Thursday, June 30, 2011

Custom Cake Topper

I finished the gum paste garden last night.

And that means I even finished the custom cake topper that will adorn six tiers of gorgeous in about a week and a half. 

"G" is for "Gum Paste!"
Red Gum Paste Cake Topper
Blessings on your soon-to-be-married heads Mr. and Mrs. G!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Buns of Bread

I love a good cake.   But, let's face it, it's not exactly an "every day food" as some nutritionalists so annoyingly point out. 

Cake is mostly empty calories (unless you're going for my extremely awesome whole grain coffee cake!).  In order to splurge on celebratory sweets, we sadly must attend to the real food of life, and eat well MOST of the time.

One of my passions is nourishing food.  Shocked are you?  Why would one so in love with sugar be so keen on keeping it out of the every day diet? 

Lots of reasons...maybe an entire blog's worth of reasons...but today, I'm just here to fill you in on a secret I'd like to let out of the bag:  I make an AWESOME loaf of bread.  (It ain't braggin' if you can do it, right???)

Soaked Whole Wheat Bread

My whole wheat bread goes through a two-step process, similar to what Sue Gregg teaches, a lady whom I love and admire.  Whole grains, soaked overnight to make the goodness in the grain accessible to our bodies and easier to digest, plus the good old fashioned triple rise...and you get some great results!

Just like the cakes, you can buy bread from me.  And pizza crusts, pancakes, morning cookies...and now...hamburger buns. 

Soaked Whole Wheat Hamburger Buns
These turned out so soft and melt-in-your-mouth yummy.  One loaf of bread = 7 hamburger buns, according to my recipe...Oh, these are definitely on the price list now.  Definitely!!

The big idea is to have a bakery with a dual focus - Cake Lore, your go-to designer cake maker...and Bake Lore, the only place you buy bread and buns that you don't make yourself:).  We'll see how that pans out. 

Right now, there's a slice of bread with my name on it...mmmmmmmmmm.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I May Be On to Something Here.

I try to focus my posts on my cake projects, because, let's face it - it's fun.  But lately, I've been doing a lot more work on the businessy side of things, and I just can't let that go un-noted.

Regulars know by now that I try to particiapte in Gratituesday, a weekly effort from Heavenly Homemakers.  Well, I have a lot to be thankful for  this week. 

1.  Advancing Women in Business Seminar - WOW.  I just can't say enough about how encouraging and empowering this event was.  It's an annual event, created by Indiana's Lt. Governor, Becky Skillman and hosted by the Office of Community and Rural Affairs.  I networked, I got out of my comfort zone, I learned and now, I'm moving forward on my business plan! 

2.  Indiana's Small Business Development Centers - WHAT an incredible resource!  Friendly, helpful people and just as excited about my ideas as I am.  Can't wait to work with them more.

3.  New Freezer.  That's right mother in law slaughtered a cow, we bought a freezer for our little chunk of it, and there's enough room up top to store multiple cakes that are in the process of awesomeness.  I have SPACE!

4.  Possible new delivery vehicle.  I think this just might be providence.  We found and EXTREMELY affordable SUV with the space I need to deliver larger cake orders.  That means the possibility that I won't have to borrow larger vehicles anymore and I will be able to take on more and bigger orders!  Again...SPACE is a wonderful thing!

I feel like I'm walking through doors that have been opened by a bigger hand than mine. 


Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

Friday, June 24, 2011

VBS is Good, Hard Work! We Deserve Cupcakes!

Vacation Bible School...

Mmmmm...Snack Time!

Did you go when you were little?  I did.  But I was the Preacher's kid, so I would have had to be in the hospital or covered in some kind of contagious rash to stay home! 

I have a lot of happy memories of VBS growing up.  My personal experience meeting my Savior happened while my Dad was preaching, not during that week of summer fun, but I know a lot of people can trace the beginning of their walk with Christ back to a VBS teacher who loved them and taught them.

This week, I had my first experience as a VBS teacher.  I never, ever, ever knew how much work goes into planning a successful Vacation Bible School - it is TREMENDOUS! 

Tonight is our big finish.  I'll have about 10 kids, ages 2-3, lined up and ready to shout their memory verse: "God is love!"  For their parents, grandparents and a happy but weary team of VBS volunteers. 

That is why I'm making cupcakes. 

Fluffy PB icing with a little shaved chocolate
These kids deserve some Cake Lore - they did great, and they did great past their bedtime:).  It's going to be chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter icing, and it's gonna rock their faces off.

They rocked mine off last night.  My class is squirrely at best.  But last night, when I told them that Jesus Christ died on the cross and rose again on the third day and that if they believe in him they can have eternal life with him - they were glued to me. 

I was better than TV for a few minutes.
Photo Credit

Scratch that - the Gospel was better than TV. 

It is simple enough to compel the attention of a toddler, complex enough to keep us fascinated by grace and justice, mercy and love until we get to taste that sweet gift of eternal life with Christ.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Cake Creation 101: A Guestblog

Tonight's guestblog brought to you by Caitlin--another baker, another writer, and another Lore. Not as adept in her cake decorating or baking as her sister-in-law, Amy, Caitlin is working on it, one delicious product at a time. She even took a real baking class to see if she has what it takes. However, when she isn't baking, Caitlin can often be found writing at her blog Enduring. Soon she may post recipes.

I grew up with a mother who made birthday cakes. And not just any birthday cakes but decorated cakes. Wilton Startip #17 decorated cakes. I remember Cookie Monster and Birt and Ernie. Carousel horses, teddy bears, cars, and trucks. The Little Mermaid, Barbie, dinosaurs, and cupcakes. Lots of star tipped cupcakes.

Then there were the buttercream colors. Yellows and blues. Reds and purples. Greens and oranges. In all shades mind you. I loved watching her decorate, mostly because I loved sticking my fingers in that real buttercream. I never picked up a piping bag, though, until last fall.

I was nervous. I had never decorated cakes, only eaten them. But I was taking a legit baking class, and we had three requirements for cake week: lettering, swirls & curls (borders) and roses. We also only had a week to master the elements and produce a finished product.

One thing my pastry chef professor said, though, stuck with me and encouraged me. She said, in all seriousness, that those who have horrible handwriting in everyday life are often the best cake decorators.
That meant I had a chance.

But decorating the cake wasn't the only part of the feat--baking the cake from scratch was an obstacle too. We were planning to make sponge cake because not only are those simple cakes to make, but outside of boxed cake mixes they are the cheapest. But let me tell you... for someone who has never made a sponge cake before, it isn't that simple. It's a two step process and lots and lots of beating.
I was used to opening a package, mixing in two eggs and vegetable oil, and stirring for two minutes.

For a sponge cake, you have to  first separate the eggs, and then beat each part. The first part (egg whites) must stay fluffy.
The second part, which is egg yolk and sugar, must be beaten until "ribbon"stage: which I did not understand whatsoever until it was explained to me. And then I realized just how simple it was. When you disconnect the beater and let the batter run off, it will stay in ribbon form in the bowl. Ultimately, the batter is so thick it looks like mousse.

Can I just add there's a lot of sifting and folding in there as well, but when I was done, my cake batter was perfect.
And it looked delicious.

Appearances do lie, though. I hated the taste. Talk about eggy.
Lesson learned.
Sponge cake: love/hate.
Boxed cake: I may just stick with it.

See, my mother never baked cakes from scratch, either. Pillsbury, Dunkin Hines, Betty Crocker... those were staples in our cupboards growing up, and they transferred into mine.
And we all loved them. The taste of boxed cake is delicious... definitely not Cake Lore cake... but for us none cake bakers, they worked.
And what made me smile was that my pastry chef professor said boxed cakes were a work of art. Cheap, nothing like homemade, but still a work of art.
Again, it meant I had a chance at mastering cakes.

Nonetheless, this is what my completed product looked like that day:

Not bad for my first try
And it means there may be a little bit of Cake Lore in me after all. When I finished my class two weeks later, Chef left me with something I'll never forget, "You have hands. Whatever you do, don't stop baking. You have hands. Use them."

Perhaps next time I'll blog about the from-scratch-completely-homemade chocolate cake I have stumbled upon and will never let go.
It's heavenly, and definitely Cake Lore worthy.

Name Them One by One

It's Gratituesday!  This is an important exercise for me to undertake every week...counting my blessings.

I'm grateful for:

My sister-in-law who has accepted my invitation to guest blog (hopefully this week!)...

Online cake tutorials that teach me enough to keep me challenged...

The cupcakes I'm going to make for our Vacatiton Bible School wrap-up on Friday night and the eight little 3 year old souls I am spending my evenings with, learning about God, creation and our great Savior

God's faithfulness...even when I am unfaithful...which, let's face it, happens about every five minutes...

A really crazy, happy birthday party last weekend...

REST.  I'm a little weary - so this is a short blog today.  

What are you grateful for today?

Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

Friday, June 17, 2011

The #1 Engine for the #3 Birthday

Well, I finished it!  Here it is, in all it's glory...

Now...time to go to sleep and prepare myself for a birthday party!

Deep Greens and Blues are the Colors I Choose...

Or in this case...purples and blues.

Hello everyone!  I've been HARD at work lately.  I told you I'm starting to have a genuine gum paste garden on my back porch, and let me tell you, I like the look of it!

I'm working on a really big wedding cake for the first week of July, and it will have every color of the rainbow represented in flowers - literally - every color. 

So far, I've got the blue and the purple looking pretty good - irises, small hydrangeas, calla lilies, roses and a variety of little filler buds not pictured here. 

I'm half way through green, then I move on to yellow, orange and red.  I'll keep ya posted.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I Am Very Useful.

I do a little parenting here and there, you know, in between cake orders, gum paste flowers, the job I have that brings in a steady paycheck and...oh yeah, being married.

This week, I'm also preparing to shepherd eight or nine little 2-3 year old souls through a week of Vacation Bible School. 

So, I mean, why not also plan an elaborate birthday party for my son.  WHY NOT?  Well, there are lots of reasons...but I ignored them all, because the only thing that usually gets me off my flour-covered butt is having a bit too much on my plate.  "I work best under pressure," is a cliche for a reason I guess...aha!

I'm pretty proud that everyone in this house has eaten, bathed and gotten sleep this week - major accomplishments for this over-extended mommy.  And I'm extra proud that I went a little beyond and got the  foundation laid for Andrew's third birthday cake. 

Thomas the Chocolate Cake Engine,
in his crumb coat of vanilla butter cream

I have a dream...and that dream is to see the number one engine on Sodor chug into my kid's party and make him smile.  After I see that, then I will collapse in a chair, start planning next year's cake and hope that we keep this lovely mayhem going a little while longer.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Captured by Kt, and Enjoyed by All

It's good to know people.  And it's especially good to know people who do cool things, like running photography businesses out of their homes. 

And I love it when people like that buy cake from me:). 

This is a picture by my friend Katie Smith, who does wonders with film through her photography business, Captured by Kt.  Find her on facebook here, or just do a quick google search for her and enjoy looking at her handiwork.  She had a great eye and a God-given talent.

This Gratituesday, I'm grateful for professional-grade pictures and friends like Katie who are doing good things and raising happy babies.

Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Baby Smash!

I have mixed feelings about this project.

I've never had anyone ask me to make cakes, especially fondant covered cakes, for the sole purpose of being smashed by a one-year-old.  But I don't ask questions.  When the opportunity arises to make cake, I just take it.

One to smash for the party, and
One to smash for the camera!

Still...I can't believe these cakes aren't going to be eaten.  They're the real deal, with hand made butter cream and everything. 

See?  Making an effort to take pictures that
don't have piping bags and powdered sugar
in the background.  Progress, people!

Each cake is 4", round
White cake, vanilla butter cream and fondant

 I'm hoping the baby-girl who gets to destroy these little works of art gets a fistful or two into her mouth.  And then maybe next year she'll be able to ask for a Cake Lore cake by name:). 

So dang cute.  Somebody ought to order some that will get eaten! 

Friday, June 10, 2011

Cake Pops are COOL. So says Starbucks. So say we all!

I've been baking a lot this week.  *GASP*  Got me a cake order for a Saturday morning delivery, and I ended up with a bowl full of scraps, as usual, and nothing to do with them except toss them or eat them.

Eating them is not an option.  I have only recently rediscovered that I have a waist, and I'd like to keep it that way.

Tossing them is just opposed to waistful, which may not be a word, but, as I have already said, is not an option.

So, I had to get creative.  What do you do with a bowl full of fresh, tasty cake scraps?

Cake Lore Cake Pops!
A little white cake, a little vanilla butter cream,
some poured fondant and a gum paste flower

You make CAKE POPS!  This is my first try with cake pops...turned out pretty darn cute, and tasty too, if I say so my self.  (Okay, I ate one.  There may or may not have been four right before this picture was taken.  Gee whiz.)

I used my usual ingredients, Cake Lore butter cream and tried my hand at poured fondant.  A delectable edible...and hopefully a sellable edible too!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Sneek Peak: Andrew's 3rd Birthday Cake

Andrew, my one and only, precious and precocious son will be three entire years old on Monday.

I've heard so many mothers say, "the days are long, but the years are short."  So true.

I love him more than ever, and I love that we are really learning who he is inside, since he is finally able to communicate and converse like the little person he is!

There's no question about his likes and dislikes.  "Mommy, I like yellow."  "Mommy, I doesn't like celery."  And nine hundred times a day "Mommy, I watch Thomas and the Misty Island???"  The kid loves him a talking train.

So what do I have planned this year?  Dunno...maybe you recognize this friendly and very useful face...

A Very Useful Gum Paste Engine

Keep coming back to see just how this gum paste face is going to fit into the big picture!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Ain't God Goooood to Indiana?

It is no secret that I love Indiana. Specifically, I love RURAL Indiana.

I think of it fondly as "the Shire," a la The Lord of the Rings.  It is green, gorgeous and generous.

It is my home.  I've lived so many places - far away France, distant D.C., and now, likable Linton.

Photo Credit

Yes, I do like Linton.  It may have been the scorn of my teenage years, but the longer I'm here, the more passionate I feel about it's future.

I want prosperity for this place.  I want growth and I want people to be excited about what's going on and what could go on if they'd get involved.

So today, I started to get involved.  I was blessed by some local entrepreneurs (whose projects are nothing less than inspiring!) who were kind enough to show me the buildings they are renovating, and I saw their vision.

I saw the reality of a sluggish downtown and the possibility of a bustling hub of activity and commerce, like a downtown is supposed to be!  I want to be part of it!  Dear Lord, let the doors and windows open somehow.

Store front - Window display - Yellow walls and white linens.  I'm reaching, perhaps soon I will be grasping!

This Gratituesday, I'm grateful for possibility and the people who see it where others do not.  

Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Twoo Wuv! and a Cake Tasting

Tonight, I did something I've never done before.  I held a cake tasting.

My good friend, Scotty G., is getting married.  This outstanding man has finally "found his Eve," as he once so longingly put it, and I am THRILLED!

Ak!  They are so stinkin' cute!!!
Can I say that again?  I am THRILLED!  First, because Scott is a great and godly man.  Second, because his matrimonial felicity has been high on my "please, God" list for a long, long time.  And third, because now that I know his bride-to-be, I see why he's in love with her - she's great.

I let them taste three flavors, lemon, almond and chocolate.  Oh, I tell ya, I had a good time getting this ready for them.

That's four plates of yum.

This is almost as cute as Scott and Krista:).
Practice, practice, practice!
We also designed their wedding cake, which it will be my honor to create.  It's going to be six tiers kind of a garden of gum paste flowers kind of epic. 

So, I have my work cut out for me.  They picked the lemon cake, which is hands down the favorite flavor I make.  But the baking isn't going to be the fun part of this cake.  It's going to be the many fun-filled hours I will spend creating flowers and praying for them - for a long and joyful marriage, for a house full of happy children, for lives that bring more glory to God together than they ever would apart.

How sweet it is!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Bucket, you say? No, no...that's BOUQUET.

I'm feeling floral today.  And I'm contemplating creating a gum past bouquet for display and to get some practice in while I'm between projects.

Calla Lily

Aren't these pretty?  They take a long time to make, but the pay off is worth it, I think.  They turn a plain old cake into something really special.


I love gum paste flowers.  I love marveling at them.  I love making them.  I don't love eating them, but they are only edible in theory. 

Stargazer Lilies

I'd love to make some for you.  You should definitely talk to me about that.  I always work better under pressure.

Iris, sans beard