Thursday, December 16, 2010

This Time Last Year...

This time last year, my little sister got married!  December 11th, 2009, Betsy Overman became Betsy Overman Roberson, and I was honored to be her Maid of Honor!  I really can't believe its been a year seems like just yesterday that we were having parties with family, themed showers, celebrating her bachelorette at the beach, and planning her wedding! 

When your little sister gets married, you want her wedding to be perfect.  And when you happen to be the maid of honor (henceforth known as MOH) and the cake baker, there is lots of planning and hard work required to make that kind of perfection happen!  I knew that I wanted to make her and Ryan a wonderful cake and I didn't want cake stuff to get in the way of my duties as MOH.  I knew that I could do both, and hoped that I could do both well!

Bride, MOH, and Bridesmaids!

A December wedding with red, white, and gold accents yielded a very simple yet elegant velvet with white buttercream accents, square tiers, and red ribbon borders.  And surprise....the whole cake was red velvet!  Delicious, and it matched the colors of the season and wedding perfectly.  The main challenge of this cake was the size....there were over 300 people attending the wedding, and that is a heck of a lot of cake!  Over 50 eggs, 15 pounds of flour and sugar, and you don't want to know how much shortening for frosting!  We decided to do a regular 4 tiered wedding cake and then 2 double layer sheet cakes to be pre-cut in the kitchen.  Lots of careful planning went into the design and baking of this cake, just so I could be at everything and do everything and still finish the cake by the big day!

Betsy and Ryan got married on a Friday, so I started baking the cake on that Wednesday night. I decided to mix the batter at my kitchen and then transport all of the batter to the church kitchen to use the convection ovens there, they bake so quickly!  After a particularly rough day at work, I came home late and quickly mixed 15 batches of red velvet cake in my KitchenAid.  I put all of the batter in tupperware bowls, put the lids on, and ran around frantically packing for the wedding, gathering my dress, Betsy's shoes, etc etc. 

I came back in the kitchen and noticed something red on the floor.  Looking up, I realized that in the 10 minutes I was packing, the self rising flour in the batter had risen in all of the sealed bowls, popping the lids off, and batter was rolling off the table!  Red velvet cake batter was EVERYWHERE.  I grabbed a ladle and started emptying some of the full bowls, put the lids back on, and threw everything into the backseat of my car.  Blazing my way to Goldsboro, I got there with my Dad waiting for me, ovens on, kitchen door open. When we opened the backseat, more batter had exploded everywhere, again.  We ran the batter into the kitchen and got the cakes in the oven.  Now not only does it look like someone has been murdered in my backseat with red cake batter everywhere, now there is a trail of cake batter through the parking lot and church hallway.  Dad took a scrub brush to the back of my car and the parking lot while I tried to go get things rolling in the kitchen.  When I walked in the kitchen, my sweet Meme had the ladle in her hand, stirring the batter saying, "Its alive, Its alive, Its ALIIIIIVE!"   And suddenly, the hilarity of the whole situation hit me!  We laughed/cried for a while, and then got to work. 

Thursday morning, I got up and frosted cake all day, with just enough time to wash the powdered sugar off of me and get to the rehearsal dinner on time.  Amazingly enough.  We finally got to sleep after the rehearsal dinner and shower, only for me to dream all night that the red food coloring in the cake had seeped through the frosting to make it turn pink!  The next morning, we assembled the cake by 8am at the reception site, and spent the rest of the day doing wedding-related things...hairdos, dresses, lunch, pictures, etc. 

Square cakes, I have to say, are kind of difficult.  Getting sharp corners with soft buttercream is challenging!

That afternoon, my sister was the most beautiful bride I've ever seen.  She was glowing from head to toe!  The church was shining with Christmas lights, luminaries, joy, and love as Betsy and Ryan pledged the rest of their lives to each other among family and friends!  There wasn't a dry eye in the house!  At the reception, Betsy and Ryan had their first dance together as Mr. And Mrs Ryan Roberson before Betsy and Dad had their dance.  So much preparation went into that moment!  And when they cut the cake, I was so proud it was mine!

Betsy and Dad dancing...I love the bustle on her dress!

Husband and Wife!

The wedding was absolutely beautiful, and I was honored to be a part of it...both in the wedding party and the cake decorating committee :)  Betsy and Ryan have now successfully made it to the big 1 year anniversary, and are still in love, happy, and going strong!  I've never met two people more perfect for each other, and I hope to make a cake to celebrate their 25th, 30th, and 50th wedding anniversaries too!

The cake, after the flowers were added!

Me and the beautiful bride!

Grandaddy David loves to tell the story that when I went to kindergarten for the first time, Betsy was worried that I wouldn't be her best friend anymore.  According to legend, I replied "Betsy, don't be silly.  You're my sister, we'll always be best friends!"  And its true...we'll always be best friends!  I'm so thankful for my sister, and even though none of us could really give her away, we can definitely share her with Ryan for the next 70 years or so!

Love to you both! 


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Gobble Gobble

Better late than never....Happy Thanksgiving!  I'm a little behind in posting this one, as its mid-December, but what can you do.  Christy Bigelow, a friend from church, asked me to make her dad a birthday cake for Thanksgiving.  When she said he loved German chocolate, I got very excited, as I've never done one of those before! 

I immediately said German chocolate, with carmel coconut filling, chocolate buttercream and gnache topping.  Christy told me that her dad likes plain German chocolate.  Plain?  I don't even know how to do a plain cake anymore!  Eventually I talked her in to a more snazzy cake...and eventually she even asked for a turkey on the cake to commemorate the holiday! 

I have to say that German chocolate cake and frosting is more challenging than I initially thought...the frosting itself turned out terrible the first time.  My stovetop seems to heat hotter and faster than any stovetop known to man, and that resulted in, basically, scrambled eggs with butter.  Gross.  My second go round was much more successful, thankfully.  If it hadn't have been, I would have had to make a 3rd grocery run for more eggs!  The final product was delicious!

Having never done a turkey out of frosting before, I googled frosting turkey, and found a couple of pictures online of what I wanted it to look like, and there you have it!  Frosting Turkey.  I just basically layered milk chocolate and dark chocolate not only was he adorable, but tasty!

Pretty much the cutest frosting turkey I have ever seen.  Period. 

You could just eat him up!

He looks a little scared, don't you think? 

And then here's Mr. Bigelow with his cake and daughters!

All in all...I'd say the turkey expedition of 2010 was a success.  I'm going to have to make me a turkey cake next time...I hated to see him leave my house!

Until the next time I get a chance to post, enjoy the cake!


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Puppy Cake

So I know it has been a while since I posted, and I promise I haven't been hiding from cakeburg / icingville and not baking.  Quite the opposite, in fact!  What I have been doing on top of cakes is my real job...grad school...and focusing on passing my preliminary exams.  Needless to say, the cakes that have happened in the last few months were a much needed break from studying constantly! 

I met Katie Demcio through one of my best friends, Olivia Bolen.  Olivia and I went to Elon together, lived together while we were in London, and spent more than one Saturday morning making strawberry pancakes and listening to Little Big Town.  When Olivia got married to her soulmate this august, both Katie and I were in the wedding together...and we became quick friends!  She's an absolute dear, and it was so much fun being a bridesmaid with her!  Bonus...we live in the same town, so now we get to hang out all the time.  Or whenever we find time, which turns out to be less than I would like. 

 Olivia, Katie, and Me (Right to Left) on Olivia's Wedding Day!

Katie came to me a while back and asked if I could make a birthday cake for her nephew, Holden.  Of course!  Anytime!  The small complication is that Holden is allergic to milk products...which means no sour cream pound cakes, no milk in the cake, and (eek!) no butter!  Never fear.  There is a recipe for everything.  A delicious recipe, at that! 

Holden has a favorite puppy that the whole party revolved around, so we focused the cake on that.  I think that the puppy turned out pretty good!  If 'puppy' is half as cute in person as he is in icing form, then I can see why Holden loves him so much!

We also made a little cake that could be completely for the birthday boy...the better to get messy in!   

Thankfully, Amy (Holden's mom!) sent me some fantastic pictures of Holden and his cake, or what was left of it, so that I could see how well the milk-less recipe went over.  I think its safe to say it was a hit! 

The cakes, and Puppy himself! 

This is a young man who knows exactly what to do with cake.  Grab cake with both hands, and smear all over face! 

Success!  And lets be honest, thats adorable! 

Maybe my favorite picture of all :) 

I was so honored to be asked to be a part of Holden (and puppy's) birthdays!  We'll see how puppy holds up with age, and look forward to watching Holden grow up to enjoy many more milk-free cakes!

Oh.... and I passed my prelims.  The cake therapy was absolutely necessary for this to happen!!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Happy Birthday, Nana!

My Nana is turning the big 7-0 this weekend, and we decided to celebrate in style, with a cake of course!  Even though my family is full of amazing bakers, Nana included...I was nominated by Nana to make her cake.  And what the birthday girl wants, the birthday girl gets!  I was thrilled to make Nana's birthday cake for her big celebration.  Carrot cake is one of her favorites, and so thats what we did! 

The theme for the party was pink and green, so a pink and green cake I made!  Carrot cake with vanilla buttercream (traditionally carrot cake has cream cheese frosting, but for an outdoor party on a 94 degree September day, buttercream seemed a better option).  The daises I piped on, and I experimented again with a new technique...different colored base icing!  I know its a tiny detail, but making the sides of the cake green and the top of the cake white without an airbrush is trickier than it looks!

I like the tiny polka dots!

Cute daisies!

Here's the birthday girl with her cake! 

Nana getting some extra help from Jaden cutting into that cake. Jaden was VERY interested in the cake...sticking a finger in the icing, helping cut the cake, blowing out imaginary candles... :) 

So I added this picture for 2 reasons....1. To prove it was a carrot cake (brown!) and 2. How thick it is!!  I knew that I made tall cake, and I do this on purpose (if you're going to eat cake, EAT CAKE) but holy cow, this cake was thick!  The slice of it is as big as Jaden's head!

Jaden eating cake...yum!  I think this is my favorite part of baking...watching everyone I love eat my cake!!

Nana eating cake...yum!

Even Maddox ate cake!

The aftermath of 17 people on a hot fall day!

Me and the birthday girl!  I hope Nana enjoyed her cake as much as I enjoyed making it for her!  Love to you on your birthday, and many prayers for more celebrations to come!


Monday, September 6, 2010

Livin' and Learnin'

Angie is a friend of my cousin, Kelly, and works for the North Carolina Pork Council.  Since my dad is a hog farmer and I do research with pigs, Kelly thought that Angie would be interested in getting a cake from a girl with plenty of roots in the pork industry.  I would have NEVER thought that my connection with pigs would provide more cake opportunities, but you never know! 

When we met and talked about the cake over Chubby Tacos one day, Angie told me how she really wanted a simple, clean cake.  She designed the scheme for the whole wedding, and it was full of down home touches.  From what she described, it sounded beautiful!  I wrote down that the wedding was going to be on Saturday, September 5th, with the wedding at the Rose Garden and the reception at Art Space, a really neat gallery downtown. 

So, on Friday night, I start baking away!  The cake was a big cake, for 200 people, and the recipe I was using (to go along with the down-home theme) was actually her Grandmother's Lemon Pound Cake recipe with vanilla buttercream.  It smelled delicious!  My whole apartment complex smelled like sweet lemon....especially after I put too much batter in one pan and it baked out, all over the bottom of my oven.  Genius, Beth.  I opened all of my windows and doors, shut off the fire alarm, and kept right on trucking.

So I load all the cakes into my car and drive SLOWLY to ArtSpace downtown, and per Raleigh, can't find a parking space anywhere.  And you never know how bad the roads are until you've got 4 very fragile tiers of cake in your car!  I get to ArtSpace, walk in, and announce that I've got the cake for the wedding.  "What wedding?" the receptionist asked.  What wedding?? THE wedding!  Angie and Neal!  Saturday, September 5th! 

Another genius moment...Saturday, September 5th, 2010 does not exist.  Sunday, September 5th, does.  Whoops.  So moral of the story...I was REALLY on time for this cake delivery.  As in, 24 hours early.  Go me. 

I loaded the cake into the refrigerator at ArtSpace.  And what did I do with my free time Saturday afternoon?  Why, got to the NC STATE football season opener, of course!  We safely demolished Western Carolina and had a great time cheering on the pack.

Me and my friend Tyler, at the game!

My parents!  Mom and Dad are so much better at dressing for State games...

Sunday after church, rested and ready to assemble a cake, I headed over to ArtSpace.  The whole wedding party (plus several!) were there getting ready and decorating.  There were so many personal touches to all of the decorations...hand carved wooden votive holders, family made floral arrangements, and even a tree stump for a cake stand. 

This cake turned out so well, so elegant and clean!  I actually did the flowers myself, which was a learning experience...I need to take some lessons from a real florist!  Roses and curly willow, with some greenery, and on the top...fiber optics!  You can't really see in my picture, but there are tiny fiber optic lights coming out through the flowers in the cake topper.  Neat, huh? 

I always take too many pictures of the cakes that I love!!

I absolutely loved the wooden cake stand.  The bark and wood really gave the cake a rustic, homey feel.  It was a ton heavier than I anticipated...I'm not sure why I thought the stump of a 100 year old tree would be light....

Overall, several lessons learned.  1.  With batter....less is more.  Less is less smoke alarms, and smoke.  2.  Being on time is great, being early is better....but lets make sure the wedding date actually exists.  From the mouth of my Dad, "Well Beth, you hadn't made that mistake yet!"  Thanks Dad...and per usual, you're right :) 

All in all, this cake turned out great.  I was so excited to be a part of their big day, and I know the wedding was wonderful!

Cake and love,

Monday, August 30, 2010

Growing Up....

A year ago, I made Max his first birthday cake.  Max is the son of a resident here at the Vet school, and his mom wanted a monkey-themed birthday cake.  Now at age 1, he's probably never going to remember that it tasted, how it looked, or how it felt when he shoved his hands through the frosting to grab cake inside.  I will always remember that cute-as-a-button monkey cake, though, and how much fun it was to make it!

(cutest monkey ever)

Now, as time moves, little boys grow up into big boys!  And last week, I made his 2nd birthday cake...the big 2 years old!  Its so neat to be a part of someone's growing up....and as big boys go, this big boy didn't want a monkey cake.  He wanted a construction cake!  Very manly, you know. 

This cake was a super dense chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream.  I drew and painted the dump truck on the cake, and then added the road border.  You'd be amazed at how many different kinds of dump trucks there are, and of course I might have wanted to make it John Deere Green....but Max wanted a yellow truck, so Max got a yellow truck!

I'm on a crusade against black food whenever I need to use black icing, I use black fondant instead!  I mean, do you know how much black food coloring it takes to make black icing??  You end up making gray icing, and to quote Steel Magnolias, "It's got gray icing, I can't even begin to think how you make gray icing!".  Using black fondant is MUCH easier, and better for everyone involved.  No black teeth or mouths, thank you very much. 

(I need to learn how to be a better photographer, so I won't leave shadows!)

I think it turned out so cute!  Excuse me, extremely mature and 'big-boy'. Regardless, Max loved it....and maybe he'll remember this one, who knows.  I hope that I can keep making cakes for him in the future! 

Love and Cake,