Sunday, December 19, 2010

Art Cake

This cake is definitely in my top 5 favorite cakes we've made! Kati, a friend of a friend, wanted to order a special cake for a dear friend of hers who was retiring as an Austin Museum of Art (AMOA) docent, where she had been over 10 years. Rather than just showing any art, Kati selected pieces that they had curated over the years at AMOA and had significance for the docents who would be at the farewell party. What made the cake really special, though, was the figure of Michaela strategically standing in front of the nude painting. The joke is that she would stand in such a way in order to placate the pruder teachers when she was giving school tours.

All the art on the cake is handpainted - no cheesy photo prints here! Kati, who actually has an art degree, wanted to help out with the painting. I'm glad she did because this cake required so much attention to detail, that the 4 hours she put in really helped. You might recognize some of the artists, but here is a link to the exhibition page for the following artists: Lichtenstein, Gee's Bend quilt, Oldenburg, Warhol, Christo, Hodges, Bates, Goldsworthy, and Arenz. I may have forgotten one or two.
From what I hear, the cake was a huge hit!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Austin Kidbits

I just saw that Austin Kidbits posted a little write up about our holiday treats! Since we don't have photos on the website (we're launching a new look very soon!) I'm going to post them here on the blog. 

The Present Cake

The present cake is a 6" square and serves about 15-18 people. It's a great centerpiece for a holiday party table or intimate Christmas Eve dinner party. It is $100 ($90 with Kidbits discount).
Santa Set
Ornament Set

Winter Set

Cookies! These adorable decorated cookies, which have been featured in the Austin-American Statesman, make wonderful gifts for adults and children alike. They come in sets of 3 and are $9 per set, or $8.10 when you mention Austin Kidbits. Oh, and did we mention that these are the most amazing sugar cookies ever? 
We do need 48 hours for the cakes and 24 hours for the cookies. We accept credit cards as well as cash. You can also order the cookies a la carte for parties with a minimum order of 30.
Happy holidays!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Cheerful wedding cake

Since we are officially done with weddings for 2010, I wanted to show you one of my favorite wedding cakes from this year. It's simple, sweet and elegant. The bride and I had to work on the design over long distance since she lives in Minneapolis. 
Her style for the wedding was relaxed with a little vintage chic thrown in. It was at Mercury Hall, which I just love. You can see the whole table set up with the clapboard background.  The gerber daisies and leaves were made out of sugar paste.
I think our collaboration was a success and hope you like it, too!
Photo is by Magic Spoon Productions.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Dr. Who and Alice in Wonderland cakes weekend

Last weekend I had a nice break from wedding cakes and had a blast making these 2 childrens' birthday cakes. The first was for a 9 year old Dr. Who fan. Fortunately I was sitting at my computer when his mom called, otherwise I wouldn't have known what a tardis looks like. The last time I saw Dr. Who was in 1988 when the long curly-haired guy played the lead. I think the cake cost more than their special effects budget. I added a dalek (again, thank you google) to give it some color contrast.
I had no problem getting all the details of the Alice in Wonderland cake, though. I enjoyed reading the book and watching the Disney movie when I was a kid. I recently read an abbreviated version of the original to my 6 yr old. Hopefully when she's older we'll read the whole text together. This cake was for a 4 year old, so I wanted to keep the design straightforward and lighthearted. Although I generally like Tim Burton movies, I was not a fan of his Alice in Wonderland, so I opted for the Disney look. I also think it's more appropriate for a little girl, anyway. The teapot is cake, too, although the handle, spout, dormouse and lid are gumpaste.
Have a happy Thanksgiving! We're closed this week, so it's all about baking pies for me. Can't wait!

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Knot Austin Guide

I'm going to make this a quick post since I'm wiped out from a cold. A few months ago I was asked by the Knot if I'd like to be the featured wedding cake designer in their Insider's Guide to Austin. A couple of the wonderful ladies from the NY office were on hand and were a pleasure to meet. I had a great time and am glad to see that I came across as somewhat coherent and focused! (Not too many "ums" and "uhs")
Here's a link to the video:
Scroll down halfway and you'll see it. And yes - they REALLY loved the cake samples! After the shoot was over, the videographers and Knot ladies ate up the rest.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Fun Halloween Cake


Hope you had a fun Halloween! Since my oldest daughter was born on Halloween, I leave it up to her whether or not she wants a Halloween themed party. This year she wanted to all out for Halloween, so naturally the cake had to be a little spooky.  As the guests were all 6 and under, I designed the cake to be more cutesy than scary. 
I used a mix of cutters and freehand to create the imagery on the cake. The bats are piped on and the 3-d figures are gumpaste. I gave the Frankenstein monster a birthday cake to hold just to make sure the cake was obviously a birthday cake, too.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Big Bat Mitzvah weekend - Part One

This is part one of a 2-part posting. We made cakes, cookies and desserts for a huge bat mitzvah weekend in San Antonio early this month. The cakes I'm showing today are from the Saturday synagogue luncheon. The theme of the lunch was a fun festive candyland setting. We were asked to design a cake that embodied a fantastical candy filled cake. I designed a set of candy gift boxes and candy bags overflowing with iconic and easily recognizable candies. The cakes are actually 2 tiers each and were huge. The bags are fondant covered rice cereal. And the candy and lollipops? It's ALL handmade by us out of sugar paste! 

Here's a close up of the spilled candy. Each piece was painstakingly copied by us. The candy bars, Tootsie rolls, kisses, dots, etc. Not one is real. Yes, I know we're crazy. 
I was still in Austin working on the Saturday night cake and wasn't at the lunch, but my assistant told me that kids and old ladies were trying to sneak the candy thinking it was real! Next post will be the Saturday night party cake and cookies.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Longhorn Wedding

What better way to show you're a diehard Longhorn fan than a UT/burnt orange wedding cake and groom's cake? I never actually met the bride since she lives out of town, but she sent photos of ideas and knew exactly what she wanted for her cakes. Sometimes people order wedding cakes and custom cakes from out of town, sight unseen. I think it takes a brave and trusting person to do that!
The groom's cake is the iconic tower on UT campus. I love spending time on architectural details, so I had loads of fun with this cake. Add the stadium, trees and students, you've got an idea of what UT Austin is like. The windows are hard to see in this photo, but some are colored burnt orange to make an "R" for the initial.
The bride's cake is the traditional topsy turvy cake design with a burnt orange, brown and ivory color scheme. The roses are fun fondant ribbon roses to give the cake a lighthearted look. The reception itself was tastefully decorated with beige linens. The burnt orange was mostly in the cakes, which was a relief since that color can be a little overwhelming in large amounts.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Día de los Muertos Wedding Cake

A fun wedding cake for the Halloween season. The couple planned a lighthearted Día de los Muertos themed wedding and wanted a cute cake to match the overall theme. The skeleton topper was provided by the bride. The wedding started out as a family reunion but was turned into a wedding when the bride realized she could take advantage of all her family being in town at once. I'll post a pic of my daughter's Halloween birthday cake on Sunday!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Garden theme wedding cake

I know it's been an awfully long time since I've posted any cakes - or anything for that matter. We had our busiest month ever this October making cakes for weddings, birthdays and bat mitzvahs. Now that wedding season has officially slowed down in Austin, I can take a moment to catch up on some photos. I downloaded a ton of pics today from my camera (ok, about 100 were from my daughter's birthday party) so I've got a lot to sift through. 

 I'll just go backwards and start with this past weekend. We've been doing more cakes this past year with handmade sugarpaste flowers. In order to make sure the flowers look real, it takes a lot of patience and time to form them and dust them to achieve the right look. I think the most we've done on a cake recently was about 18 roses. This cake was on a whole new level of complexity. I think in the end we made 50 roses, 6 peonies, 4 hydrangea clusters, budding branches and about 60 leaves. Each peony has between 11 and 25 handformed individual petals, and each hydrangea cluster has about 7 handformed petals.

We started about 2 weeks before making the flowers so we wouldn't be stressed about them right before the wedding. Good planning paid off! They were all done and ready to go a few days before. Since it was our last delivery of the day, we were able to take our time arranging the flowers on the cake onsite at the Four Seasons.
The traditional design was an important factor for the bride. Her grandfather used to be a wedding cake decorator in the days when all cakes looked like this. She asked for  traditional piping techniques and lots of flowers in pinks, magentas and whites.
My goal is to post a new cake a day - let's see if I can manage that! We did so many beautiful and fun cakes the past 2 months that I want to share!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Mini cake madness and moving in

I'm back! I didn't really go anywhere, but between moving into the new bakery and working, I haven't had much time to keep up with the blog. So, to start with, we FINALLY moved into the new bakery space! I haven't had much time to pretty up the front meeting area yet, but that'll come soon. It was challenging enough to get the kitchen ready for inspection, move in over the weekend, unpack and set up and then get ready for... 300 mini cakes. Yes, 300. Mini cake. With lots of detail. The top photo is a close up of each one.


Here's a lovely photo of all 300 plated on site. The event was a fundraiser kick-off for the Belton Children's Hospital, which is about an hour north of Austin. The venue was an idyllic yet luxurious ranch. It was a long drive, but my assistants and I had to all drive in our own cars because we ran out of room! I think we ended up with 30 boxes of cakes! I can't thank them enough for all the time and effort that was put into making this little cakes truly stellar.
I'll post some bakery shots once we get the front area ready. And I will definitely try to be more consistent with the blogging! I'll post some cake highlights from the summer on the Facebook page.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

New bakery and farmers market, coming soon!

I can't believe we're getting so close to finishing the new bakery! I'm keeping my fingers crossed for the end of August, but we'll see. You never know how inspections are going to go. If you haven't heard, Coco Paloma Desserts is moving to a cute little stone building on 6701 Burnet Rd, right where the Travis County Farmers market used to be. We won't be selling anything retail - it'll still be by appointment only - but we'll have our very own bakery, cake studio and consultation area. Oh, and enough room for all of us to work so we're not fighting over every square inch of table!
It hadn't been a farmers market in years, but today I met the new farmers who are taking over. There's going to be a farmers market again! They will be open Wednesday through Saturday, offering gardening supplies and produce. They'd like to add other products as well as classes and demos. I'm excited to see the complex being put to good use, as well as the opportunity to come home from work with fresh veggies. While you're checking out the market, be sure to take a peek through our windows. It's a mess right now, but give it a few weeks for it to look spectacular.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Charming cakes for babies to teens

Girls of all ages adore cakes (including their moms)! These are some samples of cakes we've done for different girls, ranging from prenatal to 15, for a quinceañera. As kids get older, the cake takes on more of their personality. First birthday cakes tend to be cute and somewhat neutral. By 2 they know exactly what they like and you'd better make a cake with their favorite character or toy!
The quinceañera or bat mitzvah cake is the perfect opportunity to showcase the girl's maturing personality and style. I enjoyed doing this particular quinceañera cake because the girl did not want a typical pink frilly cake. She's a basketball player and felt like a simpler blue cake was more her style.
On another note, we're moving into a new space (hopefully in mid August) and will be documenting the progress of the remodel on our Facebook page. 

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Refreshing cake colors

Weddings are a great time to have fun with your favorite colors, but many brides feel compelled to stick with white and ivory, whether due to tradition or association of the cake with the dress. White cakes are lovely and convey elegance, but for some brides color is the way to go. The cakes above use colors we don't see very often in bride's cakes - coral, lime green, lilac and sea green. They also do a great job reflecting the season of late spring and summer. The colors are refreshing and evoke summery breezes, flowers and fruits. The lime green cake actually had a lime curd filling.
These colors might not work so well with a fall theme, so color decisions should take into account the season. Above all else, the cake should be a reflection of the bride's personality and style.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Captain America Cake

I love surprising my friends with fun cakes! Recently when my friend's husband turned 40, she asked if I could make a cake to represent his love of comic books. The Captain America cover looked like a classic example of an old-school comic book - bold colors and clean graphics. We got a little cheeky, though, with the theme. Instead of the shield, we thought it would be cute to have him holding a huge glowing birthday cake.
It's hard to tell in the photo, but the cake, wings and figure are all applied on to the cake to give it a 3-d relief look. Besty painted the figure and gave the wings shadow and depth. Needless to say, Stephen was thrilled with the cake.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Purple Poppies

We've been having fun making all kinds of sugar flowers this spring. The latest ones are these gorgeous dark purple poppies. The flowers and cake design were inspired by the wedding invitations the bride selected. I kept the rest of the cake clean and modern so that the flowers would really pop out. You can see in the close up shot that the scroll design was embossed rather than piped. The lines on the shorter tiers mimicked the lines inside the envelope.

I think you'd be able to see more detail on the cake itself if it hadn't been so humid that day. Humidity and fondant do not make a good match.

Monday, May 10, 2010


I feel like when I show off a cake like this one, I ought to give a well-deserved shout-out to my talented staff. For the past 8-9 months, I've been lucky enough to have several gifted women on my team. Whether it's painting (see this cake!), sculpting, piping or just getting everything done, all these women have contributed in some way to the high level of craft expected from a Coco Paloma Desserts cake.
This Mary Poppins cake for twins Jessica and Melody also demonstrates how it takes a team to create a cake that truly wows the client. I'll generally "art direct" the cake, but I also need to divvy out certain tasks to fit people's strengths. Not everyone here bakes and ices cakes, but everyone is artistically gifted in different ways, whether it's painting, sculpture, piping, making flowers, etc. The best part is that we all learn from each other and gain new skills along the way.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Fresh Spring Cake

Somewhere mixed in among the Godzillas and trophies are the lovely wedding cakes of spring. Everything about this last wedding was just lovely. Again it was at the Lady Bird Wildflower center (third wedding there in less than 6 weeks!) and the weather was AMAZING! The bride really lucked out with the breezy sunshine. The only thing missing were all the bluebonnets, which are no longer around.
She wanted a classic, vintage look to her cake while emphasizing the floral details of her wedding. We made light blue hydrangeas, white peonies and ranunculus for the cake. I think it has a really fresh and clean look and am thrilled with how it turned out. Simple can be refreshing.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Only in Texas...

When I conjure up a picture of a trophy in my mind, I visualize the standard wood base with a person in the middle of an activity - swinging a bat, golf club or tennis racket. I never won one of these things, but that's the limitation of my trophy imagination. And then there's the trophy for the Terlingua International Chili Cookoff. It clearly represents the nature of the competition - a chili-shaped earth - but it's also pretty funny.
Having been to Terlingua on a Big Bend road trip, I can vouch for the eccentricity of the town in the middle of nowhere. I never would have known about the trophy, though, unless the husband of a 2 time winner hadn't emailed a photo to me and asked me to replicate it to surprise his wife. I think Jen, my design intern, and I did a pretty good job, but the crowd at the Texas Ladies Sate Championship cookoff in Seguin thought it was awesome! I only wish it hadn't been so humid - the fondant got so glossy. Oh, and thanks, Floozie for the water bottle.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Spring kick-off

We initiated spring with this adorable wildflower wedding cake at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. It couldn't have been a lovelier day! The sun was shining and the wildflowers filled in every nook and cranny in the fields. Since the bride wanted the cake to have a more casual handpainted look, I layered the colors on loosely and with bigger brushstrokes. We also made a sugar paste replica of their pet dog, Izzy, and her favorite dog toys.

We hadn't made a baseball hat before, so I was excited that they wanted a Red Sox hat for the groom's cake, complete with shamrocks! So Boston! (You'll have to click the photo to see more detail). Getting the brim just right was definitely the most challenging aspect of the cake.
We're about to get slammed with lots of weddings and parties, so I'll try to be as diligent as possible in keeping up with the blog.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

More Godzilla pics

The Godzilla wedding was featured on the Weddings Unveiled Austin blog as a top 5 for the week. The photographer got some great shots of the cake with better detail.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

When cakes attack

It's not everyday that a couple shows up to a tasting and says "We'd like our wedding cake to be attacked by Godzilla and Mechagodzilla. Oh, and can you make a topper of the bride carrying the groom? And maybe make the cake look likes it about to topple?" I love challenges, so of course I was on board with the idea. What's even funnier is that the mother and grandmother of the bride were there, too, and seemed nonchalant about the idea. I'm sure they had finally warmed up to the idea by the time we did the tasting.

The godzillas were both created the same way. I started with a PVC armature that I screwed into a square mdf piece. I started with a layer of rice cereal and then covered it with modeling chocolate to give it a defined form. After that I layered on the fondant. Godzilla was easier since his skin went on a few pieces. Mechagodzilla was another story due to all the "metal" plating that had to be pieced on. The spikes on both were hand cut out of gumpaste. Afterward, they both were airbrushed to match their coloring. Since it was a wedding, I thought it would be cute to make them each a bride and groom. The real bride wanted Mechagodzilla to be the bride.
The cake itself was a classic design, skillfully decorated by my assistant. She couldn't bear to watch me cut into it and make scorch marks with black food coloring, but she felt better about it after seeing it all set up on site in its Godzilla glory.
Although this may be the wackiest wedding cake we've done so far, I'm looking forward to more eccentric wedding cakes in the future. Maybe King Kong climbing the Empire State Building?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Six pack of yummy

I recently had to two orders involving beer and birthdays. This one was for an event planner who wanted to get a cake for her Lonestar-loving boyfriend. I suggested we make a 6-pack design, partly because I'm intrigued by the packaging design. It's modern in a retro sort of way. I like how the Texas icons - the Alamo, SF Austin, WB Travis, and even the state itself- are merely satellites of the main attraction - the Lonestar beer logo. Could Lonestar beer have existed without them, or is their historical importance merely a reflection of the awe that is Lonestar beer? It must be a Texas thing.
Don't think too hard about it. Go get yourself a beer and relax.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Vintage Bowling Bag

A few weeks ago, we celebrated my friend Susan's birthday at the uber-cool Highball. It's a throwback to the 60s with vintage lanes, a rat-pack style lounge and people who are definitely hipper than all of us combined. Thankfully my husband knew how to keep score manually (no monitors here!). Although I suck at bowling, I always have fun and manage to squeeze in a strike or spare in.
I've known Susan for almost 10 years, and she has always been a generous friend as well as very artistic and creative. I made her a vintage bowling bag cake, not only because I knew she would really love it (which she did) but also to show my appreciation for her friendship. It was partly for her mom, too, who was in town visiting. Like Susan, she is a very warm and generous person and LOVES sweets. I hear they enjoyed the leftovers for breakfast!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Valentine's Day Cake

This year for Valentine's Day, we going cute and colorful. There are "Sweetheart" messages scattered around the cake to bring a smile to your friends, someone-special, kids, or just yourself! The flavor options are chocolate cake with either raspberry buttercream or white chocolate buttercream.
We will be taking orders on the cakes until Wednesday, February 10 and will have them ready starting Friday, February 12. We can also arrange for delivery.
The price is $60 for the cake, and we'll be donating $10 from each cake sold to the Red Cross

Friday, January 29, 2010

Teenager Cakes

In December I had 2 different people order cakes for teenage boys, one week after the other. I don't recall ever making a cake for a teenage boy besides a Bar Mitzvah cake, so this was going to be a fun challenge. I guess I'm getting old - I have no idea what teenagers are into or think is cool these days.
One cake was for a book lover, so we made a stack of some of his favorite books. The other boy is an avid skateboarder. What I know about skateboarding could fit into a thimble, but thankfully the mom was able to give me some insight into his favorite brands. We made the cake a halfpipe and plastered it with fondant logos and handpainted images. I'm not sure I get any street cred points, but the mom said he loved the cake, which is all that really matters.
Valentine's Day cake coming soon!!!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Poppy Wedding Cake

I haven't posted a wedding cake in a while, so here's a cute one we did for a small New Year's wedding reception. The bride wanted a contemporary design that wasn't necessarily "wedding cake-y" looking. I had a photo of a cute poppy vase she had given her mom which they thought would be a great inspiration for the cake design.
I knew I got it right when I delivered the cake, and everyone said it reminded them immediately of the bride and her aesthetic. I hope she loved it, too!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Junior League Tea Table

I tried to take a little break from any work the past 2 weeks with the exception of the few cake orders I had. That meant no blogging, too! I realized that I hadn't posted the cake I designed for the Junior League's Tearoom Topper. The tea service is one of the events they had lined up for the Christmas Affair they do every year.
This year's theme was "Wild in Africa".
I'm not going to get into the fact that most tables were safari/animal themed or crack any jokes about Africa being a country. I may be tired right now, but I can stay neutral. What I did design was a cake that was representative of the beautiful arts and crafts of Africa. I found gorgeous fabrics and jewelry made with shells and beads as well as intricate baskets. Some of the artisan baskets are stunning. These are not the baskets you find at Pier One and World Market. Most of my inspiration came from Mercury Design, an amazing design store on 2nd Street in downtown. In early November they had a display of African arts and crafts that the sales guy was gracious enough to let me photograph.
I'm not sure what this year's theme is yet. If I do it, it will be my third year participating. As for the next few weeks, I have lots of cakes saved up to show you.