Thursday, March 31, 2011

Ingredients....

About a month and a half ago I decided to make my own vanilla extract.  I had some vanilla beans that needed to get used up and had saved about 20 vanilla extract recipes so, why not?  Most homemade things are better so wouldn't that mean that homemade vanilla extract would be too?

Well...... It is FANTASTIC!  When I opened the bottle after 6 long weeks of waiting it smelled incredible.  I used it in all of my cake show recipes and it tasted great too.  I am so glad I went for it.

The final product!


I bought 50 vanilla beans at the cake show so I will be making some more extract.  Who wants some?  And who has some recipes that use vanilla beans?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Competition....

This past weekend I participated in the National Capital Area Cake Show. I entered in two divisions with four cakes total.  This was my second year participating in this show.  It was a lot of fun!

The first division I entered was "Adult Beginner Special Occasion Non-tiered".  This is one of many decorating divisions.  This was the first time I have entered a decorated cake in a show.  I was always too nervous.  I have never taken any classes but Chelle is an amazing decorator and she teaches me whatever I want to learn.  She also came over a few times while I was doing my cake to talk me off the ceiling when I got frustrated.

Unfortunately, I did not take any progress pictures so I only have the final product.

Side View













Top View
















Now just so you know this wasn't actually a real cake.  It was a styrofoam "dummy".  These are used for most "Show Cakes" because it won't go bad so you can work on them over time.  I found that it also made it easier to transport because it was so light!

What was that?  You want to see the results for this cake?  Hmmm, well, ok!

2nd Place!!!!!!!















Not bad for my first time!















The other cakes I entered were in the tasting division.  They were in the Layer/Pound Cake, Chocolate and Combination categories. The Chocolate cake was a Mocha Sour Cream cake that I created from a recipe of my Aunt Janet's (my cooking role model and one of my favorite people on earth!).  The Combination cake was a maple ginger cake with a maple cream cheese frosting.  This cake was created from a few recipes that I found.  The judges were not overly impressed with these two cakes.  I was pretty bummed about this but I'll get over it. Eventually.  My pound cake was a sour cream style (type, version? what's the right word here?) that I tweaked and added one of my secret flavorings to.  This cake was liked a little bit more than the other two, it won 3rd place. 

Two ribbons!  I cannot begin to tell you how excited I was/am. I am looking forward to next year's show and already have some ideas spinning around in my head.

Chelle was also pretty pleased with the judging results in her category, Adult Professional Special Techniques.  She won first place for this gorgeous Nirvana style cake.

Top View















Side View















Beautiful, huh? I think so and it's not because she is my BFF, trusty sidekick and teacher.

This cake show also provided many vendors and trust me we did plenty of shopping!  Maybe too much but I am of the mind that you can't have too many tools, gadgets or supplies. 

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Long time no see.....

Life sure does get crazy sometimes!  I feel like I haven't had a second to myself in way too long and over the next few weeks it isn't going to be any better. Ugh!

This weekend is going to be outrageously busy.  I have to finish (more like start and finish) decorating the cake I am entering in the cake show.  This is the first time I am entering in a decorating category.  I usually just enter the tasting categories.  I am still entering three cakes in the tasting categories but this year I added the stress of a decorated cake.

Also this weekend will be the end of the six weeks that my homemade vanilla needed to "cure".  I am so excited!  I cannot wait to try it.  I will post some pictures and let you know how it tastes.
 
Ok, I have to go now.  I have a massive amount of fondant roses to finish making.