Monday, October 3, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me!

We're celebrating my birthday here today!!!

It's going to be a while before I get a chance to make cakes again- so in the meantime you get cakes from the past.

Bakeshow, "Long past?"

Ghost of Birthdays past, "No, your past."

I'm not even sure which years they were. I have a general guess- but the actual ages I can't recall. I'm pretty sure my mom made all of them- although one could have been made by my sister, Valeri.

PS- if you say a word about the mullet- I'll break up with your for like, ever.

My doll cake. I am guessing around 4 or 5?

Ahhh... the Smurf Cake. I think this was about second grade (I would guess age 6 by the candles)

I actually got the white chocolate ghost cake a couple of times. Once for my 8th birthday party, and then again this year- which I would guess is either 9 or 10 ish.

You can always tell what I was into by the picture on my cake. I used to be *really* into unicorns and rainbows! (Who am I kidding, I still like that stuff) I had that haircut in 7th grade- so uhhh... 11?

If we're going by candles this is 14 ish- but candles are not always reliable in this family (this year I got four).

That's my Kinko cake (Kinko was my kitty). My mom used him as the model for the cake.

I know there are more cakes- but I have no idea where the photos are. I know for my first birthday I had a three tiered cake. Maybe I'll hunt that photo down and use it for the monumental birthday that is looming 366 days from now.

I don't get cake any more. With so many  birthdays all grouped together in my family- we OD on cake pretty fast.  So for my birthday I get chocolate (preferably French Silk) pie. My sister-in-law two weeks ahead of me gets German chocolate (as does her daughter whose birthday is two days after hers). My brother 6 days after me gets white cake with raspberry dessert and my sister the following day gets cherry pie (bleh) just so we can keep the variety going.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Kent and Conlin Weddings

When the bride came to order this cake she had several pictures of what she wanted.  A piece of of this cake- some from this one but not all on one cake. My mom was taking the order and showed her a picture of the Willis cake. She looked at the picture and said, "That's it!!! That's the cake!" So they are very similar. Aside from the obvious differences, the difference is that the filigree is slightly altered (because it has to go according to my mood).

They were using fresh flowers and since the wedding was in Malad- and they were picking it up instead of having it delivered, it is void of flowers- they will put them on at the location.  I am hoping though, that they send me a picture of final effect.

This cake is just a small three tiered round for an old family friend.

  The mother of the groom did the arrangement on top and my mom did the little flowers on the sides.  Simple, but still really pretty (I think).

[by the way- I took my picture from the wrong angle- it's really not all wonky and off kilter- it's supposed to look like that. the layers are a little pushed back and line up at the back. You just can't really tell from the pic]

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


I keep putting off this non-announcement.

The results of the poll that showed up on my other blog (which--- that was meant to be on this blog--- but I picked the wrong one) are in. Let me refresh your memory of the question:

Is "BitterHarpyCakes" bad to put on a business card?

Your responses:

Heck no! It's awesome!  9 (31%)
Umm... Yeah. Who would buy a cake from a Bitter Harpy? 11 (37%)
Why are you even asking? You know you'll do what you want anyway.  9 (31%)

Thank you kindly to those of you who voted.

And the winner is..........

... the 62% who know me best! Yes, it's an awesome name- and those who voted for question three- You're right. Your opinion is important to me, but I'll make up my own mind in the end.

If it ever comes to the point where I make business cards or some other such business-ish venture, I will be under the name Bitter Harpy Cakes.  That's the blog title- that's me. I don't think people are going to be silly enough to think the cakes will be bitter. I give society more credit for sense than that.  It's a different name- and it stands out. I like it.

And I've not yet had complaints of nasty tasting cake so..... there ya go. 

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Makeup Kit Cake

Sometimes when someone orders a cake and just says "You do what you want," that stresses me out more than if someone was too specific.  For this one- my co-worker's daughter is turning 8. She just said that she's a very girly girl. She's into makeup and shoes and all things girly.

I dare not attempt a shoe cake just yet- but after looking at some work that other people have come up with- I decided a little makeup cake would be cute.

It took longer than I thought it would, but I think it turned out pretty darn cute.

I'm rather in love with the lipstick. And I like the quilted look on the bag. Also, I don't think it really shows in the picture, but the bag is shiny like vinyl.  And I just noticed that from this picture you can't really tell that the pink thing is a comb... hmmm... I see room for improvement. Crap.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Relay For Life

I have been putting off this post because I wanted more pictures to go with it- but procrastination gets us nowhere. Right?

So this year's theme for the Fred Meyer Team was "Kiss Cancer Goodbye." We had a theme of Princess and the Frog (which loosly translates to Mardi Gras!)

I didn't get to stay long because I worked early the next day, but some dressed up as princesses, some as frogs (and I let them use my collection of plush frogs as props). We had lots of beads to throw as we walked the team lap (things were a little unorganized so it didn't work out exactly how we wanted it to, but it was a fun idea) and for our fund raiser we sold cupcakes.

These cupcakes!

They were a group effort.  My sister made the King Cakes (they were white cupcakes with green and purple marbling- and a baby inside) and I made the gumpaste decorations on top. The frog prince crowns were painted with aztec gold luster dust and the masks were painted (painstakingly by Mom) with purple food coloring.  Then I had a stroke.... of GENIUS and decided that the masks needed a little bit more so I edged them in yellow sprinkles to give them a Mardi Gras feel (and by "I edged them" I mean "Mom edged them")

Friday, July 1, 2011

Buttars and Willis Weddings

So last year, shortly after I moved home, my mom was asked to do a wedding cake (among the zillions she's done). They wanted fondant, but she does not do fondant. So we came up with the idea that I would try to do the cake in fondant, and if it didn't work out then she'd do it in buttercream and no one would be the wiser. This is that cake- (snaps the the people who find the hidden Mickey-that *oh yes* was put there on purpose)

Personally, for my first ever wedding cake, and my second or third fondant cake, I think it's pretty good. We delivered the cake just like this, then the family put their own flowers on it.

I guess they liked it enough to recommend me to a newly engaged couple. For the first time ever I had a couple come and toss around ideas with me.  They gave me a general picture of what they wanted- and this is what they got.

 If you click on the picture, it makes it a little bigger and you can see the detail of the white on white design. Again, the flowers were created by the family.  They said specifically where they were to go, so I hope they are pleased with the final product. I'm proud of it. The company they hired to do the backdrops and tables and stuff liked it enough that she asked for a business card so she can recommend people to me.

Heaven help me.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Say Cheese!

My friend has a birthday today! (shout hoo-ray)

And for her birthday she wanted a cheese tasting. She just wanted to get a ton of different kinds of cheese and try them all. So- when her husband ordered her cake- he wanted a "cheese" cake.

Complete with little mousey. (the picture doesn't really do it justice... it was a big cheese wheel... the kind dipped in wax... get it??? sigh... )

She also got my second ever attempted- and first successful- cheesecake.  A real one. Like, made from scratch and everything- even the crust! When I delivered the cakes I stayed around just long enough for her to offer me a slice. I was dying to try it!

Oh. My. Gyosh.  It was heavenly. And I'm not even saying that to toot my own horn. Whoever came up with that recipe- I applaud you. I stand and give an ovation. I got to taste a little bit of heaven tonight. And it is good.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Idaho Falls HS Graduation

Ok. This cake was... um.. an adventure? I guess that's a nice word for it. I almost had a nervous breakdown, but I lived. You've heard me talk about Cake Wrecks, right? Well, this cake would have been right at home. Here's the gist of the story-

I put the bottom layer together and it was thick- I mean THICK. But I just went along with it anyway. I had the cakes both decorated and ready to put together. The top layer looked like a lopsided marshmallow. But I thought once I had it in place I could decorate around the wonky-ness and hide the flaws. When I put a cake together, there are three or four dowels down inside the bottom layer to support the upper layers. The upper layer is on a round cardboard to help support it- so, I put the dowels in the bottom tier, then put the tip tier on (you with me so far?) Then, If the cake is being transported more than a block away- and by someone other than myself, I drive a longer dowel down through the middle of both cakes. I use a sharpened dowel to poke through the cardboard and then hammer it down in.  So I did that- just the same as I always do- only... when I was done with it, the top layer had sunk about a half inch down into the bottom tier. I decided that the top tier just looked too wonky and if this was going to a paying customer that it needed to look good. Not like a half @$$ed thrown together monstrosity. So I thought I'd take the top layer off and redo it. When I pulled it off- the bottom tier was hollow! Hollow? What the heck????

When I pounded the sharpened dowel down through both tiers, instead of poking a hole, it just folded the cardboard up in between the support dowels and pushed it through, smashing the cake in the middle. I stared at it in shock. Then horror. Then asked my mom if she had a potted plant I could stick in it.

Needless to say- I started over.

The second go round turned out much better- for obvious reasons- but also just because I feel it's proportioned a little better than the first cake was. It's almost as if it was meant to be that the first cake bit the dust. I never do cakes in advance. I'm always scrambling at the last minute to do them but this time I started way ahead of time. Yeah... it's probably a good thing.

The little tiger I made was done a few days in advance so I didn't have to worry about him. but I re-baked and re-decorated the cake.  The kid this is for likes sports so his mom wanted something sporty on it. The sports things are made from gum paste and hand painted. The football I rolled inside a paper towel so that it would have texture on it.

And here we have the finished product!

I think it turned out pretty darn cute! I hope they like it... I also hope his mom laughs- and not the opposite- when she sees the "bows" on the back of the cake. We were joking about putting bows on a boy cake and I guaranteed her there would be a bow on this cake somewhere. You can kinda see it in the penultimate picture... just a little black bow at the back on the ribbon.  tee hee... silly.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Next Generation

The other day I was working on some butterflies for a friend, the kitchen was strewn about with my cake crap. My niece Sadie asked if she could decorate a cake. I just so happened to have a frozen cake that had not been claimed. I let her go crazy. I didn't help her at all except to give her a few tips for rolling the fondant so something little.

When she was done, she said it was for me. Cuz I love frogs.  Awww.... Thanks Sades!

With no direction from anyone- this is what she came up with:

I think it's great! Her first fondant cake ever. Again, my camera on my phone isn't great. It loses some of the detail. but the little sandwich actually has "cheese" in it- and the little apple and banana...? awww...

Good job Kid!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Bonneville HS graduation

This cake was fun! A girl from work needed a cake for her daughter's graduation so she asked if I'd do it. Of course, it was my pleasure.

This is the Bonneville High mascot:

Super unattractive, right?

So what kind of cake could I do for a graduating Bee?

Try this on for size. It's a little fondant bee, with graduation cap and tassel (you can't see it, but he has a tiny little stinger on his bum).  But I didn't want the little bee to be lonely... he got a few friends from the hive (with even teenier stingers on thier bums). Bonneville colors are yellow and green. I threw in the black to make it "pop" a little bit, plus to bring it in from the bees.

It's a chocolate/white marble cake with white butter cream frosting.

Personally (and I am my own worst critic), I think it's pretty cute. I just hope Katie thinks so too. Apparently, she was bragging to her friends that her mom is ordering her a cake!a real cake! and her friends thought her mom had gotten something like, from the Ace of Cakes... yeah... I hope she's not too disappointed. Duff is waaaaaaaaay outta my league.


Sadie's Birthday

February 2011

When I asked my niece, Sadie what she wanted for her birthday cake, she just told me "pink, purple, yellow, and green. So that's what she got.

 I need to work on my patience though- and get all the stripes straight. Plus I got a little overexcited with the steamer- so it looks a little... extra shiny. But it was a fun experiment with color and shapes. She liked it- so that's all that matters.

Lego Birthday

February 2011

This birthday cake was my first actual ordered and paid for cake! It was for 10 year old Matthew.

It was super time consuming and didn't turn out *exactly* how I planned, but that's because I'm impatient.  But every dot was individually cut and put in place, as was every "Lego" stripe.

All in all, I think it turned out ok. The picture is crap- but it's better than the one I have on Facebook (this one hides more of the flaws).

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Butterfly Birthday

My laptop is on the fritz. I have a better picture of this on my camera- but if I want to get the picture up before the memory of the cake flies away like a butterfly leaving it's cocoon, I'll just post the not-as-good-but-better-than-nothing from the phone pix picture.

Got that?

White cake with white butter cream frosting. Made for Mailei. Happy Birthday, Kiddo!

The fun part was- Heather, (her mom, not my other personality) just said to do whatever I wanted- in summery colors. So this is what I came up with. When she picked it up (I wasn't there) she said that she'd just gone to the store to pick up decorations for the party- and without talking to me, or seeing the cake- the decorations and the cake matched! How awesome is that?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Mini Cakes 2

To see the first batch of mini cakes and get up to speed on thier purpose, go here.

My friend is having another bake sale to raise money for her oldies. So I made these cakes for the sale:

I think this one looks like a cutesy little baby shower cake.

Everyone loves Mickey! (if you don't, don't tell me cuz I'll totally judge you)

My mom made this one.

A little tiger stripe experiment.

Some fondant meets old-school piping. The rose is fondant. I think next time I'll use a smaller tip on the border stuff.

And my personal favorite of today's lot:

Can I get and "Arrrrrrrrrrrr..."

Oh, by the way, they are all either white or chocolate cake with white buttercream filling.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Day of the Dead

October 2010

Of the cakes I've made so far, this one is one of my favorites (possibly my favorite).  My friend, Jona has her anniversary on Halloween so every year she celebrates- and celebrates BIG. 

I wanted to make some kind of contribution to the soiree so I volunteered a cake. Knowing Jona and her style, I knew it had to be something I've never done before. So I researched. I looked at magazines, I looked online I looked everywhere until I found a cake I thought would fit in well with her party.

Each layer of the cake is a black and white cake (one chocolate layer, one white) with butter cream icing and filling.  The red took For.Ev.Er to mix and was nearly a full bottle of food coloring. I also mixed in a little black to keep it from being bright, cherry red (or hooker red, however you want to see it).

It has a little black airbrushing on it as well to give it that gradient look. The skulls on the sides are white chocolate and black icing (hand piped, obviously) with silver luster dust eyes. The drippy looking stuff on the sides is also white chocolate. That did not turn out the way it was meant to. I wanted runny royal icing but I can't make just a little bit of it and I didn't want to make a whole batch. So the white chocolate was a compromise and it's the one thing I regret about the cake. No matter how much black I put in it, it still dried purple so I (gulp) painted straight food coloring on it to make it look darker. It turned out ok... not great... but I couldn't peel it off and start over cuz it had melted into the fondant. So I just had to go with it.

The skull and sombrero on top are formed from fondant. I was beside myself trying to figure out what to top the cake with and I just started playing with fondant and came up with the skull. Again, I used what I have at my disposal (toys) to make the sombrero. I used a ring from those baby stackable ring thingies. Washed the heck out of it then formed the sombrero to fit over it and down inside of it, taking the form of the inside of the ring and let it dry out a little over night then hand piped the decorations on it. I think the sombrero is my favorite part.

The spider webs and inner border are hand piped. On the back of the cake, if you look close, you'll see a little spider. I accidentally got a tear in the fondant and that little spider was covering my oopsy.  Anyway, I didn't get to go to the party, but Jona tells me people liked it. So I'll take it as a success. And for me to say anything nice about my own work is a bonus. I more than often think the things I produce are crap. But I'm told I'm my own worst critic.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

How I Spent My Weekend

*Quick side note, I've decided to not necessarily post the cakes in the order that I made them- otherwise it will be a year before you see the cakes I'm making now. So just go with it.

Remember when you were in elementary school and every year on the first day you had a to write a report about how you spent your weekend? That's kinda how I feel about this particular post. If you go here, you'll see the list of things I had to do. It was a daunting list and I think most of it actually got done. But you're not here for that stuff. You wanna see cakes.

This first one is a cake order. A little girl's birthday (Mary, my dear friend's daughter). She is a princess in every sense of the word. This girl probably has pink blood. So for her birthday- this is what she's getting:

The light really washes it out, but the rounded corner parts of the castle are purple gum paste. The pink rooftops are ice cream cones covered in fondant shingles.  The ivy is hand piped. It's a four layer white cake with sprinkles. (ok.. ok... it's funfetti. I can't lie) with white buttercream.

This photo is to show the stone work detailing on the purple castle walls. I use what is available to me: toys. My nephew has a train track toy and one section of it has a cobblestone print. So I washed the heck out of the toy and then pressed the gum paste on it to make the stone design.

My Niece, Macy also had a birthday this weekend. (Today, in fact!) She is a giraffe lovin fool. She ordered her cake months ago when her sister got a zebra print cake.  The cake is red velvet with cream cheese frosting. The pink bow was for Macy, it is her favorite color- and she just got pink extensions in her hair. I'm not exactly fond of the pink with the giraffe print. I would have rather had a blue or something- but the kid likes pink- so the kid gets pink! Happy Birthday, Mouser!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Fairy Garden

December 2009

First order of business.

Are any of you having a hard time looking at this site? I tried it today on my work computer and it came up this garish green with light blue words. Not only could I not read it, I nearly went blind trying.

It's supposed to be a lovely shade of green with a cutesy background...? can you see it?

Now, for the reason we're all here. Cake.

Ok... have we recovered from our time travel? Cuz we're gonna do it again. Back again to December 2009, not quite so far this time, a week or so. Heeeere Weeeee Goooooo!!!!!


Here we are in Idaho. Home for Christmas. My sister has a birthday coming up so I want to try out the things that I learned at Meranda's.  I found a recipe online for fondant. I've heard from multitudes that fondant is disgusting. So I wanted to find one that was edible.  Now, fondant, as a rule, is not really meant to be eaten. It's more of a decoration... an edible decoration, but a decoration nonetheless. My fondant, however, is awesome. It's still too sweet to eat a whole lot of, but at least it doesn't taste like rocks.

I had a cake in my head. I should have drawn it out to see how it looked in my head versus how it actually turned out. (some of my cakes I sketch, some I Internet stalk and try to copy others or just get inspiration). For this cake I was going for a fairy garden theme.

Some of it was cut by hand, some with cookie cutters that were meant to be something else but I played around with shapes and colors. My nieces all helped with the "narbles" (my nephew can't say marble- so from that day until the end of time, they will be called Narbles).

My niece, Sadie is quite a little artist. It was her mom's cake so I asked for her help with the little fairy. She made it all from her own imagination all with fondant. I think she did an amazing job!

For a first effort I don't think it turned out too badly.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The One that Started It All

Let's go back in time. Far back into the reaches of yesteryear...


Ahh.... it's 2009. December. The Christmas season is nearly upon us. [whispering] {oh, look, there I am! I'm sitting in Relief Society}. What is that paper being passed around? [looking closer] it's a sign up sheet for the ward Christmas Party. Ohhh.... a cake decorating contest? Niiiiiiice! Look at me sign up. Silly girl.

This is boring, let's fast forward


Right. Let's stop here. It's the day before the ward Christmas party. I've already called on my friend, Meranda. She is an amazing cake decorator. Her skills with fondant are awesome! I've always wanted to learn how to use fondant. I grew up in a buttercream home so I've never been around it. I asked her to help me come up with something for my ward party. The theme of the party was "Whobilation" all grinchy and stuff. 

This is the creation she and her mother (with the littlest bit of help from me) came up with:

Her mom made the Grinch. Isn't he awesome!?

I made the doors (I know! Amazing, right?) and the little present hanging from the peak of Mt Crumpit.

It was from here that I watched how she worked the fondant and then I just copied it. For better or worse (my money is on worse) this is where it all began.

That was a nice trip through time. Can I stay? I wanna be in Denver. {sniff sniff}

Back to Reality.