Sunday, April 14, 2013


Hey all!

I had a big week in the kitchen with some wonderful projects.  I feel like every cake that I work on is my favorite at the time, but I have to say that one of the projects that I did this week is definitely in my top 5.  Not only for the design elements of the cake, but for the creativity that the client allowed with flavors and her additional request to add buttercream shots to elevate the dessert table to something very special and unexpected.

The occasion was a bridal shower for a nephew and his bride-to-be.  This is a couple that is very creative, with a love for the outdoors.  He is a graduate of the Art Institute of Chicago and specializes in woodworking, which includes actually making and playing banjos.  So the hostess of the party, my friend, Jodi, asked me to create a figurine of the couple with the following details: in a canoe, him playing banjo, her rowing the boat, him with a fedora and her with auburn hair, braided and wrapped around her head (as shown in the photo that she provided to me).  Funny enough, this level of detail doesn't really scare me that much.  I love the challenge of figuring out how to assemble the puzzle and make it all as custom as possible. I used a combination of modeling chocolate and fondant and I am beyond thrilled with how this turned out.

For the cake, we decided on a birch tree effect with their initials "carved" into the tree.  This was an adult gathering, so we could go nuts with flavors and decided on White Almond Sour Cream cake on the bottom tier, Mexican Hot Chocolate on the top tier..and all iced in Kahlua buttercream.  Yum!!

The peeling birch bark was achieved by rolling out some white modeling chocolate and "tearing" it into pieces so that the edges were jagged.  I then painted the back of the pieces with a mix of brown and black food coloring to give a shadowed effect.  Once dry, I glued them to the cake with buttercream, but allowed one side to stick out as though the bark was peeling off.  The marks in the surface and "carved heart" were made by painting (with food coloring) on the crusted buttercream.  The leaves and acorns were molded of modeling chocolate and the ferns were piped with buttercream.

Also on the table were buttercream shots.  But not just ANY buttercream shots!  Champagne and Bailey's buttercream shots!!  Of course I had to taste as I was making of the hazards of caking ;)...but boy was I happy to indulge this time!  And they were a great dessert treat for the gluten free guests.

I heard from Jodi this morning and word is that everything was a big hit!  I love it when everything pulls together so nicely and all the elements come together to match the image in my mind and the client's mind.  A huge thank you to Jodi for thinking of me for this was an honor!

Confectionately yours!

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