Everyone who hears these words of Mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. Matthew 7:24-25

Monday, April 30, 2012

Tasty Tunes

I’m super excited to share with you the details of my latest cake.  Lately I’ve been eager to do more challenging cakes, and this one definitely fit the bill.

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This cake was requested by a young lady as a surprise for her boyfriend’s 20th birthday.  She sent me a few pictures of his guitar and asked me to replicate it in cake.  The Tool Man and I were really excited to take on the challenge.  Actually, I think the Tool Man was more excited than I was.  He even went so far as to print out a perfect scale model on his CAD program for me to use when carving the cake.  Although, for stability’s sake, I ended up cutting the neck of the guitar a little wider than it actually should have been.

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Thankfully, the decorating process couldn’t have gone any smoother!  Everything went according to plan.  No hiccups. No crashes.  No rips, tears, settling, or any other cake decorating nightmares.  You never know what might happen when you are dealing with mediums as finicky as cake and sugar.

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A few of the things the client requested for the cake were some “stickers” on the guitar and a Jack Johnson “autograph.”  (I have to admit that I had to do an internet search to find out who Jack Johnson was.  My best guess is that he plays a guitar. Lol.)

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Without a doubt, the most stressful part of this cake was piping the strings.  It was the very last thing I did on the cake.  It’s not easy piping perfectly straight, unbroken lines nearly two feet long.  And, no, I didn’t manage to pipe perfectly straight, unbroken lines, but they turned out pretty good, I think.

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I achieved the finish on the guitar body using my air brush.  First I covered the cake with a sheet of “red” fondant.  (It was actually more pink than red.)  Once the cake was covered, I sprayed the guitar a deep, rich red.  Then I used brown and black to add the wood grain details.  I was really pleased with the way it turned out.

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Everything on this cake is edible except for a couple of toothpicks used to secure the gold knobs into the top of the guitar.  The body of the guitar was white cake and the neck was chocolate.  The entire cake was filled and iced with cream cheese icing and then covered with my homemade marshmallow fondant.  The knobs, sticker, and frets were made with gum paste.  The stickers and autograph were hand-painted with gel food coloring thinned with vanilla flavoring.  And as I mentioned earlier, the strings were piped with royal icing, then hand-painted with edible metallic dust.  The entire cake was 30 inches long.

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Thanks, Savannah, for asking me to do this cake. I had a blast!


Saturday, April 28, 2012

Betty Crocker

Hey y’all. All the baking going on around here lately hasn’t left much time for any extracurricular activities, but I do have some pictures of Miss Lucy to share with you today.  Although…these pictures do have to do with baking.

First, let me just say that the monkeys have been really great when it comes to the the new bakery.  Ty and Lucy love it when I tell them I have to go make a cake.  They pack up a sack of toys, some DVD’s, and a few snacks, and off we go!  Usually they spend the majority of our time down there outside hunting for “treasures” or rolling cars down the ramp at the backdoor.

One of the first nights we spent setting up the bakery, Lucy wanted to try her hand at dishwashing.  I think she got more water on her than on the dishes, though.  The next time she wanted to wash dishes, she asked me to take her clothes off so they wouldn’t get wet.

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How do you like that cute little apron and baker’s hat Lucy is wearing? She loves them! She calls the set her “makery.”  I’m pretty sure “Santa” stitched them himself from a free pattern he found at Skip to My Lou.

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One of Lucy’s favorite things to help out with in the kitchen is rolling pie crusts.  After I make my crusts and trim the edges I usually let her have the scraps.  I believe she could spend hours playing with the dough.  Sometimes when I’ve finished decorating a cake I give her a piece of the leftover fondant.  She has a blast with that too, although she’s not completely satisfied unless the fondant is pink.  Such a girl!

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Maybe someday Lucy will be my number one baking assistant!


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Choo Choo

I know I said that I wasn’t going to do any more cake posts on this blog, but until I get the issues with the HOT Rock blog resolved I’ve got no choice.

This train-themed cake was for 2-year-old Tripp.  In addition to the cake, I made 4 dozen cake pops shaped like railroad crossing signs.

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The clouds on top were made with gum paste. Most of the other decorations were made with fondant.

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Tripp’s cake had 8” and 10” tiers and served approx. 45.  It was filled and iced with buttercream.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Cute Cookies

As promised, today I’m sharing some pictures of the Easter goodies the monkeys and I baked up last week.  I admit my motivation for making these treats was strictly for commercial purposes.  I wanted to get some cookie and cake pop experience under my belt, and I figured the holiday was the perfect excuse to get baking.  I was pleased with how everything turned out, but I’ve decided that given the choice between the two, I’d rather decorate cakes than cookies.  I just feel like I get a little more bang for my buck with cake…there seems to be more of a wow factor to me.

Anyway, on to the cookies.

First is my basket of chicks.  I cut orange M&M’s in half to make the beaks.

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A plateful of flower power…  Once again I added yellow M&M’s for the flower centers.

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Now the cake pops…

Instead of simply making them into balls, I decided to get a little creative and fashion some carrot-shaped pops.  I made the leaves using white chocolate. 

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The monkeys really had a blast helping out with the cake pops.  Lucy was in charge of dipping the sticks into the chocolate, then Ty inserted the sticks into the carrots.  Me?  I dipped the carrots into the orange candy coating.  We made quite a team!

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Just wanted to thank everyone for the amazing response to my announcement about the bakery yesterday.  I didn’t know I had so many fans.  Ha ha!  Y’all are great!

Also I wanted to let everyone know that I am aware that the HOT Rock blog is not working properly.  Hopefully I can get that fixed soon so that I can start posting my latest cake pictures over there.


Monday, April 16, 2012

Change Is Good

I think that people, for the most part, don’t like change.  I know I don’t.  But there are some occasions when change can be good, necessary even.  Now is one of those times for me.  A time of good, necessary, exciting change. 

“So what’s changed?” you ask.  Well, my “job” so to speak.  I’ve officially made the change from amateur cake decorator to a real, live bakery business owner!  That’s right.  I’ve turned my little hobby/obsession into a legitimate business.

Last week I officially opened my very own bakery/cake studio!

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Over the last couple of months, the Tool Man and I have been super busy planning and finalizing all the details of this move.  From finding a location, to setting up the business, to deciding on a name, there’s been a lot of decision making going on around here.

As for the location, we tossed around several ideas, and at last settled on the very best possible option for us…our house!  OK, so it’s not the house we currently live in.  It’s the house we lived in for the first five years of our marriage.  We still own it, and have been renting it for the past 6 years, but when it became vacant during this whole process, we saw a huge opportunity.  It’s just the right size, it’s practically in our own front yard, and it required very little work to bring it up to code.

As my very special group of followers, I have decided to give y’all a tour of the new kitchen.  It’s tiny, but functional, and it already had  a refrigerator, stove, microwave, and hand-washing sink.  Did I mention it was cute too?

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One of the items we had to install for health code purposes was this three-compartment sink.  Or as I like to call it, a hideous beast.

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We also purchased this stainless steel table. I know that I will really enjoy this huge workspace!  And check out all that flour and sugar. I can’t wait to get baking.

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Looks like I’m gonna have plenty of help doing the dishes!

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One of the nicest things about this house is the lovely view you have walking into it.  When the Tool Man’s grandmother rented this house from us, she planted gobs and gobs of roses!  Well, they are in full bloom right now, and the sight and smell are amazing.  I don’t know it’s proper name, but this long-stemmed pink one is my favorite.

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This sweet little ‘Blaze’ climbing rose, is one that I actually planted before we moved.  It never really produced while we were living there, but I’m glad to see it’s thriving now.

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OK, back to HOT Rock.  You may be wondering where in the world I came up with that name.  It’s an acronym that stands for “House on the Rock.”  Matthew 7:24 is a verse that I have embraced for this blog, and I wanted to continue that theme with the business.  And of course, it’s more than a “theme.”  It’s a lifestyle the Tool Man and I strive to live by – making Jesus the foundation of all that we do.

Another thing that I’ve been working on for this bakery is a new website.  Talk about a job!  Website design is not for the faint of heart.  I never would have guessed that web design was so time consuming!  I’ve spent hours and hours working on the site, and it’s still not completely finished.  But that’s ok.  The site is up and running, and I’d be honored if you would pop over and check it out.

The address is www.hotrockcakes.com 

I’m also doing an all-cake blog, www.hotrockcakes.blogspot.com

And I’ve got a Facebook page for HOT Rock, and I’d just love it if you’d “like” it!

From now on I plan to keep my cake stuff over there and reserve this blog for its original purpose…our family.  ‘Cause let’s face it, the cakes have taken over this blog the last few months.  So, if you want to see some of the latest cake creations, be sure you check out these other sites and get connected!

Looks like my first week in the bakery is gonna be a wild one!  I’ve got 5 cakes to decorate (my new weekly record) plus I’m baking up a few cakes and pies for Fox’s.  Whew! I’m gonna be busy the next few days, but I guess that’s a good thing, right!


Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter 2012

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter holiday celebrating with your family and friends.  We sure did!  It was a day filled with activities.

First we had a wonderful time of worship at church.  Then we headed to the Tool Man’s parents’ house for a delicious Easter lunch, complete with turkey & dressing.  Yummy!  After lunch the monkeys had a blast hunting eggs and playing with their cousins.  Then it was off to my parent’s house to do it all over again!  Only this time it was BBQ instead of turkey.

Every Easter we try to get a family picture in our spiffy new outfits.  Here are a few of the pictures we took this year.

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Of course, where the monkeys are involved, there’s always gonna be some goofing around…

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Pappaw and Grammie always have to have a picture with all the grand “young-uns.”

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Now time for the eggs!

Each time Lucy found and egg, she had to stop to open it and take a peak inside.

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“A ball, Mama!”

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I took this picture mainly because of what’s going on in the background…

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The Tool Man sprawled out right in the middle of the egg hunt.  He was really tired, because Ty had kept him up half the night.  Poor little Ty gets so excited when his cousins come for a visit that he can’t even sleep.

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Now that’s an egg hunting pro right there.  He had to have two baskets to carry his spoils!

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Finally the Tool Man got up and moving!

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At my mom’s house the monkeys played in the sand, while Sandy hid their eggs.

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“This a bug, Mama.”

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What a fun day!  Hopefully later this week I can share some of the fun Easter treats the monkeys and I baked up!