Tuesday, November 1, 2011

If the shoe fits... EAT IT!

I love how conversations start for cakes like these...

"Hi, we're having a birthday party for my daughter, and we'd like you to make the cake. Can you make a high heel?"

"Sure thing. How big do you need it?"

"Enough to feed 150 people, and we'd like it to match her dress. I'll have her send you a picture."

This time we had more time to plan and prepare. :)

I met with the the mother and daughter in their home with cameras rolling. We'd already had a pretty good idea what we were looking for because I'd done some lengthy research on high heels, their construction, etc. I found a nice designer high heel with a red sole (I'm told those are pretty pricey) and started sketching designs for supports. We knew we were going to "fill in" the shoe so that there was enough cake for everyone.

During the meeting, they came up with some pretty rockin' ideas for the shoe. Fuchsia to match the dress, lots of sparkle, edible diamonds in the silver leaf of the design, silver soles, and a personalized "brand" name for Hope.

After conversing with my father (a.k.a. the carpentry guru for That Little Cake Place) we designed and constructed the "skeleton" of the shoe. This was started on Monday night and completed on Tuesday.

We added green Styrofoam under the angled portion and sculpted it to give us the ball and heel shape of the shoe.

I started baking Monday night with the help of my sous chefs. We baked 4 half-sheet cakes in vanilla flavor Monday, baked 2 additional half-sheets on Tuesday, and made all of the pink cream cheese icing. Wednesday evening I started putting together the cake and realized that we hadn't baked enough, so I did an emergency baking session Thursday morning before I went to work.

While I finished putting the cake together and covering it with icing, my assistant, Amy, tinted the other half of the fondant fuchsia.

With the sole and insole covered with gray fondant that will be painted silver later, and some fuchsia on the toe.

Completely covered in fondant.

The following are "finished" shots on my kitchen counter. I'll admit the lighting isn't all that great so you can't see the true color, but you get the idea. We covered the entire cake in pink cake sparkles to make it look like a sequined shoe, put the silver leaf pattern on and added clear edible diamonds for emphasis.

You can barely see it, but there are fuchsia edible diamonds around the top edge of the shoe. Here is Hope's "brand" on the insole.

And more various angles for your viewing pleasure...

And here it is at the venue. There was better lighting there, as you can tell...
There were also lights built into the board so that when the lights were dimmed, they shone on the cake and made it sparkle. When Amy and I delivered the cake at 2 p.m. Friday, it was just us and the film crew. They added the sticky notes to make sure no one would touch the cake, mistaking it for a non-edible center piece.

In speaking with Hope's mother later on, she said no one believed it was cake until they cut it. That's the kind of compliment that makes my day and gives me a warm fuzzy feeling about what I'm doing.

Happy birthday, Hope!

Monday, October 3, 2011

And Then There Was Cake!

Hubby and I did the home inspection on our new house Wednesday morning. We're closing on 10/28 (yay!!!) and I'm very excited. I got a call on my cell phone towards the end of the inspection, so I left Hubby with the inspector and took the call.

"We'd like you to do a cake for our baby shower."

"OK, sure.

"It will be on the baby shower is being filmed for a TLC documentary, so you'll probably want to step it up a notch."

(gulp) "OK, sure thing.

"We need it delivered on Sunday."

(in three days?!?! trying not to pass out) "OK. That doesn't leave much time, do you have time to meet today?"


I couldn't believe it. It wasn't just filming the event and the cake will just happen to be there. No, not that simple. They were filming the entire process... planning, preparations, setup, the works. About 2 hours after the call, I'm at the Holiday Inn in town talking to the crew from Firecracker Films about what's going on, why they are filming, what they are filming, and what I needed to do. They don't have a title yet, but it is about travelers (gypsies) and their celebrations in the USA.

This production is out of London, England, so they also had way cool accents.
So I meet with the ladies - Nettie (grandma-to-be) was throwing the shower for her daughter Dallas (5-1/2 months along and due to deliver about the time the show airs in January 2012), and had 2 other daughters (I'm not sure if the third was her daughter or a close relation) with her to help plan. We talked cake for about an hour with the camera rolling, pausing, asking questions, retaking to get a different point of view, a different reaction.

They wanted the cake to be BIG. LOTS of bling, sparkle, shine, shimmer, glitter. It had to be impressive. It had to have diamonds and lights. It had to be pink and purple, but not just any purple. It had to be a "SEXY purple". It had to be almost 4 feet tall. It had to feed 100 people. Yikes! They had a design in mind from the cover of the Wilton Yearbook and a vision.
With the side interviews done and payment arranged, I went to work planning.

I sketched my design...

I went late-night shopping at Michael's for bling and sparkle and other shiny supplies...

And that was Wednesday.

But what to do about the lights? In speaking with a co-worker (at my day job), he suggested lights from the auto department at Wal-mart. I found some rockin' directional LEDs that would bend into a circle for under each tier.

I picked up my apprentice cake decorator, Amy, on my way home from work Thursday, and we started making fondant decorations while the first cakes were baking. Hubby was very supportive and kept the kids out of our hair.

"Mommy is NOT here. Don't go in the kitchen."

4 dozen cupcakes and 1 GIANT cupcake done, fondant bits made, we ended at about 9:30 that evening and I took her home. I have 5 pounds of purple fondant, 5 pounds of pink fondant, and a tray of assorted molded, painted fondant bits on my counter.

Friday I got Amy on my way home again and we worked until I had to take her home at 9pm. We made more fondant bits, baked more cake, etc. After I got home, I was up again until 11:30 baking more cake.

Saturday morning while Hubby took the kiddos grocery shopping, I was making icing, crumb coating and chilling cake, and covering cake with fondant. Amy came over again to help me finish decorating the cakes, coating with sparkles, pearl dust, bobbles and bits until about 9:30 again until the decorating was done. I took her home, and then I started fabricating the boards, supports, stringing the lights, covering with that crazy glitter paper, and working the bottles. There's glitter EVERYWHERE! I'm still finding it on me, my husband, the counter, the floor, the cat. I can't get rid of it! It was a late night, and I finally went to bed at 1:30 am Sunday.

Sunday morning (later Sunday morning), I got up, loaded the back of the Explorer with the cake and assorted accessories (with the seats down, it took up all of the space from the driver's seat back), picked Amy up on my way, and went to the Holiday Inn to set up. The camera crew was waiting to film us. Oh, boy!

They filmed us unloading.

They filmed us setting up.

They filmed us fighting with the wires on the lights.

They filmed us adding bits to the cake.

They stopped filming when I had to make a last minute run to Sheetz to pick up two 9-volt batteries and some duct tape.

We managed 10 minutes of uninterrupted work time when I got back without cameras. :) And after a brief scare with the top lights and their functionality, we stepped away from the completed cake just in time for Nettie and company to walk in (film crew in tow) and see it.
They loved it, and this is what they saw...

(please ignore the kooky cake lady in the next picture)

I wish I could have gotten a picture of what the cake looked like with the lights dimmed. It was awesome. But they were filming, so I couldn't just whip out my camera. :(

This is a picture of Amy standing next to the cake for reference of how tall it was (almost 4 feet). I'm 5'10" and I had to REACH to get that top diamond on it.

It was the biggest, most complicated cake I've ever done. I'm glad it turned out so well and that they were pleased with it.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Cake Lady's Apprentice

Last night I had help from the ever talented Amy making cakes for Troop 163's Blue and Gold banquet. Did I mention that cake decorating seems to go faster when you have company to talk to, and even faster when you have help? Between the two of us, we had all of the cakes completed in 3 hours. By myself, I would have been up past midnight still working on them. :)

Here she is, posing with the completed cakes and sporting her very own "That Little Cake Place" t-shirt (made by TeeZerts... you can check them out here). After the banquet tonight, I'll post the actual pictures of the cakes online. Happy Caking!