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.

Brides Style Shop at Kleinfeld’s

Taking a peek at all the amazing inspiration at this year’s Style Shop, hosted by Brides Magazine, I almost wish I were a bride again!  Our 10th wedding anniversary is around the corner, and while I wouldn’t change much – except for my dress drama- its fun to imagine what I would do if I started again today.

Its was an honor for Brides to ask me to participate with so many amazing vendors, like Kleinfeld, Bendel’s and Essie.   There were complimentary delicious passed appetizers, yummy cake, manicures, make up and hair sessions, and a gorgeous display, that included a bride hanging from a chandelier, from the beginning of the event, not just at the end.    Seriously, I kept thinking that groom mannequin was real…. it was totally starring at me.

These kinds of opportunities really make me stretch my imagination.   Without the guiding parameters that a bride will come to me with already in place, the scope is limitless.  I wanted to make a bold fantasy wedding cake and my gold and red glitter adorned cake did just that.   Of course it could easily be toned down in tones of white for a less intensely colored palette.

Unique perspective... photo Lauren Carrescia Niesenson

 

I’m already looking forward to next year.

 

 

Mia’s 3rd Birthday Cake

Last January, I was challenged to come up with a delicious and kid friendly dairy free and soy free chocolate recipe for Russel’s birthday cake.  Jake and the Neverland Pirate’s inspired it, which was in the shape of a treasure chest, map of his favorite places for the board, and of course some gold coins.

When August came around, Russel’s parents called again, this time for Mia.  Mia was turning three and when they asked her what she wanted for her birthday, she said a cake like her brother’s.  Didn’t that just make me feel all warm and fuzzy…  Don’t remember exactly what I would have asked for when I was three, but likely it came in a cardboard box and required assembly and/or batteries.

Mia carries a stuffed owl and wanted it to be the focus of her birthday cake.  There was some debate if it would be an owl inspired by Winnie the Pooh, or the one she carries, but in the end, to me, whatever is most personal is the best way to go.

Mia and her Owl

What really makes Mia’s owl special is its hot pink sparkly collar, that holds a heart shaped locket.   Its what makes it hers and of course it had to be included. The owl itself had definitely seen some action, so we decided to focus on a more groomed version of it.

Her parents were pretty sure that she would love it no matter, maybe not notice any differences in it.  But to me, the most important thing to me was that when Mia saw it, she recognized it as hers.   As a throwback to the Winnie the Pooh theme, we decided on a forest log for the cake.  This way, Mia wouldn’t have to cut into her owl if she didn’t want to.

What would your cakestory be?