Saturday, July 23, 2011

How to Crack an Egg

We were making a batter for cupcakes, and my seven year old asked if he could break the eggs. (Hmmm...)
Many eggs, and a comically messy counter later, I figured there had to be a better way to teach a kid how to break a few eggs.

(Draw a dotted pencil guide-line around the center of the eggshell to show where they can aim to hit it against the bowl.)

Step 1.
Rap the egg firmly against the inside wall of the bowl.
Use an especially large bowl. The high walls of the bowl act as a splash-guard.

Step 2.
Turn the egg about a quarter turn around the dotted line
around the center of the egg, and rap it again. Repeat around the egg until there's a nice clean(ish) break.

Step 3.
Pull the halves of the shell apart.

Step 4.
Ker-plunk! Mission accomplished.

Question: What happens when you tell an egg a joke?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Coney Island Dreamland Cake

Here's our Spinning, Whirling Coney Island Cake for What Works,
An ArtStar Pop-Up Exhibition

sugar in motion!rides you can eat!

One of my favorite parts of the display was a working sugar Zoetrope, Zoe's Zoetrope. We learned about zeotropes at the
Museum of the Moving Image.
(We couldn't quite capture the motion in the photo or video, but it was a fun and edible little "motion picture" of a cupcake guy jumping up and down.)

Photograph by David Levinthal
The cake was made for Little Collector to go with a series of photographs of amusement park rides in the exhibit by my husband. For me "amusement park" is
synonymous with Coney Island. And, Coney Island, is one of my fondest memories from childhood. We would go there almost every Tuesday night in the summer to ride the rides, grab a Famous Nathan's hot dog and then sit on the beach to watch fireworks shot from a barge. I loved it...even in the face of, the dreaded animatronic "fat lady", and her haunting laugh. There she sat, stationed at the entrance of the park, (like the genie, Zoltar from the Tom Hanks movie, Big) the biggest price of admission for me as a kid.

Thank you ❤ to all the friends who made the trek to the Lower East Side of Manhattan for the opening night last week. ❊ A special thank you to Rich at Art Star for pulling everything together and creating a beautiful show.

Behind the scenes: One of the things that works for me, is that David is so sweet and always willing to step in and do a little of the handy work when things start to get down to the wire.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Little Collector Pop-Up Show: What Works

My family and I, are part of a super fun family event coming up through
Little Collector.
❤ In Little Collector's gallery exhibits, the world of "art" is made very fun and very accessible for kids. The definition of "artist" is even expanded to include: balloon artist, cake artist and bead artist, and we're shown alongside more traditional well-known artists.

❤The subject matter of the artwork is also pretty near and dear to the hearts of most children. Toys and imaginary play and amazing children's book illustrations.
❤Here's a little sneak peak of the beginnings of my contribution to the event, and my husband's photographs that my cake is married to.
❤JOIN us if you can on July 14! GOOD ART, Free Cake!

photographs by David Levinthal ❤
I LOVE that a cake is part of a gallery show,
❤ that the subject Coney Island--
(a place that looms large and happily in many of my childhood memories),
❤and that the exhibit is about how families influence each other.

What Works

A Pop-Up Exhibition

Opening Reception: July 14, 2011 6-9 pm

By Appointment: July 15-17, 2011

ArtStar’s Space: 195 Chrystie Street 801B, NYC announces their first pop-up show in their unique gallery space on the Lower East Side. Featuring the work of six artist couples exploring the influence they have on each other, each artist will present a work that reflects, either consciously or unconsciously, the influence of their partner. The show includes photography, painting, drawing, sculpture, video and mixed materials from ArtStar and LittleCollector artists and their talented paramours who will take over the ArtStar’s gallery space for a three day exhibition. Says Creative Director Rich Hendricks, “Having launched just over five months ago it is our mission to create new opportunities for artists and collectors. Transforming our office space into a temporary gallery to showcase our artists and curators is just another platform for more art lovers and collectors to engage with contemporary art”

Kate Sullivan & David Levinthal

Langdon Graves & Nick Van Woert

Erin Kornfled & Charlie Schultz

Ginger Schulick & Don Porcella

Katherine Newbegin & Todd Knopke

Colette Robbins & Micah Ganske

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Rainbow Cake: Part 2. Decorating the cake, and eating it too ❤

start by brushing water onto the outside of the fondant to make it sticky...

photographed by Gail Albert Halaban.
✫ It is a very lucky thing to have photographer friends. Gail and I first met when I was a photo editor. We'll let the pictures do the talking for this birthday cake decorating activity. ✫Step-by-step instructions are at the end of the post.

stick the tiny pieces of sugar paste onto the fondant covered cake to create a mosaic

(fun for all ages)

✫We made five cakes of varying sizes, from 4" to 7" round, and had the kids work in groups of 4 or 5 to decorate each little cake. It works just as well with ONE cake. Small groups take turns decorating one larger cake. While some kids work on the cake, others play games

Advanced version: make several cakes and stack them

getting ready to sing Happy Birthday!

make a wish...

( Check out Rainbow Cake: Part 1 for the inspiration for the rainbow cake.)

Rainbow Cake Instructions: 1. Start with your favorite cake: baked, filled and frosted (click here for the rainbow inside the cake recipe: Omnomicon's How to make a Rainbow Cake!) You can choose what ever size and shape cake works for you and the number of guests you're having.
2. Cover your cake in fondant. *tip: KEEP IT COLD: ) I refrigerate cakes thoroughly before covering in fondant, and then also refrigerate the fondant-covered cake overnight. If you decorate it cold, it will be a firmer and easier to work on. (yes! it is OK to refrigerate fondanted cakes)
3. Color sugar-paste, also called gum paste, with 5-7 different gel colors. *tip: you can also use rolled fondant to make the cut squares, or even pre-colored fondant.
4. Using a rolling pin, roll out sugar-paste
very thin onto a plastic mat or flexible cutting board.
*tip: I put the mat with the rolled out paste into the freezer for anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes. (Longer is fine too,
depending on what else I'm working on). The chilled sugar paste is easier to cut.
5. Use a pastry or pizza wheel to cut into small square pieces, and let dry flat for a few hours or days, depending on how much lead time you have. Until they are set up enough to handle easily and don't stick to each other when poured in a bowl.
6. Divide the colors into separate bowls.
7. Wet the outside of the fondant with a brush or paper towel. It should be wet enough to make the surface tacky so that the squares will stick to it.
8. Have fun sticking the squares to the fondant!
We talked to the kids about mosaics and patterns and shapes, but what they most wanted to do was make random festive confetti patterns.

ONe laSt EASIER to prepare VERSION for the road: You can also do this project without covering the cake in fondant. Stick the sugar paste squares or store bought confetti sprinkles to buttercream frosting, (although it could get a little messy for little fingers).

The only bad thing I could ever say about working with my friend Gail's photographs was that she makes the "editing" part of the job nearly impossible, because I love her pictures and I can never choose. To see more of her work: click here

Friday, July 1, 2011

Rainbow Cake: Part 1

We were awed by recent trip along the newest stretch of The Highline in NYC to see Rainbow City by FriendsWithYou, an interactive installation of air-filled sculptures. It inspired me to do an interactive rainbow cake project.

Above: a rainbow baked right into the cake, recipe and how-to courtesy: Omnomicon (*more about the cake to follow)

Amazing views and art works (both visual and audio) abound all along the Highline. "DIGITAL EMPATHY": Sound pieces greet visitors with messages of empathy and love in the park's bathrooms, water fountains, and elevators by JULIANNE SWARTZ.

O.K., back to the cake. Rainbows were very much on my mind when I came across Omnomicon's "How to Make a Rainbow cake" post. It's basically a modified white cake box-mix. The batter gets divided into six parts, (sorry, indigo), and gel food color is added to make individual vivid rainbow colors.

The photographs from their post are particularly beautiful, check it out for a step by step instructions to make and pour the batters to create a great rainbow cake:

✪ A funny thing about this cake is that it's a diet recipe, and calls for diet clear soda in the mix.
I enjoy baking from scratch, but I didn't have enough time to test out a variation of this recipe, so I cleared it with the moms involved, and decided to just go with it. I thought it was pretty yummy. The moms at the party seemed to really love it and asked for the recipe. I honestly think that the grown-ups liked it a little more than the kids did.

❤ PART 2: Rainbow Cake DECORATING project for kids coming soon...

❤ one more parting rainbow we made at the museum of the moving image
(kids can create their own stop-motion animations, which they can save and email):