I’ve been waiting to post this cake because the tutorial for it was being published in the July 2014 ICES Newsletter. The newsletter has just been released so I’m happy to share the cake with you now!
All too often, adults don’t celebrate their birthdays with cake. This is a big problem (at least if you ask us)! But when we adults do celebrate, we celebrate in a big way! 30th, 40th, and 50th birthdays are huge!
We recently sat down with Brenda to design her own 50th birthday cake. She hadn’t had a birthday party in…well, a loooooooong time…so she fully sketched out her cake before we even met to design it!
She wanted fun, funky, colorful, and sparkly! And here’s what she got:
Minnie Mouse is all the rage with toddler girls! And the pink and black birthday parties are so cute!
One of Mel’s daughter’s friends turned 2 recently with a Minnie Mouse-themed party. They gave Mel full artistic license to design Gianna’s cake and here’s what she came up with:
We are proud supporters of Icing Smiles, a nonprofit organization that provides custom celebration cakes and other treats to families impacted by the critical illness of a child. Basically, a family applies to receive a special celebration cake, and bakers volunteer to do the cake for FREE! It’s really an amazing program – especially considering how many bakers willingly devote their time and resources to make others smile.
We have had the opportunity to bake 2 cakes for Icing Smiles and the most recent one was for an Hungry Caterpillar party. Fun! The family asked for vanilla cake with strawberry cream filling, but left the design completely up to us. Here’s what we created for baby Eleanor who was turning 1:
In early August, Melanie shut down the bakery, loaded up the car, and headed to Kentucky to take a rigorous 8-hour skills exam called the Certification Exam. The exam is hosted by the International Cake Exploration Society (ICES) in an effort to encourage its members to “develop their talents in the sugar arts, acquire new sugar art skills, and strive for excellence in cake decorating.” The candidates are vying for the prestigious titles of Certified Master Sugar Artist (CMSA) or Certified Sugar Artist, but the process doesn’t start when the clock starts…no, no…it starts at least 1 year prior to the exam!
Over a year ago, Melanie registered to take the exam in Kentucky, and over the last 8 months, she has been perfecting her “Plan” for the exam. Each candidate has to carefully plan which skills they will perform during the exam, where the skills will be placed on the display pieces, etc. It doesn’t sound very difficult, but don’t underestimate the trickery involved with choosing your 8 best skills and incorporating them into an aesthetic cake design. There is a fine balance between showing your talent and going way overboard (and wasting time) too.
The candidates must write up their plan and submit it to the adjudicators for approval. While the adjudicators are there to help the candidates, they can only do so much. During the approval process, they help ensure the candidates are following all the rules so they are not disqualified and offer some advice where they can. But they can not tell from a drawing and description if the work displayed will be up to CMSA standards or not have quite enough detail for certification to be awarded. That, my friends, is up to the candidate.
So when August finally arrives, the candidates have practiced and thought the exam through until they can do their skills with their eyes closed (or at least, that’s the ideal situation). They load their vehicles and head to the exam location, which moves each year.
Melanie, her husband Adam, and their 4-month-old baby Hailee drove the 12 hours to Lexington, KY and arrived one day prior to the exam. These are the cakes Melanie created during the exam:
99% of the time, we sit down with the bride and/or groom to design their wedding cake from the inside (flavors), out (decorations). However, we are sometimes contacted by out-of-town brides and design the cake via email or phone conversations.
In July, Ashley and Juan drove from Georgia to get married in St. Petersburg. The reception was held at the Parkshore Grill, and Ashley asked us to create her wedding cake. She sent us a photo of a cake she liked and some samples of her wedding colors, and we took it from there!
Who doesn’t love a fairy tale frog & princess theme for a little girl’s birthday party??? Kate’s Mommy gave us free reign to decorate the cake however we wanted so Mel iced the cake in two different shades of pink buttercream. The cake was topped with an edible tiara, and an edible star wand sat in front of the cake.
We know we’ve said this before, but we love when someone comes to us with a clear vision of what they want their cake to look like. Then again….we also like when a person gives us complete artistic freedom make the cake look “awesome.” So I guess it can go either way! But this time, Mikayla was turning 8 and knew exactly what she wanted.
She sent us a picture of a cake she liked:
(Note, this is not our cake. We are not sure where this cake was made. If you know, tell us so we can properly credit the artist.)
Cute, huh?! But it’s no fun to just copy someone else’s cake so we asked Mikayla how she wanted to personalize it. She decided to add a teal hair bow, a pearl necklace, some teal shoes, and her name written in the mud. So creative!
“Oinkity oink oink oink!!!” Oh, you don’t speak Piggy? How about Pig Latin? “Appy-hay irthday-bay, ikayla-may!”
Last year, we made Eva’s 1st birthday cake with zebra print and whimsical, brightly colored flowers. So we knew when Eva’s Mom contacted us for her 2nd birthday cake, it would be another fun one!
This year, they wanted a cake that centered around the Yo Gabba Gabba TV show on Nick Jr. Mel watched a few episodes for “research.” That is one silly, off-the-wall show…
This is the cake Mel and Eva’s Mom designed together: Continue reading