Thursday, April 25, 2013

Evolution of my Cakes

Please scroll all the way to see what I have done through the years and how far my skills have come.

I have been intersted in decorating cakes for many years, but I never actually purchased any tools besides a piping bag and a few tips. I never worked with fondant when I was younger, and that aspect didn't come on until 2012.

The first cake I actually put things on top of for decoration was for our family reunion and I was so proud of that cake. I believe it was like 2004 or close to that year.
Butterflies & Roses
I piped black tinted roses with the smallest petal tip for the first time, and I used butterfly stickers on aluminum foil. The fence was popsicle sticks painted with brown food coloring and glued with royal icing that I still hadn't used for anything else at that point.

Income was and still is a large determining factor in my cake endeavors. I just plugged along at learning new things in piping, and just dreamed about gaining skills to do the beautiful cakes I had seen others decorating online.

I enjoyed doing buttercream transfers, but I did many cakes for many family members and friends because I was good at copying a small design onto a large cake free hand because I had no way at that time of making the pictures they wanted larger. I used stickers many times, so they were not perfect, but they were my art.

Needles helped me with the fine lines in this Bratz cake I did for my neice in 2005 I believe

Unfortunately, during these times, it was quite rare for me to take my own pictures of my cakes. When I did, it was on a disposable camera that I neglected to get developed and lost through the years. But I do have a few old cake photos, and today my work has evolved tremendously.

Here are a few photos I did manage to get. Some better than others, and I still get requests on occasion for strictly piped cakes, but the funny part of that is that I still only have the beginners tips set :)

At this time in 2010, I had gotten a bit better, but again, most of my cakes were never photographed.

I was laminating photos that I could not replicate, like the Hanna Montana cake below. 

My star tipped cakes were almost perfect at this point with many cakes just like this Mickey Mouse cake I made for my grandson. Not necessarily even because I covered the banner with border, but this was not a transfer and all free hand.

This is when I decided that I wanted to play with fondant cakes and teach myself what I could beyond these character cakes. I also dabbled a bit in the royal icing!

I decided to try my first fondant cake with rolled buttercream instead of fondant because it was cheaper to do for practice and I didn't know how much more difficult it would be to work with than fondant.

Rolled buttercream does not stand up :) It might with tylose powder?...I think!!!

My first attempt at a gift box with a bow. Simply a practice cake! Very blurry photo, but you get the idea.

The blackeyed susans were my first attempt at royal icing flowers, and also the ruffles were a first time attempt as well. Although not perfect, this cake did turn out beautiful! I was proud of this one, and I had done a few more simple wedding cakes in 2010, but all piping other than this one.

I was also doing birthday cakes during this time and everyone loved them, but again I failed to get the best of the photos.

My first basket weave was just for practice to learn, and I used all the left over frostings on this flower basket. It needed work on every level, but the beauty of it is that I learned A LOT from the crazy basket cake below.

I decided that even though our family income could not offer me much where it came to purchasing additional tools or catalogs to learn better techniques, I would just keep playing along and using what I had for more adult like piped cakes. People loved them and I sold several from my home.

First time stenciling

First cornelli lace

First cupcake piping because I always just did cakes (terrible but it was the largest tip I had!)
 In 2010, I also attempted a topsy turvy type cake for my daughters 14th birthday. The party consisted of 16 teens, and they all asked me to do their next cake. It didn't turn out the way I wanted it to exactly, but it was a hit with what I had to work with.

My struggle with fondant begins in 2010 and 2011. I wasn't able to do many cakes because they weren't good enough to sell off, so I was very limited on how much I was able to do, but I continued practicing and learning new techniques, dreaming of the day I could feel like I was actually at a level that was respectable for myself. It gets very frustrating when you feel you have so much to expand on but cannot afford to within your budget.

I missed several photos that could have shown steady fondant progress in between then and now, but in 2012, I made a promise to myself that I would continue teaching myself until I could create cakes that I had seen others do that were so impressive and beautiful.

My budget, just as it does now, limits me on extreme designs unless I find a buyer, so I do all of my practice and example cakes when I can in a small 8" round size. The following cakes were luckily all sold, and even though simple...still perfect for the occasion and a great learning experience.

I did more designing of flowers than anything, but then I added to my list of materials for a cake I just had to do for my neices baby shower. I began learning how to use chocolate to decorate. The first cake below was a great challenge and I wasted alot of chocolate, but I learned good techniques and it was still beautiful!

And now, even though I continue to evolve in my decorating techniques, I consider my work very sellable and it gets better every time. My goal is just to earn some income as a stay at home grandparent of my favorite wild child which until recently, I took care of full time. I only have him half time now, so the rest of my time is decorations and learning new techniques. 

The following is the last cake that went to a dear friend that has terminal cancer and has been a faithful pound cake customer as well.
I have sprung beyond this quality even now!
Decorations are made of marshmello fondant with no gumtex/tylose, so they were quite brittle but still beautiful.
The rest of my history and evolution is here and now in the making on this blog.
I have began setting up to do step by step tutorials, and am moving towards video tutorials as well.
I hope I gain you as a follower and that you enjoy watching my continuous evolution. It gets better with each and every practice and project, and I also slowly but surely acquire more tools to speed my progress here and there. 

Look at some of my posts and pages here to see some more, and stay tuned for more exciting projects :o)
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