Friday, May 20, 2011

Dear Cake Wrecks,

O.K., "cake wreck" might not be the first thing that comes to your mind looking at this picture, but, the sight of it UPTURNED & ON THE FLOOR, (tiny little limbs and heads strewn about)...and Cake Wreck is what I see.

It was just too heavy for me to get from a table to the low-to-the-ground utility cart by myself. The only other person on hand was my 6 year old son, who watched the cake tumble over, and having seen one or two cake shows in his day, immediately tried to make it OK by telling me a story of a man who dropped a ten foot cake.
"This happens to everyone", he assured me, as he continued with his 10 foot cake tale.

The 16" super-sized Apple was made for our super amazing and talented Teachers & Staff at our school for Staff Appreciation day. How can you ever thank these guys enough? HOW DO THEY DO IT?
After the fall:

A big hole of fondant ripped out of the top, and of course, the little people were the big casulties. After a few repairs, a slightly bruised apple.
Apples are a classic symbol of teachers, of gratitude, and of knowledge, (unless, of course you're Snow White, or Adam & Eve then there's that whole other thing.)
According to Yahoo Answers, (and this must be true because I found it on the internet... but even if it is not, I kind of like it, an imagine a few teachers might as well) : People associate apples with teachers is the tradition from the 16th century until 18th century in various countries including Denmark and America, in which parents pay educators with foods like fruits. During this time, teachers do not receive enough salary to sustain the cost of living in their places. To help them with their basic needs, parents give the teachers of their children potatoes and apples. During these centuries, apples are considered special and expensive because these fruits are difficult to plant, cultivate and harvest. To compensate the efforts of educators and to make them feel special, parents pay them with different varieties of the fruit.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Snips and Snails...and a Leo Lionni inspired Baby Shower Cake

I often have a hard time thinking of a GOOD solid idea for a baby shower cake. My soon-to-be-mom friend Daphne had recently learned that she was going to have a boy, and she was trying to wrap her head around just what it would mean to have a "boy". The "What are little boys made of", nursery rhyme came to mind.

And as I thought of Snips and Snails... the wonderful children's book, The Biggest House in the World By Leo Lionni popped into my head. (In a fable within a fable, a wise snail convinces his son that a small, easy-to-carry shell might be better than the biggest house in the world for a life of adventure and exploration.)

Now, I admit, I don't think they'll be a run on "snips" or "snigs" cakes any time soon, but as part of a little trio of cakes, they were quite welcome story tellers.

In the earliest known versions, the first ingredient for boys is either "snips" or "snigs",
the latter being a Cumbrian dialect word for a small eel.
What are little boys made of made of
What are little boys made of
Snips & snails & puppy dogs tails
And such are little boys made of.
What are young women made of, &c
Sugar & spice & all things nice[1]

Sunday, May 1, 2011

My Moment with Martha and Darcy

OK, OK, I know, I admit it--- I am WAY too excited about getting to be on the Martha Stewart show. May I just say, I've always wished I could to do something with Martha.
Martha Stewart, Kate Sullivan and Darcy Miller. Photo by David Russell /The Martha Stewart Show
In 1996 I got an assignment from the the New York Times Magazine, to do a cake-portrait of Martha Stewart for a special "Heroine Worship" issue. My first thought was, "Great! I'll do a really nice cake, Martha will see it, love it, and the rest will be history."

Little did I know, that the article would be entitled---wait for it----
Public Enemy No. 1, and it would be about people who love to hate Martha. Who knew?! (So much for the love connection.)

Inspiration for puppy cupcake designs, super adorable doggy (favor) bags designed by Darcy Miller.

OK, so fast forward to now : ) Just before Christmas this year, I got a call from Martha Stewart Weddings' Editorial Director, Darcy Miller
to make cupcakes for her daughter Pippa's puppy themed birthday party---which might be featured later in a show.
Darcy has been nothing short of amazing in her unwavering enthusiasm and warmth from the moment we met.
Here a little behind-the-scenes: A final pup-cake-pop head-count before we leave the house.

A quick run through on the set with our segment producer, Courtney and the crew. ✩ This show really does operate like a well-oiled machine.

Getting things ready on set with Chef Anthony.

...on to hair and make-up!

Martha on the set before the audience arrives. She really lights up around Darcy's kids.

The cupcake recipe

preparing for the pet segment of the show.

Most of these photos were taken on an iphone by my very very above-and-beyond supportive friend ❤ Patti, who stayed up all night with me to finish the 200 cake-pops for everyone in the studio audience, and then helped pack and get everything to the studio. *Click here to see a great clip of a wonderfully '80's style Martha Stewart, presenting a Patti Paige wedding cake in 1987, when barely anyone even knew what a custom cake design was yet.

Joey Kola from Martha Stewart Show, decked out in puppy ears.

...and then a puppy party of our own, back home with some friends.

and the rest, at least at our history.