Happy Valentine’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 😘

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. 😉

And sometimes the real work is AFTER the boys are in bed. We read a couple short Valentine’s books for bedtime story time. We read every night. (Patting self on back) 😁

They slept snuggly in their beds.

I fell asleep cuddling my little boy 😍 (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 I’m all for reusing and recycling. (And less work for me) 😄

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 family’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 we’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 he’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.

😁 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.

Isn’t that teal and red gorgeous? It’s such a different color combination and i love it. (Those are my kitchen oven burner covers. ) I’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 Valentine’s Day happen. Now let’s try to get some sleep .

Happy Valentines Day !

I love you

And

YOU

ARE

AWESOME 👏

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…. 😬

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!

🐠

🐟 Fishy face kisses!

Xoxo

Brandi

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I ❤️ Strawberry 🍓 Wedding Cake

Extreme Giant Heart ❤️ 🍓 Wedding Cake

Strawberry Heart Wedding

This cake was incredible!

I would love to make it again and you can too. The First step to recreate this is to come up with a plan. I had just come on board at the Grandview Bakery so the plan and price were already worked out for this cake. I had a parchment paper drawing of a Heart with servings calculated to work with (and whomever did it did a great job- probably the wedding cake decorator that worked there before me- she’s mega talented too)

Ready to cut! Tape that sucker down. Give the board anywhere from a 2- 3 inch clearance around the diagram and draw a Heart on the wood. The cutting part is pretty easy. I balanced it on the table, put on safety goggles and went slowly.

Hot HusbandHot Caker

Funny story! I went to Home Depot to buy the Masonite wood. Sometimes I have them cut it to size. This time I knew I’d have to cut it anyways so I bought a jigsaw and a piece big enough for the widest part and figured I’d save the rest for smaller boards. (I still haven’t cut down the extra Masonite into more boards- slacker) When I hauled it out awkwardly to the car I realized It doesn’t fit in my car!! OMG I wish I had a camera crew filming me while I tried to figure out how to make this thing fit! Sideways, the other way, standing, at an angle, seats down and over, seats up, car seats out, etc etc. Literally took me a half hour- which is a super long time for this pale girl in the summer sun and heat. I eventually got it in vertically and angled between the front and back seats. Once i got it in there it stayed there for another couple days until we needed our SUV back and then moved it to the garage.

A big part of the planning process should be MEASURING! Making sure it’s going to fit!! It did NOT fit through the front door of the Bakery flat, Once it has cake on it you have to keep it relatively flat. It had to go out the back door. I had to call the reception planner to make sure it was going to fit through their door. It barely fit in the SUV. Measuring during the planning process would eliminate that stress.

This was FOUR FULL Vanilla Sheet Cakes.

I cut an identical heart out of heavy weight foam core and hot glued that onto the Masonite. I hot glued a white satin ribbon around the edge, and a small pearl ribbon on the top edge to finish it off.

Sheet cakes glued back together with Swiss meringue buttercream.

Filled with Strawberry preserves filling and buttercream

2nd cake layer

Covered in buttercream

And add a simple tip 12 bead border on top and bottom.

Cut your strawberries before you deliver, but don’t add them to the cake until you’re there. Add a little bit of granulated sugar to the strawberries to help preserve their freshness, but not too much because you don’t want the sugar to pull the juices out of them. I also added a little of the strawberry fillings to coat them too, but not too much, you don’t want them to turn into a filling. Arrange strawberries 🍓 in a single layer, cut side down , covering entire top. Enlist help of hunky hubs if you got one. He had more patience than me so his strawberries were more meticulously placed than mine.

Don’t stop until you completely cover the entire top- give yourself enough time to do this- probably added an extra half hour to delivery.

Take pics with your cake! It’s hard to appreciate the massiveness without a person to reference perspective. Take pics of you helper with the cake! It’s a proud moment for them too! It took hard work and big muscles to carry this!

Congratulations to the bride and groom!

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to create this for you!

XOXO 😘 🍓

Strawberry kisses!

Brandi

Welcome! Welcome!!

Welcome to my BLOG!!

I’m so excited to have you visit my online space!!

Here I’m going to show you some cakes that I’ve made,

give you a behind the scenes look at the making of some of my cakes,

a glimpse into the life of a caker,

some really really useful tips for my fellow cakers,

And

Maybe even spread a little happiness and entertainment.

I started making cakes right after my son was born in 2010. I’ve always loved crafting and making edible art so for my birthday that year, my sister signed us up for the Wilton cake decorating classes at JoAnn Fabrics. I took all 4 classes and loved it so much that I started teaching them. I wanted to be able to make my kids the coolest cakes, just like my mom had made for us. I got pretty good pretty fast, making more cakes than i could possibly count, and way too many cakes to eat. I started giving Cakes away and getting cake orders from friends and family, then from friends of friends.

In Pennsylvania it’s illegal to accept payment for Baked goods unless you have a legal business. I went through the entire process and opened a legit cake business, Event Cakes Pgh, LLC.

I rented kitchen space at the Pittsburgh Public Market, and then went through the process to have my home kitchen licensed.

I’ve since closed that business and went to the Grandview bakery on Mount Washington to decorate cakes, and now mostly specialty cakes and wedding cakes.

It’s been a great journey and I’m excited to bring you along with me on it!

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Sweet Kisses!

XOXO

Brandi