Happy New Years! Chit Chat and Cake!

Disclaimer: Tons of rambling before I finally get to the cake. Here is a sneak peek!

nye w background

Well, it isn’t quite the new year yet, but I am ready! How about you? This year has been riddled with far too many plot twists for me to be able to keep up. I mean, it’s an Internet meme at this point. It’s seems like so many people (myself included) are all white-knuckled and holding on for dear life as we wait out these last few short days—as if once the ball drops to ring in 2017 things will suddenly feel different. Like when Dorothy steps out into a world of color. I guess we’ll see. 

I know there are people who are really unfazed by celebrity deaths (and they love to let you know it :P) but I just can’t believe how many amazing musicians we’ve lost this year. Bowie…Prince…George Michael? It feels like every week I was letting out an audible gasp followed by a “Noooooooooo! Whyyyyyy?!” Please, someone lock Mariah Carey in a closet for me. I might just really lose it if something happens to her. lol.


On a cheerier note, I really do think 2017 will have a lot to offer. I’ve never been one for resolutions, but I have so many this year. For one, I really want to improve my food photography. This blog is less than a year old and for the first half of it I was using my camera phone. Now that I have a DSLR (and a great new lens thanks go my in-laws) I really want to put more effort into learning manual mode as well as different lighting and staging techniques. Foodgawker loves to tell me that my lighting sucks or that my composition is weird. I’m really trying, damn it. 🙁

photographer

I also really want to improve this site in general. I’ve been moaning for a long time that I really want a static front page so that it looks less like a blog, but there are other little things that drive me crazy too, such as the colors of my page buttons, or how small and blah my “related posts” thumbnails are. I’d also love some menus, such as the ability to search by ingredient. I guess I feel like once my photography and web design improve I will be better able to really promote this blog and get people to subscribe and share my entries on their social media—which is obviously crucial for growth.

Speaking of social media, I’d like to use it more! I’m the first to admit that I sort of suck at it. I really don’t post unless it’s to alert people of a new recipe or cake. I honestly think that I just exhaust myself lol. It usually takes me a few hours to create just one blog entry (including photo editing, etc.) and afterwards I spend another few hours doing the rounds on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, and Pinterest. I will have to push myself to connect more.

ffs social media
Credit: Marccx

Of course, getting better at baking and cake decorating is a huge priority too. I had a lot of baking fails this year, but I also learned a lot in the process. I want to get better at smoothing icing, working with fondant, making bread dough, trying new ingredients, etc. Really, the list is infinitely long. 

As for resolutions unrelated to this site, I really only have two. The first is to improve my eating/exercising habits. I got a new Fitbit for Christmas so I think it will really help. First I had the Flex, then two Charge HRs that barely lasted six months each (they are horrible) and now the Alta. I’m loving it so far. It’s thin like the Flex but does almost everything the Charge does and is built way better. Best of both worlds.

The second is to write Jasmine Guy. She’s best known for playing Whitley on “A Different World” (Cosby Show spinoff) but she also was good friends with Tupac and wrote a biography about his mother Afeni back in 2005. I finished it a few months ago and I loved it, but one thing that was really glossed over was Afeni’s relationship with Tupac’s father. From what I understand, Afeni lied to Tupac his whole life and told him that his father was dead. Then in 1994 the guy showed up to the hospital (where Tupac was being treated for gunshot wounds) and introduced himself. I mean, you’d think something like that would be a pivotal moment in their relationship, but it wasn’t even discussed. I’ve always wanted to know how Tupac took that news and why Afeni kept this secret from him in the first place. Maybe Jasmine will tell me.


Anyway, here is to a happy and healthy 2017! I promised cake.

nye w w topper

If you ask me, the signature colors of New Years are black, gold, and silver. After doing this glittery nail art on myself for the occasion, I knew I wanted to try to mimic the look on a cake. 

nye nail art

Forgive some of these pictures. I was trying out the new lens for the first time and I clearly have no idea how to use it yet. I started out with a crumb coated chocolate cake.

nye crumb coated

Then I rolled out some black fondant, making sure to pop any air bubbles with a needle. I’m still on the hunt for a good black fondant, btw.

nye black fondant

After rolling it it out to about 1/8th of an inch I draped it over the cake and started smoothing. 

nye smoothing

Then I remembered that fingernails and fondant smoothing do not go well together so I put on some gloves. After I got the fondant about halfway down the cake I cut off any obvious excess with a pizza roller.

nye cutting excess

I kept ruffling the skirt (as they say) and smoothing down until I reached the bottom, and then I cut off this excess too.

nye little skirt

For some reason, the fondant got very sticky and hard to work with. I think it’s because it was 80 degrees outside and I was putting it on top of a cold cake. Smoothing became quite cumbersome. 

dirty smoother

I eventually got it all on, though I had no idea how I was going to smooth it further. I ended dusting it with cornstarch and using my gloved hands again to do my best to create a crisp-ish edge.

nye shiny fondant

Of course, once you dust it with cornstarch every little imperfection becomes glaringly obvious. You’ll notice in some of my end photos that the top also began to crack over time. WTF fondant? First it’s too sticky, then it’s too dry? Will I ever understand? I also got a nice tear by the base. Luckily, I knew I’d be covering it with more fondant.

broken fondant  

Moving on, using the bottoms of two different sized piping tips, I cut out some small and large circles.

nye fondant circles

Then I painted the large ones gold to match the gold glitter in my mani. My favorite gold dust to paint with is Super Gold by Rolkem. I’ve tried several others and none are as shiny.

painting circles

For Christmas my mother bought me some other metallic dusts by a brand called Petal Crafts. I used the silver on the remaining circles. I later found that the silver was a lot shinier if you brush on some extra dry dust after you paint them.

nye silver and gold

Next, I applied the circles to the cake by brushing a tiny bit of water on the backs and simply pressing them on. I kept most of them clustered at the base and then spread them up more as I moved up the cake. 

nye placing dots

Like so.

nye dots on

And that’s really all there is to it!

nye brick

I hope you all have a wonderful New Year. See you in 2017! 🙂

5 thoughts on “Happy New Years! Chit Chat and Cake!

  1. Whoar Amanda, that’s a gorgeous cake – and yes black fondant is a complete pain, especially in the heat.
    It’s super impressive that you’ve done what you have in less than a year of blogging! *cue cheering & applause!* I hope you can look back at all you’ve accomplished in spite of the many things there are to learn in the world of cake 😉
    I love what you’re doing with your new lens – improving food photography is definitely on my list of to-dos for 2017 and your pics are a great inspiration.
    I am still super-sad over Carrie Fisher’s passing, what a dramatic year. Here’s to a more peaceful 2017 xo

    1. I know! I really thought she was going to make it through. And her poor mother, just one day later. 🙁 Seriously heartbreaking. Thank you for the compliments! I think I’m getting there slowly but surely. I just re-read your Blue and Golden Glory Cake entry and remembered all of the techniques I wanted to try! Specifically turning the cake upside down to get a nice, crisp edge. Genius. Definitely going to have to do it next time.

  2. Hi Amanda!
    This cake design reminds me of an evening of champagne and such a fun idea! Winters in the Northeast are pretty cold as you know so I can’t wait to see what you have coming in 2017.
    Great job this year- I see you all over Facebook already. <3
    Happy new year!
    Cheers

    1. Champagne was the exact look I was going for, actually! It was a lot easier to do the manicure than it was to do the cake lol.

Leave a Reply