Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Maya's Kangaroo Birthday Cake
We have a long history of making cakes for Maya and her family. Six years ago, Maya celebrated her 3rd birthday and Rick made a "messy cake" for her party. It was a fun and colorful cake that Rick designed to look intentionally messy and like it was created by a child. The colors were bold with plenty of contrast. The following year, our client ordered another messy cake for Maya. The first one was such a hit with everyone, she decided to keep the same theme for her daughter's 4th birthday.  This time, she asked if Rick could do a pretty "messy cake" in girly colors fit for a princess. We knew that could be a challenge given the theme and colors, but once again, Rick designed her cake through the eyes of a child - a little girl (as best as he could) and we were all happy with the results!

Shortly before our book Extreme Cakeovers was released last year, Maya's mother wanted to order a cake for Maya's father's birthday. We were already committed, unfortunately, but wished we could make the cake. We later learned Maya had made Rick's "Aloha Shirt" cake from our book and her mother sent us some photos. We were blown away by her ability and were so proud of this little girl we have grown to care about! Here is one of the many photos we have. You can view the rest of the photos of Maya making the cake on the Extreme Cakeovers website. Little did Maya know at the time that we already had an order for her 9th birthday cake. We were all so excited about what we had in store for her!
We got the request for the sculpted kangaroo cake while Maya and her family were living in Perth, Australia. Rick and I had visited Australia the year before and had a very special kangaroo encounter in the wild where we got to see and feed dozens of kangaroos. Having this amazing experience would be helpful in making the cake. Since the cake was for a 9-year old, Rick decided to make the kangaroo as cute as could be. With the family returning to Oahu to live, Maya's mother thought it would be fun to add a Hawaiian touch to the cake, so Rick put a flower lei around the kangaroo and a plumeria flower in its ear.
I've said on many occasions, it is always such a pleasure to share in the experience of the "reveal" - when someone sees their cake for the first time. Their reactions are often priceless and it is one of those special moments that remind us why we do what we do. This was one of those moments Rick and I will never forget. When we arrived at the family's home, Maya saw her cake and immediately started grinning and making the cutest giggly sounds. She was in awe of the kangaroo and it was like heaven for Rick and I to be a part of this. Her mother took the photo of Rick and Maya. As you can see, the kangaroo was not small.
When the kangaroo cake was delivered, her mother made a comment about how she would send the kids into the other room when it came time to cut the head of the kangaroo. We all thought this was hilarious and I visualized a room full of kids running into the next room while the parents beheaded the poor kangaroo. We've heard this many times before that people can become emotionally attached to their animal cakes and don't want to make that first cut. Our client had a great sense of humor about this potentially traumatizing moment and sent us this photo of her laughing as she's about to lop off the kangaroo head. We laughed out loud when we saw the photo, but were also happy we weren't there to have to witness that moment in person. Just as they can grow attached to their cute cake, so can we, and it's hard to see the little fellow go. A huge Thank You to Maya and her family for giving us so many memories over the years. We look forward to many more!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Non-Traditional Wedding Cakes: Plants vs. Zombies
In the past few months, we've been regularly posting non-traditional wedding cakes, most recently a stack of books made for Regi and Jeff who were married on December 29th. That was one of the last cakes we made in 2013. Just two weeks later, Rick made one of his most unusual non-traditional wedding cakes to date, a "Plants vs. Zombies" video game theme for Jovi and Brandon. The couple approached us months earlier to make their cake. At the time, neither Rick and I knew much about "Plants vs. Zombies", but all that changed as soon as we accepted the order. Like most gaming fanatics we've worked with, they come very well prepared and provided more photos and references than we knew what to do with.  Jovi and Brandon had a very good idea of what they wanted, but also encouraged Rick to let his imagination run wild and create the cake he felt worked best for the theme.

We all knew as soon as the cake was booked, this project was going to be a doozy and we allocated a large amount of time the week of their wedding to work on the cake. Everything on the cake was handcrafted - every plant, the bride and groom zombie figures, the house - there was a crazy amount of detail on the cake! Rick spent about 40 hours making their cake. After we saw the final product and heard how much the couple loved it, we both agreed it was totally worth it!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

I Scream for My Ice Cream Cone Cake!
For 364 days of the year, minus a couple major holidays, my focus is on other people's special celebrations. Their birthdays, their weddings, their graduations, their cakes. It's the part of my job I love the most, getting to work with our clients as they plan some of the most memorable days of their lives. I feel honored to see their cake being designed and made before its big reveal and think about how elated they will be when they see it!

There is one day during the year when the tables are turned and I'm left completely in the dark during the cake design process. That one special day is my birthday, and I look forward to it every year!
Being married to a cake designer has many advantages, especially during the month of January, when 1 have another amazing cake to look forward to. Usually part way through the month, I start to wonder what cake Rick will be making for me. My birthday cakes are usually a complete surprise, and tend to coincide with a prominent theme at the time, or designed after wherever we happen to be eating that night. One year we dined at a Moroccan restaurant in L.A. and Rick made an incredible Moroccan mosaic birthday cake for the occasion. Last year I got a vintage style popcorn popper and a cake that looked like a big box of popcorn. This year, it was all about the ice cream!

Ice cream has been an obsession of mine since childhood. It probably started with our family's regular outings to Baskin Robbins, which I have fond memories of. Over the years, it's been almost impossible for me to pass up a homemade ice creamery, and it's something I always seek out when we're traveling. During the latter part of last year, we started a tradition of going out for an ice cream sundae together once a week. It was such a fun tradition and one we would have continued if we didn't have to think about Real Life concerns like watching our cholesterol and eating too many calories. We decided the once-a-week ice cream sundaes should probably be a lot less frequent, sadly, and ended the tradition before the new year. We reluctantly agree it's for the best.

Early in January, Rick started talking about how excited he was about my birthday cake this year. He kept saying "you are going to LOVE it!" and "It's so perfect for you!" and I began guessing what it could be. Of course, I had no idea. He said it the cake design was something he's been wanting to make, which made me happy. If my birthday can give him a reason to make something he's wanted to make, then all the better! The week of my birthday, Rick started sneaking around our studio. Doors closed in front of me and I was given warnings not to come into the kitchen at certain times. It was all very exciting and made me wonder even more what he was making.

When I saw the cake, I was absolutely amazed! I standing up ice cream cone cake, with hot fudge, whipped cream and a cherry. Life just could not get any better! I agreed with him that it was perfect for me! I knew exactly how our clients felt when they said they didn't want to cut into it. I stared at the cake for a long time, looking at every inch, (and salivating over the thought of eating ice cream). It was gorgeous and one of my favorite birthday cakes he's made for me. I wonder how he will top it next year. He probably wonders the same thing!

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