Monday, September 13, 2010


Margaret's Birthday cake - front view

Back in July, during pleasant dinner conversation with my friend Chris, the seeds were sown for this special 60th birthday cake for his mum, Margaret. Apparently, Chris has unique gustatory abilities and had been dreaming up cake flavour combinations in his spare time. Pairing vanilla and black currant was his original idea but I felt the need for nuttiness, which would give warmth and texture. We ultimately decided on pistachio as the last component of this elegant flavour trio.

pistachio joconde & dacquoise with feuilletine crunch, black currant and vanilla mousselines

The cake design was less definitive. Margaret loves her Boston Terrier and enjoys the music of Tony Bennett but I could not imagine the likenesses of Mr. Bennett and a dog on the same cake without appearing comical. And so, her favourite song "Fly Me to the Moon" provided the design inspiration for this sophisticated cake, worthy of celebrating six decades of memories.

Margaret's Birthday cake - back view

The Boston Terriers led me to choose a black and white colour scheme for this sleek and modern design, accented by one single pop of colour in the form of a sugar pink peony, Margaret's favourite flower. The subtleness of the white on white lettering, moon and stars allowed the dogs and birthday inscription to stand out.

Margaret's Birthday cake - peony

My favourite elements of this cake are impossible to choose. I love everything on it, from the dogs, to the hand-cut stars, to the gumpaste peony (the first one I've made), and even the lettering which is based on a font called Sparkly! Interestingly, I have now made cakes for three generations of this cake-loving family which is certainly a great privilege and the biggest compliment. Happy Birthday Margaret!

Margaret's Birthday cake - big dog

Monday, September 6, 2010


Polka dot Baby Shower cake

When it comes to cake design, there are some situations which give me more stress than others. The perfect cake request for me is from someone who knows me well, gives me specific thematic elements as inspiration, and then trusts me completely in the ultimate creative process. Of course, this does not always happen but when it does, it yields my best work and is the most enjoyable experience, often filled with hours of brainstorming and research prior to cracking an egg or rolling out fondant.

Polka dot Baby Shower cake - expecting

Another similar lower-stress scenario is the opposite situation, when someone asks me to reproduce an existing design. I do not get the same creative satisfaction but there is some degree of challenge in the exact replication of a cake. The obsessive-compulsive part of me even tries to make my version of the cake better, tweaking a little here and there, trying to make it cleaner or more refined.

Polka dot Baby Shower cake - ducks

Such was the case with this baby shower cake, based on this cake by Pink Cake Box. The mom-to-be knew almost exactly what she wanted and besides some minor changes like the addition of ducks and making the pregnant lady Asian, this cake was virtually identical to the original. The pregnant lady was quite challenging to make since I am no dressmaker and rarely make humans. Have you noticed this is the first human I have ever featured on a cake?