Sunday, December 19, 2010

Ann and Jon

Ann's mom Linda called me about cakes for the wedding, but before we knew it, we were discussing invitations. Sometimes, I work in reverse. Anyway, Ann and Jon wanted something clean and classic, but Linda wanted something with a little personality. Once I met Ann, it became clear...this girl was refined, elegant, but way too much fun for a boring traditional invitation. We chose several different stripe motifs, and a pair of love birds, from one of my letterpress albums, then let their designers run with it. Much to my surprise, Ann chose pieces featuring different stripes, and motifs, rather than having the entire invitation suite match. The cake lady is entirely too "Type A" to have seen this as an option, but once the set came together, it was delightfully non-matchy match. I'll be encouraging others to do the same!

Now, onto cake(s)...

How can a girl possible settle for one cake, when she has all of these beautiful invitation motifs to play with? Luckily, Linda brought in a photo of a most interesting wedding cake display. Not one cake, but 5 wedding cakes, some single tier, some two tier, and one three tier in the center. I quickly sketched up my dream cake buffet for them, and they let me run with it!

Linda decided to nest the cakes in a bed of Hershey kisses rather than a fussy display of floral, making the display, once again, clean, tailored, but FUN!

The only downside to this business, is that once the wedding is over, your busy with a whole crop of new weddings. Some people need to have multiple weddings so that I can work with them over and over again. What do you say Linda?

Sunday, November 7, 2010


Ashley's dress was a beautiful overpiped lace...and no, it wasn't pale teal. Funny, her bridesmaid's dresses weren't that color either. It was an accent color to the Hot Pink Bridesmaid's dresses, and when she expressed interest in letting us combine it with her dress lace on the cake we were thrilled!

As those of you who follow our blog know, we're pretty good at matching lace in frosting. Each lace has it's own signature pattern and technique, so each lace cake is a unique opportunity for me to obsess over the fine details and intricacies of what makes that particular pattern unique. That way, we're not making just a lace cake, but a cake that is an exact match to the wedding gown. And, yes, people do notice it!

Especially nice, was the fact that Ashley's groom, Matt, took the time to come back to the shop to give me advice on where to go and what to do in China! He lived there for a year, and knew all about it. I just love my endless resources with these incredible clients of mine!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Ants on a log

I knew I'd like Chris and Megan as soon as they told me their wedding colors. Not necessarily because I'm an enormous fan of "Raisin"(a dark, purplish brown) and "Celery" green, but because they added "If we add peanut butter, we'll have Ants on a Log!"

Come to think of it, it must have subliminally affected my designs, because I drew them a cake in the same formation of the "log" cake that we made for Christopher and Santhi (a few posts down from this). While I didn't have any pictures to show them (Christopher and Santhi hadn't been married yet) I did sketch them up a little thumbnail of the layout.

They loved it as much as I did, so we went with that layout, their delicious color scheme, and added in ferns and frosting fiddle-heads to complete the look.

One minor detail...they don't make cake stands in that shape. So we enlisted "Magic Phil" to make us a beautiful oak stand in the shape of a "ladybug". I think the wood came from my sister in law's old dining room table. I love how that man recycles!

Thanks to Bullis Photography for the beautiful photo!

Sunday, October 17, 2010


My husband and I went to Paris for our 10th wedding anniversary. It was our first trip to Europe. When looking for a hotel, I wanted a room that made me realize I was in Paris as soon as I opened my eyes in the morning. While searching endlessly for the perfect accommodations, I was finally grabbed by the Hotel D'Angleterre on Rue St. Jacob. The room entrance was across an inner courtyard of the hotel, and it had a french painted tile bathroom, but what sealed the deal, was that the entire room was wallpapered in toile fabric. Actually fabric...actually where we were going to stay.

I swear, this is going somewhere.

When I met with Misha, she hadn't decided on many details for the wedding yet. We designed some rough sketches for her with the details to be filled in later. A month before the wedding, she arrived for a design session to finalize the cake. She showed me her amazing invitations, complete with a hand-sewn fabric flower that was so three-dimensional, that the invitations had to be mailed in beautiful little slate grey boxes, rather than envelopes.

We looked through her earlier designs, and saw that one of them incorporated horizontal fondant bands, and an oversized fondant flower as the focal point. That being the design that worked best, we messed around with what the fondant bands should look like. We played around with the background texture of the invitation, and were pretty happy with it. It wasn't until we were about to wrap everything up, that she mentioned her reception decor. She had ordered in bolts and bolts of toile upholstery fabric to have runners and napkins sewn for the tables.

Errrrrghhhh. Stop right there. Toile? Gimme.

I had just started messing around with screenprinting in frosting a couple of months prior, so all I could have shown Misha was a frosting Spider Man comic book to illustrate the technique. To avoid giving her pre-wedding nightmares involving super-heroes, I refrained from showing her that particular example. Luckily, she trusted me enough to let me go ahead with the screenprinting without seeing an actual sample. I love this girl. And her cake. Et Paris. Ooh, ooh, and those Nutella and almond filled giant crepes that they sell at every street corner...the view from Notre Dame, Sacre Coeur, Musee D'Orsay, Jardin Luxembourg, the fountain at St. Sulpice, St. Germaine des Pres, the bookstalls along the Seine, mimes...wait, not mimes, they can keep the freaky mimes.
The toile screen that we used on this cake is now for sale!  We are excited to share this beautiful technique with other cake geniuses (evil or not). 

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Christopher and Santhi

When I met with this couple, they requested a more sculptural, natural-looking cake. As we discussed the wedding further, it became clear that there was no other option for them, or me. It was a perfect marriage (excuse the pun) of cake and wedding. They would be married outside, with the reception in a room showcasing that same beautiful landscape through an entire wall of windows.
The cake would need to bring the outdoors in.

Funny, when I heard the word "sculptural", I instantly thought of a cake layout that I'd seen recently, and been dying to try. I sketched the layout on paper and they loved it too! Then, I took a chance and suggested that we make the cake look like tree trunks, complete with bark and tree rings on the tops of the tiers. They loved it, and even produced a copy of their invitation (self-designed) that had a concentric ring pattern motif that was a modern art representation of tree rings, even overlapping in a way that looked like a top view of the cake I had designed. Spooky. But AWESOME!

We stole the color scheme from the invitations, added some flora and fauna, and we were ready to roll. Only question was how to top such a fabulous cake? I suggested a frosting bird's nest, Christopher thought a little house for the animals. I drew a little mushroom-capped gnome house (thank God for Google) and we had our topper.

Luckily, their wedding landed on one of the very few weekends of this summer where there was niether rain, nor sweltering heat. We set up the cake elevated above a bed of moss that they got for us, and even got to overhear part of the ceremony before we went on our way.
Thanks to Graddy Photography for the enchanting opening image!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Duluth! and China.

Just how cold can an SUV with the Air conditioning on full blast get in three and a half hours? Really, no...Really cold.

When we met with Shefali and her parents to design her wedding cake, we knew we were in for a drive. The wedding would be held in Duluth. We've done long distance deliveries in the past (our record is 5 1/2 hours away) and we carry cakes onto airplanes for magazine shoots quite often (but those are dummy cakes). So, traveling with a real wedding cake...for a real wedding, is still a stressful (and downright arctic) experience.

Shefali's wedding cake would imitate the rich palette of her decor (bright oranges, yellows, pinks, etc.) and with an armful of Sari's, her mom Anita brought us enough pattern inspiration for three cakes. So we designed a beauty.

Then...serendipity, in the form of a trip to China, intervened. As many of you know, the evil cake genius is an avid traveller. Even more, an avid amateur photographer. So when I returned from a lovely trip to China this April, I noticed that I had accidentally cleared all of my SD cards for the trip, without backing them up properly. I really could have sworn I'd done this, but to my embarrassment, the photos of those Sari's were nowhere to be found. So, I emailed Anita, who promptly emailed me photos of Shefali's wedding Sari.

They didn't have her Sari when I first met with them, so this was all new material to me. She was about to send photos of the original sari's when I mailed her brand new sketches, using the bride's actual wedding dress as inspiration. My favorite detail being the repeating motif of embroidered Peacocks!

Needless to say, Anita didn't need to send us the original photos again. And even though I found them on my computer several weeks later, I knew that their two month hiatus was one of those instances in which the universe has a better cake plan than me.

Friday, September 17, 2010

That woman can paint!

Colleen and her groom wanted an argyle cake. We're in!

We had a great time working up some sketches of Argyle cakes at their appointment, but once they got a load of some of our previous cakes, they simply cut loose. How about houndstooth, a bow tie, perhaps, pinstripes! Best part was, that Colleen's mom had painted them a card box for the reception in argyle, checks, and the most beautiful gold-edged stripe. Once they pulled up a photo of the work in progress, I was sold. That woman can paint!

Once the cake began to take shape, the groom suggested making the whimsey orange flowers come to life by giving them faces (a la Alice in Wonderland). But knowing that the couple had two little Dachshunds at home made me giddily suggest that we wrap the weiner dogs inside two of the orange flowers (dog's in a blanket style).
They agreed, and we added two flower-dogs, resulting in another donation to the ASPCA, our "Pet" Charity at Gateaux.

When they came in to pick up their cake samples, they brought the box along for me to see. It had an Irish wedding blessing painted on the inside of the lid, that we just couldn't pass up. So, we made a fondant ribbon with the blessing on it, and added it to the top tier.

When we got to the reception, the cake was set up in the main entry, right next to the card box. And, while the cake lady rarely gets to see the guests of honor on their special day, she does get to see the reaction of the banquet staff while setting up the cake. This cake got the best compliment I can remember receiving in some time. We hear lovely things from people all the time, but how often do you get to hear that your cake is "Bad Ass"? Not too often my friends. But thanks to one poetic server, this baby earned the title. So thanks Colleen and family, for helping to design one Bad-Ass wedding cake.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Kimberly, Bob, and gang.

We first heard from Kimberly by way of her daughter/wedding planner Clare. It was going to be a wedding that brought together the bride and groom, but also their six, count 'em SIX children. Best part about it, all the kids (mostly adults) genuinely liked each other.

To celebrate this unusual wedding, Kimberly found invitations that included little cartoons of the kids, herself and Bob, and even the two family dogs (who also got along!)

Now, cartoons...that's something I can't pass up!

We designed several cakes, but all of them had one thing in common, frosting renditions of each family member. Only we decided to make them in color, and add their wedding attire. The girls at Flutter dress boutique were kind enough to get me swatches of the fabric from each of the girl's dresses, and Clare gave me email descriptions of the necklines, so that we could give them a little cartoon couture.

Finally, we added matching frosting hydrangeas, and stripes to make the cake as fun as its inhabitants.

Don't forget Maggie and Buster, who were hanging out in their own hydrangea puffs towards the back of the cake.

My favorite part, was watching the daughters and sons find themselves on the cake as they entered the reception site for photos. They really were a fun group. I'm glad to have had the chance to work with them on such a great occasion.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Carly, Mike, and JR

When Carly met Mike for the first time, she mocked him for his designer sneakers. Intrigued by a girl who wasn't afraid to mock Gucci, he asked her out. Fast forward a few years, and we get to make their wedding cakes, complete with a fully designer groom's cake!
Of course, we made those fateful sneakers out of sugar, but added a few of his other favorite things to the frosting mix...his watch, favorite cigars and some champagne corks. We've done single shoes before, remember "It was the shoes...", where we recreated Jan's leopard skin pump and Brian's van sneaker? But we've never had to complete a matching pair before. Those Italian shoemakers have my respect...matching pairs are a bitch to pull off!
For the wedding cake, we went with chic horizontal stripes. A tricky maneuver in it's own right, but loved the concept, so we went ahead with it. And covered the cake with frosting peonies, ranunculous and hydrangeas. Add a frosting version of they're beloved JR (look closely on the upper left ledge) and we get to make another fifty dollar donation to the ASPCA!

Unable to bring JR to the reception (unfortunately, canines are still discriminated against in black tie affairs)he, instead sprung for the favours. Each sweet little box included two chocolates molded in the shape of Milk Bones, and a note from JR. I just love the doggy people!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Kari and Mike

Sometimes the tiniest detail can turn into an amazing design scheme. This one started with the table linens. Kari didn't like the traditional white or Ivory linens that she'd seen at other weddings, so she chose a beautiful metallic taupe linen for her reception tables. That, coupled with the black bridesmaids dresses and touches of emerald green intrigued me enough to show her invitation options even though she had already chosen her wedding invitations (chosen, but not ordered). Once we switched the paper to a metallic taupe, letterpressed in black, and coordinated the menu cards, table number cards, etc. she was all ours!

The best part...I'd been wanting to make a cake in that same color scheme for several months. I'd seen one by a company in Hawaii, and loved it. So the chance to copy Kari and Mike's invitation motif in black, onto a metallic taupe cake was one I didn't want to miss. Lucky for me, they let me play, so I added a vintage-looking pinstripe to the other tiers to really play off of the modern stacking that they chose.

Add a few emerald green rhinestones, and their Fleur de Lis monogram, and there you have it. The most drop-dead glamourous cake I've done in some time!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Gateaux in Grace Ormonde Wedding Style

We're thrilled to have Dana and Idris's wedding cake featured in Grace Ormonde Wedding Style! The red and orange detailing was based on Dana's wedding dress embroidery (only her dress was in white and silver). Once we turned it into a line sketch, we realized that it looked like molecules. Pretty appropriate, as Dana is a Chemist! She even showed us videos of an exploding sink to prove it. I knew she was one of ours after that!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

City Lights

Jaime and David had the coolest Save the Date Cards. That's how this whole thing started. Knowing that their reception would be held at the top of the IDS building downtown Minneapolis, they had the city skyline printed on the Save the Date cards. Best of all, they had it printed in negative, so that the buildings were black, with the lights of the city reflected below (the Mississippi River suggested in the reflection). Just try to stop us from making a cake out of that!

We started with the black buildings, and copied the reflected lights on the bottom tier. We really wanted to create the illusion that the windows on the buildings were glowing. This is where the groom always gets me in trouble...and David didn't disappoint. He suggested that we actually make the buildings glow by stashing little LED lights behind them. Okay, I'm down with that. We decided to top the cake with a frosting replica of the Cherry and Spoon sculpture at the Walker Sculpture Garden. A perfect topper, except for one thing. It needed to light up too. That's where my lighting/electronic expertise runs out. It would need to be wireless, and more importantly, light enough to avoid snapping the frosting spoon in half when attached.

I put that ball in David's court, assuming that he'd happily forget about it by the time the wedding rolled around. Much to my shock and amazement, he showed up at my shop about a month before the wedding with not one, but three wireless light-up cherries. They were perfect!

Such a groom deserves an awesome Groom's Cake. Jaime knew from the start exactly what she wanted for this. Turns out, the couple had lived apart for some time, and took to mailing candy and other goodies to each other. The box, heretofore referred to as the "Nummie Box" has remained with them now that they live in the same area, and has been beat up and moved around, but has been retained for posterity.

So, we designed a cake that lookes like a U-haul shipping box, complete with shipping labels, for the groom's cake. Originally, we were going to load up the board around the cake with the types of candies and goodies that they frequently mailed to one another, but then they suggested that the candy be frosting replicas to keep with all cake theme. So here you have it...
Nummie box cake (complete with shipping wear and tear)with an assortment of fondant, gum paste and royal icing "candy", and yes, you can eat the wrappers and boxes...all frosting. I gotta admit, those Ho Ho's tricked me several times while they were drying on my baker's rack.
Thanks to Ruth Harper of Happily Ever After photography for her wonderful photos of these guys and their cakes.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

10,000 Lakes to Ski

When Calley called, she told us that she wanted a cake with a frosting bride and groom...waterskiing on top of the cake. Well, we've never done either of thes things before, so...okay.

Turns out, her and the fiance love waterskiing so much, that their save the date card was a photo of them waterskiing. Not just waterskiing, mind you. Waterskiing in a suit and wedding dress (short version) complete with veil and bouquet. If this seems foreign to you, imagine how foreign it is to this cake lady, who almost drowned in four and a half feet of water at the aptly named "cemetary reef" in Cayman out of sheer fear of water and lack of large motor skills. Cake ladies don't float. Never fear, once my husband shouted for me to put my feet down, I was saved...but I, as usual, digress.

Once I had a chance to meet with Calley, we discovered that these two were avid Minnesota "lake people". So we decided to modify and recreate a cake that we made for Minnesota Monthly Magazine. This time, we focused on the lakes (and river) that the bride and groom frequented with their skis. We decided that the ski-rope should spiral down the tiers, and attach to what else, a frosting boat.

And they skiied off into the sunset.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Pearson Acres

Seriously Green Acres people!

That's how Dawn first described her relationship with her darling Marvin. Now that's something I can work with. City boy. She even had a goofy little version of the Green Acres song that was customized to their story.

Let's start there.
How about a sing-along Save the date card? We printed the lyrics, along with three vintage photos that Dawn found of Marvin's family farm as a two layer save the date card tied with green striped ribbon. And that was the tip of the beautifully detailed iceberg!

Turns out, our city girl has an amazing gift for decor. Having owned an antique store, her design aesthetic was perfectly vintage country. She would show up with rubbermaid containers filled with vintage wallpaper(used for the table number cards and place cards) postcards(that we reproduced for the favour cards and thank you notes)

and finally, her Grandmother's Hull Pottery Vase.

We immediately designed the wedding invitations and programs to imitate the bow-knot motif on the vase.

Then, we began designing the pottery inspired cake.

It was a given that we'd make a frosting replica of the original vase for the cake topper, but what to put in the vase? Of course, Dawn came up with the most brilliant, creative answer to the problem. She had planned on having a bouquet made completely out of vintage brooches and earrings to carry at the reception. She had been collecting vintage costume jewelry to make each guest's napkin ring a unique favour (did I mention how much I want to be a guest at this wedding?) and had plenty of pieces to spare. She wasn't kidding...she showed up with shoeboxes full of the most beautiful vintage jewelry I've ever seen. Some of the pieces were her mothers, others, she had found here and there, all of them were beautiful. So we wired the pieces, and arranged them in our frosting vase, creating my favorite cake topper of all time (now that says a lot, I've used some pretty diverse and incredible cake toppers in my time, including Frosting frogs, Mario and Princess Peach, two frosting bumblebees wearing a top hat and veil, and even a frosting leopard skin shoe and Vans sneaker).

Tnanks to the Red Shoe Gallery, we have so many beautiful photos of Dawn's wedding, that we'll just pop a few more here for your viewing pleasure. Just sing along with the cocktail napkin, and enjoy!