Guam: Where America’s Day Begins

Cake Masters Magazine bestowed upon me the honor of being included in the Around The World In 40 Cakes project.  40 cake artists each highlighting a destination using the medium of sugar.

I was thrilled to not only be included with a stellar list of artists from around the world but to also get my pick for the assignment; the island of Guam.  What made this especially meaningful to me, was the fact that this is the 70th anniversary of Guam’s liberation by US troops from the Japanese occupation of Guam during WWII. Many islanders were slaughtered during the Japanese occupation and I considered this cake a way for me to pay tribute to those who lost their lives on the island.

Fondant Flinger Guam Cake for Cake Masters Magazine - Photography by Lee Lopez

Fondant Flinger Guam Cake for Cake Masters Magazine – Photography by Lee Lopez

Guam cake inspired by the culture, tradition, art, and beauty of the island. Bottom tier is inspired by the undersea beauty of Guam’s coral reefs done in cocoa butter painting.  Adorning each tier is a “lei” of plumeria. Guam is an incredibly welcoming island and guests arriving are given plumeria leis as a symbol of hospitality. 

Fondant Flinger Wood Carving Detail - Photography by Lee Lopez

Fondant Flinger Wood Carving Detail – Photography by Lee Lopez

The middle tier was done to imitate Guam’s ifit (tree on Guam) wood carvings on storyboards. This one in particular tells the story of Two Lover’s Point, a story of two lovers forbidden to marry that tied their hair together and jumped from a cliff so they could spend eternity together. The original carving was completed by master carver Robert Taitano, a local artist. This tier was carved into the fondant with a needle and painted over with cocoa powder and cocoa butter to achieve the wood effect.

Fondant Flinger Latte Stone Hut Detail - Photography by Lee Lopez

Fondant Flinger Latte Stone Hut Detail – Photography by Lee Lopez

 The top piece is a replica of the traditional huts on Guam used by the natives. Set high atop carved stones (called Latte Stones) these woven palm huts were homes to the natives back before the Spanish arrived on Guam. The thatch roof is made from wafer paper colored with cocoa butter and food gel.

Fondant Flinger Guam Cake Close Up - Photography by Lee Lopez

Fondant Flinger Guam Cake Close Up – Photography by Lee Lopez

The top tier was inspired by the water color paintings/ and island shirts seen depicting the beautiful flora and fauna of the island. Torch ginger, bamboo and bird of paradise paintings done in cocoa butter.

 

Guam will always hold a special place in my heart since I had the privilege of calling it home for almost a decade throughout my life and it is also the place where I met my wonderful husband (ladies, seriously….you need a good man?  Head to Guam!  The men there are handsome AND they can all BBQ like no one’s business).    :) Guam is an incredibly unique destination and I hope that I did her beauty justice.

 

 

For Jessica

*sigh* Love and romance are in the air and my newsfeed is bursting with gorgeous bouquets, detailed gowns, and shimmering linens.  Its wedding season for sure!  I adore weddings.  If I could get married every weekend (to my same handsome groom of these past 12 years) I would!  Its just such an enchanting event and I cannot get enough of them.  My love of weddings is one of the reason I decorate cakes.  If I can’t get married every weekend, then at least I get to participate in the wedding by designing THE wedding cake for these lovely couples.  I love hearing all the plans and details that the bride and groom have chosen and then taking the different design elements of her dress, the invitations, the venue and trying to create something uniquely them.

Jessica contacted me around the time I had completed my Gold Sequins Cake for a collaboration with Sarah’s Stands (you can read the post by Sarah here) in which I used Erin Gardner of Wild Orchid Baking Co‘s gold confetti techniques from her new Craftsy class.  Jessica had loved the gold sequined tiers and asked if I could create a cake for her incorporating those sequins.


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I was thrilled at the opportunity and ultimately came up with this design for Jessica’s big day.   Using a pattern like the one from her invitations, I added the cascading metallic shattered chevrons to the tiers surrounding the shorter sequin covered tier.  My hope was that they would appear to be almost bursting out of the gold sequin covered tier.  I then used a diagonal line to separate the top tier into two portions; one left white and one covered with the gold sequins that I knew Jessica loved.

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Jessica had sent over some photos of the flower arrangements that she had chosen which included pink and peach roses.  I had been playing with making gum paste roses but had never been happy with their final look.  I knew I had to pull off some seriously gorgeous flowers for this cake so I turned to my expert and friend, Kara Andretta of Kara’s Couture Cakes.  Thankfully, Kara had created an amazing tutorial for making these more natural looking roses.  I spent hours pouring over her Youtube tutorial (found here) and even more time harassing her via FB messages until I was content with the look of my roses.  I used a variety of filler flowers including buds, carnations (learned those from the fabulous Miso Bakes in her post on The Cake Blog, and those cute little finger flowers that I learned from Jacqueline Butler of Petalsweet Cakes.


FondantFlingerJessica5I was nothing short of ecstatic to see the outcome of this cake.  It came out exactly as I had pictured in my mind and the bride loved it!  It was delivered to the lovely Palmettos on the Bayou in Slidell, Louisiana and looked gorgeous with the backdrop of oaks and palmettos scattered along the bayou.  Oh the charm of the bayou with the moss covered trees dripping into the bayou waters….so scenic…makes me wish I could get married again….

 

Buttercream Purple Ombre Cake

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Gold Sequins Cake

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The perfect wedding cake design?  Essential.  The perfect wedding cake stand?  Crucial.  Every cake designer knows that the perfect cake, if not presented properly feels lacking.  My preference?  The cake pedestal.  There is just something so appealing about a cake on its pedestal.  Now, finding the perfect pedestal is no longer an issue.  Sarah’s Cake Stands just launched its Picture Perfect stand collection in bold, bright and beautiful colors.  To celebrate the new line, I designed this cake to coordinate with Sarah’s “At First Blush” stand.  I knew the photos had to be nothing short of spectacular so I called in the talented Lee Lopez Photography and he captured these insanely gorgeous photos.

fondant_flinger-4LOGOThe stand truly makes this cake.  The burst of color and shine at the base of the cake accentuates the shine of the gold sequins and the burst of color on the herringbone design.  You can read more about my design process for this cake at Sarah’s Stands Blog.  
fondant_flinger-8LOGOGiddy does not even begin to describe my elation when I finally assembled all the tiers.  I got so excited that I shot the photos over to Carrie at The Cake Blog who so graciously did a write up of her own (which you can read here).

Don’t forget to check out all of the new colors from Sarah.  I warn you though, prepare to be inspired!

Flowers with Friends

This past weekend I had the opportunity to fly out to California and spend some time with some dear cake friends.  We laughed, we ate amazing food, we relaxed and we created sugar flowers.  FondantFlingerAnemone2

Our delightful and inspiring hostess invited us into her home for the weekend, though to simply use the word “home” doesn’t quite do it justice.  The gardens alone were enchanting; one of those rare places where time seems to stop and you can fully enjoy the beauty of God’s nature surrounding you.  Somehow even the dirt in the garden seemed to inspire me.FondantFlingerAnemone3

Another guest joined us as well this weekend who happened to be my lovely friend, Jacqueline Butler of Petalsweet Cakes.  In fact, I had met our delightful hostess while studying with Jacqueline last year (you can read about that amazing class here).
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So my weekend consisted of being with the ladies I admired and making beautiful sugar art together.  Not too bad of a way to spend a weekend, eh?FondantFlingerFreesia

During our time together, we crafted anemones, freesia, and lilacs within this delightful, intimate and inspiring setting.  Needless to say, I didn’t want it to end. FondantFlingerLilacBut sadly, all good things must too come to an end.  However, this time, not only did I create beautiful flowers, I also left with beautiful friendships.

 

 

Eyelet Cake with Bouquet

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Nautical 1st Birthday Cake

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For Becca

This cake was designed especially for a friend of mine so I knew that it had to be perfect.  Fondant tinted to the perfect shade of sea foam was indented on the first tier with a small quatrefoil cutter from Not Just Cakes By Annie.  The sugar pearls were tinted gold as well with a bit of gold disco dust and set into the fondant between the quatrefoils.  Using a dry brush, I hand painted the gold “dripping” on the top tier of the cake and topped the cake with two offset wafer paper roses.  FYI, I learned the wafer paper roses from the amazing Stevi of Hey, There Cupcake in her class on Craftsy.

I knew Becca loved Hummingbird cake (which is also what she had for her wedding cake) so the bottom tier was a Hummingbird cake with white chocolate cream cheese swiss meringue buttercream and the top tier consisted of chocolate rum cake and a whipped ganache swiss meringue buttercream.

Happy birthday, Becca!

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For Tom and Heidi

 

Grey, white and yellow buttercream covered cake with chevron and polka dots, fondant rose petals and topped with a wafer paper rose for Tom and Heidi’s wedding! 

I was so excited when this destination wedding couple asked me to recreate this design first made by the talented One Sweet Slice. Generally, I don’t agree to recreate designs by others, but this design was perfect for their wedding.  I love the design that One Sweet Slice created including the different patterns and the texture of the petal covered tier.  A gorgeous design and so much fun to recreate for my happy couple.  Congratulations, Tom and Heidi!

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Buttercream Effects with the Leaf Tip

Ah, the leaf tip. Its just such a versatile piping tip and one I’ve been using quite a bit these past months.  Most recently, I used it on this cake as part of a large dessert table for a church event.

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I’ve used this technique on a few of my cakes so far and it is perfect for when the budget may be smaller or time does not allow for a full fondant ruffle technique done on an entire tier.

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Its very similar to the technique used on my “Welcoming Spring” cake (below), however the angle of the tip is altered so that the tip is pulled up vertically, there was a bit more ruffling done during the piping and the rows are done a bit different to create the overall look of grass sprouting upward.

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For the Great Gatsby cakes that were created earlier this year, the “feathery” look of the buttercream was achieved with the same leaf tip.  I wanted to play off of the gum paste feathers that were painted gold and used as accents so with a quick change of the angle, the piped feathers were formed.  Instead of pulling the piping bag up and slightly ruffling each one, I pulled the tip straight out from the cake and completed the rows in that way so that the tips of the “feathers” were predominately what you saw when viewing the cake.

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Clearly, the color of the buttercream plays a tremendous role in varying the look of the cake as well.

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Basically the only thing I changed for this past weekend’s cake for a dessert table is the top portion.  Instead of pulling the leaf tip straight out from the sides of the next tier, I pulled them up vertically to give the cake a bit more “poofiness” (that’s a word, right?).

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I used a Wilton leaf tip.

LeafTutorial2And when I got to the top of the cake after piping the feathers, I began making each leaf more vertical (sorry for the not so great photo.  My hand had quite a bit of shakiness after all that piping!).

LeafRuffleTutorial1When it was done, it gave the cake a full and textured appearance .

LeafTutorial5If you have any questions, please comment below and I’ll do my best to walk you through.

 

Happy caking all!