Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Toast

The cake for the last event of 2009 is, appropriately enough, a bottle of champagne.
A toast, to congratulate Chris and Teya.

We Bobble

Military uniforms, beer steins and .......bobbles heads? Abby and Chris were stationed in Germany when they met, fell in love while sampling the variety of beers in their home away from home. Oh, and they have a quirky sense of humor. I had a great time and delivering the cake amongst all the dress blues was not a hardship.

Check out if you want to join the fun.

Monday, December 28, 2009

An Early Happy New Year

It's still a few days early to say Happy New Year, but I've always been a fan of avoiding crowds!

After a few days out of the shop, I am rested, very well-fed(I can probably wait til January for my next meal) and ready to get back to work.

I have a fun cake to do for a New Year's Eve wedding and then the 2010 planning season kicks into high gear.

So, an early Happy New Year! Write your resolutions, wave goodbye to 2009 and away we go!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

All Is Calm, All Is Quiet

The last order has been picked up. The sheet pans are washed, the floors mopped.
All is calm, all is quiet.

I am going to lie down now.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I'm Counting, I'm Counting

To date, I have 97 boxes which breaks down into 393 dozen, which equals 4776 cookies heading out the door. I'm counting and counting and counting.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

What Will It Be?

The Stanley's are expecting.So, what will it be? Boy or girl?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Welcome Neighbor

I am about to celebrate my 4th anniversary in my space and I just welcomed neighbor #6.

Did you ever wonder why it took so long for a business to open? Or why it's only open for a year, maybe less? Or why you saw a "Coming Soon" sign in a window and then the business never turned on it's lights?

In the past 4 years two of my neighbors discovered they really didn't need a store front to be successful. Since they still had some time on their year's lease agreement, they then sublet. Of the 2 who sublet, 1 went out of business, the other moved to a different location. Another new tenant never even got her doors open. Between contractors, permits and city codes that caused problems, scheduled work got delayed, then postponed then canceled.
The list of bills grew and grew until opening expenses overcame her ability to make a living.

So, my newest neighbor is hard at work with contractors, friends and family getting the space ready. No name yet, and the concept has changed a bit in the last month, but they are determined to be successful. I wish them the best, and a very speedy opening.

The Knot Best Of Weddings

The email arrived from Julie at The Knot this morning, and I am so excited to share it officially:

Brides Voted YOU a Winner!

Congratulations! Every year, brides on vote for their favorite local wedding professionals, and this year, you were voted a Best of Weddings winner!

I am thrilled to have been chosen.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Boy or Girl?

The truth won't be revealed until you arrive, but the party is this weekend. Your arrival is eagerly awaited, boy or girl.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Special Forces Association Celebration

The cake is ready. Time for the celebration. Happy Holidays to the Special Forces Association and their friends from Laos!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Royal Lao Armed Forces

For the second year in a row, I am working with Jeff to create a cake for his Special Forces Association holiday gathering. A group of Vietnam War veterans, this year is extra special. They extended an invitation to another local group of veterans who fought in that war. The Royal Lao Armed Forces group is a mixture of Special Forces as well as regular Army.

The cake will be finished for Saturday's event, and I'll take a photo of the finished design, but this was exciting to have them join together for the party and I wanted to pass it along. I will be including the flag that these men served under from 1952 to 1975, when Laos was formally recognized and a new flag was adopted.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

Decisions, decision, decisions, how do you make decisions? A running solo dialogue in your head, a family discussion around the dinner table. one trusted friend or family member to bounce ideas back and forth? They all work, so how do you plan a wedding with the thousands of details to decide?

I would think if you are buying a wedding dress you might not ask your dad to come along, that one's easy. Or ask anyone but your fiance where you should spend your honeymoon-that's a fun one to think about. A couple of friends or a sibling can be just what you need to give you honest, helpful feedback on your invitation design or your floral selection, maybe even your color palette.

Here's the hard one. Who's willing to sacrifice themselves in the name of cake tasting? Or maybe it's trying to decide who can't come to the tasting?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

I'll Make My Own, Thank You

Flurries are in the forecast. I would rather make my own kind of snow, thank you!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

1778, 1779, 1780

One thousand seven hundred seventy nine, one thousand seven hundred eighty.
What's better, counting sheet trays or individual pieces?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Cake Wrecks

You have to check out this site! Your response will mirror many, many others. Don't worry, it's not all about pointing out the error of the week, she also includes her picks for some of the best cakes she has seen or been sent.
Cake Wrecks

The Girls at OM

It's A Girls' Thing was hosted at OM in Minneapolis. Jen graciously and generously fed us scrumptious offerings from the appetizer menu: Patiala Cakes, Naan, Fenugreek Lamb Chops, Mumbai Crackers, and Fresh Mint and Potato Tartlets.

It was the perfect ambiance for Style Laboratory's big reveal of their new venture!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Pink Perspective

Just like last night, I am always amazed at the shots some photographers get just by changing the perspective.

Red Carpet

It was a red carpet affair for ICON Awards nominees along with their guests, fans, and friends. The winners did not include me this year. Marie and I lost to Robin.
Her work is amazing, the award well deserved.

Congratulations to Robin and all the ICON winners.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Gray Skies

Always keep that happy attitude. Pretend that you are holding a beautiful fragrant bouquet.
- Candice M. Pope

These gray skies are getting me down. This is my version of a kick in the pants.

Just Bloomed Inspiration

Jacky Just from Just Bloomed recently gave her fans some ideas for fall pots. I missed the boat on that one. You'll notice I haven't included any photos of my pots!

Maybe she can be encouraged to give us all ideas for our winter displays.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Stencil for a Shower

Kirstin asked for a cake that would mimic the hot pink stenciled design on the invitation. Stenciled it is!

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Celebrating just because. Done with an exclamation.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Off The Wagon

Wow, it's been a while. I have fallen off the blogger's wagon.
Now, I am not going to make excuses, but the phone has been ringing off the hook: tasting appointments, cookie orders, planning for holiday celebrations. I love it! See, no excuses, just explantations.

Okay, back to work.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Bix Produce Co.

The November Women Who Really Cook meeting took place at Bix Produce Co. Tucked away on L'Orient Street in St Paul, the vastness of the building isn't realized until you take the tour and see just how much happens within it's walls.
It was a chilly walk- through, but as a long time customer, I found it fun to see the behind the scenes areas.

It might say Bix Produce Co. on the sign, but they have so much more- herbs, grains, spices, dairy, as well as organic items. Next time you visit your favorite restaurant, really look at your plate. Odds are some of the ingredients came from Bix.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

And the Nominees Are....

The nominees have been announced. Wish us luck!


* Excellence in Bridal Salon and Formal Wear Experience
Angelique's Bridal Salon
Bridal Accents Couture
Monique Lhuillier

* Excellence in Cake Design
Celebration Generation Cakes
Gateaux Inc.
Jessica's Cakes

* Excellence in Decor
Apres Party and Tent Rental and Lasting Impressions Weddings
Apres Party and Tent Rental and Mother of the Bride Weddings
Event Lab

* Excellence in Floral Design
Pazzobello Flowers
Richfield Flowers & Events Inc.
Violets Flowers

* Excellence in Graphic Design
A Milestone Paper Co.
Emily Lawin Invitations
Watermark Stationery

* Excellence in Planning
Ambiente Wedding and Event Planning
Ambiente Wedding and Event Planning, Nature's Harvest and Watermark
Give My Regards To...

* Excellence in Use of Entertainment
djay sound + light
Instant Request DJ Entertainment and The Shout House - Dueling Pianos
Road Show
The Traveling Photo Booth

* Excellence in Wedding Photography
Coppersmith Photography
Liz Banfield Photography
Studio Laguna Photography

* Wedding of the Year
Ambiente Wedding and Event Planning, Instant Request DJ Entertainment,
Linen Effects, and Olive Juice Studios
b.inspired Weddings and Events, Kelly Brown Weddings LLC, and Richfield
Flowers & Events Inc.

(nominees are listed in alphabetical order)

Twin City Bridal Association

The 2009 ICON Awards Gala

hosted by KS95's Staci Matthews
and The Wedding Guys®

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Croissants, Marmalade and Coffee

Fresh Croissants and orange marmalade, my favorite combination.

I made croissant dough as a demo in class last night to illustrate a different method of enveloping the butter. I did the 3 required turns to fold in the butter every 1/2 hour.

I thought... hmmm, I should enjoy these myself! So, I cut and formed them, let them retard(rest in a cool place) overnight, a little eggwash this morning for color, and into the oven. Add my favorite orange marmalade-because you can't have a croissant without marmalade- and a good cup of coffee.

I have left a trail of crisp, flaky crumbs all over the table. Perfect!

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Photos

The photos of Nicholas Lodge and all of my classmates from October's Gumpaste class have arrived. I had such a great time, I am already started plotting for the next visit.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Kelly Brown's Images

Look at the beautiful images Kelly Brown sent me. Thank you for your generosity.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ski-ing To The Reception

This cake topper was actually used on a cake much earlier in my season, but I thought it was so cute. It will be quite apt once the white stuff starts to fly. I just can't say it yet, I'm not ready.

Five Dozen in Nine

Five dozen in nine sounds like a sports phrase, but what is really signifies is the winding down of wedding season and the beginning of cookie season for Office parties, family holiday gatherings, or corporate thank you gifts. There is always a good time to give or receive a cookie box.

Acetate boxes filled with 5 dozen treats in 9 varieties including raspberry white chocolate, cinnamon almond, chocolate oatmeal...

I can smell the spices now.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Birthday Girl

Katrina has already posted this on Facebook, but I had to share this pretty little cake I did for her daughter's 2nd birthday. Thanks for being so fast with the photos. You are a doll.

Happy Birthday Ainsley!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

It Is An Honor

I met with Jeff today to talk about this year's cake design for the Holiday Party for the 5th Special Forces Group(ABN). I did their patches a pin on the camouflage worn during the Vietnam War.

This year we have decided to use an image of a soldier descending from a helicopter, since this is what Jeff and his unit did. In my search for images, I came across some wonderful sites honoring those who served.

It is an honor to be asked to once again design a cake for this fine group of men.

*Helicopter image sourced from the MACV Recondo School site. Beret, patch and decals provided by Jeff.

Thank you to all who serve.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Black and White

Black and White with the reddest of roses. Very romantic.

Psychedelic Cake Dreams

Fun Birthday Cake and cupcakes!

A Seasonal Concept

It is a gorgeous time of year to take advantage of seasonal themes. They can be simple or involved, and not all of them need to be expensive.

Curly willow, some fall leaves and a few handfuls of rose petals can go a long way.

An elegant re-creation of white pumpkins.

An intimate affair made sweet with fondant and gumpaste leaves.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Perilous Paperclip

Who knew that a random meeting between a paperclip and a tire could prove fatal.
Alas, I have the receipt for a new tire to prove it so.

Continuing Education

It has been my philosophy that you can never stop learning, a feeling shared by many of my friends in the culinary field.
That was one of the reasons for going to Chicago for Nicholas Lodge's class last weekend.

There were other reasons to go:
Even though I knew I had already made many of the flowers he taught us, now I make some of them better. Some flowers were new to me, so now I have expanded my skills. I made some new acquaintances, so now my professional network has expanded. I ate great food, so now I can say I ate great food!(Honestly, that was a great incentive for this trip as well).

So, this old dog can always be taught a new trick, ideas can be exchanged, techniques be improved or replaced with better ones, and I saw things from a different perspective. Because of this class and chatting with my classmates, new cake ideas are emerging.

Continuing Education is a lifelong adventure. I am glad I didn't miss it!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Groom's Cake or Cake Top?

Twenty years ago, give or take, a groom's cake was a chocolate affair covered in ganache, truffles, chocolate dipped fruits and lots of greens, fresh as well as chocolate dipped.

In the last decade, it has evolved into a 3-dimensional, themed confection to illustrate the groom's hobby, career or funny quirk.

In just the last couple of days I have learned that the term "groom's cake" can also be defined as the small cake saved for the anniversary. Usually 5 or 6 inched in diameter, decorated like the displayed wedding cake or maybe more fancifully.
Ahh...This revelation has explained a couple of phone inquiries that left me puzzled.

This small cake is what I call the "cake top" since it used to be the top tier of the wedding cake, removed and boxed, to be taken home by the bride and groom at the end of the reception. I simply box and wrap it separately, so no one has to touch it but me.

No worries, I just have to ask the right questions to be sure my groom's cake/cake top definitions matches that of the brides calling.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Lunch at The Institute

Margaret and I went to the Art Institute of Chicago today. Had lunch in the Modern Wing at Terzo Piano(named for the architect of the new wing).

I had a Mezuna salad with poached chicken roulade, avocado and lime cilantro vinaigrette. Dessert was a fried peach pie with honey lavender ice cream. MMMMmmmmm.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Charge It!

Note to self: Bring your camera's charger when on a trip.

More later.

Class at The French Pastry School

Our class of 10 began the 7 flowers we will be learning(in some cases, refining) over the three-day period. We are a diverse group including a chemist, some cake shop owners, a pastry chef, and a couple who do this just for fun.

There couldn't be a nicer man than Nicholas Lodge. A master of his art, a great teacher, he is supportive, kind and moves us along at a pace that is fast but never leaves anyone behind.

Now, if I could just center my stephanotis!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Windy City

I am here in the Windy CIty, sitting in the cozy lobby of The Whitehall Hotel
waiting for my room to be ready.

A friend and I are here to take a class from Nicholas Lodge at the French Pastry School.. It's going to be great!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

CrEATe at The Weisman

Saturday's weddings were a completely different feel than Friday's Poker theme. A sweet Swiss Dot was delivered to Centennial Lakes for an afternoon event, and then it was off to the Weisman Museum.

Masha and Chris had a small elegant affair planned for their day. I tinted the white chocolate roses to match the center pieces, and the design was drawn from the gorgeous lace on her gown's sleeve.

CrEATe did the catering. A sharper, more professional group of chefs, not to mention Nicky and her staff of servers, can not be found. The dinner was surely going to be divine.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Poker and Pastries

Well, I think Teresa and Steve's Texas Hold'Em cake looks great. I delivered it to Mendakota Country Club with about 30 dozen miniature pastries including key lime, lemon curd and fresh fruit tarts.

The sun was just starting to come out for their celebration when I left.

Best wishes to them both.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Texas Hold'Em

Teresa and Steve wanted a poker theme for their September 25 wedding at Mendakota Country Club. The cards and chips are done. Next comes the table.