Sunday, January 10, 2010

Katie and YiaYia Malia Enter Cake Competition at New York Cake Convention

Winter Wonderland Wedding Cake....Advanced Division.
Katie and her Eloise at Christmastime entry - Youth Division - Ages 7 - 12.
Katie placed second.

Back view of Katie's Creation.

Katie on her way to the competition.

Katie at her work table.

As soon as this Cake Blogger/Cake Designer/YiaYia saw that the 2010 New York Cake Convention had a division for Youth, the first thing I did was call my daughter Maria to ask permission to enter Katie in the competition. Maria asked Katie....and I could hear the squeals of delight when she was asked. Needless to say...I knew that was a resounding YES! Katie quickly began sketching some ideas before she came to my house to start working on her Christmas themed cake project. During her sketching time at my place, we were watching Eloise At Christmastime on television. About a half hour into the movie, Katie stopped...took a look at me and said...."That's it!!! That's what I'm going to do!! I'm going to recreate a scene from that movie!"
Very long story short....Katie added the various elements of a scene she thought was hilarious to her sketch.
In a couple of days she came back to sit at my dining room table to begin work on her gumpaste/fondant pieces.
Initially they were a little she was instructed to give some dimension. She then started work on Eloise.
Katie found a people mold kit I had, and after asking how to use it, and my teaching her...then destroying what I had done, Katie started on Eloise.
At first poor Eloise's legs collapsed while Katie had stood her up to dry. Poor Eloise looked like she was the daughter of an elephant. She tried again...this time sticking skewers in her legs....but the arms were now flapping like a structure. So she immediately went to getting wire and performed surgery on Eloise's arms...Finally....Katie decided to stick a scewer up through Eloise's torso for extra insurance....The laughs we had when she was pushing that scewer up Eloise's behind! Ouch!
While Katie worked on her figures and ornaments, I prepared the cake and the icing.
This project looked like soooo much fun I wanted to work along side her. But couldn't because adults were not allowed to put their hands to the projects the kids were creating. It was the hardest thing to have to sit on my hands! I didn't have to worry Katie pulled this off like a champion.
At the convention....I heard someone saying that they didn't believe a child had done this. dear...whoever you can believe it! This is the work of a child who has been watching her YiaYia for 2 years now work on cakes, and has been doing the same alongside me.
For all who have aspiring sugar artists in their midst....all I can say...encourage them to experiment....encourage the young ones to open their young minds and to find their creative selves.
Will Katie grow up to become a professional cake designer....only the Universe knows....but for now....I am enjoying every minute of watching her grow and create!
By the way....Katie took SECOND PLACE in the Youth Division! You rock Katie!!!!!
As for I didn't place. But it was such a wonderful first experience at such a convention. I met the most wonderful people...both young and older...experienced and novice! I have been bitten by the competition bug and will be competing in future events across the country.
I think one of best parts of this convention besides being with Katie was meeting such celebrated cake designers as Michelle Bommarito, Ashley Vicos, Christopher Russom and Marjorie Chu, Mary Moy H, Michelle Doll, and Alexandra Pellogrino, Pat Jacoby, and Ruth Rickey...all competitors on either TLC or Food Network.
They were all so generous in sharing of their knowledge in sugar art.
So back to the drawing board to prepare for my next competition. Oh by the way....both Melina and Costaki, Katie's siblings have been bitten too by the sugar bug....They both want to compete next year!!!! I can see the wheels turning in their young heads!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Vanilla Cake Recipe

This delish recipe is from a book I acquired a couple of years I can't take credit for it. Rewrote it in my recipe file and have been using it exclusively for my vanilla cakes. It's moist and has the perfect density for sculpting too.
You can add flavors to it by adding a simple syrup.

When I remember which book this is from I'll let you all know.

Yields: Three 9 inch rounds
1 half sheet ( 13 x 18)
24 cup cakes


2 cups (8oz) cake flour
1 3/4 cup plus 1 1/2 teaspoons (8oz) all purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons Baking Powder
1 cup (2 sticks; 8oz) Unsalted Butter
3 cups (21 oz) granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Pure vanilla extract
1 cup (8oz; about 7 eggs) Egg Whites or pasteurized egg whites in liquid form
1 1/2 cups (12 oz.) milk


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Brush the bottoms and sides of pans with melted butter and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, sift together the cake flour, all-purpose flour and baking powder. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar and bet on medium speed until light and fluffy.
4. Add the salt and vanilla.
5. Set the mixer to low speed and gradually add the egg whites, scraping often.
6. Alternately add the flour mixture and milk to the butter mixture in two batches, starting with the flour. Scrape down the bowl between each addition and beat until thoroughly combined. Set the mixer tomedium-high speed for about 20 seconds then stop and scrape the sides of the bowl.
7. Divide the batter evenly between the cake pans or muffin tins. For 9 inch cake pans, bake 1 hour or until a toothpick comes out clean; for hald-sheet pans, bake 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean' for cupcakes, bake 20 - 25 minutes, or until they spring back after being touched.
8. Allow the cake to cool for 20 minutes. Once the cake is cool, release it from its pan by running a metal spatula or knife along the sides of the pan. Flip the cake over onto another pan or cake board and peel away the layer of parchment.

To Make this into a Lemon Cake, add the zest and juice of two lemons to the batter.

Good Luck All.

Oh by the way...for amazing recipes...and fabulous tips for baking from scratch I Warren Brown of Cake Love has a fabulous book! "Cake Love".
Also, Margaret Braun in her "Cakewalk" has several delish recipes. I use her Blackout Chocolate Cake....It is toooooooo good!