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My Adventure with Wall-E

Posted on September 12, 2017 at 4:15 PM Comments comments (5)


This past weekend I worked on recreating Wall-E, the title character for the movie produced by Pixar for Walt Disney Pictures. The client wanted an off the menu flavor, opting for a chocolate cake filled with peanut butter mousse, kind of like a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, yum!

From the moment I took the order I knew it will be a challenge. First, the cake needed to be lifted off the board to give the illusion that Wall-e was standing on it's own wheels. Second, the head. The huge, off to the back and sides, with the big lens eyes needed to be supported by a skinny little neck. How am I going to do this?!?!?! 

I started to get anxious as the days drew closer to the event date. I still had not figure out how I was going to pull this off. The week of had finally arrived so I couldn't waste any more time. On Monday I drew up the plans for the structure and asked Papa Sweet to build it for me. It stood 2 inches off the cake board base, in my eyes it felt like 2 stories high, ugh! my precious cake was going to be sitting up so high off the board, I thought. 


By Friday the cake was baked and I had printed out some still images of Wall-e from the film. He looked rusty, dirty so I thought I can create this look by using my airbrush gun and painting rust by hand.

Saturday I made the peanut butter mousse. I used creamy peanut butter, whipped cream, and cream cheese, it tasted divine. Why wasn't this flavor on my menu?! 

I started to tort and frost the 4 layers of chocolate cake, and covered in yellow buttercup fondant. Now it was time to know the truth, will the support Papa Sweets build would hold the heavy cake? I could only place it and hope for the best...and guess what? it worked! I was so excited! One down, two more battles to go. 

Then I made the head, arms and wheels using RKT (rice krispies treats). I molded it into the shape I wanted, proportionally to the body, frosted it and covered in fondant. RKT is not that heavy, since the cereal is mostly air. However, once you add the frosting and fondant, the pieces become really heavy in need of support and really strong "glue" to hold it together. You can just put a little edible glue and hope it will hold, I needed to take out the big guns, aka. royal icing, and support dowels. 


First thing I stock to the main body were the wheels, since they are resting on the cake board, that was easy peasy. Then I added the arms. I could feel how the "hand" was weighing down the whole thing so I added some temporary support as it dried. 


Finally, it was time for the head. Sunday morning at 3 am. Eastern Standard Time, I place the big head, with those big lens eyes on top of that skinny "neck". Wall-e looked extra sad and it wasn't his big droopy eyes. The head was tilting down as if he was looking for something that feel on the grown. I tried adjusting the head to be at eye level and then.....CRACK! the head split in two pieces right in between the eyes. The horror!!!

It was way past a decent bed time, I was exhausted and all I could do was look at the decapitated robot. My mind was so overwhelmed with sleep that I couldn't think straight. How will I fix this now? and what if I make another head and splits in two AGAIN?! 

I grabbed the last few pieces of RKT left and started sculpting the head once again. I dediced to make it a bit smaller this time to compensate for the extra weight of the frosting and fondant. I stock the eyes that I was able to salvage to the new head and tried once again. 

It was a miracle! the head stood all on its own and it looked secure with no chance of cracks. I was so happy I almost forgot that I was dead tired. So I grabbed the finished cake, put it in the fridge for the next few hours before pick up and went to bed feeling accomplished. 


The next day, the client picked up, had their party and later reached out to me and told me that I had "killed it", if only I could've said that his cake almost killed me :D


Re-inventing a Classic

Posted on August 3, 2017 at 12:20 AM Comments comments (1)

This past weekend we presented Carol and Raul's wedding cake at the Clinton Town Hall in Clinton, Massachusetts. Our lovely bride Carol is very traditional and wanted to have an old-school wedding cake with separate tiers, and fountains. Sometimes making classic cakes can feel a bit dated but I was up for the challenge. Carol is young and vibrant so I wanted to highlight her youth by adding a modern twist to her vision.


I decided to give it a fresh look by adding ruffles emulating the wedding dress, and gilded decorations. The touch of gold made the cake look regal and timeless. The bride also wanted to highlight her Caribbean roots by having bright flowers. I added white lilies and coral roses with touches of champagne spray roses. To add to the tropical theme, the bride and groom selected for cake flavors Passion Fruit, Morir Soñando (orange cream) and Pina Colada.

Now let's talk about the size of this cake. Holy macaroni! it's huge! Let's go over all it went in to create this cake:

For this 250 servings cake I used 156 eggs, 14 lbs of flour, 18 lbs of butter, 24 lbs of sugar, 15 lbs of fondant and about 10 grams of edible gold dust (believe me, that's a lot of gold). It took 45 hours to complete, 1.5 hours to deliver and 1.5 hours to set up at the venue. 


After all was said and done, I think I accomplished what I set out to do, create a breathtaking, classic, and timeless centerpiece for a delightful couple who celebrated their love in from of all their family and friends, and I couldn't be more proud. Mission Accomplished! ;)


Making Filler Flowers: Hydrangeas

Posted on November 21, 2016 at 12:35 AM Comments comments (0)

Hydrangeas are one of my favorite flowers. They are tiny flowers that grow together in flowerheads creating the illusion of one large flower.

They comes in an array of colors like white, pink, blue, purple, etc. The ones we are making today are a beautiful shade of lavender. 

Following is the full video tutorial and the material list for your convenience. I hope you get to try it, these flowers are great to fill in the areas on your cake that big flowers can't reach, hiding empty spots or just adding color and variety to your cake.  They are so easy and fast to make you'll be glad to add it to your flower repertoire.

Materials Used:

20 gauge flower wire

flower tape

veiner

sponge

Wilton's hydrangea plunge cutter and shaper

lavender fondant

edible glue

rolling pin 

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Dominican Cake: Defrosted

Posted on November 14, 2016 at 4:30 PM Comments comments (0)


Dominican cake is part of most especial events celebrated by Dominican families like birthdays, baby showers, anniversaries, etc. It's characterized by its moist texture, fluffy meringue frosting and its traditional pineapple marmalade filling.

What makes a cake "Dominican"?

A Dominican cake, just like most butter cakes, has the usual ingredients; flour, sugar, eggs, butter, etc. There are a few ways to make Dominican cake since every baker has their own "personal touch," but the most important steps are always the same. What makes a cake "Dominican" it's the way that the ingredients are put together, the amount of the ingredients used, and the inclusion of key indispensible ingredients.


The recipe calls for exact amounts of flour, sugar, and butter. Also eggs, a cup of liquid; this is where bakers get creative by adding milk, orange juice, or pineapple juice. Finally, the flavoring which consists of vanilla, rum and lime zest. The vanilla extract made in the U.S. is different than the ones from the Dominican Republic, so I use imported vanilla for a more authentic flavor. Same thing with the rum, my rum of choice it's always Dominican-made like Brugal.


A common way to describe Dominican cake is by "pound". A pound of Dominican cake means that the baker used 1 pound of flour, sugar and butter to make the cake. It yields about 25 to 30 servings depending on the size of your serving portions. Some people get this term confused thinking that the finished cake itself weighs 1 pound when in fact, after the cake has been torted, filled and frosted it may weigh up to 5 lbs.


The traditional filling for a Dominican cake is pineapple marmalade, however there are other popular fillings like guava, dulce de leche and crema pastelera (pastry cream). It's good to note that the subtle vanilla flavor of this cake lends itself to any filling your heart desires.


Lastly but definitely not least, Dominican cake has the distinctive icing called "suspiro" which is a variation of Italian meringue made with egg whites and sugar. This is the most recognizable feature of a Dominican cake and its taste is like no other.


The following recipe is my take on Dominican cake, it has worked very well for me. I hope you are able to try it and enjoy it as much as my family and clients do.

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Dominican Cake Recipe

1lb (4 sticks) unsalted butter (room temperature)

1 lb (2 cups) sugar

10 large eggs (5 egg yolks + 5 whole eggs at room temperature)

1lb (3 cups) self rising flour 

1 cup milk (room temperature)

1 tbsp Dominican vanilla (preferably white)

1/2 tbsp dark rum

zest from 1 lime (optional)

Directions

1. pre-heat oven 350 degrees Fahrenheit

2. grease two 9" or 10" round pans

3. cream butter in electric mixer on 2 speed and "shower" sugar in slowly. Once all the sugar is in turn mixer to 4 speed and mix until light and fluffy (about 7-10 min)

4. add egg yolks one at a time making sure each one is mixed in completely before adding the next one. Continue with the whole eggs the same way. Turn mixer off once all eggs have been incorporated

5. turn mixer on "Stir"add flour and milk alternating starting and ending with the flour. DO NOT OVERMIX

6. turn machine off before the last flour addition is completely mixed in and add vanilla and rum (also add the zest at this point of you choose). Mix on stir for 30 seconds

7. divide the batter evenly between the two pans and bake for 35 minutes. Do not open oven door before the first 25-30 minutes so the cake doesn't collapse. To check if the cake is done insert a toothpick right in the middle, if it comes out clean the cake is done. Let the cake cool before removing from the pan and place on cooling rack to cool completely before filling and frosting.

 

Enjoy!

--Patty


 


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