Cake Utopia

All Occasion and Custom Cakes in Kalamazoo Michigan by Nicole Kalmbach

Minnie Mouse Cake, Steve’s Birthday X2, and St. Patrick’s Day Cookies March 27, 2011

Filed under: What's new? — Cake Utopia @ 9:27 am

Today is the day that I finally get this blog updated.  Every time in the last week that I have attempted to update, I have fallen asleep.  It’s 7:43 on Sunday morning and I am wide awake, so here we go!!

Minnie Mouse Cake

Thursday morning, I finished the Minnie Mouse cake above.  Minnie came as a request for a 5 year old birthday.  The cake is a 10″ round chocolate cake filled with chocolate ganache buttercream.  The pink is dyed swiss merengue buttercream.  I was a bit nervous about this one, as I have had some issues with coloring the swiss merengue buttercream in the past.  I was very excited that the buttercream took on the pink very nicely this time!  The base for the mouse ears is made with the ball pan from Wilton.  It created the perfect half circle that I frosted with swiss merengue buttercream and then covered in black fondant.  It’s pretty difficult to mix a really good black fondant, and after the fondant was on the cake, I decided that the black was more of a charcoal gray.  So, after I added the ears, I painted the whole thing with a mixture of black gel paste coloring and vodka.  After I let that dry overnight, I noticed that while the mouse ears were now black, there was an uneven finish, with shine in some places and matte in others.  So, I got out the handy dandy steamer, shined the whole baby up, and voila,  I had a perfectly shined replica of Minnie mouse ears.  I also realized that I painted the cake that the kids who would eat the cake might end up with black teeth because of the paint.  Though not a proven theory, my hope is also that steaming the fondant seals in the coloring.  The polka dots, bow, lettering, and numbering are all done with fondant that I brushed shimmer dust on for extra shine (though it is a bit hard to see the shimmer in the pictures).  This cake is 99.9% edible, with only the supporting straws underneath the mouse ears being the item that cannot be eaten.  Click on the picture below for a few more detailed shots of this latest creation.

Mile High Red Velvet Birthday Cake

Last Tuesday was Steve (my husbands) birthday.  He turned the ripe old age of 33 (though sometimes he acts like he’s 93 – and other times he acts like he’s 3!).  🙂  I made the cake below for him.  It is mile (or really just 10 inch) high red velvet cake.  It had 4 layers with red velvet cake frosting between each layer.  I recently did some research to attempt to find the “real” name for the special frosting that goes with red velvet cake.  Every recipe I found just called it “red velvet cake frosting.”  In order to make the frosting, flour, cream, milk, and vanilla bean are cooked together to make a thick paste that has to be chilled for a few hours.  The cold paste is then added to butter and superfine sugar that have been beat until the sugar dissolves.  The resulting frosting is just delicious, and extra delicious on red velvet cake!  Click the picture below and you will be transported to a page with… more pictures!

Just to give you an idea of where I was at with my mad decorating skills last year, here is Steve’s birthday cake from March 2010.  I’ll let you draw your own conclusions about how I have changed in a year!

On a side note, I did give Steve tickets for US to see Alice Cooper this coming August.  I feel as though I deserve mad props for intentionally subjecting myself to Alice (again).  What one will do for love…. 🙂

Peanut Butter Cup Birthday Cake

My husband is, apparently, the most special birthday boy there ever was, because he actually got 2 cakes this year!  Or, maybe 1.5 because .5 of the cake below really belonged to Grandpa!  To his credit, he did tell me that I only had to make one cake for the family celebration last Sunday.  But, I thought his friends would be so disappointed if we didn’t bring cake to the celebration on his actual birthday, so he was a lucky guy this year!  This cake I am dubbing a “Peanut Butter Cup Cake”.  It is chocolate cake with peanut butter filling and ganache exterior.  All of the decorations and writing are done with the peanut butter, as well.  Click on the picture to see more of it!

St. Patrick’s Day Cookies

This brings me to my first project of the week:  St. Patrick’s Day Cookies!  The cookies are white and gingerbread.  The green and white frosting is cream cheese and the taupe colored frosting is Bailey’s Irish Creme Cream Cheese.  You should know that St. Patrick’s Day is one of my FAVORITE holiday’s!  I get to celebrate my Irish heritage as well as the color green.  If you haven’t figure out yet, my absolute favorite color is green, so there is nothing more pleasing to my eyes than a sea of all people wearing all shades of green… Just beautiful!!  Click on the picture below to see a few close ups of the cookies.

Coming right up:  Mini Peanut Butter cup and Peppermint Pattie cakes, a WMU grad cake, Chica cake, and baby Minnie mouse.  These are spread throughout April, so stay tuned!  Also, a shout out to my great fans… Cake Utopia is at almost 2,000 views!  Keep spreading the word!


Finding Nemo Cake and Cupcakes March 14, 2011

Filed under: What's new? — Cake Utopia @ 8:18 pm

Last weekend, Cake Utopia was all about Finding Nemo.  I was pretty well satisfied with the way in which I found him, too.  Of course, there are always things I will do differently next time.  I’m beginning to realize that each new order presents new challenges.  This must be why people can stay in this profession their entire lives and still love it!!  If you click on the picture above, you can see just how Nemo came to life.  This order also included cupcakes which can also be seen if you click above.

For my commentary, here are a few fun facts about Nemo:

  • The request came as a “side view” of Nemo in cake with cupcakes on the side.
  • I started with 2 14″ round cakes.  I made each layer about 1/2 of the size that I would normally make.  I filled, stacked, and crumb coated the rounds with vanilla bean buttercream.
  • I used a cartoon cutout to get the basic Nemo shape, then I carved additional detail and added depth with frosting.
  • Nemo had a 1/4″ think layer of frosting before he was covered in fondant.
  • This is the first totally fondant covered cake that I have done.
  • You may or may not notice that Nemo has no  teeth.  I attempted to add teeth several times, but I just couldn’t get it to work.  My next Nemo will have teeth!
  • The black lines separating the orange from the white are rolled fondant “snakes” that I smashed down to lie flat.
  • The black detail around the fins is painted with black food coloring.  I also added subtle detail to the orange before the fondant dried.
  • When I was done with the fondant work, but before I added the blue dot border, I used my clothing steamer to make Nemo shiny.  Here are a few things that I learned just from this:
  1. Essentially, the hot steam is melting the sugar crystals on the fondant, creating the gloss that you see.
  2. If you use too much steam, the fondant will melt too much and the fondant colors will run.  This is not a problem if your fondant is all one color.  But, if you have white fondant (for say, teeth) next to orange fondant, the orange will run onto the white.  Then you will end up with orange teeth… or no teeth at all of you opt to correct the situation by blacking out both the orange and the white!
  3. I actually steamed the cake the night before and then put it in the fridge over night.  I noticed that when I put it in the fridge, some of the fondant crystalized.  I steamed the cake for a 2nd time right before the cake was picked up.  In the future, I would let the cake come to room temperature and then steam it.  I wouldn’t steam and then put it in the fridge again.  Time is of the essence though… so careful planning must be done!
  • The cupcakes and smashcake are white with vanilla bean buttercream.  They are dressed up simply with sparkling sugar of various colors.
  • You might notice a few cupcakes with yellowish frosting.  I tried out Mango buttercream with these and added a few pink sprinkles as this cake was for a 1 year old Girls birthday!

This weekend I am having the whole family over for Steve (my husband) and Papa’s birthdays.  I have a peanut butter cup cake on the menu for that and a surprise cake for my hubby’s 33rd birthday on the 22nd. shhh, don’t tell him!