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The Reason

Creating cakes has been a joy! It’s an honor that people wish my creation to be on their table as they host friends and family. But there’s a reason more than money. Though the money is important, as good business creates a healthy economy. What’s the reason that drives me to do what I do?

Countless hours go into each cake. Firstly it’s the several calls, emails and text messages with the client to place the order. Through that process the design is created and sketched. If there are some pieces which need to be dried and can be done in advance they are done as soon as possible.

Then the actual cakes are baked using all natural raw ingredients. Baking the cakes to me, is the most important part of the entire process. If a customer receives a gorgeous cake that tastes unpleasant or is dry they will never return.

While the cakes bake I also make the filling and ganache. The ganache will serve as an undercoat for the fondant. After the cakes have cooled, they’re filled then left to set. After the filling has set a smooth layer of ganache or buttercream is spread over the now cooled and filled cakes.

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A rainbow cake filled with Vanilla Bean Buttercream

While the ganache sets, the fondant is prepared by kneading in different colors. This process of coloring fondant can be lengthy as it can take a long time to reach the correct color shades.  Once the ganache coating has set and the fondant colors have settled the fondant is rolled out and smoothed over the cake.

Finally the last step has arrived of decorating the cake.

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Rainbow buttercream ready for piping

Depending on the detail involved this can take hours or a few days. Either way this final step is so important as this is the first impression for your client when they see their cake.

20131121-104820.jpgBaby Boy Christening Cake, finished with fondant and handmade decorations

20131121-105727.jpgRainbow marble cake with buttercream

Phew… The cakes are given to the customer and that’s another job done, another set of new people that have tasted your creativity; and another opportunity for a new customer to be a repeat customer.

All of that’s done for a reason far greater than the money that’s received but for the joy that’s felt watching a happy customer smile or watching a child’s mouth drop in awe.   What’s your reason?  Why do you do what you do for a living?  Please do share with us. This is my reason, a beautiful letter of thanks!

Hi Theresa,

I just want to take the time to say a huge thank you for the cakes. It was a very smooth process from Beginning to end and I have genuinely enjoyed working with you! Olivia’s birthday cake was a huge hit with the children, and you should have heard the squeals of delight when it was cut to reveal a rainbow inside!

Our family and friends all commented on how amazing Alexander’s cake looked and how much work went into it!

They were both beautiful to eat, with most guests going back for seconds or thirds! I have told everyone who made them, and we will definitely be repeat customers.

Once again, thank you so much for the time and work you put into the design and creating the cakes.

Chris & Shari xo”

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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

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.

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

Fresh Flowers and Autumn Colors

I really love working with fresh flowers!  They radiate elegance and perfectly compliment a simple cake.

Autumn, though some call it Fall because all the leaves fall off the trees, is my favorite time of the year.  When I was in New York we would always take long autumn rides along the Hudson river overlooking New York City just to view the colors of the trees.  Oh my goodness, there were bright reds, dark maroons, shades of brown, glorious golds, bright yellows, oranges, olive greens all set against that clear blue sky with a crisp “where’s my sweater?” breeze.  But, in tropical Townsville where I currently live, that dreamy picture doesn’t really exist.  Though this is the autumn/winter season here, the days are about 75-80˚F.  Let’s be honest, palm trees are green and occasionally brown 24/7/365!!

My neighbor was celebrating her 5th Anniversary and requested a cake.  She wanted to keep it simple so I suggested a few fresh flowers.  Where I live has a big lawn with about 1/2 of it dedicated to a meticulously kept garden.  In it grows everything from papau fruit to tomatoes; from lettuce to roses.  I really enjoy the sweet scents that greet me every morning.  The flowers on this cake are from a quick walk and snip, snip around the garden.  Fortunately, I was able to capture the rustic colors of tropical autumn which makes me love this cake.   It’s a product of the tropics that brought back great memories of the Big City.

About the cake: Chocolate layered with chocolate buttercream; covered in Vanilla buttercream.

LOVE and the Little Red Berry

It’s that time of year again, where the world seems to be a hue of reds and pinks – Valentine’s Day!  At New York Cake Co. we are excited about making pretty and delicious treats.  With a seven dozen cupcake order in about a month ago from one of the local restaurants, we’ve been thinking Valentine’s Day for a while now and we LOVE it!!  At this particular restaurant I had the pleasure of hearing the Executive Chef say “I’ve never tasted a better cake before in my life” – that was an enormous compliment from a chef of his caliber!!  But better yet was when I was discussing with him what type of decorations and cake he wanted for his Valentine’s Day dinner and he said “I give you full freedom, do whatever you want!”  Have I really gained his trust that whatever I make he’ll approve?!  🙂

Though many cake flavors can signify with Valentine’s Day, of course we all know of Chocolate, there’s still space for something new.  Yes, I agree chocolate will never go out of Vogue!  However in our kitchen, here in Townsville where we introducted the flavor of Red Velvet – Red Velvet is beginning to steal the show!!  So the flavor choices for Valentine’s Day 2012 are: Chocolate of course!  Red Velvet, a must, as Townsville folk have made it clear it’s their best. Last but not least… Strawberries n Creme!  A tender moist cake full of sweet strawberries topped with a rich, creamy, buttercream.

Lately I’ve been focusing on using fruit in my cakes, as I’m looking for a fresh and “clean” taste.  Chocolate will be around forever.  But there is space for something new and fruity.  There is a post about blueberries here and raspberries here.  In a short time with a few tweaks the recipe for the Strawberry cake and the Creme frosting was created.   There were some extra fresh strawberries so I quickly made a jam for the top.  As a trial, I brought them to the markets and WOW – they were a hit!!  And again, something new in Townsville!! 🙂

About the cupcakes:  Strawberry & Creme 

ready to be taken to your Someone Special

 

the first attempt at Strawberry n Creme cupcakes

Not Your Ordinary Chocolate Cake

Yesterday one of the cafe owners texted in her order (thank you!) which included a chocolate cake.  For this particular cafe I haven’t done a round Chocolate Cake yet.  For chocolate they normally get the “Death by Chocolate” log, pictured below.  It’s four layers of oh so moist Chocolate cake, layered with Chocolate Fudge Frosting then coated with Dark Chocolate ganache.

With such a general request and no direction of flavor… I was excited to explore something new.   She left the choosing up to me!  Yay!  Well for the locals here in Townsville, I’m sure you’ve guessed by now that as an American we primarily use buttercream.  Buttercream layered in the cake, buttercream on top of the cake…. buttercream, buttercream, buttercream.  Buttercream is not big around here.  So unheard of that when I started selling at the markets, people would ask “what is buttercream?”  An American five year old knows what buttercream is, he’s been licking if off his mother’s beaters since he could reach!  But as the client base grows and there are entire display cases to fill, there just has to be more than buttercream, so now I’m becoming a ganache addict.   Dark Chocolate ganache, Milk Chocolate ganache, White chocolate ganache.  Heat, stir, pour… tada!!

For a few hours I thought, “what should this Chocolate cake have in it?”  Caramel? No, too much caramel here… Caramel tart, Caramel slice, caramel, caramel, caramel, no, no, no.  Reese’s Pieces? No. too American and folk may not be ready for that yet.  Buttercream? No, though it’s delicious, I have to change.  What? What? What do I choose?  Raspberry? Yes! It will be Raspberry!  A few weeks ago I got my hands on creating a Raspberry jam that is like “oh my goooooodness” as a filling. Actually is it a jam or is it a filling?  I’m not sure, just know it is this perfect raspberry concoction that tastes amazing.  I first used it layered in a Vanilla Cake and it was a success.  But Raspberry and chocolate –  that just sounded right and it is!  So this bold, rich, red, tangy raspberry delight lies between three layers of the most moist Chocolate Cake I’ve ever tasted.  Of course, its topped with my latest addition…. Dark Chocolate ganache and garnished with fresh Raspberries.

About the cake: Chocolate Cake, layered with Raspberries, coated with ganache

About the Cake: named “Death by Chocolate” by the cafe – it’s 4 layers of chocolate cake, 3 layers of fudge frosting, coated in dark chocolate ganache

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