Sunday, November 4, 2012

Baroque Decor and my strange habit of paying Jenna with meat products.

Copy Cat.

My entire grade school career was spent diligently avoiding this label.  Shy of line "Budger", "Geek", "Cootie" carrier,  or the dreaded "Paste-Eater", being branded a "Copy Cat" was a social label that could seriously impair your playground social calendar.

Funny how thirty-some years change your perspective.  While I still think that "Paste-Eaters" are a completely different class of humans, I now proudly brand myself a "Copy Cat".  People ask me all the time how I come up with such vastly different cake designs from week to week.  I'm not truly the Evil Cake Genius I claim to be.  I'm simply a very accomplished Copy Cat.  Let's be honest.  No two couples are the same.  And unless they hire a wedding coordinator who lumps them into a formulaic cookie cutter wedding, their wedding won't be the same as any other wedding.  So, my job is easy.  I take the most compelling and visually interesting elements from their wedding, their relationship, their culture or family history (check out the Rubber Ducky post) and design a cake using "borrowed" elements. 

The benefits are obvious.  Our clients always get a unique design that is cohesive with their overall event, and even better, I never have to make the same wedding cake twice! 

Now, on to Kerstin and Erik. Their wedding would be classic and romantic.

An outdoor ceremony in Duluth, followed by a reception at the  Historic Greysolon Ballroom.

This Baroque beauty of a room inspired their wedding invitations, their color scheme, and, you guessed it, their cake.  From inset paneled walls, to gold Baroque garlands and molded chandelier medalions,  this setting was a cake decorators dream.

And Kersten and Erik let us run with it.  The only hitch...the Greysolon Ballroom is three hours away from Gateaux Inc.  So, shy of a 6 hour round trip drive, we weren't going to see the ballroom until we delivered the cake.  This is where I marvel at how I ever did my job before digital photography and the internet.  Yes, I'm that old, get a grip young'uns.  But fortunately, this old broad has adapted.  Kersten and Erik's coordinator, the fabulous Laura Mullen, provided us with photos of the space and color swatches, and I cyber-stalked the location to fill in any gaps. 

So, imagine a three hour drive, with a five tier cake.  In our multiple layers of long underwear, thermal shirts, mittens, and coats to keep the cakes icy cold, I couldn't help but wonder if we would meet the expectations that the Ballroom had laid out for us. 

When we arrived, we were greeted by park benches of Seniors lining the sidewalk outside the Greysolon, whose upper floor hotel rooms have been transformed into senior condos.  They watched, quietly murmuring, as two frozen figures emerged from a delivery vehicle, donned our hot-pink chef coats and began loading in box after box of precious mystery cargo.  When the elevator opened to the ballroom, I couldn't help but feel as though I was meeting an old friend.  It was just as I had hoped.  Elegant, but welcoming.  Classic and timeless.  And a spot-on match to its Cake Counterpart. 

Only two things left to do.  Stack the cake, and do a little exploring in Duluth.  Gotta' be a tourist when you can (plus, we needed a little time to defrost our limbs).  Our Senior Citizen audience got a second show that day.  When we returned to the car before our walking tour of Duluth's shoreline, we realized that it was a beautiful mid-eighty degree day.  So, we started shedding layers.  Much like clowns coming out of a tiny car, the layers of clothes kept coming off, only to reveal, more layers.  Once we were dressed like normal humans, again, we embarked on our adventure. 

A few weeks before the delivery, I heard a show on MPR about great food on the North Shore.  One caller mentioned a place called North Water Smoke House.  He sang its praises as a fabulous source for all things delicious and smokey.  And the Cake Lady was sold.  If you read our post about Two Harbors you know that I have a strange habit of paying Jenna her bonuses in Meat.  I think it began when we delivered a birthday cake to a night spot that was next door to Kramarczuk's Sausage Shop in Northeast Minneapolis.  Followed by our excursion to Lou's Fish house, Meat on Millacs (awesome jerky, by the way) and now North Water Smoke House.  This time, the mission...Bison Pastrami.  I've never had Bison before, but that's what they sell, and Charcuterie is their specialty.  So, we loaded up on the goods, and headed back to the car.  Not before planning what on earth we would do with several pounds of meat.  So, stop number two...find a bakery to buy a Marble Rye, three, a cheese shop, and by the time we arrived back in Minneapolis, we had all the makings for Reubens (well, not so much Reubens as Robins, grilled pastrami and swiss on Marble Rye, with Parmesan Peppercorn dressing).   So, off we split, to our separate residences to a Cake Decorator's Saturday Night.  Dinner in pajamas, on the couch, with the men who put up with our ridiculous schedules and neurotic obsession with all things cakey. 

Thanks to Laura Ivanova Photography for sharing their beautiful photos of our lovely Bride and Groom. 

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