My Favorite Tools

In no particular order- Will reorganize the list after I can log back in to my account on a computer. I swear passwords are going to be the death of me.

Spatulas ! Must have: 13″ angled, 9″ angled, 9″ tapered, cake smoother.

Spatulas

Also great: 13″ and 9″ straight Spatulas

13″ angled spatula

Wilton Icing Spatula, 13-Inch, Angled Cake Spatula https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B00F0A6FYU/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_HyixFb8BYF7Q2

13″ & 9″ angles, 11″ straight

Wilton Icing Spatula Set for Baking, 3-Piece – 13 and 9-Inch Angled and 11-Inch Straight Spatulas https://smile.amazon.com/dp/

B01MQNLUZ5/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_DzixFb09SH2C8

Tapered spatula

Wilton Tapered Spatula, 9-Inch https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B00IE709L6/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_8DixFb4K9SXJH

Cake boards

30-Pack Cake Board Rounds, Circle Cardboard Base Boards, 8, 10 and 12-Inch. Perfect for Cake Decorating, 10 of Each Size (Gold, 30) https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B0862D5C25/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_xtixFbW0PWC2F

Edible Image printer.

We’ve had a lot of luck with the Canon pixma printers. We buy our printer paper from Pfeil and holing. Make sure your paper, ink and printer are compatible. Any printer can be an edible image printer as long as it’s brand new and has never had regular ink installed.

Couplers! You can pretty much never have too many couplers. Please have at least as many couplers as colors of icing you’re making.

Straws to dowel a 2 or 3 tiered cake

Fondant supplies

Must have: fondant smoother, having 2 is nicer.

Fondant tools: 2 fondant rollers, mat, exacto knife

Tip storage!

This is what we use at the bakery and it’s great. Notice the little flower scissors on the screw below it, and a color wheel nearby and handy. (Hardware store)

You can also see handy- scotch tape, masking tape, sharpie, post it’s to remind you you are amazing and to breathe. Fondant letter cutters, heart and circle cookie cutters.

Any tip organizer that works for you and your space is a winner. I love the tools caddy tackle boxes. I have one for buttercream supplies and one for royal icing. I guess they’re retired now but can be found on the 2nd hand market.

My favorite little flower scissors are also great for fondant work.

Ratcheting pipe cutter, hardware store. Cuts the thicker dowels easily for 4 tier cakes.

Zantlea Pipe and Tube Cutter, Ratcheting Hose Cutter One-hand Fast Pipe Cutting Tool) Ratcheting cutter

A Turntable is an absolute must!

I’m spoiled and have had several turntables, my absolute favorite is this lightweight metal one, it’s sturdy but also turns super easily.

Low profile turntable is great for tiered cakes!

This handy cake carrier is Wilton, it’s a cake carrier and turntable. The handles lock the turntable in place and the dome is tall enough for a wedding height cake with decorations on top. It’s big enough for up to a 10″ board, which an 8″ or 9″ cake would go on.

Food safety is a top priority! Also remember to pull your hair up, wear a hair net or cap.

This is the cake rubber/ shelf liner that you don’t want to get. You want the thicker puffier kind.

Any tip set is going to be good. They’ll all come with at least the basic rounds, stars, Rose tips, leaf, Mum, drop flowers.

Here’s a very popular set: Wilton tip set Master Decorating Tip Set, 55-Piece decorating tips

Happy decorating!

Brandi Janine

Geode Wedding Cake

Oh my beautiful Geode! How lovely and serene. June, 2017

I loved this bride. She was gorgeous and so lovely. We bonded over laughter about how some geode cakes, with pinks and red rocks look like vaginas.

She was Laid back but also an artist so she was particular but also really appreciated what went into making cake. This was Both of their second marriages. The geode cake was actually the second wedding cake I made for them. The first one was a beach themed cake for their beach ceremony in Baltimore. She was worried it would come out too much like a kids birthday cake and not a wedding cake. I was worried about the cake making that big drive! Her car was packed and She kept it on the floor of the passenger side. In a box, obviously. Buttercream with fondant accents. I used the wilton seashell fondant mood and satin ice fondant. She had a special custom cake topper. She sent me a good pic with the topper at that dinner and I’ll add it if I come across it.

March, 2017

Here’s a few progress pics i took during the making of the geode cake.

Wedding tiers are four layers of cake and 3 layers of filling. You can see one of the tier supports, jumbo bubble straws.

Carved for shape, cut the cardboard tier separator round. 6″ top tier, 8″ middle, 10″ bottom. The 10″ stayed in the fridge while the top two got worked on.

Covered in buttercream and fondant. Use an edible marker to outline where you’ll cut. Carve it already stacked so you’re sure it lines up.

piping gel is the glue that keeps the sugar rocks glued in. Layer of piping gel on top of the buttercream and then you’ll want a piping bag of piping gel to use as you go.

Rock sugar colored with airbrush color. I used the airbrush color instead of gel color because it’s already so liquid y. If i had needed to use gel color I would have diluted it with everclear. It didn’t take a lot of color, the sugar rocks took the color brilliantly. I needed three shades of purple and this was the darkest. I divided them and stirred more .Here i moved into the other room so i could sit while i worked . You can see the brides’ geode on the table, she lent it to me to look at while I worked. This was a tedious task, inserting each rock individually with a pair of long tweezers. Darkest color in the center gives added depth and shadows.

This took several hours of work to complete. The bride even stopped in with her friends while I was working on it to check out the progress. They were big geode buffs and fell in love with the cake.

The rock cave gets outlined with gold leaf, and the inspiration cake she liked best had that big section of gold leaf. Gold leaf has a slight learning curve, but is easy to use as long as there is no breeze. A dry fan brush helps to smooth it out, but the wrinkles add another dimension too. Make sure you get the single Individual sheets. Gold leaf isn’t exactly edible, but it is non toxic.

Finally, at the reception. The bling band bottom border, topper, and cake stand really bring it all together.

Photo credit goes to Flip. He was the first person to get a new phone with the new portrait mode. 😻

This is the inspiration cake, seen in a store window on a vacation. I think i knocked this one out of the park.eliminated that very top 4th tier,

The inspiration cake from a far away land.

I don’t like to copy other artists cake designs exactly, but I don’t mind at all if someone else makes one of mine. It’s great to make adjustments when and where there’s room for improvement and if i can get the client to go along with the changes. She was pretty set on this style. We eliminated that very top 4th tier and used amethyst rocks instead of blue.

A picture one of the guests took and sent. The cake matches well with the chandeliers of the LeMont. – that’s a super fancy restaurant in Pittsburgh with incredible views of the city.

The bride Emailed me From her reception!

I felt pretty good about this cake, but it’s always magnificent to hear from the client when they enjoy a commissioned art.

My mom didn’t like this cake. Our oldest baker didn’t like it either, on a personal matter of style or taste. It stings a little anyways. It was my first geode cake after all.

A week later she sent this:

Thanks, Brandi!

I have yet to get the photographer’s photos & will pass those along, (including the 3/18 cake images), in a WELL DESERVED thank-you note…

Your incredible talents added SO much to our 3/18 wedding & 7/21 reception.

I ran into her again a few years later and she still raves about the Cakes. It means so much to be so appreciated. An amazing reminder of how truly important your cakes actually are.

Sweetly,

Brandi Janine

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.

The Monster Book 📖 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 😬😬

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

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Construction Party 🚧

Fletcher’s Fifth Birthday Party 🎈

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. 

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