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Midnight in Paris

Posted by on Monday, December 9th, 2013 | 0 comments

Midnight in Paris

This three-tiered display cake was created for an event for a school fund-raiser, themed “Midnight in Paris”. With blue and purple hues, couture fashion, and floral inspirations I set out to create to capture Paris in a cake. I wanted the elements to feel slightly old-world while remaining classically clean. The iconic Eiffel Tower was tricky for me to conceptualize and execute. I’m much too fluid and organic for rigid architecture, although I do appreciate it in its own place. I decided on a loose rendition, with painted bronze and silvers. I had so many flowers to choose from, so I just picked a bouquet of tulips, hydrangeas, roses, lavender, and poppies. I wanted the main selection to be arranged under the Eiffel Tower, all sitting on a tier designed as a striped Parisian hat box. My client specified a Cartier pocket watch, and I added the chain that wrapped around the base of the tier. I wanted the details and the old-world sliver in the watch to be mirrored in the “Paris” sign underneath. The hand painted silver details on the sign give that classic French feel. I then tied in the floral element on each tier to bring in some continuity among so many different elements. And just because I love my sugar pocket watch, I’ll post a close-up here. I examined picture after picture of antique watches of all kinds to develop my design for this one. So, no it is not really a Cartier, but don’t you think it could be?    I’m pretty sure I could indulge myself in intricate, and quite impractical, details all day long. But, alas, cakes are hardly everything there is in life. For that I am thankful. Life would be tedious and then quickly consumed it this was what it was about. “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21 To God be the glory,...

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The Cat in the Hat for Norah!

Posted by on Friday, December 6th, 2013 | 0 comments

The Cat in the Hat for Norah!

Well, friends, a year has past since I put my cake shop on hold! I can’t believe how time flies when you are having fun…or trying to survive! What a great year. A heart-wrenching and trying year, but a great one. And now that we are on the other side of just trying to navigate the chaos of adoption, our family is back to enjoying little things like game nights and family outings…and I have energy to make cakes! I don’t take for granted this gift of relative calm in our lives. God is merciful and gracious as He works out His purposes in us. He is our Creator and knows how we work inside and out. He knows what we need, even down our expression of creativity. It is such a blessing for me to have an artistic outlet and I absolutely LOVE working with all of you!! I love working with little Norah, who is turning 4! I have had the privilege of working on three of her birthday cakes over the years. I love her excitement as she recognizes familiar elements and takes in all the intricate details. This year she chose “The Cat in the Hat”…so fun! I basically went through the book and pulled out as many elements as I could make. I wanted to start with the most iconic pieces…although I wish I would have had time to make the pink polka-dotted dress, too. Of course, the actual hat had to be in there somewhere, and the most logical place was the cake itself. I know, I didn’t think outside of the box on that one, but it’s a thread of predictability in the rest of the crazy Seuss world. I thought about doing “Thing 1” and “Thing 2” but they are so over done. I went with something I hadn’t seen before. I decided to try stacking the elements like in the book, even though I am super concerned about the 45 min drive it will have to endure! And of course, I had to have the kite on there, with the string winding around the side of the cake. I chose to use the “Things” number circle for Norah’s name. I think it ties in well. So, Happy 4th Birthday, Norah! I am so thankful that I can be involved in a small way in celebrating the life of such a sweet girl. It’s a blessing in so many ways! Hope you love your...

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Sweet Cakes…All Five of Them!

Posted by on Thursday, July 11th, 2013 | 0 comments

Sweet Cakes…All Five of Them!

For all my readers who haven’t heard, we just adopted a sweet three-year-old that we named Joshua. The transition has been long and challenging…okay we are only three months in! But, still, our nights are sleepless and days are filled with doctors and paperwork. Joshua, along with our other four, Ethan, Kate, Annie and Caleb, is such a joy. Yes, that makes five. I never imagined I’d  be a mom to five amazing children! We are honored that God has lead us to Joshua. We are humbled that God is daily teaching us through this precious child. In case you get the idea that with caring for five children, homeschooling, maintaining the house and running an extremely time-consuming cake business (whew!) I am some super-time-managing-wonder-woman…I’m not. That is why I need to take a break from cakes. At least for this year. Even though my dear husband would support and encourage me no matter what I decide, I really don’t have the capacity to take on 30-40 hour cake projects. Yikes! It is hard to believe that I spend that much time on these creations, but yes, it is pretty consuming. I am not sure what the future holds for Flour & Fondant. Feel free to keep checking in from time to time. At least for the rest of the year I will not be accepting orders. Thank you all for your support and business. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with each of you. I count it a privilege to have been able work on cakes for your families and friends. Thanks and I hope to see you all next year!...

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An Icing Smile for Trace!

Posted by on Saturday, October 27th, 2012 | 0 comments

An Icing Smile for Trace!

I don’t often share much about my clients…privacy, and all that. But, one time I do feel it is important is when my little cake-eaters are referred to me through an organization called Icing Smiles. I want to first do a shout out for the people who run this amazing program and second I’d like to highlight Trace and his 4th birthday cake! Icing Smiles is a remarkable group, who’s founder acknowledges that this is her calling from God. In fact, she comments, “We are not a faith-based organization. But without my faith, we would not be an organization.” I respect this position since I, too, feel compelled by God to use my passions for His Glory. Icing Smiles is a nonprofit organization that provides custom birthday cakes for families impacted by the critical illness of their child. Birthday cakes are often luxuries that a family battling illness do not have. Bakers around the United States partner with Icing Smiles to create custom cakes for these children or their siblings. This gives them temporary escape from the day to day worries and helps build memories with smiles, bringing a glimpse of normalcy to the lives of these families. I highly recommend that you check out the Icing Smiles website, and if you are a baker in the United States, I ask you to consider volunteering with Icing Smiles. You could contribute to making wonderful birthday memories a reality for these families. Now…to infinity and beyond! Buzz. Such a recognizable character. The enormous chin. The crazy eyebrows. The ball-and-socket arms. Then there are all the badges and buttons. I wouldn’t have chosen to do a gigantic Buzz but there was a very special reason…actually a very special boy. Trace. And he was turning four. What a miracle! To date he has had several open heart surgeries and a stroke. He is scheduled for surgery again next year. It is hard for me to imagine a childhood full of doctors and hospitals, but this boy was all smiles when I finally met him. When Trace’s mom contacted me and said Buzz Lightyear was his favorite, I really had no choice but to start craving this cake. The arms were made out of rice crispies and the rest was carved cake. That chin did prove to be a challenge! “Space Rangers” badge on the left arm. The “Laser Button” was a last minute decision, thankfully. Trace’s mom asked him as we were walking in to get the cake…”Trace, are you excited to eat Buzz’s Laser Button?”  Whew! I’m so, so, SO glad I put it on. Isn’t he adorable? Trace, that is! On his way to the car he showered me with kisses and hugs. I even got his signature “puppy dog kiss,’ which, as you can imagine, was a bit too wet for me. But, I think that meant he was happy. (Insert smiley face for me…it really did make my day!) Here he is pictured with Buzz during his party. After a long drive Buzz started to lean…I think the sheer exhaustion from posing with that grin on the long car ride home. It makes my face hurt just thinking about it! Happiest 4th Birthday to you, Trace. I pray that you were able to build great memories with your family, and that God would supply you all with strength and perseverance for the months...

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More Important Than Cakes???

Posted by on Thursday, October 25th, 2012 | 0 comments

More Important Than Cakes???

Far too often bloggers write in a way that expertly balances their specialty with just enough reality to hook their readers. That is the nature of writing and I am no different. Cakes are what I do…or at least that is the part I write about. But, I don’t plan, sketch, bake, decorate or anything else in a vacuum void of any other life. Sprinkling in just a bit of humor from my week or an abbreviated story about my kids or husband makes my blog readable and believable…without revealing that my real life is often overwhelming, chaotic and very loud. And plus, still pictures look so serene! What I am about to write is going to crack the facade of my cake world open and expose a bit of who we really are. I feel like it is important for my readers to understand that my work is not all there is to my life…and the life of our family is about to take a very big change. So, you ask, what is more important than using your creative energy to design elaborate cakes? Well, my highest priority is to honor God with my actions, words, thoughts…and my whole life. Breaking that down a bit, my values lay in my husband, in my kids, in serving others, and in walking down the path that God has put in front of us. On a day to day basis that means feeding and clothing my family and ensuring that the children haven’t killed each other (not literally, of course!) by the time their Daddy gets home from work. I know, I still haven’t gotten to the life change, yet. Soooo…God has always challenged my husband and I to care for those who cannot care for themselves. And adoption has always been an idea that we have been discussing. After four wonderful biological children we kind of forgot about that tug on our hearts. Two years ago, this fall, God touched both of us in the same week, urging us that now was the time to get moving. Little did we know, four weeks earlier a little boy was born in China…a little boy who’s mother couldn’t take care of him. She cared enough about him to entrust his precious life into the hands of another family. She swaddled him, pinned a little red note to his blanket stating his birthday, just two days before, and brought him to a safe place. There this little boy has waited until God arranged to bring us together. Last month we received our PA (or pre-approval) from China which means everything is a go. And now we just wait! Lord willing, by April of next year our little boy, who we will give the American name Joshua, will officially be part of our family. Yay!! So between now and then there is so much to do. Piles of paperwork and filing forms, planning and packing and cakes?? Um, not my highest priority right now. Well, I should rephrase that…taking orders is not a high priority right now. Our family is preparing (and bracing) for the amazing work that God is beginning in us. Our kids have been so mature, well, to the degree and they can be…so selfless and compassionate. It will not be easy for any of us or our new son. So much loss...

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Baby Owl Birthday

Posted by on Sunday, September 16th, 2012 | 0 comments

Baby Owl Birthday

I thought this sweet baby cake would be a great example to show the process I go through with my clients in designing their cakes. It really isn’t anything earth-shattering but the design aspect of cake making is really one of my favorite parts…so, I’ll share this one with you. . My client emailed me a picture (this is just a detail) of her baby’s special quilt, delicately embroidered and appliqued. I loved it from the start! Exactly my style with the vibrant colors, the little curls of the branches, and all the itty bitty animals everywhere. Acorns, a bird’s nest, butterflies, ladybugs…all quilted and sweet! After I gather information on style and size, I sketch out two or three cake designs. Although, I felt like I could have taken this one about 10 completely different directions. I guarded my already divided time and settled on two ideas to present to my client. Option 1: The hand-painted tree background goes all the way up the cake. This one mostly resembles the quilt. It is delicate with lots of little details. It also looks more like a picture, with the green grass at the bottom and the full tree. All of the leaves, acorns and most animals are then 2-dimensional “quilted” appliques on the tree. The exceptions would be the yellow bird topper, the coral squirrel on the middle level and a few butterflies and dragonflies. Option 2: This cake is less delicate and more stylized. The tree is only on the bottom tier and is made out of thin swirls of gumpaste, slightly three dimensional, instead of being painted. The larger grey areas have stitching along the edges to duplicate that “quilt” feel. Some small branches and a “1” are wrapped around the second tier. All the elements are flat on the cake except the owl and mushrooms on top and the acorns on the bottom. Another option is to have other small creatures interspersed among the acorns to break up the brown and create interest. And my client chose…(da, da, da, daaa) Option 2! I think it turned out pretty cute. I ended up placing the little animals around in the acorns. I like how it brightened the browns and tied in the colors from the rest of the cake. You can see the stitching on the branches and the leaves. I actually did stitching on the animals too. For the acorns I decided on a puffy patterned top with stitching all around, maybe giving the allusion that they are plush, quilted acorns. Why anyone would want plush quilted acorns, I don’t know, but it seemed to fit the theme! And I actually really like the effect. I purposely made the acorns all different sizes so it would look very organic and handmade. The owl was so adorable! I pressed feather patterns into the wings and belly and added stitching down the “seams”. The mushrooms added the perfect touch of whimsy to the baby cake. Well, that’s all, folks! I hope you enjoyed seeing the step by step pictures of this cake design. Maybe I’ll have to showcase some gumpaste modeling tutorial pictures sometime. I get so caught up in just getting my cakes finished that I very rarely stop to take pictures. We’ll see… And Happy Birthday, sweet...

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Braden Digs His Birthday

Posted by on Saturday, September 1st, 2012 | 1 comment

Braden Digs His Birthday

So, you all have kept me busy this summer! It is a good thing that I like what I do…well, most of it! I love the design stage. I love taking clients’ ideas, pictures, event decor and turning it a complimentary piece of edible art. I love the planning stage, although this is my most stressful step. This is where I go over and over and over in my head every detail that needs to be made and when. Since drying time is so critical the plan needs to be orchestrated perfectly. I also love the creating stage. I can get so absorbed in what I am doing that when I am in the zone several hours could flash past and I wouldn’t know it. Which is why the planning stage is so important for me. Then I get to the not so exciting parts, at least for me. The cutting of the many foam boards, the lining of the pans, the making of the batter, the waiting and waiting for the buttercream to whip, and the washing of the stack of dishes! Sometimes it’s enough to make me never want to make another cake again. But then I get to pull out the fondant. And I get to put on all the elements that I so diligently labored over. Once it comes together in the end I decide that I actually do LOVE what I do. (You do know that this is really not what I do…I have four lovely children and they are what I really do!) Anyway, on to the cake…a dear little boy, Braden, and his grandfather share a birthday. This year the theme is, I bet you can’t guess, construction! He wanted a digger and that’s about it. His mom helped out with a few more ideas. She wanted it to coordinate with the orange and yellow decorations. She also asked that I make a mini cake for Braden’s grandfather with the two of them on top. Simple, but clean and cute…and perfect for a little boy who only really wants the digger!  Generally, I do figures and big elements like the digger a week ahead so all the piece can dry and then be assembled. Thinner items, like the signs and rocks, I usually do while I am waiting for cakes to bake and buttercream to whip. (It really does take a while for that stuff to get fluffy!) I am sure that a certain yellow “digger” company in Peoria will be contacting me soon wanting to get their hands on my new arm design! To be honest this prototype has not been field tested yet, but I am willing to sell the rights to the design as is. Sometimes I am so intricately detailed and real-life accuracy is very important to me, but other times I use a lot of artistic license. I love the “2” sign being hoisted up the side. It, also, brings a touch of whimsy to the cake. An old wooden construction sign, with reflective orange flashers on top. It kind of reminded me of an abandoned gold mine… Here they are, the construction crew themselves! Love how the hats and vests turned out. If you look closely you can see stitching and pockets on the carpenter jeans. The sign was just an adorable idea from...

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Black and White Beach Wedding

Posted by on Friday, August 24th, 2012 | 2 comments

Black and White Beach Wedding

If you have googled “beach wedding cake” recently you’ll probably see a lot of light blue, starfish, clam shells and sand. That might be perfect for someone else but it definitely is not my idea of a wedding cake. So, when my client told me she needed a cake for a beach themed wedding I was nervous. My client’s brother and sister-in-law had a destination wedding in Jamaica earlier this month and were having a reception for family and friends now that they have returned. I was much more excited about the cake design when my client told me that I needed to work within the color parameters of black and white. The design I came up with showcases a billion ruffles on a very tall four-tier cake. Okay, not quite, but it felt like if when I was making it! I wanted it to be narrow and not very tapered so I stacked to 8 inches and topped with two 6 inches. I love how the ruffles really hide the tiers. I envisioned the ruffles giving the cake very organic movement…almost like waves or coral or even a Spanish dancer, a breathtaking animal in the nudibranch family. (YouTube it-nudibranchs are my absolute favorite animals on Earth!)  If you have ever seen a Spanish dancer, fluttering through the crystal sea, waving its ruffles in the calm silence it is quite magnificent. Hopefully I was able to capture the movement along with the delicate serenity. I then decided on nautilus shells, which I also love. I wanted something that no one else had on their beach cakes…and I wanted it to be bold, so that it would stand out against the abundance of ruffles. Nautilus shells really are reddish-brown and white with black right at the base but I took some artistic license and worked it into our color scheme. I also chose nautilus shells because, with a little artistic license, I could add lots of curly pieces coming out of the shells. This inspiration comes from the glass artist, Chihuly. He blows brightly colored glass tubes, twirls them, then connects them all together in coral-like arrangements. I would love to do a Chihuly cake! But, these shell curlies are as close as I have come so far. I love how the light catches on all of the ruffles in this shot. You can see how delicate and alive this cake is. At just under 25 inches tall, this cake has me nervous for the delivery. Heading north a few hours is not what this beach-themed cake was made for! In any case, it turned out beautiful and unique. I am privileged to contribute a part to two people’s very special...

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Hello Kitty Carnival Birthday

Posted by on Tuesday, August 14th, 2012 | 0 comments

Hello Kitty Carnival Birthday

Okay, so my kids plan their birthday cakes all years long! On rainy days or on long car rides, they go through stacks of scrap paper drawing elaborate ideas ranging from super secret spy labs to 3D rainbows and clouds. I just go along with it and help them create…their minds change so many times I don’t really worry about if it is something I can make or not. Annie had a Hello Kitty Mermaid cake for last year’s birthday. I thought she would have moved on to something else by this birthday…but, no…we are still pals with Hello Kitty! This year we had a carnival theme so we tried to tie that all in. Around the top tier I wrapped a little pink and red pennant string. It was a really simple element to add to a tier. I’ll have to remember that for construction cakes too! I placed pink pearls all around the base of that layer, too. For the bottom tier I covered it with red and added pink and white stripes all around. The little pink swags add a theatrical touch to the cake. Another theatrical element was the feather headpiece in front. I tried to match the headpiece on Hello Kitty. I was in a time crunch, here…but it turned out okay. The Hello Kitty on top was dressed like a circus performer. I love the headpiece with the feathers. A combination of red and pink dress layers adds to the whimsy. Once again Annie insisted that Hello Kitty have a smile. So Hello Kitty got a smile…and so did Annie! Happy 5th Birthday,...

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Frog Kiss Cake

Posted by on Tuesday, August 14th, 2012 | 0 comments

Frog Kiss Cake

As my husband pointed out last week, I am so privileged to never have made a cake twice! I absolutely love that! My goal when I started this business was to create a place where clients could order a completely custom, one-of-a-kind cake. Even though it may be more challenging because of the learning curve, designing from my clients’ diverse ideas and themes is always rewarding. My client last week was planning a bridal shower for her sister and the theme was: She Kissed a Frog and Found a Prince. So cute! The whole event was centered around frogs and…so was the cake! Here is what we came up with. A frog prince on the top in a tuxedo and holding out a ring box. He is sitting on a lilypad with a small waterlily. Nestled into the lilypads and waterlilies is a scroll tacked up with gold nails which reads, “Kiss Me”. More waterlilies and lilypads surround the bottom of the cake. I wanted to keep the colors light, using as much white as possible since it was a bridal shower cake. I like how it turned out..a little fairytale with a happy ending! I think my favorite part is the tuxedo and ring box. I have so much fun on all the tiny elements. The Kiss Me scroll I painted with gold highlighter dust and lemon extract. Each waterlily is made up of a bout 10 layers of petals, starting with gold, then yellow, and then finishing with white. A little difficult to see in these pictures are the water droplets on all of the lilypads. I placed glucose drops in groups of threes all over. I love the effect! I hope you all enjoyed the Frog Kiss cake, especially the bride-to-be. I enjoyed working on it! Keep the unique cake themes coming…this really is the definition of custom...

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