Monday, April 27, 2009

Totally Topsy Turvy DVD on Sale NOW!


Totally Topsy Turvy is now taking pre-orders!

Learn how to make this entire cake from start to finish.

Learn how to fill, carve and stack for ultimate stability.

Learn every single decorative technique you see on this cake!

You will become a Topsy Turvy master!



We at SugarEd Productions thank you for your business!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Daring Bakers: Cheescake


After a couple of savory challenges, we are finally back to sweets for the Daring Bakers group! Now that's what I'm talkin bout!

I know I have made no bake cheescakes before, but I do not recall if I have made a baked one from scratch. So if I can't remember, it really means it has been to long to count anyway. This was a really easy, straightforward recipe that even the kitchen challenged like myself could do. And I am proud to say mine had no cracks on top! Zero. Nada. But I have no pictures to prove it, so you will have to take my word for it.

The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.

I dressed mine up with tinted coconut grass and a fondant bunny looking for his carrots. It was one of the desserts for our family Easter dinner.

It was tasty, but not the best cheesecake I have ever had. It was very creamy and mild in flavor. I like my cheesecake to have bit more twang to it. My piece was also very soft from sitting out for for a few hours. I think it would have been better cold from the fridge.

Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake:


2 cups / 180 g graham cracker crumbs

1 stick / 4 oz butter, melted

2 tbsp. / 24 g sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract


3 sticks of cream cheese, 8 oz each (total of 24 oz) room temperature

1 cup / 210 g sugar

3 large eggs

1 cup / 8 oz heavy cream

1 tbsp. lemon juice

1 tbsp. vanilla extract (or the innards of a vanilla bean)

1 tbsp liqueur, optional, but choose what will work well with your cheesecake


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (Gas Mark 4 = 180C = Moderate heat). Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath.

2. Mix together the crust ingredients and press into your preferred pan. You can press the crust just into the bottom, or up the sides of the pan too - baker's choice. Set crust aside.

3. Combine cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand-mixer (or in a large bowl if using a hand-mixer) and cream together until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg. Add heavy cream, vanilla, lemon juice, and alcohol and blend until smooth and creamy.

4. Pour batter into prepared crust and tap the pan on the counter a few times to bring all air bubbles to the surface. Place pan into a larger pan and pour boiling water into the larger pan until halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan. If cheesecake pan is not airtight, cover bottom securely with foil before adding water.

5. Bake 45 to 55 minutes, until it is almost done - this can be hard to judge, but you're looking for the cake to hold together, but still have a lot of jiggle to it in the center. You don't want it to be completely firm at this stage. Close the oven door, turn the heat off, and let rest in the cooling oven for one hour. This lets the cake finish cooking and cool down gently enough so that it won't crack on the top. After one hour, remove cheesecake from oven and lift carefully out of water bath. Let it finish cooling on the counter, and then cover and put in the fridge to chill. Once fully chilled, it is ready to serve.

Pan note: The creator of this recipe used to use a spring form pan, but no matter how well she wrapped the thing in tin foil, water would always seep in and make the crust soggy. Now she uses one of those 1-use foil "casserole" shaped pans from the grocery store. They're 8 or 9 inches wide and really deep, and best of all, water-tight. When it comes time to serve, just cut the foil away.

Prep notes: While the actual making of this cheesecake is a minimal time commitment, it does need to bake for almost an hour, cool in the oven for an hour, and chill overnight before it is served. Please plan accordingly!

Some variations from the recipe creator:

** Lavender-scented cheesecake w/ blueberries - heat the cup of heavy cream in the microwave or a saucepan until hot but not boiling. Add 2 tbsp of lavender flowers and stir. Let lavender steep in the cream for about 10-15 minutes, then strain the flowers out. Add strained cream to cheesecake batter as normal. Top with fresh blueberries, or make a quick stove top blueberry sauce (splash of orange juice, blueberries, a little bit of sugar, and a dash of cinnamon - cook until berries burst, then cool)

** Cafe au lait cheesecake with caramel - take 1/4 cup of the heavy cream and heat it in the microwave for a short amount of time until very hot. Add 1-2 tbsp. instant espresso or instant coffee; stir to dissolve. Add this to the remainder of cream and use as normal. Top cheesecake with homemade caramel sauce (I usually find one on the food network website - just make sure it has heavy cream in it. You can use store-bought in a pinch, but the flavor is just not the same since its usually just sugar and corn syrup with no dairy).

** Tropical – add about a half cup of chopped macadamias to the crust, then top the cake with a mango-raspberry-mandarin orange puree.

** Mexican Turtle - add a bar of melted dark chocolate (between 3 and 5 oz., to taste) to the batter, along with a teaspoon of cinnamon and a dash of cayenne pepper (about 1/8 tsp.). Top it with pecan halves and a homemade caramel sauce.

** Honey-cinnamon with port-pomegranate poached pears – replace 1/2 cup of the sugar with 1/2 cup of honey, add about a teaspoon or more (to taste) of cinnamon. Take 2 pears (any variety you like or whatever is in season), peeled and cored, and poach them in a boiling poaching liquid of port wine, pomegranate juice/seeds, a couple of "coins" of fresh ginger, a cinnamon stick, and about a 1/4 cup of sugar. Poach them until tender, then let cool. Strain the poaching liquid and simmer until reduced to a syrupy-glaze consistency, then cool. Thinly slice the cooled pears and fan them out atop the cooled cheesecake. Pour the cooled poaching syrup over the pears, then sprinkle the top with chopped walnuts and fresh pomegranate seeds.

Some variations from Jenny (from JennyBakes):

**Key lime - add zest from one lime to sugar before mixing with cream cheese. Substitute lemon juice, alcohol, and vanilla with key lime juice.

**Cheesecakelets - put in muffin tins, ramekins, or custard cups. Try baking 20-35 minutes, or until still a little jiggly, and cool as before.

Overall it was a very good and easy recipe and I would like to try some of the other variations in the future. If you make it, let me know how you like it. And check out the Daring Bakers' blog roll to see what creations other members have come up with.

Happy baking!


Saturday, April 25, 2009

Sharon teaching near Houston next weekend!

Don't forget I will be in Alvin (suburb of Houston), Texas (if I live through this week, LOL) next Sunday and Monday, May 3-4, for the Pearland Cake Society Day of Sharing and mini classes.

Please come see us. We have so much fun in our classes it borders on ridiculous!

I am driving all that way by myself; the least you all can do is meet me there! :)

Click here for more info!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

How to make a 3D car cake

Hi Sugar Buddies!

I got back from the DOS in Winnie, Tx and boy did we have fun! Of course there was torrential rain and flooding while we were there. What is it with the severe weather everywhere I travel to? Maybe God is trying to tell me to stay my butt home? Nah.

So anyway, I am slamming busy this week , so I am pleased to present you with a guest entry from Karen in LA on her 3D car cake. Karen is a wonderful cake artist, and she does some really great 3D stuff.

Take it away Karen:

I usually try and find the original dimensions of a vehicle first. Then scale it down to where it will fit on a piece of paper (8x14).Then from there, I use a ruler to see the size of the tire space, space from bumper to start of tire, distance between tires then the distance between the back tire and the back bumper. Now I am able to get my dimensions for my board with holes inset for the tires to go up in. (I always do a paper template also in case someone needs one again!!!!)

Place the cakes on the board. Align the 'car template' up against the cake.

Then carve.

I do a lot of my details with icing build up instead of actually cutting into the cake, this makes it sooooo much easier! This isn't a very good pic, but you can see what is taking place. I did smooth it more after this pic was taken also!!!

While the paint is drying, I fix my little boards that are gonna go under the cake. So when it's dry, I place it on the 'taped on both sides' blocks so it doesn't go anywhere!!!!!

Then on to the painted and window details. Windows were fondant covered with an edible image. Gradient fill. Nothing fancy!!! Outlined with airbrush black and silver dust.

From here it is all details which take the majority of the time. The wheels were gumpaste painted black also!!!!

Here it is moved over to the cake board getting all the detail work done.

And the finished product!!!


Thank you Karen for that great tutorial! You rock! Below is a picture of the first car cake I made using Karen's technique, but I used fondant. I was very happy with it!


You guys have a wonderful weekend and I will see you next week!

Happy caking!


Friday, April 17, 2009

My Own Personal Cake Wrecks

I did not want to go away for the weekend and leave you guys on the heels of the negativity of yesterday's post. Wendy is always telling me to work on having positive chi. Or maybe she said she likes chai tea. I am not sure. But anyway, in order to lighten my aura, and drive out the negative energy (and to calm down Janel Waters, tee hee)....I leave you with some very good news.

Take a look at these babies:

My first couple of attempts at a topsy turvy cake style. The fondant on the one above literally just slid down the side of the cake. I had a good 2 inches of fondant under those folds at the bottom.

Bulges galore, more saggy fondant. A total nightmare.

So what is the good news? Very soon I am going to teach you how not to do this. I promise. Because these cakes made me cry. And I do not want you to cry.

Ah yes, I feel better now. Much more chi-a-fied.

See ya next week kids!



I am totally blown away by the outpouring of comments and emails in support of me after yesterday's post. Your love, encouragement, and kind words have filled my humble heart with a warmth and joy you cannot imagine.

I hesitated to bring this into my blog, but I just felt the need to get my thoughts out to the person in question. I never expected nor anticipated such a wonderful outpouring of support. I want you all to know that I treasure each and every word you have written to me. Honestly, I feel undeserving of such.

I absolutely love what I do. Making cakes and teaching the art has fulfilled me in a way no other aspect of my life has. I THANK YOU for giving me the opportunity to continue to do what I love. I will keep going as long as you want me to, or my poor old tired body gives out. Whichever comes first.

So now, this chapter of the SugarEd story is over. This issue will get no more attention from me, and now we can get back to the important stuff:


I am off to Texas this weekend to demo and vendor, and I will check back in with you awesome people next week!

PS. Remind me to never piss any of you off! LOL


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Calling the Coward......

Hello Sugar Friends!

This post is directed to only one person that I have no way of contacting, so this is my only recourse. I hate to take this to a public forum, but it is time that I speak up. All of my wonderful and loyal customers and blog readers... please forgive my indulgence here.

I have been getting anonymous "self-destructing emails" from someone who is not happy with my participation on a particular cake message board. I did not even know self destructing emails existed until I got the first one. Once you open it, the message cannot be copied and pasted, there is no return email address, and then in about 60 seconds the whole email disappears and cannot be traced.

To the coward who can be so judgmental of my activities, but does not have the guts to write me in first person:

I have no idea why my postings on a cake message board are of such importance to you. I am not ashamed of any activities I participate in. If you have such a serious problem with me, then at least have the integrity to contact me directly. At least when I write something, I do not hide behind an anonymous email service. You are a coward of the highest degree, and you have no affect on my life whatsoever. In addition, this is the last time I will acknowledge or respond to your childish behavior.


Monday, April 13, 2009

The Story of the Cherry Hog

Once upon a time there were 3 sisters that grew up in the city of New Orleans with their 2 older brothers and parents. They were not exactly poor, but things were very tight, as they were living on one modest accountant's salary. Melba, the mom, knew how to make every penny stretch. She was very frugal. There were never any treats like candy, soda, chips, or cookies in the house. Those things were reserved for very special occasions.

Since vacations were out of the budget, the family would make day trips a few times a summer to a nearby state park. The kids would swim in the Bogafalaya river and play on the sandy beach. Melba would pack an ice chest and picnic basket and they would spend the day swimming, eating, and relaxing.

On one particular trip to the river, Melba really splurged and bought a bag of fresh cherries. Not a big bag, mind you. But this was still a really special treat for the kids to get such an extravagance.

So on this particular day, after lunch, the 2 youngest sisters, Sharon and Janice, decided to go for a nice long swim, anticipating their refreshing treat of cherries upon their return. They wanted to save them for the just the right moment, to enjoy them to their fullest. So after their nice swim in the river, they happily skipped back to the picnic table, excited about the luscious fruit that awaited them. But alas, to their dismay, they discovered that their older sister Barbara (aka the Cherry Hog) had eaten them all! All of them! All that was left was a bag of pits and stems.

Needless to say the 2 little sisters were disappointed..... no, devastated..... no, scarred for life! Despite years in therapy and reading many self help books, they have not been able to work through the trauma of this event. In this tragic story they did not live happily ever after. So needless to say, to this day they give Barbara grief about it any chance they can get.


Last week, when the whole family was invited to a friend's house on the bayou for a Good Friday seafood boil, they took the opportunity to also celebrate Barbara's birthday.

And here is the Cherry Hog's birthday cake.

CH with her cake. She loved it.

Sharon and CH.

Sharon, CH and Janice.

Seafood boil of crabs , crawfish, potatoes, corn and more!

And fresh boiled shrimp! It was so yummy!

J-Man got to drive the boat!

Cherry Hog and her nephew D.

The cake was yummy and enjoyed by all. We had a wonderful day of boating, eating, and playing board games.

Note: Cherry Hog claims to have no memory of this event ever happening. Classic case of denial, if you ask me.



My BFF Heather gave me the great idea of using Styrofoam as the base of the cake. I used an 8 inch ball and cut it a little shorter than in half. I cut a flat bottom so it would stand up, and I used another piece of styro as "sand paper" to shape the bottom half of the cherry. (I learned that trick in a Collette Peter's demo.)

Then I sharpened wooden dowels and drove them thru the styro and into the cake drum base for stability. I used 3, but in retrospect I could have done with just 2.

I then attached a circle of parchment paper to the top of the styro with buttercream to form a barrier with the cake.

First layer of cake in place.

I put a ball of modeling chocolate down in the hole to serve as the pit. Tee hee. Then I plugged the hole with the cake from the heating core.

Second layer of cake in place.

Carved to a cherry shape with a sharp knife. I intentionally went with a somewhat asymmetrical look, because real cherries are not perfectly round. Also makes the carving easier; I love that!

Then I applied a basecoat of thickened ganache over the whole thing. The ganache is 2 parts semi sweet chocolate to one part heavy cream. You let it cool to a thick paste consistency and then apply it just like a buttercream coat with a hot spatula. It firms up to make a nice chocolate shell; a wonderful surface on which to apply your fondant.

I learned this ganaching technique from the Australian cake ladies and I love it. It is now my go-to technique for odd shaped cakes. (I am going to show this technique in our next DVD release...YAY!)

I smeared the whole cake with piping gel and then applied red fondant. I used a wad of fondant cupped in my hand in lieu of fondant smoothers. This works great on round and curved shapes.

I then gave the whole cake a liberal rubdown with everclear alcohol to get the excess cornstarch off before airbrushing. What??? No Crisco? I know what you are thinking. Sharon rubs down everything with Crisco! Yes, this is true, but not in the case of airbrushing. That will cause the airbrush color to not go on smoothly and you might get blotching.

After the everclear dried (took about 2 minutes) , I gave it several coats of red color. Let the coats dry in between or you will get pooling and dripping of color. Here it is still wet with color. (And I am still blowing red snot a week later.)

One more coat of color and dried.

I made the stem by wrapping several 18 gauge floral wires with brown floral tape and then airbrushed brown and green over that. I just stuck the stem down thru the center of the cake and down into the base of the styro. Note: This is not food safe, but it was for Cherry Hog so I did not care. The proper thing to do would have been to coat the part of the stem going down into the cake with chocolate and dried before inserting.

I made the beach chair with the cutter set here. I cut the pieces from white gumpaste. After fully dried I painted them with brown airbrush color mixed with everclear to make the wood look. The seat of the chair is white gumpaste. Ain't it cute?? I love this chair! The sand is Domino's brownulated sugar from the grocery store.

It was a lot of fun making this cake! This is when I love caking the most. A fun, challenging cake that has a special story to go with it.

Now you all go make one for your favorite Cherry Hog!

Happy Hogging!


PS. Remember you can click on the photos for a larger view.

Edited to add comments from my 2 sisters:

Janice Mary said...
This is Janice, the middle sister. What Sharon was too kind to tell you is that in that picture of the three of us with the cake...just before we took a bite, Cherry Hog wisked it away and ate the whole thing! This time pit and stem and all! She can't help herself.

April 14, 2009 1:47 PM

Barb said...
Hey, the CH here. I have to admit that I do not remember eating those cherries. I absolutely love fresh cherries to this day, so it kind of doesn't surprise me, but I know there must have been a reason because I can't believe my Mother would have let me eat them all. Like, maybe I thought everyone else had had some already, or maybe I made a deal to wash the dishes if she let me have them all. I don't know. Awesome cake, huh!! I can't believe how much it looks like a real cherry. That was really a cool surprise. Sharon lured me upstairs while they brought the cake in from the car. And very tasty too! OK, gotta go eat some cherries. Later.

April 14, 2009 1:54 PM

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Chocolate Bunny Boxes

It just would not be Easter without chocolate bunnies, right? I just had to share with you these adorable chocolate boxes I made.

(Edited to add: Unfortunately this mold has been discontinued, but you can use these technique with all chocolate molds)

They are so cute filled up with candies. And you can eat the whole box! Gotta love that.

Paint the accent areas inside the mold with colored chocolate and a paint brush. It's easier to do if the chocolate is cooled off a bit and a bit stiffer. Don't be too worried about staying exactly in the lines. If you paint out of the lines, just let it air dry, and then use a toothpick to scrape off the excess where you don't want it to be. Use a soft brush to brush out all the "crumbs". Why not pop it in the fridge instead of waiting for it to air dry? Because that will cause the chocolate to release from the mold, and when you try to clean it up with the tooth pick, the whole piece of colored chocolate will pop right out. And then you will cry, and have to start all over.

This is what the outside of the mold looks like after the inside has been painted.

Then fill both cavities with melted chocolate in the color of your choice. Make sure the chocolate is cool to the touch. If it is too warm, it will melt your colored accents and they will run and smear. And then you will cry, and have to start all over again.

Edited to clarify: The above mold is the 2 pieces of the box. One side is the top, and the other side is the bottom part of the box with the cavity for the candies already in there. When you unmold it, the 2 pieces come out as you see in the finished product. I apologize for not getting a photo of the bottom part of the mold empty.

I put it in my freezer for 12-14 minutes, and then the 2 pieces come right out of the mold with a gentle tap. Let them come to room temp in cool room before you touch them. If not, you will get finger marks on the condensation you will not be able to repair. Then you will cry, and have to start all over again.
Isn't he cute???

All packaged up and ready to be delivered by the real Easter Bunny.

Wishing all of you a blessed and peaceful Easter with your family and friends,