Saturday, December 25, 2010

Well, the 12 Days of Cookies are over, and Christmas is here! It's tradition in our family to watch A Christmas Story My dad's a HUGE fan. So, to make him smile, I decorated these leg lamp cookies:
leg lamp sugar cookie royal icing christmas story

'It's a major award!"

I got the cutter from A Christmas Story House and highly recommend them for any Ralphie-themed gifts you need to get in the future!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Dat 12 - Santa is Coming to Town!

The sleigh is ready, the gifts are all packed, and Santa is coming to town!

santa christmas heart star sugar cookie
For the Santa cookies, I decided to go back to the classics we probably all decorated when we were a kid.
Are you ready for Santa? Do you leave cookies & milk for him?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Day 11 - Reindeer Cookies!

It's the day before Christmas Eve so Santa is preparing his sleigh for the big trip. The reindeer are resting up, and they're anxious for the fun to begin!

reindeer christmas sugar cookiesreindeer christmas sugar cookies

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Day 10 - A Star Cookie

I'll keep it super short and sweet today - here's Day 10 of cookies! Have a great day!

christmas star cookie sugar royal icing

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Show Your Duff Photo Contest

I've just entered the "Show Your Duff" photo contest! Please visit the page and vote for my sneaker cake!

You can vote daily, if you'd like! *wink*

Day 9 - Mittens and Stockings

It's Day 9 of the 12 Days of Cookies! I hope you're all staying warm - wherever you are in blogger land!

christmas holiday mitten cookies royal icingchristmas stocking cookies royal icing

Both the mittens and stockings were flooded with thinned down royal icing and then the extra little details were added after they dried.

Have you been making holiday cookies? I'd love to hear about them and see them! Email them to me or leave a comment with your own blog post link!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Quick and Beautiful Christmas Cakes

Ok, folks. Christmas is quickly approaching. If you've thought about bringing a festive cake to your family celebration, you better get baking soon!

But you don't have to spend hours and hours on a cake for it to look gorgeous, elegant, and Christmas-y!

Make a cake that looks like a gift!

Here's one I did for my friend Nikki's office holiday party:

buttercream gift cake blue bow
It's a simple buttercream-iced cake with a fondant bow. You could slap that together in a couple of hours, right?!

Here's a close-up of the bow and the gift tag:

buttercream gift cake blue bow
Next up, here's a display cake I made for the showroom. It's covered with fondant and airbrushed gold. Again, the bow is made out of fondant.

gold fondant gift cake ivory bowgold fondant gift cake ivory bow
Here's a similar concept, where the cake was covered in white fondant and topped with a big loopy gift bow. Here, you have to have a little more time because each of those loops has to completely dry before you can assemble the bow.

buttercream gift cake red bow
And, if you're feeling particularly ambitious or you're trying to feed a small army, here's some inspiration for you:

blue white gift cake bow
That's 4 cakes covered in white fondant and decorated with blue fondant box tops, ribbons, and bows.

blue white gift cake bowblue white gift cake bow
Will you be making a cake for your get-together this week?

Day 8 - Joy!

Can you believe we're only 5 days away from Christmas! Not much time left for your many to-do lists! Am I stressing you out? Sorry! Ironically enough, I JUST ran across this website 100 Days to Christmas. It helps you plan and get ahead for the holidays so you don't feel so frantic. Might be worth checking out for next year...

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Day 7 - Let it Snow Cookie!

For today's cookie, I searched in Google Images for "penguin snow." Here's a cute image I found:

To make the cookie, you have to flood the background first (the sky and snow on the ground). When that's dry, go back and pipe on the penguin and falling snow. He's just so cute, don't you think!?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Holiday Cookie Exchange - Lessons Learned, Tips, and a Giveaway Sneak Peak!

One of my favorite holiday traditions is baking Christmas cookies, and I like to share them with others at a cookie exchange. While cookie exchanges are meant to be a time to relax with friends, exchange recipes, and eat yummy food, many people find them frustrating and stressful.

However, Hershey's has launched a new campaign to make cookie exchanges easy for everyone! I recently had the opportunity to interview Linda Stahl, who is the baking authority at Hershey's kitchen. She had some great tips and ideas for both the host and the attendee (see video below)!

I have been hosting cookie exchanges for the last 6 years so I've learned lots of things to make the whole thing more enjoyable for the host. Here are my top 5 tips for hosting a cookie exchange:

1. Plan your menu well in advance so you have plenty of time to grocery shop, pick up the festive plates & napkins, and figure out if you have enough platters on which to display the food.
2. Plan a menu that doesn't require much last-minute prep work. As guests arrive, you should be able to greet them, chat, and invite them to start eating. Don't get yourself stuck in the kitchen taking the hors d'oeuvres out of the oven and miss the party. I try to make things that can be served at room temperature so it can all be set up 30 minutes before guests arrive.
3. Bake your cookie for the exchange at least a day in advance. The cookies will stay fresh as long as you store them properly, and this will allow you plenty of time to prepare the rest of the food for the party.
4. Keep your guests informed! Let them know how many people are coming to the party so they have enough cookies and recipe copies. Also, let them know if you'll be serving a sit-down meal or just hors d'oeuvres so they can plan accordingly.
5. Relax and enjoy your guests! Abandon the kitchen during the party so you can chat with your guests and enjoy the holiday ambiance.

If you're attending a cookie exchange, don't make the assumption that the cookie you bring needs to be complicated or "impressive." Often, the most simple recipes are the tastiest ones! Unless you have plenty of time on your hands, don't try a cookie for the first time the day before or the day of the exchange. Stick to a family recipe or one you're familiar with! You'll arrive at the party in a much better mood, and you might even have a great family story to share about your cookie!

If you're hosting an exchange or have been to one this year, think about 1 tip you'd share with others. And stay tuned because I'll be posting a giveaway from Hershey's in the next few days! To enter, you'll leave your suggestion in the comments section of the giveaway post (not this one) start thinking now!

In the meantime, you can go to Hershey's website and register for a chance to win TWO $10,000 kitchen makeovers - one for you and one for a friend!

Also, check out my friend Julie's interview with Linda Stahl on her blog thelittlekitchen. She's got her giveaway up now so head on over!

Zebra & Leopard Print Cookies!

Last Wendesday, my baby sister turned 24! Twenty four! She's really starting to catch up on me.... *wink*

For her birthday, I made her zebra and leopard print cookies.

zebra leopard print sugar cookies royal icing
The animal print patterns were made with royal icing. The hot pink "R" was made of fondant, and the glitter around the border was just black Wilton Cake Sparkles!

zebra leopard print sugar cookies royal icing
Happy Birthday, Robin! I hope you like the cookies!

Day 6 - A Gingerbread House & A Peppermint Twist

It's Saturday, and we've all got a million things to do before Christmas so I'll keep this short and sweet!

gingerbread house cookie
A gingerbread house!

peppermint twist cookie candy
And peppermint twists!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Day 5 - Christmas Lights

For Day 5, here are some Christmas lights sugar cookies. These are much more simple in design than yesterday's ornaments, but I love them all the same.

sugar cookie christmas light royal icing
I've been getting quite a few emails asking for my recipe so I'll share that with you in an upcoming post! Happy Friday, everyone!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Day 4 - Ornament Cookies

These are some of my favorite cookies that I've included in the 12 Days of Cookies. They're simple Christmas ornaments, but each one is different...and so easy to do!

christmas ornament cookies royal icing
christmas ornament cookies royal icingFor the blue one on the left: Flood the ornament with blue royal icing. Let that dry overnight, and then go back with white and 2 shades of blue royal icing and add the dots, curves, and lines.

For the Peace ornament: Flood a rectangle in the center with green royal icing. Then flood the top and bottom sections with white royal icing. To make the red polka dots, just add them to the white flooded icing while it's still wet! Once the green dries, go back and write "peace." Easy!

For the Joy ornament: Use the same technique as the Peace ornament, but drag a toothpick through the flooded icing to get that cool pattern. Then write "joy" after the red icing has dried.

christmas ornament cookies royal icing
For the blue ornament on the left: Again, flood the ornament with blue royal icing. After it dries overnight, go back with white royal icing and add all the details.

For the ornament on the far right: Flood the center portion red. Then, go back and flood sections white and green. Once all the flooded area has dried, just go back and add the details.

Need a more detailed tutorial, check out this one on Bake at 350.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Bertie Heating and Air Holiday House Cake

This week, we got to make a fun cake for Bertie Heating & Air's holiday party. They wanted a cake in the shape of a house decorated for Christmas! But they also wanted it to resemble their company logo:

No problemo!

bertie heating and air christmas house chimney front porch
The cake itself was 2 stories high, meaning it was equivalent to 2 tiers of cake...or about 10-12 inches tall. The chimney was made of Rice Krispies Treats, and the bricks were individually cut and set in place.

bertie heating and air christmas house chimney front porch
I made the front porch awning out of Rice Krispies Treats and hand-cut the letters for Bertie logo.

bertie heating and air christmas house chimney front porch
Of course, we had to include an air conditioning unit!

bertie heating and air christmas house chimney front porch
And the Christmas lights. They were SO tiny! I had to take a picture with my pinky finger next to one so you could get an idea of how small they were. They were individually glued in place with royal icing!

bertie heating and air christmas house chimney front porch
But it was all so worth it when the customer picked up the cake. She said she'd dreamed of the cake the night before and had goosebumps when she saw it.

This kind of reaction is what we cake decorators live for!

Day 3 - Florida Christmas Trees

Of course I have to follow up the Florida Snowmen with Florida Christmas Trees!

Palm trees with lights or ornaments. I'm thinking Miami right now...and it's really making me feel slightly warmer!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Day 2 - Florida Snowmen

With Day 2 of my 12 Days of Cookies, I thought I'd include some snowman cookies since it's been so darn cold outside lately! Last night, we hit lows in the FLORIDA! Yikes!

So I was thinking...what does a "Florida Snowman" look like? This was what came to mind:

florida snowman bikini bathing suit
But let's face it, THIS is what a real Florida Snowman looks like:

*This adorable cookie was created by Meaghan at The Decorated Cookie. She calls him Mr. Melty. Don't you love that?! She's awesome, and has a book out!

Monday, December 13, 2010

12 Days of Cookies - Day 1

From now until Christmas, I'll be posting a different decorated sugar cookie for your viewing pleasure. I'll sprinkle a few cakes in too - because I can't resist. We've done some pretty cool cakes in the last few weeks, and I can't wait to show you!

christmas tree sugar cookie royal icing
Day 1 - Christmas Trees 3 Ways.

How do you decorate your tree? With lights, ornaments, garland? Do you use ornaments that have memories and special meaning to your family or do you color coordinate everything?

Is your tree up already or are you one of those who waits until Christmas Eve?

Monday, December 6, 2010

White Buttercream Wedding Cake, Black Bow, and a SURPRISE!

Here's a very clean, elegant, gorgeous wedding cake. It was 3 hexagon tiers iced in buttercream, with each tier wrapped with a black satin ribbon.

black bow buttercream wedding cake gecko
The bride provided the shiny, ornate monograms and the broach to go in the center of the large gum paste bow I made. I love how the bow is offset on the top of the cake, and the tails just drape down over the other tiers!

black bow buttercream wedding cake gecko
But, wait! What's this peeking from around the back of the cake???

black bow buttercream wedding cake gecko
Oh my! It's a gecko!

Yup, they wanted a sugar gecko climbing up the back of the cake! The bride has a pet gecko, and apparently it represents the couple's quirkiness. Just like no two couples are the same, neither are their cakes!

Or their geckos, for that matter. This is actually the second gecko I made. I based the creation of the first one off a quick Google search for "gecko." The bride & groom were in the bakery the week of the wedding so we excitedly showed them the gecko. It didn't pass inspection. You see, she doesn't have an ordinary gecko. She has one with a stumpy little tail like you see in the photo. The tail actually mimics the head so if the gecko is attacked by a predator, it can fool him and escape!

You learn something new every day, right?

black bow buttercream wedding cake gecko

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Twitter, anyone?

Well, I can't believe I'm saying this, but I'm finally on Twitter!

Follow MelsCakeWalk on Twitter

Are you on? Find me!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Fall Cookie Bouquet Class at Ms Debbie's Sugar Art!

The Sunday before Thanksgiving, we had a Fall Cookie Bouquet class at the bakery. I posted about it here already, but now I'll give you pictures I took during the class!

We started out by outlining our cookies. Traci had beautiful nails so she became the class' official hand model!

Here's Jerry concentrating on his cookie and pretending I'm not taking a photo. I don't know how he decorates standing up...I forget that I'm standing and lose my balance. Seriously. The whole class was standing so I decided to stand, but I almost toppled over sideways! Does that happen to anyone else???

Then, I taught them how to thin down their icing to flood the cookies. There were 5 people in the class and 5 colors to thin down...perfect! Each person took care of a color. I love it when things work out like that!

Emily was the only person in class who hadn't taken the Wilton Method classes at Michaels - but you couldn't tell! She was awesome!

We lined all our cookies up and aimed a fain on them so they'd dry super fast!

After a little drying time, we added the final details. Don't you love how Corinne marbelized the flood icing on her acorn?

And Anita's turkey turned out super cute!

This is a close-up of the turkeys in process.

And the finished bouquet!