Sunday, May 29, 2011

Drugs and Rock 'n' Roll, two out of three anyway.

We've had some interesting cakes at Gateaux over the years. Hell, we've had some interesting cakes at Gateaux over the weeks, days, etc. But sometimes, we get a week, where I look at the bakery rack of drying "cakesessories" and can't possibly wrap my head around how and why I've ended up with that particular mix of items in my shop. This was one of those weeks.
While the concept of drugs and heavy metal music aren't too foreign to each other, throw together an AC/DC amplifier and several boxes of (that's right, I'm gonna say it) suppositories, and my type "A" world starts to crumble.
It all started with a drop in from one of our favorite past brides, Krista. Her husband, Justin, was turning 30, and she wanted a cake for his surprise party that would rival his groom's cake. Justin happens to be quite the AC/DC fan (their daughter even has an AB/CD Pacifier, complete with the little lightning bolt) so she'd been kicking around the idea of theming the cake in that direction.
Now, the cake lady has pretty broad taste in music. On any given day, you can catch everything from Etta James, to G Love and Special Sauce, and of course, Cake, playing in the shop. But, I never developed the Heavy Metal side of my brain. So, some research was necessary. Google search AC/DC and you'll get a slew of inspiration. So, we sketched up a life-size amplifier, draped with a tour shirt (marked with important dates in Justin's life) and topped it with Hell's Bell (yup, I had no idea about that either). Add in a frosting vinyl record with custom label, a frosting copy of that adorable pacifier for daddy's little head-banger, and some blown off frosting boards (from what else, the frosting sticks of dynamite) and you've got yourself a cake worthy of holding up you saluting with your fist of rock while drinking from your goblet of rock, rock, rock, rock, ro....sorry, vinyl can skip from time to time.

Now that I think of it, I'm guessing that this week made more sense than I gave it credit for. After all, I'm guessing at their age, the members of AC/DC are probably more inclined to be dealing with prescription drugs than recreational drugs. So, onto cake number two (oh God, did I just make that inadvertent, and horrible, horrible pun?)
This cake was ordered to celebrate the owner's sale of his company to another company and subsequent going away party. They originally wanted a replica of the corporate headquarters, but I'm a cake lady, not an architect, so I talked them in a direction that was much more do-able, and kind of fun. I thought we could make the owner a stack of boxes that look like he's packing up his office and leaving. He collects African art, so we could have one of those pieces coming out of the top tier, and since he'll have plenty of time to ride his motorcycles now, we could make the middle tier shaped like a Harley Davidson saddle bag. The cake could be strewn with office supplies, Post-it notes, etc. scrawled with well-wish messages from his staff.
The party planning committee loved the concept, but thought the cake could represent the history of the company, and the products that put them on the map instead. So, we started with a big pharmeceutical tin of compouding powders, onto anti-poisoning remediers, and then onto their latest products, injectables and, yes...don't make me type it know whats.
We added a message on the side of the cake via those edible Post-it Notes that I was pushing for earlier.

We delivered the cake to corporate headquarters, where...we had the most fun! These people were awesome. We had a constant influx of employees coming down to check out the cake set up, and don't let the lab coats fool you, these guys are one hell of a good time!

So, there you have it, two insanely different cakes, but one thing always ties things together...cake makes people happy, not just me, kind of everyone.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Nothing runs like a...(n) International Harvester

As a cake lady, you'd think I might not know all that much about tractors. You'd think right. You'd think I didn't know anything about AC/DC music either, but that's for another blog.
Enter Amy. Her fiance grew up in Iowa on a farm called, not making this up kids, "Lover's Lane Acres". He loves it there, and while that is not his chosen profession, he still spends a lot of time there, on his favorite tractor "Barney". Amy would like to have their wedding cake topped with a frosting replica of his beloved tractor.
So we meet. Surprisingly, Amy is a very fashionable, not-at-all-country girl. Upon hearing her wedding details (pink and orange gerbera daisies, white linen dining, a stunning wedding dress) I couldn't bring myself to top any wedding cake of hers with farm machinery. Fortunately, she had been leaning towards the tractor as a surprise groom's cake, so we had a deal. She provided me with photos of Barney, photos of Jake (not another tractor, their adorable doggy) and details that would be fun to include on the cake (how the groom loves to fish with his boys, etc.)
Since a tractor doesn't have much bulk to it, we decided to put a frosting replica of Barney on a cake shaped like a shipping crate, stamped with the name of the farm, as though it was sent up for the wedding.
Now the madness begins. How the hell do you make a tractor out of frosting. You start by calling in the big guns...Magic Phil...whose family owned an International Harvester dealership in Kansas when he was a kid. Thank god Barney wasn't a Green (ahem, you know who you are) tractor, or we would have lost Phil right away. We ordered a cast iron replica of what, after many hours of internet searching, I learned, was an International Harvester Farmall 756 Custom Diesel tractor. This, of course, only after looking through hundreds of tractor replica toys, and learning the subtle nuances of tractor design.
Once we got our little toy in the mail, we called in Phil to dismantle the sucker to cast some molds. He filled us in a whole lot more on tractor design, and tractor etiquette. Yes, there is such a thing.
It took us the better part of a week, and a final assembly mission involving all three cake ladies, royal icing, red chocolate, and a few cans of compressed air, but the tractor was assembled and happily, made the ride to St. Paul without a hitch (ha, no pun intended...the IH Farmall 756 Custom Diesel doesn't come with a hitch, silly urban folk).
Now onto the wedding cake. I've never made Gerbera Daisies out of frosting before. We've made cute little Shasta Daisies, and tons of little cartoony daisies, but never something as complex as these. We got them cut and imprinted, and let them dry for a day before assembling them, and learning the hard way, that they are insanely fragile. We needed three for the cake. We made six. Two days before the wedding, we made three more (just couldn't sleep without a few more extras). I know I can be paranoid, just ask the girls, but once the cake was set up, we had zero, yes, zero orange daisies left, and only one pink one. Gah!

Anyway, despite the daisy terror, this cake ended up being one of the most festive and just plain fun wedding cakes we've done. We set it up, hid out in the kitchen, and watched as the Bride and Groom entered. She was covering his eyes, so that she could surprise him with his groom's cake. So cute. And she informed me that he drove to the hotel that night with the tractor in a box, on her lap "like he had a newborn baby in the car". Now that's love.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Otters Holding Hands

So, we get this call. Her name is Rachel, and she has an idea for a cake, but her and her fiance have done some research, and have decided, that we're the only ones who can make this cake without risk of it being "creepy". No pressure.
As soon as Jenna got off the phone with Rachel, she went to Youtube, and followed the bride's instructions. This is what we saw.
Those of you who don't know the cake lady personally, you must know this. I've never met an animal that I didn't think was absolutely adorable. I once took a boat tour to "Stingray City" in Grand Cayman. While others on the boat were quite freaked out by the stingrays, who, by the way, like to rub up against your legs like cats, I found them nothing shy of adorable. Majestic, yes, exotic, you bet, but to me...adorable. The captain of the boat showed us each individually how to get one to perch on our outstretched arms, by feeding them calamari. When I saw that stingrays yellow eyes peering up at me, I instantly started speaking in tongues of baby-talk and cooing. Captain Andy had never seen anyone react quite like that, and thought I deserved to drive the boat back to shore. Sweet. But scary for the rest of the passengers. The cake lady likes to drive fast too. But that's another tale.

Back to otters, who...are cute to EVERYONE. I met with Rachel and Chris shortly after that phone call, and found them to be as charming, creative, and all around awesome as I'd expected, based on the Otter video. We designed a cake that would be worthy of such a topper, complete with waterfalls, water lilies, turtles, frogs, Koi Carp and a pair of owls, their other favorite critters.

Of course, we had to give the boy otter a bow tie, and, since Rachel wasn't wearing a veil, we gave the girl otter a little calla lily bouquet. The otters sat on my baker's rack for a little over a week in varying stages of completeness. I must admit, that by the time I put them on the cake and delivered them, I was a little heartbroken to see them go. That is, until we arrived at the wedding venue, and I opened the box, only to see our sweet Rachel tearing up at the sight of them. I have a feeling that our little otters have found themselves a good home.

Thanks to Michelle Huber Photography for sharing with us these amazing photos!