All the Fall cakes!

This is my absolute favorite time of year! The colors of nature are truly brilliant and remind us of the magnificence of our earth. Especially here in Pennsylvania!

Buttercream!

Swiss meringue buttercream. Floral cakes. Fall flowers. Roses. Rosettes. Mums. Leaves. Sprinkles. Dragees. Borders. Swags. Ruffles. Drop flowers. Stars. Watercolor.

Darker colors. Fall colors. Shades of orange and yellows. Purples and reds, burgundy. Dark blues and greens

Supplies used: spatula, piping bags, couplers, scissors, turntable, gel colors, Buttercream, cake, Cake board, box, rags, and a smile ๐Ÿ™‚

various tips: Rose, leaf, star, mum, dropflower, rounds

Orders and “case cakes”

There’s always a reason to celebrate!

Cheers!

Brandi

The Ultimate White Wedding Cake

When I was first learning how to become a better cake decorator I needed a lot of cakes to practice on, and then to teach with, and then I quickly started selling and had a business. We tried a million different recipes. They were all delicious and we gained a ton of weight. This is the recipe that was tweaked just the right amount that I stopped playing around with it and ran my business with it. A doctored box mix that allowed me to sculpt and tier with confidence. Where I can call it my own recipe since I’ve tweaked it a bit, but is also still the WASC-White almond sour cream cake recipe that we Bakers love. Us Americans love the box cake mix. It’s light and fluffy. We think scratch cakes are too tough, and they’re often likened to a cornbread consistency and we think that they’re dry. Whereas Betty Crocker and Duncan Hines know what they’re doing. This is almost a no fail recipe, and baking at home with a full house leads to its fair share of mishaps and mayhem.

This is a slice of a 2 layer 8″ white cake with strawberry filling that Josue made at the bakery. Yummmmm. Demonstrates 2 layers

I couldn’t figure out how to use the recipe plug in so here’s the recipe not formatted nicely, so i could quickly get it out to the class:

The Ultimate Wedding Cake Recipe:

18 Oz white cake mix

1cup plus 2 Tablespoons Cake Flour

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 cup White sugar

3 whole eggs

1.5 cups warm water

1/2 cup melted butter

1cup sour cream

1 tsp vanilla/ almond extract

1. Weigh box mix, measure dry, sift together in a large bowl and set aside

2. Melt butter

3. Add butter, sugar, water, extracts, and sour cream to a mixing bowl.

4. Add dry ingredients a cup at a time .

5. Add eggs.

6. Beat on medium high for 2 minutes.

7. Add to cake pans, 2/3 way full or measure batter and use a chart:

https://www.wilton.com/cake-serving-guide/cms-baking-serving-guide.html

Tips:

1. Pan release! Options:

A. baking spray that includes a grease and flour.

B. Make your own mason jar full with equal parts shortening, oil, and flour. Mix in mixer until creamy, spread on bottom and sides.

C. Grease and parchment paper

D. Grease with Crisco shortening, coat with flour (or cocoa powder for chocolate cake)

Recipe customization:

2. Extracts: can substitute any flavor.

3. Can substitute water with milk or creamer, I like french vanilla coffee creamer

4. Can substitute white cake mix for vanilla, or any other flavors.

5. Can make a true white cake by substituting the whole eggs with egg whites.

6. Chocolate cake can substitute box mix and cocoa powder for cake flour.

Let Them Eat Cake

The Midwife Center for Birth and Women’s Health has an annual cake walk fundraiser.

The theme was “Once Upon a Time”. This is my fifth year participating, my first time at the swanky Kimpton Hotel Monaco. When I went before it was at the Pittsburgh Opera House in the Strip district.

There’s a silent auction, hors d’ouvres, drinking, beautiful cakes on display and tons of cakes to sample!

Here’s a behind the scenes look at the work I put into this cake:

https://cakesburgh.com/the-brothers-grimm-inspired-cake-behind-the-scenes/

Here’s the cake:

Ravens and a bloody Heart topper

Rumpelstiltskin’s spinning wheel, spinning hay into gold

Big Bad Wolf chasing Red Riding Hood

Hansel and Gretel fleeing the Witches gingerbread house after they throw her in the oven

Rapunzel Rapunzel let down your hair

I wish I couldve gotten a better picture inside the house with the witches legs sticking out of the top of the oven

That little bag on the table is where the guests put their slips in to vote for their favorites. There were a few in there, but I didnt win. But we had a really good time drinking and eating cake!

Here’s are the other competitors amazing cakes!!

Profession 2nd place winner

Professional 1st place winner

Amateur 1st place winner

Amateur 2nd place winner

Taste Cakes:

Here’s our chocolate cake with cherry filling and cherry Swiss meringue buttercream. Yuuuummmm. There were some reallly delicious cakes to sample!

Hard to enjoy it too much after our scrumptious dinner at Sienna Mercato. Shawn and Sara are fabulous dates!

That’s that! Now there’s another cake to display at the bakery! A baker I met there suggested taking my cake to the White Rose cake show competition coming up in a few weeks. We’ll see how my orders look that weekend.

Here’s a look at my previous cakes entered to Let Them Eat Cake :

None of these cakes won either. But it’s always a good idea to stretch your imagination and push your own limits and grow as an artist and try out new techniques.

Thanks for stopping by!

I’m glad to have the opportunity and space to share my art with yinz!

Buttercream kisses ๐Ÿ˜˜

Brandi

The Brothers Grimm inspired cake: Behind the Scenes

Behind the Scenes!

The Making of the Brothers Grimm inspired cake, progress photos.

A sketch:

4 tiers and a tree with an owl ๐Ÿฆ‰

Heart topper, Rice Krispie treat

Whoooo whoooo

Tree stump. Working at my regular cake station at the Grandview Bakery. Notice my “Radiate Positivity” note. There’s also a reminder that says “You are Awesome” ๐Ÿ™‚ Cakes are a hella stressful business. It’s good to look up from your work and REMEMBER to BREATHE.

Background painting with Airbrush colors and gel colors mixed with Everclear. Moved to the Party Room to sit and work.

Little Red riding hood and Rapunzels tower

Heart on top

Who’s afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?! Wire to keep his arm up while he dries/ hardens.

RKT Ravens/Crows, black fondant, wafer paper wings. On wires

Packed up and ready to go dahntahn n’at!!

She traveled great! Set up for display at the fundraiser!

Cakes on display

My heart went into this cake, and a lot of time…..

Friday’s hours didn’t even make it into the list, that was probably another 6 hours to a 12 hour day. and add another 1-5 hours for picture editing and social media, blog posting, etc

If this cake were an ordered decorated cake it would cost the customer approximately $1000.00 !!!

Thanks for stopping by my page!! Let me know what you think!! Enjoy your day!!

Radiate Positivity!!

Brandi

Lipstick Cake

Lipstick ๐Ÿ’„ Cake

The making of the lipstick cake:

Lipstick Cake Lipstick Birthday Cake

1. First: See it in your brain. Draw a sketch to work off of. Figure out the size and proportions- part of this happens during the ordering process, when finding out how many guests they want to serve and determining price. This also includes Figuring out which cakes you need baked and what size board you need.

2. Translate step 1 into reality. It all starts with a couple sheet cakes. 1/4 sheet vanilla. 1/4 sheet chocolate. Whip up some Vanilla buttercream. Double check the order to make sure you have the right cake flavors and fillings. Put it on a 1/2 sheet board, write something on the bottom so you don’t get any cakes mixed up. Measure proportions and make some marks.

3. Start cutting. Refer back to your sketch. See it in your brain again. Like really really see it so much that you can look at the pile of cake and buttercream and see a lipstick instead. Breathe. Carve.

4. Look at it from a bunch of different angles, remember to keep breathing. Don’t cut off too much, but if you do you can fix it with extra cake pieces and buttercream. You can build up on areas too, depending on what you’re making.

5. Cover with buttercream. We call this “base iced”. Move it to the fridge to get it out of the way while you clean up your mess. Sometimes I’ll put cake scraps in cupcake wrappers for bakery samples. Everyone loves free samples.

6. Get a coffee. Work on a couple other orders. Pull it out of the fridge and Cover with another layer of buttercream. Get it really nice and smooth. Keep breathing. Tell your internal critic to be quiet. Put it back in the fridge, clean up and get out the fondant supplies.

7. They wanted it to be black, white and red. I use Satin Ice fondant to cover the cake. This is the part that I always get super involved in and forget to take pictures, which is a shame because there’s a lot of artsy things going on. I used a wilton mold to make the pearls. Other Tools used: fondant mat, Crisco, rolling pins, fondant smoother, scalpel, gloves. As soon as I figure out how to set up a camera I’ll start doing videos.

8. Take a bunch of pics. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Try to remember that it’s just a cake that’s going to be eaten and even though we’d all like them to be perfect and flawless, it’s still just a cake that’s going to be eaten. It’s a very special labor of love.

Thanks for stopping by and checking out my first lipstick cake.

Cheers!

Brandi

The Monster Book ๐Ÿ“– Cake

I have to tell you- I freaking loved this cake! I loved everything about this order.

My cake friend Marissa, another super talented caker in Pittsburgh, sent this man and his cake order my way. We have this lazy Pgh Caker Club (and I say lazy affectionately). We’re all too busy with our lives to actually meet in person other than twice, but when we did meet we all clicked and it was great fun and we all had so much in common being creative people and working with cake and art. If you’re in Pittsburgh and want to join our club hit me up and I’ll point you in the direction of our Facebook group.

NOW Back to the cake!

Check this baby aht!

(Aht is Pittsburghese for out)

Harry Potter Sheet Cake

What?!! Is that crazy or what?!

I made that!

The client sent me a couple pictures of things he liked for his wife’s 30th birthday cake.

Obviously, she LOVES Harry Potter –And even more importantly, he loves her.

I have to be completely and utterly honest with you right now. I’ve never seen or read the Harry Potter series ๐Ÿ˜ฌ๐Ÿ˜ฌ

There’s a monster book- it has eyes and teeth and a tongue and tentacles and FUR. There’s a sorting hat. A wand. A scarf. Hogwarts express and a gold flying dragon- coming out of a book.

The making of the cake:

I took a full white almond sheet cake and cut it into 4ths. The bottom layer was a 1/4 sheet double and the top layer a 1/4 sheet single. The double was filed with raspberry filling, and then they were both iced in Swiss meringue buttercream and covered with ivory fondant.

I added texture to sides to look like an open book and stacked with bubble tea straws.

Here’s a video of the making of the sorting hat! (You’ll be redirected to my YouTube- totally worth it to see my ultra beginner video editing)

Sorting Hat

My phone ran out of storage so I couldn’t take any more pics and videos during the process. Otherwise I’d have a full tutorial for you.

The train was also a cupcake on the inside.

I made all the small details out of Satin Ice fondant. The fur is chocolate buttercream with a large grass tip.

Everything came together at the very end. That’s always exciting stuff!

Thanks for checking out my latest cake and blog post! Hope you like it!

Xoxo

Brandi

in Cakesburgh

Subscribe to the newsletter so I can let your inbox know the next time I make a cool cake. ๐Ÿ™‚

SUGAR SHAMROCKS

OH MY GOODNESS

am I excited about these!!!

Here’s a free life hack I learned from my mom. When Christmas stuff goes on clearance, buy it. Either put it away for next year OR separate the red for Valentines Day and green for St Patrick’s Day. You’re welcome. ๐Ÿ˜‰

๐ŸŽ…๐Ÿป๐ŸŽ„ = โค๏ธ+๐Ÿ€

Speaking of Christmas clearance: one day I came home from the bakery and found a box of mini colored candy canes on the kitchen counter. Um…. thanks?

I figured I’d leave them there for a couple weeks and then sneakily throw them out.

UNTIL I came across this Macaroni Kid article:

https://robinson.macaronikid.com/articles/5a6dfad1c0fa8266762308e9/diy-valentine-suckers

Brilliant!

I thought: this is exactly what I’ll do with them!

BUT then I was so busy with everything else that week that I didn’t get to it .

So i figured again I’d throw them away – except I didn’t.

And every time I cleaned the counters I had to move them.

I still thought maybe I’d try it out before I pitch them and then if it worked I’d make the time to make them next year.

Cause when you’re short on time there’s no room for experimenting and playing around with hot sugar – like that’s when accidents happen.

And then the genius lightening bolt hit!

(I may accredit it to meditating)

We dumped out the bucket and Spencer helped me unwrap some candy canes.

Shamrock candy cane

If you don’t know me (yet) :

I LOVE everything

St. Patrick’s Day

My house is decorated with ๐Ÿ€clovers & shamrocks โ˜˜๏ธ & Irish sayings – year round.

Both of my parents had Irish, my husbands moms side has Irish, my nephew is an Irish dancer, I have a shamrock tattoo, we have tons of Irish friends, we had a great big Irish wedding.

๐Ÿ˜‚ You get the idea ๐Ÿ’ก –

We’re obsessed.

and Soon they were Ready for the oven!

They get sticky so make sure you use parchment paper (parchment paper is NOT the same as wax paper)

300 degrees for 3 minutes.

Set the timer for 3 minutes.

Sugar shamrocks

You have to pinch the ends together and reshape it a bit. It’s hot when it comes out, but not too hot. Gloves would probably help, but if you’re in the kitchen a lot you can handle the heat.

Or not. Please don’t burn yourself. It IS hot sugar.

Then let it cool and VOILA!

Sugar shamrock

I’m thrilled!

It was FUN and I love it!

Spencer’s (my five year old baby) was more of a #nailedit kind of project:

#nailedit

This was mostly my fault for leaving them in too long. Pretty neat to see what happens when you don’t set that timer.

He didn’t mind.

He’s going to eat them anyways.

So I did a cool thing,

took some pics,

blogged about it,

And NOW I can throw the rest away guilt free!

What’s that you ask? What am I going to do with them now? I’d love to say I’m going to put them on a cake, that’s the master plan. BUT in reality Im busy this week and probably going to just let the kids eat them.

Let me know in the comments if you’ve ever made something like this or using this technique?!!

Thanks for stopping by!

You

Are

Awesome!

Xoxo xoxo

โ˜˜๏ธ Shamrock Kisses,

Brandi

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Construction Party ๐Ÿšง

Fletcher’s Fifth Birthday Party ๐ŸŽˆ

Happy 5th Birthday Fletcher !

Construction Party

My family LOVES to party.

And the parties are always planned around FOOD.

This is basically the whole reason I started making cakes.

Digger cake

 

Fletcher (my oldest baby) was super into everything construction and fireman related.

 

(We had the fire truck party for his 3rd birthday)

 

Very much a boy boy boy, no matter how full of stuffed animals his bed is.

 

He would play with his trucks for hours.

 

He turned five in August and started kindergarten a few weeks later.

 

I wasn’t sad though. He was super ready and I was happy and excited for him.

 

But maybe throwing him this big party took my mind off of it a little bit.

 

We had a great big party at the YMCA where Fletcher went to Preschool, with a bunch of his little friends.

 

And it’s so cute seeing them all grow up and become their own little people through Facebook.

 

 

I was just starting out with my home licensed cake business,

Event Cakes Pgh.

 

So I kind of had a lot to prove,

 

and also wanted to show off a little.

 

I used a tutorial that I found on Yeners Way

(It’s also possible that I found the tutorial and planned the party around the cake because i wanted to make it. )

I had a monthly subscription to Yeners Way and I learned as much as I could as fast as I could. << that’s an affiliate link if you want to check out the tutorials on the site.ย 

So when I’m asked if I’m self taught – the answer isn’t easy.

I submerged myself in tutorials and videos and tried out techniques constantly, and still am.

I’m also super creative and crafty though (you should see my collection of scrapbooking supplies) and a lot of things I just figure it out and wing it.

(I’m not sure I’ve made cake pops since this set. Cake pops are kind of a pain to make. Totally worth it when they’re this cute- but I gotta be honest, they should cost $10.00 each for all of the time that goes into them. )

 

 

I’m just saying –

We know how to throw a great party!

>>>Shout out to my mom and sister! <<<

….

An AMAZING cake

takes an AWESOME party

TO THE NEXT LEVEL!

…..

 

Thanks for stopping by!

You’re awesome!

 

Have you signed up for my newsletter yet? Cause I’ll drop a line in your inbox when I put out another blog post.

 

Xoxoxo

Brandi

Happy Valentineโ€™s Day!

Valentine’s Day Prep

Heart cake

Valentines Prep was in full swing at the Grandview Bakery. I went in to the bakery Feb 13 to pick up my Mardi Gras King Cake, but also to help Rachel a little with cupcakes and heart shaped cakes. We make a good team ๐Ÿ˜˜

But the real work this holiday was at home. I used to hate Valentines Day. I TRY not to buy into the commercialism of holidays. No heart shaped cheap chocolates and expensive roses for me. Except when they’re too gorgeous to pass up. I mean, i still love pretty things….The struggle is real. ๐Ÿ˜‰

And sometimes the real work is AFTER the boys are in bed. We read a couple short Valentineโ€™s books for bedtime story time. We read every night. (Patting self on back) ๐Ÿ˜

They slept snuggly in their beds.

I fell asleep cuddling my little boy ๐Ÿ˜ (good thing too, cause i needed a power nap)

Then i had to have hubs come wake me up to finish everything, including fix up last years Valentine Pikachu box. Our 2nd grader saved it all year and wanted to use it again and Iโ€™m all for reusing and recycling. (And less work for me) ๐Ÿ˜„

Thanks to Grandma (and possibly the boys), the trail mix is bagged, and cards are signed, counted and packed. The sink is full of dirty dishes. There’s popcorn on the floor. Just keeping it real.

Boo ghost doesn’t care what holiday it is. He lives to party.

Im a party mom and snack mom for the preschool VDay party.

I made heart shaped cake pops for our familyโ€™s first year in preschool . They were gorgeous but also a TON of work. Seriously why are cake pops even a thing?

I’ll post a pic of them if i find one.

This year is our fourth year in between the 2 boys so weโ€™re way more relaxed.

I was planning on making funfetti cupcakes (white cake with red and pink jimmies inside) but when i told my preschooler that he said heโ€™d prefer chocolate. I was back and forth on which cake batter i should make, almost considered making a dozen of each. But aside from the extra work it would make for me, it would also take forever at the party to give 20 preschoolers a choice to make.

๐Ÿ˜ This is why I volunteers to do the kids classroom baking

I get to use pretty cupcake liners and little paper heart picks.

I get to icing the cupcakes at a leisurely pace and enjoy the art of buttercream.

Isnโ€™t that teal and red gorgeous? Itโ€™s such a different color combination and i love it. (Those are my kitchen oven burner covers. ) Iโ€™m going to write a blog post about colors soon.

Rosette cupcakes

Shout out to all the other moms up late to get things done and help make Valentineโ€™s Day happen. Now letโ€™s try to get some sleep .

Happy Valentines Day !

I love you

And

YOU

ARE

AWESOME ๐Ÿ‘

Xoxo

Brandi

Jumping Fish Cake!

This is the most delicious smelling fish you’ll ever meet!

Fish cake

I was super excited to get this cake order. It’s not every day that a client has the budget for a structured sculptured cake. But when they do, let’s just say, Magic Happens!

The realms connect,

gravity is defied,

the laws of physics are guffawed and

Art

is

born.

In other words,

hardware is purchased.

Internal fish structure

Make the sculpted edible fish a day ahead of the cake itself, on a styrofoam cake dummy. Time management skills at work, and also because we dont want all that pressure and extra movement making a bigger hole in our soft delicious cake.

Fish cake structure

Fire up the glue gun and make it stay put . You could probably skip this step, but your hardware would spin around. Fish are notorious for being wiggly and flopping around and we don’t want that on top of our cake.

Fish cake structure

Side note: notice the giant pink stain on my kitchen counter. Food coloring. It’s finally gone now, but it was there for a while…. ๐Ÿ˜ฌ

Fish cake structure

Cover the fish bones with aluminum foil. It’s an inexpensive, light weight, food safe way to build up the structure.

Fish cake structure

I know it looks gross here… don’t cry yet…. it gets better…

Cover the aluminum foil with melted marshmallow so the RKT actually sticks to its bones.

Melt more marshmallows than you think you’ll need.

(It’s kind of all a guessing game on amounts anyways. The guessing eventually turns into intuition the more you get to make cooler stuff.)

Reference some pictures of real fish jumping out of the water- a lot. This one was a large mouth bass.

Cover with RKT (Rice Krispie treats- but not the traditional recipe from the box- crush them up and skip the butter).

Fish cake structure

Cover that whole structure with ganache.

I dont have any pics of the next few steps cause I was

IN

THE

ZONE

And That Place is AMAZING.

But this is what I was doing while i was listening to my jams and NOT snapping pics:

Make a batch of white modeling chocolate the day or so before you need it.

Save some of the modeling chocolate for the fins- you need the modeling capabilities of the chocolate to hold their shape.

Mix the rest of modeling choc with fondant at a 1:1 ratio. The idea is to hide that ugly skeleton, covering it all up, and turn it into a fish.

Reference and re-reference the fish pics. We wanted it realistic and not cartoonish.

The details are where it’s at! The eyeball and fins are SUPER duper important!

I didnt have an airbrush yet when i did this guy, so it’s all hand painted. Mostly with Greens, browns, ivory and yellow, wilton gel colors mixed with Everclear (don’t even think about drinking that).

Jumping fish cake Jumping fish cake Jumping fish cake

The cake itself is covered in a couple different shades of buttercream, blues, green and white, spatula’d on to emulate water.

Have you made a cake like this?! I wanna see it! Send me a picture and tag me!

๐Ÿ 

๐ŸŸ Fishy face kisses!

Xoxo

Brandi

Thanks for checking out my cake blog! Sign up for my newsletter if you want to get a notification for when I post. ๐Ÿ™‚