Friday, May 27, 2011

Natural Sunglight and Some Quality Photo Editing Software!

A friend of mine is always commenting on how much she wishes she had a room in her house with a BIG picture window that faces east. Why does she want this? Probably because that's the room I use for my cake photos. She comments on how well lit they are with just natural light and no flash. And while she is right, what she is seeing isn't the whole story. So today, I thought I'd share the raw photos vs. the "adjusted" photo.

Obviously there is a big difference between the two photos and you can easily see why good photo editing software is a big help. I use Photoshop CS2 with the onOne Software Plug In. If you do a little research on those programs, you'll probably wonder why in the world I have such powerful software just to edit cake photos. But my life before cake involved a lot of graphic design work and Photo Editing. In fact, I designed several Wedding Albums for my father. So I spent hours upon hours in Photoshop editing photos and creating layouts.

So the moral of this post is this; If you have photograph envy, think about investing in some photo editing software. Photoshop has a program called Photoshop Elements that is simpler that the professional version and much less expensive. You might also want to consider purchasing a "how to" book or watching some online tutorials so you can maximize its effectiveness.

And of course, you do want to take advantage of natural light! I never use a flash and always try to use indirect natural light. You don't want the sunshine directly on your subject. But rather a diffuse light that can light up the area without creating lots of shadows.

Happy Baking, Caking, and Photo Taking!


Monday, May 23, 2011

A Sugar Explosion Leads to Lack of Sleep

This past week taught me a valuable lesson... I'm NOT 20 anymore! What started as a relatively simple week quickly turned into chaos when I took a last minute Wedding Cake order, then got an order for 2 tasting cakes, and then got an order for some Truly Custom Crunch. Add to that the additional shopping trips necessary, the additional delivery, and routine research for upcoming cake orders and there were too few hours in the day.

It seemed like every time I took a step to accomplish something, three more things were added to the list and I kept getting further and further behind. Thankfully, the week ended successfully and all the orders went out on time and to some very happy customers. PFEW!

Sadly, it took me a whole 48 hours to recover from my Thursday - Saturday marathon with only 3.5 hours of sleep. I did learn a valuable lesson though. Do whatever is necessary NOT to pull all nighters!

So here are this week's cakes. The first one I'm going to show you is a Birthday Cake I did for my friend Joey. She wanted a cake for her son Boston who was turning three and the little girl next door who was turning two for their combined Toy Story Birthday/Block Party.

Joey gave me complete freedom to decorate the Toy Story Cake. After doing some research, I was really drawn to the idea of having the cake "dressed" as Woody and Jessie. With their Blue Jeans, Belt Buckle, Yellow Shirts with Red Accents, and of course the Cow Print! The Toys were purchased from a couple different local retailers. The hardest part of this cake was the number of stores I had to visit in order to find the characters I wanted to put on the cake. Apparently you are only supposed to be excited about Toy Story 3 right now which didn't really work with my desire to decorate with characters from the first two movies. Thankfully Walmart and Toys R Us came through!

And on the inside of this cake... White Almond Sour Cream Cake with chocolate covered strawberry filling. YUMMY!

And this is why I love my job SO MUCH! Look at the smile on Boston's face! Could he be any happier?!

This next cake is a Jungle Themed Baby Shower. It was inspired by a Jungle Shower cake I did last year. Apparently this new baby's Daddy's nickname is Giraffe or something like that. So having the Giraffe sticking out of the top of the cake had quite a bit of meaning for the expectant couple.

This is a Banana Chocolate Chip Cake with Whipped Chocolate Ganache Filling.

This is Wedding Cake I did for my friend Leslie of Reve Events & Concierge and Cricket Catering.

The Bride asked for a simple, buttercream iced cake, with celery green ribbon at the base of the tiers, and gumpaste gardenia flowers on top. I added some pearls, as well as a little rainbow disco dust and pearl spray to give the cake a little sheen and increase the romantic feel.

The flavors of this cake are White Almond Sour Cream Cake with Strawberry Filling and Double Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Filling.

This cake is from last weekend. Yep, running behind on blog posts. The cake was designed to coordinate with the invitations for the Baby Shower.

It is a Pound Cake with Chocolate Chip Filling. I had a lot of fun with textures on this cake.

And this one is a Sweet 16 Cake that I delivered to the Buck Hotel in Feasterville. Topsy Turvy Cakes are perfect for Teens because they convey motion, youth, energy, & fun. There's nothing boring about a topsy!

And last but not least, I made these Baby Shower Cookie Favors for a client. There were 60 total cookies. 30 were made with a dark chocolate cookie base and 30 with a vanilla cookie base. All were wrapped in cellophane and delivered to the venue ready to be arranged at each place setting for the shower guests.

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Monday, May 9, 2011

Happy Birthday Francesca!

This is a Birthday Cake for one of my best client's. She requested Red Velvet Cake to serve 20 people and then told me that I could design her Birthday Cake ANY WAY I WANTED! Now that's a cake I can get REALLY excited about.

I decided to do a design in black, white, and red that was sharp and crisp. Because that's how I see her. The design on the side of the cake was painted freehand. The red roses are made from gumpaste, as are the rose petals, and the leaves. The black on the top of the cake is piped in buttercream.

Happy Birthday Francesca!


Sunday, May 1, 2011

This is my kind of bridal shower cake!

Can I tell you how much I LOVE this cake? Well, I will, because I DO! It's no secret I love girlie things or that I love to try new techniques. So this was a really fun cake for me because it involved both!

I got to make some new molds, and even got my husband in on it by having him custom make me a piece to make a mold from. Everything on this cake is edible except for the support in the gift box lid.

The shoe is made from sugar paste, the diamond ring is sugar, and the bra is also sugar paste. I think the bra was the hardest part just because it is several pieces of sugar paste pieced together and I didn't have a pattern. It was trial and error to create my own pattern but I really do love the end result. It is tasteful and romantically pretty.

Thanks for stopping by!


Lia's Bumper Party!

This a pretty cool cake! Not because of how it looks, but because of how it got here. Usually the design for a cake comes from a piece of inspiration from the client. Either an invitation, or bedding, or party theme, or a flower, etc. But this cake, had an additional inspiring element.

Lia's Birthday Party was planned at a play zone that had bowling, bumper cars, and other fun activities for the kids. So when Lia sat down to draw a picture a couple of weeks ago, she was clearly imagining her upcoming party. She drew 2 bumper cars to represent herself and her daddy. As you can see by the numbers on the cars, Lia is a young 7 and Daddy's 40!

She had already let me know that she wanted pink and blue on her cake so when mom e-mailed me the picture, a few changes were made to bring Lia's drawing to life.

In the end, Lia got the pink and blue cake she asked for along with a three dimensional edible version of her drawing.

And what did I get? I got a wonderful e-mail from Lia's mom.

Dear Stacey,
I wish you could have seen my daughter’s face when she first saw her cake today. She was basically ecstatic! The cake was absolutely adorable, and everyone raved about it. There’s only one problem with the cake – it’s so delicious I can’t stop eating it!!!
Thank you for a fabulous show stopper!

Best regards,

And this is why I really love my job!


Precious Baby Shower Cake.

This is a baby shower cake from a couple weeks ago that I never had a chance to post. The shower invitation showed a little baby on a stack of books and the client asked that I keep a neutral theme but incorporate the design from the invitation.

The bottom tier includes little yellow teddy bears. And I had to add a bow because it fit and I really do love bows!

Happy Viewing!