Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wedding shower cookies

My friend Luci had her wedding shower in Pittsburgh this past weekend, but I was unable to travel for the event. In my absence, I sent some fun cookies for the shower. Luci's colors are black, gray, and white, so I used these colors to ice sugar cookies and brownie roll out cookies with royal icing. I used stencils to create the damask and daisy patterns, and brush embroidery for the abstract floral design.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Take me out... the ballgame...

Being new to the city (and especially working out in the suburbs), it was important for me to be able to meet new people my age. So, a friend of mine suggested I join a softball league. The softball wasn't a great idea, but providing snacks each week for the team was right up my alley!

I used Tootsie Rolls for the bats and gloves and Airheads for the baseballs and jerseys. Super fun!

Royal icing flowers

One of the best parts about working at Wilton is that I have a lot of new learning opportunities that were not available to me previously. Or, at least, they were not as accessible as they are now. During my first few months with the company, I had an opportunity to take one of the cake decorating classes featuring royal icing flowers.

You would never necessarily eat royal icing (though it is technically 'edible,' it dries very hard), but it is a great medium for making flowers ahead of time, because they keep for months!

Below are some of the types of flowers I learned, as well as the final cake I made. Apologies for the bad cell phone pictures!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

A Michigan Wedding

My sister's good friend from high school gave me the honor of baking for her wedding, which was in beautiful Ann Arbor, Michigan. Erin and James are a beautiful couple, and I was so happy to have the chance to be a part of their special day.

This was one of those perfect weddings. Erin and James put so much thought and love into every detail that it felt perfectly authentic. The wedding and reception were held at Cobblestone Farm, which was beautiful, from the small outdoor ceremony, to the bumping reception inside the barn, with, I must say, the best wedding reception playlist to end all wedding reception playlists (compiled by the groom himself!).
Erin and James knew they wanted a variety of flavors for their guests, so we decided on 3 flavors of cupcakes with a small cutting cake. James had designed the wedding invitation himself, which served as the inspiration for the cake design. The invitation and colors for the wedding were dark chocolate brown and apple green, and the invitation featured graphic line and dot patterning, with a leaf featuring their initials on the front. I wanted to be sure to incorporate these elements in the final cake design.

With the wedding taking place in November, Erin wanted to be sure to include some seasonal flavors in addition to your 'safer' or more traditional flavors. We decided on a chocolate cupcake with vanilla buttercream and chocolate drizzle, an apple cupcake with vanilla buttercream and caramel drizzle, and a honey cupcake with vanilla buttercream and honey drizzle. The cutting cake was a chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream, topped with fondant. The honey cupcake was hands-down my favorite.
I also wanted to be sure to incorporate the leaf design with Erin's and James's initials into the cake, so I made a candy topper with melted chocolate and melted confectionery coating.
The final set-up at the reception was a tiered display, complete with cupcake labels designed by James.
Congratulations to Erin and James!!!

Big changes

Some big changes over here - this post is way overdue! Just over a year ago, I was offered a job at Wilton Brands, Inc. Certainly not for my cake decorating 'skills,' but for my skills in market research! I am now the Senior Manager, Consumer Insights for Wilton Enterprises, so I lead all market research initiatives for Wilton (bakeware, cake decorating supplies), as well as for Copco (housewares).

This, of course, was not an opportunity I could pass up, so I relocated from Durham, NC to Chicago, IL. Despite now working for the leading brand in baking and cake decorating, my baking activity has plummeted - guess that is what happens when you move from a 2,400 sf house to a 780 sf apartment (with no dishwasher)!

But, no worries, I've still got some tricks up my sleeve...