My Brother is a very active guy - from running, to rugby - and lately his new passion has been long bike rides. It wasn't a big surprise when his daughter sent me a picture similar to this when I asked her what kind of cake I should make for her Dad's 40th.
This post is long overdue - and for those who read my blog regularly (Hi Mom!), I apologize. Literally seconds before I had to carve this cake (the cake I have been most nervous about to date), I received a phone call with some devastating news about my Mother - She was diagnosed with early stage Cancer.
My gut reaction was to drop everything and go see her, but I had committed to this cake for a big 40th birthday, so I had to get it done. I have never created this cake before, so every cut was a guess. I'm always afraid that I am going to cut too much (its always easier to cut ore, but you cant put cake back once it's trimmed!) so that's why Vader look a little bloated.
Luckily, my client LOVED the cake. Phew!! And, more good news a few short weeks later - My Mom had an operation and is now 100% cancer free! Sometimes, things do work out for the best/
Sometimes, life has a wonderful sense of symmetry...I had received a request from a long-time customer asking for some sports themed cupcakes for her husband's 40th birthday, and even though I had a lot on my plate with my own Mother's birthday, I couldn't refuse! A couple of weeks later, I received another request from another long standing customer for cupcakes for her husband's 30th birthday (apparently, Gurveen was still talking about the cupcakes I made for their wedding, and this was a sweet surprise for him). She sent me a picture of cupcakes showing white and black letter tiles with a simple black dot border. I really liked the design and thought I could incorporate it into both orders, with just a slight modification to the dot border.
The Sports themed cupcakes were a little more of a challenge because each one had to be hand crafted. Being a perfectionist, this took quite a bit of concentration and attention to detail. I made themed cupcakes in Golf, Baseball, Football, Tennis, Basketball and Hockey. All of the elements are completely edible, except for a couple wires that are helping the sticks and clubs stand.
The time and effort was completely worth it! When I delivered the cupcakes, my client was otheriwse occupied and couldn't come to the door. However, she was so happy with the cupcakes, that she quickly sent me this message as soon as she saw them:
"I missed you. Soo sorry. I am in love with the cupcakes. They are amazing. I LOVE it. Thank you sooooo much."
Sometime the challenge of a cake is the recipe, sometimes it’s the technical aspects of the decorating work and sometimes the challenge is the deadline. This time, the challenge was all of the things. Most of my cakes are one-of-a-kind creations, which means I need to sit down and puzzle out exactly how I am going to make it happen. Once you do something once, it becomes much easier to do it a second time, but I didn’t have that luxury with the Slot Machine cake. This one was a doozy to figure out – and I was short on time! Once the basic construction was done, and I had the shape of the cake right, everything started to fall into place afterwards. I “cheated” a little by using some edible images to decorate some of the aspects of the slot machine instead of making them by hand. Personally for this cake, I think this was the right way to go. I wanted the reel to look as authentic as possible. Some people have asked why the Cherries are the winning symbol instead of the bars, but that answer is simple – that’s what the customer asked for! Inside is carrot cake with cream cheese icing.
I also made some cookies as give-aways for my customer.
I had a total of six wedding in 2013, and each one was special for different reasons. Whether it was an amazing venue, a personal connection with the bride and groom, or the excitement of trying a new cake technique, each wedding had been a treasured experience. The year culminated in, what was for me, one of the best wedding I’ve had the pleasure of attending or being a part of.
So many factors went into the fantasticness that was Josie and Roshan’s wedding. The ceremony was sweet, personal and the officiant was charming. The venue (Hockley Valley in Orangeville) was all around amazing, from the gourmet food, to the room décor, everything was top notch. The DJ was awesome and the photo booth was a big hit (I think my table took advantage of the instant fun pictures – the majority of the pictures are of us!).
I think what had the biggest impact on me was the way Josie and Roshan incorporated aspects of all their varied heritages (Scottish, Greek, Italian and Indian!) into aspects of their wedding. The highlight of the evening for me, and most people I think, was the Scottish piper and the Indian bhangra drummers playing the newlywed couples into the reception area for the first time. I don’t think I would have ever put those two instruments together, but man was it ever incredible!
And of course, Josie and Roshan had a beautiful wedding cake as well. Their theme was red and gold and their flower was a poinsettia (which were beautifully scattered around the room, three per table!). I decided on a simple cake with hand made sugar pointsettias. I wanted the focus of the cake to be on the flowers, which were going to be quite the task, so I kept with a simple white fondant design with a gold ribbon accent. I had gotten quite sick just before the wedding and was bed ridden for a couple of days, which put me really behind with the cake. Luckily, thanks to a couple very good friends, we were able to get everything done in time. I was very pleased with out the flowers came out. The mother of the bride has a better picture of just the flowers – I’ll see if I can get a copy.
The vast majority of my orders come from word-of-mouth advertising (since that is the only kind of advertising I currently have), but every once in a while, someone will find me on google and send me a request. Lisa and Mario were just that kind of a couple. It’s exciting to be working for a brand new client who has never heard or me or what my work is like. It’s a great chance to prove my skills once again and to show my clients that good taste can come at an affordable price. Lisa and Mario were very easy to work with. They wanted cupcakes (Plain Jayne and Red Velvet) for the wedding, plus a topper cake with two of the cutest cake toppers I’ve ever seen! I believe they purchased the hand-made wooden ornaments from a shop on Etsy.
Word of mouth is my favourite form of advertising! About a year ago, I got a request through my website from a friend of Sean and Ana Maria's (whom I've done several projects for). Jessica said that she had tried the cake at Sean's wedding and that Sean highly recommended me (thanks Sean - I owe you a cupcake!!). I met with Jessica and her wedding planner and we hit it off instantly. Jessica decided on some mini cupcakes as well as a 7" cutting cake. The minis are Double Chocolate, Lemon with Raspberry and Red Velvet (tinted orange) while the cake itself was Lemon cake with Vanilla Bean buttercream. I love how they came out! The slabs of tree that they are sitting on were perfect as well. I wish I had gotten a picture of the room.... The Steamwhistle Brewery is a beautiful venue for an event!
**UPDATE!!** The bride has read this post and sent in some lovely pictures of the venue:
I was asked to make some cookie favours for a bridal shower, and I wanted to do something different than the wedding dresses I have done in the past. After a little inspiration on the internet, I was excited to get to work. And a lot of work it was! First the dough had to be made, then rolled, cut, baked and cooled. Once the yummy butter cookies were ready, I covered them with either black or white fondant, smoothed them out and then hand piped the decorations on each (40 of each in total). They were each placed in clear cello bags and tied with either black or white ribbon, which I curled. I was very pleased with how they turned out! The cookies were actually being transported down to the states for the function, so I made a couple extra for my client to sample on the way down. I heard later that the cookies were a massive hit and tasted so good that my client ate more than just the samples on the road trip!
Shortly after Lisa's baby shower, my new friend Jan (Lisa's sister - fantastic chick) asked me to make a cake for the teacher she works with, Mr. Y. Jan works with special needs kids as a guidance counselor in a higher school - one of those jobs, like a nurse, that I think is highly underpaid and under recognized. She wanted to get him something special to show her appreciation. Apparently, Mr. Y likes his Coke very much - I think Jan said he has at least one every day.
I heard later that Mr. Y was so happy with his cake that he sent pictures of it out to the whole school!
This week started with 2 dozen pretty pink cupcakes to celebrate Jan's soon-to-arrive baby girl. Congratulations Janizelle! More cupcakes followed later in the week when my friend Olga requested some Elmo cupcakes to bring to dinner as a surprise for her friend's son. The week ended with a slightly bigger project. Beth, who's been known to request such awesome projects as the #10 cupcakes and the crawling from the grave cake, asked if I would make a cake that looks like some Palm Bay spritz for her two friends who were turning 29....again. I figured the best way to recreate something, is to have it in front of you. So, I took the difficult task upon myself and bought a 6 pack of the cans, then proceeded to do my research on the balcony. They're pretty tasty!
Inside the fondant covered cakes are 8 layers of chocolate cake with yummy French vanilla buttercream sandwiched in between.
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!