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She Said “Yes”!

On a hot and humid day in Sunny Townsville (a little country town in Australia) I arrive at A Touch Of Salt as usual to start my shift.  It’s not long before I learn of the exciting news that there will be a proposal during dinner time!  He requested a special dessert that would “wow” her and bear the ring!!  Oh my goodness!  I’m already preparing for the 40+ booked reservations and now this is added to the list!   I talk myself through it “Ok, just go faster and be more organized!”

As one would expect… fondant doesn’t sit around a fine food establishment.  How happy I was that I brought in a hunk of it to use on a different cake.  In a relatively short time, in between all the other little jobs, this little darling was created – thanks to fondant!

It went out to be served but quickly the news came back… She said “yes”!  I just wonder if she would have still said yes if it were not for that adorable little cake?!  LOL 🙂

Chocolate with Ganache and fondant Engagement cake

Ladybug Love

A big Happy Birthday to a special little girl who had a Ladybug themed birthday party!

When her mom sent me over this picture it inspired me to create a big Ladybug cake that matched her party!!

Bonne Anniversaire

Sometimes we stop ourselves by building walls and telling ourselves what cannot be done and why.  When in actuality there is so much more we can do by being well prepared!  Today, I learned that lesson.

Late last night I read an email requesting a cake for today.  Normally I would have said “absolutely, no way!”.  But when I thought about it I had all the necessary components prepared, but not baked.  This morning soon after I awoke another lady called asking for a dozen cupcakes.  Were two different people really requesting last minute wonders?  In about a half hour I realized that the daughter emailed ordering the cake and her Mom called me ordering the cupcakes but… both were ordering for the same event – Alex’s birthday!!   What a great feeling it was to say “Yes, I can create you something special in less than 24 hours!”

About 9am they were baked, happily I fulfilled my “To Do” list and then in a short time they were decorated and ready to go… Bonne Anniversaire Alex!  🙂

A Warm Welcome to Macaroons

WOW, time does really fly!  I can hardly believe it’s been this long since my last post.  May and June were months consumed at James Cook University in Australia, where I study Business.  It was an intense period studying for four final exams.  While running the business full-time and being a new student after many years of not studying it took some discipline to get into study mode.  But all in all I was really pleased that in the four subjects, I received a grade of 85% (Distinction grade in Australia) for three subjects and a 62% (Pass in Australia) in Business Law.  Though that Law class disappointed me with a measly Pass… I am very thankful to God for bringing me through with my brains still in tact and good grades!!

So on to the BIG NEWS!!  I know Macaroons have been around for a long time and why am I only now adding these ‘sweeties’ to the menu?!  It’s about time right?!  🙂  To be honest, I don’t have a particular reason other than I hadn’t had a strong enough request for them but recently I’ve had to create batches of them for a local restaurant and that FORCED me to join the Macaroon-Making band wagon.  I’m really happy to join this band wagon as they are a simple joy to make.  My first batches I’ve had the joy of making in a fairly well-spaced commercial kitchen so the process was rather quick.  There I used Zumbo’s recipe.  But I made them at home using José Maréchal’s recipe and quickly learned I need to invest in more home-style sheet trays.

What has puzzled me is why there are so many books, shows, blogs, articles and video posts on making these treats that are relatively simple to make.  I’m not sure if I just don’t get it but my recipe has only 5 ingredients for the biscuit!!   It seems there can be very negative results if slight errors are made. (that’s scary!)  Thankfully I didn’t have any issues and hopefully that will stay with me!

Of course my first macaroons joined me at the Cotters Market, where I’ve been selling sweet treats of all sorts for over a year now!  And… The… Flavor… Was…  BAILEY’S IRISH CREME!!  I was really happy with the results and hope you feel the same from the picture attached.  (Please excuse the picture that was taken using my ancient iPhone!)

Happy First Birthday Max

Little Max turned one just days apart from his parents, so there’s a birthday celebration for three!!

The challenge was creating a cake that would suit a one-year old and his parents.   For days I pondered what design would suit his parent’s cake as I knew the design for Max’s top tier cake from the beginning.   After some thought I decided on using boy colors balanced with white with a big ‘1’ on top.  For the parent’s cake I went with simple and elegant.

Being an American, I do a LOT with buttercream!  It’s simple and everyone enjoys it.   All of my fondant decorated cakes have a layer of buttercream under the fondant.  But after creating some Bailey’s Irish Creme tarts for the wholesale clientele I thought a Bailey’s Irish Creme ganache would be a surprising delight under fondant.  A little of this and a little of that and tada – Bailey’s Irish Creme Ganache!  Well, it takes more than that but to save you from boredom I’ll leave it there.  After layering the parent’s cake with Bailey’s Irish Creme Ganache  I also did the crumb coat with ganache.  It was the first time to use ganache under fondant and it turned out great!

About the Cake:  Both cakes are chocolate.  Max’s cake is layered with Chocolate Buttercream.  The parents’ cake is layered with Bailey’s Irish Creme ganache.

Happy Mother’s Day!

To all the wonderful women that have faithfully loved and mothered their children:

Happy Mother’s Day!

My mom is the most amazing women ever!  Yes, I know what a clique statement, but it’s true.  She is a warrior, defies all odds, and has led me to be the Christian women I am today.  Originally from Barbados, in 1975 she married, moved to New York and never looked back. She had my two sisters and then saved the best for last and had me!!  🙂   All through the years she’s been there guiding and instructing me as to which way to go, sometimes she’s right, sometimes not.  But, what’s most important is that she’s willing to listen, there to love and always makes me laugh.  What she’s done and willing to do for me is priceless.  We are closer than sisters.  We don’t even seem like mother and daughter but more a pair of very close friends.

In 2010, my Mom was in Australia and I was in New York but still I made a cake for her and even blogged about it.  You can check it out here.  This year, we are both in Australia so we will not be able to do our yearly ritual of taking a short drive from home to the Old Westbury Gardens mansion. There we would spend the day talking while strolling around in the immaculately manicured gardens.  We would stop and literally smell the roses.  At this time of year in North America it’s spring.  The grass is a light green and everything is in bloom.  A light sweater is more than enough and the sun so sweetly kisses your face!  I don’t know where we will spend this Mother’s Day while Down Under, but because she’s all the way from America to be with me it will be special nonetheless!

Mom, I dearly love you,

Your Daughter

May 2012 – Townsville

Her and I – Aug. 2008 – Central Park, NYC

Shades of pink just seemed right for Mother’s Day.  I am still in love with my ruffles so I had to add them too.  This is a very moist Vanilla Cake with two different fillings that perfectly compliment each other.  One is that unique Raspberry filling that can seem like a jam.  Every time I make this Raspberry filling it adds joy to the day.  It’s one of those simple yet rewarding recipes. The other layer is a White Chocolate Creme.

Vanilla Cake filled with a layer of Raspberry and a layer of White Chocolate Creme. Vanilla Buttercream icing

Rhett & Michelle’s Wedding

On a hot November day (yes, it’s hot here in November!) Rhett, Michelle and I met at Juliette’s to talk wedding cake. I was really excited that Rhett came because I think it’s so important that the husband-to-be is a part of all the wedding day decisions.   From having my cupcakes months ago Rhett was certain one of the cake flavors would be Red Velvet.  He also added that he’s been to many weddings where the cake was beautiful but not tasty at all.  He wanted a real wedding cake with buttercream and not fondant.  WOW!  Thank goodness that the husband-to-be came along and gave such important input.  Michelle, being so on top of things did her “homework” and came ready with multiple images.  One design in particular was her favorite which inspired the final cake.

As for Michelle… what can I say?!  She’s so organized, so talented, so crafty, so full of business ideas and a budding entrepreneur!  Of course there’s more I could add but the list will be too long.  She told me the theme was Garden and showed me these amazing guest invitations that took me to an old English garden with birds and butterflies fluttering around.   They were printed on beautiful translucent vellum paper, which of course she made!  Immediately I said “Ok, so there will be a small bird cage on the top nestled in flowers and the cake must be on an elegant pedestal”.   She looked at me like I was crazy but I felt confident this would would suit her theme.

This was the most amazing Do It Yourself (DIY) wedding that turned out to be just beautiful.  DIY can be tricky as it can look tacky and very obviously done by non-professionals. But not in this case, Michelle is so talented that when it comes to being crafty she is up there with #1.  She used Glorious Occasions to style and decorate the very popular wedding destination Jupiter’s Pavillion.  Every part of the wedding decor kept with the same garden design and she made almost everything herself.  From the Guest Book to the table menus; from the table placement board to the place settings Michelle made them all.  Then she completed the tables with rose pattern bunting!  Even the cake involved the family.  Her mom made the Blackberry jam that I used as a filling for the chocolate cake.  Her mother also made the Lemon Curd that I used as a filling for the vanilla cake.  Annette, the florist, did a great job on the flowers.  I was especially happy for the gorgeous floral pieces she put together for my cake.  I think I’ve already told you all how much I enjoy working with fresh flowers.  I think you’ll agree when you see how this cake can ‘wow’ a crowd with a few fresh flowers.

It was such a beautiful event and I was really happy to be a part of it.   I should add, this cake marked my FIRST AUSTRALIAN WEDDING CAKE, which really excites me!  It was great working with everyone and many years of wedding bliss to Rhett and Michelle!

About the Cake: Bottom tier: Chocolate layered with Blackberry jam.  Middle tier:  Red Velvet with Buttercream.  Top tier: Vanilla layered with Lemon Curd

The little bird that was on all the invitations and wedding programs. I just had to cut it out and put it in the cage too!!

The invitations that inspired everything

Thanks to Annette for the beautiful flowers

The #1 Table

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