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!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Southern Weddings Blog

One of my past brides, Sarah, had her wedding featured recently in the Southern Weddings blog. When I show up to a wedding for cake delivery, it's usually about an hour before it starts, so people are still scrambling around to set up the decorations and flowers. I love looking at photos of clients' weddings - especially when they cut the cake!
I'm also glad to see that the cake was listed as one of the wedding highlights! Unfortunately, the photo looks like it was taken from the back, so you can't see any of the handmade sugarpaste flowers. I posted a detail shot.
This cake was different from most other cakes I design. The buttercream was purposely "spackley", and it had an pleasant old-fashioned look (which is what the bride was going for). Trust me - there is a fine line between rustic and sloppy. It still took some time to neatly achieve the right look.
I've got a couple of brides who will have their weddings featured in the Knot later this year. I'll be sure to post the articles.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

"That Takes the Cake" Competition

The Capital Confectioners Cake and Sugar Art Show and Competition was held this weekend in Austin. I entered this cake in the Professional Wedding Cakes category and came in First Place! Wow! I was bummed that I didn't sign up for any of the interesting classes that were being taught by well-known cake artists. Maybe next year I'll get my act together and sign up early. It's still cool that I got First Place, though. I wasn't expecting that!
The cake design was inspired by a really cool vintage table linen I bought at a flea market in Wimberley about 8 years ago. I loved it so much I made a tote bag out of it. Now that the bag is frayed and on its last legs, the design will have a new life as a cake.

Deck Cake

The guy who worked on our deck in December wanted to order a cake that looked like a, well, deck for his birthday. The posts and rails, picnic table, grill, cooler, etc are all made out of gumpaste and are edible. I used toothpicks for the rails because I couldn't imagine anything edible that would have worked. The deck was then "stained" with brown food coloring.