From the monthly archives: May 2011

A special edition of Quick Bites today since it’s National Macaroon Day (or Macaron, depending on your preference)!

 

Rumour has it that the Baker’s Bill might die on the Governor’s desk today because he’s “hesitating” on it.

If you care about the freedom to bake from home kitchens in Texas, please call the Governor’s office right now and ask him to sign SB 81.

Then ask all your friends to do likewise!

1-800-252-9600 or 512-463-2000

 

Today on Quick Bites: Memorial Day cakes that do not use strawberries and blueberries to make a US flag. That’s what half the internet will show you today, but at Capital Confectioners, we like to be topical and different at the same time!

  • US flag cakes are fairly common, especially on Memorial Day, but this one by Spring Lake Cake is very classy and elegant the way it translates the stripes into a bow atop a rich blue background with nicely-placed white stars. Even the surrounding cupcakes come across as respectful accents.
  • Kim C. (no relation to me but I dig her name!) posted three Memorial Day cake ball ideas: arranged as a flag, sprinkles, and drizzled. She’s also got some adorable Navy-themed cupcakes.
  • If you want to add some flag flair to you Memorial Day cake stand, or save it for the 4th of July later, check out these simple directions by Better Homes and Gardens. Also works for Bastille Day, Australia Day, or any other day celebrated by a nation with a red, white, and blue flag. Or use different coloured streamers to suit your needs. It’s all good! Via CraftGossip
  • Need to put together a quick cake for a pool party today? Got some candies on hand? Go for this easy and cute pool cake from Taste of Home. If you’re just hanging at home with the kids, get them involved and use it as an excuse to use up some of that leftover Easter candy to make your own version. Or if you’re like me and limit your kids’ candy, you might even have a stockpile going back to Halloween. Make a multi-holiday pool-party extravaganza cake and enjoy the day with creative cakey fun!
 

If you like cupcakes and if you like playing with your food, you’ll want to check out Cupcake Smackdown 3.0 where Austin area bakeries will have their wares on hand and you’ll be able to purchase cupcakes to shoot out of a cannon at willing volunteers. Proceeds benefit Texas Craft Brewer’s Guild and Keep Austin Dog Friendly.

Date: Saturday, June 4th, 2011
Time: 5pm – 8 pm
Location: Hops and Grain Brewery 507 Calles St Austin, TX 78702
Cost: Entry is free, but you buy cupcakes to shoot ‘em. Or eat ‘em. Whatever suits you!

This isn’t a Capital Confectioners event, but it’s cake-related in Austin so I figured some of our readers might dig it!


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If you’ve never decorated cakes with little kids, you should. Give them the tools and let them go nuts with creativity and they will both impress and amuse you. Give them instructional guidance when they request it, but for the most part, stand back and let them go with their own flow. Sometimes they’ll develop new techniques right before your eyes, doing something you always thought was “impossible”.

They’ll come up with elaborate narratives, crazy amounts of detail, and mind-blowing concepts. And with most of them, about three solid inches of icing if they can get away with it.

Our club has recently started a roving version of the kids’ decorating table we feature at our show every year, so if you know of an Austin-area event that would appreciate having a cupcake decorating table, let us know! Ideally we’d like to charge a buck a cupcake to raise funds for our club.

Here are some photos of our grand day at the Austin Family Music Festival:

Cupcakes at the music festival

Kyla, Leslie, and Gwen help some older kids create their masterpieces.

Cupcake table at AFMF

Kyla and Ellen smile at little boys enjoying piles of icing.

Cupcake table at AFMF

Poof! Cupcakes gone before I could turn the camera on!

Cupcake table at AFMF

An impressive pile of icing squiggles!

Cupcake table at AFMF

CUPCAAAAAAAAAKE!

We’re working on starting a Family Club soon, so if you’re interested, be sure to leave a comment letting us know. In the meantime, I just posted the cake my five-year-old (a member of Capital Confectioners!) made for her Daddy’s birthday and in the next few days will post the results of the classes I volunteered to teach some middle-schoolers. I find it endlessly rewarding to cake decorating with kids and I hope these joyous photos inspire you to give it a try if you haven’t already!

Plus remember that kids can enter cakes in our annual show for free! 12 and under all get a little reward, and 13-17 year olds compete for awesome prizes! So if you know a young decorator, be sure to encourage them to participate in the 2012 show. You’ll see a lot more posts about that as it gets closer. Stay tuned!

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Today on Quick Bites: summer is definitely in bloom here in Austin, so we’re featuring floral-themed links. Obviously there are a zillion gorgeous floral cakes out there, so instead of looking at typical pretty gumpaste flowers, here are some non-standard ways of getting blooms out of your cake supplies:

 

There is HUGE news regarding the Texas Bakers Bill on the advocacy Facebook site. It’s not dead and it needs your help now to make it legal for home bakers to sell their stuff! Check it out right now and contact your reps!

 

Chris Wingler, here!  Have you seen these???  Wilton has some new cake decorating products out that are pretty nifty.  I was very interested in their new “Fondant & Gum Paste Molds” ($9.99 each): Baroque, Global, Fabric, and Nature.  Michaels is currently having a “buy 2 get the 3rd for free” sale on all their bakeware and cake decorating products.  Go ahead and dash out to the store.  I’ll be here when you get back.  Here are the Global and Nature molds (the other 2 were sold out!):

demonstrated with Satin Ice fondant

This was a lot of fun!  These molds are really nice.  They appear to be made of a thick slab of silicon.  They are easy to clean and are very bendy.  Love the colors!  I dusted the cavities with powdered sugar using my pastry brush and tapped out any excess.

I used my little wooden roller to smoosh the fondant into the cavities.

I was able to roll the fondant with enough pressure that you can see the mold through the fondant, but it was still easy to remove.  The back of the box suggested using a foam pad to press the fondant, but I didn’t feel like rummaging through my craft closet for it.  I gently pressed a wad of fondant into the cavity with my finger tips and then rolled with my rolling pin from the center outward.

If the fondant didn’t immediately pop out, I was able to coax it with my pastry brush and by bending the mold.  I didn’t notice any wrinkles or imperfections from impressing the fondant into the mold, but did have to be careful not to pull too much on the fondant so it wouldn’t stretch or distort the shapes.

There are a couple of downsides to these molds.  The cavities are pretty deep, so the resulting fondant accents seem to be thick.  If you’re not into that, well, you’re a bit out of luck.  The other problem is that these beautiful borders aren’t very long.  You’ll have to do this many times if you want to line a cake.

Other than that, I say run out and scoop these up!  I had a blast and can’t wait for a good excuse to use them on a cake!  Here are some more shots of them in action.

What do you think?  Have you tried them out?  Leave comment and tell us if you like them!
 

Today on Quick Bites: yummy-looking recipes I want to try soon. Here they are arranged in a convenient daily meal plan:

If you’ve made any of these, let us know how they turned out! What recipes have you seen online that you’re dying to try?

And seriously, I’m considering trying that pie sometime soon to bring to one of Capital Confectioners’ monthly meetings. That’s right, if you come to our meetings, one of our members always brings a dessert to share! We meet the second Tuesday of every month, so check the calendar on our Meetup page to find out where the next meeting will be and come join us!

 

Today on quick bites, some fantastic ideas for parties coming up over the next couple of weeks as the school year wraps up: