Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Drumroll, please!

And the winner is...


     Ok, I'm going to make you wait for 'just' a moment before I tell you *PSYCHE!*

      First, I want to thank everyone for all your great comments! I laughed, I cried, and even got some food for thought. I appreciate you all, and your sharing here with me.

      So, where were we? Oh yeah! Something about prizes, right? Yeah, that's it! So, without further ado......



     so Lucky Number 12 would be.....


     Congratulations, Joy!!
     I'm very happy to hear you've discovered the fun of decorating cakes and cookies :) It's a very fulfilling form of expression, isn't it?  Thanks for sharing, and joining me here in this, my little corner of the sugar world!
     I will be in touch with you shortly to get your mailing address, and I'll be getting some goodies to you right away!

     Thanks again everyone! I'll be back in a few days with more fun, and some news! 




Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A new beginning....and a BIG thank you!

*Clears throat and taps microphone*... Is this thing on????

      Oh, HI there! Been a long time! How've you all been? Did ya miss me? Even a little? I've missed you all! I had the best of intentions to really have my blog take off like gangbusters in 2011. We all know where the road paved with good intentions leads us though, right?
     Well, this past year has been interesting to say the least. And in my absence from the blogosphere, I started a cake Page on Crack..... I mean FACEbook, making new friends, and networking in the caking world. What a wild ride it's been! :)
     In the little over a year since I started that Page, I've seen some amazing talent, and connected more with some cake and cookie artists that I absolutely adore. (I've also seen some pretty reprehensible behavior. But we won't talk about that here! :-x )
     I'm very grateful for the small, loyal following I've had here in Blog Land...and now the growing following on Facebook. It's time I show some love back!!

Yes, ladies and gents....I'm happy to announce, my very first giveaway!!

First up, while out shopping one weekend, I found these. Are they not the cutest EVER set of measuring cups? Snatched 'em right up, just for YOU. A fun little reminder in the kitchen to keep life sweet every day.

     Next up....a dozen cookies, decorated by yours truly. I've had such fun growing as a cookier in the past year or so. There's SO much inspiration and support to be found on the interwebz, it's catching! I need and really WANT to be a better, more prolific cookier. So, I'm sharing the fruits of that inspiration with you, too!

     Finally, I'm also throwing into the mix a $30 Gift Certificate to GlobalSugarArt.com . They are one of my favorite sources for all things cake and cookie decorating and sugar art. They have an amazing selection of baking/caking/cookie-ing "toys", and great customer service! Please visit their website and see what I mean. Make sure to have a towel handy, because I guarantee you're going to DROOL! ;) And by chance, if you yourself are NOT a baker/decorator of any kind...I'm sure you know someone who IS.

*** CONTEST CLOSED ***
Now for the boring (but easy) part...the rules.
1.) Please share something sweet in a comment. (One comment only, please. Multiple entries will be disqualified) A silly joke, anecdote, what inspires you, what your favorite sweet indulgence
is...whatever you'd like to share that might bring a smile. This enquiring mind wants to know!
(And PLEASE share your email, so I can contact you if you win!)
2.) Contest open to residents of the U.S. only. I do apologize for that, but it's the only way I can control with some certainty that prizes will get to you.
3.) Cookie design and delivery will be at my discretion, and subject to my caking schedule, to be
delivered/mailed within 90 days of the close of the contest.
                   
4.) Contest closes at 6pm Pacific Time, Friday May 11, 2012.
5.) Winner will be chosen using a random number generator at psychicscience.org.
                   
6.) Prizes supplied by myself. This is not a sponsored post/giveaway.
7.) This giveaway is in no way associated with, nor endorse by Facebook.
8.) Please share this post with friends. No, it doesn't get you another entry, but sharing
the sweetness is really what this post is all about :)
     Again, I want to thank each and every one you for joining me on this journey, and sharing in the love and fun of all things sweet! There's more to come...please stay tuned! :)
Sweetest Regards, and Happy Baking to you! ~Scott

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sunday mornings

     I'm one of those people who hate getting up in the morning, jumping in the shower, getting dressed, scarfing down whatever might resemble breakfast, and racing out the door. In order for me to function through my day, I've GOT to have a couple hours to wake up with some coffee and some quiet time before the rush of the day is upon me.

    What better way (especially on a beautiful Sunday morning) is there to start a day, than by getting into the kitchen, and baking up something yummy, but not-too-sweet, to accompany that morning cuppa joe?

     One of my all-time favorite things to pair with coffee is a golden, fluffy scone. YUM!
I found a recipe online about 10 years ago, and adapted it into my Cranberry Orange Scones. Easy to make, bake, and enjoy any time. So, enough chit chat...grab your coffee mug, settle in for a few, and let's get to baking!

      First, preheat your oven to 450° F. Line a couple sheet pans with parchement paper and set aside.

     Next, in a large mixing bowl...
     whisk together 3 cups all purpose flour, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, 1 Tablespoon baking powder,
and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Set aside.

     Next, cut 6 Tablespoons of the butter into your flour mixture. Some people use forks or a pastry cutter. I rub the mixture between my hands, working very quickly, so as not to warm the butter too much. Do this until the mixture is the size of small peas. Add your chopped cranberries, and toss to coat/separate them.
Set aside again.


Whisk the heavy cream, eggs, vanilla and orange zest until well mixed.
     Add this to your flour mixture, and stir with a spatula or large spoon, just until it forms a soft but smooth dough. It might be a little sticky at this point. If so, CAREFULLY add a little more flour, just until you get it smooth. You want the dough slightly tacky, but not too much so. Knead a couple times to make sure all ingredients have come together.

    On a moderately floured surface, lightly press and roll the dough into a rectangle, between 1/2-3/4" thick. Dipping your knife or biscuit cutter in flour first, to prevent sticking, and cut your scones. Place onto your
parchment-lined baking sheets.



     Melt the remaining 3 Tablespoons butter, and LIGHTLY brush the tops of the scones only. Sprinkle sanding (large grains) sugar over the buttered tops, and pop your sheet into the oven for 11-13 minutes.

     Bake the scones until just the edges and tops are firm, but only lightly browned. Be careful not to over-bake them :) Cool on a wire rack until warm enough to not burn your mouth ;)


      Now, all there is left to do is refill your cuppa, and ENJOY!
I hope you've all had a wonderful weekend, and I look forward to sharing more with you later this week :)

Cranberry Orange Scones

          3 cups All purpose flour
          1/3 cup granulated sugar
          1 Tablespoon baking powder
          1/2 teaspoon salt
          9 Tablespoons cubed COLD unsalted butter, divided
          1 cup dried cranberries, chopped
          1 cup heavy cream
          2 large eggs, lightly beaten
          2 teaspoons vanilla extract or paste
          2 tangerines, zested
          1/2 cup sanding sugar (if unavailable, you can use granulated)

       1. Preheat oven to 450° F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
       2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk to combine.
       3. Cut 6 Tablespoons of the butter into your flour mixture, until it's the texture of small peas.
           Add chopped cranberries, and toss to coat.
       4. Whisk together the cream, eggs, vanilla, and orange zest until well-mixed.
       5. Stir wet ingredients into your flour mixture, and mix until dough just comes together. Dough will
           be slightly tacky, but if it's too sticky, add an 1/8 cup of flour or less, and stir lightly to incorporate.
       6. On a moderately floured board, pat and roll the dough to approximately 1/2-3/4" thick, and
           rectangular in shape.
       7. With cutters or a knife dipped in flour, cut out your shapes, and place on baking sheets.
       8. Melt remaining 3 Tablespoons butter, and very lightly brush the tops of the scones only. Sprinkle
           tops with sanding or granulated sugar.
       9. Bake for 11-13 minutes, just until tops are firm but not too dry, and edges are lightly browned.
     10. Cool on wire rack, and store at room temperature in airtight containers for 2 days.


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Chillin' w/ ma PEEPS! (aka..Hippity, Hoppity, Easter's on its way!)

     Wow! It's been too long, and for that, I beg your forgiveness...

     Luckily, life has been busy, and lots of opportunities are coming my way! More on that very soon. For now, though...let's get to some sweet fun, celebrating Easter!!



     Recently, my friend, and constant source of encouragement Callye of The Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle, created a post with the CUTEST cookies, recreating one of the most iconic Easter treats, the marshmallow Peeps. I saw her do her trick of doing cookies-on-a-stick for cupcake toppers, and had a lightning flash of inspiration! A picture came to mind. And also, a flavor combo to really say "bright colors, bright & creamy flavors...it screamed Spring and Easter at the same time. Will this idea fly?

     Here's what I came up with: Pink Velvet cupcakes, white chocolate ganache filling, and lemon curd buttercream to crown these treats. Put it all together, and this was my vision come to life


     Now, I'm not a big fan of marshmallows in general, but when they're coated in colorful sugar, in little animal shapes...who can resist 'em? When they're in cookie form, topping cupcakes? Even I don't have the willpower to stay away :)

     So, I got to baking and decorating the Peeps cookies, and got those drying. I made white chocolate ganache, the EASIEST filling in the world. Two parts white chocolate to one part heavy cream. I used 1 pound white chocolate to 1 cup heavy cream. Put the white chocolate pieces into a medium bowl. Heat heavy cream in a saucepan on medium heat until it just starts to bubble at the edge of the pan. Be careful it doesn't form a skin on top, or it will burn! Pour the cream over the chocolate, and let it sit without stirring for at least 5 minutes. Then with a spatula, stir the mixture to combine thoroughly. Try not to mix too vigorously, so as not to incorporate much air into the ganache. Set aside, and let the ganache cool completely at room temperature for several hours. You can even do this the day before, covering with a lid once cool.
When ready to use, stir with a heavy spatula or spoon until the consistency is still quite firm, but creamy.

     Next up the cake. Red Velvet is a favorite of mine for many occasions, but I wanted to lighten up the color for Easter. I use Cakeman Raven's traditional RV recipe, with a couple tweaks. I didn't include the 2oz. of red food color, using instead a pink paste food color. I added a little at a time until I got the color I thought would work. (I should have added a tad more...but you can use as little or as much as you like). Also, for a richer batter, I did NOT compensate for the loss of that 1/4 cup of liquid. You can add that much water to the recipe, with no adverse effect. While the cupcakes cooled, I made my lemon curd buttercream.

     For this simple recipe you'll need:

             1 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
             2 teaspoons vanilla ( I HIGHLY recommend Singing Dog Vanilla paste! Find them on
                 Facebook here)
             2 pounds powdered sugar
             6 oz. lemon curd (if you make your own, more power to ya LOL. I bought a small jar at the market,
                 and it worked beautifully!)
             2 to 4 oz. milk

                   1. In a stand mixer, cream the butter until very smooth, but not too light in color.
                       Add vanilla, and mix until combined.

                   2. With the mixer on low speed, add the powdered sugar a little at a time, until completely
                        incorporated.

                   3. Increase mixer speed to med-high, and mix until light and fluffy, just about 3-5 minutes.

                   4. Turn down the mixer speed to low, and add the lemon curd to the icing. Once blended,
                       ramp up the mixer again to med-high, and mix again for another 3 minutes.

                   5. At this point, you're done, unless you want a little thinner icing. Add milk until you reach
                       the consistency you prefer.

     So, all the prep done, I cored the cupcakes with an old-fashioned apple corer. Filled the cuppies with
the ganache, and started decorating! Using tip 233, the grass tip, I bordered the cupcakes with a ring of grass buttercream. Using tip 96 (or any good size star tip), I then created the "nest" in the center of the cakes. Place the Peeps cookies in each cake, and decorate with small jelly beans, chocolates, or flower sugar sequins, or whatever else you like to make the design your own!
    
     I hope some of you give the recipes a try, and have fun creating your own spring or Easter-themed
goodies to share with family and friends.

     Enjoy, and Happy Baking to you all,
               ~ Scott


    

Monday, January 10, 2011

Happy New Year (a little late...)

     Indeed, I got a little TOO lazy over the holidays <sigh>.

     After the hub-bub of getting my first batch of decorated cookies done for my family, I was DONE! Over-reaching with intentions to bake up a storm, and hand out cookies to nearly everyone, just didn't happen. My excitement for a new baking/decorating outlet definitely created a "bit off more than I can chew" scenario.

     The rest of the holiday season was VERY low-key in our house. It was a nice change of pace. I'm usually unpacking the storage unit of all my Christmas regalia the day after Thanksgiving. 6 trees of various sizes, linens, chargers, and other table adornments, a DOZEN boxes from U-haul, filled to bursting with Old World Christmas ornaments....well, you get the picture! I'm OBSESSED with decorating for the holidays!
Perhaps next year, I'll offer a little peek into that crazy world as the holidays grow near. Do I dare? Do you care?

     Back to the hub-bub...the absolute rush to make and ship gifts to my family in AZ in time. Also, my sister-in-law's birthday is the day after Christmas, so I can't mess up a timely delivery!

     So things are going well, and on time, and I get word from my SIL that my 10-year-old niece, Megan, has been ill for days, and was admitted to hospital. Fever that comes and goes, rashes, pneumonia. All making for one scary time for our family. Megan was stoic, being strong, and though you could tell she was scared, didn't talk about it. My brother and SIL taking shifts sleeping at the hospital, while the other along with my parents, at home with my youngest niece. It was hellish! Being 1500 miles away, all I could do was wait for a daily update. Things got better, things got worse, things got better, things got worse. 8 long days....

    Megan finally comes home from hospital, to much fanfare in the neighborhood. Signs, balloons, and enough smiles and hugs to even scare the Care Bears! It was a sight to see on video that a family friend shot and posted on Facebook.

    I figure the least I can do is send my niece some cookies to hopefully brighten her day. And these are going out in the mail today.



       I have a LOT of learning still to do, but these came together quite well, and quickly too!

       With all the craptastic (my favorite word, by the way) events and mostly-off timing, things have turned out to have a pretty good start to the New Year. Health and happiness have returned, and I for one, have a great deal of hope for what 2011 will bring to us all.

       May you all be blessed with a marvelous year!

       Up next week....it's time for new designs! Valentine's Day and Mardi Gras are just around the corner!

Friday, December 31, 2010

Resolutions...bah, HUMBUG!

      So, sometimes people need a break from their everyday routines.

      That was my intention, during the Christmas/ New Years holiday...to take it easy, not stress, simplify. For the most part, I was successful. We barely decorated the house for Christmas (more on holiday decorating another day), we bought small, token gifts for each other this year, instead of going all-out.

     And I only baked for family gifts this year. No cake, no cookies for the masses, just enough to send to my family in Arizona (which I haven't even posted yet, as those pics are on my camera's internal memory, not the card, and I can't figure out how to make the switch. Please hang in there with me as I figure it out!)

     Having such a low-key holiday, I've gotten lazy. And I hate that! I bought a notebook last month, to begin sketching cookie designs, and make lists of designs that I still want to get fleshed out. It feels good to have this, my "vault" if you will...of all these thoughts and hopes for the coming year!

     Knowing that 2011 holds so much promise, just from a cookie standpoint is exciting to me! All these thoughts, begging to become reality! I can resist the call of my kitchen no longer :)

     So tonight, we venture out into the cold, to enjoy a nice dinner for NYE. We've much to celebrate from 2010, and even more to look forward to in 2011!

     The one and ONLY resolution I make to myself, and to you...is that I will be baking and decorating LOTS more sweet treats to share with you in 2011, on a much more regular basis!

     All my hopes to you, my friends, for a safe, fun, and JOYOUS New Year's Eve, and bountiful 2011!

    

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Friendship, inspiration, and blogging...

     Hi everybody!

     I'm still very new to blogging, as you can tell. :-\  I'm in the thick of the holiday baking rush, (cookies are my latest craze...you'll see why below) having a great time, so I don't take much time to learn more about effective blogging.

     Though I do READ a boatload of blogs, and gawk at the eye-catching layouts, the regular witicisms, creativity, and something else I found interesting...GIVEAWAYS!!

     Who'd have thought...to BRIBE followers to keep coming back, and spread the word to their friends? Sounds good to me! LOL

     While I find my way here, creating a "hook" to bring people to my own blog, I do have a handful of you that support what I do, and sometimes what I have to say. And for the love and support, I'm very grateful!

      To celebrate my first nearly 3 months of blogging, and in the spirit of the season, I'd like to introduce you to a fantastic blogger! Callye's an AMAZING cookie artist, and writes The Sweet Adventures of SugarBelle. She's generous with her creativity to a fault, and I just love her for it! Look at these cookies on her latest entry...




Holiday Collection by SugarBelle's
 
     Check her blog out. Even if you don't bake a BIT..you'll marvel at her artistry never ending! And for a couple of days, she's doing a giveaway, too! Cooking/baking books are a passion of mine, a quick-growing collection in our house, so I was thrilled to see what my friend is doing! Again, even if you don't bake, we ALL know someone who does, so if you enter, you'd have a great gift to give for the holidays! (NO, this is not a pitch to have my friends win it for ME...I've already entered! LOL). I want to share with y'all some incredible talent, and a great person.

    So there ya have it...go, read, enjoy, and share!  I'll be back in a couple days, sharing some more myself.

    CHEERS!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Traditions, gratitude, and a Red Velvet cake...

         This year I'm thankful for so much...

         My health, my family and friends, a wonderful home, so much happiness I could burst! I could go on and on with the list, but these things stand out above all else.

         Oh, yes, there is one more thing....I am thankful for CAKE!! I love to bake it, eat it, share it, and decorate it! When I am asked to bring a dessert somewhere, I don't just bake and frost something (well, I used to, but I was lazy!) My brain, ever busy dreaming up designs, gets all happy thinking of an appropriate, even simple design to add that something extra to the end of a meal.

         Thanksgiving is no exception! There's pumpkin, pecan, any kind of pie. There's cheesecake too, sure.
But how do you dress these up? Nice crust cut-outs, a little sanding sugar, egg wash, check! Fruit coulis, chocolate sauce, softly whipped cream, check. Tasty yes, and in their own rights, a feast for the eyes. I like making them. I just don't get the same level of joy out of it. I GOTTA decorate!! But honestly, other than us cakers, how many of you serve cake with your turkey dinner? Not many that I see.

         We were invited again this year to Thanksgiving dinner at the home of my former boss and his family. Chef Paul makes an INCREDIBLE spread! His daughter asked me last year to bring a Red Velvet cake, so I whipped one up, with Seven Minute frosting. No decorations then. That recipe for RV cake is extraordinary! I didn't think it needed anything else. Everyone loved it. When I was asked again this year to bring the RV cake, I wanted to up the ante. Here's the result







        I'm a detail freak, so I had fun creating the turkey's dinner plate first. T-bone steak, half a baked potato with butter, sour cream and chives, and peas. I LOVE miniatures, and this 1.5" plate qualifies as my favorite thing about this cake!






        I hope you all have had a wonderful day, full of loved ones, laughter, gratitude, and joy!


Sunday, November 21, 2010

LEGENDARY!!!

     Merriam-Webster defines 'legendary' as:  leg·end·ary  adj \ˈle-jən-ˌder-ē, -ˌde-rē\
                 1: of, relating to, or characteristic of legend or a legend
                 2: well-known, famous
 
     How does this relate to my cake world, you ask? I believe definition 2 above applies in this case. I had my most recent brush with fame this past Tuesday! With whom? None other than Walter Cole, better known to the City of Roses as Darcelle XV. A native of the area, he's been a pivotal figure in the gay and lesbian community here for 43 years. His cabaret club, Darcelle XV Showplace, has been a destination event location for birthday parties, bachelorette parties, anniversaries, and  nightly drag shows. Darcelle herself performs 4 nights a week, with a wonderful cast to entertain the masses.

     Wait a minute! You said 43 years??? Just how old IS Darcelle? Well...she just turned 80!! And doesn't look it a bit! This grande dame of the Rose City deserved a birthday bash  that was to be one of THE social events of the year (with 400 or so of her family, friends, and adoring public, I was to find out the night of the party!)

     Luckily for me, I am friends with Darcelle's "heir apparent", Kevin Cook aka Poison Waters. A powerhouse in her own right, she's very well-known, respected, and much-loved in many circles of Portland. I was chatting with her one day, and found out about the birthday plans. Kevin told me about the idea of the evening...10-top tables all round the room, each with a dessert as the centerpiece. GREAT idea, I thought! Kevin and accomplices were looking for bakeries and others to donate the desserts, and I jumped at the opportunity!

    Now, the party was not only a celebration of the legendary lady herself, but a benefit fundraiser for Camp Starlight, which helps children whose lives have been affected in any number of ways by HIV. The week-long camp on the Oregon coast is full of activities, cameraderie, laughter, and more for these children. An AMAZING thing, to be sure. So what was I to DO for this event?

    I'm not a close personal friend of Darcelle's, nor have I had any involvement in Camp Starlight. So I had to do some research. What does she like? What does she LOVE? And what things are important to include with a design to honor the work of Camp?

    I have friends who have visited Darcelle's home, where she has a special kitchen table. This table is hand-painted with the landmarks of places all over the world that she and her partner Roxy have visited over the years. BINGO! I got pictures of the table, and was determined to re-create her artwork as part of the cake. Red roses also play a big role in so much of Portland's culture, and are dear to her heart, so that was a given, too. GREAT! Design ideas came into being...

    But what about Camp? How does that work into her birthday? Only indirectly, as best I could figure, so I had to design a second cake! Children playing, being creative, and the Camp logo...check!

   One huge event, two cakes...one lowly home baker...WHAT WAS I THINKING???

    Paying it forward, a birthday gift from the heart, that's the ticket!

    So I put my creativity into overdrive and started working on the decorations. Each new piece became my favorite of the project!

Seeing ideas come to life is one of the best parts of creating cakes for special occasions, in my humble opinion.

   
















 The last two days before the event, the baking done, the icing made, and all decorations lined up and ready to make a cake worthy of such an awesome night...I can do this! Ibuprofen, caffeine, and lots of love and support from family and friends, I pressed on. We ran very short of time, and I was a blur as I put the finishing touches together.

      We get to the venue, a little late. Good news was, the birthday girl hadn't arrived yet, and people were milling about during the cocktail hour prelude to the night's festivities. WHEW! Eyes followed us as we carried the cakes to, through, and out of the kitchen, to the tables. I did not know beforehand, but my cake was the one chosen to sit at Darcelle's table. <GULP!> I was very honored, and humbled by this. Here I am, a home baker with no bakery of my own, with desserts from very well-known businesses around the room, and my work is center stage! How lucky am I???

     Darcelle was thrilled with her cake, both the cakes. And the guests from Camp Starlight were delighted as well. A couple of the fondant figures even went home with party-goers LOL That made me smile.

      And here they are...with a few flaws from hurrying (lessons WELL learned this time!). But people started snapping pictures and commenting immediately, so I knew I'd done my job. A job I'm very proud of.




     A great night, a legend celebrated, and there's still icing in my fridge, and fondant leaves at my workstation...

     Onwards to the next!!! Under the sea, and a little Turkey Day fun! More blogging next week!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!!!

     I got to do this cake for an office Halloween party on Friday.


     Typically, I might be shown something to be inspired by to create a design. This time, I was asked to duplicate a cake found in the 2011 Wilton Yearbook. It's nearly copy-cat, but I recommended we add purple to the middle tier. And this was the result!

     It was NOT an easy go-round with this project! First, the cake kept cracking. Then the icing wouldn't smooth. Then the fondant was tearing. I couldn't get my head wrapped around all these mishaps! I was freaking out. But then, I got a good night's sleep after fixing the fondant. And I just kept going. For the first time in a very LONG while, I had serious doubts about my abilities. With the support and cheering of loved ones, and my cake friends on Facebook, I persevered. I overcame the hurdles, and made a lot of people happy as a result. We just keep pressing on. I get it!

    Cake finished, washed up, we delivered the cake. Oooh's and Ahhh's while I finished the set up, and set out some business cards. Camera phones clicked, the business cards started disappearing! The receptionist sent a global email to the entire facility, and the people came in droves! Within and hour, the cake (which serves almost 100) was GONE!

    I think they liked it! Hope you do too :)

    I also hope you all have had a safe and fun Halloween!
    On to the busiest two months I'll see for a while! Bring it ON!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Sugar Arts as Healing Arts

     Summer's warmth, the nurturing energies of the sun, the invigoration of fresh air, and the joy of clear, cool waters....I haven't seen them in over a week, have any of you? I'm already missing them.  I also know all too well that it will be another 7 months before I see them again. Sadness...

     What to do in the meantime? Why, bake, decorate, celebrate, of course!

     When I was in college, and fall was upon us, I would take to my kitchen, baking all my own breads, rolls, etc, until springtime. It was healthier, and I found it to be VERY therapeutic, too! Focusing on the task regularly kept my brain working in good fashion, and kneading the dough helped work out whatever frustrations of the day I was experiencing. I felt so good! Then, tasting that love that went into each item, I  had to share it. I gave away three quarters of what I made! Seeing the smiles on the faces of friends and family who received my home-made goods was just as rewarding as actually making them.

     Now, while I don't do much breads baking any longer, I find the same scenarios apply to the sugar arts. Each project is borne from celebrations to come. Anticipation is high, people coming together, time, stories, love to be shared.

     Our part as sugar artists in this process, this experience? We are the ones through whom the feelings of the celebration come into physical being. We take the time, our energy, thought and skills, to bring our art to our clients' tables. Most times, we're ready, and eager for the opportunity. Some times, not so much.

      We artists are all human...we have good days and bad. But business is business, right? We have clients to meet, designs to put together, and cakes to create. I myself have a bad time motivating to start a project when I'm stressed. I stew, I worry, and worst of all, I continue procrastinating. UGH! But when I remind myself of the people who've asked me to make a cake for them, I realize I can't let myself be the reason part of their celebration fails. Therefore, I pick myself up, sit down and my workstation, and just get my hands BUSY. Once I start, even if it's just fumbling at the beginning, it gets the ideas moving, the motivation crystallized, and the excitement to see ideas come to life builds.

     We spend hours, sometimes days, pouring our hearts and minds into our projects, and as they near completion...can we stop? Sure, to take a break, rest our eyes from time to time, or whatever. But walk away from it? Heck NO! I know I am fulfilled, personally and professionally, by the completion of each and every cake I create. Aren't you? I thought so! We each start out in a certain space when a project starts, and by the end, that energy is transformed into a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment for us. It's also very heartwarming to share the love and passion for our art with others. And the motivation to push forward, to create the next. For our clients, the energy is transformed into an expression of joy, celebration, and love.

     In the end, not only do our clients reap the benefits of our art, but so do we. 
     In my opinion, that's healing, plain and simple.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

My "first" cuppies

Cake has ALWAYS been my passion.
I like cookies, don't get me wrong, but never got into decorating them until recently (more on that in another post soon).
Cupcakes have been the same thing for me...not much interest in making them 'interesting.'

Then came some inspiration yesterday, and I decided, I'm going to make some yummy (hopefully), beautiful (keeping my fingers crossed a second time!) gourmet cupcakes!

I've had bananas on the brain for baking lately, as we always have them in our kitchen, but usually nearly all go to waste. Well, Bananas Foster is a favorite dessert in our household, so why not in a cupcake form???

A mad dash to the grocer for under-ripe bananas, and a visit to the liquor store for some dark rum later, and I banged them out in just a couple hours. For an idea I just came up with, and didn't write out and plan on paper, I'm pleased with the results.


little bites of heaven...


'beauty' shot?
What do you think?
What are some of your favorite desserts you'd like to see reinvented as a cupcake? I'd love to hear from you :)

Hope you're all having a great day ~ Scott

Saturday, September 4, 2010

A C-R-A-Z-Y week!!!!

     We've had family in from out of town for the past two weeks. That's great, as we don't get to see them all that often. Add one nephew who comes home from his FOURTH tour in Iraq. FANTASTIC! Welcome home, Matt!
     Add on top of that a cake order with a LOT of sugar detail work to do ahead of time. Check! No problem there. Also add a small, but heart-felt cake to celebrate Matt's homecoming. Still, all's well.
     So, the "fun" part was a 3- and a 5-year old, running around the house, "whatcha doin', Uncle Scott??? What's that for? Can I eat that?" All day...every time I sat at my work station!! Don't get me wrong, I love kids.... in small doses. :)
     The final 48 hour push to complete both cakes was insane...with the last 24 spent without sleep, to get everything together. Which is great, because I work better in the kitchen under pressure. Keeping things fresh and my work as pristine as possible, I really shine to bring out the best in each project.

     The fruits of my labours of love...I hope you enjoy them as much as I did in creating them!



     Now, onto more design work for two more projects in the coming week and a half....I need more coffee! Stay tuned, and I hope you all enjoy a fun and safe Labor Day weekend!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Coming soon!!!

A new blog, a new start, and lots of talk about sugar, butter, flour, eggs...also known as CAKE!

Welcome, everyone! Stay tuned!!!