Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Old Friends

One of the really nice parts of being a cake decorator is that your friends and family come to you for cake. Come to think of it... that isn't always a good thing, lol! Regardless, I get to be part of alot of celebrations with a lot of people I like. A while back, an old friend contacted me. We hadn't talked in years, but she asked me to make her wedding cake. I was honored to do it. And it was a wonderful opportunity for us to reconnect. I wish I had more time in everyday, so I could see all of the people I want to see, and do all the things I want to do. Miss Izzyboo's cake was one of the first wedding cakes i did. I usually like to make everything edible, but she had a topper already. It helped that her cake topper was adorable. I loved the princess and the frog idea. I immediately wanted to do lily pads! And I was so glad she didn't want to stack the tiers, they looked so pretty next to each other. I love when brides have some fun with the cake !

Cakes have brought lots of awesome new people into my life, but I am so grateful for how it brings old friends around to reconnect too. 

Monday, 19 September 2011


There have been afew projects I need to post about. I'm just not feeling it today though. so instead, here is pics of a cake a made a ways back. it makes me giggle. 

 and finally here it is at the birthday party for the lovely miss wicked that i baked it for. 

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Something bright... and PINK

Often the closest thing i get to artistic direction is... make it Pink. Or make it  with lots of flowers. I was given these two directions for this cake. I like being given creative licence. Although it always makes me doubly nervous for the client to see the cake. On this order I was excited to make a Topsy turvy cake. I have only done acouple, and I wanted the practice.

Slice the top off and put it on upside down to build up one side of the cake taller. Then cover with butter cream completely
Once the butter cream is set up, I covered them with fondant and tiered them. when stacking Topsy turvy cakes, the structural support is even more important than usual. Gravity, physics... these are enemies of the Topsy turvy cake! I placed the usual three dowels in the bottom tier to hold the weight of the top cake. I also put a dowel through the whole cake to keep the top tier from sliding off.

Once you get everything all where it is supposed to be, it is time for the fun stuff. 
I had lots of flowers made, and I placed them randomly all over the cake.

all done!!!
 I lucked out again, They were happy with the finished product. 


Wednesday, 7 September 2011

What a Gal!

There is this girl I know. She is kind of rad. I don't know her as well as I would like, but enough to know she is special. One of a kind for sure!
Afew weeks back, she had a little gathering at her place the night before she moved back to England. It was an all day/evening event with people coming and going all the time. I planned to stop by in the evening with a cake for her. Little did I know that they decided last minute to get married on the front porch in the morning. So i guess its good that i made the cake white 8)
I pondered for sometime what flavor to make for this little powerhouse of a woman. I wanted to come up with something unique and interesting just like her. And I finally decided on flavors from one of my favorite cocktails. Pineapple and basil. Sounds abit odd doesn't it? But open up your mind, give it a try, like procuttio and melon or strawberries and black pepper. Sometimes it just works.

So I made up a basic little vanilla cake. I winged an attempt at pineapple curd with crushed pineapple, didn't turn out how I had hoped, but it tasted good, so into the middle of the cake it went. then I boiled down some pineapple juice with fresh basil, making a concentrated flavor syrup, which i strained carefully and added to my favorite Italian butter cream. Next I thought about how to take it to another level. How can i have more fun with this? Molecular Gastronomy! Many chefs scoff at these sciencey methods, but i find them fascinating. I haven't learned too much yet, but i think it is interesting. specification is my favorite right now. so that's what i did.

Often bakers brush their cakes with simple syrup for moisture. I don't usually have to, because i make a dense moist home style cake, but i do use this method to add flavors. But this time instead of brushing the cake layers with the simple syrup, i turned it into Sweet Basil Caviar. The method is actually quite simple, I got these supplies from a local chocolate supply shop. I have used them a couple times, just for fun. I added afew grams of the Algin to the simple syrup mixture. and afew grams of the calcic to a couple cups of water. then i used a weird syringy thing to drop the basil algin mixture into the calcic solution. I wont get into how t works, but basically it forms a thin membrane around each individual drop, basically turning it into caviar, which pops in your mouth. I thought it might be an interesting way to introduce flavor and texture to the cake in a way befitting to my friend.

I cant wait to try this with other flavors!!!

I was very nervous of what people would think, and i had to explain the idea many times, but it was well received, and Queen Muskafa was there to pimp my cake and make me feel good about myself, lol! So when the cake was cut, each piece got a spoon full of the spheres which kind of "sauced" the cake in their mouth. Funky!

Friday, 2 September 2011

The Bakeries of Lore

I have been hearing the words New and York alot lately. I don't know why they are coming up in conversation it seems. It brought back memories of my trip a couple years ago. My former employers were kind enough to take me to Manhattan for 3 days of "bakery research". It was pretty darn cool. One of the nicest things anyone has ever done for me. I got to see alot of the places I had only ever read about. Of course there were some hits and some misses. Overall the experience was fabulous, and I would love to go back with some more time (and money) to really check it all out on my own terms.
Abraco was the way to start the day AMAZING coffee, and the most efficient tiny kitchen I have ever seen. Stop there first to get our caffeine fix and then come up with a game plan (that we weren't going to follow)to see as many bakeries as possible in our day. During our visit we saw alot, and I was feeling like I was just kind of along for the ride. I was on someone elses' dime, and I tried not to be a burden. I just went with the flow and soaked up as much as I could. There were many things i missed, and alot of pics I could have taken better. But i wouldn't take any of it back. especially not the bakeries.... so interesting to see.  I will never again complain of my kitchen being too small!

Magnolia Bakery...Being one of the most famous bakeries of New York, I was neither impressed or disappointed. it was just a shop, a very busy crowded shop.

I could have gone here everyday !
We went in for lunch, and had a divine experience. I felt kind of out of my league, but I tried to just enjoy. I'm not used to the "finer things" and this place is definitely fine 8) the bakery had
the most gorgeous bread. I wish I could have taken home several loaves to try.

 there were acouple shops worth seeing, but I probably wouldn't return. Pastis left me with a sour taste in my mouth, the food was good, but the service and ambiance had me annoyed throughout my meal. There was a fun  "rice pudding bar" which didn't really appeal to my palette, but i thought the decor was amusing. No skinny Bitches and other cute signs, including a self affirming bathroom mirror. Birdbath was appealed to my inner hippie, but not much else.

Butterlane. One of many... many ..... many cupcake shops. I don't personally have a hate on for cup cakes. OK maybe a little bit I do. i just don't feel like they deserve all the hype. There are so many more interesting treats to make or eat. So to me this is just another cupcake shop. a one trick pony that jumped on the bandwagon. There is a time and a place for cupcakes, but I am not often there. there have been few cupcakes that stood out to me, these included. I do like their fresh and local philosophy though!

Milk and Cookies, best shortbread I have ever had. Not to much else to say about that. great product, obviously specialized in cookies. They do it right, if you are going to do one thing, do that one thing exceptionally well. so Milk and Cookies were a win. City Bakery. Huge by NY standards, with a wide range of products. I bought some fresh marshmallows here that put a smile on my face. it was good overall, but didn't blow my mind they tried to do too many things it seems.

Babycakes. This was one shop I requested to visit. I really respect the ideals behinds Erin McKenna's baking. I have one of her books, and the other is on my must haves list. It was surreal. I was shocked by the normalcy of it. We walked in and it was a bakery. It was one of those moments, where i realized the people and chefs i look up to are just people. and these bakeries i idealized are just bakeries. This bakery did live up to my expectations, the only thing that really surprised me was the size. it is just so tiny. all the shops in new York are tiny. I guess not to them, but up here in Canada we tend to take up abit more space and spread out. The decor was quaint and cute, and the products were fresh and tasty. Babycakes for the win.

My other favorite was Momofuko
I don't know why exactly but i just adored this place. I would hang out there. the menu was imaginative, and fun.there were choices for people wanting comfort food, and choices for people craving culinary adventure. The layout, design, and menu were all a hit for me. I adored the burnt honey butter, compost cookies, and pie. I want to go to here... often. Like every 3 months or so to check out the new menu.

there were other highlights, to the trip, but they don't involve cakes, or baking..... so here are some random pics
Flat Iron Building... Iconic
Who has a mild obsession with Drew Barrymore.... This gal... ME! happened to walk by the Barrymore theatre COOL!
The street art was even interesting.... well some of it
The trees had their own personality
there was one little street we turned down, It was my favorite street, but not really the kind of places my hosts would want to hang out in. So i didn't get to go in to any of the intriguing shops there, but that's OK... there is always next time
pouty look over his shoulder. He made love to the camera. Seriously this guy loved having his picture taken!
Sadly no Ninja Turtles were sighted.

Next... there are so many places I would like to go next. Top on my list are MOTO, i missed that while i was in NY, I would love to pick the brain of Ben Roche. And Bleeding Heart Bakery in Chicago. Thank Michelle Garcia for being so GD rad. there are so many places I want to go, and things to see. Scents to smell, flavors to savor... I may have caught the tasting travel bug now, I must find a way to get around and try all the world has to offer. If I love cardamom this much now, imagine what would happen if i went to India?!? And what could I do with pastries after afew weeks in France?!?

the world is so full possibilities, go try something new today!