I just love easy brides. Christina was a very easy bride. She asked me to design her wedding cake based on her invitation.
I have a magnet on my fridge at home with the measurement conversion table below. I refer to it often, so I thought I’d share it with you. Happy baking!
Design inspiration for a wedding can come from anywhere, really. Recently, I worked with Cortnie from Lollipop Events and Jessica Claire from Jessica Claire Wedding Photography to design a travel-themed wedding.
Event designers often use inspiration boards to give a visual voice to their idea and to fine-tune their concept. Here are the inspiration boards Cortnie created:
As a designer, I am very visual, so an inspiration board helps me conceptualize the cake. Once I have my idea, I create my sketch. Sometimes I create numerous sketches. For this particular cake, I was happy with the first sketch, but I ended up changing the design for the actual cake.
My seven year-old daughter is a very unique kid. She likes touching icky things, like frogs and snakes. She loves the Beatles and Jack Johnson. And for her seventh birthday party, she wanted an Ancient Egyptian party.
Now, believe it or not, the party supply store had very little in the way of Egyptian-themed decor. There was plenty Hanna Montana, but no Cleopatra. So, we had to make due.
For starters, we did some sand art. (No one got the Egypt/sand connection, but the kids had fun.) Definitely an outside activity, unless you have a really good vaccuum.
It was really fun.Read More
I was a vegetarian for many years. It was bacon that did me in. Here, the salty bacon is offset perfectly by the maple syrup. The buttercream is made with real butter, making it velvety smooth and melt-in-your mouth delicious. This buttercream (used as a filling in our Edbile Brooch Wedding Cake) is great on cupcakes, cakes, or a spoon. It’s far from vegetarian, but very close to perfect. Enjoy.
Classic French Buttercream
1 cup (8 oz) sugar
1/2 cup (4 oz) water
6 larg egg yolks
1 lb butter, room temperature, cut into small pieces
Beat egg yolks until thick and very light in color. (This takes about 5-10 minutes in a KitchenAid.) They will no longer even look like egg yolks:
Meanwhile, in a heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring the sugar and water to a boil, stirring occasionally (and very carefully so that none of the sugar sticks to the side of the pot). When the sugar reaches the softball stage (235-240 degrees), immediately remove from heat.
With mixer turned off, add about an ounce of the mixture to the yolks. Beat at medium speed for five seconds. (I sometimes drape a towel over the mixer to prevent splattering.) Add remaining sugar/water mixture and beat on high. Continue to beat until yolks are completely cooled. Mixture will be light and thick. Add butter and beat until smooth.
If mixture curdles, butter is too cold. Continue to beat until mixture smooths out. If mixture looks soupy, butter is too warm. Refrigerate for ten minutes and rebeat. If proper consistency is not achieved, refrigerate at ten minute intervals and beat until smooth.
Recipe yields enough to fill an ice one 8″ round, 2 layer cake.
I played around with the addition of the syrup and the bacon, and got some pretty interesting results. Adding two tablespoons of syrup and crumbled bacon yielded layered flavors: first the taste of the buttercream, followed by the maple syrup, then finally the bacon. (I should warn you that I am morally opposed to subtle flavors. I want to know exactly what I’m tasting when I taste it. I’m not into a “hint” of this or a “whisper” of that. Also, it’s ironic that I bake, since I’m definitely not into precision. The recipe below can and should be adapted to your taste.) I was looking for more even flavoring, so I came up with this:
Maple Bacon Buttercream
8 strips bacon
1/2 cup 100% Pure Maple Syrup
1 recipe Classic French Buttercream
Cook bacon until cooked but not crunchy. Remove from pan. When cool enough to touch, cut or crumble into small pieces. Strain bacon fat into heat-proof container.
In a heavy bottom saucepan, reduce syrup on medium heat to 1/4 cup.
Both bacon fat and syrup should be liquid enough to pour. (Bacon fat and syrup will be warm enough to melt buttercream.) Begin by adding 1 tablespoon bacon fat and 2 tablespoons maple syrup reduction to buttercream. Beat on high until fully mixed. Add more to taste. (Remember, I like strong flavors, but you might not.) Refrigerate for 10 minutes and beat, repeating until desired consistency is achieved. Lastly, mix in crumbled bacon.
Because of the bits of bacon, Maple Bacon Buttercream is best used as a filling rather than an icing.Read More
This three tier cake was for a wedding on The Queen Mary in Long Beach. The bride wore a simple gown bedecked with a colorful brooch. The bridesmaids also wore brooches similar to the ones on the cake. Below, the cake and some closeups of the brooches. The best part? The brooches were completely edible and the cake was filled with a maple bacon buttercream. Check back later this week for the recipe!
“I’ll never ‘just know’,” I thought. “There will always be that nagging voice inside telling me something is wrong.”
When I met my husband, I knew Ann was right. I was 35. He was 25 and didn’t meet any of my criteria, but it all just clicked. I walked down the aisle madly in love and without a hint of that tiny voice I’d expected. I couldn’t be happier today.
Many of our friends tell us that ours was the best wedding they’ve ever been to. Sure, the open bar helped. But the fact that it was so right–and everyone knew it–was what really made the difference.
Before you take the plunge, ask yourself if it’s right. If not, you’re not fooling anyone. Your friends and family all know it too. Find the strength to call it off. Good friends and family will support you. And remember, when it’s right, you’ll just know.
This is one of those family traditions that you continue just because, well, it’s a family tradition. My sister and I loved making these cookies as kids, even though they look a lot better than they taste. I can still see my mom’s recipe, stained and torn over the years, that she’d sent away for with a stamped, self-addressed envelope. This was before the invention of the silicone baking mat, and the cookies stuck so mercilessly that each bite contained a bit of waxed paper that inevitably became a chewy wad in your mouth. Now, with the internet and Silpats, I reprint the recipe every year and the cookies don’t stick, but they still look way better than they taste, and so, the tradition lives on. I’ve adapted the recipe here.
Stained Glass Cookies
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
30-40 hard candies (such as Life Savers), preferably in several flavors/colors
1. Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with a Silpat.
2. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugars until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add corn syrup and vanilla extract, mixing until incorporated. Add egg and mix until light and smooth, about 1 minute on medium speed.
3. Sift together flour, salt, and baking powder. Fold dry ingredients into wet mixture. Use electric mixer to blend just until flour is incorporated. Divide dough in half and flatten into two disks. Wrap disks in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least an hour and up to 2 days.
4. Remove any wrappers on candies and separate them by color.
8. Sprinkle the crushed candy into the hollowed-out centers of the cookies, filling to the edges. Try to keep the candy within the centers. Any candy specks that fall on the cookie will color the cookie.
4/ Weekends? Never heard of ‘em.
5/ I am an artist, damn it!
6/ I fully subscribe to Murphy’s Law.
9/ I relish the thought of fully surrendering artistic control.
10/ My Christmas Wish List: spatulas
If you answered true to all ten questions, you’re making the right move. Any less than that, you might want to rethink your decision. Just like any job, cake design can be stressful and feel more like work than play. It is a great medium, though, and a wonderful creative outlet. And when it comes down to it, I love what I do, any way you (ahem) slice it.
We randomly selected Beth S. from Colonial Heights, VA, as the winner of our fondant contest. Beth wrote: “I love Satin Ice fondant. It is consistently easy to work with, has great flavor, and doesn’t dry out easily.” Beth won five pounds of fondant for her submission.Read More
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We would love to answer all of your questions! Feel free to contact Erica OBrien Cake Design. We’ll either email you directly or post your question on our blog.
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