Sunday, February 7, 2010

Countdown to Kelly Ripa, day 2: Cakes by Paula

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Two days to go until my adventure with Kelly Ripa and Electrolux, decorating cakes with Buddy "the Cake Boss" Valastro to benefit the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund! Our group of 15 Foodbuzz food bloggers found out a few days ago that we'll be at the taping of Live! with Regis and Kelly on Tuesday morning (that's February 9, 2010). Who knows if we'll be on camera, but even so you might want to tune in. I find it hard to believe that they wouldn't mention the event, which is happening later that day, and at least point the cameras in our direction for a few seconds. Guess all the shopping for makeup was worth it! 

Today's post is truly inspiring to me. Get ready for some of the most spectacular cakes you have ever seen from a non-professional baker. If I can make anything a tenth as beautiful and creative at the Cake-Off for a Cause, we will win for sure. These cakes were made by Paula K.B., another friend I've known since grade school. She was always super artistic - I once took a ceramics class in her mom's basement, and I remember standing there looking at the pieces she'd done, mouth hanging open. She's also a superb photographer. But lately she's been turning some of her artistic energy to cake decorating. Okay, ready? Make sure you're sitting down.


And here are Paula's notes about the cakes:

These are some of the mini (6-inch) cakes I made for the "summer birthday" kids in Emily's class last year. As you can see, I try to personalize them, so the kids feel a little bit special, especially after having to share their party with a handful of other kids. The cakes are yellow or chocolate. I try to get the "likes" from the moms beforehand! (I love when they give me a half a dozen things they like, thinking they are getting their own sheet cake or something!)

The larger cake was a challenge, but I think it came out great. It was fondant, and I loved working with it. It was like working with clay! I made it for a friend of Ben's for her 13th birthday. They ended up using it at her bat mitzvah. That was pretty cool!

Believe it or not, the icing is store-bought frosting, plain vanilla. I use the Wilton Icing Colors to decorate. There are so many colors to begin with, and they mix like paint (which as an artist I love) so you can pretty much get whatever color you're looking for.

The big cake is fondant, of course layered over buttercream. The cake layers are yellow and chocolate. The balls are fondant...I think I was crazy to do it that way! It was sooo time-consuming, but it looked so much better that way, much more "finished." As you can see, it is not that easy to roll that many and get them all to look exactly the same, but I guess that's part of the homemade charm! I have a set of mini cookie cutters that I did the hearts with...also incredibly time-consuming. I originally started out with polka dots, but it was too plain. Switched to the hearts, and it all fell into place. I also picked up a neat trick: I put powdered sugar on the board when I am working so it doesn't stick. I think it helps with the flavor also!

So - are you blown away? I think I know what Paula's next career will be....

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