There are benefits to living in a small town, such as knowing all the guys at the town buildings department by name (no lie: Bob, Bill, Jim, Joe) and that when you open a business and hold a grand opening, like we did on April 25th, the town arranges a ribbon cutting ceremony and sends the mayor. We even got press coverage! (Okay, it was this article in the Hamden Journal, but still.)
Here we are (me on the right, my sister on the left) with Mayor Scott Jackson. And the official golden ribbon-cutting scissors.
Our grand opening turned into a little fête of sorts. Of course the cocktails helped.
My consultation studio is now mostly finished, with the exception of the completely bare walls. My brother-in-law took this shot.
And my friend Brooke of Brooke Allison Photography took these. She is a wedding photographer and is rapidly becoming one of the top photographers in Connecticut. Keep your eye on her.
I created a special cake for the grand opening. I covered the cake in pink (one of my logo colors), made gold bunting for three of the tiers (I went through a serious bunting phase about a year and a half ago that thankfully passed. This was just a brief relapse.) and hand-cut the plaque and letters. (Photos by Brooke Allison Photography.)
The community has been so supportive, and we feel extremely fortunate to be in such a great place. Thank you so much to all of you who stopped by, and thank you to those of you who wanted to but, for whatever reason, couldn’t. Don’t worry : we plan to be here for a long, long time.
Special thanks to Brooke Allison, my husband and children, my mom, sister, Scott, Zachy and Kody, and Frank. Love you guys.
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!
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.
This might surprise you, but I actually don’t like it when a client leaves the cake design completely up to me, giving me the artistic freedom to create whatever I want. I can’t speak for other artists, but I’ve found that this makes it almost impossible since there’s so much that inspires me. When the possibilities are endless–and so is your imagination–the task of narrowing it down and choosing a focus becomes very overwhelming. Instead, I like working within a conceptual framework and using my artistic eye to interpret the design in my style.
Event stylists and even the occasional client often provide an inspiration board–a collection of images intended to convey the mood of the shoot or event–and I find them immensely helpful. (I sometimes create my own inspiration boards. I’m not a graphic designer, so I copy and paste the images into Microsoft Paint. Someone more skilled would use Photoshop. There’s a board builder on Style Me Pretty, and I think some people are now using Pinterest in lieu of building boards.) Being very visual, working with inspiration boards is my favorite way to design. They usually contain a color palette, and many non-cake photos with prints, patterns, shapes, or other designs for inspiration (hence the name).
Below are several inspiration boards and the cakes they inspired. I would love to see how other cake designers would translate the images into cake. I just think it would be fascinating to see how different artists interpret same thing.