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."
Hockey has always been a big thing in my brother's house; they're all fans. In fact, the first night their first child came home, I held the poor girl for three hours while watching a game. I'm not a big fan myself, but it was worth watching the game to get to hold the baby!
This year I discovered that my only nephew is a Vancouver Canucks fan (not a Leaf fan, like the rest of his family). And this year he asked for a Canucks cake for his birthday. I had orginally considered doing a giant puck with the logo on it, but I decided at the last minute that he might like a jersey with his name on it instead.
I think the best part of his party was when the boys were sitting around the table, enjoying their cake, and one of the boys said "Hey Jackson, remember your Club Penguin Cake? I took one of the penguins home!". That's when I realized that I'm helping make memories for these kids. It melted my heart.
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!
Early December I was contacted by a customer who wanted a cake for his son's third birthday. They loved the soccer cake I had made for Abir's second birthday and wanted to have the same filling/flavours, but this time in a Diego themed cake. I hunted high and low to find some Diego toys to use on the cake (I love using actual toys on a cake, at least that way the little person has something to remember the cake by - after it's all destroyed and eaten) but I couldn't find any! I guess Diego isn't as popular as he used to be. Luckily my nine year old nephew came to the rescue. I raided his old toys and found a Diego! My nephew asked if the Diego was going to be on the cake for the kid to keep and play with later. I said yup and asked if that was ok with him. He replied "Sure Auntie, no problem!". What a great kid.
It was also Abir's Grandfather's birthday, so my client requested a special cake for him as well. Instead of chocolate ganash filling for this one, we went with a mango buttercream with vanilla cake - Yum!
We celebrated my Dad's retirement (and 65th birthday, shhh) this year with a fantastic dinner, good company and some cake and ice cream! My Dad loves his Dove chocolate so when Mom asked for a chocolate cake that looked like a Dove candy, I thought it was a great idea! The cake, of course, is Devil's food chocolate with a milk chocolate buttercream filling, topped with a chocolate ganash icing. Oh-My!
My friend wanted to give her hubby some tickets for the Lion King this year for his birthday (instead of a bar-b-q, he's just that kind of a guy) and asked me to make a cake to give him a hint. "Just throw some Lion King type stuff on it, so that he gets the idea" she said. And I did. Inside the cake are layers of vanilla cake surrounding a middle layer of cheesecake.
This month my much (much!) older brother turns 40 and my fabulous sister-in-law decided to throw a surprise party for him. In addition to making some treat bags full of chocolate chip cookies and peanut butter popers, I also got the honour of making the cake. The top and bottom layers are chocolate cake with vanilla butter cream. The middle layer is vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream. The cake went perfectly with the party decorations and the sparklers really set it off while we sang.
My other project this week was to replicate a favourite toy for a birthday boy. Apparently he's in love with fighter planes and I was asked to make the air craft carrier. His Mom was going to buy some toy jets to place on the cake later. The cake is vanilla with a caramel filling.
This week's confection project was a dartboard for a 50th birthday party. At first I was worried that I was going to have to draw perfect circles with white icing on black fondant. So worried in fact that I decided to just skip that step all together. I worked with all fondant on this one, and it came together quite nicely. Inside the layer of black fondant is red velvet cake (do you know how tough it is to find red food colour the week after Valentine's Day?) layered with vanilla buttercream. This one really hit the mark!
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!