Most of you know how very moved I was by having met Talia Castellano last year. God certainly had a plan in allowing me to make her 13th birthday cake via Icing Smiles last August 18th. This tiny child moved mountains in my heart- her fearlessness calmed me, her grace encouraged me, her life story inspired me. When the family reached out to me for help in honoring her life and birthday during the tribute event being planned I felt as though another piece of me had fallen into place. It just felt so right. We decided on mini cupcakes for the guests and at that time did not now how many to expect but anywhere from 1000-2000 plus the family wanted a birthday cake for Talia that they could keep and also just a small carrot cake to take home as that is Talia’s favorite. Talia had asked for a Paris themed cake prior to gaining her wings last month. If you know me then you also know that Paris is very personal to me as my mother, who also passed away from cancer 3 years ago, took me on a trip to Paris before she was diagnosed. That trip impacted me greatly and brought about Bliss Pastry. My mother also attended the church where the tribute was held. Everything has seemed so connected between Talia, myself and the loss of my mother. That loss is what Talia’s light helped to heal in me. This was a painful cake to make. It was painful to witness her passing even at the distance of social media. It brought me back to the details of losing my mom. I had a recurrance of those night time flashes which jolt me awake. Seeing my mom as I saw her for the last time. Remembering the place your heart is in where you begin to pray for deliverance and mercy. My heart was so moved by Talia’s family and her friends. By her mother who stayed by her side and held back her own fear and pain to be steadfast and true in comforting and supporting her children. By all of her family and friends who maintained hope through every moment until the moments passed and Talia was freed from her body. When you see them you can feel the exhaustion of their pain. Very clearly. Yet they reach out to everyone and let everyone reach out to them. They are gracious and kind and thankful. And right away you can see that all of Talia’s amazing qualities run deeply through that family. Since last night I have been absolutely haunted by the memory of Mattia and her friend singing Dancing In The Sky. I have been singing it all day. Mattia has the most incredible voice that emotes and mesmerizes and I hope she realizes she has a gift and a future right there. The most beautiful voice and song I think I have ever heard. It was perfection. Another gift that I will never forget. In making Talia’s cake I wanted it to be fun, quirky, playful and unique. Like Talia. Lots of Marie Antoinette dress inspired ruffles, corseting that was not too grown up but not too childish either, luxury, fun, all beneath a hunters moon shining behind the Eiffel Tower. A girl with all the style and energy to take over the world. Talia’s little poodle, Bella, is there as well looking over her mommy with a pink rose adorning her ear. My deepest gratitude and respect and love to Talia and her beautiful family and friends. Thank you for blessing me. Thank you for accepting the gifts of my hands and heart. It really means the world to me.
In my mind I pictured a woman who was alone, with a past, and hurts inflicted on her heart which made it hard for her to open up and trust in love. Much like myself I suppose. This woman seemed cold on the outside, icy, aloof, some thought her unapproachable. In reality her heart burns fierce and strong and bright like the sun. Or a deep red rose against the sparkling snow. Her heart longs for her one true love and one day he finds her. Her heart begins to beat for him. The one person who understands her, accepts her, cherishes her for all she has been, all she is and all she will one day become. This cake is not for the woman who has fallen in love for the first time in her youthful innocence. This cake is for the woman who has overcome, been shaken by life, yet still retains her passion and hope. The woman who has sat upon her icy throne until her Prince finds her and melts the snow with the kiss of his acceptance and devotion. There is always a happy ending… when you love.
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.