To me, lace is the quintessential girly adornment, the most feminine of fabrics. I’ve said many times (such as here and here) that I’m not much of a girly girl, so it goes without saying that I’m not much into lace. Especially bad lace, whether fabric or fondant. Maybe it’s because all the real lace I have access to in my little town is cheaply made and of poor quality, or maybe it’s because the edible lace I’ve seen looks sort of heavy-handed, lacking the openwork holes that characterize real lace, but until recently I didn’t really use lace much on my cakes. There was one lace, sort of cottony and simple, which I kind of liked–or, I should say, didn’t offend me–and I used it many, many times.
Photo: Stephanie Williams
Photo: Brooke Allison Photo
Photo: Brooke Allison Photo
Photo: Brooke Allison Photo
And then in June, a client requested that I use lace she had purchased on her cake. And I loved it!
So I started looking around, and I found this RVO lace mold. While most lace molds render a heavy-handed look that lacks the delicacy of real lace, the RVO lace mold produces a product that is quite fine looking, with holes!
Then came my edible lace doilies.
And finally, though I’m not sure how it happened, or exactly when, about mid-August I made a formal declaration: I’m officially into lace.
This project was inspired by the romantic designs of Paloma’s Nest. Their handcrafted ceramic keepsakes are both beautiful and functional: ringbearer bowls, cufflinks, frames, and more for weddings, holidays, and baby with a fabulous hipster aesthetic.
I love the idea of an edible version that can be saved forever. Get creative with your message and write something that has special meaning to both of you.
What you’ll need (clockwise from left): Fondant rolling board, rolling pin, round cookie cutter, fondant in the color of your choice, small round piping tip, elastic ribbon, cornstarch (to prevent sticking), metal alphabet punches in the typeface of your choice. I used 1/4″ metal stamps that I purchased on etsy. The size of the stamps you use will be determined by the size of your keepsake and your message. (A lengthy message will require smaller lettering.) Be sure to practice with the letter punches and measure the spacing before you begin. (Hint: If you have trouble getting your letters to line up, try wrapping them with tape and pressing complete words rather than individual letters.)
1. Sprinkle a small amount of cornstarch on board to prevent sticking.
2. Roll out fondant thin, about 1/16th of an inch. Roll as evenly as possible. Be sure that fondant is not sticking before proceeding to next step.
3. Place cookie cutter on rolled fondant and cut out circle.
4. Remove excess fondant.
5. Your keepsake is now ready to decorate.
6. Insert small round piping tip (we used a tip 2) into fondant about 1/4″ from the edge. Press to make small round cutout.
7. Repeat previous step about 1/4″ away so that you now have two small holes punched out.
8. Select the letters you’ll need for your message.
9. Begin with first letter punch, ensuring that you press evenly. Remember that you’ll probably want to practice a few times on another piece of fondant. If you are having trouble lining letters up, wrap the punches with tape to keep them together. Allow keepsake to dry thoroughly, up to one week.
10. Allow your keepsake to dry completely (at least 48-72 hours) before proceeding to the next step.
11. Take a length of elastic ribbon and fold in half. Hold from behind keepsake and insert ends. Pull so that folded section forms a loop.
12. Insert ends through loop and pull.
12. Use a dab of royal icing to secure keepsake to cake. Tie elastic ribbon around cake. We also added a gold fondant ring around our keepsake for a little extra zing.
Creating your own edible keepsake? We would love to see what you come up with! Please email photos to email@example.com.
Lastly, I can’t thank Brooke Allison Sforza of Brooke Allison Photo enough for these beautiful pictures. Thanks Brooke, as always.
My husband says I change my mind a lot. I guess it’s kind of true. At some point, I decided not to have a press page on my website. (Read this post–it’s actually pretty funny–and you’ll see what I mean.) Then I guess I went ahead and changed my mind, ’cause now I have one.
I thought I’d share some of our most recent press here (although, of course, you could just look at my website.) I’ll not go into detail on every piece of press. Instead, I’ll just share the magazine cover and the page(s) on which my cake was featured. You’ll get the idea.
Last year, I wrote about a cake with pleated pinwheels that I proposed to Bride’s magazine. The cake was inspired by something I had seen in Martha Stewart, and in the sketch (and my imagination) it was beautiful, with shades of peach, ivory, buttercup and pink. Once I executed it in sugar, however, it was lackluster at best, and the Bride’s editors passed on it.
I couldn’t let the idea of the pinwheels go though, and when The Knot asked me to do a cake–and left the design and colors completely up to me–I decided to revisit them. This time, I proposed a cake with more vibrantly colored pinwheels in an ombré that would pop against a white cake, as seen in the sketch below.
The Knot editors liked my idea, and so I hand-delivered the final product last spring to their offices. This time, the design really worked, and so does the photo by Devon Jarvis (to whom I am extremely grateful for sending me this high res image):
The photo appeared in The Knot magazine’s Spring-Sumer 2012 New York edition.
I’ll end with this: If you’ve been reading my blog for a long time (or, for that matter, a short time) or if you know me personally at all, you know I never say this, but…I love this cake!
Somewhere around the late ’80s, I swore off gold. No more gold earrings, gold bracelets, or gold necklaces for me. I also renounced pastels. Pinks and lavenders, mint and seafoam green, and especially mauve and peach were now officially anathema to me.
Then, almost overnight, I love gold and pastels again. I’m not sure when it happened or how, but I took a look at my cakespiration pinboard, and the majority of my pins were pastels and gold. Check these out and you’ll see what I mean.
And then it’s full speed ahead, with a new pair of gold earrings, a pastel duvet cover, and this cake with a gold chevron and pastel sugar flowers inspired by my Pinterest boards.
When you get an email from Anne Chertoff asking you if you want to contribute to the Vera Wang app, you jump on the chance and respond immediately with an emphatic Yes! Yes! Yes! Unless, of course, you’re me, in which case you think the email is just some mass marketing form letter and ignore it completely. Then, luckily, Anne Chertoff persists and emails you again to say she hasn’t received anything back from you, at which point you realize this is real and then you respond with Yes! Yes! Oh, if you’ll still have me, yes! And that’s the true story of how I came to make two cakes for Vera Wang’s new itunes app.
Eric Hildebrand, the stylist on the project, collaborated with Anne Chertoff, the Project Manager, and the Vera Wang art director to conceptualize several vignettes that would feature a Vera Wang dress, flatware, china, stemware, and a cake.
Eric sent over photos of the dresses and collages of the concept and asked me to present sketches. The most challenging part for me was creating a design that was true to my style but also worked with Vera Wang’s classic, sophisticated designs.
The first scenario was The Modernist and featured the Fiona dress in white with orange accents and parrot tulips.
The Modernist cake sketch originally featured three square tiers (I ended up adding a fourth tier but I can’t remember why) because I thought squares more contemporary than round. I incorporated the pleating from the dress and pops of orange found in the invitation around the plaque and dots on the pleats and edible parrot tulips.
In the end, the art director nixed the orange dots in the sketch so the pleats were plain white, and my lovingly hand-crafted gumpaste parrot tulips were replaced with real tulips.
Johnny Miller was the photographer on the project. You’ve definitely seen Johnny’s work before in Martha Stewart’s magazines and books, and while he obviously has a gift for bringing food to life through photographs, it is his personal work that really moves me. His photos are artistic and emotional, and the subjects seem so real (even when they’re not). There’s a rawness to his work that makes it accessible and not pretentious. I’m proud to say I’ve had my work photographed by him.
The Romanticist scenario featured the Hanna dress, shades of mauve, and platinum.
The cake I sketched was three tiers of ivory with a cluster of sugar roses and platinum scroll work.
I ended up with a fourth tier on this cake too. My sugar roses were beautiful, but were again replaced with real roses. (I still have them though and might need to photograph them in the future.) I do love this photo.
This idea was inspired by a post I saw on Such Pretty Things. I forget what I was searching for when I stumbled across it, but I immediately thought the hearts would be just lovely in an ombré. (Until about a year ago and a half ago, I thought ombré was some kind of silken fabric. Silly me. Merriam-Webster defines it as “having colors or tones that shade into each other —used especially of fabrics in which the color is graduated from light to dark”.) This DIY originally appeared on The Wedding Chicks.
I should preface this post by warning readers about the dangers of consuming raw and/or undercooked eggs. I provided a safer alternative to egg whites that I termed “liquid meringue”, a mix of meringue powder and water. Feel free to weigh in on the safety of these ingredients.
Also, this DIY was created for both non-professionals and professionals alike, so I tried to use easy-to-find ingredients. Although I don’t necessarily recommend Wilton’s meringue powder to professionals, it is the most widely available to home bakers.
What you’ll need
Two cups sugar (or more, depending on the number of colors you want), divided
4 teaspoons (or more) egg white or liquid meringue (1 teaspoons of meringue powder mixed with 1 tablespoon warm water)
Paste food coloring (found at local crafts store)
Large cutting board, baking sheet, or other flat surface, lined with silpat or parchment paper
Baking sheet lined with silpat or parchment paper
Ateco aspic cutters or small cookie cutters
Small and medium bowls, spatulas, rolling pin, measuring spoons, measuring cups, ziplock bags, butter knife
3 x 4-inch treat bags, colored ribbon, cake to decorate
Place ½ cup sugar in medium bowl. Add a small amount of paste food coloring (we used a combination of Wilton’s Rose and Violet), and mix thoroughly. This will be your darkest color. (Hint: A little goes a long way and will darken once liquid is added in next step.) Add more if needed until desired color is achieved.
Add 1 teaspoon egg white or meringue liquid and mix thoroughly until the mixture resembles wet sand. Be careful not to add too much liquid or you will dissolve the sugar.
Empty contents onto silpat or parchment lined cutting board or baking sheet. Spread with hand or spatula and pat down, then roll over mixture with rolling pin to compress. Ideally, the flattened mixture should be as compact as possible and level, about ¼”. Press heart cutter into mixture and lift up. Place hearts on lined baking sheet. If cutter will not release heart, gently tap with the back of a butter knife. Repeat 10-20 times or as many as desired. If hearts will not hold their shape, add more egg white or meringue liquid in small increments and mix thoroughly. If sugar builds up in cutter, rinse with warm water and pat dry before continuing.
Pour remaining colored sugar back into bowl and proceed to Step 3.
Add ½ cup sugar to colored sugar from Step 2 to lighten. Mix thoroughly. Add 1 teaspoon egg white or liquid meringue. If desired color is not achieved, continue adding additional ½ cup sugar plus 1 teaspoon egg white or liquid meringue and mixing thoroughly until desired color is achieved.
Repeat Step 2.
Continue with Steps 2 and 3 until desired shades and number of sugar hearts are achieved. We recommend at least three to five shades. Leftover sugar can be stored in ziplock bags for future use.
Heat oven to 200 degrees. Heat hearts in oven for 10 minutes. Allow to harden overnight. Sugar hearts will be the consistency of sugar cubes.
Place 10-20 sugar hearts in treat bag. Staple ribbon to bags. Tie ribbon. Can be given as gifts or used as favors.
For cake: Attach sugar heats to cake using royal icing. Begin with darkest color on smallest tier. Continue with lighter colors.
Special thanks to Brooke Allison of Brooke Allison Photo, a genuine talent and all around funny gal.
My sister-in-law, Ashley, got engaged last year and planned a November 2011 wedding. I first met Ashley when my now-husbandtreated her to a two-week adventure travel tour of Costa Rica for her 18th birthday. My friend Jackie had convinced me (coerced is more accurate) to go on the same trip, which is where I met and fell in love with Cory. That was seven years ago,and had it not been for Ashley, I would have never met my husband, so I wanted to do something special for her shower.
I decided to host the shower at my home in California (before we relocated to Connecticut) because I wanted it to feel cozy and informal. Let there be no doubt that I worked my ass off on this. I planned the menu, created the invitations, catered the whole thing, and even schlepped to the the L.A. flower market to buy the flowers. I designed every aspect, and executed it all by myself (with special help from cousin Molly and Megan from Honey and Poppies). It was a lot of work but well worth all the effort. One of the bridesmaids told me that the it was the best bridal shower food she’d ever had, and although she qualified “best food” with “bridal shower”, I choose to consider it the highest of praise. Most importantly, Ashley loved it.
As guests arrived, they were greeted by a small flower arrangement that Megan made of hydrangea, roses, dusty miller and licorice displayed in a vintage wine glass (below, left). I repurposed a small wooden ladder (perhaps you remember when it was yellow?)by spray painting it a satin-finish pink. I secured a damask pattern scrapbook paper print to foamcore board, and used decorative brads to attach cardstock with Welcome printed on it. I then fastened a ribbon to the back of the foamcore, and hung the small sign from the glass. I’m no graphic designer (although I fancy myself one), so for the invites, I bought some scrapbook paper that I scored into a tri-fold using my indispensable Martha Stewart scoring board (I like to think of myself as a younger, hipper, more socially conscious, urban Martha), and printed the invites in the fanciest font I could find.
For the centerpieces, Megan and I used hydrangeas in shades of pink and peach as well as stock, peonies, lisianthus, snap dragons and roses. She also incorporated dusty miller and licorice from my garden. (I like to think I helped a lot, and not in the way my kids “help” when I’m cooking.) The centerpieces were displayed in footed glass urns from Megan’s personal collection.
For the backdrop (above and below left), I hung a large white sheet from a photography backdrop stand and overlaid inexpensive gray broadcloth secured with ribbon to create a draped look. The tablecloth was just inexpensive broadcloth (about $2.99/yard). For the bunting on the front of the table, I made a template out of foamcore board. I used the template on 12″ x 12″ scrapbook paper and overlaid the cutouts on contrasting paper (actually, this is the part Molly did), securing them with double stick tape. To secure the squares to the pink ribbon, I spray painted binder clips in a glossy pink. For the brunch, I made baked French toast casserole (excellent and easy, and extremely high-calorie), egg and sun-dried tomato souffle (delish and simple, but not for those on a diet), rosemary potatoes, berry salad, a yogurt bar, homemade biscotti, homemade banana crunch muffins, and a bellini bar (friggin’ fancy).
Look closely…See how I put the French toast label in front of the egg casserole and the egg casserole label in front of the French toast? Yeah, well, I didn’t notice until it was published in The Knot Magazine.
Ashley’s husband-to-be is a yoga instructor, so we thought it would be fun if we handed out flash cards with various yoga positions and had all the guests what position Ashley was in. It was equal parts goofy and fun. For the ribbon backdrop (below), I stapled ribbons of varying widths to a horizontal piece of ribbon and printed out L-O-V-E on 5″ x 7″ cardstock. Ashely knew exactly what she wanted for her cake, and although I’m a little out of practice with my piping, I think it was up to her standards.
I have a file on my desktop entitled “Images for Inspiration”, a collection of random images I find on my forays around the internet. I thought I’d share just a few of them here. Don’t be surprised if you see one of these translated into cake sometime soon.
I probably shouldn’t admit this, but when I see a blog post on a wedding, whether it’s a real wedding or a styled shoot, the first thing I look for is the cake. I guess it’s fair to say I’m pretty much obsessed with cake, and since I figure anyone who reads this blog shares my obsession, I focus almost exclusively on cake in my posts. However, I contributed a cake to a shoot for Green Wedding Shoes recently, and everything about it–from the details to the flowers to the models–is just so beautiful, instead of of scrolling down for the cake, I found myself looking at each gorgeous photograph. That said, I’m sharing more pictures than I normally would, but only because they are that good.
Last year, Jenn Campbell from Green Wedding Shoes created an inspiration board for a Cinco de Mayo wedding that incorporates dusty pastels instead of the traditional bright colors.
Jaclyne Breault from Heavenly Blooms contacted Jenn about bringing her inspiration board to life, and created this inspiration board to illustrate some of the other elements she wanted to incorporate. Jaclyne asked me to design the cake. I really liked the papel picado in the inspiration board, and I recreated it out of fondant using tiny cutters, cake decorating tips and various ruffle and frill cutters. I hand-cut the monogram, and sculpted the succulents out of gumpaste. Here are some other photos, including the gorgeous model, invitations by Posh Paperie, florals by Heavenly Blooms, styling by Green Wedding Shoes, and photographs by This Modern Romance.