Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween! -- and Last Day to Vote!

photos courtesy of On 3 Photography

Happy Halloween everyone! We're going the unconventional route for Halloween and rather than feature one of our Halloween themed cakes, I chose a wedding cake incorporating the color orange we made this month for our couple Holly and Paul. Holly and Paul flew in from Manhattan to have their tropical inspired wedding at one of the lushest, most tropical locations on the island, Moli'i Gardens on the Windward side of Oahu. You can probably tell from their cake that they had a Bird of Paradise motif at their wedding with dominant orange and green tones, but what made this wedding more unsual is that Holly and Paul, who are huge baseball fans wanted to incorporate their love of baseball and specifically their teams, NY Mets and the SF Giants into the wedding. We made custom handcrafted figures of Holly and Paul and as requested, put them in an outfit suitable for a baseball game -- jeans and t-shirt for Paul and jeans and an orange tank top for Holly. When we delivered their cake, we noticed the linen was blue (Mets, perhaps?) They chose a flavor that would be as striking on the inside as the cake was on the outside, our signature, Rainbowlicious flavor, and Strawberries Chantilly for the top tier. Holly and Paul's wedding was another gorgeous event designed by the team at Weddings by Grace & Mona . As we were leaving, we noticed vehicle after vehicle pulling into the location next door, and was told that LOST was there filming. As stated before on the blog, Rick and I are huge fans of LOST (can't wait for the new season!) and this made our already happy day even better.

Holly and Paul's wedding cake will be up on soon, along with many other new cakes done in the past month.

** This is it. Last day to vote, folks. You decide our December Featured Wedding couple and so far it's looking like Leslie and Sam, Couple #4 will have their wedding featured on Please vote by adding the number and name of the couple you would like to be Featured in the Comments section. If you are reading this via a subscriber such as Google reader, you'll need to visit the blog directly to vote. The nominees are:

#1: Renata and Rocky
#2: Jennifer and Andy
#3: Karla and Jason
#4: Leslie and Sam
#5: Reiko and Jason

To cast your vote, and "meet" our couples, visit this link:

Thank you to everyone who has participated by voting.

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Day for the Turtles

If you weren't on Oahu over the weekend, you sure didn't miss much. It was the first weekend in ages where it poured rain all day Saturday and Sunday. Usually, if it's raining in Kailua where cakelava is based, we drive elsewhere on the island and it's perfectly sunny. On Saturday we took an hour and fifteen minute drive in the rain out to the North Shore to deliver our clients Janet and Todd's turtle/ocean themed wedding cake. It was still raining when we got there and our couple had decided to move forward with their outdoor wedding at Turtle Bay Resort. I cannot think of a more appropriate venue for a wedding with a turtle motif, and the staff at Turtle Bay seemed to think so too. For Janet and Todd's wedding cake, we chose a cream fondant base color with fern green turtles and "Aegean" blue wave pattern. It turned out very cute, even if the weather was no day at the beach. They chose our Rainbowlicious and Hawaii Five-0 flavors, rather than the obvious match, Totally Turtle. This was a wedding in Hawaii afterall. When we arrived, the guests tables were being set up and we took the photos below, because it tied in so well with their turtle/beach theme.

On our drive back to our studio, I was thinking of Janet and Todd and hope they had a wonderful wedding despite the rain. We'd like to wish them the best on their new life together and a safe flight back to San Diego.

See Janet and Todd's wedding cake and many other recent new cakes on coming soon!

** Update on our December Featured Wedding couple. Couple #4 Leslie and Sam are your current favorites, but we are accepting votes through October 31st. Please vote by adding the number and name of the couple you would like to be Featured in the Comments section. If you are reading this via a subscriber such as Google reader, you'll need to visit the blog directly to vote. The nominees are:

#1: Renata and Rocky
#2: Jennifer and Andy
#3: Karla and Jason
#4: Leslie and Sam
#5: Reiko and Jason

To cast your vote, and "meet" our couples, visit this link:


Monday, October 27, 2008

The Cake Cutting Papparazzi

Photo courtesy of Visionari

Nestled amongst the images provided to us by Visionari of Reiko and Jason's wedding, was this one, which Rick and I absolutely fell in love with. It's fantastic! We're purposely keeping the rest of this cake a surprise because Reiko and Jason are one of our nominees for our December Featured Wedding on If you haven't cast your vote, you have until Friday to choose which of our 5 nominated couples you would like us to feature in December. Please vote by adding the number and name of the couple you would like to be Featured in the Comments section. If you are reading this via a subscriber such as Google reader, you'll need to visit the blog directly to vote. The nominees are:

#1: Renata and Rocky
#2: Jennifer and Andy
#3: Karla and Jason
#4: Leslie and Sam
#5: Reiko and Jason

To cast your vote, and "meet" our couples, visit this link:


Friday, October 24, 2008

cakelava Interviews: Joan Spitler of Cake Divas, Pt. 2

All photos courtesy of Cake Divas

More Adventures in Diva-land. Pt. 2 of our interview.
Click here to see Pt. 1.

Sasha Reichart: It’s been fun for Rick and I to watch you and Leigh on TV. We’ve noticed the staff has grown. How many employees currently work at Cake Divas?

Joan Spitler: We currently have a staff of 12 in addition to the 2 of us.

Sasha Reichart: 12 is a pretty large staff. What was your hairiest experience with a cake?

Joan Spitler: To this day I remember Leigh and I having to carry a seven tier wedding cake up 5 flights of uneven steps made of slate rock on a hot summer day! Also, assembling a 5 tier wedding cake in the center of a large courtyard water fountain was fun.

SR: Most difficult cake to make and why?

JS: The most difficult cake we made was a full size replica of a room with actual life size furniture in it. The walls, the floor, bed, nightstands, computer desk, chairs, lamps etc… We had to make it in pieces, deliver it to Las Vegas, and assemble it on site. Wow.

SR: Wow is right! I'd love to see a photo of that. What other pastries besides cakes does Cake Divas offer?

JS: We do everything!

SR: [ by everything, Joan does mean everything! This is a 14' pumpkin pie made by Cake Divas. I'd love to know for what function. Where is the Guinness Book when you need them.]

SR: The half pink fondant, half ganache wedding cake you designed for Trista (Rehn, The Bachelorette) and Ryan was gorgeous! I recall when you and Rick worked on it, he was very excited about the cake. Tell us the story behind the design of the Bachelorette’s wedding cake.

JS: Everything in her wedding was pink, so Trista wanted to make half the cake all chocolate for Ryan, so he would have at least one masculine thing at the wedding!

SR: One of your signature designs is the famous “Vows” cake, which has the couple’s vows written all over it. How did you come up with the fabulous idea of the “Vows” cake, and what is the most unusual writing you’ve ever had to do on a cake?

JS: Cake design is truly collaborative. The Vows were Leigh’s idea. She met a couple that were both literature majors, and they really wanted something to reflect who they were. Their vows were a very important part of their ceremony. I loved the idea and ran with it.

SR: Have you ever been a participant in a Food Network Challenge? Is so, which one, and if not, would you and Leigh agree to do one if asked?

JS: We have been asked many times to be on Food Network Challenges, and declined. We are too busy to leave our business!

SR: Everyone I ask this next question to has a love-hate relationship with it. What are your top 3 favorite cakes you’ve made?

JS: #1 my cake dress! I made a gigantic cake that I wore in an art gallery. At the end of the evening I served myself.

SR: How fun! I love it!

JS: #2 a 10 foot cake that nearly touched the ceiling covered in beautiful detail –lots of sugar work, filigree, and all of that old school cake design work that takes forever-fabulous!

SR: Oh my goodness! 10 feet. That must have been so labor intensive. Fantastic!

JS: #3 The cake we made for the Dalai Lama

SR: [Joan didn't have a photo of that cake, but I'm sure it was amazing!] How do you and Leigh unwind when you aren’t making cakes?

JS: We love watching movies , making art, and seeing friends.

SR: What’s next for Cake Divas?

JS: We have some television opportunities in the works. We’re presently designing cakes for a movie set. Things change so quickly in L.A. that we’re always busy, with lots going on and many new adventures await us.

SR: I have no doubt that whatever you do next will make a huge splash!

END, Pt. 2.

** In our next interview I'm chatting with Elisa Strauss of Confetti Cakes in NYC. Elisa and Confetti Cakes have made a huge name for themselves in New York and across the country, and she's anxious to share her stories and latest news with our readers. Coincidentally the date of our interview, November 5th, is also the release date of Elisa's new book! In these next couple weeks, check out the Confetti Cakes website and blog to see examples of her amazing work!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

cakelava Interviews: Joan Spitler of Cake Divas, Pt. 1

All photos courtesy of Cake Divas

Rick and I have known L.A. cake designer Joan Spitler of Cake Divas and her partner Leigh Grode for 6 years. Joan was the last person Rick and I saw before moving to Hawaii to open cakelava -- she drove us and our dog Mikey to the L.A. airport. Cake Divas was only 4 years old at the time Rick started working there and had already made a huge name for itself in L.A. Thousands of cakes and countless magazines, celebrity functions, television shows and public appearances later, they are practically a household name and will be celebrating their 10-year anniversary this month.

I’ve been looking forward to interviewing Joan ever since our series began. I knew with her fun, outrageous, design-without-limits approach to cake design that she would make a perfect interviewee, full of interesting stories and experiences. On a personal level, Joan is an absolute sweetheart and we love her to death. She is warm and genuine, she would do just about anything for you and she has a great energy. She and Leigh and the rest of the Cake Divas team finished filming “Amazing Wedding Cakes” which recently aired on We TV, and they are already off on their next big adventure!

Sasha Reichart: Tell us about your earliest experiences with cake design. How did you get into the field and where was your first job?

Joan Spitler: My mom was really into home crafts in the 70’s (macrame, decoupage, tile ashtrays, and of course, cake decorating!) I was inspired by the Wilton style cakes she used to make for our birthdays, and entered cake decorating classes at my elementary school. I won 3 years in a row, and I still have the trophies! My first job cake decorating was at a grocery store. I was working the bakery counter and one night all of the decorators were sick, so I just jumped in and improvised and they promoted me.

Sasha Reichart: When did you and Leigh Grode open Cake Divas? How has it changed since the beginning?

Joan Spitler: Leigh Grode and I started Cake Divas in 1998. Leigh kept a full time job to pay the bills, while I made cakes. We literally owned a small mixer and a table and rented space part time in a catering kitchen. Every cake we sold bought the pan we needed to bake it in. Our business grew one cake at a time. We just celebrated 10 years in business this month. We now have our own kitchen, 2 offices, a large staff, and lots of equipment!

SR: Congratulations on making 10 years! Your artistic style of cake design is one the main reasons Rick seeked out Cake Divas when we moved to Los Angeles. Do you have a background in fine arts?

JS: Both of my parents are artists. I have been an artist my whole life, and went to college at UC San Diego, where I received a BA in fine arts. I am a self-trained cake decorator, so most of my skill set originated from my art background. I look at cake as another art medium.

SR: How would you describe the Cake Divas style of cake design?

JS: Our Cakes are Delicious on the inside, enchanting on the outside. Our cakes are filled with love.

SR: What a perfect description! Rick and I see a difference between a cake decorator and a cake designer, just as there is a difference between a cook and a chef. What is your opinion on this, and at what point in your cake career do you think you crossed over from a cake decorator to a designer?

JS: I think all people have a creative side. Some of the most amazing cakes I’ve seen have been done by people with no experience whatsoever. I think I crossed over the line when my art life and cake life began to merge.

SR: I agree, that artistic ability is far more important than being classically trained. Due to the volume of orders at Cake Divas, it is essential as the lead designer that you delegate cakes to your staff. How do you feel about relinquishing some control over your designs?

JR: I am always in the kitchen, and have my hand in everything. At first, it was really hard to let go. Now I actually enjoy seeing the creativity and collaborations that come out of working in a team environment. It has been my great joy to see other designers find their own style while working at Cake Divas!

SR: Congratulations on your recent marriage to Leigh! (Grode)! I have two questions. Did you and Leigh celebrate with a wedding cake at your nuptials and have you noticed an increase in same-sex couples coming to you for wedding cakes since California legalized gay marriage?

JR: Leigh and I did not have wedding cake at our legal nuptials. We had pie. We have been making a lot of cakes for same-sex weddings since California legalized gay marriage, and it has been just fantastic. The majority of couples getting married now have been together for many years, so there is a wonderful peace and satisfaction in celebrating a commitment that has already stood the test of time.

SR: You’ve made countless celebrity cakes and are in high-demand in Los Angeles. We loved the wedding cake you designed for Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore. What are some recent celebrity cakes you’ve made that you are particularly proud of?

JS: We love all our cakes, and clients!

SR: That was a very classy answer. We saw you on a televised wedding in Turks and Caicos with “Mr. Fabulous”, Preston Bailey. Tell us about that wedding and any other exotic locations you have flown your cakes to. How is it for you and Leigh to travel with your cakes?

JS: Traveling with cakes is always an adventure. You never know what might happen, and you always need to be flexible. Total focus is devoted to the cake at all times. Besides going to Turks and Caicos, we have been to Costa Rica, and other destinations nationally.

SR: We recently did some traveling with a cake and can definitely relate to your perspective. Let’s talk about Amazing Wedding Cakes, your show on We TV. How did Cake Divas become involved with Amazing Wedding Cakes? Did you know who the other designers would be?

JS: We were asked to be part of the show, along with the other designers. We didn’t know the other designers beforehand. It’s been so much fun watching everyone work.

SR: [other questions I asked regarding production of the show have been omitted from this interview. To respect the confidentiality of the show’s production, Joan is not at liberty to discuss this publicly]

SR: I understand Leigh has a background in film and TV production in addition to running Cake Divas?

JS: Leigh has a background in film and TV, so it has been very helpful when we are working on television or doing movie or industry work. She keeps us on task, and knows how to handle things really well.

** END, Pt. 1. Join us back here tomorrow for Pt. 2 of our interview. In the meantime, get to know more of Cake Divas work on

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

cakelava in BRIDE'S

cake images by blufotografica

First off, I'd like to acknowledge that my interview with Joan Spitler of Cake Divas, has been postponed until tomorrow. It was a busy week for both Joan and I and we needed another day to get the interview ready. Please join us back here tomorrow and Friday for our 2-pt. interview.

Last night we picked up the new issue of BRIDE'S magazine, and noticed a very familiar cake in there -- Kelly's cake -- in their "A To Z Guide to Destination Weddings" section. We had heard sometime ago from photographer, Brad Uyehara of blufotografica, that our cake may run in the issue, as BRIDE'S was considering a number of his images to run in their feature, but as with any publication, you never really know until you see it in print.

The cake in the feature was made for our bride Kelly. She was flying in from Canada to get married in Hawaii and wanted a whimsical Hawaiian style design with an elegant feel, and wanted to incorporate their theme, which was also their wedding song, Jack Johnson's "Better Together". She wanted palm trees and whimsical tropical flowers, and surfboards, reminiscent of Hawaii and the beach. To customize her cake further to include the Jack Johnson song, Rick added the lyrics to "Better Together" on the cake board, which you can see in the photo above. Just another example of blufotografica's amazing work! The same image used in the BRIDE'S magazine feature is on If you are planning a destination wedding, be sure to check out the feature and see more of blufotografica's work.

Aloha, til tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sculpted Hawaiian Turtle Wedding Cake

Last week our client Kylie flew in from her hometown of Australia to celebrate her wedding to her fiance Paul, who she was going to surprise with a sculpted honu wedding cake. This is our 3rd sculpted honu cake and 2nd made as a wedding cake. If you want an interesting reaction, try delivering a sculpted realistic turtle cake through a busy Waikiki hotel, and you'll have one person after another asking if it is real. "Uh, yes, we're carrying a REAL turtle through a hotel". I didn't say that out loud of course, and answered "it's a cake", which got an even stranger reaction -- it's a CAKE? When we arrived at the restaurant where Kylie and Paul's reception was being held, it got further stares from the restaurants patrons. They were probably wondering what we were doing bringing a turtle to a restaurant. We placed the Hawaii Five-0 flavored turtle wedding cake on the table where the couple's guests could appreciate him (assuming it is a him). He is pretty cute and I'm glad we weren't around when he was cut and served. It would have been heartbreaking. We wish Kylie and Paul the best in their new life together and hope they had a safe flight back to Australia!

For all of you who haven't voted yet for our December Featured Wedding couple, there is still time to cast your vote through the end of this month. To see our couples and cast your vote, click here:

To cast your vote, visit here:

and speaking of Featured Weddings, see our newest Featured Wedding recently posted on!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Next Featured Wedding Sneak Peek - Carly and Matthew

All photos courtesy of Dave Miyamoto & Company

Before we introduce our next Featured Wedding, we'd like to thank all of you who have partcipated and voted thus far for our December Featured Wedding couple. Presently, wedding couple #4, Leslie and Sam are leading in the votes, but anything can happen because you have until the end of October to cast your vote. For those of you reading our blog via a subscription reader, you won't be able to make comments via the reader, and will need to visit our blog post directly to vote. We want all votes to be posted publicly to be fair and any emails to me directly won't be counted. To cast your vote, visit here:

For our next Featured Wedding on, we selected Carly and Matthew, one of our couples who have previously been featured on our blog. With their fun-loving smiles, warm spirits, and pink and green color palette, Carly and Matthew are a perfect couple to feature! Their photographer Dave Miyamoto & Company, sent us an incredible selection of images of their wedding, which we will proudly be posting on our website in the next couple days.

** In other news, we'd like to announce a brand new birthday cake promotion we are currently running. For a limited time, we are offering 25% off any non-sculpted custom birthday cake orders. This offer applies to new orders only. To see a selection of our custom designed birthday cakes, visit**


Friday, October 17, 2008

We Want YOU -- Help Us Choose Our December Featured Wedding

It's not easy choosing our monthly Featured Wedding on We love all our brides and do many beautiful weddings -- we want to feature them all -- but we can only choose one per month. Thus far, 11 Featured Weddings have been selected for 2008, with the next one about to be revealed. There are 5 we are presently considering for December. The weddings vary in color, style and photographic style, and budget. We would like your help in choosing your favorite, by voting and posting your comments below. The wedding with the most "votes" by the end of October will be featured.

We hope you enjoy our selections and thank you for participating!

Wedding #1: Renata and Rocky -- Images by Bianca Photography

Wedding #2: Jennifer and Andy - Images by Frank Amodo, Amodo Photo

Wedding #3: Karla and Jason - Images by Visionari

Wedding #4: Leslie and Sam - Images by Bianca Photography

Wedding #5: Reiko and Jason - Images by Visionari

There they are. Now you see why it's so difficult to select each month. To cast your vote, please write the number of the wedding and the couple's name. Any comments you wish to leave for the couple or the photographer is also greatly appreciated!


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