Tag Archives: Cake Decorating

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Wilton® Sweet Up & 2014 Baking Trends

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending the Wilton® Sweet Up at their headquarters in Chicago. At this event they gave us a sneak peek of their new cake decorating courses, some of their new products that are arriving in our stores now and announced the baking trends for 2014.

While I was there, I had the chance to visit The Wilton® School in Darien, IL. We learned all about the history behind the company. Did you know that in 1929 Dewey McKinley Wilton first began to teach the now-famous “Wilton Method” that is taught in our stores?

History of Wilton

While at the school, we got a little hands-on experimentation with the new Decorator Preferred Fondant. It’s very soft and easy to work with. Trust me, that’s supposed to be a rose … it’s a work in progress.

fun-with-fondant

We practiced our icing skills:

Piping

And, we even partook in a friendly cake decorating competition. Our team took home the award for Most Varied Techniques.

cake-decorating-competitionChocolate Award

Next up, we took a stroll through the Wilton Store.  Yep, an entire store full of cake decorating supplies. It was a baker’s heaven for sure.

Wilton Store

After picking up some mini donut pans and new icing tips, I headed over to their Headquarters to get ready for the Sweet Up.

sweet-up

During this live press event Wilton announced the top baking trends for 2014.

1. Buttercream

lime-cake

Buttercream has been around for ages, but these are new trends in buttercream frosting like natural & organic colors and techniques. Keeping it simple, not overdone. This includes updating the texture of your decorating and adding new flavors like lime, rosewater or spirits.

2.  Frosting Techniques

Trends in Buttercream

Using simple, more modern techniques like vertical ribbons, dots, petals. Another trend gaining momentum is the messy frosted cake finished with flowers on top.

3. Tall Cakes

Tall Cakes

The more layers, the better! Cakes are trending in 4+ layers. Want to know a little trick? Add decoration on top to add even more height! As you can see from this picture, Naked Cakes are all the rage and they’re super easy to make!

4. Small Treats

Small Treats

We’re seeing this bite-size trend pop up everywhere for a few reasons: guests feel less guilty about indulging in a small treat, you have the option of trying more than one kind of treat when they’re tiny and, things that are mini are oh so cute! Try mini bundts, mini donuts, molten cakes, petit fours and pops!

5. Fondant

Square Fondant Cake

New trends in fondant are sleek and sweet. Square covered cakes, bubbles, painted fondant and imprinting are all the rage.

Have you used any of these new trends in your cake decorating? We’d love to see your cakes!

val brunch

Host A Sweet Valentine’s Day Brunch

valentine's day brunch

It seems the moment that the holidays are over, signs of Cupid begin to pop up everywhere. Pink, red, hearts, candy, hugs, kisses … LOVE is in the air. This is wonderful for those that are happy in blissful la-la-land, but then there are those of us that reside in Singletown, population: 1.

So, instead of being bitter about spending Valentine’s Day without a boo, I rally ’round my girl friends and make the best of it. This year, I am dreaming up the most dainty and darling Valentin’es Day brunch to celebrate LOVE, in all its form.

decor

To get started, send out an invitation. Making it yourself is just one more way to show your love, and they’re super easy to create! Setting the scene for your brunch party doesn’t have to stress you out. Simple florals and love-filled artwork can take your space from boring to beauty in no time.

florals

Short on vases? Transform basic jars into gilded and glittered vases with spray paint, Mod Podge® & glitter. Here’s a tip: use a variety of jars for an eclectic look & varying heights!

Now, for the important part: FOOD. If you’re anything like me, brunch is the way to your heart. It’s the best of both worlds and it makes drinking champagne & eating cake before 2pm perfectly acceptable.

valentine's day brunchpancakescake

Whipping up a sweet spread doesn’t have to equal hours in the kitchen. Mold cinnamon rolls into a heart-shaped pan to create a Cinnamon Roll Sweetheart. Stack those pancakes to the sky, add fresh berries & a dusting of powdered sugar. And, I love the aqua frosting on this Pink Velvet Cake; it’s the perfect pop of color.

champagne

Of course, brunch doesn’t come without bubbly. There’s nothing that I love more than gold, glitter & champagne. So this Embellished Champagne Bottle is a no-brainer. Plus, it’s so easy to make, I’m pretty sure I’ll bring one to every party I attend this year!

glasse

Gold Champagne Glasses set the mood and just take a little metallic paint. Dress them up a little more with Wine Charms that are sweet, but edgy.

Last, and most importantly, don’t forget the laughs. Take the time to show your friends how much they mean to you and cherish these friendships that will last a lifetime.

With love,

Jillian

RL birthday party ideas

10 Rainbow Loom® Birthday Party Ideas

If you haven’t heard by now, the Rainbow Loom® is THE hottest new kid’s craze in town. I’ve seen Rainbow Loom – wearing children every place I go. Heck, I even see adults rocking the colorful rubber band bracelets.

Since looming is the all the rage right now, I’ve rounded up some colorful ideas on how to host a really rad Rainbow Loom Birthday Party.

#1 Invitations

Set the theme for your rainbow – inspired party with colorful invitations. Customize your own invites online to make them uniquely yours. Plus, who can resist chevrons and rainbows?rainbow invite

#2 Décor

Creating a backdrop really sets the scene for a party. They make a great focal point for the dessert table and are are an easy way to “decorate” without having to drape streamers, pom poms and balloons across your entire home. Gwynn over at Gwynn Wasson Designs has three ah-mazing rainbow backdrops. They’re all so fun; I’m not sure I could pick just one.rainbow backdrops

#3  Rainbow Loom Station

Set up a bracelet making station with bowls of rubber bands filled with every color of the rainbow. What a great idea from Mom of 6!

Rainbow Loom Station

#4 Rainbow Wearables

Encourage your friends to bring plain white t-shirts or sneakers and spray a rainbow onto them with Tulip® Fabric Spray.

Rainbow Sneakers

#5 Rainbow Popcorn Snacks

Everyone loves popcorn, but I think it’s even better with a little chocolate drizzled on top! Check out this delicious treat made by Wants & Wishes.

rainbow popcorn

#6 Rainbow Cookies

Sweet Sugar Belle designed these fun rainbow cookies that can be personalized with each guests name.

Sweet Sugar Belle Rainbow Cookies

#7 Rainbow Cake

How fun is this cake? It looks a little daunting to make, but it’s not. I made one last year and it was super simple!

rainbow cake

 #8 Custom Water Bottle Labels

Your guests will surely need to wash all of that popcorn and cake down with a nice cold beverage. Print these labels from Wants & Wishes and stick them on. What an easy way to incorporate your theme!

water bottle labels

#9 Rubber Band Party Favors

Kiddos are addicted to looming, so there’s no doubt that you’ll make their day with favor boxes full of extra rubber bands to take home. Get these fun favor printables from Mom of 6.

Party Favors

#10 Thank You Notes

It’s never too early to learn the importance of sending a thank you note. Make this card with your child to thank all of the guests that came to your party.

thank you note

 

Do you have a Rainbow Loom? Share your rainbow inspiration with us on Pinterest by tagging @MichaelsStores!

- Jillian

yummy mummy

Yummy Mummy Treats

Halloween Treat Table

As All Hallow’s Eve creeps up just next week, I’m busy finishing last minute costume details and prepping for spooky soirées. Any time my friends throw a party, it goes unsaid that I will be bringing some sort of dessert. So as I brainstormed ideas on which Halloween treats to bake up, I looked for inspiration in Michaels Glitter & Ghouls play. Last Halloween, I created the most horrifying bleeding brain cupcakes. How am I going to top that?

Hmmm … maybe a Creepy Crawly Mummy Cake?

Mummy Treats

Creepy Crawly Mummy Cake, Sweet Sarcophagus Brownies & Mum’s the Word Whoopie Pies

 

I do love how the worms are crawling out of that cake carcass. It dances right along the line between delicious and disgusting. There are so many Mummy options though … Sweet Sarcophagus Brownies, Mum’s the Word Whoopie Pies, even Wrapper’s Delight Treat Pops. Perhaps suggestive of some baking soundtrack music?

Mummy Pops

Wilton® Wrapper’s Delight Treat Pops

 

These Mummy treat pops are not only super easy to make, they would go perfectly with the Halloween Printables that I’m crafting for the party.

The best part about all of these ideas is that they come with directions on how to make them. It really makes baking super simple. And, I need all the help I can get because I’m that person that will be up until 2am the night before painting, gluing and glittering the final details on my DIY costume, (thanks for the inspiration Studio DIY).

Now that I think about it… I better make a couple of different kinds of treats to feed all of those hungry little monsters! Are you doing any Halloween baking?

Jillian

Mummy

 

 

interview with cake boss

An Interview with Cake Boss, Buddy Valastro

Have you heard the news? Cake Boss™ Cakeware is now available in our stores! Yep, THAT Cake Boss. Maybe you’ve seen his show on TLC? A baker myself, I have been jumping for joy patiently waiting for this product to hit the stores. I mean … a Spoonula?? My kitchen needs one of those.

Recently, I got the chance to catch up with Buddy Valastro himself to chat about his new line and love for baking:

At what age did you make your first cake?
I started working at the bakery when I was 11-years-old. I always helped my dad bake cakes, but I had to learn the ropes before I could start making my own. I was a few years older, about 13, when I really started baking and decorating cakes of all sizes.

Cake Boss Decorating

About how many cakes have you baked in your lifetime?
Wow, so many I’ve lost count. Thousands for sure.

What is your favorite part about running Carlo’s Bakery?
My favorite part would be that I am able to keep advancing my father’s dream of making the bakery a household name. As long as I’m doing that, I’m doing my job.

Cake Boss Cookie Scoop

What is the best part of your job?
Being able to grow the business in new and fun ways. There’s the bakery itself, our national shipping, our cake decorating and baking classes. Outside of that I have my TV shows, books, tour and new bakeware line. I’m never bored!

And the worst part?
These days I don’t get as much time as I’d like to sit down and decorate cakes. It’s like therapy for me.

We’ve all had a cake fail or two … Can you describe your worst cake disaster?
We made a beautiful carousel cake for Atlantic City’s Steel Pier last year and on the way to deliver the cake, it completely fell apart in the truck. I mean … really fell apart. There was no way I could fix it and I can always fix my cakes. I’ve never run into that situation and it just felt horrible. I let my customer down and that’s the worst thing you can do.

Cake Boss Frosting

Any cake decorating words of wisdom for our novice baking readers?
Cake decorating is harder than it looks, but having the right tools makes it a lot easier. Don’t let yourself get frustrated if you don’t get it right away. The more you practice with your tools, the better control you’ll have when decorating. Keep practicing over and over. It will be worth it!

What about the experts?
Challenge yourself. If you can already pipe like a pro, go bigger, try a technique or a design you haven’t worked with much before. The more new things you try, the more skills you’ll have and that makes you a better cake decorator.

Hypothetical conundrum: I need to decorate a cake in a crunch. I’m willing to cheat with boxed cake mix (shhhhh), but there’s no way I’m using that store-bought, oozy, frosting-in-a-can. How can I pull off a semi-homemade masterpiece in a pinch?
All you need for a basic buttercream are egg whites, sugar, water, butter and vanilla extract for flavoring. Most of these things you already have in your kitchen, so it’s easy to whip up a batch while your cake is baking and cooling.

What makes Cake Boss™ Cakeware different?
I wanted these items to be tools I would want to work with at home, so I knew they had to be great. I tested each tool myself and made changes where needed and I’m confident this line of products will make baking a fun experience at home for the whole famiglia.

And finally: If you were stranded on an island and you had to decorate a cake (hypothetically, of course) – what is the one cake decorating tool you couldn’t live without?
A good turntable, hands down. It’s the one tool that will really elevate the way you cake decorate.

Head to your local U.S. Michaels Saturday, September 28th from 10am to 12pm, to spin the Cake Roulette Wheel, discover your reason to bake and receive a recipe and decorating ideas. Learn what it takes to make cakes like The Cake Boss!

- Jillian

Cake Boss™ Cakeware Collection is now available in all U.S. Stores.