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!!!