Aging Gracefully… Update

A few weeks back I was lucky to have made, Grammy nominated singer Adele’s 21st birthday cake. It was presented to her on stage at Roseland in NYC. See Aging Gracefully…

So often I send cakes out the door and have no idea what happens to them. Usually this is better than actually being at the party, only to come back to see the brand new finger poke holes that have spontaneously appeared!

But this time is a little different… Thanks so much to Heather Barney for capturing the absolutely best moment of a cake’s life… when the guest of honor sees it for the first time and just knows its all for them! And what great seats you had Heather!

And my sincere thanks to Adele for translating this moment in her own special way! What a great way to mark your 21st! Sugar Couture was thrilled to have been a small part of that!
Happy Birthday Adele!

Didn’t Make the Cut… V2
There are still so many fun cakes to share!

Finally, a different version of my standard suitcase cake, for a woman with a need for travel and a taste for the good things in life!

This cake was a replica of a loving couples bed, made to celebrate 25 years together. Five cats, one dog, no space in the bed but lots of love!

Spade flush!

A full Clarinet set… A celebration for a musical genius!
Aging Gracefully…

Its official… I must be old. When Sony music called a while back and asked me to create a 21st birthday cake for their Grammy nominated artist Adele, I had no idea who she was! Even if I’m not old, that sure made me feel like I was.

Since then I’ve fallen in love with her music, and it was that music that inspired this 3 foot tall mod birthday cake…


The highlight of an otherwise gloomy, rainy Sunday, was the last class of the Spring 09 Season. The heat of the ovens warmed us all as we worked on cupcake masterpieces! Can’t wait to start dreaming up the new fall projects…

Here is the basic buttercream recipe used in class…

7 fluid ounces egg whites
14 ounces sugar
1 1/2 pounds unsalted butter

Combine sugar and egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer. Heat over a double boiler, stirring constantly until very hot to the touch and all sugar has dissolved.

-Put bowl on the mixer with the whisk attachment. Whip whites until stiff peaks have formed.

-Change to the paddle and add butter, in small pieces, waiting for one to beat in before adding the other. Once all butter is added, beat an extra 10 minutes for smoothness.

** You can flavor this anyway you like using:
citrus curd
reduced fruit purees
or anything you can think of!

Art Inspired

Last year about this time, Veruschka, a student and lover of art, came to Sugar Couture, with an original request. She wanted a recreation of an ancient Greek vase in honor of one of her art instructors. This year, the lucky recipient was her portraiture instructor. Must be some incredible teachers! Sugar Couture created this replica of a painting that was done of the instructor and her daughter, but this cake/canvas was mounted on an easel!


One of the bigger surprises in my life… I love teaching. Its a great companion to the more solitary life of cakes. I pack a lot into my classes, and students leave with a feeling of satisfaction, as much info as they can absorb while measuring and mixing, and lots of dessert!

So I though I’d share the highlight dessert from this past weekends Decadent Chocolate Dessert class. While not everyone made these chocolate eclairs, EVERYONE asked for one!

Chocolate Eclairs

Pate a Choux
This dough is a basic cream puff dough. A stand mixer makes easy work of it.

1 Cup Water
3 oz butter
1/4t salt
5 ounces flour
5 large eggs

-preheat oven to 425 degrees.
-Combine water, butter and salt in a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
-At the boil, remove from the heat and add all the flour, stirring to combine completely. Put the pot back over medium heat, and cook this paste until it leaves the sides of the pan, and then just a little longer to dry it out. (the more you dry it out, the more egg you can get into it and the better the puffs!)
-Transfer the paste to the bowl of your electric mixer. Beat on medium speed to cool the paste slightly.
-Add the eggs, one at a time mixing each until fully combined. Check your dough before adding the last egg… depending on the humidity of the day, you may not need it. You’re looking for the past to be thick enough to stick to your finger, and thin enough to pipe out.
-Place a 1/2 piping tip in the bottom of a piping bag, or alternately, cut a 1/2″ hole in the bag. Transfer the dough to the bag and pipe out batons about 3″ long, leaving at least one inch between them on all sides. (they are going to at least double in size!)
-Coat them gently with a thinned egg wash – one egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water.
-Bake them at 425 for 10 minutes or until they’ve puffed up. Then turn the oven down to 350 to dry them out well.

Chocolate Cream
Prepare the cream filling while the puffs are baking…

2 cups whole milk
2 ounces cornstarch
5 ounces sugar
1 egg
4 yolks
3 ounces butter
1 tablespoon best quality vanilla
5 ounces bitter sweet chocolate
3 ounces boiling water

-Dissolve the cornstarch in 1/2 cup of cold milk. Add eggs to cornstarch mixture
-Combine the rest of the milk and the sugar in a medium saucepan Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and drizzle hot milk mixture into the egg/cornstarch mixture, whisking constantly. As the eggs become more comfortable with the hot temperature, you can add the milk more quickly. Pour this back into the saucepan and cook, stirring constantly with a whisk until the cream comes together. It will take a while, but once it starts, it will move quickly. Keep stirring until the cream has become thick. Cook, without boiling, until you see one or two bubbles pop from the cream, to make sure you’ve cooked out the chalky texture of the cornstarch.
-Pour the boiling water over the chopped chocolate to melt it. Stir the chocolate, butter and vanilla into the hot cream, then transfer this mixture to an ice bath, or the refrigerator to cool.

Chocolate Glaze

4 oz bittersweet chocolate
3 oz unsalted butter
2 oz light corn syrup
1 Tablespoon Vanilla

-Melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave at 50% power, stopping to stir often.
-stir in corn syrup and vanilla


-Place a 1/4 inch piping tip in the bottom of a piping bag. Fill bag with cooled chocolate cream.
-With the tip, poke a hole in one end of a cream puff. Squeeze bag gently to fill puff – when filled, cream will start oozing out of the entry hole.
-Dip the top of the filled puff into glaze, set aside to firm.
-Enjoy immediately, or keep filled eclairs in the refrigerator for one day.

What makes the cut…

Not every cake makes the website. Sometimes its similar enough to its predecessor that, while it may be a great piece, it doesn’t bring something new. Often enough there just isn’t time to make a beautiful picture before it heads out the door. And sometimes, because of the custom nature of some of projects, they are so specific to one client that it may not necessarily have meaning to anyone else. Here are a few that I’ve loved, but didn’t get the beauty shot.

This one is a teaser of some mini cakes I made for a wonderful client that holds a fabulous Awards party every year.

For the 50th Anniversary of Modells Pawn Shop and Diamond dealer… Who knew photoshop wouldn’t let you scan and print money? Well, specifically, it wouldn’t let me print the $20’s… it was fine with the singles.

A copy of a Wedgwood pattern and sugar cake server.

I love ANYTHING Moroccan and jump on the chance to work in that style.

More “Didn’t make the Cut” to come!