Saturday, June 23, 2012

Big, deep breath!

You know how you plan and plan for that one big day, say it's your wedding day... and all you can think, leading up to it, is Oh My God... if I can just through through THIS, I'll be all set. Well that was me with this week with the ginormous order I had. And another aspect I felt for the first time was similar to how they feel on the cake shows on tv... where they play up all this drama and will they get the cake finished in time for the event, and you think it's just for ratings, but oh no...  I felt this way on Thursday night and there ARE no ratings! LOL

I don't want to make it sound like I am complaining, not at all. It was a divine cake to work on, a testament to my skills.... if I could just do THIS, I can do anything. It was just a lot of pressure because it was going to be in a venue, and I'm working out of my tiny kitchen LOL!

So, I knew about this order roughly three months ago. When I broke it down, and there was simply no other way to work this cake, it was way more manageable. I like to have my cakes done the day before the due date, but that just was not possible this time around. The major reason was that I simply did not have the space to store them.

The cakes were a half slab each. I've done half slab cakes from home before, but not with fondant, and it's only been one cake, not two, such as the case this time around. I make a lot of cakes from mixes (sorry to spoil anyone's image of Denise's Custom Cakes) however, I have been slowly venturing out and making my own flavours from scratch, which I admit, is way more satisfying... so when I got this order, I panicked... but the web is a useful tool to the cake decorator!

The client wanted a red velvet and cream cheese cake for one of them... no problem, I already had a tried and true recipe for that. The other one sent me into panic mode, chocolate raspberry truffle... which sounded so decadent. Could I find something online for that? Could I make that and have it turn out well? Wow... and I would need to test the cake and have the client over for feedback. Big event, I wanted her to be SURE of the choice.

So I found 3 recipes online and went to work making it. I thought I would have to do several cakes, but I took one basic recipe, and just modified the icing and the filling... and made one cake into two different options. As posted last time, the testing was a success and the client was in awe... couldn't wait for the event!

So a week before the event, I had to get started. I had all the supplies and ingredients, and got to work on one of the hottest weekends we've had yet... but I paced myself by baking a cake or two each day. Then I took one evening after work and filled all the cakes and returned them to the freezer (any smart decorator knows that canvassing a cake is easier when it's frozen, and produces fewer crumbs!). The day of the pick-up was the day everything had to be put together and completed. Thank God my husband gave me a hand with mixing buttercream, cleanup and helping to shape the cakes by handcutting them. The cakes were being picked up at 9, and we were done at 8:45.

All the hard work paid off, she was enthralled and ecstatic with the results... and asked for business cards to hand out at the event. I am happy about that, but I can definitely wait for the next big one like that! LOL

So here is the final result of the cakes in their final resting place... I hope the party went well!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Do or Die!

Today marks the beginning of the biggest cake order I have to date and I'm freaking out! LOL I know I have the flavours down perfectly, the taste testing went amazingly well... but I want everything to be perfect and most of it needs to be put together RIGHT before pickup. No stress!

It's for a 40th birthday party and the cakes are absolutely stunning. I am sure I'm just freaking myself out but I can't help it!

Wish me luck... I have cakes to bake!

Stay sweet!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

New & Improved... or is it just New or Improved? ;)

I had an awesome day yesterday! I have my biggest and most expensive cake order coming up, and well, folks, I have to admit, I was VERY intimidated by it. Two cakes, one being a flavour I have never made before, and the magnitude of this cake compared to everything else I've done thus far... wow.... scary! But I forged ahead, did some research and produced two versions of the cake for the client. She came over Wednesday evening to taste test them, and while she LOVED both, she picked one and went on her way.

So, I obviously had leftovers of the cakes, which I decided to bring in to work to share. My coworkers all know I bake, and I've sold cakes to many of them. When I began talking about this flavour though, I had them drooling... lol.. so I had to bring it in. Besides, the more I share, the less that ends up on my butt, right?

A repeat customer of mine tried it, and remembered that she wanted to ask me to do a shower cake for her daughter-in-law (how sweet, right?), and another co-worker reached over for a forkful and fell in love. Sometimes, it's hard taking compliments... especially after having some indifferent or negative people in your life, but it was so great to hear that my creation was not only liked by the client, but also by others, who placed orders! And it was merely by fluke, which makes it even better. I guess I have a bigger market at my fingertips than I thought!

So what was the flavour, right? Chocolate Raspberry Truffle. Yes, it's truly as divine as it sounds. I made my best chocolate cake recipe, and added 1/2 cup raspberry jam to the batter. I wasn't sure if it would be enough, and will be adding probably another 1/4 cup to the final cakes, because we wanted the flavour to be a bit more pronounced. It left a nice lingering chocolate raspberry aftertaste, a nice blend of flavours on the tongue.

After that was baked and cooled, I made a batch of chocolate buttercream. I cut each 8 inch cake in half, because I wanted to do two versions. I piped icing along the edges of the cake to hold the filling, which was a delicious raspberry mousse. I did this for both cakes.

Now here is where I switched things up, and they weren't major changes, but enough to make a difference. On one cake, I used straight chocolate buttercream to ice it. Left it at that.

On the other cake, I lightened up the buttercream by blending whipped cream into it to make it lighter and fluffier. But before I iced it, I melted some chocolate and drizzled it over the raspberry mousse filling. As it cooled, it would harden and give the cake a little chocolate crunch which would be the truffle part of the cake. Then I iced the cake with the lightened buttercream and I was done.

She chose the one with the melted chocolate in the filling, which also happened to be the cake I brought into work. :) What I thought was awesome was how the jam in the batter made the cake denser, richer and made it seem fancier. It would be something you might find in a restaurant.

Another great thing is now I have another flavour to add to Denise's Custom Cakes!

Have a great weekend and stay sweet!