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,