Monday, December 21, 2009

Shoe process:

Okay, I got the pictures back on my computer of the shoe-making process.  Here it is:

I found this shoe pattern on Cake Central.  Without this the process would have taken a lot longer!

Cutting out the sole of the shoe.

The sole on the drying support.  I think the support should have a been a little bit bigger, and a little bit easier to understand how to fold.

The heel added.  The heel was hard to do.  It kept sinking, as evidenced here:

See, the heel sank and the back of the shoe dropped.  I stuffed plastic wrap under it to try to build it up but it didn't help.  I ended up adding more to the bottom of the heel to hold it up, and then taking it off after it dried.  Oh, I and forgot to take a picture cutting out the top of the shoe.

I also forgot to take a picture of cutting out the lining of the shoe.  I've got to start remembering this stuff!  Anyway, I printed out a picture of zebra stripes to look at, and then I sketched the stripes on the dried shoe with a pencil.  The stripes were all freehand.  I just had a picture to look at as a guide.

Then I went over the pencil stripes with a black food marker.  So technically the shoe is edible.  The gumpaste is edible, the marker is edible, although the faint pencil marks you probably shouldn't eat.  But it's very brittle, so it wouldn't be good anyway.  This is something to keep.

And then I colored in the stripes, colored the heel, and wrote her name as the shoe brand.

Top view.  I think it turned out awesome.  I want to make more shoes; all different kinds of shoes!

A birthday cake to make Cinderella jealous.

I made this cake Thursday night for a friend.  We we went out for girls night Friday night to celebrate her birthday, and I didn't want her to see her cake ahead of time, so I withheld this post.

She just wanted a classic white cake.  I had never made one before, so I found a recipe online.  It turned out really good.  Here's the process:

Pans waiting to be filled.

1 1/2 sticks of butter.

Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.

Voila!  Light and fluffy.  Ally said it looked like popcorn.

Dry ingredients combined in a separate bowl:  flour, baking powder and salt.

Egg whites, milk and vanilla in yet another bowl.  I had so much trouble with the egg whites.  The egg separator that came with my measuring spoon set is crap.  I failed three times (and wasted three eggs) trying to use it.  Finally I said forget it and used the egg shells to separate six (that's right, 6) eggs.

You alternate adding the flour mixture, then the milk mixture, to the butter/sugar.  The mix it all up until it looks like the above.

And then into the oven it goes.

Now to color the buttercream.  Notice the big blob of food coloring in it.

Done.  It's a nice, pretty pink.

Assembling the layers.  I forgot to take a picture of just the bottom layer.  Whoops.

Not smooth yet!

I made the shoe.  I have picture of making the shoe, but I deleted them from my work computer, so I'll retrieve those and post that process later.  The bottom is just zebra print ribbon.

Finishing touches:  Sparkly jewel picks that I found in the wedding section of Hobby Lobby, and pink fur trim also from Hobby Lobby.  She said she wanted a girly cake and I think that goal was achieved!

Close-up of the top.  The shoe was made from gumpaste.  It was my first attempt at a shoe, and I think it turned out beautiful! 

P.S.  Her name is Brandy, too.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

An occasion for cake.

Sometimes I just get the urge to bake something.  Danny used to argue with me, but he's learned now.  Now he just rolls his eyes and tells me to clean the kitchen when I'm done.  I'll drag out my cookbooks and rifle through the pantry to see what I can make.  Most of the time it ends up being some type of cookie, because usually I only have the staples:  flour, sugar, butter, eggs.  It's not so much that I want to bake something so I can eat it, I just love the baking process.  And usually I don't get to eat much of the finished product.  With Danny and the girls (and mostly Danny) I'm lucky to get two or three cookies out of two dozen.

Anyway, my point is that I like to randomly bake without any special occasion.  So I came across a cake recipe a while back that I've really been wanting to try but I had no reason to bake a cake, especially one that makes this much.  Then I decided I didn't need a reason.  If I can bake cookies at random, why can't I bake a cake?  Do I need a holiday?  Tuesday, December 1, 2009 was enough of an occasion for me!

I came across this recipe on Bakerella's blog, but she originally got it from the Pioneer Woman (who is awesome; I could spend all day on her blog!).  Here's the recipe for The Best Chocolate Sheet Cake. Ever. 

We combine the dry ingredients first.

And melt two sticks of butter on the stove. 

Add water and cocoa to the melted butter.  This part starts to smell soooo good!

Add the chocolate/butter mixture to the dry ingredients and stir.

Mix your buttermilk, eggs, vanilla and baking soda in a measuring cup.

Then add your buttermilk mixture to the rest of the stuff in the bowl and mix it well.  Did I mention that you don't even have to get out the electric mixer for this cake?  That makes it even more awesome.

Pour the batter into the pans.  It's actually supposed to be made in a commercial size cookie sheet, or a jelly roll pan, (i.e. something larger than what I have) but I only had regular-sized cookie sheets so I just made two!

Into the oven they go!  I only left mine in about 15 minutes because my oven cooks fast.  Now for the frosting.

Melt more butter on the stove.  This time 1 3/4 sticks.

Then add more cocoa, and powdered sugar.  The original recipe calls for chopped pecans, but I don't like pecans so I left those out.

The finished cakes!  I think my frosting was a little too thin, but it still tasted awesome! 

Yum!  Seriously, make this cake.  It really is the best cake.  Ally ate two pieces last night.  Danny ate five.  That should say something, right?