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Sculpted and Modeled Designs
Inspirations from That Takes the Cake

The annual That Takes the Cake show in Austin, TX, always provides some great eye candy. The theme for the 2015 show coming up later this month on Feb. 21 is “Once Upon a Cake” so we’re looking forward to some fantastic fairy tale and fantasy designs. In the meantime, we put together a little gallery of designs from previous TTTC shows, focusing on sculpted and modeled designs to tie in with our March/April issue theme.

Avalon Yarnes created the little girl with the book cake from our most recent issue of Slice. Thank you, Avalon for emailing to let us know.

A lemon meringue pie cake by Sonja Fontana that won best of division, adult beginner in 2013.

A Candyland-themed cake by Brianna DiLorenzo.

A sandy iguana by Susie Araya.

A pair of cowboy boots by Kelly Smith.

A toybox from Kristy Gregory.

A shimmering dragon by Sidney Galpern.

A "Game of Thrones”-inspired cake by Amanda Campbell.

Matter of Taste: Vanilla-Lavender Shortbread
By Chef Nicholas Lodge, as featured in the
March/April 2015 issue

“Lavender is my all-time favorite floral flavor,” explained Nicholas Lodge. “I use lavender to infuse cream for brûlées, ganaches, and ice cream, as well as to flavor sugars. I add it to strawberry jam, lemon curd and even vodka, for lavender martinis! Can you tell how much I love lavender?”

Click here to get a PDF of his recipe for Vanilla-Lavender Shortbread.

Matter of Taste: Rose & Pink Champagne Cupcakes
By Chef Nicholas Lodge, as featured in the March/April 2015 issue

For his first “Matter of Taste” column in the March/April 2015 issue, Nicholas Lodge wanted to share his favorites. “I grew up in England, in a region known for growing lavender alongside roses, lemon verbena, rose geraniums and many other flowers and herbs. I love to use these in my cakes and pastries, and have found they pair perfectly with vanilla—the pastry chef’s most versatile flavor.”

Click here to get a PDF of his recipe for Rose & Pink Champagne Cupcakes.

Last Bite: Chocolate Banana Loaf Cake
As featured in the March/April 2015 issue

A wonderful repertoire of chocolate recipes as well as some basic chocolate techniques, Chocolate Master Class is a fantastic addition to any serious baker’s library. Try this delicious take on homey banana bread—updated here with milk chocolate and rum-soaked raisins.

Click here for a PDF of this recipe.

Credit: Image and recipe reprinted with permission from Chocolate Master Class, copyright Flammarion, S.A., Paris, 2014, ISBN: 978-2-08-020201


RevHeads Unite!
A 50th Anniverary Celebration for Ford Mustang

For the 50th anniversary of the iconic Ford Mustang, Sharon Spradley of Curiaussiety Cakes organized RevHeads, a collaboration of 32 cake and sugar artists from 14 different countries. She went through the effort of getting the proper permission through the Ford Motor Company, managing the process and helping with the promotion.

The March/April issue of ACD will feature some of these designs, but we’ve also put together a gallery of some of the cakes from the collaboration.

Justin Lynch chose modeling chocolate as his media for his mustang and roses sclupture.

Italian cake artist Christian Giardina created a comic take, with a “stereotypical” Italian chef bursting through the room of a Mustang set in western American landscape.

Steve Barela does a similar take, with a classic American “Mad Magazine” vibe.

Louis Ng
wanted to make a literal presentation of the collaboration's theme and came up with the idea of incorporating car parts into the horse's body. “Airbrushed flames were added and
painted gold to visualize the power and speed that only a Ford Mustang could exude,” he added.

Frank Patrick
created a buidling representing 50 years of Mustang history.

The first thing that came to mind for Gilles Leblanc were the mid-’70s Mustangs. “We modified them and painted them with metal flake—all that shine, all that power. To me it was important to reproduce that image to perfection.

For their Mustang muscle car, Sébastien & Jonathan of Un Jua d’Enfant choose to show, their technique of flat design for the car and the topper. “Then we tried some different things like powder stencil, airbrushing and more. It was a lot of fun to be a part of this ‘guy’ project!”

Ed Fajardo Aarstad created a mash-up—Mustang with Marie Antoinette—for his pink and gold cake because he believes that if she were alive today, she’d be driving a Mustang.

Kevin Martin describes his design: “Mustang horses represent everything the iconic the car is known for; its breathtaking appearance, high levels of performance and overall visceral experience.” This is his intrepretation of Mustang Sally.

“ My inspiration is derived from the iconic Ford Mustang brand and vehicle becoming a a very large part of pop cultur,” explained Shayne Greenman. “This piece represents the Mustang sports convertible outrunning time and death itself, depicted as The Grim Reaper as a tall spectre overshadowing the display. There’s a black shiny Ford Mustang sports convertible with flames and full of skeletons skulls and bones for the underworld with a car boot full of souls.”

“Mustang horses represent everything the iconic Ford Mustang is known for—its breathtaking appearance, high levels of performance and overall visceral experience,” said Paul Joachim. “I can’t think of anything better to represent the Ford Mustang and I’m proud to sculpt a representation of their logo for the car’s 50th Anniversary.”

2015 Flavor Forecasts
What’s next for desserts, drinks and more

Briefly, flavor experts expect international spice combinations, sweet/spicy blends, an increase in more bitter and tangy flavors, more nuts, smoked ingredients, “funky” Asian, and a rise in Hispanic flavors. We’ve gathered a round up of some of the many forecasts that have been published in December and January. Take a look through and see what trends inspire you to head into the kitchen and experiement!

The Monin Forecast
The Institute of Food Technology Forecast
The McCormick Flavor Forecast
The Technoma Forecast
Innova Food Trends
Comax Flavors Forecast

And, these articles gathered together various forecasters, restauranters and others to provide their predictions and insights for 2015:

Take Part
Nutrional Outlook
Enterra Solutions
Nation’s Restaurant News
Anderson Partners

One of the trends for 2015 is “bitter”––hoppier beers, darker chocolate, stronger coffee—and one prediction has affrogato, the Italian treat of espresso poured over vanilla gelato.

The Brazilian treat called Brigadeiros is another easy yet delicious treat borrowed from another culture that is expected gain a foothold in the U.S.

“Free Baking” Vegan recipes
from Chef Charity George

From the Jan/Feb 2015 Last Bite column, here are Chef Charity’s recipes for vegan chocolate cake, vegan white cake, vegan chocolate frosting and a vegan buttercream. Plus she includes some options for gluten-free variations. Enjoy and start 2015 out “free”!

Download a PDF of her recipes.

Classic Cocktail-Inspired Recipes
from Diane Fehder

The debut of our Matter of Taste column in the Jan/Feb 2015 issue featured a collection of three classic cocktail-inspired desserts developed by Diane Fehder. Try the Whiskey Sour Layer Cake, the Brandy Alexander Cheesecake or the Bourbon Manhattan Entrement. Or better yet, try all three!

Welcome to Frostington!
An international charitable collaboration

Christmas in Frostington is an international charity collaboration of over 150 sugar artists from all corners of the globe. Organized by Samantha Emmerson of Cupcaketopia, Christmas in Frostington supports three charities—one from each continent its main contributors hail from.

For the UK, the funds raised will go the Alzheimer’s Society; in North America the funds will go to Icing Smiles and in Australia the monies will go to the Australian Melanoma Research Foundation.

Unlike most collaborations, the goal was to create a single showpiece that everyone could contribute to instead of individual, stand-alone pieces, with the elements then collatedelectronically to form the village scene.

Frostington represents a quintessentially British village scene set in the early evening of Christmas Eve, as the shoppers clamor to gather last minute gifts, children play in the snow as their excitement builds waiting for Father Christmas to visit. The village mansion, Frostington House includes children hunting for hidden treats, a family tucking into a pre-Christmas feast and even the village Scrooge hiding away from the merriment.

To raise funds there are tutorial and recipe booklets developed by the contributors covering a range of processes including using wafer paper, gelatine as well as those on modelling and hand painting techniques. These booklets are downloadable and available online only.

We put together a couple of overviews from the individual projects that make up Frostington. It was interesting to see the many different looks of figure modeling, architecture and more, as each sugar artist brought their own style to the collaboration.

Click here to get a PDF with more houses and buildings from Frostington.
Design above from Vicky TurnerThe Yellow Bee Cake Company

Click here to get a PDF with more characters from Frostington.
Design above by
Alison WhartonL’Arbre à Gâteaux

By the Book: Nov/Dec 14
Rose Levy Beranbaum’s
Stilton Baby Blue Cheesecakes, ChocolaTea cake and Pomegranate Winter Chiffon Meringue Pie

We are so excited to be able to offer more recipes from Rose’s critically acclaimed book, The Baking Bible. Our reviewer Titia McLuckie chose three very different projects from the book and was impressed with all of them! She notes that each is “flexible”. The cheesecakes can work for a light lunch, or as a more sophisticated take on the after-dinner cheese course; the filling for the pie works on its own as mousse, etc.

Download the Stilton Baby Blue Cheesecake recipe exerpt from the new book, The Baking Bible.

Download the ChocolaTea Cake recipe exerpt from the new book, The Baking Bible.

Download the Pomegranate Winter Chiffon Meringue pie recipe exerpt from the new book, The Baking Bible.

Images courtesy of The Baking Bible, © 2014 by Rose Levy Beranbaum. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

Madeleine: Nov/Dec 14
Laurent Vals’ award-winning Catalan Verrine from the Dessert Cup competition at Pastry Live 2014

Laurent took first place with this dessert that combines chocolate, apricot, a Banyuls panna cotta and a lemon-almond gelee.

Get a PDF of the recipes for all the elements of this dessert here.

Apple Pie Caramels
reprinted with permission from Artisan Caramels by Sandy Arevalo

When Sandy Arevalo started Firefly Confections, it was a custom decorated cookie business. Today she’s all about caramel and her delicious, inventive flavors have gained national recognition.

Apple Pie Caramels
1. Preheat the oven to 350F.

2. Spray your jelly roll pan with a thin layer of cooking spray and, using a clean, dry paper towel, wipe the excess off. Make sure you cover the sides and bottom of the pan; this will help prevent the caramels from sticking.

3. Trim a piece of parchment paper so it covers the bottom of the ban but has about a 2-inch overhand over the handles.

Make the crust
1 c butter, melted
3/4 c sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 egg yolks, lightly whisked
2 c flour.

1. Add the sugar and salt to the melted butter and stir. Add in the egg yolks and stir until comnbined, then add the flour and stir until fully incorporated.

2. Spread your dough into your prepared jelly roll pan. Press down, making sure the layer is even; otherwise the thinner areas will cook faster and have an increased chance of burning.

3. Bake at 350F for about 14 minutes, or until the edges look golden.

4. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Make the caramel
4 c heavy cream
4 c sugar
3/4 c butter
2 c light corn syrup
1/2 c boiled apple cider
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp boiled apple cider
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp apple pie spice

1. Bring the first five ingredients to a boil, stirring constantly until the mixture reaches 248F on a candy thermometer.

2. Remove from heat and stir in the last five ingredients quickly.

3. Pour the caramel over the prepared crust and let cool completely (abot 8 hours).

By The Book: Sept/Oct 14
Dorie Greenspan’s Apple Weekend Cake

We were lucky enough to score a review copy of Dorie Greenspan’s new book Baking Chez Moi: Recipes from My Paris Home to Your Home Anywhere for our By the Book column in Sept/Oct. Review Kara Buntin was extremely pleased with the results from all the recipes she tried, including this apple loaf cake. Kara claims the cake in mis-named in the book, saying that it only lasted an afternoon in her house!

Download the Apple Weekend Cake exerpt from Dorie Greenspan’s new book Baking Chez Moi: Recipes from My Paris Home to Your Home Anywhere.

And check out some of the other recipes from the book Dorie has already posted on her website.

The Madeleine Questionnaire: Sept/Oct 14
Rose Levy Beranbaum’s White Peppermint Cake

We were thrilled when Internationally acclaimed food writer and baking expert, Rose Levy Beranbaum answered our Madeleine Questionnaire in the Sept/Oct issue. Then when she graciously gave us permission to share several recipes, we were over the moon! She describes this cake as “soft and tender with a velvety crumb” and mentions that if you omit the peppermint extract and increase the vanilla, it makes a wonderful all-purpose white cake.

Download the white peppermint recipe exerpt from the her new book, The Baking Bible.

Image courtesy of The Baking Bible, © 2014 by Rose Levy Beranbaum. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

The Madeleine Questionnaire: Sept/Oct 14
Rose Levy Beranbaum’s Renée Fleming Cake

One of the other cakes featured in our Madeleine Questionnaire with Rose Levy Beranbaum is this lemon chiffon that she calls “the soprano of golden lemon cakes.” She dedicated ir to her inspiration, famed opera soprano Renée Fleming.

Download the lemon chiffon recipe exerpt from the her new book, The Baking Bible.

Image courtesy of The Baking Bible, © 2014 by Rose Levy Beranbaum. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

Parisian Summer Treats
Tasty Ideas from Paris’ Pâtisseries

We’re already planning another ACD group trip to Paris sometime in 2015—if you’re interested, send us an email. Once we get our plans solidified, we’ll let you know! In the meantime, here’s some tasty pretties to tide us over!

Arnaud Larher took inspiration from The World Cup, based in Brazil and created a set of four "tongs" as flip-flops are known in France.
Acapulco: Vanilla shortbread, dark chocolate ganache, lime juice, zest
Poppy: Vanilla shortbread, marshmallow and vanilla cream infused with red fruits
Lola: Vanilla shortbread, raspberry marmlade, passionfruit cream and a passionfruit glaze
Lemon: Vanilla shortbred, marshmallow, lemon creame and lemon zest

A t Les Fées Pâtissières they combine iced chocolate with caramel and meringue for special “fairy pops”. Choose from frozen chocolate in four flavors—chocolate hazelnut, vanilla, rose &jasmine or lime & coconut. Then choose one of four caramels—plain, fluer de sel, chocolate toffee or exotic red fruits. Then select the meringue topper: pink praline meringue, exotic meringue, pecan nut meringue, raspberry meringue nuts or coconut meringue.

Famous for its hot chocolate, this summer Maison du Chocolat features iced drinks such as:

Guayaquil: Dark chocolate and chocolate Guayaquil—subtle vanilla notes.

Caracas: Dark chocolate and chocolate Caracas—intense and full-bodied.

Salvador: Chocolate sorbet and rapsberry sorbet

Mango: Mango sorbet with Guayaquil

At À la Mère de Famille pastry chef of the house, Julien Merceron has developed frozen “Eskimos” for this summer. "Exquimaux" Origin is made ??from coffee ice cream sprinkled with pieces of caramelized pecans. Tradition Salvador Orangette contains pure orange juice sorbet decorated with an orange confit and pieces of candied peel. A orangette lurks inside. Both are coated with dark chocolate.



Blackberry Lemon Cupcake
Chef Grant Brown, as created for the 2014 NCACS
“From the Garden” tasting competition

“When my wife was a child, her favorite summer memory was picking wild blackberries for her mother's baking. When I a teenager, I lived in Florida and had lemon trees growing in my back yard. The inspiration for the Blackberry Lemon Cupcake came from an evening discussing these memories and wanting to inspire memories of fun and innocent summer days. I wanted a flavor that would make someone happy.” — Chef Grant  

Blackberry Lemon Cupcake

7.5 ounces all-purpose flour
7 ounces sugar
1.5 teaspoon baking powder
0.5 teaspoon salt
2 ounces of softened unsalted butter
0.25 cups of apple sauce
0.5 cups of whole milk yogurt
1.6 ounces of egg and 1.2 ounces of egg yolks
1.5 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 lemon, zest and juiced
4 tablespoons of blackberry puree

1) In a mixer, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.

2) Change to the paddle and add in the butter, applesauce, yogurt, eggs, yolks and extract on medium speed until smooth. Scrape down the bowl to make sure it is well mixed.

3) Mix in the lemon zest, juice and puree. Watch the zest, it can get stuck on the paddle.

4) Bake in a 350 degree oven until it passes a toothpick test, about 22 to 30 minutes.

Blackberry Lemon Italian Meringue Icing

6 ounces strained Egg Whites
16 ounces Sugar
about 4 ounces of water
2  tablespoon of Corn Syrup
20 ounces of softened unsalted Butter cut into 1” cubes
Zest of one lemon
About 2 tablespoons of Blackberry puree

1) Place the egg whites in a mixer bowl ready to go.

2) Place sugar and water into a pot and stir to make slurry, do not stir again.

3) Bring water up to a boil and add the corn syrup. 

4) When the temperature reaches about 230 degrees, start the egg whites on high for 30 seconds and then turn it down to medium speed until the sugar is ready.  

5) Continue to boil until the temperature reads 240 degrees.  Carefully pour the sugar into the egg whites.  I put the pot on the lip of the bowl so it does not slip.  When pouring, try to keep the sugar from touching the moving whisk so it doesn’t go flying.

6) Whisk until the bottom of the missing bowl feels luke-warm to touch and the meringue is a nice stiff peak.  You can raise the speed but do not try to cool down by icing the bowl.

7) Lower the speed and the butter in a piece at a time.

8) Raise the speed back up to medium.  All of the butter should disappear and the icing should look like whip cream before done.

9) Add in the lemon zest and blackberry puree.

Small Bites & Dessert Buffets
Projects and Ideas from ACD readers

We’re putting the finishing touches on our Sept/Oct issue, with the theme "Small Bites & Dessert Buffets.” When we put a call out to our readers, we received some great projects in response.

Lauren Cortesi of Bella’s, in Glenmoore, PA, sent some of her “mini’s” —specialty items she is the only one in her region to provide. These include cardamom palmiers, banana caramel napoleons, lemon curd meringue flowers, macarons and much more.

Carla Bruno of Clara’s Cakes sent in this “ice cream social” dessert buffet with a melting ice cream cone cake, ice cream cone macarons, her famous ice cream cupcakes and more.

Linda Cantrell of Noble Sweets, Pipersville, PA, sent in a photo of a dessert buffet she developed for a high school graduate who was going on to the Culinary Institute of America. Featured treats included rose water shortbread, raspberry cake bites, strawberry cheesecake cups, toffee and more.

Stephen Horn of Pennington’s Cakessent in two projects. The frist is from the he San Marcos Chamber of Commerce 2014 Luau, featuring a full sized boot-shaped cake covered in fondant, decorated with sugar flowers and surrounded by mini cupcakes. Accompanying this main showpiece was a buttercream decorated cake with the Luau logo, and a tiered stand of mini cupcakes in several different flavors.

The second project is a wedding buffet with the bridal cake, the groom’s cake, mini cheesecakes in three flavors, cake pops in both white and chocolate, three versions of brownies, and an assortment of cookies.

Margarita Langdon sent in several molded chocolates from a recent wedding.

Styling Tips
Five Tips to Elevate your Wedding Cake with Magazine-Worthy Styling
By Sarah Falk for

Sarah Falk, the creative talent behind Sarah's Stands shared a short article with Craftsy on some easy things to keep in mind when setting up your beautiful cake for a photo shoot. Read on…

After spending countless hours creating an ornate, elegant wedding cake, make sure it’s camera ready. Here’s how:

1. Cake Stands Make a Difference
Bridal magazines typically highlight the beautiful wedding cakes on elevated cake stands. The cake stand is the stage on which the wedding cake can take its bow. It is the extravagant stilettos that complete the wedding cake outfit. After you have spent countless hours perfecting your confectionery masterpiece, don’t just plop it on the table. Give your cake the presentation it deserves.
Cake by La Patisserie Chouquette; photo via Squire Fox

2. Cover Up the Cake Board
In the pages of the magazines, each cake is missing a vital component to its structural integrity – the cake stand. Take a page out of the expert’s book and make sure the cake board is well hidden. Having the cake board peek out is like letting the slip of your dress show. Why not incorporate the cake board into the overall design of the cake by using ribbons or icing? Be as creative as you want! Cakes via Cake Designs; photo via Vue Photography

3. Lighting Can Make—or Break—a Cake
While we may not all have a team of magazine professionals who can spend time getting the lighting just right for that perfect cake close-up, lighting is a subtle way to step up the presentation of your wedding cake. If your event is a nighttime affair, candles can be the perfect mood lighting for your cake. A wedding in a grand ballroom may have a spotlight highlighting the cake— just make sure the light isn’t so hot that your cake will melt. Or, if it is a rustic, elegant event in the countryside, simple rays of sunlight streaming through a window can be a picture-perfect touch.
Photo vis the Schultzes

4. Set the Stage With Décor
If you are looking for “wow” factor, cake design won’t end at the cake stand. With the right décor, cakes can go from drab to fab. Take a closer look at that cake photo you love. See the artfully placed cake knife and server? How about that beautiful lace linen draped on the table? All of the elements around the cake should be harmonious with the cake design.

5. Location, Location, Location
Once the décor, cake stand, lighting, and cake board are all perfect, be sure to pay attention to the location of the cake. The background can provide context for the gorgeous cake. Each background allows the viewer to envision the entire wedding through the lens of the cake. What will surround the cake: a funky brick wall, gorgeous drapery, windows? Place your cake table in just the right spot and you will get some killer photos, just like the pros.

Cake by Ashley Cakes

Tutorial: ACD July/August 2014
Joëlle Mahoney’s Garden Plot cake

The many small details Joëlle included in her garden plot cake deserve a closer look. Click on each image for a larger version.

Joëlle Mahoney’s recipes for royal icing and pastillage
There are hundreds of different recipes for pastillage and royal icing, which is why we like to include specific versions for specific uses, such as these two that Joëlle Mahoney used in her “garden plot” cake from the July/August issue.

These are also the same recipes used in the Jan/Feb 2015 issue.

If you’d a full-sized version of the heart-grid used in Joëlle’s Jan/Feb pastillage tutorial, click here.

Royal Icing
Yield: 3 cups of icing

1 lb. confectioner’s sugar (10X) sifted
3 tbsp. meringue powder
6 tbsp. water

1) Combine the sugar and meringue powder in a bowl. Using either a hand held or standing electric mixer, at low speed, slowly add the water, a little at a time.
2) Mix for a full 10 minutes. Do not stop mixing any sooner. This is NOT optional.Once the 10 minutes have passed, the mixture will lose its “wet shine” and peaks will form. Your icing is now ready!

Note: Do not beat your icing mixture at a fast speed. This will only incorporate air into your icing, rendering it weak and brittle. Not the kind of “glue” you want.



(Courtesy Mercedes Strachwsky, Orlando, FL)
1 lb. confectioner’s sugar (10X) sifted
3 tbsp. water
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. gelatine
1 tsp. glucose

1) Place sifted sugar in a bowl and make a well in the center.
2) Put water in upper pan of a double boiler. Add the lemon juice and the gelatine and bring to “warm” to “hot” but DO NOT BOIL!
3) Add glucose and continue stirring until well dissolved.
4) Add hot mixture to center well and mix with a wooden spoon slowly incorporating the sugar. Once it forms a dough like mass, continue kneading by hand until soft and pliable.
5) Place the dough in a plastic bag and allow to stand for at least a minimum of one hour, at room temperature, before using.

The Magnificent Steampunk Sugar Art Exposition
Michigan ICES 2014 Sugar Art Exposition
It seems fitting that the home of automated manufacturing should be where the first steampunk-themed cake competition should take place. While we’ve seen various steampunk cakes start popping up in other competitions, this was the first where all entries had to work with this retro-futuristic, alternative history mash up of Industrialism and the Victorian era. Here are some of the top entries from the show. All photos courtesy of Stringer Photography.

Grand Prize: Nisha Fernando, Bloomfield Hills, MI.

First Runner-Up: Kristina Boroff, who also created a steampunkish wedding cake.

Second Runner-Up: Dave Nugent
Candy Knappenberger


Nancy Collard


Amoretti Tasting Challenge
Martha Hebert’s Flirtini

At last month’s National Capitol Area Cake Show, the good folks at Amoretti sponsored a taste challenge. Entrants could choose from four categories—chocolate cake, pound cake, cocktail-inspired cake or “anything goes”—and were required to then use at least two of the following Amoretti flavors: Natural Bacon, Curry Oil, Habanero Hot Pepper, Cheddar Cheese, Jamaican Rum, Mojito, Champagne Concentrate and a mystery flavor, which turned out to be Cherimoya.

Martha Hebert of Sweet Southern Ladies, St. Martinville, LA, won the cocktail category with her take on the Flirtini, the other favorite drink of the Sex and the City ladies.

The Drink:
2 pieces fresh pineapple
1/2 oz Cointreau® orange liqueur
1/2 oz vodka
1 oz pineapple juice
3 oz Champagne

Muddle the pineapple pieces and Cointreau in the bottom of a mixing glass. Add vodka and pineapple juice and stir. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and top with champagne. Garnish with a cherry, and serve.

Flirtini Champagne Cake
courtesy of Martha Hebert, Sweet Southern Ladies

Cake Ingredients:
3 cups cake flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks butter
6 whole eggs
2 cups champagne (cheap)
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons Amoretti Champagne concentrate
1 teaspoon Mexican vanilla

In a bowl, combine all dry ingredients.  In another bowl, cream butter and sugar.  Add eggs one at a time and continue to beat.  Add vanilla. Stir. Add flour mixture and champagne in small amounts alternating each to egg mixture.  Pour into two 9" prepared pans and bake until a knife inserted into center of cake comes out clean.

Filling Ingredients:
2 cans crushed pineapple
2 cups granulated sugar
6 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon Amoretti Pineapple Compound
1/2 teaspoon Mexican vanilla

Cook pineapple and sugar to a boil.  Using a large spoon, take out about 1 cup of juice from pot and put  bowl.  Add cornstarch to bowl and whisk till blended with no lumps.  Add mixture back into pot with pineapple and stir well.  Cook until thick.  Add flavorings and cook for 3 minutes before using.

Butter Cream Ingredients:
1 cup pasteurized egg whites
4 pounds powdered sugar
Mix at medium speed for 5 minutes and add
4 pounds softened butter
1 teaspoon Amoretti Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond emulsion
1/2 butter emulsion
1/2 butter vanilla emulsion

Mix well at medium speed for 10 minutes.

CookieCon 2014
Winners and Highlights
If you’re not familiar with CookieCon—you should be! This year, in addition to the demos and classes, there were five categories judged by popular vote: Anything Goes, Home Sweet Home, Once Upon A Time, Spring, and Mystery Shape. With the exception of Mystery Shape, entries in all of the categories were decorated in advance. The Mystery Shape, in this case a speech balloon, was announced on site and competitors had a few hours to decorate their cookie for judging. Check out the 2014 photo gallery to see how many different interpretations the competitors created—it’s definitely an exercise in creativity! Plus check out additional entiries in all the other categories.

Monica Holbert, First Place, Anything Goes

Barbara Florin, Second Place, Anything Goes

Lynne Schulyler, Third Place, Anything Goes

Kerri Roy, First Place, Home Sweet Home

Karen McCormack, Second Place, Home Sweet Home

Tatiana Khromushina, Third Place, Home Sweet Home


Monica Hobert, First Place, Mystery Shape

Sarah Schottler, Second Place, Mystery Shape

Jeanette Durham, ThirdPlace, Mystery Shape

Jeanette Durham & Laurie Thompson, First Place, Once Upon a Time

Melanie Burns, Second Place, Once Upon a Time

Arlene Pacheco, Third Place, Once Upon a Time

Debora Ferri, First Place, Spring

Laurie Anglen, Second Place, Spring

Karen McCormack, Third Place, Spring

Europain: ACD May/June 14
Highlights from the Mondial des Arts Sucrés
The biennial mixed-team competition produced some exciting designs from each of the participating 16 countries. Each team had to create:
* one chocolate showpiece
* one sugar showpiece
* one pastillage showpiece
* one classic tart “reinvented”
* one entrement garnished with two different flavors
* three chocolate bon-bons—one fruit, one praline and one
chef’s choice.
* one dessert, warm or cold using Grand Marnier, a competition sponsor.

Because we hardly ever get to see pastillage featured, following are some our favorite pieces from the competition, along with the tart each was designed to showcase.

Team Japan

Team Canada

Team Signapore

Tutorial: ACD March/April 14
Tami Utley’s Springerle Sweets
Tami shared two different approaches for painting cookies made with springerle molds, but we didn’t have room to print her preferred springerle dough recipe…so here it is!

500g (17.6oz) cake flour, sifted
50g( 1.7oz) powdered sugar, sifted
4 eggs
1/8 tsp hartshorn (baker’s ammonia)*
1-2 T (14-30ml) kirschwater

1) Slowly beat the eggs until foamy, add powdered sugar a spoonful at a time.  Beat for 10 minutes until lemon colored and eggs thicken. Completely dissolve baker’s ammonia in kirschwater and add to batter, beating another 10 minutes.
2) Mix in the flour a small amount at a time.  The dough will be soft and need to rest in an airtight bowl for 2 hours.
3) Cut off a piece of dough and roll out to ½” thickness – keep remaining dough airtight while working a portion at a time. Dust mold with flour or cornstarch. Press mold into dough, lift mold off and cut out dough. Place cookies on parchment paper sprinkled with anise seeds and let dry 8-24 hours. Important:  Do not skip this drying step, this is to set the design from the mold and keep the detail while baking.
4) Bake in preheated oven at 275 degrees for approx. 20 minutes. Larger cookies bake at 300 degrees.

*Do not eat raw dough when using bakers’ ammonia.

A Taste of the Future
3D printing has finally come to the food arts, with the introductions of the ChefJet, which “prints” custom shapes in sugar and chocolate. Take a look…



Cake Contracts Decoded
In the Jan/Feb 2014 issue of ACD, Elizabeth Marek of Artisan Cake Company in Portland, OR, shared her process for transforming inquiries into paid orders. Two essential pieces are her initial request form and her order form, which also serves as a contract.

“The fact is, most people who order a specialty cake have never done so before and have no idea how the process should flow—especially brides,” explained Elizabeth. “It is your job as the industry professional to set the stage for how the ordering process should go, what the steps are and to be as clear as possible so no questions or miscommunications can happen. Having a clear, understandable contract makes both parties happy. The client knows what to expect, you know what the client wants and everyone is happy with the cake.”

The order form is our contract. I have all the pertinent information in the order form that I need to know as well as disclaimers about the ordering process. I keep my form in an email template so I can easily send it to clients and they can easily send it back to me. 

Download the two page PDF of Elizabeth’s contract here.

I incorporated this basic quote form on my website to help guide the client into providing pertinent information in the first email. This could also be done in the initial part of a phone conversation with a potential client.

Eva Salazar, Makememycake, Aventura, FL

A native of Spain, Eva moved to Miami five years ago and at the same time transformed her love of cake decorating into a business. While she’s thrilled with the transition, she still misses the seasons in her native Spain and this cake was designed as a celebration of spring. “The various shades of green represent everything coming alive again, while the strong color contrast between the greens and the two blossoms make it surprising,” she explained. “I added the corset top and the ruffles to reflect a bit more of my personality.

Milly Almon, Milly’s Sweet Creations, Cleburne, TX

“The client asked for a ‘bouquet’ cake and this is what came to mind,” explained Milly Almon. The purples, pale green and white blossoms and buds serve as supporting players to two large, yellow peonies. The stems are fondant shaped with a silicone mold and wrapped with double-layered purple fondant ribbon


Kelly Smith, Austin, TX

Using a different take on the ombré trend, Kelly Smith designed this cake for the 2012 Austin That Takes the Cake show. “I tried to pick up the colors of a sunrise, transitioning from bright orange to midnight blue and getting all the shades of red and purple in between,” she explained. But it proved more challenging than she anticipated, with the subtle gradations only visible upon closer viewing. “I am completely enamored with henna designs,” she added. “They’re distinctive, graceful, rooted in symbolism and lend themselves very well to cake designs. I used royal icing in contrasting colors for each side of the cake to emphasize the color shift.
PHOTO CREDIT: Adrian Williams


Credits for these designs

Left: Heather Barbery, hbarberycakes AT gmail DOT com

Above: Iris Rezoagli, who was featured in the ACD March/April fashion issue,
irezoagli AT yahoo DOT com

Below left and right: Chef Mary Carmen del Rio, marygonz AT yahoo DOT com

Linda Wolff won the Fabric Effects competition on
Cakes We Bake with this design, which she named
Victorian Elegance. In her own words: "Top tier is brushed embroidery on fondant, second tier is tufted billow weave, third tier is grosgrain ribbon lined with edible pearls,
bottom tier is draped fondant. All is covered in pearl sheen using airbrush. The flowers are made from gumpaste.”

Beverly Brown took second place in the Cakes We Bake Fabric Effects competition with this very personal project: Her daughter's four-tier wedding cake. Her description: “White velvet cake with raspberry filling, fully draped with a 60/40 Ivory fondant-gumpaste blend and decorated with champagne roses, hygrangea sprays and Christmas roses - all heavily "blinged" with rainbow disco dust so they really sparkled!”

Angie Swearengin

Elena K. Holloway, Holloway's Bakery, Inc., Laredo, Texas

Elena K. Holloway, Holloway's Bakery, Inc., Laredo, Texas

John Penn, Seaford, NY

Chef Joseph Cumm, York, PA

Megan Moran

Rene Geissler

Daniela Moreas


Andria Chinander, Lund Food Holdings (Byerly's), Edina, MN Winner of the 17th annual IDDBA Cake Decorating Challenge


Golden Wedding Anniversary Cake
Submitted by Roseann Filosa Atkins
The Decorated Dessert, Inc.
Long Island, New York
Member Guild of Baking and Pastry Arts

"Bling" by Jose Rodriguez

Greta Sparks – 1st place in the Professional Bridal
Category and Best in Show at Kentucky State Fair 2012


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