When is a 500lb Darth Vader an amazing thing to see?

When he’s made of cake.

The 500lb cake was presented at the 501st Legion costume convention in Orlando, Florida (I’m assuming this was at the Star Wars Celebration this past weekend). The Daily Mail has the full article, along with quite a few photos of the construction and deconstruction of the cake.

The cake was made possible through a joint donation between Amanda Oakleaf Cakes in Winthrop, Massachusetts and DK Publishing, with Tyler and Amanda Oakleaf, and their bakery team, doing the actual work. The cake took two weeks to build after four months of planning.

The cake was made up of 386 eggs, 2 gallons of milk, 3 and a half cups of vanilla, 32lbs of flour, 46lbs of sugar, 57lbs of butter and 210lbs of home-made marshmallow fondant.

Tyler and Amanda Oakleaf serving up cake for 600 people.

This is the kind of cake construction that I’d love to learn how to do correctly. However, I’ll need to figure out how to keep my smaller sculpture cakes from toppling over before I can get to the point of baking life-sized edible sculptures of people.

Once again, for more photos and details, check out the full article here.

And for some less than stellar Darth Vader cakes, check out the recent Cake Wrecks post, as well as a few from the Great White Snark–here and here.

QA Testing Cake of Deliciousness – frustration has never been this tasty!

So I’m still doing the three-month QA testing gig at work… and this time around it’s quite a bit more frustrating. Every time we let the IT group know about a new bug–they send back a message that they either:

– cannot reproduce the issue*,

– would like a movie of each and every step that led up to the issue**,

– and/or would like the login name and password we were using when it happened***.

In frustration, one of my co-workers drew a Venn diagram on the white board with the above three requests in each circle. A little while later, after being asked for another movie of something they couldn’t reproduce–but I couldn’t get to stop happening–I walked up and finished filling out the interlocked circles.

QA Testing Diagram

After a week or so of seeing this on the board every day, I decided that there was no reason why frustration couldn’t be turned into a tasty treat.

Thus the Venn diagram QA testing cake of deliciousness was created.

QA Testing Cake

It’s a homemade red velvet cake (created with white chocolate) and filled/covered with cream cheese frosting****. I brought it in the first Sunday we worked overtime trying to keep on schedule, and there wasn’t much left to take home afterwards.

No, we didn’t offer any to the IT group.
 
 
******************************************************
* We think they attempt to reproduce the same bug by waving their hands in front of the monitors or doing some strange IT dance rather than actually following the detailed steps we provide because they can’t seem to reproduce anything we send them. OK, that was an exaggeration. I about fell over the two times they admitted they also saw the same issue the first time it was submitted to them.

** EVERY SINGLE TIME!  Sometimes even after we’ve already attached a movie and multiple screenshots.

*** We have limited ids to use for our testing, and before we learned our lesson, they’d log in while we were running our tests and screw up our data. This was finally defeated by re-running and filming any new bug while logged in using their own assigned IT user ids before sending them the information. It was a hysterically funny conversation the first time the head IT guy realized this.

****I’ll post the recipe as soon as I get it into the computer. Right now it’s still on a splotched and scribbled piece of notebook paper. I hated every red velvet recipe I tried and so it’s taken a year and multiple attempts to get it to the point where I’m actually willing to sell it.

The Bitter Teeth

I have so many things that I’ve wanted to post over the past year and I was just too worn down from pain to keep up with them all. I’m trying to put some of the more interesting ones together in multiple link dump posts, but this one is just too good to wait while I sort through over a hundred old drafts before posting.

It’s a cake.

Well, of course it’s a cake if it’s showing up here. In fact it’s a cake covered in chocolate. The best part is that it’s the most amazing chocolate coated skull cake that I’ve ever seen.

I know!

I am so insanely jealous of Chloe Bird’s skill. She made this cake as an entry for Threadless’s annual cake competition and she even posted photos of the process on their site. Check it out. NOW!

Scary Plastic Clown Heads

When I was a kid, Wilton sold terrifying clown head picks. You’d see them jammed in huge globs of frosting on cupcakes and cakes in almost every grocery store.

Remember these?

Vintage Wilton Clown Head
( Wanna know where I got this one from? Keep reading.)

For some reason I had assumed that they were eventually replaced with a more kid-friendly version of the clown. But by the time I started working for a bakery, I found a stash of these little plastic heads in a drawer in the back of the store.  A full drawer.  As in never used.

Boooo.... I'm still scary!

These were smaller and shiny–I just didn’t notice the difference at first since I had nothing to compare them to other than my own imperfect memory. I grabbed one to take home with vague ideas of terrorizing a friend with it for her birthday.

So, how are they generally used?

Heh.

Heh heh heh. They’re very popular now… at the Cake Wrecks website.

Jen at cakewrecks.blogspot.com has an odd fascination for plastic clown heads, so I’ll let her explain here.

And here, although this post may not be quite safe for kids.

And to answer a question before you ask it–No.  We never used those clown heads at my bakery.  In fact, I think someone eventually threw them all away.

A few years later, I left the grocery store bakery to go back to the tech industry. There, one of my coworkers stopped me and asked if I was interested in a box of cake decorating supplies that his Mom left when she died. Decorations are expensive, and I still do stuff on the side, so I said yes.

What I didn’t think to ask is how long ago she had died.

The decorations were from the mid-70’s (I found an invoice with a date).  They were hideously out of date, the glue on most of the plastic had changed color (who uses that much plastic anymore?), and at the bottom of the box there was a bag of the old Wilton clown heads.

And they were uglier than I remembered.  I pulled one out to go with my other plastic clown head and threw the box in the garage with the rest of the stuff I didn’t feel like dealing with.

This past Monday, I decided that after almost 10 years, my garage should finally be able to hold my car. In the process of clearing out all of our crap, I rediscovered this stupid box.  And out of the entire box, the only two items I saved were an unused Holly Hobby cake pan and the bag of clown heads.

I’m keeping the Holly Hobby pan for now, but the vintage plastic clown heads are currently on their way to a new home.  A home where they will be “appreciated”.

Sampson with a Clown Head

Bwah hah hah ha ha!

2011 Cake Show: Adult Masters Division

Adult Masters

Expert in sugar art. Is known to have mastered specific mediums and techniques. May be an author, instructor, or work in the sugar art business. Has more than 120 hours of instruction. Open to all styles.

***As with most of the divisions and categories, I didn’t photograph every entry. These are ones I liked or that caught my eye for some reason. There were also fewer entries.***

Special Occasion/Novelty One Tier: Any non-tiered cake with a theme such a Birthday, Holiday, Wedding, etc. Any sugar mediums or techniques may be used.
 
 
Little Flower Fairy

1st Place
Title: Little Flower Fairy
by Dawn Parrott
Business Name: Show Cakes Houston/Culinary Institute Le Wotre(?)
 

Little Flower Fairy - close up
 
 
Zari Embroidery

2nd Place
Title: Zari Embroidery
by Ruth Rickey
Business Name: Ruth’s Sweete Justice Bakery, Oklahoma City
Zari is an Indian style of embroidery that uses metallic thread called kasab or kalabattu. (I didn’t know any of this until I looked it up.)
 
 
There were only two entries in this category.
 
 

Sculpted Cakes: Shaped or carved cakes, 2-D or 3-D cakes and sculptures. Entries must be real cake. Minimal use of Styrofoam allowed to complete entry. Any sugar mediums may be used. Must submit 3 in-progress pictures with NO identification as to the entrant.
 
 
Pegasus

1st Place
Title: Pegasus
by Janette Pfertner
Business Name: Miss Janette’s Cakes
 
Pegasus 2

There was only one entry, but it was pretty awesome.
 
 

There were no Special Occasion/Novelty Tiered Cakes, no Buttercream Only Cakes, and no Confection Not-on-a-cake entries.
 
 

Wedding Tiered Cakes: Cakes with two or more tiers decorated specifically for weddings or anniversaries. Any techniques or sugar mediums may be used.
 
 
(No photos of first place for this category.)
 
 
Western Wedding

2nd Place
Title: Western Wedding
by Ruth Rickey
Business Name: Ruth’s Sweete Justice Bakery, Oklahoma City
 
 
International Elegance

3rd Place
Title: International Elegance
by Martha Herbert
Business Name: Sweet Southern Ladies
 
 

Special Techniques Not-On-A-Cake: Entries of fondant, gumpaste, sugar molding, color flow, royal icing, etc. Displayed as an individual technique and NOT as a decoration on a cake. A combination of techniques and mediums may be used, but it must be presented alone and not as part of a cake.
 
 
(No photos of first place for this category, and there were only two entries.)
 
 
Fantasia

2nd Place
Title: Fantasia
by Peggy Tucker
Business Name: School of Cakeology LLC
 

FINALLY DONE!!!! I’m going to bed.