It had been a long time since the miracle of being chosen for the cover of Cake Central Magazine and since that time I have watched many of my friends grace the pages multiple times. Of course after being happy for them I thought “What is wrong with me? Did too many people complain that my cover cake was horrible and they made a dreadful mistake using it??” No, really, I thought that. When Cake Central Magazine asked me a few months ago to submit a new cake I was ecstatic! I’m really not dreadful, yay! Then I eagerly clicked to see what my inspiration would be. And seriously did a double take and said “Squirrels?! What?!” Not couture gowns, gothic style or something else funky and cutting edge. Furry rodents. Really? I cannot tell you how many giggles happened as I whined to myself about missing out on the high fashion and moving straight to the furry. Then it struck me. Squirrels are CUTE! I sit outside every day and drink my coffee and watch them chase each other all over the back yard. Last summer we had a tree cut down and I even got to see a squirrel go flying from the falling limb and land in the pool then swim to safety. It was awesome! I really, really love squirrels! Yes maybe I love couture gowns more, but, yeah I can rock some squirrel art why not! So I got to work. My 5 year old son, Noah, loves to watch me in the kitchen. Especially loves to help me cook and work on cakes. I had been searching the ground at his pre k for the perfect acorn with a “cap” on it so I could make a mold. He helped me. We could not find any acorns with a cap so after a couple days of looking I started making them by hand. One day I picked him up and he was running at me grinning and waving his arms around yelling “Mommy! Mommy! Guess what!” and then he uncurls his little hand and thrusts into my face the teeniest tiniest cutest itty bitty baby acorn. With a cap on it. I was told he had gotten upset when his teachers refused to take photos and text them to me so I could see it. haha! Since this was a display cake I broke one of my cardinal rules which is “no child shall touch my cake. ever.” along with rule number 2 “all decoration must be edible.” And we glued his baby acorn on with melted chocolate. It is Noah’s secret acorn. My favorite part of the cake. See if you can spot it! Together my little son and I brought to life The Tale of Timmy Tiptoes in cake.
During the holidays I had some free time and had really been admiring the Temari ball cakes. Also I had recently purchased a sports ball pan and really really wanted to make a spherical cake. I did some browsing online at different fancy ornaments and looked through my boxes of cake tools to see what I had that could be used. Growing up I always loved the shiny colored glass ornaments so definitely wanted my ornament cake to look as close to glass as possible. As with many other things I do in the kitchen all I had was a picture in my head and not much of a clue as to how to get there. I baked my cakes in the ball pan, ganached them together and covered them with fondant and decided to just paint it. Now when I paint a cake I really get in there. I use brushes, airbrush sometimes, sponges, paper towels, and also my hands. Yes, my hands. It is a multi tool process and sometimes I dilute my gel paste with vodka and sometimes I use it straight. For this cake I used it straight and really blended it in. Lots of finger painting here. Of course my hands were washed and sanitized because I am a little OCD about that. This cake was super simple to make. It took less than an hour. Really it did. I have to say- anyone can do this. I used some molds and I made a bow. My favorite bows are the ones with soft twisty curly ribbon hanging down and you can tell that in some of my other cakes. If I can make a loosely curled ribbon I will do it. To make that I just wrap the fondant around a dowel. It is ok if it doesnt stay twisted. Loose and soft is what I was after. So this super fast and simple cake was really well liked on my social media. It is shiny like glass. No secret tricks. It is just painted gel paste. The shine lasts a couple of days and if the cake goes in and out of the fridge the shine comes back if you happen to live in Florida. I was very honored to find that Cake Masters Magazine also really enjoyed this cake and included it in their December 2012 Issue 5. Blew my mind! Simple and easy and effective.
Less than one year in to my cake design journey I was asked to create a cake by Cake Central Magazine. Honestly I thought the email must be some sort of mistake! It was a crazy time for me. I had recently torn a ligament in my knee and was far less than fully mobile and in a lot of pain. Despite that I was so blown away that I had been noticed much less invited to submit photographs that I knew I had to give it my all. The magazine provided a few beautiful inspiration photos and the rest was up to me. I always say that in cake design sometimes you “level up”. Something pushes your limits and becomes the catalyst for noticeable and quick growth. At this point I had never even made a wedding cake for anyone so this was my first. Teal and pink without a doubt had already become my signature colors or more accurately the colors I was obsessed with. This cake was what I had been waiting all year to make and the culmination of all of my determination to become good enough. For me this cake showed me that yes I can be as good as I want to be if I work hard and put my whole heart in to it. My friend Karrah Flores of Karrah Flores Photography (karrahflores.com) was kind enough to take the photos. And holy cow we made it to the cover of the magazine! I did not believe it until the magazine was released. Some days I still don’t. It makes me happy and nervous all at once even today. Wondering why and what they saw in me that they would even ask me to submit my work. Since this cake I have had designs published in other magazines also and every time I feel a bit baffled as to why they notice me but I leap and give it my all. By doing that “my all” gets even bigger and better every time which is an amazing thing. If you get a chance to really challenge yourself or do something scary and unknown be sure you grab it and give it everything. This is how we grow. This is how we break through our own boundaries and realize we really have no limits. This is how we level up.