Archive | July, 2010

Goodbye My Friend

28 Jul
Old Sunbeam mixer, retro mixer, Best Stand Mixer

Best Stand Mixer Ever!

Today I finally said goodbye to a very dear friend…the Sunbeam mixer.   It is a sad sad day.  The mixer was over thirty years old (that’s older than me, but younger than Dan, hehehe)!  A lot of cooking and baking had been done with that mixer.  Dan’s mom gave it to us when we moved to Ithaca after returning from Japan.  When I first started this cake decorating adventure it was working just fine.  There are twelve settings and I blew them all one by one.  The first time I tried to make royal icing with it, it started to smoke…maybe that’s why I have such a distant for royal icing, it hurt my mixer!  By the time  we were making the Save the Date Cake,  it was down to the last setting.  On the final batch of filling that I was making it finally just stopped spinning.  We moved it all the way back down to GA to give it a proper burial.

I have currently inherited a very nice Kitchen Aid from Dan’s mom.  We’ll see how it stacks up to the Sunbeam.  Kitchen Aids seem to be the standard, but that Sunbeam lasted thirty plus years, can a Kitchen Aid top that?  We’ll see.  R.I.P Sunbeam.

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Cake Boss Audition

26 Jul

cake boss cake, cake boss audition cake

Last week was insane! If you are just interested in seeing the audition video just scroll down to the bottom to view it. If not, here’s all the drama behind the video.

Here is a little background information. I put in an application for a new show on TLC. The show is cake baking/decorating competition hosted by The Cake Boss. Last Monday at about 6:30 pm I got an e-mail from the casting directors that said they LOVED my application and the next step was to make an audition video to show to the producers and they wanted it by the end of the week.  I was so excited but this presented a few challenges…
If we were still in Ithaca, this would have been no big deal. I could have used a camera from work and edited it on my work computer (which was a nice Mac with Final Cut Pro)…But alas I only have an old  Flip and PC’s with no editing software here! So the first order of business was to secure something to film with and some software to edit with. Honestly I didn’t know anything about editing software for PC’s so we went to Best Buy. We ended up buying Pinnacle Studio 14 (I’ll get to my true feelings about this software later).  The cool thing is that it came with a green screen!!!  So you can see in the video that we took advantage of that right away!  Next order of business was a camera. We called Dan’s brother to see if we could borrow his.  The only problem is that he is about an hour and half away.  So Dan met him the next morning at his job to pick up the camera while I continued to bake.

After we had the camera situation sorted out we had to figure out what we were doing for the video.  As per the instructions I had to make a cake, show my work space, show me being competitive and answer about 15 questions.  Of course I wanted to go over the top with the cake.  We decided to make a four (Dan only wanted to make three but I said four would give us more wow factor) tier topsy-turvy with separators.  I had never made this style topsy-turvy before.  The challenge was that we wanted to make the separators edible as well.  Most people use Styrofoam or plastic separators but we made ours out of rice crispy treats.  They ended up working perfectly!  Something we learned from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Cake is that people REALLY like rice crispy treats.  When we served that cake a lot of people asked for a rice crispy treat instead of, or in addition to, cake.  Making the separators out of rice crispy just gives one more option for people.  But going into this cake, we didn’t know exactly how it would work.

On Monday night after we got the software, we did a grocery store run to get all the supplies we needed and I got to baking.  At this point it was all ready about 10:00pm.  One benefit of our living situation is two ovens.  So I got one batch in our oven and another going upstairs in Dan’s parent’s oven.  It was really nice to get the baking done double time.  I only had one more batch to bake in the morning while Dan went for the camera.

The cake went together pretty smoothly.  All of the tiers were chocolate cake.  The largest tier was filled with peanut butter and chocolate fudge.  The two middle tiers were filled with raspberry pure and cream cheese and the top was filled with cream cheese and chocolate fudge.  We wanted to make the cake very specific to The Cake Boss so we made a few figurines of people from the show.  For the top tier we had Buddy with a sign that said “Welcome to the top!” since in the opening credits of Cake Boss he says “we’re gonna take this bakery to the top!”  We made Mauro holding  cake, Frankie and Danny dumping flour on Anthony because they are always all playing practical jokes on each other, and me trying to climb up the cake.  On the front I put my personal cake slogan “If you can dream it, I can cake it!”

It was a big cake and I was really tired when we were done with it, but the work wasn’t over yet.  I still had to tape the interview questions and I still had to edit the several hours of video we had accumulated.  After filming the questions and the example of me being competitive, I sat down at the computer at 3:00 pm on Thursday afternoon to start editing.  I didn’t get up from there until noon on Friday.  That was only to lay down on the sofa for an hour to make sure it uploaded.  I finally went to sleep at about 1:00pm on Friday only to wake up at 5:00pm to check to make sure it hadn’t had any trouble encoding on vimeo.

All I have to say is Pinnacle studio sucks!  I have two primary reasons for hating it.  1.  It renders while you work which just junks stuff up and makes it really hard!  Every time you make a minor change, it starts to render again!  It is painful!!!! 2.  It didn’t like transitions in the green screen track.  I didn’t realize this until I was creating the mp4 file (which takes about two hours), it would get about two thirds of the way through and error.  I wasted so much time in the middle of the night on that part.  Overall the software is sufficient but when you are used to working on Final Cut Pro, it is like going from driving a BMW to driving a tractor.  You still get there, but it is a slow, painful ride.

The video didn’t have everything I wanted in it and it wasn’t as clean as I wanted, but I just couldn’t work on it anymore.  I had to call it quits at some point.  I hope that it shows my personality well and that the producers like it.  If they do, the next step is an in person audition in NYC.

So after four days of little sleep, no gym and poor nutrition I crashed for two days.

I hope you enjoy the cake and the video!

New Kitchen

13 Jul

Sweetie Cakes & Pies is all moved!  Dan was here for five weeks before me and the place looks amazing!  He really did a lot of work.  He even painted a mural on the wall of our den.  I’ll have to get a photo up of that sooner than later.

Anyways, I tested out the kitchen the other night.  This is just a small cake that I made for Dan’s mom.  It is strawberry shortcake, her favorite.  She loved it!

I hope in the next few weeks to be really back in the swing of things and revive Fat Friday and Make Up Mondays, along with a few new themed post.  Keep an eye out! 🙂

Save the Date -Cake/Video

1 Jul

Save the Date Cake

The blog has been dormant for a while, but that is about to change this month.  I will be back  at it in full force next week.  To wet your appetite, I thought I would post a very special cake and video!

Last year on 4th of July weekend Sweetie Cakes & Pies got engaged! 🙂 We created this cake and video to send out to all of our friends and family as a Save the Date for our beach wedding.  We did it so early so that people have time to plan, because I am, by nature, an extreme planner and would want a lot of notice.  We filmed it ourselves and then I did the editing.  It was a lot of fun to make and I hope you enjoy it! 🙂

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