Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Elegant Boxes

This past weekend, I was tasked with designing a 40th birthday cake - it had to be unique, elegant, somewhat funky and rich pucci-style colours. I love designing cakes like that - I get a bit of freedom and it is also very challenging.

Here's the final design of 3 decorated boxes with pearl dusted sugarpaste peonies on top of a swirl patterned cake board. All three cakes were lemon butter cake with swiss meringue buttercream.

And now for some extra pictures that I took this weekend... Don't mind the terrible lighting - this is my newly renovated cake studio that has minimal natural light and I refuse to use a flash.

This is a picture of the 3 cake boxes in progress:

A lot of people ask me what I do with the leftover cake. This weekend I had a couple parties to attend, so I cut the leftover lemon cake into squares, put them in a cupcake wrapper, topped it off with some buttercream and a little fondant decoration - it makes a great thing to take along to a party.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Bees and Ladybugs

Summer must be around the corner, as I seem to be making lots of sugarpaste decorations with bees and ladybugs.  The lady bug cupcakes were Lemon with Vanilla Buttercream.

The bee cupcakes below were almond sour cream cupcakes with honey buttercream.  This isn't a regular flavor on my menu - I was recipe testing.  Next week, I will be testing out coconut cake and dulce du leche.
This cake was a 1st birthday cake topped with a tiara, some flowers and a couple bees - the colors and design were copied from a photo the client provided. I just added the tiara as it was a princess themed party and also a sugarpaste character of her daughter. The bottom tier was chocolate fudge cake and the top was vanilla butter cake.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

1970 Chevelle Cake

I love making car cakes. However, I must admit that they end up being a little shorter or fatter because I hate carving off so much cake - but I was reminded that carved cakes are an "artists rendition".

So, here is the 1970 Chevelle Cake I made this past weekend for a 30th surprise party. This is the car that is on the Fast and Furious movies - see pic below.

This cake was 3 layers of chocolate fudge cake with dark chocolate swiss meringue buttercream covered in fondant.  My favorite thing to make on cake cars is always the tires and its treads.

The weirdest thing was that after I delivered the cake - I swear I saw about 7 shined up Chevelles on the road.  They seemed to be everywhere.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Tea Anyone?

Well, there actually isn't any tea.... this is a Teapot Cake with a sugarpaste teacup and saucer. It is a 3-layer lemon butter cake with swiss meringue buttercream. Isn't it sweet?

When I got the call for this order, I was so excited! The teapot cake was to celebrate an 80th birthday - I think that is such a thoughtful gift.

I knew that this was going to be challenging, but I'm always up for a new cake design. Then I was very lucky because one of my favourite cake blogs had just posted a tutorial on this a few weeks ago. So, that really helped. So, who wants tea?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

First Birthday or was it?

This past weekend, I made this wonderfully cute birthday cake for a little boy. The mother sent me a photo of her son so I could make a sugarpaste model of him for the top. This cake was chocolate velvet on the bottom tier and vanilla butter cake on the top tier. I was so happy with this cake, loved how the little boy turned out, the colours, the train and the clothesline. I can't take credit for the clothesline design - the client had found this on another website, I just added in my own flair with the rest of the cake.

I delivered the cake proudly. She opened the door holding her young son and when she saw the cake, she said "Wow.... but he is not 1. He is only 4 months" Ooops, I guess for some reason, I thought it was his first birthday, it was actually his first party. And somehow I didn't clue in with the photo that she sent - I felt terrible. Well, she was so very sweet and let me remove the 1 on the top and add in an extra toy that I made. I'm lucky she was so good about it.

And the next day, she sent me a lovely note that the cake was a hit and she looked forward to me making her sons 1st birthday cake. :-)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Happy Easter

Happy Easter to those that celebrate this weekend and those that celebrate next weekend! These fun cupcakes are chocolate velvet with chocolate swiss meringue buttercream. Hope you had lovely sunshine like we had in Toronto!

Friday, April 10, 2009

An April Wedding

Last weekend, I attended my friends' wonderful wedding at Canoe. It is on the 54th floor of a building in downtown Toronto - what an amazing night! The wedding took place at 6pm and then we dined as the sun was setting - it was just perfect!

I had the pleasure of making their wedding cake - it was decorated with sugarpaste Peonies and pink sugar ribbon. The top and bottom tier were vanilla butter cake with swiss meringue buttercream. The middle tier was chocolate velvet with dark chocolate swiss meringue buttercream.

I also made the cutest mini-wedding cakes for their takeaways! These 2-tier cakes were vanilla butter cake with vanilla buttercream. They were 3 inches by 3 1/2 inches high. My friend Sam and I stayed up until 3:30 in the morning to finish them (Thank you Sam!). They were well worth the time and effort and matched wonderfully with the entire setting.

These mini-wedding cakes are definitely a Sweet Thing!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Sphere Cakes: For All Occasions

I guess I could have thought of a better blog title, but it is exactly what I'm writing about this morning.

When looking for simple, elegant, yet "different" cake - many clients love to top their cake with a very round cake. Or you can call it a sphere or an ornament cake topper.

I once created an elegant wedding cake with a baseball on top which I talked about in this blog post.  Here is a wedding cake I did last year.  It was a 5 tier cake with a round cake topper.  I remember it was alternating tiers of Lemon Sour Cream Cake with Swiss Meringue Buttercream and Chocolate Velvet Cake filled with Dark Chocolate Ganache.   And the cake topper was Lemon Pound Cake with Swiss Meringue Buttercream.

And for their 1st year anniversary the other week, I created this perfectly round ornament.  This was a lemon cake with vanilla swiss meringue buttercream. So fun to make - the design possibilities are endless!

This cake was a re-creation of a company's logo in a 3D sphere cake.  It was lemon cake with swiss meringue buttercream.

Cake Decorator's Tip: These cake was made using the Wilton Sports Ball cake pan. I also have the Wilton mini-ball pan set and other sphere cake pans.   I also use a tougher cake like pound cake or a nice butter cake. You will have to test your batter to the pan to make sure it rises to meet the top. If it doesn't rise right to the top, then it will not make a nice sphere when you put the halves together.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Thank You

It's been quite an exciting few days. After my interview with the Canadian Press last week, I appeared in the Toronto MetroNews, the Globe and Mail, other Canadian Newspapers and also an online video. And then, another wonderful post came from the Torontoist.

So, now my story is out. It felt good to finally get it out. Along the way I kept looking for signs that I was taking the right path. And finally this week, I don't need to wonder anymore.

Thank you to everyone. Now, to be honest, it all sounds so positive, but it was a rocky road for me. Back in November, I was lost, angry, stressed and going through the same emotions that others in a similar situation would feel. But things that have amazed me along the way is:

1. How many people and connections I've made over the past few years. In the last few months, everyone has offered their help, ideas, advice and just referring me
2. It is very hard to run your own business, you are always working. But it is very rewarding to be your own boss.
3. I know I needed a kick in the pants to leave the corporate world - but it was the right time, I wasn't ready before. Everything I learned and experienced has been so useful in my new career paths.
4. I was lucky that I took the time to take courses, volunteer and do things for myself. I worked hard and I rewarded myself with those things. These helped to shape what I am doing now.
5. It is amazing to me how much support I get on my cake business with my co-workers at Goodlife Women's Club where I work. Even my clients and the club members. I really do have the 2 best jobs!

What has really stuck out in the last couple days is that strangers have sent me emails to tell me that the article inspired them or just to offer support and wish me success. Now that is a sweet thing! And I really do believe that if you want something, you are passionate about it and you are willing to work for it - you can definitely have it! Here are 2 of my examples:

1. I always had a fear of water and in 2005, I was determined to get over it. My first mini Triathlon was in Guelph where I had to swim 375m. I tried to drop out of the swim but it was too crowded to get help. I finished the swim 65th out of 68 women in my age group. In November 2008, I did my first Ironman despite being let go of my job 3 days prior.

2. My very first cake from Cake Decorating class at George Brown 2.5 years ago. Not the most attractive cake, but I loved every minute of making it. I hope this doesn't end up on CakeWrecks.

Enjoy your day everyone!