Deb's Blog...

...Thoughts and such from my Cake Brain. 🙂

Advantages of Modeling Chocolate

Why use Modeling Chocolate instead of gum paste or fondant for some projects??? Modeling chocolate is very forgiving. You can work on the same project for days instead of minutes, and if you add another piece to the project, the “seams” can be made invisible, as the heat of your hands melts the chocolate surface just enough. Modeling Chocolate is my friend. When I made “The Lady”, I worked for days to get her just right. I could not have done that with either fondant or gum paste. Another big advantage is that the customer can keep a figure that has been sculpted from modeling chocolate for a room decoration… and sometimes for quite some time (though I would not eat a modeling chocolate figure that has been gathering dust on the shelf for the last year). Enjoyable, Edible Art. That’s what it’s all...

Counting the Cost of Custom

Ever wonder why custom cakes cost so much more than cakes from the grocery store? I’ll try to compare, but honestly, there is not much to compare. The grocery store usually has X number of cakes to choose from. They have lots of layers mass-baked, for you and a number of other people. That fluffy white icing comes in a lovely white plastic 5-gallon bucket, and the raspberry filling was squeezed out of a see-through plastic sleeve that was on the shelf with all the other kinds of fillings. They purchase in bulk through the store chain, so the ingredients cost very little. The cake bases, cardboard circles, etc. are there, as there are only so many sizes of cakes offered. Customizing? That may vary some from one store to another. Production is key. Get it done fast. They will probably sell it to you at a price that barely breaks even, knowing that when you pick up your cake, you will probably purchase all the chips, soda, burgers, etc. that you need for the party. Now lets go custom: I’ll be asking you lots of questions…  How many people are you serving? Is this the only dessert? Do you need larger servings, or “typical” wedding-sized servings? Do you have an idea in mind? You want a 6-tier cake shaped like a kangaroo? Time to sketch the cake plans, to make sure it feeds everyone, and will stand upright. A few hours of planning, drawing up the contract, meeting with the customer, emailing… Vanilla-Almond Sour Cream cake with raspberry filling? I’ll be going to the grocery store and paying...

How many servings are there?

An IMPORTANT tidbit of information for when you shop for a wedding cake… SERVING sizes vary, depending on the baker / bakery. Here is an example: When you go to W**-Mart, they have a handy-dandy little brochure that shows some of their wedding cakes. If you look closely, you will see that the serving size is for a 1 inch X 1 inch X 4 inch tall serving. Here is where it gets interesting. They say you will have 134 servings from a 3-tiered cake, based on a 6 inch tier, an 10 inch tier, and a 12 inch tier. Apparently my servings are much more generous. In my book, that is only 83 servings. I sell a 6 inch tier as 8 servings…. W**-Mart says that same tier is 16 servings. My 10 inch tier is 30 servings…. W**-Mart says that is 48 servings. My 12 inch tier is 45 servings…. W**-Mart says that feeds 70 people. You might think you are getting SO MUCH MORE cake for the money at the Big Box stores or the grocery store, but if they are postage stamp-sized servings, you had better hope your caterer knows how to cut that cake into slivers, or you will run out of cake in a...

The Lady Cake

  “The Lady” cake stands 22″ tall, and was made for Cake Central Magazine’s fashion issue. I was thrilled when the magazine asked me to create a cake, and even more thrilled when it was published! Yes, she is edible. Her face, arms, hair, etc., are made of hand-sculpted modeling chocolate. She sports a pearl barrette, and carries a pearl and golden rose necklace in her hands. Her shawl, lace skirt ruffle and the base cake swags, cameos, ruffles, etc., are made of gum paste and fondant… also edible. It took many hours to create my lady cake, but she was more than worth it! Photography by Mark Malacavage from Cape May Pics. View his stunning photography of Cape May at CapeMayPics.com... and watch for his upcoming book, filled with beautiful pictures of Cape May!  ...

The Cake Kitchen

I am pleased to announce that my cake kitchen is finished! Miller’s Cakes is born, and is now official, registered food establishment! I am now sorting recipes, entering them into the computer, and buying this, that, and the other thing for my wonderful kitchen… in between designing/making cakes. What started as part of a plain open basement is now a very functional baking kitchen. What a wonderful place to work! Yes, I’m loving it! Can you tell?...

Vintage cake for Vintage people…

When I offered to make dessert for my parents to take to their card club, they were not expecting something highly decorated. They would have been happy with just a great-tasting dessert. They were very surprised when I showed up with this “vintage” cake. After all, it was for a group of people in their 80s. Vintage for Vintage, so to speak. 🙂 I do love to make vintage cakes. I visit antique shops, or even the Salvation Army stores to find old buttons, jewelry… you name it! Then, I make food-safe molds from these treasures, so that all the decorations are edible. I’ll never look at old earrings or buttons the same way again. Every trinket is a potential cake...

Baby IS a Cake

One day there was a baby shower planned for a friend from church. I called the girl who was planning the shower and asked if I could make the cake. She was very happy to have it made for free. Me? I wanted to see if I could make a 3-D baby that WAS a cake, and this was my opportunity! She turned out very well, even if her arms were tad long. Her head and hands are gum paste, and I painted her eyes, lips, etc., with food coloring. Her body is a cake, and she is dressed in a fondant dress and bonnet, and sits on a fondant baby blanket that is draped over the base cake. This was so much fun to make! I hope you like it!...

A Gift for Melissa & Lance

There is something really special about a homemade wedding gift. When we got married, my husband’s grandmother made us a beautiful quilt. Thirty-three years later, the quilt is still beautiful, but Grandma passed away years ago. When my niece and her husband got married, this wedding cake/cupcake tower was their wedding gift. Of course, the cake is long gone, but the pictures and memories live on. This was a few years ago, and was my first attempt at fondant roses. The cake topper took a long seven hours to make, and was well worth the time...

Chocolate/Peanut Butter Leopard Cake

This is my idea of the ultimate in chocolate and peanut butter. It is a dark chocolate mocha fudge cake, with a cream cheese/chocolate chip filling that is baked in with the cake. Then, it is filled with peanut butter fudge filling, hazelnut cream, and chopped peanut butter cups. This cake is ultra-rich, so a small slice goes a long way! It is super yummy, though. I call it a Chocolate/Peanut Butter Leopard cake, because it reminds me of a leopard print when I cut it into slices. It is a big hit at family...

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