Picture
Recently I have been getting requests to see "my process".  Let me start by saying two things. First, the process of each cake is as individual as the cake itself. Second, this is by no means a comprehensive tutorial on cakes.  However, as an overview, I hope it helps a little.

First you need to consider the time it takes to make each component, the shelf-life of each component, and what components need refrigeration. 

Gumpaste flowers take multiple steps to create, and hours (sometimes days) of drying time between each step.  Thus, you will want to start on these days in advance.  Make more than you think you will need.  Some will break; some you will like more than others; some may be needed to hide problem areas.  Some fondant details can be made a day or two in advance as long as they are stored properly.  I could have cut the eyes and the swirls that make the mane, and stored them on a plastic lined sheet tray, wrapped super well with plastic. If you are using perishable fillings that need refrigeration, you should prep as many decorations in advance as possible. Some decorations should not be refrigerated (gumpaste and most fondants).  Although some fondants are created to withstand high humidity and moisture changes (Carma's Massa Ticino Tropic!!!), moisture and temperature changes from your refrigerator to room temperature can cause sugar to sweat, which will can make your colors sweat and your fondant sticky.

For fondant covered cakes, I usually bake all cakes, and make all the fillings, 2 days before the due date.  This gives everything a chance to set and cool before any assembly or carving is done.  Remember, you CANNOT fill or frost a warm cake.

To help illustrate the process a little better, I decided to break down the Unicorn Cake for you...also because a lot of you have been asking. 

Day 1 (Wednesday)
  1. Color all gumpaste and fondant.
  2. Create flower "centers" and allow to dry 4-5 hours
  3. Shape and assemble flowers and dry 24 hours
  4. Shape "horn" and set to dry 24 hours
Day 2 (Thursday)
  1. Bake Chocolate Cake
  2. Make Mascarpone
  3. Make Raspberry Preserves
  4. Make Buttercream
  5. Make Rice Crispy Treats
Day 3 (Friday)
  • Finish Mascarpone
  • Assemble and sculpt unicorn
  • Assemble base
  • Cover cakes with buttercream/crumb-coat and chill
  • Paint and finish all flowers and "horn"
Day 4 (Saturday)
  • Cover cakes with fondant and finishing details
  • Final assembly
  • Deliver!

 
 
Picture
I can hardly believe how fast this Spring is flying by.  It is already Memorial Day Weekend! How did that happen? And how am I out of all those rolls of cookies in my freezer?  Oh well...I guess it's time to make a new batch.

Chocolate Surprise Peanut Butter Cookies!!! 
•Cream your butter, peanut butter, sugars and salt until it's nice and fluffy
•Scrape your bowl, add your egg, and let it incorporate fully.
•Add your dry ingredients and mix.

NOW THE SURPRISE!!!
• Portion out the dough with a Tablespoon and flatten with the heel of your hand.
•Place a large chocolate chunk, or a small pile of chocolate chips in the center.
•Flatten another Tablespoon of dough, place on top.
•Squeeze the halves together and toss in granulated sugar. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 - 15 minutes.


 
 
Picture
Somebody in the house had been dropping hints for a week, so I caved and made these amazing Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies.  Now if you're household is anything like mine, you know if you bake them all... you will eat them all.  So, I take my dough and roll multiple 2'' round logs using parchment paper, and keep them in my freezer for up to 3 weeks.  Then whenever you have a craving, you can pull out a log, and cut a few half inch slices.  Bake these off and enjoy.  When you don't have the left overs lying around, you won't be as tempted to reach in the cookie jar for an extra, or to sneak one in the morning with your coffee (like me). Also, this means you get that warm, fresh baked cookie every time.  Enjoy it with a glass of ice cold milk, put a couple warm cookies in the bottom of a bowl with a scoop of home-made vanilla ice cream.