Get Well Soon Red Velvet Cake with Basketball “Court” Frosting

Baking date: October 21, 2018

The head coach of our high school girls basketball team — who is also head of the rec basketball league for ages 5 – 19 — recently had bypass surgery.  While I know that dessert is not necessarily what the doctor ordered for post-op recovery…well, I just can’t help myself.

I reached out to his wife to find out his favorite kind of cake. Turns out his (and maybe his wife and daughters) favorite is red velvet. So a red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting was in order.

I started by making Trisha Yearwood’s recipe for red velvet cake. For the frosting, I used canned cream cheese frosting.  When it comes to canned frosting, I do not have a favorite, though I will gravitate to anything that is on sale.

I wanted to do something special with the cake and decided to decorate the top like a basketball court. I tried to think of something unique that would make it look like a court and I immediately thought of sugar wafer cookies. So I iced the top of the cake with the cream cheese frosting and pressed in the full cookies in an alternating pattern to represent the hardwood of a basketball court. I cut some with a really sharp knife for the areas where a partial wafer was needed.

Here’s the top of the cake. I used cream cheese frosting colored royal blue to spell out the message, and some colored black to draw the lines on the court.

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I piped on star bursts around the top and bottom edges. I made a Lion (the youth league and high school mascot) paw in yellow and royal blue candy melts. I added yellow and royal blue candy melt hearts around all four edges.

Turns out the coach’s birthday was just two days after I delivered the get well cake. Happy Birthday, Troy. We can’t wait to see you back on the court!

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State Championship Celebration Cake – Unified Track Team

Baking date: June 17, 2018

For the 2017-2018 school year, our high school swept the state championships for Unified Sports. We participate in Unified Tennis, Unified Bocce and Unified Track. I had made a celebration cake for the Unified Bocce team’s banquet and decided to make one for the Unified Track team as well. Clearly, Unified Tennis needs to win again so I can fete them appropriately!

I made a three tier white cake, using the Wilton square pan set. I used a white frosting for the cake. I piped on the team name in white icing, dyed royal blue and golden yellow.

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I added royal blue and gold Sixlets candies around the edge of each tier, and used them to spelled out 2018 STATE CHAMPSIMG_1576

I decorated the cake with personalized candy sneakers.

I used royal blue and gold rhinestone bling cake pop sticks with a sneaker lollipop candy mold I found. I used bright white candy melts, put a yellow royal icing stripe on the sneaker and added each athletes name in blue icing. Baker’s note: These lollipops are very heavy given how much candy melt is needed. Keep that in mind for the stability of your final product!

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Here is the final cake – my husband helped with the 360 degree view. But an important note —  the sneaker candies were so heavy, they actually fell through the cake while being transported to the school. I was terribly bummed about this and learned my lesson — add the heavy embellishments after the cake has arrived at its destination! Then take the picture/video.

I posted the video on the Facebook group page for our school’s Unified teams, so that those that follow could see the cake. Here are the comments:

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In addition, I made a cake to thank the coach, who retired after this season. It was all the same ingredients and embellishments, with the exception of a large Lion paw candy melt mold in royal blue and yellow:

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It’s always a pleasure to make treats for the amazing kids in our community.

State Championship Celebration Cake – Bocce Team

Baking date: February 27, 2018

This past winter sports season, our high school Unified Bocce team won the state championship — for the second time in a row! This comes on the heels of our Unified Tennis team winning the state championship in the Fall of 2017. And later in 2018, our Unified Track team would also win the state championship. It was a sweep for our Unified team athletes in the 2017 – 2018 school year!

To celebrate, I made a cake for the Bocce team’s end of season banquet. It was a yellow cake box mix. I always add a tablespoon of vanilla to make box mixes taste more homemade.  The cake pans are from the I used the performance square pan set – the 12″ and 16″ sizes. The cake was frosted using white canned frosting.

I created “Bocce balls” using candy mold circles in dark blue (no longer available) and yellow candy melts. I piped on the names of all the athletes in the white frosting with a #1 tip. These were placed all around the cake.BocceNames

I spelled out 2018 STATE CHAMPS WHS UNIFIED BOCCE in dark blue alphabet candy molds. (I no longer remember exactly who the maker of the alphabet candy molds is). BocceCakeTop

On the side of the top tier, I made candy molds that spelled out “#BACK2BACK”:

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In each corner of the top tier, I made Lion paw candy melt pop molds in dark blue and yellow. I added royal blue and gold Sixlet candies between the top and bottom tier.

The 360 degree view is courtesy of my son Nick (with moral support from our dog Jake).

The cake was a big hit. I was honored to make the kids, coaches and their families a special treat to celebrate a great season!

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Rocket “Launch” Cake

Baking date: January 7, 2018

At work, we had a big project launch. To celebrate this three year project that merged two separate online applications/databases into one, I decided to make a launch cake.

First, I googled rocket cakes. I found an image of one that seemed simple enough. As far as I could tell, it was a 9 x 13 sheet cake, with one end carved. Those carved off pieces would then become the boosters at the other end.

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The cake I made was a yellow box mix, with vanilla added in to give it some “homemade” flavor. The icing was the canned white Pillsbury variety.

I baked it in a 9 x 13 pan and then sliced a rounded edge off each side of one end. I then placed those cut off  edges against the bottom of the other end.

I frosted the main body of the rocket in white, and I dyed the boosters (no taste) red.  Around the edge of the rocket, I added silver sugar sprinkles. Given how difficult this was to do, I understand why the inspiration cake baker used some sort of candy strip instead:

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I added dark blue (no longer available) candy melt circles for the rocket “windows” and piped the date of the launch (1-9-18) onto the discs.

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Finally, I made mini-star candy melts in orange, and larger stars in yellow. I’m not sure they make this mold any more – there are four of each size star on the mold tray and the  large stars have space for a stick. I piped the acronym of the program being launched (VLSO) on the smaller orange star in red icing, with red icing dots in the point of each larger yellow star. I affixed the orange stars to the yellow stars with some of the white frosting.

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Here’s the whole cake, on a black cake board:

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Congrats to my colleagues for all their hard work!

50th Birthday White Cake with Chocolate Ganache Frosting

Baking date: November 24, 2017

One of my dear sports mom friends turned 50 in November. Her good friend Erin pulled together a lovely brunch for a number of her friends at The Main Cup.

While many of the gifts bestowed upon our friend where of the alcoholish variety, mine was dessert, of course. I had asked her family for the type of cake (white) and frosting (chocolate) she would like, along with her favorite color (red).

I made a white cake recipe I found on Pinterest, in 9″ round cake pans. The frosting is an easy chocolate ganache, another Pinterest recipe that I have made multiple times. The frosting recipe makes a ton, so you will have extra leftover (I rewarmed it and dipped shortbread cookies in it).

I used candy melts to decorate the cake, some red hearts with white stripes and some white hearts with red stripes. I mounted some of the white hearts onto red square candy melts using the ganache. I used the numbers and alphabet candy molds to spell out her name and 5-0, on top of white circle candy melts. Finally, I piped ganache bursts along the base of the cake and added white sugar pearls in the center of each burst.

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Happy Birthday, sweet Lou!

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Left to right: Lauren, Emily, me, Lou and Michelle

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All the gals celebrating Lou!

 

 

French Vanilla 50th Birthday Cake

Baking date: November 17, 2017

My dear friend Rebecca celebrated her 50th birthday this year. We met more than 10 years ago when her now ex-husband was coaching a t-ball team my boys were on with her kids.

Her fiance Gary planned a surprise party and asked me to make her a cake. He didn’t have any specific instructions other than vanilla cake, and sharing the party favors/decoration theme he was using, which was pink and sparkly.

So I made a two-tier French vanilla cake with the square 12″ and 8″ pans. For the frosting, I used white canned frosting. I sprinkled pink and silver sugar sprinkles all around the cake.

I decorated using bursts of frosting in rose, white and black along the corners. Around the top base border and lower base border, I made rose bursts with smaller white bursts inside.

Using heart candy molds, I made tri-colored hearts in bright pink, bright white and black. Finally, I used a “5” and “0” cookie cutter pressed into the top and then followed the outline of the numbers with the black icing.

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I used a star candy mold on a pink stick to make black stars with rose icing to pipe a letter of her name on each star. The final star I piped on ‘& FAB’.

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My intent was that the final product would read REBECCA 50 & FAB.

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Here’s to the next 50, my good friend!

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HBday Rebecca

Baby Shower Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes and Lemon Velvet Cake with Raspberry Buttercream Frosting

Baking date: July 21, 2017

A friend commissioned me to make 60 cupcakes for her daughter’s baby shower. I had made cupcakes for her bridal shower two years earlier, and a gender “reveal” cake when her daughter became pregnant. The the mom-to-be again requested the fresh strawberry cupcakes with buttercream frosting for her baby shower.

I told them I would make a cake as my gift to the bride. We decided on a lemon velvet cake with raspberry buttercream frosting.

The theme of the shower included elephants and the colors pink and grey. The grandma-to-be purchased pink polka dot cupcake liners, elephant cupcake toppers in pink/grey and pink/grey zigzag, and other shapes, as well as a cake topper. Links included to show samples; I can’t vouch for the vendors since I do not know where grandma-to-be purchased them.

The website for this cake topper wouldn’t load, so here’s a picture:

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For the cupcakes, I pulled out my big gun of a cupcake pan. This was the last of the batter going into the oven:

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The cupcakes were topped with a swirl of buttercream frosting. I then added pink and silver sugar pearls around the cupcake, and then topped them with the cupcake toppers that had been hot glued onto toothpicks.

Here are the cupcakes:

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Then it was on to the cake. I will say that I tasted the batter before I cooked it. It didn’t taste real lemony to me, so I squeezed some fresh lemon juice into the batter, in addition to the lemon zest and the lemon extract.

The raspberry buttercream recipe — holy cow — it makes a ton! This was the cake and the frosting before I got started:

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I tried a buttercream smoothing technique I saw on YouTube. I had placed the cake in the frig, so it took a bit longer and I never did get it completely smooth. In the future, I’d ice the cake and let it “crust” at room temperature, and then do this technique with the Viva paper towel and the fondant smoother.  I should have taken a before and after picture because it did help smooth out the frosting. Here’s the after:

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Around the base of the cake, I piped on bursts, and added a large white sugar pearl in the center of each burst. Finally, I spelled the baby’s name with raspberry buttercream piped on candy melt circles in bright white that I added some black color to in order to get a grey.

Here’s all of the sugar, ready to be delivered to the party:

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Here’s the table full of goodies:
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Congrats Kaitlyn and Kevin – we can’t wait to meet baby Hannah!

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Photo courtesy of Lidia Miller Photography.

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