Sunday, May 25, 2008

A fabulous wedding, a paisley wedding cake!

We got home from San Francisco on Wednesday, and for a solid 48 hours I went to work on two wedding cakes I had for friday. (Tight timing I know, but sometimes it can't be helped!) The best was this one, (see below) for a lovely wedding that managed to be trendy in a very F. Scott Fitzgerald-esque way. Again, an instance of old becoming new again. This is a close up of the top wedding cake layer. Who would have thought that a paisley wedding cake in brown, orange, and green could turn out so stunning? Miles away from a plain white wedding cake!
The wedding was outside, despite a torrential downpour mere hours before, and the constant threat of more rain. Nevertheless it was lovely. The tent over the buffet was lined with lantern lit chinese take out boxes in various colors. The wedding buffet was a very trendy crepe bar, complete with savory chicken, mushroom, and curry options, and a dessert bar. (Cherry crepes with whipped cream. Yummm.)
The outdoor pavilion was hung with ribbons and flower balls, and arrangements of orange gerbera daisies on every table.
I just loved the Japanese Kimono wrap hung behind the cake. It was the perfect shades of orange and green, and offset the bright orange lillies, and the paisley design on the wedding cake perfectly. The horizontal stripe around the second layer was done in chocolate fondant, and rolled very thinly. Chocolate fondant has to be rolled out on a greased solid countertop, unlike white fondant, which I roll out on corn starch. A complete how-to on chocolate fondant is forthcoming.
Paisley was surrounding me this week. This pic is off the side of a store front in China town.
In keeping with the Great Gatsby feel of the wedding the guests typed out their well wishes and greetings on parchment colored paper on an old typewriter. The Bride wore cream colored lace and silk, while the Groom was in a cream afternoon suit. Very South Hamptons!

The wedding was in a stunning new park in Orem called Nielson's Grove. It was built on the site of an old park and social hall from the early 19th century. Wisteria draped arbors, duck pond, fountains, gravel lined walks, and reflecting pools. It is our favorite new picnic spot. Gorgeous.

And I loved these flowers lining the walks. After the reception the bride and groom drove off in a 1928 Model A Roadster, completing the trendy vintage wedding feel.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Adventures on the Road

So we arrived in Sacramento today, a little later than planned. The family pulled off in Battle Mountain, Nevada, to have our Glass Castles moment, (if you have not read this book, you should. You will never again complain about a dysfunctional family) We noticed that the car seemed to be driving oddly, so I looked at the tires when we got out at the rest rooms. ( a frequent stop with four kids!) Our rear tire was shredded. Luckily it had not lost any air. So an hour and a half later, and some $$$$ poorer, we were back on the road. Ah, the adventures that come our way. On the positive side we have first hand knowledge of how friendly the people in Battle Mountain are. Thanks!!!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

San Francisco, Here we come!

The Family is off on a much needed vacation to Northern California. We are going to San Francisco, the place where the other half and I got engaged millennia ago. Very Exciting!! Although I think I need a vacation from packing for the vacation. It doesn't help that I have a wedding cake for the day before, and 2 for the weekend we return. But still, I can't wait.
San Francisco, that mecca for hippies and yuppies, the birthplace of the Haight-Ashbury and Craigslist. A world away from the life of a suburban PTA/Sunday School SAHM.
I wonder if I can find any good yarn?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Animals at the Zoo

This week we went to the Hogle Zoo with my sons class. It is not a big zoo, nothing like San Diego, which is a destination for the Family on vacation, but it was still fun. 125 first graders on a bus for 45 minutes there and back.
Heres a shot of the boys goofing around on the bus. Gotta love those smiles.
A giant turtle. Convincing the boys they couldn't lasso it with the cords off their backpacks was a chore.

Giraffe. Obviously. One of Ryders favorite animals. There was a baby, but it was photo shy. Lots of noise, wind, sun, animals, (not just the zoo ones!) and fun!!!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Trends in Fondant Wedding Cakes

One of the fun new trends in Wedding Cakes is to use an aspect of the Bride's dress as a focal point in the cake. For this cake the bride had an antique, chain embroidered bodice with exquisite french knots. So I icing embroidered the cake.
Each line was a series of tiny icing loops, accented with icing french knots. This picture is a great detail shot of the embroidery. And the perfect white of the royal icing stands out beautifully against the creamy fondant base.
It was a lot of work, but very fun, and I love getting the opportunity to be creative. And wedding cakes are a great venue. After all, have you ever made a french knot out of icing? Look carefully at these embroidered fondant wedding cake pictures and see if you can figure it out.

Edible Art

Fondant is one of my first loves when it comes to wedding cakes, not only for it's alabaster perfection, but also for it's versatility. These three cakes have some sort of pleated fondant used on them, all with different, but elegant effects. The one above also has rolled fondant roses.
This wedding cake has a delicate vine design with small flowers, and pleated fondant draping on the corners of a hexagon bottom layer.
The gumpaste flowers on this wedding cake are divine. Truly a work of art.

Green with Envy

I finally got the pictures back from Aubreys wedding, and they turned out great. The photographer has been in Ireland on a destination shoot.See his blog here. This is a full view of the wedding cake.

In between each layer there was a crystal vase with green orchids, dark purple/black calla's. and green bamboo,
The floating plexiglass cake stand made the whole piece seem weightless. And I loved the wheat grass around the very base.
And more orchids and calla's topped it off. This was a very tall, very beautiful wedding cake. The color was a truer spring green, but it looks like the flash washed it out a little. Still, I love it. A wedding cake does not have to be white to be stunning. Thanks Aubrey, it was fun.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Black Bottom Cupcakes


My son has recently decided that he does not like icing. (Huh?where did that come from?) This presents a problem with the traditional cupcakes for the class birthday treat, so my husband suggested I try black-bottom cupcakes, a chocolate/cream cheese confection that needs no embellishment. And, as I mixed up a batch for his class, ( and one or two for the rest of us) it occurred to me how much I like Black and White as a color combination.

I like it in cupcakes.

I like it in pictures.

I like it in wedding cakes.

(Especially this black and white china scroll pattern cake I did in December. The plexiglass stand glows!)

I like it in animals.

And I like it in decorating.

Basically it is a fabulous color combo that you just can't go wrong with.
And if you want to try these gooey, creamy, chocolatey cupcakes yourself, here is the recipe.

Black Bottom Cupcakes

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

2 1/2 cups sugar


1 large egg

6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

2 1/4 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line two 12-cup muffin pans
with paper or foil baking cups. Using an electric mixer,
combine the cream cheese, 1 cup sugar and 1/8 teaspoon
salt. Add the egg and mix well. Fold in the chocolate chips
and set aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, the
remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar, 3/4 teaspoon salt, the
baking soda and cocoa powder. Add 1 1/2 cups water,
the oil, vinegar and vanilla and stir until smooth.
3. Fill each baking cup two-thirds full with the cake
batter and top with 1 tablespoon of the cream cheese
mixture ( I made a little well in the middle.).
Bake until the edges are firm to the touch,
about 25 minutes.