Cake Utopia

All Occasion and Custom Cakes in Kalamazoo Michigan by Nicole Kalmbach

Cake for a Dentist May 30, 2011

Filed under: What's new? — Cake Utopia @ 9:22 am

I’ve been procrastinating on this post, because the final product, disappointingly, turned out nothing like the initial vision.  The vision was to make a cake that looked like a giant molar.  I made a base out of rice krispie treats, attached 4 dowels to the base, and covered the dowels with rice krispie treats to look like roots.  I let the rice krispie treats harden in the freezer for maybe 30 minutes.  I then flipped the whole thing over to stand up on the 4 roots.  The structure appeared to be standing and even continued to stand for a while after I put the 8 inch cake on top.  Unfortunately, as I was playing with it, I noticed that it kept leaning.  As I would fix one lean, it would lean another way.  Being the perfectionist that I am, I just could not take the possibility that the cake might fall over, so I scrapped the whole thing.  Next time I will use thicker dowels and allow more time for better construction!

Fortunately, I had a back up plan, as you see above.  I just took the cake off the top of the base and decorated that.  This is a vanilla bean 8″ cake filled with lemon curd and frosted with swiss merengue buttercream.  The decorations are made of fondant.  You can click on the picture to see a few more detailed shots.

I should also mention that, as all of the local stores were out of premade fondant, I attempted to make homemade fondant, for the first time, to cover the giant molar.  It wasn’t really too difficult to make the fondant, but I think I will stick with the premade stuff.  The homemade fondant tends to be more lumpy and takes a TON of kneading to get really smooth.  My hands just aren’t all that powerful when it comes to this kind of thing, so I will try to plan more in the future and let Satin Ice do the work from now on!

I made this cake to congratulate our good friends Ben and Natalie on purchasing their very own dental practice.  Here is the happy couple at their new practice.

Dr. Natalie Nechvatal is a great dentist and I highly recommend her to anyone who may read this and be living in the surrounding Toledo area!

Last weekend I made strawberry rhubarb pie in lieu of cake, so I thought I would post a picture of that, too.  It was super yummy!  Many thanks to Steve’s parents for the rhubarb fresh from their garden.

Up Next:  I have orders for a piano themed cake for the second week in June, a football themed cake that following weekend, and a 1st birthday for Father’s Day weekend.


Crawfish Boil Cake 2011 May 18, 2011

Filed under: What's new? — Cake Utopia @ 9:53 pm

The annual crawfish boil held by some good friends in Kzoo was last weekend.  Now, last year at this time, I was still really getting into the whole cake decorating scene.  I brought a red velvet cake with some star filled and some cut out crawfish.  This year, I think you might agree, that I have arrived on the cake scene!! Click on the picture below for LOTS of more pics.  There were too many to choose from!

The cake is actually 3 10″ chocolate layers which were torted to make 6 layers total.  I divided the layers into 2 cakes with three layers each and filled each layer with swiss merengue buttercream.  I used about 10 dowels in the bottom layer for support and placed a cardboard round between the cakes to make serving easier.  I read somewhere that the frosting on top of the bottom cake should be hard before stacking the second cake, so that the cakes wouldn’t stick together.  This was a great tip and made serving the cake seamless!

After stacking the cakes on top of each other, I proceeded to cover the whole thing in a crumb coat and then a healthy layer of buttercream.  I let the cake sit in the fridge overnight so that it was nice and hard when I went to put the fondant on.  Getting the fondant onto the cake was definitely a challenge.  Steve helped me transfer the fondant and it took three tries!  First, I attempted to roll up the fondant on the rolling pin.  The fondant stuck to the counter top and began to tear in multiple spots.  The great thing about fondant is that when something like this happens, you can just knead it back together until it is smooth and start over.  For the second attempt I rolled the fondant out onto a mat.  Steve and I flipped the fondant onto the cake, but the only part that stuck to the cake was the top.  Attempt #3 was the charm.  We flipped the fondant onto the cake and I separated it very slowly from the mat, making sure it was securely attached to the cake.  Once I peeled all of the fondant from the cake, I had to smooth the sides, which is seems like it would be much easier then it actually is!

Once all of the fondant was smooth, I painted the cake with a mixture of silver pearl dust and vodka.  Three coats made the dull grey fondant nice and shiny.  The flames were free hand cut from multi colored fondant.  I stressed for some time about how to get the water effect on top of the pot.  Finally, I decided to use piping gel.  Of course, when I decided this is what I wanted to do, piping gel was nowhere to be found!  I found a recipe online that used knox gelatin, water, and corn syrup.  I was actually really happy with the resulting look.

Finally, the stars of the show needed to be created:  the crawfish!  I ended up using a cookie cutter to cut out the crawfish from red fondant.  I embellished them with red pearl dust, detail lines, and eyes.

WOO!  This one was by far the most challenging cake I have done yet.  I learned a lot though, and the cake was a real star at the party!  For comparative purposes, the cake below is what I brought to last year’s party.

Next on deck:  Surprise cake for next week, piano recital cake football themed birthday in 3 weeks, and 1st birthday in a month!  Oh yea, and I am throwing a rhubarb pie in there this weekend!


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!