stomping at the savoy

every now and then i get an opportunity to run free and wild. last week back in october (see how long ago i started this post. smh. i've got to write more often!) i had the great pleasure of creating a display cake for the pi alpha omega chapter of alpha kappa alpha. they were having their annual fundraising dinner and dance benefiting their ivy and roses scholarship fund. last year the theme was motown...

this year the theme was the harlem renaissance. there's SO much from that era, but i was totally inspired by the glamour, the glitz and the bling ( i swear this year i am going to retire that word!), as well as the art deco architecture and design. i kept thinking about the cotton club and the savoy ballroom, so this is what i came up with[gallery link="file" columns="2"]

woo hoo!

so i don't usually use phrases like woo hoo! but i think that what i'm about to say warrants such exclamation. i am borrowing the phrase from my friend karin over at this wife bakes because it is so apropos. wait for it.... one of my cakes will be appearing in the april edition of get married! magazine. world cake domination here i come (rubbing my hands together in glee!, minus the maniacal laughing)! so in approximately 3 weeks you'll be able to get your hands on a copy at barnes & noble, target, cvs, walgreens, kmart, books a million, kroger, & borders. you thought i was joking about the world domination... nope!

i suppose you want to know what the cake looks like... i'll never tell (singing in that creep voice like the girl from that movie)! i wouldn't want to spoil the surprise... i will say this; think french country meets morocco meets new orleans - turquoise, red, silver and fleur-de-lis. that's the only preview you'll get!

i've BEEN ready for my close-up

so i said i'd keep you posted on when and where my get married! interview would air... there have been lots of changes and big things happening. get married! has switched stations and is now aired on WEtv, every saturday morning at 9:30am, and has a new format and host, founder stacie francombe. so with all the flux and frenzy, my interview (or at least a piece of it) has found a new home on www.getmarried.com being no stranger to the world of hollywood (smile) i knew that my 20 minute interview had the potential to be come 2 seconds after a visit to the editing room. the fates were with me, because after cutting and cutting, there's a fabulous 20 seconds of me in Cakes 101. brides and brides-to-be, please tune in for great advice about how to choose your wedding cake baker, find inspiration, and put plenty of your personality into your wedding cake. enjoy! here's the link! Cakes 101 on www.getmarried.com

NOT the next food network star

of course it's been months since i auditioned for the next food network star, and i promised to fill everyone in on exactly what happened. i was holding out for a last minute call from executives saying that they wanted me, nay, needed me and my cake to save the food network. sooo 3 months later, i've decided to no longer hold out for an eleventh hour request, and will instead spill the beans. so during my 4 minute interview (after a 4 hour wait, a 7 page application, & hours upon hours determining what outfit was appropriate to wear for a tv audition), i was asked my name, what i do, why i want to be on food network, what would my show be about and how it would be different than other shows currently on food network. that's it. no requests to whip up a dish using seaweed, hot peppers and jelly beans; no tap dancing. bobby flay did not walk into the room and challenge me to bake a better cake than him. they didn't even ask me what ingredient i would be. i was so prepared to tell them all about why i am like butter (i make everything better. i am smooth. sweet (most of the time). i am simple yet complex. wink. and i can transform the most basic ingredients into something rich, yummy, delectable and extraordinary, like rich chocolate cake, or buttercream icing)

i suppose they knew what they were looking for and how to find it in 4 minutes or less. oh well. more fabulous things await. i just have to wait for the fabulousness to arrive!

can you stand the rain?

for those of you who don't know, it's been raining in georgia for forever! fine. it hasn't been raining forever, it's been raining for two weeks. so let me first say, i am thankful that my friends and family are safe and dry, and also that i'm praying for those who have lost their homes due to the horrible flooding. for those of you who've been following us on facebook, we were to have a booth last saturday at the caribbean cook-off, selling jamaican desserts and other cakes and sweets.  let's see how that went shall we?

sad soggy crumbs

as you can see, it was wet. everything was wet - me, my husband, and boxes and boxes of cake (not the cake, just the boxes).

we tried to "keep hope alive" that it would stop, and for the most part, we were quite cheerful. see! 

happy hubby thumbs up the cuz and the hus

(that's the hubby, me and the hubby and the cousin)

eventually the organizers had to call the event due to the weather, so it was back home with all.that.cake. sigh. we managed to sell some 1/2 price, and give away a lot to very grateful friends and neighbors. my mom is such a saint that she's been eating all the rest for breakfast, lunch and dinner so that it doesn't go to waste. let's just say that it was quite an adventure.

the next food network star!

every now and then you need a little push to step outside of your comfort zone - a kick in the pants if you will. i got one on thursday. actually it was a big push. my cousin called me and asked what i would be doing on monday. i had a few things on my list - mostly errand running, but i was going to be busy. she informed me that i was not, because she and i would be going to the atlanta open casting call for the next food network star, with me auditioning for the role of star. i wasn't so sure about that - i mean really, me on reality tv? my cuz was not going to let me off that easy, and with some persuasion she convinced me to consider it. so i went online and downloaded the application. i mean, how hard could it be? hard. turns out it was a really long application - 7 pages of questions like "if you could be an ingredient, what ingredient would you be and why?". special thanks for all the suggestions. sorry tish - i didn't go for saffron, even though it's yellow and sexy and exotic. i figured it needed to be an ingredient i actually use, so i picked something baking related. i will fill you all in on my ingredient of choice later. if i get started on a tangent i'll never remember what i was talking about. back to the application. so after 3 attempts at the app over the weekend (lots of tech issues), i finally finished it this a.m. at 8, picked up the cuz and dashed over the the w hotel midtown (which is fabulous by the way, and you know how i love fabulous) and proceeded to wait, and  wait, and wait to register, and then wait, and wait, and wait to be interviewed. all in all i waited over 4 hours for a 4 minute interview. not bad for a day's work right? despite the wait, i was definitely not bored. i like to people watch, and there were lots of people to watch. probably about 400 all together. there were very serious culinary folks in full chef regalia - jackets and pants, aprons and crocs. other artsy types with tattoos and piercings, professionals with suit and tie, and fashionistas and one beefcake with professional headshots, portfolios and fabulous walks. as you're standing on line with all the other hopefuls, you can tell who's got the jitters, and who feels really confident. which one do you think i was? hmmm...

thanks to all the friends and fans who sent well wishes and prayers my way. i know the question of the hour is what happened, when will you know if you MADE it?!  the lovely casting producer told me that we will all find out within 24-48 hours. so when i know, you'll know!! oh and i know everyone wants to know what they asked me during the very extensive 4 minute interview, but i have to save something for later! so when i find out my food network fate, i promise i will spill the rest of the beans.

and to my friend jo who asked the most important question of the day - what are you wearing? - that's why i love you! your priorities are always in order. fashion first; everything else comes after!

recovering

i understand the concept of a weekend. time off after a busy week. believe me; i get it. but why are all celebrations on the weekend? i challenge you to throw off the chains of tradition, and have your birthday cake on a tuesday. baptize on a wednesday. get married on a thursday! i say this because last weekend was very crazy. 25th birthday cupcakes (waiting on pics from the b-day girl), a fashion show/tea party for two sisters, teenage mutant ninja turtle cupcakes, and a very pretty 80th birthday cake. all for friday, saturday and sunday. i'm still tired and it's a week later!  spot of tea  lipstick  ninja turtle  ninja turtles  maisie's 80th b-day

lest you think i'm complaining, let me assure you, i am not. i just think we should spread the cake love around. don't you think the other days of the week feel lonely and underappreciated and underutilized? i do.

choosing your wedding cake maker

in all the preparation for your wedding, cake is probably not the first thing you think about. it's ok. i was a bride too. i was much more interested in the dress, the hall, the food, the favors, and impending wifehood. of course i wasn't worried about the cake since i knew my mom and i would be making it! you probably won't be baking your own cake, but when you do get around to thinking about it, you'll probably be a little overwhelmed. who knew how many different types of cakes and fillings and frostings were out there! you're probably also wondering if you can't just run out to your local grocery store for a cake. or if you even have to have a wedding cake. i've got a couple of tips to make choosing your cake and baker easier.

  1. get a referral -  the best way to find a cake artist is to ask a friend or wedding professional. they will have had the opportunity to work closely with a specific designer and taste the cake. they will know if they are reliable and easy to work with. once you've met the designer, ask if you can speak with past customers. if they balk, then walk.
  2. get a good look - ask to see a portfolio. be sure that the pictures in their portfolio are actually pictures of their work. not everyone is honest. it's even better if they have a website so that you can see pictures before you schedule a consultation, that way you can see if their style matches yours. you don't want to waste your time or theirs'.
  3. get a taste - cake is only as good as it tastes. it doesn't matter how pretty it is if it tastes like cardboard. if a baker refuses to do a tasting, keep it moving. the only exception to this is if you order the cake the week of your wedding (stranger things have happened). at that point you are at the baker's mercy! (smile)

hope these tips are enough to get you started. keep checking for more tips!

piece of cake redux!

i am a glutton for punishment, a sadomasochist. that is why 2 weeks after sending steve and shonika's cake to ny, i agreed to send yet another cake to ny for my friend's mom's retirement party. first by plane, now by car!so thursday evening rob came by to pick up the cake to drive from atlanta to ny....i think this one had me more panicked than the wedding cake. well i think all went well since i didn't get any phone calls from a freaked-out rob...

so here's the story behind the cake. rob's mom has been an educator for over 30 years, so the theme of the party was connected to a quote from nelson mandela - "education is the most powerful weapon we have to change the world", you have provided that weapon for years, now the world is yours! rob and his bro gave mom 2 round trip tickets to go anywhere she wants. how cool is that! she's also really involved in her church sorority and family, so i incorporated words that reflected her interests and relationships. i think it came out really well. i don't often do dainty pretty cakes; so much of what i do is very graphic and bright, so this was a welcome change. [gallery]

piece of cake!

yeah, so anyone who has every delivered precious cargo knows how scary it can be. i'm sure you're all thinking about your cute precious babies, and no doubt they're cute, and precious, but you've got all sorts of contraptions to keep them safe and whole. imagine cake. well not just cake, but someone's dreams, expectations, and happy moments, all wrapped up in very fragile, delicate sugar. not fun. downright terrifying.  since i like to live on the edge, not only do i deliver cake in the metro atlanta area, battling traffic on the downtown connector, and 285, i volunteer to take and send cakes out of state and out of the country. this time - new york, for my friends' wedding. i couldn't go and so a deep sense of guilt prodded me to say - "no problem, i can just send the cake with my dear husband; on the airplane. no biggie."

so after a couple of weeks of panic and planning, i shipped the cake stand by mail, and then the cake (and groom's cake) via airtran airways, from atlanta, ga to queens, ny. and you know what? it arrived, in one piece, safe and sound without so much as a fingerprint. wanna see how i did it?

[gallery]

i'm ready for my close-up!

today has been very exciting!  i was interviewed for the show get married with colin cowie for their upcoming season. we talked about all things cake including trends in wedding cakes, incorporting personal touches to your cake/decor, staying on budget, and lots of other things you'll have to watch the show to find out about. of course i spent lots of time making sure that i looked fabulous... thank god for mac makeup and spanx! hopefully all of the effort was worth it and the camera only added 10lbs instead of 20. oh well, you know what they say " never trust a skinny cook (or baker)"!

i'll keep you posted about when the show will air. i'm crazy excited about my television debut and all the opportunities to follow.

it's the dress!

so a few months ago i saw this romona keveza gown. i thought it was so sophisticated and sexy, untraditional yet still looks very much like a wedding dress, and thought that if i had that kind of $$ i might have worn something like it for my own wedding.romona keveza gown001 well what's a girl to do when she's already married, and her husband refuses to have another wedding just so she can wear a fabulous dress and have a great party? make it in cake! keveza cakebrides, listen up; you can have your dream dress and eat it too! talk to your cake designer (which of course would be me unless you live in some really remote part of the world like siberia) about incorporating aspects of your dress into your cake. there are ways to replicate just about anything in icing and sugar - pearls, beading, lace... the possibilities are limitless.

this is how the magic happens!

i get lots of questions about how i do what i do. usually my response goes something like this..."if i tell you, i'll have to kill you." this is said in a very ominous and threatening voice. for some reason though, nobody seems to think that i'll follow through on my threats. oh well. today i've decided to share some of the magic that happens when i'm decorating a cake. there's a point in the middle where the cake looks like a hot mess, and i wonder if i'm actually going to pull off what i promised the customer, and i'm full of doubt and self-loathing.  but i give it a few more minutes (or hours) and then it's like, what was i ever worried about! these are some of the pics from my sexy betty boop cake while i was making betty. i will say that i had to remake betty's legs about 3 times before i got it right (they kept breaking). the whole thing is made out of gumpaste and fondant with toothpicks and bamboo skewers for support. she turned out pretty cute if i do say so myself!

betty boop montage

so much pressure!

thus begins my foray into the world of blogging. i'm sure i'll eventually find something profound to say, but in the meantime... hooray cake! so my loosely formulated plan is to talk to all of the cake groupies out there every now and then, and to  share my thoughts and  experiences creating cakes.