Sugar Skull Cake

Feliz Dia De Los Muertos! Today is the final day of the three-day celebration to remember and honor loved ones who have died. If you want a little more info on the holiday check out my Dia De Los Muertos Cupcakes blog post. In celebration of the day I am sharing with you a Sugar Skull Cake. Sugar Skulls, or Calaveras, are often used to decorate the ofrendas (offerings) & gravestones during the three-day celebration. They got their name because they are traditionally made of clay molded sugar and then decorated with colorful adornments. The sugar skull I created definitely has sugar in it, but, not molded sugar. I opted to make a chocolate cake, frosted it with buttercream frosting and then decorated it with fondant and confetti sprinkles.

To begin, using the same skeleton pan I used to make my Mummy Cake, I baked a chocolate cake – I used a box cake mix. After letting the cake cool I covered it in plastic wrap and refrigerated it overnight.

The next day, I made a batch of Brenda’s Bakery Buttercream – also the same frosting I used for the Mummy Cake. After removing the cake from the refrigerator, I used a large circle cookie cutter to cut out larger eyes for the skull. I used the cookie cutter to make an indentation in the cake and then used a butterknife to carve out the eyes.

Next, I crumb coated the cake and placed it back in the refrigerator so the frosting could set, about a half hour.

After 30 minutes I finished frosting the cake. I added a little extra frosting in the cheek area so the skull would have a more defined look. I then placed it back in the refrigerator so the frosting could firm up.

Once the frosting was firm, I removed the cake from the refrigerator and attempted to smooth the spatula swipe marks by laying a piece of paper towel on sections of the cake and then gently rubbed the sections with my fingers. This worked for the most part, except I then had the imprint of the paper towel on my cake.

Then, the fun part began. I brought my skull to life using fondant & sprinkles. Luckily, I had left-over fondant from the Trolls Cake I made last year. Don’t worry, the fondant was un-opened and still good. Using black fondant and the same round cookie cutter I used to widen the eyes I cut out eye sockets. For the mouth, I actually had a band aid cookie cutter from a Doc McStuffins themed cake I made last year that was the perfect size. You could easily cut out a rectangle using black fondant though. For the nose socket, I cut out a pink heat and then placed it on the cake upside down. And for the rest of the cake I used daisy cutters to cut out different sizes to decorate around the cake along with confetti sprinkles. This was probably one of the simplest cakes I decorated (I feel like I say that about a lot of cakes these days!)

For a more detailed instruction on creating your own Sugar Skull cake check out The Cake Girls

 

Descendants Themed Cake

It’s my Blogiversary! I started this blog 6 years ago and my very first post was an Elmo Cake I created for a friend’s daughter, aka my niece. Since then the cakes have gotten a bit more elaborate and 3 years ago they turned into fondant creations. I normally ask her a month or so in advance of her birthday what theme she’s thinking of. When she told me Descendants for this year I was stumped. I had only heard of Descendants, but had no clue what the deal was behind them. So, it was off to Pinterest to get some ideas. Once I had my idea down it was time to get my supplies and test out a few.

I needed to make sure that the icing was easily pipeable and also to test how thick the piping would be with the tip it came with. I opted to go with a smaller tip.

I also needed to make sure that the flower cut-out I purchased would make nice roses. Thankfully it did.

One more thing, I opted to purchase a dummy cake for the top tier of the cake. I normally do bake the cake, but, it usually doesn’t get eaten because it’s too much cake, so, to avoid waste and a little bit of stress on my part I purchased a dummy cake. In case you are wondering, it’s made out of Styrofoam. No one knew it was a dummy cake once it was covered and decorated.

To prep the dummy cake I covered it in frosting

I then covered it, as well as the actual cake, in fondant.

And after some piping, fondant rolling and cutting the cake came together. I have definitely learned with making these cakes that it’s important to walk away for a few minutes and then come back to truly appreciate the way it looks. So, I take a lot of mini-breaks, if not, I would probably drive myself crazy. One thing I did decide, I am going to avoid covering a cake with black fondant. I find that it tends to dry out fast and inevitably it always breaks. I had a few challenges trying to cover up the imperfections from it.

So, what will my next themed cake be…? Not sure yet. I’ll have to ask my other niece what’s she’s thinking of for her June birthday!

 

Happy Blogiversary and a Trolls Inspired Cake

It’s my 5 year Blogiversary and I am celebrating with a Trolls inspired cake. Okay, not really. But, it truly is the 5-year anniversary of Bead Yarn & Spatula. Boy, where does the time go? And I’ll be honest I wish my blog was further along and had more exposure than it currently does but I know I am part to blame for that. I definitely need to be more consistent with the posting. Hopefully this year I’ll be better with that. As for the Trolls inspired cake, I really did create one. But, it was for a friend’s daughter’s Birthday.

This cake was a three day process. And can I say I am always apprehensive to work with fondant because you just don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s not as consistent as buttercream that’s for sure. But, it does make for a beautiful cake and is worth the extra work. On the first day, which only took about a half hour or so I created the rainbow that was going to sit on top of the cake. I made it a few days early to ensure that the fondant would harden and hold the arch shape. I rolled each color of the fondant about the same width and stuck them together by brushing the fondant with a little water, not too much as I didn’t want the colors to run. I used a 2-inch round cookie cutter as my base for the first arch and continued from there with the other colors. Once the rainbow was complete I stuck toothpicks into the bottom of it so I would be able to stick it on to the cake.

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The night before I was to cover the cakes with fondant I baked them. I don’t like baking my cakes too early because I want them to still be fresh when they are cut into. The bottom portion of this two-tier cake was a three-layer chocolate cake with a chocolate mousse filling and chocolate frosting. While the top portion was a yellow cake that I filled and frosted with chocolate frosting. After letting the cakes cool overnight I frosted and filled them the following morning and then placed them in the refrigerator so they could settle.

That afternoon I removed both cakes from the refrigerator and let them come to room temperature. You don’t want to place fondant on a cold cake because fondant is at room temperature and if you place it on a cold cake you will end up with a bunch of air bubbles; that can be quickly remedied with a pin but, why go through that if need not be.

For the bottom tier of the cake I covered it with yellow fondant and then with neon colored fondant I cut out flower designs to adhere to the cake. And to cover up any fondant imperfections along the bottom of the cake I opted for a half circle design around it in pink fondant…

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Which matched the top tier of the cake that I decorated to mimic the headband that the Poppy troll wears in her hair.

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I placed both of the tiers back in the fridge until the following afternoon when I completed the top tier of the cake by placing the rainbow on top of it and used marshmallows to mimic clouds. They stuck together and to the cake with just a few drops of water. That’s also how I stuck all the flowers and such to the cake. Once again though with not too much water so the colors don’t begin to run.

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And this cake wasn’t complete until a few trolls were placed on it. Of course Poppy and Branch, the main characters from the Trolls movie and a few of their friends. And if you haven’t seen the movie I highly suggest you do so. The message behind it is good for all ages to learn or to be reminded of.

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And there you have it… My 5-year anniversary post and an adorable – if I do so say myself – Trolls inspired cake. The Birthday Girl loved it and that’s really all that matters to be honest!

 

1 Week, 3 Cakes & 48 Cupcakes!

Recently I was elbow deep in flour, sugar and butter for the better part of a week creating some lovely cakes for some momentous occasions – a friend’s daughters’ first birthday and her older daughters’ pre-k graduation.

To kick off my week of cake baking & decorating I made a 3-tier 9-inch white cake layered with vanilla mousse and covered with pink tinted vanilla frosting. I didn’t just simply frost the cake though; I opted to decorate it with buttercream ruffles. To create the ruffles I used a No. 125 Wilton Tip, which is considered a petal tip. Unfortunately I didn’t take any pictures of the process, only the final product. I began by applying a thin layer of frosting to the cake so the ruffles would be able to stick to it. To ensure that the ruffles would be evenly spaced and the same width throughout I used a straight-edge to score the cake. Since I had placed the cake on a cake board that had half-circles around it I used that as my guide to create the lines. Once that was done I scored lines along the top of the cake towards the center. I made those lines double the width of those along the sides of the cake. I then filled my pastry bag that was fitted with the tip and began creating the ruffles. With the thicker side of the tip against the cake I began making the ruffles starting and ending the ruffle when I hit one of the score lines. This video shows the process I used.

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And once I got the cake to its intended destination I topped it with a cake banner topper I made. I did receive one complaint about this cake… It was too nice to cut. I was very happy with how it came out; it looked just like how I envisioned it. But, more importantly it was delicious. The Vanilla Mousse filling was perfect and the frosting wasn’t too sweet, and lastly the cake was incredibly moist and light.

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Next up was another cake to celebrate that first birthday. This time it was a two-tier fondant covered Mickey & Minnie Mouse themed cake. I actually had a bit of anxiety to make this cake. You never know what’s going to happen when you are working with fondant – mainly will it tear!?!? Thankfully there were no tears whatsoever, but, there was an air bubble here and there that was quickly remedied with a needle.

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And to go along with the cake there were cupcakes that followed along with the Mickey & Minnie Mouse theme. These cupcakes actually did cause me some stress. Initially I was planning on using Mickey Mouse themed liners, actually I did use them to bake the first batch of 48 cupcakes but those liners were on the smaller side so my cupcakes all looked like they had been nibbled a little around the edges once I took them out of the cupcake pan. Definitely not something that was presentable and couldn’t be masked with frosting. So, I baked another 48 cupcakes (this blog title should really read 96 cupcakes!) using white cupcake liners that I picked up at a restaurant supply store quite some time ago. It’s a package of 500, so I’ll be using them for quite some time. But, thankfully they turned out perfect cupcakes that I then topped with vanilla buttercream frosting – the same frosting I used for the first cake. I then topped them with Mickey Mouse picks and Mickey Mouse sticker button picks (I made these) to ensure the theme traveled through to the cupcakes. Oh, and since not everyone is a sprinkle lover like myself, I only covered have of the cupcakes with sprinkles.

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The cake and cupcakes together…

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And finally, a cake to celebrate a Pre-K graduation. The young graduate requested chocolate, so I made a Triple Death by Chocolate Cake – Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Mousse and Chocolate Frosting. It was a lot of chocolate but delicious nonetheless. To decorate this cake I opted to cover it with rosettes using a No. 22 Wilton Tip. Initially I was going to use a 1M Tip, but my rosettes just looked too sloppy so big. And to finish it off I topped it with another cake banner topper that I made.

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After a week like this I think I’ll take a break from cakes and cupcakes and stick to cookies for a bit!