Nov 22, 2007

Thanksgiving Cake

Another Treasured Cakes creation...a cake for my friend, Lisa, to take with her to her new husband's family's Thankgiving dinner. It's not incredibly fancy, but I'm betting it was pretty darn tasty. Her only request was that it be a chocolate cake and the rest was up to us. It's an 11" x 15" sheet cake w/buttercream icing. I wanted to put 'Happy Thanksgiving' on it with fondant letters but Ashley thought that would be a little cheesy so I didn't. I did like the colors though and I do think it turned out well given the time constraints. I think I'll go ahead and purchase the letter molds for future cakes but for this one, I think I'm satisfied that it came out as well as it did. Check it out and see what you think.

Nov 12, 2007

Website News

A big FYI to all. The Treasured Cake webite is up and running. Obviously it's a work in progress and will be as long as we're adding cakes to it. Check it out at and send your friends there as well. And remember, if you're looking for a cake for a special someone, ask us and we'll try to accomdate you. We don't have the price list up yet, but stay tuned and it'll be up soon as well.

Nov 11, 2007

Another B'day Cake....

....for a real live person (meaning it wasn't a practice cake for class). This particular cake was created especially for a terrific lady and my good friend Cathy, to celebrate her recent birthday. It was designed to represent a gift box with bow and name tag. As I hear it, it was a hit and quite delicious.

Oct 29, 2007

Graduation from Course #3

Yee Haa! We are graduates again! You can check out the finished cake...but first I'd like for you to understand what it took to get there so you'll have a better appreciation of cake making and cake decorating. Prior to taking these classes, I thought that cakes, especially 'specialty' cakes were overly expensive. May I say, I'm sooooo sorry?! This weekend, Ashley and I baked 14 layers of cake in various flavors of course, made 76 roses in various stages of bloom, 80 leaves and used 3 different types of icing including buttercream icing, royal icing and fondant (3 of the cakes were for class and 1 was for granddaughter's b'day). We worked well into the morning on both Friday and Saturday nites, stayed up late last nite and she's still working tonite on tomorrow nite's make-up class (the basket weave cake). I have definitely gained a new and true respect for the art of cake decorating. The classes we've taken have taught us so much - Belinda was a terrific instructor and hopefully we'll be able to go forward with sharing what we've learned and our combined talents by making beautiful cakes for others via our newly formed 'Treasured Cakes' cake decorating business.
Check out somne of the other graduation cakes. Ashley's is the gorgeous one with the mauve colored roses. Everyone did a great job!

Oct 28, 2007

The 'Results' Show

We did it! You can see the results here. My granddaughter, Alexis wanted a hot pink and lime green cake for her 13th b'day and although Ashley and I had never made a stacked 2-tiered cake before, with some instruction from our class instructor, Belinda, we managed to pull it off much to our and Alexis' delight.

It was totally unplanned but there were/are 13 'buttons' on top of the bottom layer and there are 13 letters in Happy Birthday. In looking for candles to top her cake, I also found these candles that spelled out Happy Birthday! How neat was that? It all just worked out so perfectly.

You can see how happy she was when she saw it. That's Dylan in the back - one of her 3 little brothers.
Ashley and I had a lot of fun putting the cake together - I worked on the bottom layer and she worked on the top.

I think Ashley's favorite part of putting 'stacked' cakes together is going to be being able to use a hammer - a requirement for getting the wooden dowel that holds the cakes together thru the cardboard that is under the top layer.
Feel free to ck out our Treasured Cakes blog for more pictures ( as they should be up in a day or 2.

Oct 23, 2007

Big Plans for Big Cakes

A big weekend coming up. Ashley and I agreed (promised actually) my #1 granddaughter, Alexis, that we'd make the b'day cake for her 13th b'day party. And for some crazy reason we even said we'd take on a cake that we've never attempted before (and won't have had a class for until AFTER the b'day party!), a 2-tiered 'stacked' cake (I think that means no pillars). In our elation to make cakes, we promised a cake w/hot pink icing and she wants lime green dots/stripes on it (we'd suggested black but she wants lime green). We've decided to nix the stripes already and will go with only dots. Originally it was our plan to do it w/fondant, but at this point we're thinking that buttercream icing will be more pleasing to all the children. Additionally we have to make the 40 roses for Monday's 2-tiered wedding cake class (Class #4/Course #3) so it will be a busy weekend for sure. Stay tuned for the 'results show' as they say on Dancing with the Stars.

Oct 22, 2007

Cake Deco Class - Course 3/Lesson 3

Tonite's class became a lesson in patience. Seems that more of us than not had a problem with our icing either being too thin or too stiff and then in an attempt to make it right, it seems we went a little too far in the other direction creating a totally different issue. For this particular class, we were to bring several different colors (pink, yellow, green, blue & white) of icing of different consistencies for practicing making Easter Lilies, Petunias, Poinsettias and Morning Glories. None were particularly hard but it was pretty apparent that we need to get the consistency right and practice a little more than the time that we had during class. We were only able to spend about 15 minutes on each flower after doing the prep work (loading the bags w/the proper color and tip, preparing the lily nail with the foil candy wrappers - a lily nail is used to give the flower its shape) and getting the instrux and demonstrations. As much as I hate sharing this particular picture with it is minus the flowers that didn't make it home undamaged.

Oct 18, 2007

My Plumbing Hat....

....obviously didn't fit well, but fortunately for me, my good friends from McCoy Plumbing came through again. These people are the best and if you ever need a plumber, you absolutely MUST call them. They're very responsive and absolutely awesomely (is that a word?) good! Thank you, thank you, thank you James, Ronnie, Beth & Cathy! You've once again come through in ways that I wouldn't have expected and couldn't have imagined. I love you all. And really good treats are coming your way!!!!

Oct 15, 2007

Cake Decorating - Course #3/Lesson #2 - The Gift Box

Okay, this was a big one. Lots of preparation, lots of work and a great big payoff. Check out the 'pre-lesson' picture with the prepared cake that I took to class and a few (and I say a 'few') of the items necessary for this class and our completed cake.

Part of the reason for Ashley and I beginning this cake decorating course, was so that we could learn to use fondant. We hadn't really even considered all the flowers, borders and the like that we'd be learning...we thought fondant....yippee! We'll learn to decorate cakes using fondant and that'll be fun. Little did we know how much fun we'd have, how much work would go into it, how rewarding each and every completed cake would be and yes, how much it would cost (!). But we have, it has been, it 'totally' is and yes, again it is, but it's been worth every penny...I mean $$. We've created beautiful cakes much to the delight of our co-workers, neighbors and Blake ;-)

Check out my completed project (another strawberry flavored cake) and the rose that we made tonite. I think we have 40 of these roses to make for out final cake project which btw is a 2-tier wedding type cake. I'm thinking I need to get started right away!!!

As some of you have already read and/or heard, we have been working out the details of starting our own cake decorating company, Treasured Cakes. We've already received a few orders - much to our delight. We're official now, but are in the process of working on getting our website up and getting business cards. We'll pass those on once we have them. Stay tuned for that. In the meantime, yes, yes, yes...working with fondant is every bit as awesome as we'd hoped it would be (although I'm not sure it'd be called tasty) and we are looking forward to our future classes and the opportunity to learn even more using this particular technique and many, many more!

Another First - I Put on My Plumber's Hat...

...and it doesn't fit! I attempted the change-out of the sprayer on my kitchen sink yesterday. It was pretty much an all afternoon/evening job (resting in between) and as of this evening, it still leaks. I found out after my really good friends from McCoy Plumbing managed to find a compatible sprayer for my Moen faucet and borrowed tools from 2 different people AND got the old one off and the new one on, that I should have used teflon tape to avoid the leaking problem. Guess I'll leave the sheet cake pan under the sink for now to collect the small amount of dripping water and attempt it again as soon as I get a chance.
Here's a picture of what that sucker looks like and how tight a fit it is to get up under there. Kindof gross looking, huh?

Oct 8, 2007

Course #3/Lesson #1

Yep, I believe this cake course is gonna be a toughie (is that a word?). Tonite we practiced a lot of different techniques using buttercream icing. The techniques we practiced are called 'Cornelli Lace' and 'Sotas' which both look a little like lace, 'Brush Embroidery' which looks delicate and very romantic, Stringwork which included both Single Drop and Multiple Drop Strings, Bead Borders, Ruffle Borders and Garland Borders. I have to say that I loved doing the 'lacey' things, the stringy thingys and the brushy things, but had some trouble with some of the ruffle borders....seems that I have some trouble with the turning of the 'ole broken wrist in just the right way, so I'll either need to practice that one lots more or let Ashley do those.
This brings me to...we (Ashley and I) have decided to attempt to do cakes 'semi-professionally'. We have named our cake making business....I won't divulge it right yet, but stay tuned and we'll not only divulge it, but will direct you to our website. In the meantime, check out the pictures I've attached from Course #3/Lesson #1.
And just so you'll be prepared (and hopefully anticipating) next week's lesson - we'll be preparing a cake that looks like a gift box using fondant. Stay tuned and thanks for allowing us to share.

Oct 2, 2007

Graduated Course #1 (A little late - but still a graduation!)

Tonite was my make-up & final class of Cake Decorating Course #1. It was all about the roses as you can see. Here is my finished cake. I was really apprehensive about doing the roses after seeing how well Ashley had done, but I'm happy with them, they were fun to make and the class teacher commented that mine 'rivaled' Ashley's. WOOHOO!
Ashley and I have decided to go ahead with signing up for Course #3 which is 'Fondant and Tiered Cakes' (or wedding cakes). We talked about postponing it because of the upcoming holidays, but we're learning so much and having so much fun, we figured why put off the inevitable? We're definitely going for it. Point here is....stay tuned for those cakes (I think the teacher said there would be 2 to make in that class).
I took yesterday's cake (the basket weave cake) to the neighbor's house today and gave it to them. 'Mom' wondered if I'd thought about doing cakes professionally and my answer to that is, "yes!" There are lots of children in the neighborhood w/lots of birthdays. I realize I still need loads of practice, but I'm having so much fun that practice is definitely not a problem. Eating all these cakes is....but so far, the recipients that the cakes have been given to, seem pretty darn appreciative.

Oct 1, 2007

Graduated Course #2!

Tonite was the culmination of all the work we've done to date in our cake decorating class - Course #2. In the previous 3 classes, we practiced and made all the pieces for tonite's cake. Here is what it is taking to get me to that grand finale.
Are you ready??? Here is my completed cake! This has definitely been my favorite so far...although I do have the make-up class, the final class, for Course #1 tomorrow nite (remember? I missed the final class while on vacation?). This one was tough and time consuming, but Oh! so much fun!

Sep 29, 2007

Another First - Apple Strudel

I made an Apple Strudel today - with what was left of the Honeycrisp apples that we brought back from NC (yes! they are still good!) for the first time ever. I used a combination of the recipes that I found in the most recent WeightWatchers magazine and a recipe I found online adapting them both just a little to include some Pampered Chef seasonings (the cinnamon and caramel ones) of course. It's the first time I've ever made Apple Strudel and the first time I've ever used phyllo dough - which was an experience all on it's own. The strudel turned out both beautiful and tasty although Russell & I both decided it could use just a tad more sugar (next time). BTW - we've decided that we love the Honeycrisp apples so much, we ordered some online and are having them shipped to us (a case split 4 ways is very reasonable).

Sep 24, 2007

Cake Decorating - Course #2/Lesson #3

Check out these flowers we made tonite - roses, daisies, primroses, dafodills and pansies!

Ashley missed because of having her wisdom teeth pulled on Saturday so she'll have a makeup class like me now - but it was fun anyway and I learned alot again. The last class of this particular course is next week. We have to come to class with our prepared cake and all the flowers and the birds that we've made to date and will be turning all of these combined elements into a (hopefully) beautiful cake. Be sure to stay tuned for the finale!

Sep 23, 2007

Sweet Updates

Two awesome things have happened this weekend; 1) I got a new iPhone, a leather case and an iTunes card (for uploading ringtones & such) from Russell and

2) I made the most b-u-tiful apple pie using some of the Honeycrisp apples that we brought back from N Carolina a few weeks ago. In making this truly tasty and pretty pie, I used the Cinnamon and Caramel spices and the pie crust shield (all Pampered Chef products) that helped to make it both tasty and beautiful.
Granted the iPhone is way groovier than the Apple Pie, but both were really terrific and fortunately I can and will enjoy the iPhone for wwwwwwaaaayyyyy longer than we'll enjoy the Apple Pie. Thank you RH for the surprise gifts - I do truly love you and appreciate all you do for me.

Sep 17, 2007

Cake Decorating - Course #2, Class #2

Tonite was interesting and productive. No cake of course, but we started making the decorations for our final cake using Royal Icing (confectioners sugar, meringue powder & water). We made the birds for our cake w/the 'Color Flow' icing (later I had to re-do mine because I messed them up and I also added a birdhouse). We also made the Apple Blossoms, Violets and Violet Leaves for our final cakes. It's a small, but fun group with a great teacher, Belinda. I found out tonite that Ashley and I are 1 of 2 mother/daughter 'teams'. I can't wait to see everyone's final cake. Stay tuned for the 3rd class of Course #2.

Dad's b'day w/grandkids

My dad's b'day is the 19th and in celebration of his 71st, Ashley and I picked up the grandkids and drove to E.Texas (on Saturday, 9/15) to spend the day w/he and Grams & celebrate. It was a fun, but stressful day - driving that far w/all 4 kids (Alexis, Dylan, Damion Jr & Dom) in one vehicle; but we had a good time and I think Papa & Grams really enjoyed seeing the grandkids. Lunch was good and the special b'day cake they'd made was wonderful! Happy Birthday Dad! and We LOVE YOU!

Long time, really good friends are moving back to NY

On Friday nite (9/14) I mourned best friends of 17+ years moving back to NY. A lot of us got together and threw them a surprise party at their 'old' house - moving truck and all - to tell them how much we will miss them. Everyone had a good time, we re-lived some special moments and cried a lot. Hopefully pictures will follow (I forgot to bring my camera, but there was a lot of picture taking done so if all goes well, I will get some of the pictures that were taken and will be able to pass those along).

Sep 11, 2007

Best and Worst

This is another first - hard to get 'firsts' these days! I'm gonna publicly share my first 'best and worst' list...or at least those items that are currently on my mind. I'm sure I'll add to each category at some point....that point being when I'm really happy with something and/or really 'peeved' at/about something.

Real friends & family - my list is really long
Stonington, Maine

Burt's Bees Products
Palm T/X
Don Davis Ford
Honeycrisp Apples & Hendersonville, NC
Pampered Chef products
McCoy Plumbing in Ft.Worth
Cake Decorating Class & the instructor, Belinda
Survivor (it begins again on 9/20)
Dancing With the Stars (it begins on 9/24)
Texas Roadhouse in Arlington
The Original (mexican) in Ft. Worth

People who act like friends but really aren't - fortunately my list is pretty short
Forest Hill Police Dept
Ad-A-Staff in Arlington
Compass Bank

Sep 3, 2007

Cake Decorating Continues - Course 2/Lesson 1

Yes, more cake decorating classes....I haven't given them up yet! Although I might if Ashley keeps outdoing me ;-) Man has that kid got some cake decorating talent!! Tonite was the 1st class in Course #2 (I still have to complete Course #1 since I missed the last class due to that darned 'ole vacation) of the Wilton Cake Decorating Classes. This course involves making only 1 cake but lots of different flowers, borders and something called 'flow icing'. We'll be using Royal Icing instead of Buttercream Icing (thank goodness because I'm eaten waayyy to much Buttercream Icing!) so, I think, what this means is that we'll be making icing that hardens and is transportable. Tonite we had to practice several different shell and flower techniques...none of which I mastered...but of course Ashley did each and every one! I've attached a pic of the Course 2 workbook showing the cake we are 'supposed' to be able to decorate by the end of this course as well as the 'mum' that I made in class which Ashley is kindly displaying for your amusement. Her's is much better as you will see when you check out her blog. BTW - I am very thankful to Ashley and her KitchenAid mixer for helping me out tonite by bringing enough icing for both of us.

Sep 2, 2007

Vacation - Day 7 (Friday)

It's nearing the end of our vacation and we've saved the best for last (although we didn't know it at the time). We (again) lazed around the cabin, took a walk around the area and then took a short ride into historic Hendersonville (, just a few miles up the road from Saluda. We didn't realize it at the time, but we were about to be amongst the many visitors of the 61st annual North Carolina Apple Festival. Our real reason for venturing into Hendersonville was to visit Mast General Store (, an 'ole fashion and very historic general store which began it's existence in 1883. What a treat that and the Apple Festival turned out to be!!!! We spent almost the entire day there wandering into and out of various stores and booths, eating naughty foods and just generally being 'child-like' - a completely fun-filled day. It rained off and on but that didn't dampen the fun at all because we were given plastic ponchos by the locals - a ploy to keep us there I'm sure! And if the day wasn't special enough all by itself....we found a 'Barney' look alike (seems that, unbeknownst to me....Andy Griffith and Mayberry are N. Carolina treasures) that we were able to talk into taking a picture with. The day couldn't have turned out any better!

Vacation - Day 6

Today we've decided to venture into Asheville and take the Asheville Trolley Tour ( - a 90 minute narrated tour aboard a trolley that travels through historic Asheville. Because it was raining throughout much of the tour, we were able to take only a few pictures. The trolley wasn't exactly a 'real' trolley like we'd hoped but more of a shuttle type bus used for touring the city. We did learn alot about Asheville, including additional history about the Biltmore, famous people who'd lived in and visited the city, movies that had been filmed there, historic buildings, etc) but were more than a little disappointed overall because of the weather and the lack of being able to actually visit some of the places we were told about. After the tour we walked over to the McDonalds across the street from the Biltmore Estates - a totally different McDonalds to be sure because of it's unusually elegant interior (it and the Hardee's across the street had been rebuilt in order to make it more closely fit the ambiance of the Biltmore Estates). We didn't eat there but did stop to take pictures as we figured 'never again would we have the opportunity to be in a nicer McDonalds' than this one. After lunch, we visited Biltmore Village, the 'village' that George Vanderbilt purchased (formerly the town known as 'Best') near the time he was building his Estate and now known for it's eclectic collection of antique and gift shops.

Vacation - Day 5 (Wednesday)

Day 5 brings us to the Biltmore Estate ( - the largest home ever built in the US! An unbelievable 175,000 sq ft (and yes I said 175,000!) home on 8,000 acres (originally 125,000 acres) and still privately owned by the descendants of the original owner, George Washington Vanderbilt. When we arrived at the Estate, we were greeted by a gentleman who talked to us about the home and took our picture in front of it. Before leaving area and walking down toward the home, I asked him if he worked there, his name and if we could take his picture. He said his wife 'worked' there, his name was Cecil and why would we want to take his picture? We convinced him we did want to take his picture and later found out, via the audio tour we took and subsequent research we did, that Cecil is the name of the descendants that are the current owners of the estate. Wow! Once we'd put 2 + 2 together and did a little research via the internet, we realized that we were probably talking to John Francis Amherst Cecil, the great-grandson of George. The tour of the house was totally beyond amazing, totally beyond anything I could've ever imagined in my most vivid dreams. It took us 3+ hours to get thru the 250 room house. Among other things, it has original art from masters such as Renoir, magnificent 16th-century tapestries, Napoleon's chess set, a library with 10,000 volumes, a Banquet Hall with a 70-foot ceiling, 65 fireplaces, an indoor pool, bowling alley, and priceless antiques. The house opened to friends on Christmas Eve 1895 and this French Renaissance chateƔu remains America's largest privately owned home. After taking the tour of the house itself, we wandered out to what were once the horse stables and ate at the Stable Cafe (even as horse stables this must have been a fabulous place to be as a horse!). Lunch was, as you might guess, a little pricey and not as wonderful as one would expect, but filling nevertheless. After lunch, we wandered into a couple of the several gift shops and purchased a sufficient $$ amount of soveneirs before leaving and driving over to 'America's Most Visited Winery' (our ticket provided us with a 'free' wine tasting). We tasted several and purchased one - the Century - a Biltmore Estate white table wine - the best of the ones we tried we thought and later made a delicious chicken dinner w/some of it (Rachael Ray says you should only cook with wine that you would drink ;-).

Vacation - Day 4

It's Tuesday, Day 4, and we've decided to visit Chimney Rock( We got a late start because we really didn't anticipate our outing being the 'full day' adventure it turned out to be. Most of this is because once again, we decided to take a 'little' hike! Chimney Rock is a rock formation that looks like a chimney (duh!) and from the top of it, you are able to see among other things - Lake Lure. It was truly breathtaking. After climbing to the top.....okay, not really....we took an elevator to the top!, we decided to hike to Hickory Nut Falls - a 3/4 mile hike up a moderately steep trail. We figured if kids and older people could hike the trail, surely we could. Once we got there, totally out of breath and drenched with sweat, we discovered that what we thought would be something like the Looking Glass Falls we'd seen the previous day, a waterfall that looked instead like someone was sitting at the top of the falls with a waterhose! Boy, were we disappointed. Fortunately, the trip wasn't a total bust. Chimney Rock was nice, but more importantly, we'd found Pumpkin Butter and apples. We stopped in Bat Cave (yes, it is the name of the town) at the Bat Cave Apple House and purchased the most delicious Pumpkin Butter and at Granddad's Apple House ( where we purchased a peck of yummy Honey Crisp apples. We made baked apples nightly thereafter with the apples we'd purchased topped with Pumpkin Butter. Our plan is to turn the rest of them into apple pies and strudels when we get home.