September 24, 2008

A little eye candy

Get it...EYE candy??

Well, my daughters and I are brainstorming about what to do for their Halloween treats and they reminded me about this funny cake I did last year before cake bites were so hugely popular.

We'll do a demo in plenty of time for Halloween so you can join in on the fun if you like. For now...just take a LOOK at these yummy (ew gross!) cake bites.

Thanks Emily and Jess for all the inspiration and appreciation you give me! Love ya!

September 18, 2008

We're Back from Martha's Studio! (the overview)

Did you know Martha has a blog? Of course you do! Did you know how awesome blogging is? Erin and I did, that's why we drove down to see Martha's show on blogging yesterday! Erin and I had a great was fast, it was a whirlwind trip...but it was a great time! I have so much to tell you, but let's face it...I tend to ramble and I could go on and on and on, so I'm going to break the experience up into a few posts!

We stayed with Erin's lovely sister Devon...very gracious - thanks for letting us stay the night so we could catch the train into the city Devon - and thanks for the toothbrush! (I'm totally getting buying that kind next time, love it!) The drive in my cakemobile down to Jersey was about 4 hours, just barely over - not bad! The train - about a half hour. The walk to the studio was so short - hooray!We arrived at the studio a little early as instructed and everyone in the line was so excited. Pictures were being snapped away, bloggers were going crazy on their blackberries. We overheard a couple very fashionably dressed women tell one of the studio pages who they were - hey we know you! We were given our tickets and the "L" on mine and purple stripe on Erin's were the first indication that we might not get to sit together...BUMMER! After getting a warm up from Joey and instructions on how to "ooooh" and "aaaaaah" and applaud appropriately we were all called by section and ushered into the studio.

OMG it was GORGEOUS! I would LOVE to have a kitchen like that one! The real kitchen behind the sound proof glass OR the studio kitchen - either one would be fine, I'm not that picky. The entire set was just superb.
Once we were all seated Erin got my attention by waving to me...oh my gosh! She was down on the stage floor! What awesome seats! I was up in the very top row in the middle section with the bloggers. Can I just say very laptop sucks. It's going to have to go in for a check up because with a full battery the dang thing went dead and I could do no blogging.

There I was, in the blogging group, and I was faking it. What a poser. But hey...faux blogging is the new thing, didn't you know? (yeah, right.) But I was seated next to a VERY energized "mommy/wife/life/bitter/wacky/funny/everyday" blogger and that was an experience in itself. Don't worry...I'm going to list links for everybody in the next post!!! Who was Erin next to you ask?? Mario Bosquez and Naomi Gabay of Martha Stewart Living on Sirius 112. Hey! I listen to that!! Awesome score on the seat Erin! She made nice, of course, and I'm sure they were as impressed with her as everyone always is! We got a shout out on their blog! Thanks Mario! Oh how I wish you were one of the millions that listen to Living on 112 to hear her call in to the show as we were on our drive home! There we were, starting our trip home and still on the road in Jersey, looking for a place to have lunch and with the show on we hear Mario recap Martha's blogging show. "Call in Erin!!!" I was being more than just a little encouraging LOL. Naomi, the producer, remembered her immediately and they put her call right through. Way to go Erin! So, yeah, that was Erin of Bride Design mentioning her site, her blog, our site, recapping just what a gracious host Martha is and how wonderful an experience it was to share with a friend....AWESOME! If you heard her, let us know!

The guests were terrific! Ok, Perez Hilton was the celebrity blogger (shocker) and wow, he looked great! He and Martha seemed to get along well; they were both pretty witty and funny. My gosh that boy gets a ton of hits!! He gave some great tips on blogging that included finding a niche (check!) work hard, network, and don't be afraid to ask for what you want. (so in my case I blurt it out sometimes but more on that later!) We also saw Matt Armendariz show Martha how to make these pretty and delicious looking cookies called Alfajores - can't wait to try those! Here is the recipe from Martha's site. We were treated to a craft segment with Eddie Ross! I'm totally going to make some of those costume jewelry magnets! His blog is terrific and don't you just love him on Top Design?? I do, he's my fav. Love the bow tie Eddie! And the gardening segment with Margaret Roach was great too...have you heard of the Frogboys? Cute! Martha also talked with Meg Frost of Cute Overload, Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen and Ben Smith and Jonathan Martin from Politico. Whew! I think that's it.

I'm going to link just about everybody I could find that was actually there...and some other cool info in the next post...but here's a teaser...One of my favorite wedding blogs was represented and Darci Miller was all over it too! That was cool and it was really awesome to hear the murmers of recognition from the audience when weddingbee was mentioned! Yep, they were there in the audience! And you know who else was there?? (saving the best for last) Rachel and Nichelle!!! Come on, do I really need to tell you who that is?? (Didn't think so!) When I heard them I just couldn't help myself...


Ooooh, everybody heard that!! LOL And here would be the blurting out thing I mentioned LOL. Cloud nine was waiting for me to perch on it when I got home to find that they gave me a shout out on Cupcakes Take The Cake! Now, if that isn't the finishing touch to a great day I don't know what is! Thanks ladies, you rock!

Ok...more to come...stay tuned for all those links, some cool blogs and some more photos guys! And hey - leave a comment if you were there!

September 15, 2008

Look out Martha! Here we come!

This week I get the pleasure of accompanying Erin of Bride Design to a taping at Martha Stewart. The audience will be filled with bloggers and while Erin is much better at it than I am, I really enjoy blogging when I get the chance. True to form, Erin's post about our trip and what blogging means to her is by far superior to mine.

What does it mean for me? For me, blogging is an opportunity to stay in touch with my customers and my "fans". When I began this blog I think I used the phrase "dare I say I have fans" and while my subscriber list is still incredibly small in this world wide web, it is growing. I originally thought it'd be a nice little way to keep a few clients amused, or even let them see a preview of their order now and then. An unexpected bonus to blogging is that it's not just a hidden little diary aside from my main websites at She Takes The Cake and Sweet Talk Boutique; so much web traffic is directed to this blog because it is updated more frequently than a website, and with all the reader services out there it allows me to stay fresh in the search engines too. I'm a bit lucky and thankful that my local competitors seem to have not joined the blogosphere - but I'm sure it won't be long. I assumed I'd have readers in the Central New York area and an occassional out of state bride or another cake artist, but it's gone much further than that.

If you knew some of the search strings that lead people here, you'd get a real chuckle. A couple of the most hit on blog posts that I've done: Not all fondant tastes like crap, and DIY favor boxes. I kid you not, I have seen word for word "why does fondant taste like crap?" in a search string...and guess what - google will bring you here for the answer and my answer is that it doesn't taste like crap at all when it's made from scratch like we do here in my studio. Then of course you have the occassional links that other bloggers will add when they love a post enough to share it to their own readers; this is not just an ego's a boost to your readership. Why aren't more people blogging?

Maybe I'll come back with an answer to that question, maybe not. I am sure I'll come back with a smile on my face and some new ideas about blogging. Either way I get to spend a day NYC style with my inspiring friend Erin. Can't lose!

September 11, 2008

Mod Circles and Pink Velvet

Laura and Joe from the Penguin Custom Ice Cream family came to me with a plan, and their finished cake is so close to the original vision it's just wonderful. Very few edits or changes were made except for a minor serving number change so all in all we can add this order to the ever growing list of most enjoyable wedding cakes. They were fun to work with too, so I hope we were on their list of most enjoyable vendors. What kind of cake does a cute, funky, young couple want? How about chocolate fondant and chocolate butter cream cake and cupcakes capped off with very pink and orange mod circles? Yeah, that fits the bill!

The cakes have just been picked up and are on their way to final destination. I am now in clean up mode and preparing for a trip to a family friend's wedding which just happens to be in Cooperstown - where the a fore mentioned ice cream shop is located.

Guess where I'm going for a treat? Of course none of Laura's wedding party will be there, and she and Joe and Val and the gang aren't working, but Val assured me the staff on hand will take care of us. So while I'm enjoying a cold one, they'll be enjoying their cakes; my white almond cake with signature raspberry citrus Schnapps' syrup and fresh lemon curd and raspberry filling, my Chocolate Chambord cake with ganache and raspberry filling and a perfect amount of Chambord, and my pink velvet cake. Yep, pink velvet. Think red velvet only pink. It's a little lighter but just as yummy. and helloooo, it's pink!

As the years have gone by and my business has grown to the point where I feel it will burst, I've begun to really try and fit it all together in a more cohesive way, it's still just me here baking and designing. It's a lot of hard work. The hardest part is sometimes the balance. I won't be taking a cake to our friend's wedding, I decided as soon as the engagement was announced that even if I were to be blessed enough to be asked, I would much rather be a loved family member in attendance than a vendor - or even worse a guest who couldn't keep her eyes open because she was too tired after 2 days of cake leading up to the wedding. I'd miss the ceremony all together no doubt. Most certainly I'd miss the rehearsal dinner and since my husband is in the bridal party we can't have that nonsense. So this order for Laura and Joe was a happy little ironic circumstance. They're essentially from the town where I have to go for our friend's wedding. At first I debated taking the order; on the one hand I could drop it off on the convenient. On the other hand; see above sentence regarding sleeping through a ceremony. But then fate set in and Laura and Joe would require the cakes to be done early for a pick up today because their ceremony and reception is not taking place in Cooperstown. So, there you have it. I love it when it all comes together and I can be part of a very special day for a great couple. and, now I have an "in" to a new ice cream shop!

Congratulations Laura and Joe, my very best wishes for a wonderful life together, and thanks again for letting me be part of your day!

September 7, 2008

Jamie and Niall's wedding cakescape

Ok, so I've said before, I get some pretty great brides. But Jamie; she takes the cake. (yeah, I went there) And I've also said before that I love it when I get to work in tandem with Erin; that rocks too. Jamie was awesome. One of the most - no scratch the "one of" - she was the most easy going, happy to be getting married, can't wait to party, puts her trust in the ones she's hired brides I have ever had the privilege to design for. And after a year of being booked, when it came time for final confirmations she (like most brides who book me a year ahead) had some changes in mind. She no longer wanted the huge, over the top cake that she thought she had wanted. That's so outdated, now is the time for simple elegance - I'm pretty sure that's what she was thinking anyway.

Well, so how do you do simple elegance on a grand scale? Still be over the top without doing waaaay too much? Let me show you! You do a cakescape. A display of complimenting cakes, tiered or not tiered, making up a beautiful table full of edible bliss. I love this look. And it really is a great way to incorporate several ideas when it's too hard to pinpoint a design.

For example, Jamie loved so many different elements but putting them on one cake would have been so busy. The scroll work would have really clashed with the petite dot to dot replicating the motif from one of her custom invitation suite items. And that would be where Erin comes in. She supplied me with the approved and 2nd choice pieces she designed for Jamie and Niall, and I reproduced them in sugar. The crissy-crossy ribbon straps inspired by her save the dates would have been too much to combine with the angular detail from the bodice of her dress...on one cake, but but doing 3 cakes I could incorporate most of the things she loved and as shown in the shots below, it totally works.

Thanks Jamie and Niall, for choosing me to be part of your was a joy!

September 6, 2008

Diana's Elegant Adirondack Cake

I hadn't had a chance to upload this photo of Diana's really pretty cake yet, but I was just happily surprised by an email with rave reviews so I thought I'd hop in here real quick before leaving with today's cakes and show you a little bit of Diana's Adirondack style.

This lovely to work for bride brought me a photo of a very wintry themed cake with pine cones on it. Only natural for a wedding up in Inlet, NY. "Not winter yet", you say? I know. She didn't want a winter cake...inspiration can be found anywhere and with photo and some pretty specific changes, Diana knew exactly what she wanted for her dream cake. She also provided an invitation so that I could have a good swatch of her color. I just love the pairing of this creamy pale yellow with the natural pine cone, don't you?

The pine cones were dipped in paraffin to add a protective barrier between them and the cake, and some very delicate chocolate pine needles were added for that little extra oomph. We were super pleased with this one, it made the trip just fine, it looked lovely in the setting provided - even the impending storm of the day didn't detract from it's good looks. I really like a clean, tailored cake. I know the sun came out later and I can just imagine the view over the lake at sunset, making it a beautiful day for a wonderful bride and her groom.

Thanks Diana, for choosing me to be part of your special day, and thanks for wanting such an elegant cake for your Adirondack wedding! I hope your day was wonderful!

September 4, 2008

Love that Becky Oh!

Trunk show at Swank
Originally uploaded by Becky OH
...and she loves our cookies! Erin from Bride Design and I were lucky enough to make time for a trunk show at the fabulous Swank. in Hamilton NY last weekend. I love this cute little store with all things fab and chic and when I received an email blast about their open house featuring none other than Becky Oh! I knew we had to go! Erin and I are both familiar with Becky and her handbags through one of the many forums and creative chat groups we belong to.

Not wanting to go empty handed, I made these yummy logo cookies for Becky. It was more of an ambush than a quiet visit, but I think she had as much fun meeting us as we did meeting her in person. And the handbags...oh my goodness! They are so stylish and beautifully made. I wanted more than one, but one would have to do. I have used my bag very often since my purchase, I really love it. I'll have to take a shot of my bag in use...but for now, enjoy this yummy shot of the cookies I baked for her - not only does she make great bags, but her photos aren't bad either! used with permission of course!

You can see more of Becky's photos from her trunk show at Swank on her flickr stream, I highly suggest checking them out! Oooh and check out the lovely stationery that Erin made for her too, she got some great shots of that as well. Becky also took some amazing photos of cookies we took for Swank, but I'll post those another time.

So, thanks Becky! Expect to hear from me as soon as I have some more cake money saved up...I'll be needing another bag. ahhhhh, yet another addiction coming on...