Thursday, September 30, 2010

A hint of things to come

Last night I had the amazing pleasure of working with some amazing vendors on an inspiring photoshoot:

Virginia of The Bouquets of Ascha Jolie
Naomi of Nomie Boutique Stationery
Carly of Ambince Image Photography

Here is a sneak peak at some of what we got up to:

| Sweet! Cupcakes and Treats | Birthday Cake | Melbourne |

A few weeks back, I met with the most fabulous client, Melissa, and was invited to help her celebrate her 40th birthday.  After falling for my cake 'Sweet Caroline', we decided that this should be the centrepiece of her celebration, but the design needed to be tweaked to fit with the colours and theme of the night - cerise and bling!

Also on the cards were boxed cupcakes for all of Melissa's guests to take home as a momento for the night.  Presented in clear acrylic cubes, the cupcakes were tied with a black satin bow and an individual thank you name tag.

Happy Birthday Melissa!

Happy Baking!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

| Royal Melbourne Show 2010 | Sweet! Cupcakes and Treats |

Just last week I had the amazing opportunity to demonstrate my passion for cake decorating on the Epicure 'Great Tasting Stage' at the Royal Melbourne Show.

Wow, what an experience!

I was very recommended to the Royal Agricultural Society as someone worth considering by none other than the amazing Fran McGregor - thank you Fran! - and Ann Houlihan of Epicure Events trusted in Fran, and in me, and we slotted in two dates - Saturday the 18th at 4pm (opening day of the Show), and Thursday the 23rd at 2pm.

Now, I am no stranger to public speaking, having been required to do so many times throughout Uni and my prior life as an employee, but let me tell you, when it comes to demonstrating something, simultaneously speaking and NOT sounding like a complete twit infront of hundreds of people, well, that's a different storey!

For Saturday's gig, I was doing large cake decorating, and decided well in advance that I would teach the design and assembly of the large custom flower on my Colleen cake, so had "here's one I made earlier" props made in various stages of assembly ready to go.

And then the nerves kicked in!  Let me tell you, I have a new-found respect for presenters on TV cooking shows!  It's really not easy to stand up and complete a task that you have done a thousand times before when you have to also explain, clearly and without swearing!, to an assembled audience, just what it is that you are doing, and why you are the expert at it.  Ian Hewitson is famous for his shaking hands infront of camera, and I can understand why!  If you are not 1000% up for it, or posess a natural talent for it, it is really, really hard to ace!

But, I had a secret weapon, as it turns out - the staff at Woodnook Events, who were in charge of the stage, from sound to direction to having "stage buddies" ready to help out the newbies like me.  I got miked up by Paul, who knew just what to say and do to put me at ease.  Having a wireless mike fitted to one's head is quite the tonic for stage-fright (not!), and so is being told that you are going to be working with a full house.  The latter part I simply dismissed as being wound up, as everyone knew I was super-nervous, but, as it turned out, it was actually standing-room only, and the stage had seating for 150!

Once on stage, I had the lovely Pollie working with me, who chatted away and asked questions whilst I set about explaining what I was doing and making the flower... and it seemed like before I had taken a breath, it was over!  But not for long, as as soon as I put dwn the completed flower, Pollie told the audience that anyone who wanted to come up for a closer look and ask questions was welcome to do so, so the 150 seated people pretty much all rushed the stage and created a cake-decorator's mosh pit!  It was truely surreal... and the best part was that beforehand I was worried about not working the full 30 minutes.  I needn't have worried - in the end, I had to be wound up!

My second appointment with the Great Tasting Stage was not to be as easily sorted... I procrastinated over what to demo for so long that it was 10pm the night before that I had anything completed to show!  I settled on 3 fairly simple cupcake designs that were all fondant-based, so I could use the bulk of the time showing my method for covering a cupcake with fondant, as well as making the three flowers for the decoration. 

Nerves were again an issue; I knew Pollie was off at another gig, so either I would be running solo (oh no!), or there would be a new person working with me... again, I needn't have worried, as Woodnook's head honcho Roger was there to ease the way.

Again playing to a packed house (school holidays had kicked in by Thursday), we had a blast shatting back and forth and running props through the audience - as well as identifying the toilet-paper-wad-on-the-ceiling-thrower during a sticky moment with some overworked fondant!

The final demo passed by in about 10 seconds flat - I had an absolute blast, the audience was happy, the stage crew at Woodnook were happy, so all in all, a success!

Never would I have thought, back when I was just beginning my cake business journey, that an opportunity like this would come along.  And yet it did, and luckily I was wise enough to look beyond my self-doubt and fear, and grasp it with both hands.

If ever YOU are presented with an opportunity to be involved in a project that is much bigger than what you could have imagined, TAKE IT!  You never know what you may get from the experience!

Happy baking!

Monday, September 20, 2010

| Sweet! Cupcakes and Treats | Dessert Table | Melbourne |

Today I had the pleasure of woring with Guru and his wife to present a pretty dessert table for their twin's naming day (a boy and a girl).

Here are some highlights:
Cupcakes in three designs over two colourways in both chocolate fudge and vanilla bean.
Petits Whoopees.
Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies with initals piped in two colourways with white edging sparkles.
Coconut Macaroons by client.
Assorted chocolates by Koko Black and The Chocolatier.
Tiny baby biscuits supplied by client.
Pram favours by Kate ...? (ex USA)
Bunting etc by Paper Eskimo

Congratulations to Guru and his beautiful family!

| Sweet! Cupcakes and Treats | Wedding Cake | Melbourne |

Soon after Masterchef judge Garry Mehigan sported his jacket with the Fenix logo, I received an influx of enquireies from brides planning a Fenix reception - coincidence or kismet?

The gorgeous and lovely Nicola was one bride able to secure a date for her Fenix wedding ccupcake tower!  These shots are by the very talented Stewart Leishman, who, as a further stroke of kismet, happened to be the shooter du jour for Nicola and her husband Don.

Both the cupcake and cutting cake are carrot cake, with lime buttercream under fondant.  The cutting cake is topped with one of my signature "fabric roses" in white.

Congratulations Nicola and Donato!

| Sweet! Cupcakes and Treats | Dessert Table | Melbourne |

Michelle and William first contacted me earlier this year for a wedding cake, then, after they saw my work on dessert tables featured on Amy Atlas, they changed plans and decided to run with a dessert buffet for their wedding today.

Their lucky guests get to take home a variety of sweet things:

Wedding Cake - White Truffle with Strawberry Preserve filling
Mini Cupcakes - Java Jolt
Cake Pops - Chocolate Fudge encased in white chocolate
Coconut Ice
Vanilla Bean sugar cookies with edible images (the logo from the couple's stationery suite)
Chocolate Sable sugar cookies with edible images
Vanilla Bean Yo-Yo's

The entire event was themed around the stationery suite designed by Nomie Stationery... the pattern also featured on the table labels for the dessert buffet, as well as on the favour bags, and also on the dessert! Many thanks to Naomi for your assistance!

Congratulations to Michelle and William!