Friday, March 30, 2012

Novelty- Tiered Entry Takes the cake!

Last but not least. I had three entries in the National Capital Area Cake Show this past weekend, and this is the final one! If you missed the first two, click HERE for the cookie competition and HERE for my wedding cake entry, and since it’s Friday, if you really want to kill some time click HERE for the album that shows all entries into the show.

2012 NCACS Tea Cups

This cake was entered in the “Novelty-Tiered” category, and it was my take on a whimsical tea party. I really enjoyed making all of the different elements to this cake, especially the tea cups!

Here’s a closer look at all of the details:


Looking at all the details, I think I liked the pink tea cup on top the best, with the purple polka-dots coming a close second!  I’d love to hear your feedback though!

Since it’s Friday, I figured a more photo-full post would be best over lots of wordiness. Most importantly, hopefully I inspired you to go find some cake…and eat it too! Many of you might have a “long run” or “long ride” tomorrow anyways, so go for it… go find something sweet to eat!  And even if not, go enjoy some cake!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

National Capital Area Cake Show: Wedding Cake Reveal

I think it is time to show off one of my favorite accomplishments to date!Sugar Rose Wedding CakePHTSP1

The first ever Bertie’s Bakery wedding cake! When I signed up for the cake show this year I wanted to force myself to take the opportunity to create a wedding cake. As most of you know, a lot of my cakes are very animated and take on a bit of character. I wanted to also show that I could do something elegant and classic for a bride (in case a bride-to-be ever comes along looking for a cake!).

I was so excited to get going on this cake that I had too many ideas on how the design should look. In the end I reeled myself back and created a very classic lace and pearls design. What girl doesn’t love pink, pearls, and lace? To top it off over two dozen roses!Sugar Rose Wedding Cake-7

Sugar Rose Wedding CakeSugar Rose Wedding Cake-10Sugar Rose Wedding Cake-11

I was really pleased with how the cake turned out, and I was actually really surprised by how much I really loved making the sugar roses. I had never made sugar roses before, how hard could it be?Sugar Rose Wedding Cake-5

Before the cake show I was on the phone with my dad explaining the process of creating the rose. I couldn’t help but explain how every rose is different. The color, number of petals, and the curl of each petal all differed slightly, and that was what I enjoyed the most. There was almost something very “zen” about creating each individual rose.

So finally came the weekend and it was judgment time.Sugar Rose Wedding Cake-14

A 1st place blue ribbon! Wow! I was stoked! I did take some criticism on the color of the leafs incorporated within the roses. The judge felt that a deeper leaf green would have been a better choice. I knew going in that would be said. In my mind there is a difference in making “show cakes” and “current cakes”. Personally I don’t always need a perfect real life replica of flowers on my cakes. If the flowers were all ivory or all pink, then yes I would agree a pop of green would be nice. However in this case I wanted the leaves to be supporting, but not stand out. They were there and added another dimension to the roses, but they didn’t take away or distract your eye from the color flow of pink and ivory. Either way, I did make the conscious choice to create that color scheme, so I was ready and willing to receive the feedback.

Very proud of my Blue Ribbon 1st place win, I took my cake home :)Sugar Rose Wedding Cake-13

Now…anyone out there getting married?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Cherry Blossom Shortbread Cookies

While the judges are “still out” on the Intermediate Division Overall Winner title, I am going to hold off on the post for my cakes.

I know, I know. A little frustrating, but it is what it is. Until then let us talk cookies!


So for anyone reading who may not be familiar with some of the big events in Washington, D.C., we are currently in the peak season for the Cherry Blossoms. Thousands upon thousands of people travel from all over to visit the D.C. area to see the Cherry Blossom trees in full bloom. The entire Tidal Basin is engulfed in a baby pink. It’s beautiful.

Below is a picture that The Boss took, it’ll give you the idea if you’re not familiar.DCRainmaker

So due to the Cherry Blossom season I felt honored to pay tribute to our beautiful flower!

These Cookies were a bit of a process, so I’ll take you through my thoughts step by step.

I love big canvas panel art works. Even more so when there are several pieces of canvas that line up and the scene carries on across the many pieces. That was my thought here, I just had an internal struggle with how I wanted to cookies to line up. Straight and clean, or jumbled and modern.


Eventually I went with clean lines and a level set of cookies. Then it was time to sketch out how this was all going to come together.


After playing around with the paper, icing, flower style, etc. I decided it was time to get going on the real deal!IMG_9464

I decided to initially pipe the outline of the tree onto the cookie set before airbrushing. I did this because I didn’t want to be guessing how low and high I wanted the sky and grasses. Essentially, this way my tree design drove the decision making while I had the airbrush in hand!


Once I was happy with the heights of the sky and grass, I filled in the tree with my brown royal icing. I loved the way this turned out, and even considered stopping here! The texture of the trunk was well beyond my expectations.


From here I started to spackle on the baby pink royal icing as well as piping in tiny red beads for more dimension.


That was supposed to be it. I was going to stop at the spackling and beads. But as I sat there and hemmed and hawed, I decided that the cookie could actually benefit from a third level of pink dimension. So I punched out the tiniest flowers that I had a cutter for.IMG_9480

While I really liked the extra “pop” of the pink flowers, they were almost too plain, and even took away from the detail of all of the red bead work I piped into the pink. Hmmmm

So I took all of the flowers back off and one by every stinkin’ one, I piped with royal icing and my 00 tip 3 little yellow and two black beads. Wow, my neck still hurts thinking about this.


This was only a fraction of the flowers!

Then I started to build the flowers back onto the tree.


Finally I was finished!


Like I said in yesterday’s post. I really had a soft spot for these cookies, I figured I had the best chance at taking an award with these.

Well, let’s see what the judges had to say about that:

Judges Score Card

I have several opinions about some of the comments made…but I’m going to keep them to myself. Well except that for the next time I cut out several hundred flowers tinier than the butt of a pencil eraser, shape them into 3D flowers, and pipe five different teeny-tiny royal icing beads into each and every one of those 250+ flowers, I’ll be sure to be more precise  and detailed than that and also get out my ball tool and “soften their edges”???

Fear not, my feelings aren’t hurt. I loved these cookies, and I learned a lot from this whole process. Also, whether or not I agree with all of the feedback from the judges, it is always helpful to see my work through other peoples’ eyes.

These are the cookies that won overall best cookies. This was for everyone who entered a cookie set; ages 6 to master sugar artist. These were submitted by a professional (and pretty crazy impressive!).

IMG_6866 The cookies that took 1st in my Division are below, the elephants.


And finally mine:

Cherry Blossom Cookies

I hope you enjoyed my photo story of how I created these cookies! Did you get a chance to look through the album of Cake Entries that I posted yesterday. Did you have any favorites? Personally “The Flying Arnolds” was my absolute favorite!

Stay tuned for news on the cakes hopefully tomorrow!

Monday, March 26, 2012

2012 National Capital Area Cake Show Round-up

This weekend came and went in what seemed like a blink of the eye. This year seemed even bigger and better than last year, and I am definitely glad that I decided to participate in multiple cake & cookie entries along with several cake classes.

By now, I am sure you just want to know how I “did”. This is a funny question, and one which I have no answer yet.  This year, I was a cake decorator in the “Intermediate Division”. Within my division I had two cakes, one in the wedding cake category and one in the novelty tiered category. Both of which won 1st place in their respective “categories”. Wooohoo! I was stoked!

From here if you were a winner in one of your categories, you progressed on to possibly win your overall division, for me this would be “Intermediate Overall Divisional Winner”, kinda like last year when I won “Beginner Division Overall Winner” . HOWEVER…. there was a mistake somewhere along the way, (granted we are all allowed to make mistakes, this one just makes me bite my nails for the next day!) and for my specific division there was NO overall winner announced on Sunday (due to the mix up) and they will be announcing it today via e-mail! Eeeek! So, for now it is officially “TBD”.

In the meantime, I also entered a “Decorated Cookie” set. I will admit I had a real soft spot for these cookies. I was really really pleased with how they turned out! My Cherry Blossom Trees was awarded 2nd place! More on this cookie later the week!


Well I obviously can’t leave you hanging like that on a Monday without any pictures! So, what I did was take a picture of EVERY SINGLE cake, cookie, cupcake, and showpiece that was entered into this weekend’s show and created an album! It’s not super fancy photography or anything, I simply just went down the line of tables and took pictures.

To help you navigate I will tell you a few items that’ll help make sense of it all:

1) The first 30-35 pictures are from the “Wee Ones” and Teen Divisions. They gradually go up in divisions from there.

2) There are divisional cake categories for Novelty Tiered, Novelty Non-Tiered, Sculpture, Wedding, Special Techniques, AND this year’s theme of “London Calling”.

3) There are entries for Show Piece, Decorated Cookies, and Cupcakes.

4) There was also another competition happening for Wedding Cakes. This was not separated by skill/ division level. If you entered you were playing with the big wigs! This years wedding cakes were to be inspired by a purse!

Now that’s more than enough talking from me. Here are the pictures! Thanks for reading and take a peek back here tomorrow to see if I was lucky enough to take home the big prize of Divisional Winner!

(Important Note: Click ‘View Slide Show’ to see ALL the cakes, the preview below maxes out and doesn’t show even a fraction of them)

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