"Sexy Steve" @ the Beach

I have been pretty lazy about the whole "practice makes perfect" thing when it comes to creating and decorating cakes. So when I realized one of my wonderful, hard working friend's birthday was coming up, I knew I had to get off my lazy booty and created something special for her. She is a surfer and a huge fan of the ocean. She is also currently single. (Any single men looking for one hot mama?) So, using these known facts about her, I created this birthday cake... introducing "'Sexy Steve' at the Beach"!

It was difficult to get started with this cake because my skills were rusty and my baking and decorating supplies were buried deep down in the pantry somewhere but I managed to get started. My problem is always timing-- I never dedicate enough time to decorating and end up rushing in the end.

I first created the umbrella top, some goldfishes, and a yellow sun (which was discarded later) using some brand new gum paste I just bought.
I have never tried gum paste before because I don't see the difference between working with gum paste and rolled fondant. After playing with the two, I noticed slight differences, but not enough for me to prefer one over the other. The umbrella was fun to make because I had to be creative about the process. First I cut out a large circle out of yellow-tinted gum paste. Then I used toothpicks to make slight indentations into the umbrella, dividing it into eight equal sections. Next I used my round cookie cutter and made the edge of the umbrella. Last I laid the piece over a water globe so it can dry into a rounded shape. It look about a day to dry perfectly. (By the way, all of "first, next, then, last reminds me of my "sequence of events" language arts writing lessons... haha! I always have a long list of transition words posted on the wall for my students to use.)

While frequenting one of my favorite website Bake It Pretty I came across "Sexy Steve" (in white or black). I knew he would be perfect for my beach themed cake for Joanna so I immediately ordered in from the website (and no, it is NOT an erotic baking website David... haha!). When Sexy Steve arrived in the mail, I was surprise to find that he was bigger than I thought! Darn, now he isn't proportional to my tiny umbrella. Oh well.

Afterwards, I found some time to create a rugged looking beach towel (I want it to be sand-beaten and wrinkled, just like the real thing). I used a toothpick to make all the right creases and made sure the towel dried with the correct folds and curls.
The surfboard was easier to make, yet it gave me the most problems. I was tired by the time I got to the surfboard so some of the gum paste was dried, which made it harder to work with. Also, the surfboard was so tall my dad accidentally knocked it over during the drying process and broke off the bottom third. Now the surfboard is short and not proportional to Stevie. I also finished off with adding red lines and a sugar pearl to the umbrella, made the letters J, O, A x2, and N x2 for the name.

Last step create the two-layered chocolate Devil's cake with raspberry filling, frosted it with whipped vanilla icing, then covered it with blue-marbled fondant so a smooth clean finished. Then I added some frosting and crushed-up graham crackers to add the sand effect. Added all the decor and some white frosting waves at the bottom and you have a beach themed cake with Sexy Steve.

Sexy Steve was a big hit at the party. Everyone loved him and he was the butt of many, many jokes. Ah, good times.

Happy birthday, Joanna of Floral Sense! Also check out her beautiful website and in updated blog.

Cake: two-layer chocolate Devil's food cake with raspberry filling covered with slightly tinted fondant and lined with whipped vanilla frosting; decor made from tinted gum paste, fondant, and graham crackers; umbrella stick and "Sexy Steve" are non-edible

Red, White, and Blue!

Happy Independence Day, America! Every year, families across the country celebrate the fourth of July by gathering together and having picnics, BBQs, lighting fireworks.

This year, the days surrounding this holiday were very busy and hectic for me. I wanted to create fun cupcakes (either along the BBQ theme, fireworks, or fancy American flags), but in the end I only had time to whip up some simple red, white, and blue cupcakes.

I started with simple French vanilla (or some would say, white cake) and with 1/3 of that batter, I had the white cupcakes. The other thirds were dyed red and blue. In the end, I easily created red, white, and blue French vanilla cupcakes.

They look so pretty!

To top off the cupcakes, I just swirled simple white cream cheese frosting and added either red sugar sprinkles, blue sugar sprinkles, or white pearls to match the color of the cake.

Last, I laid the cupcakes on my rectangular cupcake carrier so it looks like the American flag! I didn't think of this idea until after the whole baking process or else I would have made mini cupcakes (easily to create the flag with 24 mini cupcakes than with only 12 regular size cupcakes).

Simple. Patriotic. Happy Fourth of July!

Cupcakes: French vanilla cakes tinted red, blue, or no tint with whipped cream cheese frosting topped with either red or blue fine sanding sugars or white sugar pearls.