Monday, December 14, 2009

More Holiday Cookies!

Even we're still busy making Hanukkah cookies, the Xmas cookie madness is beginning. This year we added a Santa set - tree, Santa and stocking, in addition to the ornament set and winter set. We'll also have the present cakes again, too. (Some of the designs are slightly different from the photos shown) Best of all is that the cookies taste like cookies and not cardboard! They are baked frequently, so they're always fresh when you receive them.
All these items are available until December 24th. Please allow 3 days for order fulfillment.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Hanukkah Cookies

Hanukkah is in just one week! It's the one time of year I'm ok with frying and smelling like I swam in a vat of oil. Yes, I make lovely cakes and cookies, but I also fry up awesome latkes. I even hand grate the potatoes and onions, which is a labor of love right there.
Although the traditional Hanukkah dessert is sufganiyot, which are like jelly-filled donut balls, my contribution to the Hanukkah dessert pantheon is cute decorated cookies. Why should gentiles have all the fun!?! At Coco Paloma Desserts, we package them in sets of 4 tied with a blue ribbon.
For anyone interested in ordering the cookie bags, we'll have them available through December 18. Christmas cookies will be available until December 24. (I'll post those next week)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Cherry Blossom Cake

Even though we're known for more nontraditional designs, I like to throw in a classic now and then. The cherry blossom cake is becoming a popular design for brides and would be a beautiful centerpiece for a spring or summer wedding. It's easily adaptable to any color scheme or even shape - round, square or even hexagonal.
Next week I'll be posting the Junior League Christmas affair cake we'll be doing. The theme is "Wild in Africa", but don't expect any animal prints from us!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Modern Indian Wedding Cake

I love bright colors and unique designs on a wedding cake, so you can imagine how thrilled I was to have a bride requesting a pink/orange color combo and traditional Indian motifs for her Indian wedding. Rather than opt for a traditional take on the design, we went for a contemporary interpretation of the paisleys and scroll patterns. Using the hexagon shape and dome top added to the playfulness of the cake.
The set up of the ballroom was fantastic! You can see the sequin fabric hanging behind the cake, which was actually on a stage. The whole room had a wonderful pink and orange glow.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Halloween Cookie Class

After many requests, I finally decided to offer my first class - Halloween Cookies. We'll focus on learning different royal icing techniques, such as piping, flooding, using sparkle sugar, and marbling. All the techniques can be applied to any cookies you make in the future, whether it's cute butterflies for a shower or dinosaurs for a birthday.
Date: Thursday, Oct. 29
Time: 6:30 - 9:30
Cost: $50
All supplies as well as cookies and recipes provided. Please email me at for more info or to sign up. The cookies you make Thursday will still taste wonderful for Halloween on Saturday!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Pirates and Baby Shower Cake

More fun kids' cakes! Technically, the Cat in the Hat (don't sue me estate of Dr. Seuss!) is a baby shower cake, but it would be a fun birthday cake for any Dr. Seuss fan young or old. The pirate ship was for a VERY happy five year old boy. He couldn't believe the ship was cake! Seeing a kid's joyful reaction is really the best thank you.

Pirate ship detail - peg leg mate and one-eyed captain.
The sails and rope ladders were edible, too.

Thing One and Thing Two running around the cake.
Everything was edible!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Cake Wrecks - Wrecked!

The Cake Wrecks grand super-duper world book tour was going to make a stop in Austin this past Sunday, but John and Jen of Cake Wrecks both got seriously ill in Dallas on Saturday. John even ended up in the ICU! Hopefully they'll recover swiftly. Unfortunately, this means the book tour is canceled for now, but it's more important that they get better.
It would have been awesome to meet them, especially since I was going to be providing cake for the 500 fans who were expected to show up at Book People. Nicole of Wicked Cakes was also going to be there with cake on hand for the hungry fans. Here's the cake that we made for the book-signing. If you're at all familiar with Cake Wrecks, you'll get the references. If not, go NOW to Cake Wrecks! Laugh, cry, shake your head in dismay... just go.
So what happened to the cake? My husband and his coworkers devoured it. Software developers plus free cake = gone.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Baby's Birthday Cake

We had a little party for my youngest daughter today. She's going to be 2, s0 I guess she's not really a baby anymore (sniff). Even though she has no clue what a birthday really is, she knew right away that the cake was for her and was very proprietary about it during the birthday singing. It probably didn't help that the little duck figure on the cake is a replica of her much beloved DuckDuckDuck, whose head she subsequently demolished.
The stacked present cake idea is a pretty versatile design and would work for any age, gender or celebration. I could see it as a fun over-the-top cake for a teenager (bar/bat mitzvah, sweet 16) or a cute version for a baby shower. It would also make a whimsical bridal shower cake, incorporating champagne, rings, and bridal fashion. The colors and design are what will set the tone for any cake in the stacked gift motif.
My other daughter's birthday is at the end of October - stay tuned for her cake!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Ann Richards Birthday Bash Fundraiser

Although it's been busy with weddings and other fun cakes, I particularly enjoyed making a cake for the Ann Richards Birthday Bash fundraiser. Every year the Ann Richards for Young Women Leaders gets a boost from this fundraiser. If you don't know much about the school, it's worth learning more about.
The nice thing about donating a cake is that I have free artistic reign and use it as an opportunity to try out new design ideas. This design would work nicely for a modern wedding cake or an elegant birthday cake. I arrived early to deliver the cake, so I didn't get a chance to see what the other pastry chefs had brought.

Monday, August 31, 2009

LSU Tiger Stadium Revisit

Way back in October of 2008, when I made my first blog posting ever, I showed two groom's cakes -an LSU stadium cake and an armadillo. This past weekend we had another LSU stadium cake and a rainbow trout cake. I'm always amazed at how much I learn every year in regards to cake decorating skills and feel like the new LSU cake really blows away the old one. This is my third stadium cake, so I would hope that with each one, I expand my skill set. Since my first major in college was architecture, I feel like I'm carrying over the model-building skills over to cake decorating.
The fish was just plain fun to do! I don't know if it creeped out the guests, but I'm guessing they got a kick out of it.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

"Cheese" Cake

We do create a lot of fun groom's cakes, but every once in a while we get to make one that is just truly unique. This groom had a quirky sense of humor and had actually been in the cheese business, so making a Parmigiano-Reggiano wheel made perfect sense. The two mice crashing the wedding were a cute touch to the cake.
Capitol Stamps in Austin created the rubber stamps that I used to imprint the "rind" of the cake. I brushed on brown food coloring for each stamping, and then airbrushed the whole cake to match the color of the actual cheese wheel. Hopefully the guests realized it was a cake and not a giant wheel of cheese (which would have been delicious, too)!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Red Furry Monster

I don't mean to be evasive about the name, but my friend Tony put the fear of copyright infringement in my mind a while back. I'm pretty sure that the folks over at CTW aren't going sue me (I'm not exactly mass-producing these cakes and selling them on Canal Street), but just to be safe, I will refer to this cake as the Red Furry Monster cake (RFK).
That being said, RFM was for a 2 year old's birthday. He loves basketball, so we incorporated a cake one into the design. I also added RFM's pet and a gift box for festiveness. I wish the photo were a little better - I should have turned the cake around for the photo.
His slightly dilated eyes, nose and party hat are rice cereal covered in fondant. It's a little hard to tell, but his mouth is really open - I cut into the head to create the open mouth. Even though we had a lot of fun working on RFM, we started to get loopy applying the fur! I got the idea to use the meat grinder attachment on the Kitchenaid from last week's Food Network challenge. Sesame Street cakes, of all things! Perfect timing.
Cue in piano... la la la la, la la la la, RFM's world... RFM loves his goldfish...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Burnt Orange Cake Craziness

I'm actually surprised it's taken this long for someone to order a UT stadium cake. It makes a great groom's cake - which this was. I'm not even sure how long it took to decorate, but the architectural details of the stadium are permanently embedded in my brain. The whole thing is edible except for the 5 turrets, which were PVC pipe covered in fondant. The lights and screen are sugar paste.

Monday, June 29, 2009

"Cupcake" Cake

I know cupcakes are all the rage right now - they're cute, portable and easy to make. But, they don't make for particularly grand wedding cakes. Unless the cupcake is 7 inches tall and can feed 10 people. The bride's whimsical style called for a cake that was fun and festive without being childish and overdone. She also really liked cupcakes and wanted to incorporate that into the cake design.
The bride and her guests loved the cake, and the lucky couple got to save the giant cupcake for their anniversary. I think this cake design would also work really well for a birthday or bat mitzvah.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Peony Cake

The peony cake was for a couple that wanted to incorporate traditional Chinese motifs in a western style wedding cake. The bride, who is from Taiwan, had a pink peony design for her stationery. The sugar paste peonies were SOOO time consuming to make, but I think they turned out stunningly, all thanks to my new assistant! I'm hoping to do more sugar flowers now that I have someone else on staff who has some experience with them.
More fun cakes to come!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

In the Knot

I picked up the lastest the Knot the other day at Target since I knew that one of my past brides was going to be featured. (Here's her story) I didn't realize that I would have a couple of other mentions, too. In a cake q&a article, the white Jonathan Adler-inspired cake was shown as an example of a different take on white-on-white. This cake is one of my all-time favorite designs.
There was also an article about planning an eco-friendly wedding in Texas, giving brides advice on how to be more green in their selection of flowers, catering, etc. Coco Paloma Desserts was highlighted as an all-natural cake shop! Their exact words were: "Pastry chef Paloma Efron couples earth-conscious baking practices with her graphic design background to make one-of-a kind cakes. Though her designs ranged from traditional with a twist to colorful and modern, every creation is made from exclusively natural ingredients."
I've got some fun wedding cakes coming up for June, so stay tuned!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Unconventional Wedding Cake

This past weekend I made a wedding cake that looked like a lighthouse on a cliff. The groom proposed to the bride at a lighthouse in Hawaii and wanted to recreate that memory with the cake. The cake is a replica of that very lighthouse. The sand at the base is turbinado sugar and the base itself is covered in poured sugar. I created the cliffs by packing some rice crispie treats around the cakes. (I think every bakery is now stocked with Rice Crispies thanks to the Food Network)
The bride and groom are gumpaste and admittedly a little out of scale with the rest of the building. How did they fit through the door? Hmmm... something to ponder.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

French Macarons

Discovering new foods and sweets on my travels is often the highlight of the vacation. I come back home hoping I'll be able to find a recipe or restaurant with the newly discovered dish or food. In 2000, a trip to Paris led us to Laduree, a beautiful if somewhat stodgy Parisian icon. I tried the macaron for the first time and have never let go of the memory of the chewy almondy texture.
In 2000 no one in Austin was making them and recipes for true French macarons were hard to come by. I did learn in pastry school how to make them as well as recognize a quality macaron.
Thankfully Luxe Sweets stepped in and began making beautiful and delicious real French macarons! Soraiya Nagree, the owner, also discovered them on a trip to Paris. Hers have the right chew, are shiny, and have the distinctive "crusty" edge around the base of the cookie halves.
The 2" round cookies and the fillings are paired to match. Some of her offerings include passionfruit, chocolate, cardamom honey orange and rose. They make wonderful wedding favors and hostess gifts. More info about ordering can be found on their website.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

More Kids' Cakes

I always have fun making cakes for kids. It's an opportunity to use bold colors and have fun with my imagination. Oliver's parents have ordered cakes from me before - I'm the cake lady according to their kids. For his 4th birthday, the theme was bug catching. I'm not a fan of insects, but I had fun making cute and innocuous little sugar bugs for the cake. The wings on the bugs are cut gelatin sheets. The books and basket are cake.

The tropical fish cake was for a Bar Mitzvah - not quite a kid anymore, but young enough to want something vibrant and fun. Sam is really into tropical fish, but I wanted to make sure the cake didn't look like a Nemo cake for a 3 year old.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Wedding Dress Inspiration

This past weekend was one of the busiest we ever had - 8 cakes! That's not a big deal for larger shops, but it's just me and my intrepid assistant, Chree. My friend Carri, who used to work at the Driskill with me, helps out on weeks like this. Also keep in mind that most of the cakes we do are very detailed and time-consuming, so 8 cakes is quite an undertaking.
Two of the wedding cakes last week were inspired by the brides' dresses. The first cake had 3 tiers of scalloped lace, each with a different pattern. On a small budget, we were able to incorporate some of the detail of each layer on each tier of the cake. By impressing the fondant with a pattern and piping royal icing, we were able to add detail and depth.

The second bride's dress was an ivory satin with lots of folds and ruching. We recreated the folds of the fabric with fondant and then airbrushed the whole cake with a pearl sheen. The camellia flower is made out of sugarpaste and was also airbrushed. All that extra fondant added several pounds to the weight of the cake - it was heavy!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Cakes for Dudes

Most weekends we make beautiful wedding cakes and birthday cakes with lots of pretty colors and girly stuff. This weekend we pumped up on testosterone and created these manly man cakes. Grrr. Talk about putting hair on your chest.
The Ford GT-40 was for the special manly man in my life - David. His fascination with this vintage Ford sportscar began after he got to sit in one at his mechanic's shop. (Maybe he rode in it, too?)
The NY Giants helmet was the groom's cake for a NYC couple getting married in Austin. The shiny blue was achieved with an airbrush and metallic blue food coloring. I hope the guests didn't end up with blue teeth! The face guard is made out of gumpaste and miraculously survived the journey to the reception.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

I can't believe it's not cake!

I know it's hard to believe, but I love eating all kinds of sweets EXCEPT for cake. I guess after 4 years and 100's of cakes, I've developed an aversion to eating it. Since I don't have much going on this week, I thought I'd start writing about other great desserts and sweets in Austin. I'm always on the lookout for something beyond the standards available at all the bakeries around town. We live in a city with an infatuation with cupcakes, red velvet, Italian cream cake and chocolate chip cookies. Some bakeries do a great job with these treats (we do too!), but I yearn for something more magical. Isn't that what dessert should be?
This week I was lucky enough to try two stellar desserts, one sophisticated and fancy, the other homey and simple. I happened upon the first one at the Austin Food Bloggers potluck this past Sunday. It was a perfectly sized (read finger-length) eclair from Cissi's Market. My French chef instructors at Le Cordon Bleu in London would have approved of its daintiness. The pâte á choux was the perfect cradle for the smooth, lightly sweetened Early Grey pastry cream. The cream was just firm enough to hold its shape without resorting to corn starch overload. I think I ate 3. (You can see pics on Thai Cooking with Jam)
Today my daughters and I shared a platter sized Whoopie Pie from the Cookie Lounge. (see above pic) I'd heard they starting making them recently and have been looking for an excuse to head over there and say hi to Mark. I will eat anything with chocolate and marshmallows, and this was heaven. The "cookie" part was soft and cakey, and most importantly, not too sweet. It's the fluffy marshmallow filling that carries all the sugar shock, but in a good way. I think it was gone in about 30 seconds. And they go pretty quickly, too. We got the last one and it was only 4:30pm. Considering they're open late, that's a quick turnover.
I'll plan on writing once a month about sweets and desserts around Austin. If you have any suggestions, please let me know.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Origami and bamboo

It's not every weekend that I have 2 cakes with bamboo as part of a cake's design. On the first cake, bamboo is the main design element. The clients' wedding not only had a "green" focus, but it was designed to be a bit retro and mod. The bamboo design fit in with the cool tiki lounge bar and Eames furniture (the house was so cool!). The cake is actually a simple straightforward round design iced in Swiss buttercream. It's the handmade sugarpaste bamboo stalks and leaves that make it unique. I also made the base look like faux wood to carry over the natural theme.(Sorry the pics are not great - the kids messed with the camera settings)

On the other cake, bamboo is just one design element in a cake inspired by origami paper designs. The bride wanted to have a cake that was a nod to the groom's Asian heritage. She also wanted to incorporate flying paper cranes since there were going to be paper cranes used as decoration throughout the reception (which was at the gorgeous One World Theater). The colors were also an important design element - they had to be just right. Fortunately, I have my old Pantone book from back in my graphic design days. I don't even know how many hours I worked on just decorating this cake, but it's one of my faves. Again, kids + camera = blurry shots. Now I know to check the settings.

Now I have to think if something yummy to bring to the Austin Food Bloggers potluck this Sunday. Hmm...maybe vanilla bean ganache cupcakes?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Vegan Wedding Cakes

Apparently we're the only cake shop in town that is willing to make vegan wedding cakes. You would think that in a city like Austin, you wouldn't have much trouble finding a traditional bakery that could accommodate a vegan diet. Not so according to my vegan brides. I have 2 weddings this weekend with vegan cakes - and they are surprisingly delicious!
A little bit of Internet sleuthing and a few tests in the kitchen yielded some delicious cakes. By far the best vegan versions were chocolate and red velvet. They were almost impossible to tell apart from the nonvegan version by my panel of experts - my husband and his soccer friends. The vegan carrot cake is also a good sub for the real thing. Here are the sources for the recipes, de rigueur food porn shots included:
Vegan Red Velvet
Vegan Chocolate
I find that oil-based cakes are better equipped for the transition to vegan. The white cake I made using Ener-G egg replacer had a good crumb, but it was a little too sweet for my taste. If they could find a way to recreate a vegan Swiss buttercream, then we'd have the perfect buttercream to accompany a vegan cake. I'll have some pics of the cakes after the weekend.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Austin 360 Food and Wine Blogger Bash

I'm usually not cool enough to get invited to exclusive invite-only parties, especially those involving SXSW, but somehow I managed an invitation to the Austin 360 Food and Wine Blogger Bash. It was held at Whole Food's culinary center, which I'd only seen from the outside, and sponsored by WF and Addie Broyles of the Statesman.
In addition to sampling delicious food and taste testing a variety of wines, there were chef demos by Jesse Griffiths of Dai Due and Tyson Cole of Uchi. I also got a chance to meet some hardcore Austin foodbloggers. I just blog about my cakes and other wedding/cake related stuff - and not on a regular basis. These people are really in touch with the food scene in Austin. We're trying to get out more,though, now that the baby is a bit older.
Even though I am a cake designer and deal primarily with dessert, I've always been a foodie. I plan entire vacations around my meals. I even shopped at Central Market on opening day way back when I was in college. 1994?95? But, I still judge a restaurant by its bread and desserts, so maybe I should just stick to showing pics of pretty cakes. Maybe it's also way past my bedtime.

A blue trend?

It's not too often that brides pick blue for their wedding colors, but this past week we had 3 wedding cakes in which blue was the primary color. They are all very different in style and design except for the shared medium to dark blue tones. Most wedding cakes tend to be pastels, ivory or white, so it was nice to bring out the vibrant colors.
I also enjoyed working with each bride in that they were both enthusiastic and openminded about the cake designs. I didn't have much experience with the brush embroidery technique (on the third cake) so I referenced my Colette Peters books - she has easy and detailed instructions on all sorts of cake decorating techniques. Even the pros need to pick up tips here and there. Here's a detail shot of the technique.

It involves piping and then brushing royal icing to create an embroidered look. Yes, that's why they call it "brush embroidery". Very time-consuming.
Next week we have lots of fabulous wedding cakes and groom's cakes. I'll be sure to post them when I recover from exhaustion!