Monday, December 1, 2008

Christmas Cake Decorating Ideas

OK, we’re midway through the weigh gain season now. It all started with Halloween. If you’re like me, you started making Halloween cakes on like October 1st! So many cute ideas – so little time.

Then came Thanksgiving – turkey cakes, cornucopias, fall leaves, you name it – you made (and ate!) it.

Now it’s December, so you’ve got a whole new month to make awesome cakes. (Hey, the diet can resume in January!)

Here are a few cake decorating ideas you might like:

• Christmas trees
• Candles
• Presents – with bows, glitter, the works
• ‘Glass’ balls
• Santa and his reindeer
• Wreaths
• Winter scenes
• A sleigh
• A partridge in a pear tree
• Traditional white icing with candied fruits and decorations
• Mistletoe
• Snowflakes
• Yule logs
• Christmas stockings

Got other great ideas for Christmas cake designs? ‘Tis the season to share!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Easy Halloween Cake Decorating Ideas

Cake decorating at Halloween is the best. One reason is that it’s supposed to look scary, so if you goof, you can just say it’s all part of the creepiness of the theme! But there are also so many great ideas to try that you might spend all of October making cakes. That’s why I wanted to be sure you’d have these ideas early in the month.

Also, if you’ve got a birthday, anniversary, homecoming, or wedding you need to do a cake for in October, Halloween is a ready-made theme, which makes it really easy to come up with a creative cake design.

Pretty much anything dark and mysterious will work. Even obvious ideas are a huge hit. You could try:

• skeletons
• ghosts
• Frankenstein monsters
• bats
• owls
• pumpkins
• black cats
• grave stones
• haunted house or castle
• spiders
• witches
• the Grim Reaper
• a scary-looking hand

What other Halloween cakes have you made? We’d love to see! Leave a comment with a link so we can share some inspiration.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Snickerdoodles aren't just for cookies anymore!

Yummy!! If you love the buttery, cinnamon-y taste of Snickerdoodles, you've got to try this cake. It's going to the top of my "must bake SOON" list!

Home-Steeped Hope » Snickerdoodle Birthday Cake

Monday, August 4, 2008

Awesome birthday party activity ideas

Sure, you can drop hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars on your child's next birthday party... but why would you, if you could find really fun, really easy activities the kids can do... without breaking the bank?

Here is a wonderful list of activities that would be great for boys or girls - and they come with the bonus of getting the kids moving, running, jumping, and healthier... all in time for a slice of your amazing cake!

HealthNews Blogs - Kristen DeLeo - Do-It-Yourself Active Birthday Parties for Kids

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Hummingbird Cake - not what you think!

Ever had this tasty treat? Yum! Hum!

And while, sure, you could absolutely create a bird-shaped cake from this recipe, it's just a name!

Anyone know where this cake recipe got its name?

Pleasure Cooker: The best birthday cake ever!

Friday, July 11, 2008

What have kids' birthday parties turned into?

I remember birthday parties as a kid. They were the highlight of a kid's social calendar!

You found a gift at WalMart, wrapped it yourself, and showed up. You left with a belly full of pizza and cupcakes - maybe soda (the naughty indulgence!), a tiny bag of candy, and a big smile. It didn't take much to please us. Pin the tail on the donkey, telephone, maybe a water balloon toss if it was a summer birthday.

And now? Well, a party like that would have "LAME" stamped all over it. Right?

What do you remember about parties? How about now? Here's a case from Sweden that shows how out of control it's gotten.

Adults at war on kids&squo; parties | The Courier-Mail

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A lobster cake and a burger cake - Surf & Turf?

Forget the ketchup, the melted butter, and the bib! (Actually, maybe the bib would come in handy!)

Check out these awesome cakes - perfect endings for a summer BBQ.

New York City Cake Decorators Meetup: Member Summer All-Occasion Cakes

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Cakes for a Cause

Wow, now this is a great idea!

Just imagine being a little kid and knowing that your birthday might come and go without a cake made especially for the occasion. That just shouldn't happen!

Here's a great way you can bake cakes for a cause.

Chattanooga Times Free Press | Inspired by Toni Poulos' example, bakers in four states are starting programs to make free birthday cakes for children

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Millennium Falcon 4th Birthday Cake

OK, the blogger who posted this one's kind of poking fun (ya think?), but it's an amazing cake - and one I'm thinking you could knock out in much less than 13 hours! : )

Perfect for a Star Wars theme - and really not hard to do. What do you think?

Millennium Falcon 4th Birthday Cake - Geeky Curiosity of the Week » Great White Snark

Monday, July 7, 2008

Hot, hot, hot! Birthday party ideas for the summer

It's reached that point. You know - the time of year when it's hot and sticky outside. So hot and humid that you need to towel off twice after your shower!

The last thing you might want to do is invite a dozen kids over for a party. Can you imagine the stink in the bouncy house with a bunch of sweaty kids, no shoes, and 90+ degree weather? P.U.!!

So, are you stuck with a Chuck E Cheese birthday party? No way!! (Unless you like it there - to me it's less painful to bash my own head into a wall, but I know moms who can tune out the bells and whistles.)

Here's an article with a LOT of great birthday party ideas that won't have you steaming:

Cool birthday parties (for one hot summer) -

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Glazed Lemon Birthday Cake

OK, this one's not actually a cake decorating project, but it's still so yummy-looking, that I'm definitely going to try it. Anyone made one like this before?

sweet thing(s): glazed lemon birthday cake

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Ever try baking with your son?

It's messy! There are eggs cracking, flour flying, sugar everywhere - just the kind of disaster area my son likes! We've done some baking together - and as long as there's no fruit, coconut, nuts, or vegetables in sight, he's happy! (no allergies, just very picky)

Here's a mom and daughter team who's learning cake decorating together. Check it out!

Equal Opportunity Kitchen: She Said - She Said - Cake Decorating Class 4

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Turning cake decorating into a "real" job?

Donna Price of the St. Louis area used her cake decorating talents to build a business - something you could definitely do, too!

Here's a great little article about her. I love her comments on the hazards of tasting! (and her solution)

Jefferson County Journal | News | YOU DO WHAT?: Delicious is part of her company name

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Think kids can't decorate cakes? Think again!

I get the willies every time my daughter asks if she can "Make a recipe" in the kitchen... alone. She's not allowed to cook, but likes to just assemble miscellaneous ingredients into... something.

It usually means a lot of sweeping and wiping after she's "cleaned up" - oh, and one time she made me a special drink in a pink glass and had me take a big sip. Salt water.

But hey, she's trying, and she's interested. And when we work together in the kitchen, she does a lot better. If we can just get her to believe that a recipe is a good thing...

Well, here's another mom who went the extra step to enroll her daughter in a cake decorating class. Check out the homework!

Little Pink Studio: Anybody want some cake?

Monday, June 30, 2008

Bra and Harley Cake

Vroooooooommmmmmmmmm! With a little va va voom built right in!

Check out this fun cake!

Bra and Harley

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Ace of Cake Stickers - Collect Them All!

Hey, if my son can collect baseball cards, and my daughter can collect... well, everything under the sun, then I don't want to catch any grief as I try to track down some of these Ace of Cakes stickers!

You know the show - it features Charm City cakes and celebrity chef Duff Goldman. They can make any cake to look like ANYTHING - even a human ear! (ew.) Talk about extreme decorating - they use blow torches, hack saws, pretty much anything. And half the time, the delivery is just as exciting as the creation!

Mrs. Grossman's snares 'Ace of Cakes' for sticker series - 6/16/2008 12:53:00 PM - Playthings

Hey, if you DO get some of these stickers, let me know - we'll schedule a swap!! But I'm keeping any bubble gum that comes with mine : )

Friday, June 27, 2008

Want to show off in Plumas County CA?

Railroad Day is almost here! Are you ready? Did you buy a card? Do they make cards for this???

Anyway, if you're anywhere near Plumas County, CA, and you want a chance to win an award for your cake decorating skills, check out this contest. The celebration lasts for four days... I'm thinking your cake might make it... one.

PCN On-line News - Plumas County California -

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

What if your oven heats unevenly?

I’ve never had an oven that had this problem, but it does happen in some homes. One problem with an uneven oven is that your cakes will come out higher on one end than the other. Fine if you’re making a ski slope cake, but not so much if you’re going for an even, flat cake top.

Here’s a tip a friend recommended:

Before putting your cake in the oven, wrap a thick, wet towel around the filled cake pan. Pin the edges of the towel closed over the top. This moist heat will help your cake rise more evenly.

You’ll want to keep an eye on your oven when you do this, just in case! If your towel is wet, it shouldn’t pose a fire hazard. But it would certainly put a damper on the whole cake-eating experience if you had to invite the fire department to have a slice, too!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Is it time to take a cake decorating class?

Maybe you’re just starting out. Or maybe you're an old cake decorating veteran. It doesn't matter. Once you catch the cake decorating fever, you're going to want to continually improve your skills. Maybe it's time to take a cake decorating class or two.

Hey, if you like independent study, you're covered. With all the awesome cake decorating books, videos, and websites out there, you can learn tons of tricks and tips.

However, there are advantages to taking a class that just don't happen on your own. And you might be surprised how easy it can be to find a great cake decorating class near you. Some places to look:

  • large craft stores
  • cooking schools
  • private classes with a professional cake decorator

You could even form your own class or club by getting together with other local cake decorators to learn a new skill. Just post an ad on Craigslist or Meet-Up to find them, and plan an initial meeting somewhere public so you can talk about what you’d all like to learn. (Be safe!)

What can you get from taking a cake decorating class?

  1. Feedback. Sure, your family loves every cake you make - and they believe you when you say that thing is actually a firetruck - not an apple. But wouldn't you like to hear the truth from other decorators? Feedback is a great way to improve.
  2. Instant answers. Who doesn't want that in life?! Unlike in a forum or discussion board, where you're never sure the other person actually gets what you're asking, and you always wish you could bring them right into your kitchen for more detailed answers, you can ask questions and get immediate answers in a class.
  3. Front row view. Watch how other cake decorators fix their goofs rather than just seeing the finished product.
  4. Cake decorating classes are fun! No algebra involved - ever.
  5. Eat the evidence. Hey, someone's got to, right?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Can you gain weight just by LOOKING?

Stumbled onto this mouth-watering group of photos and it was just too yummy not to share!

grub - a set on Flickr

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Betty Crocker Kit

Rachel Cox of Amarillo, TX gave the Betty Crocker Cake Decorating Kit - the 100 piece kit I keep seeing whenever my daughter watches Sponge Bob (is there a connection between ocean life and cake?).

Have you tried it? Probably not, but just in case you were wondering... - Cake Decorating

What do you think? Is it a good starter kit for beginners? A waste of money? Or something every cake decorator should own?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Airplane Birthday Cake

Andrea’s Recipes » Airplane Birthday Cake

Check this out! Really cool - and Andrea was kind enough to provide step by step photos.

Give it a try and let us know how yours comes out.

Birthday cakes aren't just kids' stuff!

Here's a pretty cake, and as Maimiedale says, you can save a ton of money just by learning how to do this yourself! Check it out.

Mamiedale Does It Again

Cake designer and teacher needs your help!

Click here to help Donna decide which cake videos to do (first!):

I need your help, regarding feedback on online cake decorating classes. « Designer Cakes By Donna

My votes were for sculptured cakes, airbrushed cakes, and the puppy cake. How about you?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Ummm, maybe I'd skip THIS birthday cake!

North Bay Tiger Enjoys Ice Cream, Bloody Birthday Cake - News Story - KNTV | San Francisco

Bake a Cake, Bless a Soldier

This gave me a great idea! If you know of a soldier coming home, why not bake a special cake for the occasion? Guarantee they haven't had something so tasty for MONTHS!

And imagine how special he or she would feel to be welcomed home with such a personal touch.

Guard, Army Corps Provide Flood Relief

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Cool, but I prefer to be able to EAT the cake!

Ever seen those fake cherry pies and other goodies at gift shops?

No, you can't eat them, but they ARE cool. Here's how someone took dessert in a completely different direction.

Fashionable food: This is not dessert - Salt Lake Tribune

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Tips for Cake Decorating with Your Kids

  • Flat is best. Decorating a cake that’s uneven on top – bulging, sagging, sloping, or bumpy cake tops are a challenge for any cake decorator. Making sure your cake comes out flat starts as you bake. After you fill the pan, rap the pan on your counter a few times. This helps get the air bubbles out so your cake can bake evenly.
  • Let them experiment with different cake decorating tips and icing colors. They’ll be amazed to see how a different tip makes the icing come out in a different shape. They might enjoy even just piping icing onto a plate, and it’s good practice, too.
  • Use plain white icing and add some colorful candies to make the cake look beautiful. Gummy candy, M&Ms, licorice, jelly beans, and Star Bursts are perfect for decorating, and couldn’t be easier.
  • Try edible flowers. Your kids might say, “Ew!” at first, but they’ll also be amazed to learn there are flowers that can be eaten. Don’t try this with little kids, though – they’ll have a hard time differentiating edible from poisonous flowers!
  • Remember it’s just for fun. You’re probably not going to let your kids work on a cake you’re doing for a customer, if you’ve got a business. But if it’s for a family member or friend, there’s really no pressure for perfection. Don’t worry about it coming out as your finest masterpiece – the time you spend together is far more important than the end result.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Stumped? How to Find Creative Cake Decorating Ideas

You can have the skills of the amazing cake decorators on the Food Channel, piping, rolling, and tiering with the best of them. But when you get a request for a cake you can’t seem to conceptualize, you’re stuck!

Good thing for the internet, because a great idea is literally at your fingertips. You can click and find tons of ideas you can either use as is, or else they’ll probably nudge your brain into action and you’ll suddenly find a great way to make that cake.

Here are a few excellent sources for creative cake decorating ideas:

1. Google Images is your best friend online. If anyone’s baked the cake you need to make, and put it online, you’ll find it here. Use quotation marks to get the most relevant search results. For example, if you want to make an iguana cake, type “iguana cake” in the search box and see what comes up.

2. If you could get your hands on an ostrich template… Sometimes you just need a little help in designing the cake. Look for coloring pages online. They’re usually fairly simply designed. Print the coloring page, then get it blown up to the size of your cake. Do a crumb coat on the top of the cake, then trace around the image, shape the cake, then do another crumb coat to seal the cut edges.

3. Forums know all – and they’ll tell you. There are quite a few cake decorating forums out there, and in them you’ll find some of the nicest people in the world. They’re usually happy to share their experience, photos, and advice. Chances are, whatever you’re trying to make, someone in a forum has done it. Just remember that forums are a give and take situation – be sure to be a giver, and you’ll become a valued member.

So, the next time you find yourself stumped in your search for creative cake decorating ideas, get yourself online and find something awesome to bake!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Is it cheating to use a novelty cake pan?

Alright, I’ll lay it right out there: there’s nothing more satisfying for a cake decorator to create a shaped cake from nothing, piecing together bits and parts from sheet cakes, squares, and rounds.

You stand back to take a look at your masterpiece, and even amaze yourself that you made a cake that rivals the eighth wonder of the world. But… the more cakes you make, the more alluring those cute and easy novelty cake pans might seem.

Are you cheating by trying them? Do you become a disgrace to cake decorators everywhere? No! Give them a try!

There are at least a few great reasons to use novelty cake pans:
1. Easy as… cake! Just mix a cake, pour it into a greased and floured pan, bake, and decorate. No engineering or architectural talent required.
2. Using a novelty cake pan gives you a good opportunity to practice decorating using an icing bag. Because the cake comes out with slight markings to show the details, you’ve got a built-in guide to follow as you decorate.
3. You can find a novelty cake pan for almost any theme out there, including licensed characters, animals, teen themes, sports, holidays, and everything in between. My favorite source is…….
4. Novelty cake pans aren’t that expensive – especially if you plan to use it more than once. And with some of the pans, you can use the same pan to make more than one animal – for example, there’s a cute teddy bear pan you can use to make a frog cake.

The downside to buying a boatload of these pans is storage. They don’t exactly stack neatly! But there’s good news here, too. There’s a hot market for these pans, even used. So if you buy one and use it for a while, you may not have to store it forever – put it up on eBay, and it becomes more like you rented it!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Hungry for cake in Charlotte?

When I lived in Charlotte, NC a few years back, I became friends with one of the most amazing women in town – and she happens to be an incredibly talented cake decorator. Peg introduced me to cake decorating without me even realizing what she was doing! I saw pictures (and was sometimes lucky enough to be at functions with the real thing) of cakes she decorated for Edible Art, an adorable shop in the middle of Myers Park.

Peg taught me some of the most helpful tips ever:

  • Icing can fix anything!
  • If you think about it long enough, you can figure out how to make any cake you want to. It’s just a matter of looking at the parts and how they fit together.
  • Don’t get black icing on your hands – it doesn’t come off!
  • You don’t have to use fondant to make a smooth-looking cake. You can do it by dipping your spatula in hot water before each stroke.

Edible Art’s secret recipes for cake and icing should be patented. They are delicious beyond words, and so good that even with their eyes shut, lucky Charlotte residents can identify one of their cakes out of a line-up, just by tasting.

Friday, May 30, 2008

How Much Cake to Make?

OK, it’s party time! You’ve sent the invitations, gotten a few replies (why, oh why don’t people RSVP? – alright, we’ll discuss that another time), and are ready to make the cake. Unless you want the duty of personally eating all the leftovers yourself – eating it now so it won’t tempt you later – it’s a good idea to have a grip on how much to make.

Here’s a handy little guide:

Cake Feeds
8” round, 2 layers 10 – 14 guests
9” round, 2 layers 12 – 16 guests
8” or 9” square, one layer 9 guests
13” x 9” sheet cake, one layer 12 – 16 guests
10” tube pan 12 – 16 guests
12 cup Bundt pan 12 – 16 guests
9” loaf pan 8 – 10 guest

Need twice as many? Just make another layer! Need half as much? Too bad! Stick to cupcakes or blow your diet (smile).

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Cake Decorating... airbrush style!

You’ve seen them – gorgeous cakes that look like they ran smack into a rainbow. They’re color drenched works of art, and they were made using an airbrush.

I haven’t tried one yet, but have been looking into how they work. Basically, an airbrush is used to spray ink (or in the case of a cake decorator, food coloring!). You load it up, pull the trigger, and then a stream of air goes through the airbrush, carrying the color with it and spreading it out on the surface of the cake. You can load the airbrush with more than one color at a time to get that rainbow look. You can use an airbrush to do the background of a cake or to give it kind of a tie-dye looks.

Apparently it takes some practice to get your airbrush to do what you want it to. Lots of professional decorators use them, and swear by them. So it’s worth a try!

Have you used an airbrush for your cakes? How did they come out? Any tips or tricks you’d like to share?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Welcome to Beast and Bug Cakes for Boys!

Hi There!

Welcome to the Beast and Bug Cake blog! My name's Sue "The Cake Mom" Anderson, and I'm also the author of the Beast and Bug Cakes Guide, which is on birthday cakes for boys (and nearly finished with the Critter and Cricket Cakes Guide, which is on birthday cakes for girls).

You can hop on over to my web site at to sign up for the free newsletter, Life's a Party! which sends you tons of great tips, tricks, and easy ways to add fun to your family's daily life (and special occasions, too!).

Meanwhile, why not take a look around my blog, hang out, have a cold glass of milk and a slice of cake, click around a bit, bookmark it, and be sure to check back regularly for all the latest yummy morsels.

And don't forget to leave a comment and give your two cents about turning your family life into a party!