Saturday, December 26, 2009


Sometimes the best cakes are the most simple designs (simple, by the way does not equal easy). Britta's aesthetic was clean and monochromatic, with the accent on texture rather than a bunch of color. We obliged by modifying a tier of Darcy Miller's (editor of Martha Stuart Weddings Magazine) wedding cake, then topping the design with one magnificent, enormous hand-made and oh, so fragile, gum paste rose. This follows my rule of gumpaste floral...if you want a realistic flower, use a fresh one. If you want frosting flowers, make them dramatic, exaggerated, stylized, something that you can't get from mother nature.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Quinn and Mike

Quinn and Mike were married at Chambers hotel in downtown Minneapolis. We decided that the silhouette of the wedding cake should be a spiral so that the bubble decorations could flow effortlessly to the top. It was a challenge to get the angles of all three cakes consistent across three diameters, but the final effect was well worth the effort. Thanks to Studio 306, I have this incredible photo to share with you all.

I had to snap this picture, myself, to show off the crazy cool art hanging in that room. I've never had a better backdrop for a cake.

Mike's groom's cake was a riot to make. The pizza box cake was a first for us, and en entirely confectionery slice of pizza and "greasy" napkins were pure entertainment for us in the kitchen.

Once the whole thing was set up at the hotel, the gracious groom saw shorty-cake me struggling to get an overhead shot of the cake. When I returned from talking to the caterers, he had snapped this awesome top view with my camera for me. Thanks Mike!

Saturday, December 5, 2009


Tamara's wedding was held at the Weisman Museum at the U of MN, so the cake had to be a work of art! Luckily, she had a beautiful scroll pattern and matte gold circular details on her invitations that would translate nicely onto the cake. The one problem...the scroll pattern was very assymetrical, and wouldn't fit on a tiered cake without going off the side. So, we stacked the cakes all to one side to accommodate the pattern, dropped freestanding frosting circles onto the ledges to counterbalance, and we have a winner!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Twin Cities Icon Awards

We were so excited to see an industry award based on submitting work and independent judging. As most of you know, Gateaux remains "stubbornly small" taking only three event cakes per week. That leaves us with a pretty small client base. With most "best of" awards based on public votes, we always get creamed by the bigger bakeries. When we heard about the Icon awards, we were thrilled to submit five of our cakes from the past year for judging. The hardest part was narrowing it down, we had so many unique and amazing couples this year! We finally did manage to narrow it down, and are happy to report that we won the award for Best Wedding Cakes. It was especially cool to hear that Sylvia Weinstock was the judge. She's amazing!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Molly and Kevin

Molly and Kevin were married in early October. They had lots of beautiful elements planned for their wedding, so designing a cake was a breeze. Their color scheme of Green and Eggplant was a unique and beautiful starting point. Then, they showed me their beautiful invitations from A Milestone Paper Company, with a graphic scroll design in those same colors.

Once we decided to stencil the invitation pattern onto the cake, we finished it with gumpaste peonies in Ivory with green tips, and Eggplant Hydrangeas to bring in that beautiful deep tone.

A few weeks later, Molly came up with the fabulous idea to have us create sugar cookies frosted to replicate the cake. Each one was tagged with a place card, so each guest had a tiny little version of the beautiful cake to take home with them. You know what that means...Mini Stencil! Luckily, one of the Gateaux girls, Jenna got the hang of stenciling cookies right away. I, on the other hand, will stick with the hand-piped stuff.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Holiday Goodies from Gateaux

Well, after 13 years of resisting, we're finally giving in. We've had so many of our awesome former clients ask us to do Holiday goodies for them to share with their friends and coworkers that we had to do it. So here it is...the first annual Gateaux amazing treat boxes! Just click on the link below to see the cuteness! And give us a call if you need some sugar!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Kari and Joey

I met Kari and Joey when Kari's mom was in town from Philadelphia on a wedding planning trip. Bonnie seemed distracted at the meeting, so I didn't think it went all that well. Later, I found out that they were trying to make it to the State Hockey tournament that day. Now, that's my kind of mom!
Happily, they became our clients, and were dream clients at that! We got to play around with custom invitations featuring the Minneapolis skyline (their reception was on the 50th floor of the IDS Building) and even got to add the silhouette of the church that they were married in (also Downtown).

Even better, we got to build an incredible skyline cake for their wedding reception. Kari thought it would be neat to add some other neighborhoods of Minneapolis onto the cake, so we added the silhouette of the Cherry and Spoon sculpture at the Walker Art Center, as well as some sailboats to represent Lake Calhoun, and the Hennepin Avenue Bridge.

Kari was sweet enough to send us this picture of her and Joey seeing the cake for the first time. I rarely get to see my clients' reactions to their cakes, so this was a special treat for me. Joey's expression is priceless!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Now, for something completely different...

I know you've all come to know us as a beacon of class and style in the Cake Business. So here's a quick reality check. I was just looking through some shots of our recent weddings for the next cake to post when I came upon this little number from a couple of weeks ago. You see, when it comes to cakes, we're quite good at taking on the design scheme, taste, and style of our clients. Happily, our clients tend to be incredibly stylish and tasteful ladies and gentlemen. Their Brothers, however...

It all started about two years ago. We were working on a wedding cake for Samantha and Andy. It was a beautiful fall color scheme with incredible burnt orange, burgundy and deep gold dogwood and branches. A true stunner. As it happens from time to time, a family member's birthday falls on the wedding day. This time it was Sam's brother Eric. We kicked around a few options for a birthday cake to surprise him at the reception. He happened to not only be a South Park fan, but also was named Eric. A Cartman cake was only natural. But not just any Cartman cake...Cartman dressed as his Big Wheel riding, "respect my authoritay" quoting obnoxious little self. We sent the bride to a local gift shop in search of anything with a sound chip so that our Cakey Cartman could talk. She came back with a bottle opener that we quickly frosted into the cake. When you pushed the button inside Cartman's mitten, he said a variety of phrases.

Fast forward two years. We get a phone call from Robin, Sam's mom. Turns out Eric is getting married now. Unfortunately for us, he's tying the knot in Las Vegas, so we can't make the wedding cake. But, Cartman must attend! So we whipped him up a tuxedo, packed him in a nice sturdy box, and he got to fly first class. No sound chip this time, might cause suspicion at airport security.

We got a lovely email that next week with a picture of our boy in Vegas. He made the trip without a scratch.

This isn't the kind of thing we're known for. As a matter of fact, we don't even do cakes this small unless accompanied by a wedding cake. But the picture that Robin sent me jumped out at me when I was perusing all of the wedding elegance that we have yet to post, and it made me smile. So I thought I'd pass it along. The more I think about it, in terms of class and style, I think this one makes the "A List".

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Cake Buffet, Two Ways

Cake Buffet...I challenge anyone to utter these two beautiful words together without following up with an Mmmmm.

Now there are two distictly different philosophies when it comes to cake, especially cake(s) en mass. Some believe you should hit them with the yummy factor immediately...come out swinging, make the the cakes look so unbearably delicious that the guests start making their plan of attack for dessert before the salad has been set in front of them. This was the method chosen by Jenny and Mike.

Let's just start out by saying that these two were awesome to work with. I had made Jenny's sister's wedding cake a couple of years earlier, and as I've found is usually the case with sisters, they had two very different styles in mind for the cake. Her sisters cake was a study in Mod. A sleek metallic charcoal beauty covered in varying circle cut outs for a fabulous look. Most importantly, it was delicious...and that's why Jenny and Mike called us when it came time to plan their own wedding.

We kicked around several options for a tiered cake that would look as delicious as it tasted. Several white chocolate techniques came into play, and we were about to sketch something, when Mike saw a picture in our album that changed everything. It was a table filled with gourmet cakes, each decorated to indicate what bliss lied beneath the frosting. So, instead of sketching a tiered wedding cake, we started sketching a dozen or so smaller cakes to display in a self-serve buffet at their wedding. We had everything from Turtle cake to our signature Cream Cheese Nirvana, Pumpkin Walnut, Banana Chocolate Chip, Coconut, Almond Raspberry Creme, and don't forget Key Lime Cheesecake. We finished the display off with a two tier Brownie cake wrapped in textured white chocolate bands and topped with fresh orchids.

Class dismissed. Mike and Jenny get an A plus on Gateaux's "Method One" cake buffet.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Cake Buffet, Two Ways, Part II

So, just a week later, enter Ali and Marcus. They're having a formal evening wedding at the Carlson Rotunda. Color scheme: Black and White. Cake: Something unconventional, but chic.

Ali suggests a table with several smaller decorated cakes rather than a traditional tiered cake. But they still need to fit the decor, and brown and ivory chocolate, nuts, caramel and raspberries aren't going to work. So, Cake Buffet Method Two was born.

While just as inviting as Cake Buffet Method One, this option starts the guests out wondering if those little porcelain-like beauties are even real cakes. Then, once the caterers slice and serve them as dessert, bets are settled, and of course they were real...real damn good! I'd like to take the moment to apologize to my 3rd grade grammar teacher Mrs. Rhymer (her real name)and the many Sunday School teachers (who really did try) for that poorly worded, somewhat foul-mouthed attempt at a pun.

The best part about these two was their incredible faith and trust in the staff over here at Gateaux Inc. Like I tend to do, I decided rather last minute, that their cake designs needed a little kick. So I emailed Ali a few pictures of some new ribbon bows that I had recently created for another wedding. I couldn't help but think that they would be beautiful in black fondant. So I sketched up some new designs incorporating those onto some of the cakes, as well as keeping the giant frosting roses and monogram panels that we designed for some of the other tiers. I emailed them all to Ali who got back to me saying that I should pick whichever I think would be best, and just make it beautiful. Who does that? Certainly not me when I was a bride, or now, with anything, ever. But she did, and it was amazing to have that freedom.

So thanks to Ali and Marcus, for inventing Cake Buffet Method Two, and then letting us run with it!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Catherine and Vincent

When I met with Catherine and Vincent, they immediately told me that "It's all about the taste". Now, anyone who knows us at Gateaux, knows that we can certainly wow with the looks of our cakes (that's what people tend to come to us for) but little do they know that it's the taste of our cakes that seals the deal!

These two were so very much about the taste, that they really didn't have much interest in designing the cake at our first meeting. So, we set them up for our next sample day, and casually flipped through our many albums of past cakes while discussing which cake flavors they should try.

If we successfully wowed them with our cake, the design would be classic. They were both drawn to our lace cakes, and Catherine was wearing a lace dress, so that most likely would be the basis for our design. We'd have to discuss specifics later, because she didn't have pictures of the dress yet.

Then, it Vincent casually flipped through our books, something caught his eye. I should have known. You see, usually fellow doggie freaks tend to recognize one another, but these two slipped under my caninephile radar. Vincent was looking at a most beautiful wedding cake in our book. A classic, elegant design topped with fresh orchids. But peeking out from behind those orchids was a miniature frosting pooch.

I quickly found out that these two were proud dog-parents to two Shi tzu's named Cosmo and Chili...

and the possibility of immortalizing them in frosting may just be the thing that made this couple realize that it is all about the flavor, but you can have an awesome looking cake too!

As it turns out, Catherine and Vincent chose a cake filled with Passion Fruit Bavarian Creme and Vanilla Mousse. I went to see her dress (a beautiful Melissa Sweet gown)

and realized that I was in for more than your typical lace pattern. As a matter of fact, my original plan of how I would reproduce the pattern on the cake only lasted until I had covered about a five inch area of the bottom tier with it. I took a step back, and did what makes my employees all simultaneously groan/grumble and moan...I scraped the design right off the side of the fresh fondant, and started experimenting with alternative techniques. Sure enough, once we all put our heads together, we came up with the perfect method(s).

This little number actually involved painting, piping, clay extruder work, and of course, my favorite, tweezer work! In toll, it took four of us a thirteen hour workday to complete the intricate pattern, a total of 52 hours of woman-power. That doesn't count baking, or the afternoon spent creating little fondant Cosmo and Chili.

So here's a riddle for you. How do you know you're on the right career path? Easy, when you can work a 13 hour day, and come back excited to do it all over again. I'll never tire of this. It's such a great feeling when a couple that you really enjoy chooses to include you in the plans for their wedding. Even better when they love the result. Add in the fact that I spent a full afternoon this year sculpting frosting dogs (as part of my JOB) and you'll not find a luckier girl in the world.

So here's to you, Catherine and Vincent, who have proven to all of us that you can, indeed have your beautiful cake and eat it too.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Bari and David

Bari and David were married at her parent's home on the lake. There's nothing that terrifies a cake lady more than an outdoor reception in August, but we just couldn't say no. You see, Bari had such lovely details planned already that I simply couldn't pass up the opportunity to be a part of such a beautiful affair.

We based the cake design on their sweet little letterpress invitations. A topiary motif made up of tiny little graphic flowers was too much to resist.

Add Bari's idea to keep the circle motif in tact across the four tier cake, a few frosting bird panels, and tiny frosting bees and we had the perfect design.

When time came to order favours, Bari chose our hand molded truffles. We had just the perfect little green and white striped ribbon for the boxes.

When the wedding day arrived, we were ecstatic to find that Mother nature had decided to be merciful. Seventy degrees and sunny with a cool lake breeze kept the cake and truffles in perfect condition. Those two must be doing something right!

Much thanks to Shelly Mossman for the beautiful photos of the cake, truffles and programs.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Foodie Scientists who Juggle

Our clients never fail to surprise me...

My first contact about Dana and Idris' wedding was with Dana's fabulous parents via conference call. They were doing the preliminary planning for their out of town daughter and her future husband. Their daughter and her fiance were both scientists, both "foodies" and the cake, above all, had to be delicious.

We set up samples for Dana's parents, and then a design session during Dana's next trip home. At the appointment I learned that there would be a "double happiness" character on the wedding invitations to honor the groom's heritage. I also saw pictures of Dana's beautiful wedding dress. What struck me instantly, was that the embroidery on the gown looked incredibly, like molecule models. No wonder why our scientist-bride was drawn to it!

By the time we put together the dress embroidery, double happiness, and fabulous color scheme of deep orange and red, we had a beautiful cake.

They narrowed the cake flavors down to our Fiore de Cecilia cake and our Brownie cake (only substitute dark chocolate ganache for the fudge filling) we exchanged email links between our exploding kitty cake and Dana's good friend's exploding sink/jello plume (scientists like to blow things up, just like cake ladies) and we were all set.

Now, I knew these people were fun. But when I got to the wedding to set up the cake, I got to see something I've never seen in my 13 years of cake deliveries...juggling groomsmen! How fun is that(mind you, only fun because it was in a completely different room than the cake)? They were warming up while waiting for photos to begin, but would move outside for the real show later that night. I've seen bored, fidgety, nervous, even slightly "alcohol enhanced...happy" groomsmen in my time, but never a room full of juggling groomsmen. Needless to say, I enjoyed a bit of their antics once the cake was set up. I would have loved to stay for the show, but alas, all good cake ladies are but a puff of powdered sugar in the air by the time the guests arrive. By then, we're at home juggling the remote control, a bowl of popcorn and a food obsessed that's my kind of trick!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Rhys and Raj

Rhys was one of those brides who thoroughly enjoyed the process of her wedding from planning to the actual wedding day. Every phone call or email from her was just plain fun. It was great to be able to debut our latest "Magic Phil" creation on her wedding.
You see, Rhys originally contemplated having a wedding cake shaped like an elephant in honor of her groom's heritage. Once we sat down and saw all of the beautiful elements she was incorporating into her wedding, there were simply too many to pass up, so the elephant cake fell by the wayside. Instead, I found this awesome gold elephant plant stand, and ordered it in especially for the occasion.

The stand was fabulous, but too tall to put on a table. Enter "Magic Phil" who happened to have a beautiful piece of walnut wood that he had no plans to use. He built us the base for the elephant (the steamer trunk hardware was his addition) and a custom fitted round cake plate that attached to the elephant (now named Lakshmi, for an elephant that Rhys rode in India).

We just loved the reaction photos that Studio 306 sent from the wedding. As cake people, we're gone before the guest's arrive, so we rarely see the guests enjoying our creations. I'm always amazed at the incredible artistry in all of Studio 306's work. They're amazing!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Magic Phil turns 70

Anyone who knows Gateaux, knows that we take full advantage of those talented and supportive friends and family that we're blessed to be surrounded by. My own Mom takes great pride in finding me vintage cake plates at auctions, Jenna's boyfriend, Kyle is always around fixing things at the shop (I don't even know if his dad is aware that we have absconded with his band saw) and nothing would get done if it weren't for the incredible support of my husband (the Goo) who takes on the role of personal chef, dog-daddy, and personal therapist during the busy season every year. But one name stands out among many of our clients...Magic Phil. My retired father in law, who now spends his time helping everyone in the family with all things that may need fixing, is also a wonderful woodworker. He's been responsible for many of our cake stands, and has expanded his skills into stone mason, and Acrylic stand manufacture in the past several months.

Needless to say, when Phil turned 70, there had to be one hell of a cake!

We had the party in his workshop (something he finally built after years of dreaming about it). And what more suiting place for the handy man's party. Friends and relatives came in from all over the country, to hide in his workshop awaiting the chance to surprise him with a party and wonderful tribute to the guy who can fix anything.

We had a blast making his cake. First of all, how often can you make frosting duct tape and nails? Second of all, we got to actually wing the design, something that NEVER happens with anal-retentive me handling the orders. Everything was edible, of course, from the screw drivers and level, to the duct tape, peg board, and wood veneer. Best part was watching Jenna set up the cake with one of my nephews, Nick as foreman of the project (he's the one donning the hard hat).

The party was a good time. Best part was listening to people as we sat in a circle and they told their favorite "Phil fixed it" story. It's inspiring to hear how one person can touch so many, and make every one of us feel like he's all ours.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

C'est le Gateau

Haven't posted in a while. Turns out the cake universe decided to throw us a little curve ball in the middle of our busy season, so we needed to get a few things straightened out before getting back to the fun stuff.

Short version...good refrigerator gets repaired for not holding proper temperature...becomes CAKE KILLER. Thankfully, no casualties, but two weeks of incredible uncertainty and drama as to if we would be able to continue to create the cakes that we love without risking their soggy demise in every commercial fridge we've tried. Thanks to the support of our ring of talented, tenacious, and fiercely loyal friends, family, fridge-tech, and cake nerd/diva network, we seem to have figured out a solution to the problem. Much thanks to the support of the staff at Colette's cakes, Kerry Vincent, Todd the awesome Fridge Tech, Dave the other awesome fridge tech, the staff at Appliance Smart, Envirotech, Redco, and of course, my awesome husband, for driving all over the twin cities with test-cakes and hygrometers.

Now, back to the fun stuff!

Ingrid and Jason were engaged at the top of Sacre Coeur in the MontMartre arondissement of Paris. They called looking for a cake in the shape of that awesome cathedral, but having been to that part of Paris, myself, I knew we had much more to work with. Turns out...on a five day trip to Paris for my tenth wedding anniversary, my husband naively trusted my navigational skills to get us to the airport via the Metro. We were well on our way, until he realized that I was taking us to Orly, when we actually needed to get to Charles De Gaulle. Tee hee. The upside to missing your flight out of Paris...missing your flight out of Paris! We found another hotel, threw down our bags, and headed of to see MontMartre. Best accidental vacation day I've ever had!

Now back to our lovely couple. Turns out, they adored that particular neighborhood of Paris as well, so we decided to top the cake with Sacre Coeur, but let the cake represent the fabulous hillside that makes up Montmartre, complete with its open air art market and quaint cafes.

We added a couple of personal details, like the couples darling doggy "Polo" tied to one of the lamp posts, as well as the actual hotel that the couple stayed at in Paris and the Carousel at the foot of Sacre Couer that they took a spin on after he popped Le Quesion. All done in a new technique that we came up with while working on a cartoon-style groom's cake shaped like Texas.

It took a lot of vision to translate the little cartoons from the grooms cake into a Paris-themed wedding cake, but Ingrid and Jason really embraced the idea, and I must say, this was an absolute joy to work on!

We had such fun painting the panels, that while in "fridge hell" this past two weeks, I seriously considered retiring from cakes and taking painting lessons instead. Fortunately for my clients, employees, and the sanity of my husband, I'm still on the job.