Saturday, December 22, 2012


This cake is pure romance.

Lillian and her niece Tracey wanted to surprise Tracey's parents who were renewing their wedding vows after 30 years of marriage.  They had sent me a photo of a cake they liked, a two-tiered square cake with red ribbon roses running up one corner of the cakes.  Lillian and her niece were open to suggestions, and I sent them back a drawing quite similar to this cake, which raised the height of the resulting cake without adding additional servings.  We made a few small changes to the design, and this simple but elegant cake was the result.  The key design element according to Lillian was the red roses.  There had to be red roses.  

Lillian and I had discussed the idea of using ribbon roses (they are a bit more casual, and appear like a ribbon has been rolled up into a flower form) or even fresh roses.  But Lillian and her niece had seen the sugar roses on some of the cakes I had done and wanted those for the cake. I think they made the right decision! 

A better view of the top rose
The roses in the middle of the cake go all the way around the cake.  On top, instead of a bouquet of roses, we decided to put one large extra-large rose with a couple of buds and leaves.  It really made a statement.  

I made all the roses on this cake by hand from gum paste, a sugar dough that holds it shape nicely when dry.  Each petal was placed on a rose one at a time, layer by layer.  It is an amazing process to watch the roses come to life as petals are added and curled just so.  A final dusting with powdered food colors enhanced that beautiful red. 

Detail of the side of the cake
The inside of the cake is also red -- red velvet, that is, frosted with a white chocolate laced swiss meringue buttercream.   

In addition to this cake, Lillian also had a special request.  An avid baker herself, she had made a rum cake she wanted me to decorate. (Rum cake is her specialty - and she gave me a taste and I can attest that it was delicious.  She and I have very similar philosophies about baking, such as making everything from scratch and using the best quality ingredients.) Lillian wanted the rum cake to be decorated like a vinyl record (remember them??)  Specifically, she had a song that the couple had played at their wedding, and she wanted to record label to show the name of that song.  More romance!  

The song was an oldie from 1964 called "The Wedding", by Julie Rogers.  We decided to show the record as a 45 rpm single, with lyrics from the song around the edge.  (My kids weren't familiar with record singles, so just in case someone else isn't familiar with them, here's a little background.  Until CDs took over, records were released as albums and singles.  Albums were the big 12" vinyl records with many songs on their two sides, and they played on a record player at 33 1/3 rotations per minute (rpm).  Singles were hit songs released on smaller 7" records, and they spun at 45 rotations per minute.  There was usually a hit on one side ("the A side") and a second, less well known song on the other ("the B side").  45s often had a big hole in the middle of the record, so you needed an adapter to make it fit the spindle in the center of the record player's spinning platter).  

When Lillian picked up the cakes, she was so happy with everything that she gave me a big hug!  I hope the anniversary couple loved the cake and had a beautiful celebration to renew their vows.  If Lillian is at all representative of the kind of love and care in that family, there's no question that they will have another 30 years of happiness together.  And I suspect that they'll keep the romance alive! 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

A glass of iced tea or a cake?

Lisa was turning the big 5-0, and her family wanted to celebrate in grand style.  Lisa's teenaged daughter was excited about planning a surprise party for her mom, and enlisted the help of her dad and her aunt and uncle as well.  They knew they wanted a fun cake for Lisa, but weren't sure what it should look like.  They looked at the photos on this blog and on the Enchanted Icing Facebook page, and saw the Diet Coke cake, which gave them an idea.  Lisa loves Dunkin' Donuts iced tea, and is frequently seen with a glass of it in her hand.  She had a reputation for taking the iced tea with her wherever she went.  Lisa's family asked me if I could make a Dunkin' Donuts iced tea cake.  Knowing that could be a tricky request, I went to work designing and planning.

They needed enough cake to serve 50 people, and so we decided together that I would make two cakes.  First would be the glass of iced tea cake, and second, a Dunkin' Donuts paper bag cake.  That way the iced tea cake didn't have to be very tall, aiding stability.  The cake would be chocolate, with oreo filling and chocolate ganache on the outside. (I had suggested a Chai tea flavored cake, but Lisa loves chocolate.  I can't argue with that.)

Making a cake that looks like a glass iced tea is a challenging task.  Cakes are opaque; iced tea is translucent.  I knew I could get the cake into the shape of a glass of iced tea, but how was I going to make it look like it had ice inside?  The answer was airbrushing.  I painted the cake tea-colored using the airbrush, but left areas lighter around the top third of the cake to give the impression of ice cubes inside the "tea".  I think the effect worked, particularly once I topped the cake with a slice of lemon (made from fondant), a straw (made from gum paste),  and sugar ice cubes (made from melted sugar that had been poured into a mold). 

The paper bag cake was carved by hand from a rectangular cake.  I wanted to add enough wrinkles thrown in to give the impression of paper.  The rolled over top of the paper bag added to the illusion. 

When I delivered the cake, Lisa was thrilled!  She and others at the party were amazed, and everyone had a laugh at Lisa's Dunkin' Donuts habit.  I heard back from Lisa and her family, and they told me that the cake tasted even better than it looked.  That's the kind of feedback that makes my day!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Pinkalicious Cake

Bae just turned 4.  I don't know how that is possible, since I have known Bae since she was a newborn, and it doesn't feel like 4 years have passed by.  Sigh.  Bae has, over that time, become an adorable, precocious little girl who is very outgoing and knows what she likes.  We are all very fond of Bae.

Pinkalicious is one of Bae's favorite books.  It is the story about a girl who loves the color pink, and then turns pink after eating a pink cupcake!  Pinkalicious was the theme for Bae's birthday party.  The cake I made for Bae is based on an image Bae's mom, Phoebe, sent me.  It is a very girly, cute cake with lots of pink.  The cupcake from the story forms the top tier of the cake, and flowers from the story are on the bottom.  (I took the photo before I putting Bae's name on the cake.  Bad baker.)

Happy 4th Birthday, beautiful Bae!  May all your wishes come true!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Giants Football Helmet Cake

It isn't every day that you hear about a 13 year old girl who is such a fan of the NY Giants football team that she wants her bat mitzvah party to have a football theme.  Boys, perhaps.  Girls, not so much.  But to me, it indicated that the 13 year old girl is an independent thinker and has a great deal of confidence at an age when many girls are insecure and just want to look and act like each other.  I admire and wholeheartedly support her doing her own thing.  Very cool.

This cake was made for that young woman, who is named Lexa (Shayna is her middle name), for her bat mitzvah.  The cake is a life sized helmet cake, made from delicious, fudgy chocolate cake, and filled with altering layers of Oreo filling and Nutella buttercream.  The whole thing was covered with a dark chocolate ganache.  Everything is edible, even the facemask (although you probably wouldn't want to eat it because the gum paste used to make the mask has hardened, so it can stand up).  At the event space, Lexa's mom surrounded the cake with tall thin taper candles placed on the board (the football field).  The cake was then used in the candle lighting ceremony, in which Lexa called up family and friends to help her light each of her 13 candles.

This helmet wasn't large enough to feed a whole party (the helmet feeds 30-40 people, depending upon how it is cut), so I had baked additional sheet cakes to ensure everyone got some cake.  One sheet cake was chocolate with Oreo filling and chocolate ganache, like the helmet, and the other was vanilla with raspberry swiss meringue buttercream filling and vanilla bean swiss meringue buttercream on the outside.

I received a call from Lexa and her mom the day after the event, and they and their guests were still raving about the cake and thrilled at how realistic it had looked and how good it had tasted.  They told me that one of the guests at the party had suggested sending a photo to the NY Giants!  Others didn't want to cut into the cake, but Lexa and her family finally did, so they could have their cake and eat it too.

Mazel Tov, Lexa!  Put that independent thinking to good use in your life.  I expect to hear great things from you! Touchdown!!!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Leopard Sweet Sixteen

Oh to be young agian... This cake was made for Kelly, whose family and friends threw a surprise party for her to celebrate her 16th birthday.  She certainly was surprised!!  What a lucky girl to be surrounded with those she loves on her birthday, and what a nice mom and family to organize the whole thing for her.

Kelly's mother requested a 20-25 serving cake decorated with an animal print and "something pink".  This design is what I came up with and Kelly's mom approved - a big pink bow on a hand-painted leopard print cake, with pink pearls around the base.  Kelly's not a chocolate lover (I know, I know...), so this cake is very vanilla.  It's a vanilla bean butter cake, filled with our famous Oreo cookie filling, and frosted with vanilla bean swiss meringue buttercream.  It is Deeee-lish -- I hear Kelly was a big fan of the Oreo frosting too!  I know some kids who have offered to buy my oreo frosting from me by the bowlful.  It is that good.  I dare you to try it - but you'll have to buy a cake to do so, since I'm not parting with the recipe for it just yet.  It's an Enchanted Icing original recipe!

Kelly and her friends had a wonderful time at the party. Here's wishing Kelly a happy birthday and a wonderful year ahead.  The best is yet to come!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Camera Cake: Say Cheese!

Say Cheese!  Cream cheese frosting, that is, on carrot cake, shaped into a Camera Cake!  This cake was made for photographer Mike as a surprise for his 40th birthday.  It is modeled after his own camera, although the dimensions are not exact because, don't forget, it is a cake, and I needed it to feed a certain number of people.  There's a lot of detail on this cake - buttons, dials, view panels, and more, both front and back.  Carrot cake is also a good choice for someone who works with his eyes, as this cake is packed with carrots (as well as pineapple which helps keep it really moist).  I understand that Mike was really surprised by his cake, and loved every gigabyte. Bite.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Triple the fun! Triplets Bar Mitzvah Cake

Congratulations to triplets Ethan, Caleb and Louisa!  I made this cake for their b'nai mitzvah celebration (yup, that the plural) which was on a fabulous fall day at the beautiful Keeler Tavern in Ridgefield, CT.

When I make cakes for people, I try to personalize the cake for the recipient.  I like to use colors they like, and I also often incorporate the recipient's interests in the cake design, so that the person receiving the cake knows it was really made especially for him or her.  That's a much harder task when making one cake for 3 kids with different interests, preferences and personalities.  That said, I was pleased with how this cake turned out, and even happier that the triplets and their parents loved it!

On the bottom of the cake is Ethan's tier, which is made of lemon butter cake, filled with lemon meringue buttercream and raspberry jam, and topped with lemon meringue buttercream.  The covering is blue, Ethan's favorite color, and the football (which is 100% edible, made of rice krispy treats and modeling chocolate) and the penant flag reflect his love for his New England Patriots.  He's also a big Red Sox fan.  (I blame their father for this Boston passion. Sigh. They should be Yankee fans, not Red Sox fans.  But what can you do?)

In the middle is Caleb's tier.  Caleb is a soccer player (he plays goalie), and he too roots for Boston-based sports teams.  Caleb's favorite color is orange, but their mom asked me to incorporate the lime green color which was a theme in the party decorations, along with blue and purple (no orange in the party decor).  Finally, on top, Louisa's tier has an edible ipod perched in front of it and handbags around the sides, as Louisa loves to listen to music (James Taylor is a favorite - she has excellent taste!) and she likes to accessorize.  Purple is Louisa's favorite color.  Both Caleb's and Louisa's tiers (the top two tiers) were made of chocolate cake with the crowd favorite cookies and cream (aka Oreo) filling, which has big chunks of real Oreos in it.  The outer frosting was a vanilla swiss meringue buttercream.  There wasn't a bite left from the entire cake, which was made to serve about 80 people!

On top of the cake is the logo used in the b'nai mitzvah invitations: a modern take on the two scrolls of the torah, although to me they look a little bit like candles too.  As a result, I thought it was the perfect thing to use on top of the cake.  I think the topsy turvy design added a bit of whimsy on this cake made for newly minted teens.

It was a fabulous day for the triplets, and I wish them all the best!  Their parents should be very proud of their terrific trio!  And of course, the triplets should thank their parents for everything they do for them.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Diet Coke and Sandwich Groom's Cake

Groom's cakes have become a very popular part of weddings these days.  They're cakes made especially for the groom, since, let's face it, a great deal of the wedding is all about the bride.

This two-part groom's cake was made for one of my daughter's favorite teachers as a surprise for her fiance.  It seems that he has a rather limited repertoire when it comes to lunch: a turkey sandwich and Diet Coke are his favorites.  And so that lunch was transformed into a cake, making a loving tribute to a future spouse's quirks.  I, of course, as an appreciative parent, was thrilled to be able to make this cake for her teacher and really enjoyed getting to know her a better through the design process.  I'm happy with the way the cake turned out, and more importantly, they were thrilled!

Don't let the photo fool you: this is a pretty large cake, meant to serve 50.  The diet coke cake is almost 11" tall,  larger than a half gallon of milk!  Inside, the cake is a deep chocolate cake made with a pint of Young's Double Chocolate Stout in the batter, and it is really, really tasty.  The stout flavors the cake but it is very subtle; the alcohol burns off and all that's left is a bit of depth and complexity of chocolate goodness.  Nonetheless, the cake has a nice crumb and isn't too dense.  I love chocolate and think it should be its own food group, and in my opinion, this is one of the best chocolate cakes I've tasted.

We paired the cake with alternating layers of chocolate buttercream and mint buttercream as fillings between the layers, and covered the cakes with dark chocolate ganache (a delicious mixture of chocolate and cream, which gives it a fudgy consistency).  This cake is a chocoholic's dream!

I also wanted to take this opportunity to wish Lauren and Tim all the happiness in the world for their future together.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A Wedding in Central Park

Sarah and Rod were married in beautiful setting: New York City's Central Park!  They chose to have a non-traditional wedding, with a picnic lunch after the ceremony, organized by wedding planner A Central Park Wedding.  The weather was fabulous, albeit a little bit warm by cake standards - a sunny 90 degrees.  But there was a nice breeze, and matching white and champagne colored quilts were spread out across the lawn near the Bethesda Fountain and the lake with the boaters.  It was a spectacular setting for a celebration!

The cake was made to match the wedding colors: white, cream, champagne and yellow.  The bride's bouquet was made of yellow and cream colored roses, and the bridesmaids carried cream roses in their bouquets.  I made the flowers on the cake by hand of sugar to match the flowers in the wedding.  You can see an up-close image of one of the roses at right.   Inside, the cake is a white vanilla cake filled with a combination of passion fruit curd and passion fruit buttercream and frosted with the same passion fruit buttercream.  The couple planned to take home the top tier to save for their first anniversary.  

Congratulations to Sarah and Rod!!  I wish you a beautiful lifetime together filled with love and laughter!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Bird Baby Shower

A very pink Baby Shower Cake

This sweet bird baby shower cake was designed based the invitation.  Obviously, a baby girl was on the way.  It is a very spring-like design, with a blushing pink bunny, butterfly, lots of flowers, and a bird in a beautiful, blooming tree.  I took the liberty of turning the smallish bird into a much larger pair of birds - a mother and a father bird who were waiting anxiously for their precious egg to hatch! 

The cake is a double height, 7" round cake, also called a double barrel cake.  This means that it is really two tiers of cake that are both the same size, separated by a hidden cardboard round.  The two tiers are frosted and then decorated as though they were a single, very tall tier!

Inside, the cake was tinted different shades of pink for an "ombre" effect.  If you had a slice, you'd see that the 4 layers of cake in the slice was each colored a slightly different shade of pink in ascending order!  The effect was very dramatic and oh so girly.  I was very happy with how this cake turned out.  I hope you like it too!! 

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Enchanted Icing is also on Facebook

Enchanted Icing has a Facebook page!  Come see it and "like" our page.

See you there!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Spiderman Takes The Cake

THWACK! Spiderman spins a web in a (vain) attempt to save Manhattan from a cake knife!!

This Spiderman cake was made for an avid Spiderman fan named Rohwan, who was turning 4.   I had a blast making this cake.  The cake is vanilla with chocolate frosting, and the whole thing is covered with fondant (sugar dough) for that lovely smooth finish.  The cake is constructed with the top at an angle to create the impression that Spiderman is climbing or perhaps clinging to the side of a building.  Flat just didn't seem right for Spiderman.

I made Spidey himself from another type of sugar dough called gum paste - the advantage is that it gets much firmer than fondant as it dries.  The buildings are also made from gum paste.  And by the way, both Spidey and the buildings are 100% edible! 

I got to use my brand new airbrush machine on this cake (being the cake geek I've become, that was really exciting and fun for me!)  I hope you can see the hint of pink between and behind the buildings (the gaps between groups of buildings represent the avenues which run east to west in Manhattan).  

Rohwan's mother wrote me that the cake was a huge hit with not only Rohwan and his friends, but also with the parents who attended the party!  She wrote to me:  "Loved the spiderman cake! Lots of oohing and aaahing from kids and adults!"  

I hope it was a great birthday Rohwan!  

Friday, June 8, 2012

Cobra Cake - I Ate Snakes

Have I ever told you that I don't particularly love snakes?  They slither and have no limbs.  They don't greet you at the door when you come home, offering you a ball to throw for them to fetch, their bodies shaking with excitement.  No, snakes are cold, indifferent to hostile in temperament, and look like they should be slimy to the touch.  And some of them can kill you.

Last week, your Fearless Cake Artist (me) had an order for a snake  birthday cake for Wyatt, a six year old boy who thinks snakes are just the icing on the cake, I mean, the greatest thing ever.   And he's not just into any snake -- he particularly likes cobras, especially spitting cobras.   Yup, a snake that spits venom at its intended victim. A poison loogie.  Could it get any more disgusting?

Seriously.  Take a look at a real red spitting cobra at right.  He looks mean. Is that an open venomous spit-launching tube in his mouth?  I don't want to get within 100 yards of that guy to find out.  Do you?

The good news is that a cobra cake is an entirely different beast from a real cobra.  You can eat a cobra cake.  You can't eat a real cobra (unless you're Bear Grills, that guy from TV who gets dropped off in the back woods somewhere and has to make it out alive with no food or water or anything.  He eats all sorts of disgusting stuff.)

This cobra cake was made from chocolate cake and vanilla bean buttercream frosting, and covered with fondant textured to look like scales.  The sand he's sitting in?  Brown sugar.  His teeth are made from marshmallows so they don't hurt.  The rest of what you see is fondant, hand colored and sculpted to be as scary as possible, just so I could give a bunch of six year olds a thrill.

According to Wyatt's mom, the cake was a big hit with the Wyatt and his pals!  She wrote to me after the party:
"Thanks for the awesome cake! The kids loved it, although there was a major squabble over who got to eat the tongue. The birthday boy ultimately got to the tongue and teeth. The cobra's head now looks like a toothless old man ;-)".

You never know what will make a six year old happy.  I'm glad I was able to help Wyatt achieve total domination over the deadly red spitting cobra.  Happy Birthday, Wyatt, and many more to come! 

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Slumber Party, or Where's the Cake?

Remember when you were turning 10 years old (two digits!) and you were beyond excited to have your closest friends sleep over to celebrate your birthday??  How you didn't want to go sleep because you were having an amazing time with your best pals and tried to keep your eyes open until they were so heavy you needed to pry them open?  And how your pesky little siblings always tried to join in the fun, and your mom made you let them in, but you still kept them out of the way?  Well that's exactly what this cake is trying to capture, in order to help Skyler, a vibrant and gregarious girl, celebrate her 10th birthday!  What?  You can't see a cake here?  Well look harder!!

I had a blast making this cake.  The cake itself is a perfect-for-spring combination of lemon cake with raspberry buttercream filling, covered with creamy lemon swiss meringue buttercream.  This certainly isn't your typical birthday cake, however -- the cake layers are disguised as the mattress and thus hidden from direct view!  Instead, what you see are figurines of Skyler, the birthday girl, looking very content in the center of her bed, surrounded by two of her BFF's (that would be Best Friends Forever), one of whom has dozed off after reading the magazine which was casually tossed to the end of the bed.  Meanwhile, Skyler's littlest sister, who is two, is lying on a sleeping bag on the floor by the foot of the bed, and she's just discovered the box of popcorn that spilled all over the floor.   The middle sister, who's about 6, sneaked under the covers at the foot of the bed, and she's come out to see what little sis has done now.

Almost everything you see is edible.  The bed and its coverings, the girls, the lavender slippers by the bed, the yellow overnight bag stuffed with clothes, and the little one's pillow and the popcorn and box are all made of fondant.  The wooden floor is painted with food coloring so technically it is food safe too.  Only the little one's zebra sleeping bag, the bed's headboard and the flags above the bed can't be eaten!  That's it.

Skyler was thrilled when she saw the cake.  She quickly identified herself, her sisters and her best buddies, and said I captured their personalities in their figurines.  She couldn't believe it was a cake, and neither could her friends, who came rushing to see the cake as soon as they arrived.  Skyler told me it was like Cake Boss's cakes, but this one was just for her!  Happy 10th Birthday Skyler!  I'm glad I was able to help make it a special day for you!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Shyla's Little Pony

Shyla's 5th birthday was quickly approaching, and her mother wanted to surprise her lovely and sweet daughter for her birthday.   Luckily, Shyla's love of all things My Little Pony related proved to be an inspiration for her mom.  A My Little Pony cake was the answer:  she requested a yellow (vanilla) cake, filled with chocolate frosting and decorated with a My Little Pony theme, with lots of pink and green on the outside.  But most important of all, the topper on the cake was to be a custom-designed version of My Little Pony's Princess Celestia.  

I had heard of My Little Pony, but I really didn't know much about it.  A quick look online and I found lots of little ponies with somewhat short and stubby legs and big, brightly colored hair.  It made me think of the 1980's (not in a good way, if you know what I mean), but I digress.  But I learned there are lots of ponies with different personalities, and each one has a unique identifier or brand on its hind quarters.

Today, as is the case for many toys, there are cartoon and website tie-ins and new characters (My Little Pony has been around for many years, and they've modernized the image).  A fairly recent introduction is the character Princess Celestia, who is a grand pony with wings and a crown.  She's taller than the other ponies too, with much longer legs  -- though that brightly colored big hair is still there.

Shyla's mom came up with the idea for a special, custom version of Princess Celestia for Shyla's cake, based on things Shyla liked.  Specifically, she wanted a Princess pony in turquoise with pink and white hair, with a brand on its hind quarters that looked like cotton candy on a white paper cone.  

After baking and filling the cake, I covered it with bright green swiss meringue buttercream and made icing "grass".  I then decorated the cake with pink, purple and white flowers made of fondant.  The Princess pony figurine went on top.  The last thing Shyla's mom requested were fondant cut-outs of some of Shyla's favorite ponies around the side of the cake.  At right are two of the four cut-outs I put around the side of the cake.  Shyla recognized them all instantly!

The final touch on the cake was the bunting or flags hanging above the cake.  Without the words "Happy Birthday", a child's birthday cake is not complete.  Since My Little Pony includes a lot of rainbows and bright colors, a rainbow "Happy Birthday" bunting seemed to be a nice way to finish the presentation.  And I was even more impressed when Shyla took a look at it and read it perfectly!  What a smart girl (after all, she was only turning 5)!

I got a nice big hug from Shyla.  I hope it was a very Happy Birthday, Princess Shyla, and that you have many more to come.

Monday, April 2, 2012


This cake was made for the Sweet Sixteen party for a lovely young woman named Matisse.  She was indeed named after the famous French artist, Henri Matisse; I am a fan of his work, and think her name very cool and creative.  So of course the question was how to combine the interests of a contemporary 16 year old with some inspiration from her namesake?  This cake was the result.

Matisse, like many girls of her age, loves fashion and shopping.  Her mother told me that Matisse was born in a hospital room with a view of Bloomingdales, sealing her fate.  Her mother and I decided to use this funny story as the theme for the cake.  Her mother also asked if I could incorporate the artist Matisse's iconic signature into the design.  The artist was also known for his cut-out designs (the work at right hangs in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC), some of which had a motif of what looks like a 4-sided flower.  Thus, I was inspired by flowers by Matisse the artist, but made my own version in colors loved by Matisse the 16 year old.  It is hard to see in the top photo, but the flowers go up the sides of the bag in addition to being scattered on the board holding the cake.

Finally, a certain 14 year old daughter of mine had the brilliant idea of adding some teen-appropriate details, including a lip gloss, eye shadow and necklace from fondant.   She even made the eye shadow and lip gloss herself, and I think she did an amazing job!

The cake itself was the shopping bag, and there were two flavors in two tiers.  The bottom tier was chocolate cake with oreo filling and chocolate buttercream on the outside, and the top tier was vanilla cake with raspberry buttercream and fresh raspberries, with chocolate buttercream outside as well.  Everything was covered by the green fondant "bag".

Here's to Matisse and I hope she had a fabulous party and birthday!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games is the first book in a young adult trilogy by Suzanne Collins.  The books have been extremely popular among the middle and high school set, and so it is no surprise that the movie, which opened a week ago, has become the must see film of the spring.

I received an order from Michael's mom to make a birthday cake for his Hunger Games themed birthday party.  The kids were going to see the movie, then retreat back to Michael's house for pizza and a surprise birthday cake.  The plan was set - I was to make a cake with the logo (a "Mockingjay pin") on the cake.  The pin appears on the cover of the book, and plays an important role in the plot.   (My husband joked that a Hunger Games cake was an oxymoron.  I think he's got a point, don't you?)

The first step was to make the logo pin, as it needed to dry a bit in order to hold its shape.  Everything was sculpted by hand - every feather on the wings and tail, the body and head.  Then the whole thing got two coats of food-safe gold paint, which also needed time to dry.  (This may be a sculpture, but everything is 100% edible!)  Just before the cake was ready to be delivered, the Mockingjay pin logo finally was placed upon the actual cake.  

The cake was a delicious yellow (vanilla) butter cake made from scratch, filled with oreo frosting and chocolate buttercream.  The outside was covered with more chocolate buttercream, which has a delicious chocolate flavor and is ideal for those who really like chocolate but aren't card carrying chocholics like me.  The whole cake was then covered with black fondant (sugar dough) and a black ribbon was placed around the bottom edge of the cake.  I took this photo before I put the cake on the board I used to transport and serve it.  I'm sorry I don't have a copy of the whole thing on the cake board because it looked cute.  I put writing on the board in the same font that is on the book's cover saying "Happy 12th Birthday Michael! May the odds be ever in your favor".   (That's a quote from the book, and I thought it was appropriate for a birthday celebration).   

I hope Michael and his friends enjoyed the movie and the party and that Michael liked his cake.  I wish Michael the happiest of birthdays.  May all his wishes come true. 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Flower Power

I just got back from a fabulous gum paste flower class given by the extremely talented Jacqueline Butler of Petalsweet Cakes in San Francisco.  I've been admiring her work for a couple of years since I first saw it online.  She makes the most fabulous sugar peonies, hydrangeas and a variety of other flowers - her work is truly sugar art.  The two-day class focused on one of my favorite flowers, the peony, as well as the French tulip, with its frilly petals.  Not surprisingly, these beauties are labor intensive, but I think they are worth it.  I'm thrilled with the flowers we made and can't wait to use them on a cake, now that I know how to make them.  Jacqueline's style is to use a very soft color palate, and I think it is beautiful, but I'm not limited to that.  Wouldn't a bright pink peony be just amazing on a white cake?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Early Spring Wedding Cake!

We certainly are having an amazing March, with spring-like weather even though the calendar still says "Winter" for a few more days.  Influenced by this nice weather and thoughts of my yard bursting into bloom in the coming weeks,  I was inspired to make another display cake full of flowers.  This cake is covered with white, lavender and pale green roses, deep purple ranunculus, and reddish purple carnations, complemented by shiny green leaves and bare brown branches. The cake also shows a trend in cakes these days: tiers with different shapes and heights.   The purple tier is a hexagon sandwiched by round tiers, and the base tier is a square.

All the flowers on the cake were made by hand, petal by petal, out of gum paste (a type of sugar dough which hardens as it dries).  It is a time-consuming process, but well worth the effort. The flowers are technically edible, but I'd say you probably wouldn't want to eat them as they're very dry and brittle.

I love spring, and the flowers and colors on this cake make me happy.  I hope they make you happy too!