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901  COOKING / Dessert / First fondant attempt (with pictures and some things I learned) on: June 18, 2008 07:34:34 PM
Woohoo! I got so many compliments on my last batch of cupcakes that I worked up the courage to try my hand at fondant. I've been stockpiling cutters and glitter and color and all sorts of fun and exciting tools, but I was too afraid to actually make the fondant and use them. I used a box strawberry cake mix and these two frosting recipes:
1. This buttercream frosting with butter instead of shortening. It was the first time I had made buttercream and the first time I can remember eating it, and it was much better than I expected.
2. This marshmallow fondant tutorial. I found that I only needed to use about 3/4 of the two pound bag of confectioner's sugar, and the fondant was very workable.

Without further ado, here are the pictures!

It didn't turn out as smooth and nice as I would have hoped, but I think it's pretty okay for a first try. Here are some things that I want to remember for next time (and that might be helpful to others). If you have any input on the problems I encountered, please let me know!

1. On cake flattening: I flopped the cakes upside down onto a sheet of wax paper after they came out of the oven and put cookie sheets on top to help flatten their puffy tops. It worked pretty well, but there was a bit of puffiness left. The 1/4" thick coating of buttercream helped a little.

2. On frosting: As you can see from the last picture, the slices were not very picturesque when cut because there wasn't too much frosting in the middle. I was trying to cut down on frosting content (because a middle layer of frosting, a layer of buttercream and a layer of fondant seemed like a frosting overload), but I think I will put more frosting in the middle layer next time to make it prettier. To me, fondant is used for occasions where the cake has to be super pretty, and I don't think it wound up so sweet that a little extra frosting in the middle will hurt too much.

3. On glitter: You might not be able to see it in the pictures, but I tried to spread on some white frosting glitter. The marshmallow fondant was extremely easy to work with and I managed to get it on the cake with very few problems. I had one of those fondant smoothers that I used to smooth it out until it looked pretty nice. Then I tried to spread on some of the glitter, and boy did it not work. I used a soft artist's brush (like it recommends on the package), but it left all these streaks of sparkle on the cake. I spent a ridiculously long time trying to spread more and more sparkle on so that it would not be so streaky, but it still looked pretty bad, and the surface of the cake got more and more messed up. I spread it around a little with the fondant smoother and my hand, which helped a little, but by then the surface of the fondant was pretty messed up and the smoothing didn't really help. I figured it was already messed up enough that I would try the other method of glitter application--I poured out a little bit of lemon juice and sprinkled some glitter in. That brushed on pretty okay (though I'm not sure how it would look without the "base coat" of dry glitter I put on). I don't think I'm going to use glitter again, but if I need/really want to, I think I'll put it in a small amount of lemon juice first (about 1 tablespoon should be plenty).

4. On shapes: Toward the end of it I was getting tired of the whole ordeal, so I kind of rushed the stars/ribbon. I would like to figure out how to remove the seams from applying the ribbon (look at the last picture, to the left of where the slice was taken out). I tried rubbing it with a little water, but that didn't seem to do much, and I was too tired to try much else. The stars are slightly misshapen too, but I think that could easily be corrected by being more careful--I just wanted to be done. I think I'll roll the fondant out much thinner for the decorations, maybe 1/8".

5. On time: It took forever, definitely an all-day project. Maybe it gets quicker when you're more used to it, but it took me quite a while. I was getting careless at the end (with the decorations, which is arguably the most important part), and the green fondant shapes didn't come out as nice as I was hoping. I was bored and tired with the whole thing, so I think next time I'll just space it out more. Start the cakes in the morning, make the frosting, let it sit until I really feel like working on it. Maybe space it out over a second day. I definitely recommend cutting shapes and doing the actual decorated when you've taken a long enough break that you're excited about making it look nice.

Gah! I can't believe I typed all that. I need to go collapse somewhere. Tongue
902  Craft Swaps / ARCHIVE OF SWAPS THAT ARE TOTALLY FINISHED / Re: Favorite Color Swap R2- (Signups May 29- June 11) SENDOUTS July 17th on: June 18, 2008 01:11:39 PM
Woohoo, I've got everything figured out and almost have all the supplies I need. I feel like the ideas were half the battle.  Tongue
903  COOKING / Dessert / Re: Wedding Cake (image heavy) on: June 18, 2008 11:49:50 AM
That is so freaking pretty. I really want to make a wedding cake now.
904  COOKING / Dessert / Re: Cupcakes! (with pictures and delicious frosting recipe) on: June 18, 2008 11:43:32 AM
These look so delicious!!! I've just gotta try this frosting that so many are talking about.  Is it less sweet than the buttercream type?  $4 a cupcake...wow.  Now I'm hungry.

I actually have not made buttercream frosting, because in my head I think of it as gross (though I don't know if I've ever had it, so I don't know why that's the case). It is definitely not very sweet--I put the minimum milk and confectioner's sugar that the recipe asked for, which made it juuuuust right.
905  COOKING / Dessert / Cupcakes! (with pictures and delicious frosting recipe) on: June 16, 2008 05:14:03 PM
So yesterday I was in Emeryville, CA. They have this super cute bakery there--it's called the teacake bakeshop. I was inspired by the super cuteness (but didn't want to spend $4 for a single cupcake), so I baked some cupcakes of my own!

Here are a few that managed to survive long enough to get pictures taken:

They are my second cupcake attempt with the new frosting tips I just got, and the second thing I've baked in my new oven (new to me, old in general: I just moved.) The recipe I found for the frosting is divine--I love cream cheese frosting and this stuff is so fluffy and good. The recipe makes enough to frost two dozen cupcakes and then feed a third world country for a few months. Next time I think I'll make half a batch.  Wink Here it is: It's near the bottom of the page.

906  Craft Swaps / ARCHIVE OF SWAPS THAT ARE TOTALLY FINISHED / Re: Favorite Color Swap R2- (Signups May 29- June 11) SENDOUTS July 17th on: June 08, 2008 01:49:41 AM
Whoohoo! I just sent in my questionnaire and I'm so excited to join this one and get started on crafting.  Grin
907  Craft Swaps / ARCHIVE OF SWAPS THAT ARE TOTALLY FINISHED / Re: Ongoing Offer-What-You-Have Swap - June '08 on: June 07, 2008 12:02:25 PM
Oh oh I claim the Loteria cards!

Claims: 1
Total Claims Allowed: 2
Sendouts Not Sent: 0
Sendouts Sent: 0
Sendouts Received: 0

These things are 1/2 claim each.

These are some of my favorites from when I was just starting to play with resin.

Dinosaur pendant

Glitter Sprinkles Pendant

Hamburger Pendant

Leaf Magnet

Seahorse Magnet

Some 3D stencils for those little beady things.

These things are 1 claim each.

Folding paper for those cute little stars. I don't think any of the shiny ones on the left have been used, but I think there might be a few pulled from the ones on the right. The ones on the right have a gingham sort of pattern on them that you can't really see from the picture.

Set of unopened Mrs. Fields lip glosses in yummy cookie flavors. I got them for my cookie-loving mother, but as soon as I got home the zipper of the little plastic case they're in broke. Sad I was ridiculously sad because they were kind of expensive for just a few delicious lip balms.
908  COOKING / Dessert / Newbie Cupcakes on: June 01, 2008 03:47:22 PM
I know, I know, it's been said a million times, but I'm going to say it again: You guys inspire me. Smiley To be more precise, you inspired me to go get a set of icing tips and try to decorate cupcakes. Here are five of the first batch of decorated cupcakes I've ever done with icing tips:

I know they're not amazing, but I think they are not so bad for a complete n00b. I also have a couple questions, if you don't mind:
1. How do you get your cupcakes to form a nice even dome on the top? You might not be able to tell in the pictures, but a lot of my cupcakes came out kind of lopsided, i.e. one side would rise higher than the other. It looks pretty silly.
2. Does anyone have a good recipe for a cream cheese frosting that holds its shape better? I don't like supersweet frostings for everything, but I tried to make flowers and things with the frosting recipe I generally use and it's just too soft.  Sad
909  COOKING / Dessert / Re: chai-wiches on: May 31, 2008 03:18:48 PM
I made these last night, so I thought I'd put in my two cents about them. They were yummy!

1. I didn't have cardamom, so I was going to buy some, but boy is it expensive! So instead I got a bottle of chai spices (which was much cheaper), and added about 4 tsp of it to the icing instead of using the mixture of spices suggested in the recipe.
2. The whole recipe made 9 cookies that were about 3.5 inches big. Each one was enough to feed a third world country for about two months. I had some friends over that generally scarf down all kinds of food, but they could barely finish one. So 9 cookies is definitely enough.  Smiley

Overall, they were incredibly delicious! Everyone who tried them loved them, and I would definitely make these cookies again. I wish I had some pictures to show you, but they got eaten up so quick I didn't have time!  Roll Eyes
910  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / Re: Whoo! I think I figured out the mechanics of resin. on: May 31, 2008 10:20:36 AM
Hey your stuff is awesome. I just started working with resin this weekend and I am so excited about it. I really like the glitter you used I am going to have to try that!

You definitely should--I find myself constantly thinking "Hmm.. will this fit in resin?" or "I wonder what this will look like if I put it in resin." This stuff will quickly fill your mind every second of every day if you're not careful.  Cheesy

Very pretty! I've wanted to try resin for some time, but too afraid to try it!

Do it! It's not that scary. Just get a couple small bottles and a mold and give it a go.

I love the beaker!!! Grin  They look great, and pretty pictures!
Thanks so much!  Cheesy

I adore the little stegosaurus! Love the beaker: Chemistry was always a fun class. I'm glad you got the hang of it...I just hope I can as well. Smiley
The stegosaurus one is pretty great, and I (being a chemistry major) really like the ones with flasks in them. I'm sure you'll get the hang of it, just keep trying!
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