Monday, November 29, 2010

Is That a Turkey Cake?

Well you can definitely say its vegetarian.  No birds were harmed in the making of this cake.  This is a fun  cake to make, it always "gets" everybody.  Is that real?  Is a great usual question that I get.  
This cake was carved from a yellow cake with banana cream filling.  The outside was achieved by using a type of buttercream that dries just enough to be able to smooth with a bounty paper towel.  I then airbrush it with edible airbrush colors.  The wings are achieved by using sugar ice cream cones.  The lettuce is real (could have made that from gumpaste) and the cake is sitting on a turkey platter.  Next to it (not pictured) I placed a gravy boat filled with extra banana cream.  This still takes a good bit of time to make but the results are worth it.
Like playing jokes?  Well, just imagine having Dad/Grandpa, at the head of the table, doing the turkey cutting and how surprised he would be with the whole family at the table cutting into this sweet bird!

Here's to hoping your holidays are delicious and memorable!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Savannah Wedding at the Mansion on Forsyth

One of my favorite weddings so far was this past Summer.  A wonderful repeat client requested a Wedding Cake that would need to be in Savannah; the local cake shops would not suite her (cuique suum).  After being so flattered and humbled at the same time it was time to 'get down to business.'
Since we are below Atlanta that is a cross-state affair to get the cake there in the middle of Summer.  After looking into flying the cake to the site, I decided that I must take it myself along with my trusted assistant.  And what a wonderful idea!
The site was beautiful!  Built in 1888, the opulent location was the Mansion on Forsyth Park in Savannah Georgia.  A beautiful property with a restaurant on the left and the Hotel on the right.  Even though the bones of the building was very Victorian, it embraces a warm elegant Southern charm.
The Wedding took place in the Marble Garden.   The reception was held in the Kessler Gallerie above the restaurant, called 700 Drayton.  This is the room within the turret where the bride and groom were seated.

 Here's a slight wide-shot of half of the Kessler Gallerie room setup for the intimate reception.  The room is deeper than this picture makes it appear. This is my assistant who also doubles as my brother.  Or is it the other way around?  He is a master at Engineering but is almost done with a degree in History.  He will be heading for Japan in the Spring for a week.

The colors were purples, blues and ivory.  The flowers were Hydrangea, Freesia, Lisianthus, Roses and Dahlias.  Here's a closeup of the table:
 Ok, so the cake....yes yes....I had to set the mood first.  The cake was on a smaller scale due to the number of Wedding party guest.  But that did not mean the detail had to be on a small scale.  I recreated the Wedding Flowers out of sugarpaste in a cascade pattern on the cake.  The bride showed me a contemporary picture that she saw in a brides magazine of the Lisianthus that I incorporated into the mix of flowers (the largest shaped).   I must thank Edna from Designmeacake for the e-mail help in recollecting her rendition.  By the way, she is incredibly sweet and a wonderful source to buy decorator/designer supplies.
Ok, so heres my cake:

 The flowers took an incredible amount of time to make.  For instance one rose can take up to 1 1/2 hours to make.
  I mixed the style of ivory roses creating a couple to have an embossed fabric look to it.  The dahlias were larger than the palm of your hand.  Coming up with a design for those was tough.  No one (at the time) had really good cutters for that type of flower.  I really enjoyed the palette of colors.  The deep blues and purples mixed with the warm ivories.  All colors used were edible and were achieved by using petal and luster dusts.   
CWCakes Designer tip:  The "dusts" are expensive so when purchasing them choose the deepest colors you can get your hands on.  The ones with "royal" in their name are excellent.  If you need lighter colors put a little dust onto a painters palette.  Then mix a little of your dust with corn starch (use a paint brush) until you achieve the shade you are looking for.  It is wise to get more than one shade of deep colors though, especially green.
I had the great idea of putting the cake flavors/fillings inside little silver rhinestoned encrusted frames:
The other frame read, "Orange Grove Cake with White Chocolate Mandarin Filling Enrobed in Chocolate Fondant."

 During the Reception we rested our tired weary souls next door in the Onyx Gallery that sported an enormous solid marble table that was "lit" from underneath.  Our company was the photographer.  This picture is a bit grainy because I think we took it with one of our phones.  We were served the main entree which was a salmon dish that was divine and of course good Southern sweet tea.
I love art.  The room that we shared with the wait staff to bring our things in and out was the Kayton Gallerie.  It was incredible to be surrounded by $30,000 pieces of artwork.

 I love detail and took a quick trip outside the steps from the restaurant 's lobby to grab these pictures (this Lobby is more "quaint" than the heavily marbled main Hotel lobby of the grounds):

Have you been working out?  Sweetheart I know its the middle of Summer look cold.  Let me get you a sweater.  I'll just widdle you one out of marble real quick while the bride and groom get married (made you laugh).

 Incredible architecture:
Forsyth Park itself is literally a work of art. The two main streets flanking it are lined with incredibly old live oaks literally dripping with Spanish moss.  It is so beautiful with its elegant fountains and monuments.  We even made a quick trip to Tybee Island, saw the lighthouse then came back to the river to eat at one of the seafood houses and watched a huge and I mean HUGE cargo ships being tugged on the river  it was surreal.  Would you believe my brother had never been to a beach?!  It was so elatingly (new word- embrace it, love it) funny seeing him experiencing his feet touching beach sand for the first time.  Savannah is a 'must see' place to experience.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Twin Minnie and Mickey Mouse Cakes Oh My!

The two lovely recent cakes were for a client's twin daughters.  They had to go out of town with it so I kept the toppers off.  The flavor of one cake was Cherry Chocolate Chip Cake with Silky Chocolate Buttercream and the other was one of my variations of a White Cake with a French Vanilla Buttercream that is divine.
The toppers are 100% Royal Icing and hand painted in Royal Icing as well.  Yes, it took hours just for the toppers.  Here you can see that it is ready to give to the client (for the trip).  They are fragile so they are buffered by cocktail sticks so they don't slide.  You can see that I was drying them.  The drier the better to be a topper.  Ideal time to dry is 48 hours.  Decorator tip:  Another method when needing to dry out Royal Icing plaques, etc is to put them in the oven (with it off) on the middle rack.  Turn on the light and leave it be for at least 24 hours.

I love this closeup.  Even though the toppers were hand painted, these fondant silhouettes are just to precious with the "3" in the middle.  You can also catch the detail in the edible "sash" (ie banding) around the cake.  The twins love costumes and jewelry so the banding is a slight nod to looking like fabric and the green balls are another slight feel of jewelry.  Those little rounds are actually not fondant.  I used chocolate Sixlet balls that are covered with a hard candy shell.  Found in most gourmet candy stores or at the link provided.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Tea Cup Tales

Aptly named Tea Cup Tales, this cake was for a grandson's teacher's Birthday.  She had a collection of tea cups and loved to read.  So I came up with the idea to do a book.  Everything you see here is edible on the board.  No I'm serious!

The dish is gumpaste edged in edible gold which holds cake truffles topped with little gumpaste flowers.  The napkin is sweetly embossed with a lace pattern.

Here's a closeup of the gumpaste teacup and saucer. Even the spoon is edible blue colored gumpaste and then painted with edible silver. I told her she could keep this "set" in her collection as long as it was in a dry cool area with not a ton of light. 

 The sugar cubes are gumpaste and with a little help of piping gel rolled in course sanding sugar (for some reason blogger wont let the rotated pick come in correctly.  Maybe I should name this picture "My cup runneth over."  You can make it out a little that the book is embossed and hand painted with edible paint.

Result was another amazed customer.  Her class even made huge letter signs to wish her Happy Birthday which the surprise was priceless.  I stuck around to see her reaction.  I love the reactions.  She thought it was real.  Typical in my sweet world.  I can go through hour upon hour on little details knowing that the end product is meant to wow.

Oh my, this is my first blog post!

I had to start somewhere so here I go! Many people in my life, whether its from my clients, family members, friends and fellow members on CakeCentral have told me to start a blog.  It will take me awhile to get the hang of this but I really want it to become something special.
Lets start with a little bit of information about me.  I love cakes....well anything sweet for that matter.  I'm a southern gal so its to be expected.  I guess it all started when I was younger (doesn't it always and no, I'm not laying on a therapist couch right now).  My mother is a great cook and grandmother was great as well.  I am one of four kids that looked forward every Thanksgiving and Christmas to go to grandma's house.  Sure all the usual fanfare of huge dinners abounded during those special occasion but the dessert..a yellow cake with strawberry jam filling all covered in the most delectable sweet buttercream (and I mean butter) was always a highlight.  There were other desserts and fruits out for all to partake, even Stollen, freshly made spritz cookies, and other German delectables (even those little chocolates filled with liquors).  But the cake, it always topped everything.  She, Lilli, is no longer with us and her recipe is a heavily guarded secret held by my younger sister but she will always be loved.
Flash forward (careful you may get whiplash) after getting a degree in CISM, working at a corporate financial institution for 7 years as a Project Manager in the Ecommerce field, marrying my caring husband and having a very lively son who is now 6....I've been doing cakes and pastries now for approximately 4-5 years.
I love art and music.  I love to incorporate something artistic and beautiful with everything I create.  I was recently at a resort in Florida where I had walked by a pianist dressed to the nines where a man went up to and started a casual conversation.  I of course was taking a picture of that massive bird house behind him.  The man in the grey jacket asked the pianist, "How do you know what to play?"  Of course seeing he was playing from memory the man calmly and simply responded, "How do you know how to breathe?"  This simply pure statement made me think about what I do.  I may not be climbing the corporate ladder anymore but I do what I love.  That's what he was doing - sharing his artistic talent for the enjoyment of others.
Heres a cheesy picture of me:

So if you don't mind, I'm going to start with some of my past projects that I think you will really enjoy!!  This blog will center around some things from my life and will offer a glimpse of some of my "projects" for my clients.  I would love for you to leave comments on my posts and yes there will be pictures, I promise!