Welcome to our blog!! We are learning to decorate cakes and loving every minute of it!! Join us by following our journey of designing and decorating cakes! Thanks for your interest and let us know what you think of our cakes by leaving a comment! -- Margie and Joy

Friday, December 3, 2010

Christmas Party Cake (wedding cake practice)

 Joy and I have been asked to do wedding cakes for 3 friends.  We did not know if we were ready, and we didn't know where to even start..  How much time would it take?  How much would it cost to make one?  Are we ready for such a big project?  Where do we even start??   So, we planned for the past three potlucks to make a wedding sized cake.  But, each month something would come up and we would not get to make it.  When the adult Christmas party at church came up, it seemed like the perfect time to pull it together!!

We decided to make specialty flavors for the cake, frosting, and fondant.  The top layer is a lemon flavored cake with lemon frosting.  We have a homemade white colored fondant (to match the decorations) with lemon extract (to match the flavor of cake and frosting.)    This was our first attempt at making our own fondant.   It had a better flavor, but was VERY hard to work with.

Our second (middle) layer is a Candy Cane Cake.  The cake and frosting have added peppermint extract and crushed peppermint candy canes.  Again, we added peppermint extract to the fondant to match the flavor of the cake.

The bottom layer is half red velvet and half carrot cake.  Both of these cakes usually use cream cheese frosting, so that worked out perfectly!!

On the way to church to set up the cake, it was SNOWING.  The problem was, there was a car wreck at the bottom of the hill, and we were stuck in the middle of traffic.  It took us a while to find a good spot to U-turn and go to the church a different way (back tracking some too!!!)  The snow falling on the fondant left little shiny dots - so, we will have to see what to do if it rains or snows on a day when you have to carry a cake outside. 

Even so, we got the cake set up on time and you can see the finished product here!  It was not perfect, but we were excited about the fact that we did it!!  Now to figure out the full cost to make, as well as the time put into making it!!  Thanks for stopping by and looking!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Pumpkin Roll

One of the things we have been looking at recently is specialty cakes.  We have looked at different layered cakes, specialty flavors, and cream and fruit fillings to give us experience in other types of cakes.  Since Thanksgiving is just around the corner, we chose to make a pumpkin roll.  It has been a long time since I have made one, so we were excited that the first two came out so well!  This is a great recipe because these cakes can be frozen and thawed out later when needed.  The pumpkin sponge cake is filled with a rich cream cheese and butter filling - the perfect completion after a big Thanksgiving meal!  Keep your eyes open for more specialty cakes on the way!!

Four Wheeler Birthday Cake

Last year for Ty's birthday we made a superman cake.  So, for over a year now, Joy has been planning a four wheeler cake and had some great plans! She even picked out the four wheelers she would buy to put on the cake... until it was time to shop and decorate it!  Walmart did not carry them any more, and after a desparate search at 7 stores, we went with larger four wheelers and had to replan our cake.  We were disappointed, because the bigger the vehicle, the bigger the trail would be and the less we could do, but we made the best with what we had!!

The cake is two triple chocolate cakes stacked on top of each other with a green buttercream frosting grass. On the trail is brown frosting with crushed chocolate and vanilla cookies on top.  The evergreen tree is a sugar cone with frosting leaves.  The other trees are wafer ice cream cones with rice krispy cookies on top and frosting trunks.  This was a fun cake to plan and make, although we both thought it would have been more fun with smaller four wheelers!  Each cake is definitely a learning experience for us and we learned a lot through this one!!!  We do look forward to each challenge and thank each person who gives us the chance to experiment on them!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Happy Birthday Chelsey

Joy has been teaching Chelsey, a sweet teen girl in our church. Today is her 14th birthday, so we planned a small party with a cake that had her favorite color, a meal of her choice, some friends, and presents.

The bottom layer of this cake is triple chocolate, the top layer is a funfetti cake mix. Although the decorations on the cake were made by us with fondant, we did frost the cake in a buttercream frosting, since we did not know if she liked fondant. The letters, stripes, flowers, spots, and bow were all made with fondant. Her favorite color is purple, so we picked two other colors we thought went well with purple: green and yellow. We love working with fondant and learning what it can do! It is like playing with play dough (and I always loved playing with play dough!) Now to start planning the next cake order we have for Thursday - a four wheeler cake!!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Chocolate Fondant Package Cake

The highest form of a compliment is to get a second order for the same cake! My neighbor (Peggy) ordered a cake for her daughter-in-law (Teresa) last year for her birthday. Teresa liked it and ordered one herself this year!!

This cake is a triple chocolate cake, with a buttercreme frosting, and chocolate fondant. Chocolate fondant is fun to make, but not as easy to work with as fondant. It does not harden and hold its form quite the same. It also has a unique flavor. If you like tootsie rolls you would like it, because it is very similar! We figured we could get the chocolate fondant to stand up better if we made our bows earlier, but it still had problems standing as nice as regular fondant. We probably need to experiment with it more... maybe for a potluck at church!!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Pulpit Cake

My husband, Chris, turned 55 today!! We hadn't planned anything special, but a friend (Paul L.) asked if we would surprise him and make a birthday cake shaped like a pulpit for his birthday.

Hummmm... It was hard to figure out how to make it without him being around, because the day before his birthday was Labor Day and we would all be off and at home all day. The day before that was Sunday, and pretty impossible to make then. Which means we only had his birthday to make it on. Again, I would have to make this cake by myself while Joy, my husband, and Chelsey were at church in the morning. Joy and I are a true team, because we each have different creative and artistic talents that when combined, really help in the production of the cakes we create. I was not too excited about doing it on my own, but had no other options.

Before hand, Joy and I talked about different pulpits and the good and bad of working with each. The big kind with two small sides would be hard with all those angles, but the pulpit we have at our church is so skinny. So, what you see is a self designed pulpit!!

Joy did bake the cake the day before, and all my husband knew is that we were going to put a homemade whipped cream frosting on it for lunch the following day. Which was no lie, because I planned to put a whipped cream frosting on it. I found a recipe that was suppose to be a sturdy frosting that could be at room temperature and was used for wedding cakes. It was not an easy recipe to frost with smoothly though!! After about 7 - 8 tries with this recipe, I took the scrap cake pieces and made a small layered cake (single serving) for my husband. He could eat his whipped frosting cake, and look at the other one!! I went to make a chocolate buttercream, but it was having problems too!! After another 7 - 8 tries with that. Becca suggested fondant... I only had an hour before they would get home, but I didn't feel I had any other options. I got out the fondant and started kneading in brown. I painted it with food coloring and vanilla extract. The Bible is also made of fondant (as planned from another suggestion of Becca's) and the microphone is a dark gray royal frosting piped onto a wire. With being so busy with the cake, Becca was the only one to make her dad's birthday meal - fried chicken livers, rice, gravy, and spinach!! She did a great job, and I am thinking she might need to learn to cook meals more often and maybe even do a little cake decorating with us!!

My husband, Chris, really liked the cake! Although I am sure he will eat his cake with whipped cream frosting and not the decorated one... since he does not really care for fondant!!

David's Birthday Golf Course Cake

My youngest child, David, just turned 16 - WOW, where have the years gone?? He loves to play golf and so I made him a very simple 3 par hole from a golf course. Unfortunately, Joy could not help me, which meant I had to wing it on my own. Although, she did come in occasionally to offer her ideas and thoughts, she was just too busy with school stuff and watching the puppies.

David wanted a chocolate cake, with royal frosting on top. Royal frosting is a frosting that dries hard, and is usually used to make flowers ahead of time to put on a cake later. They taste a lot like the premade candies you buy in the store to put on cakes. Both David and Joseph love to eat the messed up flowers we make and they always joked that they wanted their cakes frosted with it. Well, we decided to try it regardless of the fact that the directions say Royal frosting is not intended to frost a whole cake. Let me tell you, they KNOW what they are talking about!!! LOL So... this was the best I could do!! The important thing was that David LOVED it and he actually ate a good bit of it!!

Graduation Cake for Joseph

Joseph graduated from high school!

For his graduation cake Joy and I made him a piano. Instead of flowers, we made books to put on the piano. He will be studying music and Bible at Baptist College of Ministry.

The 'wooden floor' is made of fondant, colored, rolled, and imprinted with a wooden design. The books are also all made with fondant. The cake was triple chocolate with a chocolate buttercream frosting.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I was able to locate a picture of the flower cupcakes on display at the ladies retreat. They are displayed on a Wilton cupcake holder.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Flower Cupcakes

"Bloom Where You are Planted" is an awesome theme for a ladies retreat!! A friend (Marvetta J.) asked us to make cupcakes for this retreat at her church. The ladies there did an awesome job of decorating their church fellowship hall!! It was so beautiful with so many colors and with a waterfall and pond!!

The cupcakes we made had a flower, which was made with white chocolate and colored with food coloring. These took longer than we thought and we ended up staying up past midnight working on them. The cake flavors were chocolate and cherry chip. We also made a really cute watering can out of fondant, gum paste, and royal frosting, that had royal frosting 'water' coming out of the spout to be on the top of the cupcake holder. Unfortunately, it started melting and falling apart on the way. We still have a lot to learn with transporting, and being better prepared at being able to fix things after arrival!!

When we got there, the ladies were so sweet and they all knew us, "The Sugar Cains" - from Marvetta sharing our blog on facebook!! We almost felt like celebrities, but we were both too tired to think at that time!! We even forgot to take pictures after we got there!! Partly because we were tired, but also because I had somewhere else to go shortly thereafter!! We learned many lessons through this one and gained some experience with white chocolate, molds, cupcakes, fondant/gum paste mixtures, and still trying to figure out what we can do differently with transportation.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Chocolate Anniversary Cake

Kevin J. asked us to make a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting for his wife, Pam, for their wedding anniversary. After looking online, we found there are not many chocolate frosted cakes that are decorated. We talked about a lot of different things we could do, but came up with the design you see here. The colors needed to be light enough you would see them on brown. But, we didn't want pink on it... so the heart is a rose color, yellow for Pam (her favorite color), and blue for Kevin. We talked about putting the kids names around the bottom, but changed our minds as we were doing the letters for Kevin and Pam. Our chocolate frosting is very rich tasting, but light and airy, which makes frosting a cake REALLY hard to look professional. The letters and hearts were made using Joy's new Cricut Cake decorating machine. The flowers we made ourselves using fondant. We wish Kevin and Pam a wonderful 8th anniversary!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Farm Birthday Cake

After a busy week of making three large cakes, one big cookie, and cupcakes for the fair, we were tired!! BUT, we had a cake to do for a friend's nephew. Patty asked for a cake with cars or tractors, and we were happy to help her out!! So, we started looking at ideas and chose this one. We both felt very 'caked out' when we were working on it. (Which shows we might not do well at this full time!!!) But, we were happy with the results of this cake. He is two years old, so we put two candles on the cake: a tractor candle and a barn candle. The frosting is a buttercreme with brown sugar sprinkled over the 'dirt.' I actually love brown sugar on frosting... it really gives it a good flavor!! Also, Joy made the fence you see with candy melts! We were glad to hear this 2 year old nephew was very happy with his cake!!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Ugly Cake Contest at the Fair

Here is our entry for the Ugly Cake Contest at the Rock Island County Fair.
Joy and I won the blue ribbon and a best of show ribbon for this entry!

The trash can with trash was Joy's idea and from there we took off experimenting with what we could do. Some of these items we found out how to do them in books. We really didn't find much online, so the rest we made up as we went along. Everything you see is edible! We both felt this was one of the best cake we ever made... it was so much fun!!

We also won the top two places for our cakes. Joy won the blue ribbon and the best of show with her heart fondant cake. I placed second under Joy with my daisy basket cake. Joy also won the blue ribbon with her tea cup cupcakes. I won a blue ribbon with my whale cookie. (You can see pictures of these entries in earlier postings.)

This was a really great experience for us. It really pushed us to a new level of cake decorating!!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Rock Island County Fair

Here are our cakes on display at the Rock Island County Fairgrounds.

Wow... what a crazy weekend! We got home from our trip on Saturday afternoon at 4:00... and started baking. While our cakes were baking, we unpacked and cleaned up. We could not do all that we had planned to enter, because we only had until 4:00 on Sunday to turn in our entries. So we picked the 'decorated cake' category since that has been our focus this year AND since it also gave the most prize money if we place in the top 5.

Joy got her cricut cake machine while we were gone, so she really wanted to experiment with it and use it on her cake. The hearts and the writing are all cut using her new cricut machine with gum paste. She also used fondant on both the cake and the roses. Joy is really good at making roses look so realistic! I was glad she found a way to put some on her cake!!

My cake has the blue basket weave on the sides with the rope around the bottom. I made gum paste daisies (one of my favorites) and royal frosting drop flowers. We both wanted to put in some advanced techniques to show the judges our skills.

When we dropped off our cakes on Sunday (about 10 min. before the deadline) we told them we were not able to get to some of our entries, because of an out-of-town funeral. They gave us until 8:00 Monday morning... so we headed home exhausted, but excited to be able to get at least one more entry in.

We stopped at the store on the way home from the fair, so we could start our next 'project'. Joy only had one more entry due at this time, I had two to choose from. I did not feel I could do both of them in such a short time, unless I stayed up ALL night. So, I chose to do the big cookie.

Joy made her cupcakes look just like a tea cup with 'frothy whipped cream' and steam coming up. The frosting used on this is actually a mocha buttercreme and is REALLY tasty (a great new flavor!!) If you look close, she also has tea saucers that match the cups with the sweetest little flowers and leaves!!

I made my cookie look like the ocean with whales and tasty colorful waves!! Can you guess what I used for the whales? Everything we made had to be edible which made it a real challenge.

These will all be on display at the Rock Island County Fair this week!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Joseph's Birthday and July 4th

My son's (Joseph) birthday is on the fourth of July. He asks for a flag cake every year!! I think he likes the fact that his birthday is on such a celebrated holiday for our nation!

This year Joy and I started working with fondant and Joseph found he really likes fondant. So, for his cake this year he asked for a fondant covered chocolate cake in flag colors. Well, we have had plenty of practice with our last cake, so we made a smaller simpler one for him. Joy has always wanted to make the fondant balls to put around a cake, so that was a new technique we did this time. It looks fine on the bottom, but when we got to the second layer where the stripes are, the balls go up and down, and do not look quite as straight and neat. We are not quite sure how to fix that for the next one yet, but we will be reading up to see what other people do.

Happy 19th Birthday Joseph Matthew Glen Cain!! AND Happy 234th Birthday America!!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Graduation Cake

4th of July Graduation Cake
My friend (Chantelle V) asked Joy and I to make a graduation cake. She sent a few pictures of a few ideas she found, and we decided on the topsy-turvy style cake. We practiced the week before on a smaller version, to see if we could really do it. I must say, we BOTH LOVE working with fondant! It is kinda like playing with edible play dough.

5 cake mixes, 5 pounds of fondant, 3 batches of butter creme frosting, (plus much more), and lots of planning and work went into this one cake! It also has a LOT of calories, sugar, and fat in it!! LOL But, besides that, we got it to the party in one piece and ON TIME!

This was the biggest cake, and for the biggest occasion we have ever baked cake for. It was a very good experience for both of us! I was worried if we would get frazzled, but even with a few problems, we were calm and would start thinking of a plan B. There was one time when we could not find the black fondant we had mixed earlier in the week and had it in a sandwich bag... we could not find it anywhere!! One of the girls suggested praying, so we stopped, prayed, and within 3 minutes it was found! Thank you Lord! We also struggled a little with the tassel, and on about plan H it worked! Whew!

Tomorrow is Father's Day... should I make a Father's Day cake? Nope! My husband wants pie for dessert... Do you reckon he is tired of cake?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Piano Birthday Cake

Someone at church (Paul L) came up to me several months ago and asked if we would make his daughter (Pam J) a surprise Birthday cake. He wanted some type of piano cake, whatever we could come up with. Pam is a special friend of both myself and Joy, so we were very excited and started looking to see what we could come up with. Most self-designed piano cakes online were not very impressive, and we were a little discouraged. We started thinking about designs that would use the components of a piano on the cake (like the keyboard, musical notes, etc). Then Joy happened to find a Wilton vintage cake pan set of a grand piano that was on ebay. We started bidding, and lost it in the last seconds of the auction. We kept looking and found another one, and were able to win that one and actually paid less than the first one we were bidding on!

Next, knowing how much Pam LOVES chocolate, we asked a woodworking friend (Monte W) in our church to take our set and make a similar set of wood - the base with legs, the bench, and the top. Monte did an AWESOME job!! We were SO excited and couldn't wait until the BIG day! It was so hard to talk to Pam at church and not let out the secret, especially since it was a much talked about topic at home as we designed and planned it!!

Although we never had time to actually make an experiment of the piano cake before the BIG day, it actually went together pretty smoothly!! We decided on making a base plate with fondant that morning as we were working on the cake - which put us a little behind in getting done at the time we estimated, but it added SO much to the final product, I am glad we did it!

Pam was pleasantly surprised and we have heard more feedback from this ONE cake than any other cake we have made up to this point! We are also able to make this cake in a light creme color, and will hopefully get around to making one and adding a picture to the blog soon!!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Our Story

My daughter Joy and I began a new journey of cake decorating about a year ago - early fall of 2009.

Although I had always decorated cakes for my children and their birthdays (and other small events), I wanted to learn more. I have some natural born artistic talent that I have never really taken the time to develop in any one area. I love to paint, draw, sew, design, decorate, and create all kinds of things, but I have never mastered any one thing. I have always had a desire to master a skill or two in my life time, but the Lord had other plans. I met the man of my dreams, and together we started a family. I LOVE being a mom, but while our children were young, it left little time for me to truly develop these skills !!

When my daughters were little, I bought them an Easy Bake Oven at a yard sale. I had always wanted one when I was young, so this was kind of a special treat for me too! I would let them bake cakes and decorate them. When they were older, I started teaching them some of the simple techniques of cake decorating with their little easy bake cakes. With this small oven began Joy's love and desire to learn to decorate cakes.

The year after Joy completed high school, she worked for a year to save for college. We talked about taking a cake decorating class then, but it never happened! We were so busy! She was working and I was still homeschooling 3 children. After she finished her two year degree, and came home for a year, we again decided to take a class... but again, it did not happen! Life gets busy, and things that are not as important, get put on the back burner.

Then last year, we saw an advertisement for cake classes - HALF OFF. Those of you who know me, know I can't pass up a good DEAL! So, we went and signed up. The rest is history. The more time we spend designing and decorating cakes, the more we fall in love with cake decorating. We are not professionals, but some day... maybe... I will have mastered one thing in my life!! This blog is to keep a 'diary' of this journey and to share it with our friends!

Many thanks to our friends for your continued encouragement... and for eating our many experiments!