Friday, March 9, 2012

ice ice baby

My friend Dijana and I took a whirlwind trip to Iceland last month - Northern Lights were spotted, snow-covered mountains were photographed, and most importantly - glaciers were walked upon. For an afternoon excursion, we got to strap on some crampons and actually walk on layers of blue ice that were thousands of years old. (click here for some pictures and here to learn some interesting facts about glaciers)

Anyways, fast forward to this month and Dijana's birthday which could only call for a glacier cake.

I had some of our own photos to go on, of course:

We learned a lot about the glacial formation process from our tour guide, but I also did my Google Image (re)Search in order to get the visuals right:

I baked a chocolate cake (w/ a gooey fudge mix-in), roughed it up a bit with a knife while it was cooling, and then re-shaped with icing and cake crumbs to create some peaks and crevasses.

For the blue ice of the actual glacier, I made a watery royal icing (powdered sugar + water + blue food coloring + corn syrup) so that it formed an ooze which I could pour on cake, and it would run down the slope and harden when I put it in the freezer ... like a glacier.

Now for the real icing on the cake, I used white buttercream frosting, sifted powdered sugar for snow, and crushed sugar cubes around the edges for chunks of ice.

Final steps - added one of my sky photos as a background and a mini Dijana 'paper doll' and we have a panorama diorama:

Dijana on a real glacier:

Dijana on a glacier cake:

Happy birthday Dijana!

Monday, March 5, 2012

I could be your hero baby

After the recent success of Jay's burger cake and seeing my boss's reaction to that cake, I knew I had no choice but to make him a cake just as delicious and realistic for his birthday.

Enter the REAL Garden of Eden Santa Fe hero sandwich:

Consisting of avocado, red onion, tomato, pepperjack cheese and chipotle mayo:

Now, to spice up your life (people of the world):

John likes this sandwich super spicy so I decided to make the cake spicy as well - a dash of chili pepper in the 'chipotle mayo' frosting:

 And then crystallized jalapeno peppers in the 'pepperjack cheese.' For the frosting, I sliced and candied the jalapenos on the stovetop in a simple syrup of 1 cup water and 1/2 cup sugar. 


After putting them in and out of the hot bath a few times, the peppers shrink/harden and can then get chopped up to mix into the cream cheese frosting:

 Now to assemble the sandwich as a true sandwich artist would:
(what type of bread? would you like that toasted?)
The pepperjack cheese and red onions are my favorites:

A bit brighter than the real thing, but it's sweet, savory, AND spicy:

Roll it up:

and no one's the wiser:

Happy birthday John!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

bringin' down the (burger) house

Sending cakes has become a bit of a thing for me lately, and it's a quite challenge to think of something which can arrive unscathed via the postal system. My co-worker Jay moved back to Pittsburgh last month, but not before discovering a great burger joint near our office called the Burger House. Sounds like the makings of pretty good birthday cake to me...

I had done cupcake versions a few months prior:

But it was time to get super-sized:

I used 6" round yellow cakes for the top and bottom buns, and a 6" chocolate cake for the meat patty (used a fork for the grill marks this time):

Then, I put my frosting skills to the test for the cheese, tomato, and lettuce:

Everything seems to be going really well, so why not grill the buns and add the special 'house sauce'?

Now that all the layers are in place, the only thing left to do is put it all together:


Oh yeah, and I'd like to make that a Value Meal:

and it arrived in Pittsburgh in one piece!

 Happy Birthday Jay!

panty cake, panty cake, Ravens man

(props to the wonderful Karianna for inspiring/suggesting the title of this post)

What do you make for a friend who adores the Baltimore Ravens and also happens to design Victoria Secret retail locations? ... Do you even have to ask?

This cake is completely reverse-engineered to transport on the subway - started with the cardboard 'carrying case' which gave me the cakeboard size which gave me the overall dimensions of the cake itself (9x13 sheet cake):

Cut the underwear shape, crumb-coat, and ice with purple buttercream frosting:

Used a toothpick to dot in the Ravens mascot and 'PINK' varsity letters:

Then fun with frosting to outline, fill, blend, and hot-knife it all:

Happy Birthday A!