Cake Utopia

All Occasion and Custom Cakes in Kalamazoo Michigan by Nicole Kalmbach

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you Mom’s out there!! May 15, 2011

Filed under: What's new? — Cake Utopia @ 11:06 pm

Editors Note:  I actually wrote this blog last Sunday, but didn’t have the time to get all of the pictures, etc. up until now.  SO, I apologize that I am professing love to all mom’s a week late.  Don’t worry, though, all of the mom’s in my life were appreciated appropriately in a very timely manner!  Besides, there’s no reason that every Sunday shouldn’t be a day to appreciate mom!!

One lucky Mom was the recipient of the cake above.  It is an 8″ peanut butter cup cake, which means that peanut butter filling is sandwiched between 2 layers of chocolate cake and the cake is frosted with ganache.  I must say that this is THE best ganache cake that I have done.  Well, I should say, it was, until I smashed part of the cake with the refrigerator handle!  Part of the fun in cake decorating, though, is covering up unsightly mistakes.  Can you tell where it was?  My favorite part of this cake was definitely the sparkle on the roses.  I finally got the shimmer dust to really shimmer!  I have found that the more generous you are with the shimmer dust, the more shimmer you will get.  Seems pretty elementary, I suppose.

Here is what the recipient said about the cake:  “Nicole!!!! Thanks for the cake. It was amazing. Everyone loved it, and it’s gone. Believe it or not, the cake was the reason a large chunk of my family got together. My dad invited everyone over because we had a bitchin cake. It’s like alcohol to get a party started, but instead, it’s cake to get the family party started.  Thanks again!”  And that pretty much sums up why I make cake!!

Last weekend I gave my mom a flower for her birthday, so I didn’t want to do that again for Mom’s day.  So, of course, in true Cake Utopia style, I made her a bouquet of the edible variety!  Please click the picture below to see more pictures.

As a little bonus for my customer yesterday, I sent him home with a free one of these for his mom.  These super cute bouquets would also be fabulous as a center piece for a special occasion or even as a party favor for a wedding.  They can be made to order and customized to meet your every cake pop desire!.

Up next:  Chocolate cake for the Zach & Natalie’s annual crawfish boil next Saturday.  Cake is done.. posting to come!

 

A Lemony Kind of Weekend! May 2, 2011

Filed under: What's new? — Cake Utopia @ 9:44 pm

This weekend is all about the fresh springtime taste of lemons!  Since the season Spring has refused to visit Michigan, I thought I would force the issue by filling my kitchen with lemony treats!

The mini lemon cakes were the desert to a Thai dinner cooked up by some good friends on Friday night.  These fresh little cakes are (obviously) flavored with fresh lemon zest and juice.  The lemon theme is carried through to the refreshingly light glaze, which is made of fresh lemon juice and powdered sugar.

Happy birthday to my mom!  And, her sisters, Aunt Linda & Aunt Nancy!  They were each born several years and a few days apart.  We enjoyed a family get together at Aunt Nancy’s house and finished off a fajita fest with this lemon merengue cake.  What is a lemon merengue cake you ask?  It, of course, contains all the essential components of lemon merengue pie!  This is a lemon cake with lemon curd filling and lemon swiss merengue buttercream frosting.  I have to say that the fresh lemons used in the cake, filling, and frosting, give the cake a very refreshing flavor!  All in all, I used the zest of 9 lemons and the juice of 6.

The last project of the weekend was the graduation cupcakes below.  All of the cupcakes are vanilla bean.  The white frosted ones are filled with lemon curd and topped with lemon cream cheese frosting.  The yellow cupcakes are filled with mango and frosted with mango cream cheese.  To bring in the brown and gold of WMU, I used brown polka-dotted cupcake wrappers.  Unfortunately, those wrappers are a bit difficult to see in these pictures!

You can click on any of the pictures above and you will be transported to more detailed pictures, including detail of the lemon curd filling!  Next on deck:  Peanut butter cup Mother’s Day cake!

 

It’s Easter Time! April 26, 2011

Filed under: What's new? — Cake Utopia @ 8:53 pm

I knew that I had to do something special for Easter, but I just couldn’t figure out what.  I’ve been making so many heavy cakes lately, that I just wanted something light and fluffy.  My mom suggested my Grandma Kitson’s Angel Food Cake, and I was sold!  Angel food cake was Grandma Kitson’s specialty.  When she passed away, I had not yet really “honed” in on my baking talents, so I never had the opportunity to learn one on one from her.  But, she did leave behind her recipe, which I have now mastered.  The mastering has been mademuch easier with the addition of my new mixer, too!

So, in case you are wondering, angel food cake is basically whipped up egg whites with a bit of cake flour, sugar, vanilla, and almond flavoring.  The batter can be a bit temperamental, so one has to be very delicate when handling it.  The cake must be baked in an angel food cake pan, and, after is is done, it has to be turned upside down until it is cool.  The frosting is called brown butter.  To make it, you brown butter on the stove top and add powder sugar, cream, vanilla, and almond flavorings.  The frosting is poured over the cake and left to do it’s own thing for sort of a rugged look.  The carrots and bunny are made of fondant.

I really liked how this one turned it.  It was very sweet looking and tasting!  Click on the picture above for much more detailed pics.

 

Carrot Cake Cupcakes April 23, 2011

Filed under: What's new? — Cake Utopia @ 6:31 pm

Happy Easter fans!  I thought it would be fitting to save this project until today, as it fits right in with Easter.  I made the cupcakes below as a “Thank you” to Julie, who graciously designed my “oh so perfect” business cards for Cake Utopia.  Many thanks to yo, Julie!!  The cupcakes are carrot with cream cheese frosting.  Some are adorned with toasted pecans to signify that those also have nuts inside.  I am a nutty kind of girl, so I, of course, prefer the ones with nuts.  However, in an effort to be sensitive to those who aren’t so nutty, I also left some without.  Click on the picture below to see more!

Coming soon:  Easter Angel Food Cake!

 

Minnie Mouse Cake with Mouse Cake Pops April 20, 2011

Filed under: What's new? — Cake Utopia @ 5:54 pm

Now, fans, I didn’t want you to get overwhelmed with all of my projects from last weekend; so, I thought I would give you a few days to digest each one.  Either that, or I just haven’t had time to post about all of them!  Following you will find some info about project #2 for last weekend.

You probably remember my post last week where I attempted cake pops for the first time.  That test was in preparation for this cake.  A college friend of mine, Megan, and her sister, Amber, seemed to have a lot of interest in this so called cake on a stick treat.  Since I was making a cake for Amber’s daughters first birthday, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to test out those cake pops a la Minnie Mouse style.  Also, anyone who knows Megan or anyone in her family, knows that they are all CRAZY for Disney.

I’m not going to take the credit and claim that I came up with this awesome cake pop design on my own.  Bakerella gave me the basics for the mouse and the bow part of the pops was my own vision.  My cake pop technique, particular on the Mouse, needs some work.  However, I didn’t have a ton of time and Amber didn’t specifically request the cake pops, so I thought what I had done would due.  Another issue I have with these pops is that the chocolate looks really, nice but it tastes really cheap.  Does anyone know of a good quality dark chocolate that has the same hardening qualities of the molding chocolate?  The vanilla molding chips taste good but the chocolate flavored ones are just not that great.  I really pride Cake Utopia on using high quality, good tasting ingredients.  It really bothers me to hand out chocolate pops when I know the chocolate is inferior and could be so much better!

The cake was designed based on a request to match the napkin and plate design for the party.  I wasn’t actually asked to “mouse” it up, but the Minnie Mouse bows were mentioned as a like.  I appreciate the creative freedom that I was allowed on this one and I thought that since the pops are kind of abstract, they would be the perfect finishing touch.

The bottom tier is a 10″ chocolate with strawberry and cream cheese filling and vanilla buttercream frosting.  The top tier is a 6″ cake of the same makeup.  If you click on the picture above, you will see that I also made the most adorable smashcake which was chocolate with pink frosting.

One more post to go to wrap up last weekend!

 

Chica Cake April 18, 2011

Filed under: What's new? — Cake Utopia @ 9:55 pm

Last weekend I attempted to pull off my own version of Food Network Cake Challenge.  Instead of 8 hours, I allotted myself 3 days.  That much time STILL was not enough, I don’t know how they do it on those challenge shows!  I most definitely underestimated how long it would really take to complete two quite intricate cakes.  I actually took last Friday off of work because I just wanted a day off.  Good thing, because I definitely needed that extra time to give each project my all!  This post contains details about Chica.  I will also be posting soon about my Minnie Mouse Cake Pop cake and carrot cake cupcakes.

The Chica cake above came as a request for a 1 year old birthday.  They said I didn’t need to do anything elaborate, just something that is reminiscent of Chica.  Well, I didn’t know who or what Chica is, so I did some considerable research.  I found that Chica is, apparently, a character from PBS Sprout’s Sunnyside Up Show.  She is a chicken with no legs that sits on a nest and sounds like a kazoo.  Yes, that’s right, she does not cluck like your typical chicken.   Sometimes I wonder how kids watch this stuff.  Then,  I remember that I am not a kid anymore, and at least no one is being shot at or turned into a zombie in this lovely show!

This cake really stumped me until Friday afternoon when I just knew that Chica could really only be given proper chicken justice in one way.  That one way would have to be in marshmallow Rice Krispie Treat (RKT) style.  Chica’s nest is made of RKT and covered in chocolate fondant.  Chica’s body and her head are also made of RKT covered in fondant.  I didn’t cover the RKT in frosting before covering it in fondant, because I thought the Rice Krispie texture would add interest to Chica; especially since we all know chickens are covered in feathers, not sugar!  I’m not sure if this really added interest or it just looks like a lazy RKT job.  I’m polling my readers on this one:  what do you think?

Chica’s beak was probably the most challenging part of the whole cake.  Next time, I would make her beak from RKT and then just cover it in fondant.  That would help to get the right shape and probably eliminate the extra yellow on the bottom “lip”.  After much ado, I finally just left it at what you see.  You get the idea well enough, anyway.  I really do love how the barns turned out, though, including the extra detail with the letter “C” for Corinne, the birthday girl.  After I was all “done” with the cake, I felt like something was missing and that somehow it was just too plain.  So, I added the pink flowers with sparkle dust to girl things up a bit.  I am so happy I added those because they add so much to the cake.  Click on the picture above and you can see additional pictures of various details

Are you wondering what lies beneath the frosting on this one?  It is a 10″ marble cake filled with buttercream and yellow colored buttercream frosting on the outside.  I also made a smashcake (which you can see if you click the picture above) and that is chocolate cake with buttercream frosting.  I think all first birthdays should consist of chocolate cake and a really big mess.  I couldn’t have been more pleased that both of my 1 year olds today did request chocolate smashcakes.  I’m also pleased that the only mess that needed cleaning around here today was my kitchen, which did not consist of a toddler covered in chocolate cake or multicolored buttercream flung about.

Finally, for those of you who aren’t familiar with Chica, here she is in cartoon format:

I really am my own biggest critic and I realize that my RKT Chica does not look all that much like this version, but I do think it is reminiscent.

 

When your oven hands you cupcakes with brown edges, make cake pops! April 11, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Cake Utopia @ 10:23 pm

Some say, when life hands you lemons, make lemonade.  I say, when your oven temperature turns up to 425 degrees for no reason and gives you brown edged cupcakes, make cake pops!  What is a cake pop you ask?  They are only the most trendiest trend in cakeology these days!  Basically, they are cake on a stick.  You should know that everything tastes better on a stick, and, if you don’t know that, place an order for yours today!

I’ve been wanting to try them ever since a friend of mine saw them at Starbucks.  Now, I am an adoring fan of Starbucks, But, Starbucks is for coffee!  Who needs cake pops from Starbucks when Cake Utopia is here to serve and meet your every cake pop desire?!  Surprisingly, they were actually pretty easy to make.  Please remember that this is my first attempt, so don’t be too critical about my technique.  I learned a lot , too, such as:

  • Chocolate cannot be colored with gel coloring.  When I tried to color the chocolate, it turned into a solid state and did not have the right consistency to make poparific.
  • Too much chocolate makes for a drippy cake pop.
  • The pre-colored chocolate wafers are good to use because they set up fairly quickly and are not sticky at all once dried.

Click on the picture above to be transported to a land of… more pictures!  More adventures to come later this week… stay tuned!!

 

 
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