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.