Friday, August 26, 2011

Hibiscus Coookie Favors

It's not often that I get a request for decorated cookies but on occasion, it does happen. When it does, I look forward to the change of pace and the ability to NOT have to stack and transport a cake. (If you've done it, you know how stressful it can be.)

Aside from the slew of bottles of different colored icing, in different consistencies, with different tips, AND finding royal icing in the most bizarre places for a week, it's a very enjoyable creative outlet.

These cookies were created for a Sweet Sixteen as the party favors for my client's daughter. She was celebrating with a Tropical Luau Themed Event. With that in mind, they asked for hibiscus cookies.

Since I don't have a Hibiscus Cutter, I took a star cutter and my pliers and made my own. Metal cookie cutters are a real blessing for that reason. They are inexpensive and easy to tweak.

My client called and e-mailed me to let me know how happy she and her daughter were with their cookies and sent a few photos of the Birthday Girl. I love happy endings...


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A fun way to share the news...

When my husband and I got pregnant we tried to come up with a clever way to let our parents know that they were going to be grandparents. It added to the excitement of the experience to try and surprise everyone around us with the news instead of just making phone calls and playing whisper down the lane.

With our 2nd child, it wasn't so much about being pregnant as it was about clever ways to let our friends and family know what we were having. You see, in this information age, news travels so very fast. If you want to be the one to tell people something, you kind of have to tell everyone all at once or between twitter, facebook, e-mail, text messaging, etc., someone is likely to steal your thunder. You tell 2 people and then when you go to tell the 3rd, they "already heard". Talk about anti-climactic.

The clients that ordered this cake definitely understand the value of a BIG REVEAL! They wanted to be the ones to let their friends and family know what the gender of their twins will be. So when I got the call for this order, I was given specific instructions that the shower coordinator would be providing the information on design and filling flavor. BUT the flavor of the cake would be the White Almond and the COLOR of the cake would be determined by a secret phone call from the mom after her Ultra Sound.

Mom was completely unaware of the design of the cake. All she knew, was whether or not the color of the cake would be pink, blue, or both. Even the closest family members and those planning the shower were unaware of the gender of the babies.

Each tier of cake represented one of the twins. So when they cut into the cake, the big secrets were revealed. Clever, Sneaky, and Fun!

And at the reveal.... two pink cakes! Congratulations on your twin baby girls Linda & Dan!


A Lion, a Monkey, & Bear... OH MY!

If you've hung around my blog for any length of time, you know I'm drawn to "cute" stuff. So this cake was right up my alley. The relatively simple although time consuming design was perfect compliment to the cute little critters that graced the top of the cake. The inspiration came from the party decorations and the little man's bedroom. The actual design of the animals was a combination of my imagination and some pictures I found online.

Please tell me I'm not the only one that finds these little critters adorable. Especially since I'm the one that sculpted them. I just love how precious they are and how sweet the little giraffe looks.

This is the smash cake (cake specifically for the 1 year old to "smash" as is tradition in most of the US) with a 1 and a little monkey on top. I'm particularly drawn to the expression on the monkey's face. It's almost as if he knows what the little hand coming toward him is about to do.

The bottom border of the cakes have these vertical stripes that were cut into 1" strips. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, although it was somewhat time consuming. I cut up the leftover strips of fondant to use as confetti.

In the end, I was able to deliver the cakes to a very happy mother who gave me a hug and said she would see me for Birthday #2. Success!

Friday, August 12, 2011

In the final hours...

It's the final hours of the Philly Hot List, Best Of Cakes competition and Truly Custom Cakery, LLC is vying for 1st place with another local caker. It's neck in neck and we need your vote to come out on top!

It takes just 30 seconds to cast your vote and we'd be honored if you would. Tell the Philadelphia area who your favorite cake shop is! Vote HERE!

Thanks in Advance and stay tuned for more cake photos! Also, don't forget, we've got tutorials and recipes posted on our website just for you! Including our Award Winning Chocolate Buttercream Recipe! See Recipes HERE.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

How'd you arrive at that number?

Setting a Budget for your Custom Cake...

Sometimes I get a phone call or an e-mail from a potential client inquiring on a cake. They have very specific ideas about what they want and have the cake designed in their head from top to bottom. They know the colors, accent pieces, sculpted pieces, flavors, and they know what they want to pay.

So when my client calls I have some questions that need answered so we can get down to business.

- What is the date of your event?

- How many servings of cake will you need?

- Do you have a design in mind?

- Do you require delivery?

- What is your budget?
I want to elaborate on this one. Some people think it's a trick question. But it's not. There are many techniques and materials that can be used to get from raw cake and filling to finished piece of edible art. I need to know how much money you want to spend so I can choose which methods to use to get to your finished product. I need to know how much detail to include, if I can use fancier techniques like poured sugar, hand sculpted pieces, or possibly even purchasing special tools for your project. Do I need to employ a carpenter to build a frame for your cake? It's all going to play into your quote and that is why your answer is so important.

So, when you tell me you want a cake to serve 60 people and you want it to defy gravity, you want specific detail pieces (about 30 of them), you want sparkle, you want your guests to go "WOW", and you only want to spend $300.00. I need to know, HOW did you arrive at that number?

Let's get the facts.

Those shops you see on TV have a minimum order for custom cakes. One has a minimum of $1,000. And it doesn't matter if you only want to feed 25 guests. One charges $100.00 just to sit down, taste some cake, and talk to them about your design. No finished cake included in that price. And the per serving cost of a fondant decorated cake usually STARTS at about $8.00 a serving. But more likely will cost you about $12.00 - $14.00 per serving because we already know you want WOW factor.

So let's break it down. 60 servings of cake. WOW FACTOR. Budget of $300.00. That's $5.00 per serving. Which is the base price at my shop for a fondant cake. You know, where we start. (Remember those TV guys start at about $8.00) So HOW did you determine your budget of $300.00?

Did you research what custom cakes cost before you got that number? Or, is it how much you have to spend, it's a number that "sounds good", and really, it's just Cake and Icing! Right?! Let's nip this one in the bud. If it was JUST Cake and Icing, you'd have gone to the Warehouse store and picked up a sheet cake. You don't want cake and icing. You want mouthwatering edible art! There's a difference. And creating a custom sculpted/carved/designed piece of art work, requires talent, experience, time, materials, and skill. And that cost money.

So before you "decide" on your budget. Do a little research. Make sure that your budget makes sense. Make sure you account for what you are asking for. And be honest with your cake designer when they want to know your budget.

You see, you might not be able to afford a Carved 3-D cake of your fiance's dog. BUT you could afford a smaller tiered cake with a sculpted topper that looks like his dog, Rusty. There's a difference of about $300.00 or more in those two cakes. So keep that in mind. If your budget isn't reasonable for what you requested, ask your designer HOW you can still match your theme but get closer to the budget. And don't be offended if they tell you that you can't afford a custom cake. It's okay. I know I can't afford a Mercedes. I just buy the car I can afford. I don't try to tell the Mercedes dealer that he HAS to change the price of the car because I only have $15,000 to spend. He'd laugh at me.

So when you figure out your budget, make sure it is backed by a little research. AND make sure that the shop you choose has a gallery of photos that show they can pull of what you are asking. Don't be disappointed in the end because you didn't research in the beginning.

And have fun with it! Custom Cakes can truly be the centerpiece of your event. And considering it's art that you are paying for, they should be!


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Retirement Cake

This is a Retirement Cake that was made for an Obstetrics Doctor in Burlington, NJ. I had fun creating all the tiny details for this cake. From the design on the mother's hospital gown to the forceps on the table, each piece was made with care.

To get a closer look at each photo, just click on it and a larger image will pop up. Click your back button to go back to the original post.

My husband told me that the only problem with this cake is that the mother looks WAY too good for just having delivered a baby. ha ha ha He's right you know... but really, who wants to see the ugly side. We'll call this the romanticized version of baby delivery. *wink*


Summer Cake Projects... Playing Catch Up!

So here's the proof that I really have been working this summer. Lots of cakes that should have been posted on a weekly basis and never were. Sorry about that. Thanks for hanging in there and checking back for new posts even when they weren't materializing!

So here they are, in no specific order.

A 30th Birthday Cake in the shape of a Juicy Couture Purse. It's a Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Filling. The emblem on the side of the cake was custom designed and printed on Edible Image Paper. The Client was thrilled as was his wife who cried when she saw her cake. I love hearing that sort of thing. It makes the chaos that much more rewarding.

This is a homestyle iced wedding cake that was created for a wedding at The Lambertville Station. The flowers were added by the florist after the cake was delivered so I never got to see the finished cake. But I do love the simple elegance of this style of buttercream cake. There are so many possibilities. This was a pound cake with our Award Winning Chocolate Buttercream filling. YUMMY!

Another Buttercream Wedding Cake also done for the Inn at Lambertville Station. This was a Vanilla Cake with Vanilla Buttercream Filling. It's iced in buttercream and decorated with a Chantilly Lace Design and Black Ribbon. The flowers were added on site with this cake as well.

This is a Philly Sports Theme Birthday Cake for a client's son. It's a Dark Chocolate Cake with our own Award Winning Chocolate Buttercream Filling. YUMMY! The pictures on the side of the cake are edible images.

This cake was ordered with our Summer Special. It's a Bey Blade theme cake for a little guys Birthday. Mom paid for the Bey Blade tops to put on the top of the cake and the cake was designed to coordinate with the theme. The tiers are vanilla with our Award Winning Chocolate Buttercream filling and Double Chocolate Cake with Cookies & Cream filling.

Stay tuned more posts coming soon with more cake pics!!! :)


Monday, August 8, 2011

Yep... I've been slacking!

OOPS! Time certainly got away from me. It seems I've been having too much fun being a mom this summer and I have let my blog fall by the wayside. Not that I haven't been working, because I have. But I've spent a lot less time in front of this electronic time warp machine since the kids got out of school. It's been good though. Sometimes, we need to step back to gain a little perspective. And leave it to my 6 year old to continually remind me that he is on VACATION and if I work too much, it cramps his style. ha ha ha

So where have I been? Actually not far. Mostly in my backyard. See, last year my wonderful husband dug us a pond out back while he had an excavator on rental for some re-grading. So now we have a little backyard escape that we LOVE! Here's a sneak peak for ya!

I've had some fun taking photos of the critters that hang out and visit. Just this past week we discovered a pile of frog eggs. It's like having a science classroom in the backyard for the boys. They love it! And I have to admit, I do too. So much in fact that we have a fish tank in the house, a pond in the backyard, and this summer we built a small waterfall & pond in the front yard. What can I say? It's a sickness...

But like I said, I have been working. So stay tuned. Because I'm going to share my projects really soon! In the meantime, enjoy what's left of your summer and don't forget to take a little time to bake something sweet!