Packed my bags for my long, snow-free winter vacation in Mexico with my Hubby. Packed 4 BASIC piping decorating tips, 2 couplers and piping bags, so that I would be able to decorate John's birthday brownies in February. That's it. That's all I took. I NEVER, ever, in my wildest imagination, anticipated that I would do any more cake decorating than that. However, word got out, and I had cake orders! TWELVE CAKES! In Mexico! So, for your understanding, let me illustrate just how preposterously rediculous this seemingly benign undertaking was. We lived in a Casita, which is a one room, brick home containing the kitchen, dining table and 2 chairs, an overstuffed chair and a bed. There were 2 small bookcases; one served as 4 shelves for our clothes, and the other was our pantry. The bathroom was outside, attached to the casita. The entire casita was the approximate size of a large bedroom. This is where we lived. The kitchen... Sink, refrigerator and a gas range. The range is roughly half the size of my standard range at home, and is probably suitable for small spaces, like a boat or a travel trailer. The temperature range for the oven was numbered: 1-2-3-4. I needed 350 degrees F, and I had 1-2-3-4 to choose from! The capacity of the oven accommodated only 1 pan at a time. Are you starting to understand the challenges? Now for the next set of challenges... Ingredients. Trying to make a quality cake with sub-quality ingredients... Ugh. Gritty powdered sugar, strange butter... There were MANY ingredient challenges.
I DID have some saving graces, however! My friend had an old Kitchen-Aid that I was able to use. What a game changer that was! Another friend had some American ingredients, and a beautiful cake stand that was leant to me...
So, 2.75 months in Mexico left me with lessons learned, and cakes to show off!
This Nursery diorama is made out of handmade sugar doughs. Pastillage, Gumpaste and Fondant make up every detail of this 100% edible labor of love/work of art! Check the details closely... there's a lot to see! The cake is a rich, dark chocolate cake layer and a sour cream white cake layer, filled and covered in a delicious buttercream icing.
This cake is a Fresh Apple cake, filled with a creamy apple cinnamon filling and iced in a Brown Sugar Swiss Meringue Buttercream icing, and decorated with a fondant wooden barrel. These apples are actually Apple Jacks cereal treats (like rice crispy treats), covered in fondant! Aren't they cute!?!
John 10:14 says, "I am the Good Shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me." I made and donated this cake to raise money for new Bibles for the Children's Ministry at my church. This cake is 100% edible!
Isn't this a Sweet Handbag?... I mean, CAKE! This is actually a 5 layer, 24 carat Golden Butter cake with Chocolate Fudge Buttercream filling, and decorated to look like a designer handbag! The gems and pearls surrounding the purse, um, I mean Cake, are all edible sugar. In fact, EVERYTHING is edible sugar, including the "hardware"! This cake was donated to raise moneys for Child Abuse Prevention, and I am VERY pleased to share that it secured a very pretty price! Yeah!
This fondant covered Grooms Cake is a Sour Cream White, with a caramel coconut filling, on a fondant board. AND it is doing Double Duty! The Bride will present the cake to the groom, as a surprise, for his BIRTHDAY, directly after the wedding ceremony! Hmmm... Wedding and Birthday on the same day... he'll never have a good excuse to forget HIS anniversary!
This Cake Photo Portfolio is a sampling of some of the cakes that I have made and decorated.
I LOVE cake decorating and working with sugar, and especially enjoy taking "artistic license" and creating, out of cake and icing, a "3-D" interpretations of a theme! I have been decorating cake for over 15 years as a home based business, having supplied delicious and beautiful cake for Weddings,Anniversaries, Birthdays, Retirement, Graduations, Reunions, Bridal Showers, Baby Showers, Holidays, Congratulations, New Home, Moving/Farewell, Friendship, and many other special occasions. Actually, I believe that almost any occasion in life is an opportunity to celebrate with a delicious and beautifully decorated cake!
My husband and I make our home in White Salmon, Washington, where we have breathtaking views of the majestic Mt. Hood and the Columbia River Gorge. It is this amazing environment that inspires me to express myself through artistic venues by sewing, painting, making jewelry, baking, and CAKE DECORATING!
Once upon a time in 1996, a girl named Kris married a guy named John. Kris' very best friend personally attended Kris in all of the typical wedding needs of a bride. However, Kris would allow VERY little to escape her personal realm of "control," so the entire reception dinner (feeding 25 dear and precious friends) was personally made by her, including her own, simple yet lovely, wedding cakes.
Kris learned a very valuable lesson that day... BRIDES should ALWAYS have their receptions, no matter the size, 100% CATERED!
A few years later, the church that Kris and John attended hosted a pot luck.
Kris sat at a table where a beautiful young woman was discussing her up and coming wedding. It seemed that there were many details that needed to be taken care of. When the beautiful young woman mentioned that she was still looking for someone to make a wedding cake, the simple minded Kris piped up and announced that She had made her own wedding cakes! Well, the beautiful young bride-to-be became very excited and quickly asked, "would you make mine?," to which the not-quite-sharp-enough-to-be-cheddar Kris replied, "Sure!"
On the drive home from that pot luck, Kris shared her happy news with John, who, registering a degree of shock on his otherwise sweet face. John exclaimed, "KRIS!?!? Don't you think that the beautiful, young bride-to-be is going to probably have more than 25 people at her wedding???" To which Kris' expression morphed into a short of fogged bewilderment. John then added, "AND, don't you think that the beautiful, young bride-to-be is going to expect her cake to LOOK like a PROFESSIONAL cake???" to which Kris found herself shrinking into the seat of the car; her face registering a pained look of PURE PANIC!!!!
After recovering from a just-missed, near mental breakdown, Kris got serious and researched cake decorating (which caused her to also have to practice DEEP BREATHING and relaxation learned from previous birthing classes).
It was soon apparent that Kris was in-"WAY-over-her-head.' She held a meeting with the beautiful, young bride-to-be and her dashingly handsome groom-to-be to discuss the details of the cake that they were expecting Kris to provide. Kris conducted the interview with the outward crisp-coolness of any self-respecting cucumber.
It was revealed during that pivotal dialogue, that the bride loved and desired a Banana cake and that the groom loved and desired a Chocolate cake! Kris, in all of her unchallenged and proven brilliance, volunteered the following sage wisdom of marriage: "Marriage is all about learning to compromise in love. So, let's start that process with your cake! What do you think about having a Chocolate-Banana cake?" The ecstatic Bride and the Groom LOVED that idea and solidified their decision. Chocolate-Banana Cake it was to be!!
WELL, guess what?? Kris could find NO recipes for Chocolate-Banana cake!!! There were NO recipes to be found for Banana-Chocolate cake!!! NOT EVEN ONE!
Kris finally took her head out of the deflated brown paper bag, feeling much better after, again, practicing the deep breathing exercises, and decided, with a steeled resolve, that all was not lost.
Over the next few months she conducted experiments with recipes, the results of which caused her beloved John to add daily to the girth of his belly. Some of the resulting "cakes" were delegated to the trash (never to be spoken of again...), while others were considered to be mildly successful.
Kris then had a epiphany and enrolled in a course that was offered at Michaels Craft store. She learned, through the Wilton Cake Decorating class (for dummies) that God had, indeed, given her a hidden and precious talent that was to develop and become a major passion in her life!
At the end of this long and life altering process, a cake was born. A Chocolate-Banana cake that caused the Bride's father weep with happiness! A cake that was every bit as beautiful as a professionally decorated cake is expected to be. A cake that began as an innocent act of an imbecile, volunteering to do the impossible, and learning VOLUMES about herself in the process. A cake that introduces the hundreds of cakes that follow it in the "Kris' Cakes" photo album, a brag book typically reserved for darling pictures of adorable grandchildren!
That spring-board, milestone event marked the very specific moment when Kris realized that she was Born to Bake and Decorate CAKE.