Friday, January 18, 2013

A Stroll Down Memory Lane - 2007

Yesterday, we started our retrospective of Rick's cake designs over the years. If you missed the first post, you can view it here. Today, we are sharing the cakes made in the year 2007, two years after cakelava opened. 2007 was a great year for our business! cakelava had built a solid reputation in Hawaii with very little advertising, and we were starting to receive national attention, which is always exciting for a local small business. It was a year when we took many artistic risks and when we moved into our first storefront, which we are still located at, in Kailua. Moving into our own space required a huge leap of faith and as fate would have it, we found the perfect space for our needs the same year we started looking. Finding a retail space with a commercial kitchen in a desirable neighborhood in Hawaii takes a lot of luck and commitment, and financially, it is an enormous undertaking. You haven't truly experienced bills until you move into your own shop! You wouldn't believe the condition of some of the shops we saw! We're supposed to make food in there?! 2007 was the year Rick made his first "pole" cake, which is shown below. He has made several since then but this one was the largest and required an hour long assembly at the site!

The "pole" cake was made for Tanya and Louie who were married in April. Rick spent days working on their cake, making sure every piece was as perfect! He made this cake while working at the culinary incubator, and it was transported tier by tier and assembled on-site at the Hawaii State Art Museum. The location couldn't have been better suited to the design of the cake, as it was an art piece by the time he was finished with it! I remember Rick making every flower and all the decorations. I helped him string what felt like thousands of tiny beads which were placed by hand, strand by strand, at the bottom of each tier, and this was all done on-site! He placed purple feather boas at the bottom of the cake, and constructed a special stand for the cake, with each tier floating above the other. It gave the cake an almost ethereal presence. It was just one of countless trips to the hardware store we have taken over the years. The pole cake worked its way around the internet and the couple's wedding was featured on It was an amazing cake and the couple fell in love with it!

This little beauty is called the "Kelly" cake, named after the bride. The couple's wedding was in February 2007 out on the North Shore. Their song was Jack Johnson's "Better Together", and some of the lyrics were piped onto the cake board, which is difficult to see in the photo. Rick made all the pieces and added a wavy water-like texture to the fondant. Shortly after this cake went up on our website, brides kept asking for some version of "the Kelly cake". Everyone wanted the Kelly cake and we found ourselves with a bunch of orders with surfboards, tiki torches and palm trees on them. We found out quite by accident that Bride's magazine had a photo of Kelly's cake in a feature they ran on destination weddings and even though our name wasn't associated with the cake, there were brides that tracked us down because they had seen the cake!

The "Nina" cake. Nina's wedding cake was like the "Kelly" cake above, where for a while, every bride was asking for a similar design. It was a gorgeous design, no doubt, and what you may not know is that Rick iced the cake with buttercream. The flowers are handcrafted but the rest of the cake is buttercream. The cake stood 3 feet tall and was also made before we had a shop. I recall how Rick and I were carrying the cake together and it felt like it weighed a ton. We were so excited about the cake and the bride and groom were such a sweet couple! The bride also hired us to make her fiance a groom's cake of a sculpted helicopter. It was the first time Rick made a CH-53 Delta helicopter, and like Nina's cake, it was a well-requested design. He has since made many CH-53's, both the Delta and Echo. The helicopter was all cake and also iced in buttercream, not fondant. To this day, Nina's wedding cake remains one of our favorites and the couple has ordered many cakes from us since!

2007 was the year Rick made his first and only Skyline Chili with Beans can. The cake was ordered by a bride as a groom's cake. We had never heard of Skyline before, so she sent us a can of the chili which we still have in our shop, years later! The cake was done in buttercream, and it was hilarious in person, and a wonderful contrast to her elegant wedding cake. Rick designed the bride's wedding cake using a Hawaiian quilt pattern as inspiration. The cake was featured in a number of magazines and on the internet.


At the time, we called this cake the "Hibiscus" cake. Years later, we have a another "hibiscus" cake, that has a pattern of hibiscus all over it, and the cake Rick taught in classes. In 2007, this was our hibiscus cake, and like some of the other cakes that year, it became instantly popular with brides and Rick found himself making similar designs for the next couple of years. The 3-tier cake was made the following year for a bride who adored this cake and wanted a smaller version of it. Different, but just as beautiful! We both love this design!

It seemed that many brides around this time had wedding themes with butterflies in them, so Rick was often making and painting butterflies. The cake above was made for a couple who wanted a whimsical cake, with a garden/butterflies theme. The cake is done in buttercream, which Rick was very comfortable working with.

Our first sandcastle cake at cakelava. It was all cake and the decorations were handcrafted. It was the first of many sandcastle cakes we've made for weddings.

The bride who ordered this cake was studying architecture at the time and adored Antonio Gaudi. She asked Rick to sculpt a wedding cake inspired by Gaudi. It was a most unusual request, which meant it was right up our Alley! The cake is beautifully photographed by Chrissy Lambert, who we've worked with frequently over the years. The colors were chosen to mimic the couple's wedding colors. Almost 8 years later, it remains one of our most unusual wedding cakes!

We made our first United States Marine Corps Birthday Ball cake in 2007, and began a relationship with the MARFORPAC which led to other cakes in the following years. We are very regularly asked about this cake and have a small collection of emails from people all over the country who have inquired about it. It seemed to have resonated with so many people. The cake was 3 feet tall and Rick made all the pieces. I love the photo showing the general cutting the cake with a sword during the ceremony!

On our next post, we're pulling more cake photos out of the vault as we move into 2008!

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