About 3 months ago, just after I had made a major life decision, I received my first 'real' inquiry after creating this website. Steph was a bride-to-be and was in Toronto for a few short days and had to plan everything for her August wedding before heading back to Alberta. She had found me by using google and liked my work. We decided to meet for a tasting and consultation (also my first!). Since Steph was staying way out in the East end (Ajax or Pickering or some such) we decided to meet somewhere near the middle. I picked a mall in Scarborough that was supposed to have a Timmy's and we were set to meet nice and early at 8 am. When I arrived, early of course, I found to my chagrin, that since the mall didn't open until 10, the parking lot was completely gated off and I could not make my way around the mall. There was really no where to park and I started to panic. The only option I saw was the pick up/drop off area for the Go bus. Steph called to say she was running a bit late and I embarrassingly told her where to meet me. When she arrived with her twin sister, I apologized profusely, and she was really great about it, and said it didn't matter. So, there we sat, on the curb with the 9-5 commuters buzzing around us while we ate cupcakes and talked about cake. What a riot! Steph decided to take a chance and went with me as her cake designer. We decided to do a three tiered cake, covered in buttercream (to spite all my attempts to talk her into fondant) with blue hydrangea between the tiers and accented with a ribbon. The top and bottom tiers were vanilla cake with vanilla frosting, and the centre tier was chocolate cake with mocha frosting. All of the hydrangea were hand made out of gum paste. All of those little flowers were fantastic practice and I think I've perfected my hydrangea technique! Dropping off and setting up the cake in the reception hall was another amazing experience that left me feeling like all the time and stress and freaking out was worth it. And even better was the look on the beautiful bride's face when she saw the cake, or the request from the groom to stick his finger in the icing. I gave him a stern look.. "What about from the back??" he begged. I smiled and walked away. I don't know if he sneaked a taste or not. My only regret is my my camera settings were off and my pictures do not do the cake justice. Hopefully the photographers will be able to send me some of the pictures they snapped.
This week I was asked to cater (and attend!) a party in honour of all of this year's Virgo birthdays. In order to accommodate everyone's favourites, we decided to go with some desert trays as well as the Patron Tiramisu for the birthday cake. On the tray were chocolate chip cookies (for Carlos), mini cupcakes (for Morena), XO Patron cafe infused mini cake balls (for Maria) and peanut butter poppers (for Stephane), and the other guests seemed to enjoy them too. After the feedback from last week's Tiramisu trial, I decided not to hold back on the alcohol this time. I added the Patron XO cafe not only to the espresso syrup, but also added a healthy amount to the marscapone filling. Yum!
About a month ago, my good friend Lisa of Hey! Nice Nails! gave me a beautiful nail art pedicure using real flowers and a new nail product on the market. I'm not 100% sure what is it, but it's like an acrylic that lets you create beautiful works of nail art. Unfortunately it was time to say good bye to my beautiful flowered toes, so I asked Lisa what the best way would be to remove them. She suggested I use a heavy duty file and some good elbow grease...or make some her chocolate cupcakes and let her do all the work. Cupcakes it is! Lisa requested chocolate cupcakes with mint icing. Personally I'm not a mint with my chocolate kind of a person, so I would have never tried this on my own, but YUM!! I topped the cupcakes with some micro hand shaved Belgian chocolate for a little flair. If you are near the Oakville area, I highly recommend seeing Lisa for your beauty needs. And when you're there ask for the walnut scrub! It was heavenly. AND if you get there quick enough, you can try one of these cupcakes for free! I dropped 6 extra cupcakes off with Lisa to hand out to her customers. They won't last long.
A few weeks ago a friend asked me to make her a birthday treat but wanted me to use her favorite liquor, Patron Tequila XO Cafe. We couldn't decide what would be the best way to incorporate this into a dessert. Perhaps Tequila chocolate cake, or Tequila infused frosting...then Stephane came up with the winner: Tiramisu! I've never made Tiramisu before, so I knew this was going to be a challenge. I started with making the lady finger cake from scratch, and while that was cooking, I whipped up the coffee syrup using premo espresso along with the cafe Tequila. While the lady fingers were cooling, I worked on the creamy marscapone filling. Once everything was ready, I dutifully soak the lady fingers in the coffee syrup and start assembling the Tiramisu. It looked lovely once it was done! Now just to hear about the taste...
This week's big project consisted of a cake and cupcakes for Kayden's first birthday. At first Kayden's Mom wanted a Bam-Bam cake because she said her son was exactly like Bam-Bam. I thought that was cute, but closer to the date Mom decided she would rather have an Elmo cake since Kayden really loved Elmo. I've never had the pleasure of making an Elmo cake, so I wasn't sure what I would do. I reassured my client that I would come up with something faboulous. The client requested a red velvet cake with cream cheese icing. I wasn't 100% satisfied with the recipe I found, so I'll just have to try another one! I think the cupcakes are absolutely adorable. Maybe next time I'll make my favourite Monster: Grover!
And for anyone who, like me, likes to see how things are done...here is a small glimpse into the world behind Elmo. This is Elmo before I piped on all of his red fur and added his signature eyes and nose:
Last weekend I received a call from a friend asking for some cookies for her sister's upcoming bridal shower. She wanted to give them away as favours for the guests, which I think is such a great idea. She requested 80 weddings dresses with a simple "Thank You" written on them then wrapped in cello and tied with a gold twist tie. I got started as soon as possible since these cookies are a three to four day process (day 1: baking, day 2: flooding, day 3/4: decorating and packaging), and I had a lot to make! I had to break out all 6 of my stacking cooling wracks and I still ran out of space. Once Thursday hit, I was faced with 80+ little white blank canvases. Now, I know I was supposed to write thank you on them, but instead I just went to town with the royal icing and created 80+ different wedding gowns. I couldn't help myself! It was too much fun seeing how the next gown would turn out, because I never really knew when I started a cookie. Here are a couple of pictures of my favourites.
I baked my first cookie at the age of 5, and have been in love ever since. The smiles on people's faces when they taste my creations is what keeps my passion alive!