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Canon 30D Meets a Naked Cake

Many years ago I purchased a Canon EOS. At the time it was “the camera to have” or the Jones’ of the camera world. I bought two lenses with it and a flash pack, feeling oh so pleased with myself, it seemed that in the world of photography I had arrived. In a few short years, all cameras went digital and my optical EOS was basically useless.

Finally, when I went back to New York for a six week vacation I did a little (well, maybe a lot, actually it was a lot!) of shopping. One of my purchases was to buy a digital Canon camera. It had to be a Canon, as I hoped the old lenses would still be compatible. I sheepishly asked the gentleman helping me. He said “yes” and then did a test. They worked! I wanted to literally jump for joy and probably could have, as the very tolerant New Yorkers probably wouldn’t have thought me to be too odd. But I didn’t, just did internal cartwheels instead.

Since, my cake creations seem to be gaining more and more of an audience. I soon learned that the typical iPhone photographs definitely could go and be replaced with professional ones. I have nothing against iPhone cameras, as there are amazing editing apps available to create a good photograph and to me the quality is most of the time good enough.

A few days after I got back to Australia, a Red Velvet cake was waiting to be delivered for a lady’s 40th Birthday. She didn’t want any icing over it and in the cake decorating world it’s called a “naked” cake. A few fresh from Townsville Flower Market dressed it up perfectly and then for the first time I grabbed my new Canon. Tadaa! A moment in history was made… my own professional cake photograph.

Check this out for more: New York Cake Co. Facebook Page

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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

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.

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

Office Professionals Day

Happy Office Professionals Day!

Did any of you office professionals receive gifts of thanks on Friday, May 4th?  If so, congratulations!  You deserved it.  It’s been a long time since  I worked in an office, but I don’t remember such a day as Office Professionals Day!  Maybe it’s an Australian day that us Americans don’t get to celebrate.  Who knows!

Helen called asking what could be created to treat 23 special ladies in her office.  Though similar styles have been done for Valentine’s Day and for Leigh’s Birthday, these were special.  No two will ever be the same because they are created uniquely for that special person.   Which is why I enjoy every moment of creating personalized cupcakes!  It gives me a chance to make something that can never be duplicated.  Thanks Helen for allowing me to be a part of your Office Professionals Day!

About the Cupcake:  Vanilla Cupcake and Butttercream topped with a personalized cookie

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