My Favourite Cake? Possibly

My Favourite Cake? Possibly

My timelines with regard to this blog are not always met. In fact, this post is over a year coming. But my nephew’s first year anniversary (even that is not on time as it was a few weeks ago lol) seemed like a great time to create the blog post for his wedding cake.

Is this my favourite cake I’ve ever done? Well, it’s hard to beat the cakes you make for family. Because in addition to meeting a theme or vision from a family member, they always have a little extra love in them. And if size is anything to go by, this one had a LOT more love than most!

In reality this 5-tiered cake creation was actually a 6-tiered cake with one double barrelled tier. (A double barrel is really two cakes in one, separated by a cake board and dowelling.) It had 3 separate flavours; chocolate, chocolate-oreo-vanilla, and lavender-lemon, and each tier was a different height, adding to the drama.

Two separate cascades of handcrafted sugar flowers took 12 hours to make, with the cake being a total of 43 hours, and a South Africa Protea was included as a nod to the bride’s roots. An edible gold monogram lay on the 2nd tier, with a gold edged set of fondant ruffles on the bottom.

Were the couple happy with the end result? Well, I may have welled up as my sweet nephew choked up while looking my way to say thank you, prompting his beautiful bride to comment “What Kyle means is, we love the cake”. I love you too buddy 🙂

Happy Anniversary Kyle and Michelle! Wishing you God’s richest blessings and many, many more years ahead.

VENDORS:

Venue: Church & State

Photography: Rachel Alexandra Co

SUPPLIERS:

Fondant & Gumpaste: Satin Ice

Monogram: Sweet Stamps

Edible Gold: Sweet Sticks

4 Ways to Hack a Cake!

4 Ways to Hack a Cake!

Back in February (you remember February right? It was that time where you could go to malls and museums, and didn’t worry about how often you needed the bathroom …. yeah THAT February!) I was asked to do a Cake tutorial at the Illuminate women’s conference here in Victoria.

About 250 women would be attending and my session was titled ‘How to Hack a Supermarket Cake’. “PERFECT!” I said. After all, this was right in my wheelhouse. I love teaching, I love women and I love to laugh with friends. The bigger the crowd, the better. A perfect environment for an extroverted Cake-lover.

“And how much time do I have?” I asked with anticipation.

“Ten minutes.”

GULP.

I clearly looked surprised because immediately “Well, we can probably give you Fifteen” was extended and like a free offer of unlimited toilet paper I TOOK IT!

So, for those of you who have been asking, here is the full session.

Full Disclosure:

This is not suitable if you a) are attached to perfectionism; b) don’t like to laugh; c) can’t ‘listen quickly’ because it was done – VERY. FAST.

Enjoy.

Every Rolex Tells A Story. This One’s About Cake.

Every Rolex Tells A Story. This One’s About Cake.

The Rolex brand is synonymous with luxury, craftsmanship and elegance. A cake made to look like a Rolex couldn’t be anything less.

Rolex made the Oyster Perpetual Watch.

I made a cake of the same.

Here’s how it happened:

And Roger Federer if you’re watching this, and you ever find yourself close to a retirement party, I can bring dessert……..

Sweet Ride – Literally!

Sweet Ride – Literally!

Last week I had an order for an Audi R8.

Needless to say, I didn’t know what an R8 was, but it was an Audi so I knew it would be NIIIIIICE.

My favourite cakes to design and create are the ones that have some importance to my client; something that tells their history, story, personality. And that means paying very special attention to the details that will replicate those items.

So. If I’m designing and making an R8, then it better end up LOOKING like an R8!

The process for a project like this is two-fold. First, print a template for the size of the cake. This was a 2-D cake so my printout was the outline being used for the aerial view, or top of the cake. Slab cakes are used to stack and decorate and then the cake is cut into the outline of the template.

Next, individual pieces of that same template are cut out to use as smaller templates for the individual pieces of the item, or in this case the car parts. The entire cake is covered in the base fondant colour and the smaller templates are then used to make the smaller, fine-detailed items like lights, exhaust etc.

When the entire piece is done I use a fine paint brush to touch up small holes, wayward fondant etc., using Edible Art paint by Sweetsticks.

When it was time for delivery, this luxe car was presented at The Cellar, an amazing restaurant at the Bear Mountain Westin. Upon walking it into the catering area, a staff member took one look at it and stated “Oh, John drives that EXACT car!”

I guess I’ll take that as a ‘win’.

😉

Gold Dust? Gold Leaf? Gold Everything!

Gold Dust? Gold Leaf? Gold Everything!

There have been a lot of gold cakes lately. For clients, in instagram stories, online tutorials and on The Food Network! The difficulty sometimes is knowing which products are best to use for the cake design you have in mind.

Lately I’ve been using a fair bit of gold leaf.

Warning – it’s not cheap! And that’s because you need to be using a good quality leaf to make sure it’s edible and food safe. I think my last order was $60 for 12 3″ x 3″ squares, and that’s 23 karat edible gold. The good thing is, a little goes a long way when applying gold leaf. For random placement I simply press small areas of the leaf directly onto the fondant covering my cakes. For much smaller, more delicate placement I’d suggest using a brush to lift and place the gold leaf exactly where you want it.

For edible gold paint, and a different look altogether, I can’t rave enough about Sweetsticks Metallic Paint Palette.

It’s vegan and alcohol, gluten, dairy, soy and peanut free! It’s also applied using only water – no vodka or lemon extract needed!

This is suggested for smaller, finer details. For larger areas use Sweetsticks Metallic Edible Art Paints – simply shake, pour and paint!

Love it or Bid On It!

Love it or Bid On It!

Back in February I met Todd & Rebecca Talbot when I took them (& their two adorbs kids!) cupcakes to the Empress Hotel.

Any Love It Or List It Vancouver fans out there? I started following Todd & the hilarious Jillian Harris as a result of their entertaining repartee on LIOLIV. As I told Todd, their Insta stories have given me life in the entertainment department as I ploughed through many-a-late-night-wedding-cake-session. 

(Side note – Todd is AS lovely as he appears on TV, and his wife Rebecca is delightful!!!)

Buuuuuuut back to my post – I also brought this cake with me, which featured the logo for the upcoming B.C. Children’s Hospital Shine Fundrasier/Afternoon Tea/Fashion Show that Todd & Rebecca were M.C.’ing. I have more than one friend who has benefitted from the amazing work done at the BCCF so the hope was that maybe, somehow, someone would benefit from this cake. Even if it was just to feed volunteers, helpers, hosts of the event.

Fortunately the Talbots were able to include this cake in the Live Auction held at The Empress and this cake raised $300 for the BCCF! AWESOME!

The cake itself was a simple fondant covered one tiered cake with a gumpaste replica of the gorgeous drawing created for this special event.

Do you volunteer for a local or international charity? I just personally want to say thank you. I have seen firsthand how both local and international organizations benefit from the countless people who simply ‘show up’. Whether it’s centre stage M.C.’ing a special event, or on the ground in the dirt meeting with people who seem to lack all hope. You are the reason so many important organizations manage to keep going. Thank you for serving.

 

A Birthday, A Bike and a Blank Space

A Birthday, A Bike and a Blank Space

I’m so far behind on blogging that I won’t even TRY to catch up. So I’m going to jump to a concept that I thought was so cool. Sometimes my mind is full of ideas of cake designs, hoping that a client with no idea what they want will jump onto my crazy design-train. And SOMEtimes clients come to me with the coolest ideas that I embrace them with open arms.

THIS was one of those clients with one of those ideas.

A Blank Slate!

The idea that makes you think “Why have I NEVER thought of this?????” The idea was to include a bike (a love of the birthday-boy) but basically leave the rest of the cake white. A blank slate. The client had purchased edible markers so that all of the party guests could sign the cake as an ‘Edible-Birthday-Card.’

WHAAAAAT?

Crunchy spaghetti spokes 🙂

I know.

Genius.

London, Rainbows & Unicorns!

London, Rainbows & Unicorns!

My friend Laura, is inspirational.

She is a blogger, a preacher, an encourager of women and a great party-planner.

She is also, possibly singlehandedly, my most prolific client 🙂

So when her daughter London was about to turn 1, we set about planning what kind of cake to make for her birthday.  In fact I think we had barely just finished her son’s birthday cake when we started chatting!

In addition to her unicorn cake, Laura also had various other Pinterest-worthy ideas for the rest of her food table.  You can see all of the amazing details here.

Exciting for me was the fact that she was collaborating with Focal Photography to shoot the party so I knew she was going to get amazing photos from Marlboro Wang Photo who got the shots of the day!

Retiring? Lucky You !!

Retiring? Lucky You !!

Last week I had the privilege of making a retirement cake for a gentleman who had worked at the Victoria airport for over 40 years !!! That is a rare thing these days so I would say he was worthy of the celebration put on for him!

The backstory for this cake was that every Friday, the guest of honour would pick up a case of Lucky on his way home from work so if we could incorporate Lucky beer into the design it would  suit him perfectly.

And so, the Lucky beer can-cake was born.

The cake was delivered to a local restaurant, the Crooked Goose, where all of the guests assembled.  And I knew that I must have been close to the mark when as I walked in the front door two guests arriving in the parking lot said ‘that must be Ken’s cake – that’s perfect!’.  Obviously the Friday story was a familiar one 🙂

 

This was a Vanilla Cake with a Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream and a generous filling of fresh Raspberry Coulis.

Ken, I hope you felt loved and appreciated on your special day.  Now relax. You’ve clearly earned it. 🙂

How To Fix A ‘Slipped’ Mirror Glaze

How To Fix A ‘Slipped’ Mirror Glaze

Wow, I am REALLY behind on my Blog Posts! My apologies.

It’s been an amazingly busy Spring/Summer for cakes around here.  So much so that my family didn’t even get around to booking a vacation because there literally wasn’t a week that we were all available.

So. We will play catch up another time but for this post I wanted to teach you what I’ve learned about Mirror Glaze Cakes.  Those  are the really shiny cakes made from a chocolate glaze that have gelatin in it.  Let me start with this – MIRROR GLAZED CAKES ARE NOT VERY FORGIVING! – They are basically a one shot deal because they NEVER completely dry and remain sticky, making them a dangerous medium to be near your arm, your hands or anything else that brushes past them.  If you catch it, it will come away from the cake.  They are gorgeous, however, and that is why we love them.

What I mentioned above is basically what happened with my wedding cake that was due last Wednesday.  And it happened THE MORNING OF THE WEDDING!  YUP. You heard that right. Basically my worst nightmare. Let me walk you through it.

The night before the wedding I poured my mirror glaze onto my frozen entremet (an entremet is a mousse cake and it NEEDS to be frozen before you pour the glaze or you will melt the mousse from the warmth of the glaze itself) and stuck it in the fridge looking all beautiful.  But then, the next morning, this happened:YIKES!  I thought that the glaze had slipped overnight in the fridge but soon realized that the parchment paper I had laid underneath it had rolled up onto the back when I pulled it OUT of the fridge, tapped the cake and pulled the glaze away with it.  No problem, I thought.  I had saved the leftover glaze so I just gently reheated it until it was 35 degrees (C) and thought I will just re-pour it to fill in the gaps, then pour a second time to cover it evenly again and remove any lumps.

NIGHTMARE!

What is one thing people tend to do under moments of stress? NOT THINK STRAIGHT!  Entremets need to be frozen when you apply your glaze. Which this one was the day before when I did it.  But this time in my moment of panic I forgot it had just come from the fridge.  After pouring the glaze over this unfrozen mousse cake, the second layer stuck to the first layer, started to melt the mousse underneath, and proceeded to pull ALL of the glaze off of the cake.  And where it didn’t pull the glaze it ‘globbed’ up leaving blobs of unsightly gelatine all over my cake.

Wondering what i did next?

One thing.

Ran down the hall and started crying. Yes, sad but true.  This was the MORNING of this wedding and I had to leave my house in two hours to make delivery. I actually believed for the first time in 10 years that I may not be able to fix this cake. My mind started racing to what I would tell the bride, her parents, what could I quickly buy and stick on the cake table etc. etc.

But after many tears and the same amount of prayer I had a thought. (Thank you LORD!) I put the messy cake into the freezer and waited.  About half an hour.  Then I opened the freezer and with a sharp knife in hand (with cake still in freezer) I carefully started to cut lines around the top edge of the cake. The mousse at this time was re-frozen so it allowed me to experiment to see how I might remove the glaze.  Imagine how excited I was to learn that when frozen like this, the glaze could be rolled off of the cake and leave the mousse intact!!! I actually had no idea that would be the case but I had no choice at this point but to experiment.  So that’s what I did. I stood in front of my freezer, rolling off the sticky gelatinous mess until all I was left with was the blank canvas of mousse once again.

Once this was done I smoothed the outside of the mousse with a palette knife and let it re-freeze for about 45 minutes until I had a perfectly frozen entremet once more.  Once frozen I simply re-poured the glaze over top and DID NOT TOUCH IT until it was taken to the wedding site.  Problem Solved!