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

Make sure you sign up for the newsletter to get an update the next time I make something cool!

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™‚

I โค๏ธ Strawberry ๐Ÿ“ Wedding Cake

Extreme Giant Heart โค๏ธ ๐Ÿ“ 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 ๐Ÿ“ 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 ๐Ÿ˜˜ ๐Ÿ“

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!

Sign up for my newsletter so you don’t miss a post!!

Sweet Kisses!

XOXO

Brandi