Happy 10th wedding anniversary to US! No, not me and Coco Cake Land. Me and my husband and main squeeze of 16 years… yup… license to drive (each other CRAZEE)! We got married on a sunny crisp cold day in January, snow on the ground and our wedding was vintage Hawaiian themed. I decided to create a cake inspired by our original wedding cake – this pink pineapple wedding cake! Vanilla bean cake layers and black currant jam filling.
The OG pink pineapple wedding cake, made by Ganache Patisserie here in Vancouver. It was mango, with the cutest chocolate pineapple on top.
Basically such children back then! 10 years ago. Sheesh.
Not a bad looking lady, amirite?
Our dearly missed kitties, Coco and Taco!!! Taco was a jumbotron, 20+ pounds of glory. Wedding day pics by our amazing friends Jonetsu!
RT, I love you so very much. Not even a pink cake topped with a pineapple can express how much. Happy 10th wedding anniversary – as your Grandma remarked on our wedding day: “may the winds be fair, may the sailing be smooth, with the only squalls coming from the next generation.” xo Lyndsay
Play hard, play fair, play clean. CLEANSPORT. This was a slogan to one of my dad’s myriad of business ideas, I believe this one was around 1990?? A dry-cleaning business for the local NHL team, the Vancouver Canucks. That slogan in particular has stuck in my brain for decades. My dad Gerry also had a titanium bicycle company. And a car memorabilia shop in Yaletown, way before Yaletown became this hub of fancified capitalism that it is today. But Gerry was a produce man for most of his working life, fruit and vegetable purveyor, the beloved jovial VP, just as he is now a pickle ball man in his retired life (and a dealer of pickle ball paddles!). No pickles involved however – just a woofle-type plastic ball, oversized paddles and a badminton court inside a community center gymnasium, the squeak of clean sneakers and many enthusiastic seniors. I also recall, while helping him clean out the garage of our childhood home before my parents sold it, coming across business proposals from other folks, including a “smoothies and wraps” restaurant to be housed at the Vancouver airport. People were always hitting him up with business ideas, just as I have run several past him over many years. Dad, remember the clunky red Mercedes Benz that some guy gave to you, to try and repay a loan?? Hehe.
My dad is 73 years old, an age that sounds on paper to be rather ancient. But when I think of him, he is the jokiest, and kindest and most generous of people. He is perpetually cool as a cucumber, in his Hawaiian shirt, sunglasses, or matching his sock colour to his shoes. Fresh Gerry Style! My dad has had his fair share of health problems, including emergency open heart surgery in 2010 to repair a torn aorta. He was on the ski hill at his volunteer job. He keeled over but was still able to talk. Two doctors happened to be close by and diagnosed him quickly and urgently. It was the 2010 Olympics, so the ski hill was a no-fly-zone – he was whisked down the mountain on a rescue sled then flown straight to the hospital in Vancouver, where he was then rushed into an operating room. I remember coming to the hospital, only my sister had had a chance to see him before he went in – I was so scared, tears pouring down my face as we huddled in the waiting room. We were eventually told to go home, as the surgery wouldn’t be completed until 2 in the morning. I slept at my mom’s place, but barely slept a wink – the phone rang at 230am, my mom spoke to the surgeon. Dad had survived.
Admittedly, I worry about my dad every day. But every day I also feel so lucky to still have my parents in my life, and for Teddy to know his Poh Poh and Go Go, and to love them and laugh with them. Every birthday cake I get to make, for any one of my loved ones, no matter their age – I feel like there’s a million micro-feelings baked into each one, unseen, but felt by me. Particularly when candles are lit, and the first clumsy bar of amateurs singing Happy Birthday begins – it fills my heart.
I saw Moana over the holidays with my sisters and all our kids, and I wept through the entire thing. I’m not sure if it was brought on by the fertility drugs I had started taking, but there is this awesome grandma in Moana who is a total nut and just so totally wise and cool. The type of grandma I aspire to be! From the moment her death is foreshadowed with an unsteady wobble of a cane, my eyes welled up. I ached for my own grandma, and missed her so much. My Poh Poh was the coolest of the cool and I think about her and miss her a lot. This movie, I tell ya. It has heart. It has the music. It’s got jokes and beauty and an awesome headstrong powerful young girl at the forefront. TEARS!!
Additional all Italics side note: only a few months ago Rich and I started watching Downton Abbey, because I like to be at least five years behind on my culture maven-ing and au courant-ness. Every episode I scream at the TV “WHY ARE YOU GETTING DRESSED UP SO INSANELY FOR DINNER WITH JUST YOUR OWN FAMILY!???” and also, the concern of a maid or valet leaving or being fired (or being imprisoned) – “whatever are we to do???” Idea: DRESS YOURSELF. YOU CAN PUT ON YOUR OWN PYJAMAS I KNOW YOU CAN. I realize by the third season the storylines are getting a little iffy and rickdickulous and supremely soap-opera heavy but it’s my main source of distraction right now, so let me live. If I could be anyone on Downton it would be Mrs.Patmore, BTW. She throws around salmon mousse and vichyssoise and souffles like a casual dream, and damn she can plate! Do you see those beautifully refined cakes, trays of perfectly cooked fish, raspberry mousse? Woman is a fine food stylist and has the best sense of humour.
Gerry Sung is the man indeed. Here he is, being amused by Teddy performing “onstage.” I love you so much Dad! Happy happy birthday! Here’s to staying healthy, and happy fun times in 2017! xo Lyndsay
Fuck cancer and the demonic horse it rode it on. It rode into my life almost two years ago now, which is hard to fathom – in a way, it took 18 months out of my life. But in another way, it gave me more reason to live, and it gave me the opportunity to look at my life differently. Going through breast cancer diagnosis and treatment has become part of my life story, whether I like it or not – and I’m sure other survivors can relate to this, but often it just seems like it was all a surreal and horrific dream, a chapter book happening to someone else.
October is breast cancer awareness month – and I “celebrated” it last year by creating a post all about my breast cancer, as told through cake. I wanted to make something again this year – and all of a sudden an idea struck me, because I wanted to do a fundraiser of sorts. So I started the #fuckcancercake weird little cake campaign on a whim on Instagram with the idea that for every Fuck Cancer cake created in the month of October and posted on Instagram, I would personally donate $5 (along with my initial donation of $100) towards The Lipstick Project – an incredible organization here in Vancouver that provides massages and manicures to those living in hospice and their caregivers.
I remember walking down to my local manicure place, the friendliest Vietnamese ladies who knew my story, saw me go from long hair to no hair, and were so kind to me! Just getting that fantasy hour of pampering, and a fresh manicure and pretty polish, made me feel a little more put together, a little less bald, a little more human. Looking down at pretty hands. So I know how sometimes a little thing like getting your nails painted or a massage can uplift a person’s spirit, if only temporarily.
This cake is so bright in colour, joyful, and I loved making it, hoping it would put a smile on the recipient’s face. But now when I look at pictures of it, I can’t help but have tears in my eyes. I made it for John, on his 41st birthday, just two and a half months ago. John passed away this past week on September 1st, one year after being diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cancer – sinonasal undifferentiated carcinoma. John was a dear friend of my sister’s, and the decades-long best friend of her husband, so I knew John over many years, but not closely – I’d see him at a party or at my sister’s house. It was only after his cancer diagnosis that we became friends via email, as those diagnosed with cancer often do – you tend to gravitate towards each other, grasping through the haze and daze of fear, strength, doubt, sickness, hope.
In our emails he would always ask ME how I was doing, even though I knew he wasn’t feeling well himself. I would check in with him and see how he was feeling, or try to send messages of encouragement. He once told me he was inspired by me and happy to see how strong I was feeling. I remember crying after reading this, just so hopeful that he would be okay.
The last time I saw him was just after he was diagnosed, and we ran into each other at the cancer agency. I was in for my daily radiation appointment and he was there with his wife Trixie. He was a tall man, dark haired, athletic, handsome, and I recognized him immediately through a sea of shell-shocked patients. We hugged, with tears in our eyes. Why us? A shared fear and a sense of support. The unknown can be a gutting place. I have always admired Trixie too – strong, blunt, funny and beautiful. John was such an awesome person, adored by so many. I remember him being easy going, incredibly likeable, the type of person you like to be around. He was a powerhouse athlete – a star basketball player, and in more recent years, a marathon runner – he qualified for, and ran the Boston Marathon only three years ago. He was an amazing husband, and incredible father to three growing boys.
Rest in peace, John. You will be missed by so many friends and loved ones. To read more about John, visit here. To support John’s family and contribute towards a fund dedicated to the future education and endeavours of his three sons, please visit Support John Dumont. xo Lyndsay
Have you ever finished decorating a cake and you step back and you SQUEAL LIKE A TEENAGED GIRL AT A SLUMBER PARTY because you’ve fallen deep in love with your own creation?? But then you CRY INSIDE when you have to give it up even though you wish you could shellac it, mount it on the wall, snuggle it like a favourite stuffie. Take it for a walk and feed it. Anyhoo. This cutie beauty drippy cake is certainly one of my new favourites, made for my sweet pal Phanie’s son Moses. I love her post about his party, and his birthday, and about him. I love the emphasis on simplicity, doing just what the kid wants.
I’ve always been a fan of vibrant colour – I sure love how the bright hue of that teal buttercream, and how the shiny crispy fancy candy shines on top of the cake!
I’ve been doing trades with Phanie for years now – cakes for photos. It’s my favourite kind of bartering. She did my recent set of photos and she also wrote this about me on her own blog – sheesh. What a lady.
Look at this sweetness – photos taken by Phanie. Sunny Spring day, green grass, fresh air and a gaggle of close friends, smiles and laughter. It is pure magic how a cake suddenly elevates anything into a celebration to remember.
Happy 7th birthday, Momo! And thank you Phanie for your friendship! I am lucky to know such a caring, hilarious and thoughtful soul.
On Monday I had my final herceptin IV treatment at the cancer agency. I had been counting down from 17 and it was finally the last one. For months prior, in my head I imagined what the day might be like – happy, jubilant, free. I had wanted to throw a huge backyard party loaded with balloons, flowers and cake. I had an idea for this “Fuck Cancer Cake” post, a companion piece to my breast cancer cakes. But then, when Monday rolled around, I felt altogether different. I was sitting in the chemo chair, trying to feel brave as the nurse counted to three before poking the needle into the port bump on my chest, my bionic body part. I kept looking at my husband for reassurance of some kind. The medicine began flowing in and my mouth filled with the taste of it – the last time I would taste that?? My last IV. But there was no feeling of joy or freedom that I had imagined. Instead I found myself feeling… numb. Then just… petrified all over again. A dam broke, and the tears came pouring out. It didn’t help that the two women also receiving chemo across from me were both in for recurrences. I held onto Rich’s hand and sobbed.
“Ijust want this all to be over. I don’t ever want to come back here.”
My IV bag emptied into the hole in my chest, the nurse pulled the needle out and I got a band-aid to cover it up. We got out of the cancer agency and I came home to beautiful white hydrangeas from Rich and carrot cake with cream cheese frosting, my request. When we pulled into the driveway, Teddy was waiting for us with his nanny Cor and his smile was huge – I scooped him up and told him mommy just had her last “special medication appointment!” and I tried to feel happy. We ordered dinner from our favourite pizza place and did a small toast between the three of us. My mom came by with pink peonies and my sister dropped off a bouquet and treat.
We put Teddy to bed at dusk. I laid in Rich’s arms while he allowed me to sob into his chest. I couldn’t stop crying. I think I had been keeping it together and feeling strong and good for a few months now. But now with the final treatment I could finally let go. I cried for those who weren’t finished treatment and might never be finished. I cried out of worry, fear. I felt so overwhelmed and inarticulate. I cried out of relief that I was finished but still uncertain of whether or not all of this treatment has worked. I cried thinking about how much I love my husband and son and how I never want to leave them. And then I just decided to let those feelings be. Sometimes I can’t wrap my feelings up into a succinct idea or thought or expression. I don’t know when I will feel whole again. So instead, for now, on a teensy minuscule piece of the internet… a Fuck Cancer cake. xo Lyndsay
I got new photos taken. Mostly because I felt like I was living a hair lie with the long and flowing locks in my old pics. And then also because I’ve been feeling like a fresh little daisy of life. Like perhaps I’ve been born anew lately. Things feel like they’re looking up as I veer along towards my final IV treatment for breast cancer. I filmed my first ever online cake class for Craftsy (a post on that coming soon!). I’ve been feeling healthy and fit with my once-a-day(ish) gym regime. I’ve been getting more fun little work projects which involve my favourite things – baking, styling and photographing. Life with Rich and Teddy feels loving and good. One final needle poke into my chest, where my ugly bump of a port is, while they pump in medicine that is hopefully tracking down and murdering any stray cancer cells. Please God let it be over. Please Goddess let it be done.
But no more talk of that, because look: I’m sprinkling lil sprinklies onto a cake!!
I’m so happy with these photos. My beautiful pal Stephanie of The Pauhaus took them. She is a breath of fresh air, a starburst of talent and creativity. Plus she is an incredible mom to three little turds (she calls them the shitstains) and I’m in awe of that. She wears and writes her heart deeply raw on her sleeve and that’s been inspiring to me – the insane ups and deep downs of motherhood, family and relationships. Like I wish I had the balls to splay it out there as openly and honestly as she does. The photos were taken in my home kitchen where I work and create all of my cakes.
FROZEN IN TIME CANDY PLACEMENT.
WHY SO SERIOUS!?? WHY BE NORMAL!?? (you gotta love that Why Be Normal bumper sticker.)
BECAUSE I LIFT WEIGHTS I could do this photo. This is not for the weakling-armed. This is some Chinese Lady Popeye spinach-munching business.
I’m a serious baker. I’m a serious person. I am actually the opposite of both of those things. But I’m wearing my favourite apron, that is the truth.
K. You’ve looked the other way for a bit. Look THIS way now. Yes, look!
Because you went to art school, hold up this vase in front of your face. ART!!! (I love these gorgeous wild and wonderful flowers by Our Little Flower Company!) But seriously I love a good flower face pic.
Moody cakey times.
If your face resembles a Chinese Pumpkin, you may as well laugh about it. FLAUNT THE PUMPKIN. Thank you so much Phanie for snapping these pics for me! You are a magical unicorn and I truly admire you! xo Lyndsay
Oh, the glorious beauty of the drip. My first experience with the drip was years ago, seeing this beautiful dark chocolate raspberry cake by Rosie of Sweetapolita. What makes the drip so appealing? I love its artful streaks, and the drama of the drip – it certainly has a painterly quality, a nod to modern art. And of course, the Australians brought the drip to worldwide attention – Katherine Sabbath (have you read my interview with Kat? It’s a goodie!) and Nikki of Unbirthday Bakery are two of the women who helped kick off the drip cake revolution – I swoon over their insanely colourful cakes, bursting with chocolate shards, meringues, buttercream dollops, sprinkles and fresh flowers in a rainbow of colours.
I’ve made a few drip cakes in the last few years too – notably this birthday beauty, which was my homage to Katherine Sabbath, and then this chocolate peanut butter and jam drip cake! I hadn’t ever coloured white chocolate ganache before – I had tried it once and my ganache completely separated and looked like barf- white chocolate ganache behaves differently than my usual ganache recipe, I have since learned! I made this vanilla bean buttercream pink drippy ganache cake for my wonderful friend Phanie of the Pauhaus! I loooove how she styled the party for her mom’s 60th birthday!
Here are my top tips for how to make a drip cake:
1. Treat your ganache gently. Use high quality white chocolate such as these white chocolate “wafers” – set 1/2 a cup of them in a small, shallow bowl. In a small sturdy saucepan, heat up 1/4 cup of heavy cream to a low boil, being very careful not to scald it. Carefully pour the hot cream over the white chocolate, making sure the chocolate is covered by the cream – let this sit for ten minutes undisturbed. Then, using a small wire whisk, slowly mix together until a creamy ganache forms. Add a tiny amount of gel food colouring to achieve a coloured ganache – I used Americolor electric pink.
2. You want to cool your ganache down enough to make it “drip-able.” If you used it straight away, it would be too hot and would melt the buttercream, plus it would be way too runny. You want the consistency to be thick enough to drip but not too thick that it’s set and won’t drip at all. I like to power-chill my ganache in the freezer for about 15 minutes.
3. Once your ganache has cooled down, test out the dripping consistency using a small spoon. If it’s still very runny and warm to the touch, chill it for a few more minutes until it’s cooled down.
4. Work on a cake that has been chilled. This way, the buttercream is set and you avoid any chance of a warm ganache melting your buttercream.
5. If you want to have more controlover your drips:apply the drips first, one by one, with a small spoon. Using a cake turntable might be useful here – turning the cake as you go around it applying the drips. LESS IS MORE when first applying the drips – start with a tiny amount, say 1/4 teaspoon, and watch how far the drip travels – if you want a longer drip, add a little more ganache to the top of the drip – if you want a shorter drip, use a smaller amount of ganache on your spoon for the next drip.
6. Once you’ve applied each drip with a spoon, then you will want to cover the top of the cake with ganache. Pour the ganache a small amount at a time to the centre of the top of the cake, carefully using an offset spatula to gently coax the ganache to the edges without dripping down.
7. Love the wildcard look of ganache drips falling wherever they may? Simply pour the ganache on the top of a chilled cake, and use your offset spatula to spread it to the edges – and let the drips fall over the sides of the cake! Beautiful chaos!
8. Before you add anything on top of your drippy top, make sure the ganache has set first – you can set it by power-chilling it in the fridge or freezer for 15-20 minutes. Once your ganache is set, you can pipe little blobettes of buttercream on top, add fresh edible flowers (such as garden pansies, pictured!) and fresh fruit. The decorating possibilities are endless!
Are you on the drip cake train?? My favourite drip cakes:
I love Cakes by Cliff - SO artfully pretty, he is an office worker by day and a cake designer by hobby – he was the first person I saw doing an upside down drip! Clever!
My pal Jenn of Bakedown Cakery – her drips are the most symmetrical I’ve seen and she loves loads of colour, chocolate and florals for toppers.