Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Egyptian Cake

 Happy Birthday Maddie!!!
 My sweet friend Summer's daughter is having an Egyptian Birthday party on Saturday!!  A few months back, Summer asked if I'd make her a cake again.  I made her daughter a Fashionista birthday cake last year (see here and the full party here) which has become real popular in the cake world!  We even saw an exact replica on Amy Atlas's blog!!  We decided last year that we would trade birthday cakes for our kids so we don't have to make the cake!  So, this way, we can work on the details of the party instead of the cake!  She has yet to make one of my kids one (we always have such small family parties), but I'm thinking my October family members will be getting a fun one this year! :)  She also told me she'd give me her Silhouette machine which was a HUGE reason for me to do the cake for her!!  The possibilities are endless in the cake decorating world when you have edible icing sheets and a Silhouette machine!! :) 

A few months ago when we started talking about the cake, she told me the party's theme would be "Egyptian".  She didn't know exactly what that meant and was having a hard time visualizing how the party was going to come together! - but her daughter had seen a Scooby-Doo show that was about an Egyptian tomb and decided that's what kind of party she wanted!! :) :) - and if anyone can pull it off Summer can.  The party is not until Saturday but we won't be in town, so I dropped the cake off yesterday and she's putting the whole thing in the freezer!! - until Saturday!! :)  I'll post pics of her party when she sends them to me...I can't wait to see them!  Her house was FILLED with all kinds of amazing DIY Egyptian themed decor!  It's going to be amazing!!!  Those kids are SO lucky!!!

Egyptian theme...hmmmm!! 

 I had a SUPER hard time with the design of this cake!!  She wanted it feminine, she didn't want a pyramid on it, she wanted it three tiers with lots of gold, turquoise and hot pink!!!  AH!  That was SUCH a puzzle for me.  When I started researching Egyptian art, patterns and graphics I realized there was TONS of stuff online...go ahead...google "Egyptian patterns"...I was totally overwhelmed!  And SO much of it is intricate patterns that would be really time consuming to put on a cake!  What I did find out, that was fascinating to me, was that much of the designs today stem from Egyptian graphics/patterns...like the chevron patterns we're seeing everywhere...Egyptian!  I tried using all kinds of patterns together, and nothing seems to work as a cohesive design that was feminine.  Everything seemed so random and masculine.  I got to the point where I actually texted my sweet friend and said, "Are you sure you still want me to make the cake!?"  I didn't want to do it!!  How bad is that!!!  - I'm a horrible friend at times!  I was just having a huge mental block, had already spent countless hours on it, and was getting so overwhelmed!

Then, by the grace of my sweet Jesus, as I laid in bed thinking and thinking and totally stressing out about it, it occurred to me to look into the fashion of that time...since that could be used in a feminine way!  The next morning I began searching Egyptian fashion and was happy with what I found!  I knew the jeweled collars were BIG back then, as were the stripes.  I found these inspiration pics through google and I began building my design. From there, it finally began to flow and I started to feel peace!  Praise Jesus!!  He is SO good!!!!

I also found this Egyptian pattern (below) taken from some ancient art.  It was in a book called Egyptian Designs.  I found this image online though...I don't remember where!  I'm really bad at keeping track of those things when I'm doing a general search for ideas!! :(


I decided I wanted to make the cake like a woman from that time.  The bottom tier would be the bodice/dress area.  The middle tier the famous collar and the top tier like a crown.  After several sketches and recoloring of everything several times, this was the final sketch I came up with.  I chose to add a fourth color...I felt like it needed something a bit weighty and more contrasting to the gold, pink and turquoise.  Also, the royal blue was very popular in Egypt, so it worked great with the design and gave the jeweled collar a great contrasting backdrop.
Now that I had a sketch...the real work began!  I drew everything up in Autocad, so I could print everything in lined drawings to use as my templates in laying out the patterns.  Here's the scaled version of it. 

In the sketch above, you can see how I left the full circles drawn on the top tier.  That was to help me guide my circle cutter across the top design.  I couldn't see the template under the strip of fondant while I was cutting it, but I could see the top half of the circles and therefore knew where to cut.  That helped keep everything straight when I was cutting out the yellow, then the pink fondant patterns for the top tier.

I loved how the stripes turned out!  I used my wax paper transfer technique I came up with to lay out the stripes before putting them on my cake.  If you want to know how to do that or are interested in learning all the ways to use that technique, I did a Craftsy class!!  So, you can watch it HERE.

  

 Everything but the pink was fondant because I knew I couldn't paint gold luster dust on modeling chocolate.  Usually I always like the design portion of my cakes to be modeling chocolate because it cuts like a dream, holds its shape and is just all around easier to use.  But, again I couldn't, so things were not quite as straight as I had hoped...but given the complexity of the design I was REALLY happy with how this cake turned out...and so was Summer!! :)

All the yellow was brushed with gold luster dust mixed with some vodka.

The jewels were chocolate I had melted and squeezed into a mold.  I was SO happy when I opened my chocolate drawer that day and found some mint chocolate chips in there! - there were the PERFECT shade of turquoise!  No need to color it!  The pink was some red cherry chips and some white chocolate chips I melted together and added some more pink candy colors too.  Again, I had it all and it worked out beautifully!  I loved how the collar turned out! - although, it was actually better when I first put it on the cake then what you see pictured here!!! :(

 
After I made the jewels, I brushed them with some dry luster dust to give them an ancient gemstone look.  But after I put them on the cake, there was a pretty weird difference between them and the other solid bands of fondant on the collar.  So, I decided "I'll just add some luster dust to the bands too!"  It wouldn't have been a bad idea except when I put the top tier (that I had already done) next to it, it didn't go together!  The top tier was so clean and graphic while the bottom tier was all "luster-dusted"!  Even my daughter walked into the kitchen and said, "Mom, those jewels have too much gold on them!"  SO, if a 7 year old picks up on that...then, get out the q-tips and start cleaning!!  Unfortunately, while doing so, some of the nice crisp lines on the fondant bands got smooshed and there was gold luster dust in hard to reach spots I couldn't get completly clean.  When I went back to press the lines in the fondant bands, it just didn't look as clean as when it first got up on the cake because the fondant wasn't as fresh and it was harder to get in there with a steady hand...which I didn't have in the first place thanks to too much coffee!! :)  So, if you look real close...it's a bit messy!  But, from farther back, it looks awesome! :)

 One thing I didn't include in the sketch, but knew would be going on the cake was a pink lotus flower Summer was going to make out of paper.  Besides being a great cake designer herself, Summer is an INCREDIBLY talented scrapbook designer! - she's been nationally recognized with Stam'n Up and is one of their Demonstrators!!  So, when I got to her house to drop the cake off, I was planning on taking pics there too with the flower on top...but, unfortunately, my white balance was all messed up on my camera and the pics turned out with bad blue hue to them! :(  So, the pic below this close up is not colored right, but at least you can see the sweet flower that just makes it all feminine and girly and really makes the pink pop!!  I can't wait to see it on the table at the party!! ;)

Here it is on the cake...again, sorry for the BAD coloring!


Now, there were a TON of lessons learned on this one!!!

1. White chocolate ganache is the bane of my existence!! :)  
I already knew that, but I seriously cannot get the proportions right!!!  I REALLY wanted Summer to let me use dark chocolate ganache (because the cake was banana cake and what's better with bananas than chocolate! - but her daughter doesn't like it...she likes white chocolate...and it is about her isn't it!) :)  Summer told me about some white chocolate chips at a local store and by golly, they were there and they were full of cocoa!  - which is hard to find!  I did the 3:1 ratio of white chocolate to cream and it never set up more than room temp buttercream! - SOFT!  I used it anyway because I thought it was "setting up" and would eventually harden, but OH no!  I could NOT get the board off without pulling off the whole top of the cake!  So, I had to re-do that!  So, if you have that same problem...it's because your chocolate isn't hard enough!  I'm seriously going to do 5:1 next time...go big! - I want a GREAT shell!!!  If you have any luck with the 3:1 ratio, I'd love to know what kind of chocolate you're using!!

2. Don't use Wilton gold color mist spray  without practicing first!
Which means buy more than one bottle because there's not much in there!  I wanted the blue tier to be shimmery gold so I got a can of that and before really testing it, I started spraying!  Where was my head!???? - obviously not attached!  You truly need to be about 2 feet away from the cake to get a light covering/mist...not 12 inches!  I couldn't get it even and ended up pulling all the fondant off and recovering it!  What a waste of money...and over an hour of my time! :(  Lesson learned!!!!!! ;)

A few other bits of random info:
Summer wrote down the turquoise and hot pink color she wanted me to use from the Sherwin Williams deck so I could make sure I got the colors just right.  I LOVE using paint decks because you can compare the fondant you're coloring to the actual sample to see what direction you need to go in...more yellow? more pink? more blue? more gray?  It really helps to have a standard...something to go by! - kinda like the Bible!  A standard...something to live for, to base your life on...something immovable, timeless and perfect!  If we don't have a standard...a target, we won't hit anything or become that person we hope we can be someday!  

I'm SO glad this cake is done with...but I feel like that after all my cakes.  I can't imagine doing this as a business week in and week out.  I think I put too much of my heart and soul into each cake! :)  My house got put away and cleaned today!  I went on a bike ride with my sweet kiddos...one of which doesn't need those "baby training wheels" anymore! :)  Love it!!!  We've got some fun vacations coming up and my first full-time homeschooling year to look forward to.  I'm home schooling my 2nd grader this year!  So, I wanted to let you all know even though I have some great how to things I want to show you, I'm going to be MIA for a while!!  I am loving this season with my kiddos and don't want to miss a thing.  The fall is going to be a big transition for me as daddy goes back to work, my baby turns 2 (and is already acting like it!), my 5 year old starts kindergarten and my 7 year old is sitting at my kitchen table with me as her teacher balancing it all! :) 

So, enjoy your cake making!!  I'll be back when I can!!  I'll post tips and tricks when I can!!  Thanks so much for all your sweet words, encouraging emails, questions and most of all patience!  I'll continue to do my best getting back to you all!

The Lord bless you, and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine on you,
And be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace
Numbers 6:24-26

In Him,
Jessica





38 comments:

  1. What a georgous looking cake! I love reading your post and also see the artwork for the cake as well!

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  2. Hello Jessica,
    Your cakes are beautiful! Love the way you describe how you have made them, right from the beginning of the design to the finishing touches. Fantastic work!
    Sue

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  3. Stunning cake Jess. The details are amazing like only you can do!! :) Love it!!

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  4. i normally don't make comments on anything online, but i HAVE to comment on your blog. I just want to thank you so so so much for posting all of your tips, tricks, and lessons learned. I am a mom with three young boys 4,2, and 1, and just started making cakes in January. Since I am just a stay at home mom it was fun to have a creative outlet, but it also means I can't take classes or anything so i just have been searching the internet and buying books to learn all i can and i just want to tell you that your blog has taught me so many things i have never been able to find anywhere else. I feel so grateful to have found this. Thank you for sharing how you do your cakes and all the techniques you use. I just wanted to write you this quick note because you have helped me a lot! Thanks again!

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    1. Natalie: Thank you SO much for commenting!! That blesses my heart so much because that's what this blog is intended to do!!! I was in the same boat as you...finding lots of random info in lots of places and yet still making lots of mistakes! I haven't taken a class yet...so, everything I do comes with a "lesson learned" - which I hope helps others save themselves the time/money of my mistakes! :)

      Keep experimenting and practicing!! - and make sure you give your kiddos lots of squeezes in the process because they grow up SOOO incredibly fast!! :)

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  5. Nice Egyptian Cake. I really like the way of presentation. Great job. Thanks for share.

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  6. Hi, I just wanted to say that I love your blog. It is nice to find a Christ centered cake blog out there. I also wanted to encourage you on your new homeschooling quest. It is a wonderfully rewarding challenge. I have been homeschooling my four little blessings for six years and I wouldnt change a thing. It is hard to find time for CAKING (which I also love and do for my family and friends) but the time spent with the kiddos and watching them learn and grow is priceless. May God bless you continually on both of your endeavors.
    Brandy

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    1. Brandy: Thank you SO much for your encouragement! Sometimes in life we have to choose which things are more important and which things we have to let go of for a season. I know the Lord is going to bless us through this next chapter in my life, even if that means "caking" has to take a bit of a hiatus! :) May the Lord continue to bless you and your sweet kiddos!

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  7. As a cake decorating tutor, I was just praying today and asking God "how can i use my business to make a difference, witness christ and how can i KNOW in a tangible way when i am "bearing fruit"... and I came upon this blog and i see the simple way you tell your story and how you bring the christian experience into your teaching experience. I believe it was an answer to prayer to visit your blog today. Thank you for sharing your gift and hoping you still find time to share cakes once in a while even as you embark on your new homeschooling venture.

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    1. Thank you SO much for your comment! I keep asking the Lord myself direction for this cake blog and making cakes in general! I have so many ideas and things I want to do, but know that right now I need to be a mama and wife!! :) So it's awesome to hear that the words I say are making a difference and a little goes a long way! :) Blessings to you!!!

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  8. Jessica - I often come to your blog when I need to feel the love of GOD in my life. Your blog is not just about cakes to me, but an outlet of peace and tranquility. I will miss you when you do not post all the time. But, I will continue to come on here as often as I do and just read through the blog. Thank You!
    GOD BLESS YOU RICHLY!

    Cassy

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  9. http://kitchenalchemy.blogspot.com/2009/03/i-dont-think-there-is-occasion-more.html?m=1 This link has lots of advice for getting white chocolate ganache to set, some good tips are in the comments. Thank you for sharing your amazing tips!

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  10. Hi Jessica,

    I just want to thank you for sharing your expertise in cake decorating through your blog. You have a very generous spirit. Your tutorials have helped me a lot in improving my cake decorating skills. I have been visiting and learning from your blog for more than a year now.

    God bless you and your family.


    Marie Mae (Davao City, Philippines)

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    1. Marie Mae: Thank you for taking the time to post a sweet comment like that! My joy has been helping others become better cake makers! I decided to do that a few years ago when I decided I wouldn't have a business...but could help others be better at theirs! I'm so glad you've improved your skills and visit often! :) Blessings to you!

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  11. Amazing pictures ! I wish i wold have then on my portal.

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  12. Love this cake! First saw in on Pinterest a few days ago and am delighted to now find your tutorial and website. You do excellent work! Cheers, Kristen

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  13. Love this cake! First saw it on Pinterest and am now delighted to find your tutorial and website. You do excellent work! Cheers - Kristen from Wicked Goodies

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  14. Belcolade White Chocolate works well for white chocolate ganache. Use as 3:1 ratio with heavy whipping cream (36% fat content). Torta Couture uses it in her ganache and her cakes are awesome https://www.facebook.com/tortacouture?ref=stream

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  15. Jessica, you are an angel. I am an intermediate cake decorator, and like you, mostly bake and decorate for friends and family. I love your spirit and your cakes are true works of art! God bless you!
    I have already learned so much from reading and watching your videos.

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  16. Love your blog. I learned so much and your spirit truly shows through. God bless you!

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  17. I use Nestle White Chocolate Chips and never have problems with the 3:1 ratio, with chips:cream. I'm sorry you had trouble with yours. I hope you find what works for you!

    Great blog with awesome tutorials! I used the wax paper transfer technique twice this past weekend. I had some trouble with it, but since it was my first two times, I just need to perfect the technique. Thanks for sharing all your knowledge!

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  18. Awesome cake. I too have had the same problem with white chocolate. Also, I really hate the wilton sprays. A friend told me to try the PME sprays, and wow those are awesome. My local store only carries the pearl and silver.

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    1. GOOD to know! I'll have to check them out! I don't have an airbrush machine "yet"! :)

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  19. I've visited your website so many times just to look at this cake. It's really amazing. I'm guessing at what your surprise is, and if I'm right I'll be the first one signed-up! :)

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    1. Thank you so much! :) What's your guess??! I won't answer, but I'd love to see what you think!! :)

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    2. My guess (or maybe it's my wish) is that you'll be an instructor on Craftsy!

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    3. Wohoo...I was right!!! Beyond excited - I'm buying your class today. Congratulations!

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  20. That's a very beautiful cake! We have seen lots of cutesy fondant cakes all over the cake world. And this Egyptian cake is really something!

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  21. Great talent, great gift from God! Thanks for your tutorials, it's helping me to start in this baking world. Gracias!

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  22. oh my gosh jessica wow. wow.

    wow.

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  23. Hello Jessica, I love this cake and I love the story behind it ! I just have a little question. You mentionned that the cake was put in the freezer... how long can you store a fondant covered cake in the freezer ? Does that work with your marshmallow fondant recipe ? ok, that was more than 1 little question ;) One more thing, I bought your second craftsy class a few months ago and I loved it ! I am thinking of buying the 1st one but I don't know if it has the same content as the 2nd one. thanks a lot for everything, take care ! Karla

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    1. Hi there! It can be frozen wrapped well for a month or two. You'll want to put it in the fridge to unthaw in a box unwrapped. It will cut down on condensation. Let it come to room temp also in the box for a few hours before unboxing.
      The first class is foundational. I show how to make fondant, modeling chocolate, two ways to crumb coat a square and round cake and how to get sharp corners on a square cake. Then use the Wax paper method in several ways including an extruder. So it's similar but yet there is new content and more info. If you do decide to take it, use the 50% off link on the class pic above. Blessings!!

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    2. Thanks a lot for such a quick answer ! I just bought the 1st class and I think it going to be a long night... (here it's already 8pm)

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    3. LOL!! You own it forever, so take your time! :) - I wouldn't want you to get annoyed at my voice!! hehe

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