Cake Wrecks- Sunday Sweets!

As a professional baker, most often you don’t want your work to end up on Cake Wrecks.  If it does, you’re really doing something wrong.   Except for Sunday Sweets.  That’s a whole different thing.  It highlights the beauty and art of the best cake makers and I’m thrilled to tell you a Sugar Couture wedding cake made the grade this past Sunday.  Click through for the all the stunning 50 Shades of Gray cakes and find ours (#10)

 

Thanks Cake Wrecks!

 

 

First Wedding Cake of the Year!

Here we go 2013!  Starting off sparkly.

Gretchen’s wedding this snowy weekend was at a gorgeous venue in my neighborhood, Williamsburg BK.  Brooklyn Winery is a natural space with bare wood, tall ceilings and a warm and cozy vibe, just perfect for a wedding any time of the year or a drink any night of the week.   And, you can get your own growler of wine to take home.   My favorite kind of favor!

The decor of the wedding cake was collaborated with the brides dress and a gorgeous sequined floral detail that was on it.  For the fantasy flower, we created hundreds of mini sugar sequins and adhered them to the free formed flower ad then gave it a bit of luster.   Silver dragees made the center of the the sugar flower and were picked up again as a detail above the banding at the base of the tiers.  Sugar branches covered in glitter framed the touches of lace and negative space.

The wedding cake was made from two flavors,  Chocolate Cake with Raspberry and Ultra Rich Butter Cake with Caramel Buttercream.   I’m not always a fan of  offering more than one flavor, since it can cause some distress at a seated dinner.  It would be rude to not place a piece in front of every guest, and if the most popular flavor is gone before everyone has made their selection, someone can be left disappointed.  But, I am a big fan of it when its served at a dessert station or buffet and  everyone is allowed to take their own plate.  Not everyone will choose cake then and  its first come first served.  No one to blame but yourself, if you’re too busy dancing to grab your  favorite flavor.

 

 

Hitting a Delicious note…. Musical Cakes

Like pretty much everyone that ever lived, I’ve always wished I could sing.  Way back when, in another lifetime, I took vocal lessons for a while. My instructor and first gay crush, picked Send in the Clowns for my first song.  I was like 12.   Send in the Clowns?  Really?     Since then I’ve hit one or two pretty amazing notes, only to disappoint whomever was listening moments later when it all came crashing down.    I never really had the interest in learning an instrument, and the poor guy who tried to teach me to read music a few years ago, soon realized there was really no point.  Its a good thing I managed to develop a few other talents.

Though I might not be able to play any of them, I’ve been able to make some pretty great instrument cakes.  Wedding Cake guitars, electric and acoustic, birthday cake drums, graduation cake clarinet and a pretty fun sax cake for the jazz great Sonny Rollins.   And, for good measure,  a still very musical birthday cake for a DJ.

 

Oh, and I still sing, but only when I’m alone, and with the car windows rolled up.

Champagne Cakes

When someone’s nick name is Champagne Sherri, its pretty obvious what kind of cake to make!   And with a party at the 40/40 Club you know it had to be fabulous birthday cake for a fabulous birthday.  This champagne bottle cake is a cereal treat bottle of Dom, in a cake crate.    The logo is hand painted along the side of the aged crate.  A few purple blossoms (Sherri’s favorite color) add a little feminine touch.  Sherri looks amazing!  Thanks for sharing the great photo.

 

Surprisingly to me, this is my first champagne crate cake, but not my first champagne bottle cake….    I love making them from poured sugar.  They look just like the real thing.  Did you know this is what breakaway bottles for theater and film are made from?   And one of my very favorite buttercream flavors is champagne…

 

 

 

And don’t forget the Champagne Bottle Cookies! Yummmmmm….

Party Cakes that Shine…

When I made this wedding cake, I was inspired by the brides dress.  It was gorgeous, with this huge rosette at the empire style waist and the waist band itself was covered in jewels.  I mimicked the beading and stones in sugar paste on the separators and gave the cake a lot of height… something very important to the bride.   We we’re both thrilled when the rosette cake was featured in Brides Magazine, and its been a huge hit since.

I adore sparkle of all kinds but I had no idea at the time how popular the style would prove to be.  I’m all for inspiration, but not too crazy about copying my previous work.  I like a challenge and to create something at least a little new with each custom cake creation. Since then, there have been many incarnations of the base styles for all kinds of occasions and it all started from that original sparkling wedding cake.

Just goes to prove how infinite the possibilities are.  How would you change it to make it unique to you?

Peony Wedding Cakes

I adore peonies.  The large, soft puffy blossoms are one of my favorite flowers to make from sugar paste.  They do take a while to make, building up all those layers, but the final result is so worth it.   Because they are a larger flower, they can make a very dramatic statement on  a wedding cake.   With a simple white background,  this elegant, extravagant drape stands out.   Used with a color background, and a bit of modern design touches and the cake has an entirely different feel.   Which direction would you go?

 

First Anniversary Cakes…

Its tradition.  You keep the top tier of your wedding cake to share with your husband on your first anniversary.  You pack the cake, wrap it with love.

 You bury it in the back of your freezer hoping that it will be just as scrumptious coming out as it was going in.   Then you make a big lasagna and freeze half of it.  You stock up for ice cream emergencies.  You move the cake from spot to spot, making room for other things, and watch it over the year getting bumped, dented, frosty and just really not appetizing any more.  And if its 2012, and hurricane Sandy has come and gone, your freezer loses power a month before your anniversary and the cake that you’ve spent 11 months caring for, and shuttling around the freezer is lost.

The truth is that today, few couples keep the top tier.   So many times I’ve been surprised to hear that they’re not even aware of the tradition. Lucky they aren’t in the UK…. they keep the cakes until the first child’s christening!  Talk about stale cake.  Generally though that was a liquor soaked fruit cake, and we all know how long those can last.

Still, sharing a bite of cake on your first anniversary is a lovely way to commemorate the day, and a way to stop time from flying for just a moment.  Luckily for the bride that lost her first anniversary tier to Sandy, Sugar Couture makes mini anniversary cakes that are replicas of your original wedding cake in its original flavor.  And even better, the minimum order amount doesn’t apply. Moist and delicious, a fresh anniversary cake not only celebrates where you’ve been, but where you’re on your way to.

photo by Robert and Kathleen Photographers

 

Take a look at the gorgeous photos by Robert & Kathleen Photographers  on Style Me Pretty.

New Fall Winter Flavors

Most days making custom cakes really feels like an advanced art class. I play with clay-like sugar paste, mix colors, hand mold things, paint them. I have a need to make something every day, and my job definitely sates me. Since starting on my cake journey there are fewer and fewer crafty or home projects, which makes my husband happy, and I’m quite satisfied by the creative outlet specialty cakes offer me.

But I’m also a pasty chef, absolutely, madly in love with the ingredients I get to work with. Can you believe I actually enjoy cracking eggs? I love the texture of sugar. It gives me dreams of white sand beaches. While other custom cake bakers tend to focus and limit their flavor offerings, I try to expand. You want a cake flavored for a Dark and Stormy, your favorite cocktail? I’m your girl. A childhood favorite of strawberry banana, you got it! There is pretty extensive cake flavor list on the site, but its really only a starting point, an inspiration board. Everything about Sugar Couture Cakes is custom, down to the soaking syrup.

This fall I’ve been dreaming of sticky toffee pudding. I adore the rich caramelized flavor of the moist dates that speckle it. Sprinkled with a rum caramel sauce and it packs all the rich soul satisfying flavor I adore in the traditional dessert, but stays bit more stable than the traditional “pudding”. I’ve added a bit of orange and spice to round out the flavors for a delicious wedding cake your guests will talk about long after the crumbs are cleared. Pair it with a salty caramel buttercream and I’m sure it will be gobbled up no matter how full everyone is.
There are a few reasons I pretty much demand to cook Thanksgiving dinner. Gravy and cranberry sauce are the two main ones. I’d eat the two together over a slice of bread if I could. Well, maybe I have, or maybe that was just a dream I had while sleepwalking…

So to say I’m pretty passionate about cranberry is an understatement. Cranberries are only available for a short time, so I’m making the most of it with my Cranberry Hazelnut Spice cake. A bittersweet cranberry compote is swirled into the cake, accented by the flavors of orange, cinnamon and clove. A hazelnut
crumble adds a bit of sweet nutty crunch. Pair it with a brown sugar buttercream, and you’ll be craving this cake, all year long.

When you’re thinking about your specialty cake, don’t forget to consider a specialty flavor!

After the Sugar Coma- Kid’s Birthday Cakes at Sugar Couture

One of the great perks of delivering my own cakes was that occasionally, if I was lucky, I would get to see the moment when a child would first see their birthday cake.  Busier now, and even more lucky to have help, I don’t always get to see reactions to the cakes I create.  So its always a joy for me to see the photos coming in after the cake has been eaten, the sugar coma and celebration are over.

 

When the kids are young, a child’s birthday cake may be a bit more about the creative ideas of the parents than the child’s.  First birthday cakes are a big deal, but then how many creative preferences does a one year old really have?  Noodles with tomato sauce?  Without?   This cake was a creative brainstorm, combining mom and dad’s heritages (and the tartans that represent them) fighting it out for the attention of young William. He was much more interested in his giraffe toy made from white chocolate that the two were fighting over.   Will played with it a bit until something else took his attention.

Jack, being a bit older, was obsessed with sharks.  So for his swim party, he was presented with a yummy fifth birthday shark cake.    A little nervous about scaring the kids, I emailed his mom that the shark for the top of the cake was kind of realistic.  I was more worried than she was, and Jack adored his shark.  I hear that the shark head lived in their fridge for a very long time…joyfully scaring them every time they opened the door.

 

I’m a great lover of other people’s children.  So sometimes, when certain cakes are requested, I have to do some research.  I had no idea who Super Why was.  But learning about new subjects is why I adore making cakes.  Same reason I liked making documentaries.  You get to delve into something, become a little expert and then move on to the next thing.  I loved getting to know Super Why, and having him around for a bit until the cake was ready for him to take his place on.  Thanks to Anabella for teaching me!

As with every other cake, children’s birthday cakes are as individual as the kid they are for.  And like with every cake, they should be all about the guest of honor, no matter the age.