So put those two thoughts together and you still might not see the connection.  But the father to be is a policeman...still a bit confused?  Now when I tell you that the mommy to be is a FIREMAN...or fire woman.....maybe fire person, everything should begin to click (except what do you call a lady fireman?)

Being as my baker-daughter bakes awesome pastries, cookies and cakes, but does not feel any warm, fuzzy feelings when it comes to decorating them with anything but frosting and a few swirls...she asked me if I would decorate it.  (Now I'm like a decorator wanna be in training--but I said YES)  I do love to try!

Then came the first request...a sugar baby cradle.   SURE!  (Now, mind you, I had already agreed to make and decorate the cookies, which we did for the first time with a candy monogram)  You'll see.  But back to the cake...a few days before...."Mom do you think you could make a firetruck to put on top?"  (cough, sputter, gasp, time to think...................................) "Why sure!"  The wheels had already begun to spin.  I just wasn't sure I could get the mental picture into sugar and fondant.  But here 'tis:

First the cookies...
bake, outline, flood, dot and then...all for the sake of flavor, and because we have a gracious friend who doesn't mind our "experiment",  pour candy "B's" one at a time to the tune of 50-ish.  But it was WORTH it.  Tasted so much better than the fondant letters I've cut out before on the logo cookies.  AND IF I HAD a tray of "B" molds it would have taken no time!  <clearing throat> That IS something to look into!  I know, I know, I could have just piped B's.  But then we would never know, would we?

 Cookies all packaged, ribboned, boxed and ready to travel :)
Out of box and into display basket for guests.
I'm telling you this was the cutest setting to host a shower.
All in a rustic cabin decorated in period furniture.

NOW, back to the cake :)

Rice Krispy treats are just the neatest things...stack, smooth a bit, shape/cut and cover in fondant.  Oh, and most importantly don't forget to do that math.  I THOUGHT I was doing it right...and it did work out, but it was close!

I've got to get better at picture taking the important steps so I can actually POST them.  You see, I first made the road. And, of course, NO PIC.  Well, just envision measuring and cutting two pieces of cake board, "gluing" them together with edible gum paste glue or similar.  Coloring fondant and covering the "road". Add stripes and  let it dry a bit---
Then continue with the truck.  I looked through LOTS of images on Google.  And had to find a pic that helped me simplify such a complex piece of truck.

like these...

(loose interpretation, huh?)

Then the idea hit me...a trailer with a baby cradle being pulled behind.  So exciting, these random thoughts.  In fact so exciting that I began to picture myself making the mom wave from the window and the police-dad either leading them in a squad car or .... oh Brenda get real!   And I of course told myself  "Self, you just don't have the time to get all that together for tomorrow"  Yeah, that's right...has nothing to do with skill level  (cough, cough)

Anyway, I already had a few cradles I had been saving (never picturing them behind a firetruck) but it just got "funner and funner"  and late into the night you sometimes get that way.... crazy or I mean creative.

And another note to self  "Brenda, bring your camera"  It just makes sense.
The location was just as cute as a button.
A rustic tea room on the north side of town.
And If I remember the name of it I will put it here.
AND...if I would have taken  pictures, I would've posted HERE.

But anyway, here is a photo taken via cell phone while assembling the cake. 

Chocolate (to die for) cake with Heavenly frosting by my daughter with a firetruck on top!   
Oh, and I almost forgot, the wagon wheels are those mini sugar-free Murray's on the trailer and Oreos on  the fire truck. 
The truck has white candy-piped  ladders, fondant "windows" and a bumper complete with  gum drop lights (just roll out and cut)  And AGAIN, my  pictures would have shown that, wouldn't they? Anyway, it was a "fun" cake to do and friend and sister/mom did enjoy.

Maybe you've already done a Fire Truck
PLEEEZE let me see. 

Congratulations to Mom, Dad and Baby "B"!!!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Making a Piano Keyboard Cake

Making a piano keyboard cake...

 Coming up with ideas for cakes can sometimes be a challenge...but not this one.  Our daughters are all blessed with musical abilities and there was never a question!


Obviously a cake to feed less than 10 people needs to be a smaller cake, but I'm going to make a keyboard for a grown daughter who LOVES the piano.  I already know I will make the white keys out of fondant, but the black keys????

Then it came to me....KitKats!  Could they work????

Next, color the fondant.  Do NOT forget to wear gloves.  That's important...unless you would like to add color to your body.  I used Ameri-Gel Super Black.  Many times for cookie icing I start with a brown and add black.Because adding a lot of black usually makes a bitter icing...almost medicine tasting.   But this time I just went straight to the black and a relatively small amount made a beautiful dark color today.

I rolled out the fondant a medium thick and began to find the measurements for covering the candy "key"
 The size was obviously altered and then wrapped gently around the Kit Kat.
Make sure you put the remnants in a bag or under a small bowl so that it does not dry out.

 The first key was made and smoothed and left on the rack to dry a bit.  Isn't it cute?

 Cake was trimmed, stacked and crumb-coated  the night before.

The day is BEAUTIFUL and COLD !
And I was excited to see the picture in my head come to life.  Would it really work?
 Now, I admit I had to measure to find the ratio of the key widths.  It was almost 2:1

Who knew...butter, sugar, cake and math!
I am always amazed that so much math can be involved !!!
The other thing that constantly makes my heart flutter is to see how all the little touches make such a difference.  One of these days I'm gonna learn how to make sharp edges.  I truly have watched U-Tubes and gone to blogs and practiced...promise.  My skills are improving...slowly.  Just how many cakes do I have to do before I get those edges?  But hey...shells are really okay!

A few gum paste roses, leaves and writing...
a MINI keyboard!

I think this is my favorite  part...the part where those you love and bake for finally get their cakes.

Why is that?  I'm not a pro, but some cakes take all that time in the  planning, the baking, the decorating, the  anticipation.  Then that moment of completion, where utter relief washes over you.  And last of all the "reveal" where you feel such a sense of accomplishment and joy....all to have it cut and eaten and turned into crumbs...all in a matter of minutes. 

In what other medium do we take so much effort to make something only to have it destroyed in moments and yet think that's a good thing?

I LOVE baking!