Saturday, December 25, 2010

Happy Holidays!

Just want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Thank you for your continuous patronage. We are thankful for all our wonderful customers, employees, family, and friends.  We would not be where we are today with out all of you.

Cheers to a great year 2011 with more fun sweets: cakes, cupcakes, and cookies! We are closed for Winter Break 12/24/10-01/09/11. We will be back on Monday, January 10, 2011 at 12 PM. Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Something for Everyone

This week at Polkadots, we were hard at work on a diverse selection of cakes and cookies. With graduation coming up this weekend, we fulfilled a number of orders intended to suit the occasion. Since UT has such a major presence here, graduation is almost like a biannual holiday to us! Breaking out the special cookie cutters and jazzing up the traditional Longhorn decorations with mortarboards is a fun twist on an always-popular concept. Some of the highlights included "special edition" Longhorn cookies, a funky "hook 'em" cake, and some cupcakes featuring mini diploma fondant decorations!  Congratulations to all graduates!


There was also a batch of Beatles sugar cookies that turned out really well. I thought that the ones with colorful album artwork looked particularly groovy.

A very dreamy winter snowflake birthday cake for Lettie's 9th birthday - our decided favorite - along with matching silver and white snowflake cookies.

Pop culture baked goods took a turn for the nerdier with the creation of a Star Wars cake covered with chocolate buttercream and fondant decorations from a galaxy far, far away!

There were several music-themed orders this week, but sorry, no Justin Bieber this time : ( We made a sugar free two-tiered white birthday cake decorated with black musical notes, and an orange Longhorns cake with a fondant Bevo and some guitars.

Last but not least was our fun pig cookie project - the character "Hamm " from Disney/Pixar's Toy Story:
Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Countdown to Christmas!

Wow, the past couple of weeks have been a blur. It sure has been hustling and bustling here at Polkadots, filling many a holiday order on top of the usual ones for birthdays, baby showers, graduations, etc. Sometimes, we joke that our kitchen is like Santa's workshop, and all of our helpers are the jolly little elves! It sure feels that way during this time of the year, and even though it can be stressful now and then, we always manage to have fun together.

Last week, we completed an order calling for 60 dozen gingerbread men for 2 days!  Yes, that would be 720 cookies, individually iced. Being that we do everything the old-fashioned way (made from scratch, and decorated by hand), this was quite a timely task. But we pulled together as a team, and ended up finishing them well ahead of time.
We also baked and decorated a wide variety of really cute, scrumptious Yuletide cookies. The selection included ornaments, reindeer, soldiers, Christmas trees, Santas, snowmen, angels, candy canes, snowflakes, wreaths, and stockings. They are like edible little works of art. A fun and little-known fact is that decorating just one of our more complex cookies can take upwards of 15 minutes!

Apart from all of the holiday requests, we've received an interesting and diverse selection of orders recently. Take for example, a rainbow post-impressionistic tie dye birthday cake.

 We also made a batch of "El Toro Loco" cookies and a coordinating cake for a monster truck enthusiast. That project was definitely something different, and they turned out to be quite elegant somehow, despite the "dirt" on top of the cake!

The next project gave us all a good laugh - a "Harry Potter the sea otter" birthday cake, covered with a selection of happy fondant sea creatures. It is great to know that we have such interesting and creative customers! So next time you need a cake, consult us and let your imagination run wild, because we can do just about anything here.

 Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

'tis the ice cookies!

As of last week, it officially feels like the holidays are upon us here at Polkadots. Leading up to Thanksgiving, we made what were likely our last autumn-themed orders for the year. They included hand-iced cookies..
 Squirrel, pumpkin, turkey, fall leaves, and cute scarecrow!

  and cupcakes decorated in traditional fall motifs...

 and even a silly demented turkey cake! This cake was a 6" round consists of 4 layers chocolate cake, marinated rum cherries, and fresh whipped chantilly cream - serves 12 adults.

After those were complete, we moved on to creating what were the first of our many winter-themed treats. Holiday goodies are always lots of fun to make in our kitchen - we like to turn on Christmas music while we work, Country Christmas, R and B, pop, oldies etc...,which never fails to get everyone in the spirit. We tend to make more cookies around this time of the year, and each one calls for a lot of time and attention to detail. The varieties we made included snowflakes, mittens, Christmas trees, sleighs, wreaths, snowmen, ornaments, stockings, candy canes, Santas, reindeer, and gingerbread men. They look so cute together on a nice platter when they are all finished!

We'll have limited varieties available to pick up at the store starting this weekend, or you can place your custom cookies order with a 72 hrs notification. 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

G'day Mates!

Given that I had some extra time last week, I took to creating a three-dimensional kangaroo cake for a regular customer. The original plan was to make a 2D shaped kangaroo,but I decided to surprise her by going all-out instead!

Now, planning and constructing a cake of such enormity was no easy task - fondant is a tricky material to work with, and an oddly-shaped cake often calls for a more cautious approach and tedious execution. Yet despite the challenging nature of the project, it was still one of the most fun and unique challenges that I have ever undertaken. Witnessing the client's reaction of surprise and delight upon receiving it was definitely the most rewarding part of the experience.

The structural design of this entirely-edible marsupial was roughly modeled after the character "Roo", from Winnie the Pooh, as it was intended to have more of a whimsical, animation-inspired appearance.

The core of the body and tail consisted of tapered layers of moist pumpkin cake, sandwiching and coating with our signature cream cheese frosting before being covered with various types of fondant.
 The head and limbs were sculpted from Rice Krispie Treats before receiving the fondant treatment as well.

Here is a  mini tutorial for our "Roo" inspired Kangaroo:

I baked two half sheet pumpkin cakes. The cake will serve about 20 adults after the carving process. Make different circle cake templates from parchment paper. I used the tail from the cake scrap.

Stack the different layers of cake with cream cheese. Move on to the tail part, repeat the same procedure as the body part.

Crumb coat the tail part, let it set for 30 min in fridge. In the mean time, prepare different fondant colors (chocolate, pink, green, purple, lavender).

Once the body and tail set, cover them with the chocolate fondant. Add the pink accent for the belly part, chocolate for the legs and arms.0

Don't forget to add the pouch! Repeat the same procedure for the tail part, add little stitches design. 

Mold the kangaroo face using rice krispies, cover it with chocolate fondant and don't forget to add dowel in the middle for support.

Attach the face and the body using a dowel, add a little princess necklace "P.O.A" ( Princess of Australia)!

Finally, I added some fondant facial features, silver crown, and girlie accents at the request of the customer, and voila! The kangaroo was ready to (carefully) hop on over to the party! Happy Birthday Angie!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Baby Baby and Baby fever!

Do you know when they say your biological clock is ticking? I think I am one of them now. Most of the party that I went to this year were for baby showers! The past two weeks were for baby showers back to back. Everybody around me seems to be having babies. At the shop most of the cake were baby shower cakes. I think I am having baby fever!

Here are few of my favorites from this past weekend. A baby block cake - It was my first time making it. It looks simple but it definitely took more hrs than I thought. I baked 3 half sheet cakes, then cut them with my parchment templates (8" square), stacked them high (8 layers) with buttercream, and let it sit overnight. One side was too high and it slanted to one side. So, I carved it to make it look straight. Let it cool off again in the fridge. Then the fun times begin, decorating with different colors of border and the baby initials.

Here are the details:

 After cutting the half sheet cakes with the parchment paper templates, layer the cake with simple syrup and vanilla buttercream.

The cake was high (almost as tall as my kitchen aid), and a little slanted, so I carved it out before I covered the cake with final coat of buttercream. Then, let it get hard in the fridge. In the mean time, I started making the colored borders and teddy bear.

Next, our client requested a very soft simple colored cake for a baby boy shower. This two tiered cake was a 6" round Italian cream cake, and 8" round lemon and cream cake  - vanilla cake with lemon cream cheese and lemon pastry cream - serves 30 adults. The color combination and design details are just clean, modern, but cute. I thought it's very " Anthropologie" ish theme. What do you think?

This next set of cookies are for baby shower too!
 Toile pattern sugar cookies in "A" shape for baby Audrey.  I didn't hand-draw the cookies. I used sugar paper instead. The mom picked this toile pattern that matched her baby nursery.

The next cookies was designed after Dr. Suess ryhme, one fish, two fish, and it was so many fish! My husband thought that this was a shark! of course I wanted to duck tape him right then (no I didn't do it!)

I made this green elephant cookies to match the baby shower invitations. I love it how it's all green with different tones and simple mendhi decoration.

The next two baby shower cake was modeled after our children birthday cakes. This lady bug cake was an 8" and 10" round cake black bottom cake (chocolate cake with cream cheese and chocolate chips) serves 50. Lady bug is edible too, she was made out of rice krispies.

This cake was modeled after our previous baby shower cake (pink version). I made a few changes: no banner, no bow, and adding a balloon "Welcome Baby Cannon."

Last cake was a whale theme for a baby girl shower to match the party invitation. I wish I had more time yesterday so I could put mama's whale splash on too! The cake was an 8" round cake, serves 20 - vanilla cake with strawberry buttercream, fresh macerated strawberry,  and chocolate ganache. I think I should call it Neapolitan!
Thanks for looking!