I think there is something about the fair that starts to get me excited for the fall. It's always at the end of September and it still is hot here, but it makes me feel like fall is just around the corner. It is always a fun way to celebrate the change in seasons and eat great food you can only find at the fair! Like I have done for the last several years, I entered a cake into the decorated cake category. This year I needed to keep the design simple, but beautiful because of baby boy coming in a few months. So I decided to go back to doing a buttercream cake instead of another fondant cake and like past buttercream cakes, I decided to be inspired by a work of art. In the past, I have done a few Vincent van Gogh Starry Night cakes and like how his painting translated into buttercream frosting on cakes and decided to do one of his Sunflower painting. However, this year I wanted to do a different shape cake and when with a half dome and regular round Styrofoam. The dome was covered in light blue frosting and bottom was frosted in a light yellow/tan and cream to create the vase. I piped a base for the sunflowers to create depth and piped on the stems. For the sunflower petals, I used yellow and copper food coloring and a leaf piping tip and slowly went around on each base until a flower was formed. Once all of the flowers petals were finished, I used a grass tip and pipped on the center of the flowers. I repeated using the leaf piping tip to create the leaves and finished the cake off with Vincent's signature in black buttercream frosting. The cake turned out really cool and I really like the 3-D look the sunflowers have. I can't wait to see how I do this year in the contest!
Update: I got first place!!
Its fair time again and that means another fabulous fair cake! Like last years cake, I wanted to do a fondant cake and not another buttercream cake. I also didn't want to do something that I would be asked to do for someone else. I try to take this time to do a cake I really would want to do for myself, after all, no one is going to eat it and it's going to sit in a case for two weeks. The cake design was inspired by the wall art I created for my office last year. I started by covering the Styrofoam cakes in white fondant and used a world map print out to trace the shapes of the continents. I used vodka and different shades of blue food coloring and brushed on the bottom layer to create the shades of the oceans. I also did this to create the look of wood on the cake board using shades of brown. To create the golden continents I used vodka and gold food coloring and powder and carefully brushed in the lines. I finished the map by adding a few pops of edible gold leaf for a touch of elegance. For the top tier, I kept it simple and just added ribbons of gold fondant and a few white royal icing roses that also had a touch of gold to them. It was fun to play around with a new technique and I could not have hoped for this cake to turn out any better!
Update: I got second place!!!
This was another apron that I have wanted to do for years and knew it was time to make it so I could enter it into the fair. I saw a similar apron at Pier-1 years ago and thought it was cute, but it I knew I could make it cuter! I decided since my favorite holiday is just around the corner that it was time to pull the fabric out of the project bin to complete. The bodice was created the same way as the Fourth of July Apron, but instead of a sweetheart neck I wanted more square. After pinning and sewing the orange ribbon in place between the bodice pieces I sewed on the web fabric belt and started working on the skirt. The skirt layers were created with a ½ a yard of each print being cut into ½ a circle. Next I used a triangle I cut out of a piece of paper to cut out the fabric. I didn’t want the triangles to directly lay on each other so it took a little maneuvering, but finally got it perfect. To be completely honest the skirt was that hardest part of this apron. It took a long time to sew all of triangles for each layer. Once all of the skirt layers were sewn, I pinned them to the belt, layering each section over another and sewed in place. The last step was to sew on the ribbon for the neck and ties. The apron was a long time in the making the finished project didn’t disappoint; it even got Honorable Mention at the fair. I can’t wait to wear it for Halloween!
Its Fair time again and that means the decorated cake contest. The last two years I did an adaptation of art, this year I decided to test my fondant skills.
The pervious cakes were created by piping and brushing buttercream, this year’s cake was rolled fondant with different layers of decorations. Each layer started with plain mint fondant, the bottom layer I used sugar water (fondant and water) to adhere a thick layer of gold sprinkles. I used edible gold spray to help them stay in place. The middle layer I used gold air spray gun paint and the edible gold spray to create the look gold wash texture. To do this I added both paints to a small paper bowl and using a damp cake safe paint brush I slowly painted the texture. After each layer was dry I repeated the process until got the desired look. The top layer was the easiest. I wanted this layer to remain simplistic since the magnolia flower was going there. I repeated the process of the gold wash for the ribbon along the bottom of the layer and leaving the rest of the cake the original mint fondant. The magnolia flower was created by using a leaf cookie cutter on 100% gum paste. Each leaf was attached to a flower wire and shaped on a fondant sponge with fondant tools. Once all of the leaves dried they were painted and taped together. The center of the flower is a wire covered in gum pasted and left to dry. To complete the cake I placed the magnolia cake in place and it’s ready to be delivered to the fair! Since I knew I was going to be very busy next weekend with some fun projects I used Styrofoam cake layers like I have done previously. This allows the cake to be done days in advance and will hold its shape in the warm cases at the fair. This cake is very different than the cakes in the past, but it came out so elegant! Hope it does well!
Update: I got Second Place!!!
Amber just finished dropping off her fair entry photos and I know she is going to do great this year. She chose one of the fair pictures she took last year, a picture of their Bronco, and my favorite sunset picture. I love the picture so much that it is my desk top background at work.
The Bronco picture really could be on the cover a magazine and the carousel brings back so many childhood memories.
Amber continues to grow in her photography style and each picture is better than the next, no wonder it was so hard to narrow it down to three pictures this year!
I love to bake and when I don't have time to bake from scratch nothing beats adding to a pre-made box mix. One of the baked good categories for the fair is just that, this year I decided to do an easy mocha cake, here is the recipe.
One box French Vanilla cake
1/2 cup oil
1 cup extra strong coffee
Preheat the oven to 375
Mix all the ingredients together
Pour into two 8" greased and floured pans
Bake 30-35 minutes
To make the frosting mix 1 stick of butter, 1/2 cup of crisco, one pound of powdered sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla and 3 tablespoons of cooled strong coffee. Blend until smoothed and fill and spread over the cooled cake.
Super easy, super tasty and won me 3rd place in best cakes!
I love entering things into the Fair. I feel like it is a fun way to show off my creativeness. In the past I have entered quilts, aprons, photos, baked cakes and over the last two years I have entered decorated cakes. Last year I did a cake version of the Vincent Van Gogh Starry Night painting. This year I didn't want to do another painting so I decided to do my version of a Tiffany Stain Glass Window. I found a stained glass window I liked online and blew up the picture. I hand drew the image on the Styrofoam cake; it's always best to do a fair entry cake on Styrofoam since it will sit in a warm display case during the fair and it will melt very quickly. Once the image was sketched out I piped the lines using black royal icing. Over the next 12 hours I piped and brushed the remaining buttercream onto the cake, and blended the colors to give the look of stained glass. I didn't intend on staying up all night watching my favorite disasters movies (Independence Day, Twister (watched twice), The Day After Tomorrow, and Jurassic Park (watched one and a half times) and working on the cake, but I just got into working on it that I didn't want to stop. I love when something in my head comes out so beautiful....can't wait to see how I did in the fair!!!
Update: I got Best in Division Advanced Cakes!!!
Amber has a great passion for her photography hobby. She loves to take pictures and later play with editing styles. I think she is an amazing photographer and I love sharing her beautiful photos with everyone here on Oak Tree Lane. This year she took a huge leap to share them with everyone else by entering three of her incredible photographs at the County Fair. I hope everyone is inspired by them as I am.
This quilt was a year and a half in the making. In March of last year, my cousins asked me if I would be willing to sew her a wedding guest book quilt. I happily agreed and we went out to buy the fabric we needed. I cut out all the fabric in 5" x 5" squares and for the signatures I suggest using a none print fabric with a permanent fabric marker. The wedding came and went and a year later we realize that we never finished working on the quilt. During my birthday party in June, we started talking about it again and I asked if she would care if I entered it into the fair. She agreed and I now knew I had a deadline! In August we finally got together and planned the layout of the quilt and picked out the pictures she wanted to add to the quilt. I used a direct print on cotton fabric product that I purchased at Joann's for the pictures since I knew I didn't want to use a print and iron on product. I've used them in the past but I find them to me more work. With the direct print fabric I was able to center the picture in a Word document, printed it, then cut the fabric to the size square I wanted. It took about a week to sew everything together and that was working on it only a few hours a night. I love how the fun fabrics work so well together, and hopefully so will the fair judges!
Update: I received Second Place in the Memory Quilt Division!!
I created this blog to share my creations with hopes that it will inspire others to show their creative side. I love to show case my friend's photography so a lot of the photos are from her. I hope you get inspired.