My dear friends Helen and Hannah are wonderful partners in both life and art. They recently won an esteemed Mayor’s Art Award here in Vancouver, and they launched Multiple Elementary, their book which “explores the elementary school classroom as a site of invention and reception of contemporary art practices.” Helen and I have had a long history of friendship – from farting around together at art school, to producing music/video art shows and to writing and performing in our old fantasy new wave synth-metal band Le Petit Mort. I wanted to celebrate her and Hannah’s most awesome achievements, and while my funfetti-layered cake didn’t quite start out as the SPRINKLEBEARD cake, it turned out to be kind of the cutest cookie monogram sprinkle beard cake possibly ever, hehe. Advice: just keep piling on the sprinkles and pray that your recipient likes them.
It was a rainy, dark and cold night in Vancouver and I thought I would have to draggggg Teddy out to Helen and Hannah’s book launch, but oddly, he was excited to go. Usually after school on a weekday he is the grumpiest of super-fatigued sloths, and understandably so, as I’ve seen him run laps around the playground at Kindergarten just for shits and giggles. But no, he turned out to be the ruling-est, most agreeable 5-year-old to ever grace an art book launch on a stormy wet and dark Wednesday evening…
Teddy helped hand out cake slices, he happily ate his slice sitting on the art gallery floor, and apparently during Helen and Hannah’s talk he was misting himself with his special and beloved “spritzing” Spiderman water bottle. When I asked him about this the next day, he simply told me “I wanted it look like I was sweating.”
Congrats Helen and Hannah on all of your success! Here’s to many more face-misting art openings and book launches!! xo Lyndsay
I made this cutie pie wolf cake for the dang cutest little guy named Wolfgang for his laser-tag birthday party back in October. I was in a pretty bad creative slump, post-book-completion. I thought I might give up cakes all together, I was kind of hating on the internet, and felt ready to try something totally different. I wasn’t sure what … you know all those books about careers and following your dreams and doing what you love doing?? I tried to think about what it was that I loved. Was it too late for med school? LOL. Should I try and get a job at some digital ad agency? Should I get a job in a kitchen chopping vegetables? Should I go back to teaching art to kids?? But then, through the making of this cake, I realized… well shit. I actually am doing what I love. I love drawing. I love baking and being super-anal about my cake designs. I love making kids happy. I love photography and food styling, and I love writing… So… thank you Nancy, for asking me to make this and coaxing me out of my cake hibernation!
HOW CUTE IS THIS GUY!? Happy birthday Wolfie! xo Lyndsay
Happy New Year – My Dad’s Birthday Cake and Well Wishes for 2013!
MEOW MIX! I’ve got lots of cakes to share in the coming weeks, including this furry yellow buttercream cutie cat made for sweet little Rosie, two-year-old Vice President of Collage Collage! Rosie loves cats, she loves yellow. Together, with her namesake flower crown? Flower Crown Cat Cake, headed to the feline version of Burning Man or Coachella or wherever love conquers all flower crowns appear most these days. The last time I wore a flower crown was for my Auntie’s wedding in the 1980s. I wore a powder pink dress, my face was a Chinese chipmunk and I fell asleep at the banquet reception, face on the table, a live band playing Could I Have This Dance. I remember that flower crown being very pokey. I am guessing today’s flower crowns are less pokey, but I will never know, because at 41, my flower crown wearing days are very over, unless I join the local theatre troupe.
Equipment used to make this rosey baby: a large multi-opening grass tip to pipe the fur, fondant for the face, a petal tip for the roses, and a leaf tip for the green leaves.
I made this GORGE pretty in pink cake for my food blogger pal Samantha of My Kitchen Love. Before I tell you more, may I bore you with some life inner monologue?
My “cake career” has had so many ups and downs, and has morphed and changed with the tides over the course of a decade plus. In 2008 it started out as a document of the trials and tribulations of learning how to bake, a newness and excitement to the medium. Then, I started making a few cakes for friends, then clients… documenting it all on my blog. Some of those cakes were pretty cute, which brought more and more traffic to my blog, and then… knock knock on the blog door… outside interest – the lure of paid posts, money?? For making and creating what I loved doing anyway? NOICE… So turning the cake baking and photography and styling into jobs via sponsored work and creating recipes for different brands… chugging away at that for a while (well, you know, amongst prenatal depression and breast cancer treatment)… and then it hit me: INTERNET EXHAUSTION. Seeing sponsored work creep into every crevice, and watching it encroach every orifice of Instagram. Feeling angry and complicit in the capitalist-machine of making work for brands and feeling like a sell-out, loathing the ugly side of the internet… INTERNET DEPRESSION … and trying to find my place of happiness again amongst the madness. Would I quit the internet, finally? What would I do next?? What would my next “career” be, having invested so much time and energy into CAKES for over ten years?
So… after being SO SURE I would never make cakes for people again… I’m finding a soft and gentle comfort in… making cakes for people again. I’ve come full circle back to the tiny cake biz but this time – “JUST CHILLIN’” is my motto. “ZEN CUPCAKE” is my meditation. Making cakes for birthdays … there’s an innocence to it, or a purity somehow – I imagine the sweet little face of the birthday girl or boy as their cake is set before them, glittering candles and Happy Birthday… and that JOY – ahhhhh. And, through finding the gentle joy in baking for the art and enjoyment of it again, I’m feeling re-inspired…
Back to this pretty in pink cake. I made it for Amanda, Sam’s sister-in-law, to celebrate her 40th birthday! I loved every moment of making it, from drawing it out first, to borrowing Teddy’s felts to colour it in, to mixing the batter. The cakes baking in the oven, and that encompassing warmth and comforting smell fills the kitchen. Then, whipping a sticky cloud of meringue for a creamy pink vanilla buttercream, slowly adding pieces of unsalted butter as it whirls around into a creamy thickening soup – and that MAGIC MOMENT when the thick soup beats up into the most dreamy of frostings, the taste of melty vanilla ice cream on a summer day, all ready to be spread and piped onto soft layers of vanilla cake.
I loved building this beauty! Pink and white stripes, ruffles and drop stars and fresh raspberries, filled with Bonne Maman raspberry jam (my fave)! and sprinkled with Sweetapolita sprinkles! White chocolate ganache drips, too.
Although making this lovely cake helped me personally to come back to the world of the living (THE INTERNET)… and to rediscover creating something that I was proud of and excited about – this cake met a very very very sad end. The next day, Sam messaged me saying the waitperson at the restaurant they were eating at DROPPED THE CAKE. Dropped it on the very face of it’s anal-retentively-piped, fretted-over surface!!!!! Not one person got to eat even an iota of cake. The pain, the agony, the INNER TURMOIL!!!!! My immediate reaction was to offer to make another one for the poor birthday girl… but Sam messaged me saying her two lil twin girls were going to bake the make-up cake. Which, is so sweet and special.
So, here lies Pretty In Pink cake – a special cake that helped along one person’s mental health (MINE), made another person’s night hell (WAITRESS) and propelled two sweet little twin girls to make probably the BESTEST cake ever for their awesome Auntie. Rest In Peace, cakey… and Happy Birthday Amanda! xo Lyndsay
Sometimes in life you just want to look at a freaking cute picture of a rainbow caticorn cake, you know? Yes, that’s right. A majestic unicorn and a very cute chill cat got together one extra-sparkly afternoon and decided to make a baby. I’m not even going to say who was the male and who was the female. I’m hoping the cat was the male. Let’s go with that, based on animal size and general hopefulness. I guess what happened was, the union between cat and ‘corn was just SO MAGIC that the baby turned out to have rainbow buttercream fur. That is ok by me. I am also very into this idea of cross-breeding, it’s like the inter-racial dating of the animal kingdom. Thumbs up over here.
JK, JK! Sorry I’m so weird. I made a rainbow caticorn cake for my good friend Miko‘s daughter’s birthday!! I’ve had so much love for this rainbow caticorn cake that I am going to add some tips on how to make this for you lovelies out there who have asked. So here ya go!
To pipe this rainbow kitty-corn with its glorious fur, you will need my favourite fur piping tip – Wilton 234 multi-opening tip, mostly used to “pipe grass” – but a magic piping tip when it comes to emulating furry fun. It normally isn’t as large as one’s head, just in this pic. :P
You will need about 5 cups of your favourite vanilla buttercream. Fill and crumb-coat your cake with the buttercream, then divide the remaining buttercream into three medium bowls, tinting each bowl a different complementary colour. A complementary colour is one that melds nicely with the colour beside it – for instance, pink, blue and yellow. We’re not trying to make poo-brown here. Fill your piping bag vertically as shown above – or, you can try the “plastic wrap log” method for rainbow buttercream if you wish! Go logs go!
Squeeze the piping bag so the colours flow together, then get pipin’, sister (or mister)!! For shorter fur, squeeze the piping bag in short spurts. For longer fur, squeeze the buttercream out a touch more to form longer strands. The facial features and ears are all made from fondant. I always buy my fondant already pre-coloured because colouring black fondant can be HELL ON EARTH. Satin Ice makes these cute little 4 ounce party packs of black fondant, perfect for a project like this. Use a small round cookie cutter or the round opening edge of piping tips to cut out eyes and cheeks. The horn is very simple to make – form two small logs of pink fondant and white fondant, twist together, form a point and attach to a wooden skewer!! I AM SO HELPFUL RIGHT NOW!! Oh, the ears are made with fondant too and held up with wooden BBQ skewers! Dinkly little toothpicks won’t do the job here. You need the power of wooden BBQ skewer aka MADE TO HOLD BIG OLD PIECES OF BEEF.
SOOOOO… back to the birthday girl … this cake was a real hit, and Saya loved it, and there will be an adorable picture of her with the cake if you scroll down just a scooch more…
Happy birthday sweet Saya!PS if you make this cake, please credit me properly for the design with a link back to this post. Please don’t make a YouTube video out of this and claim it as your own without giving proper credit, k? I am a mostly posi-core person but nothing irks me more than the rampant stealing of other creative people’s ideas and hard work! Stay cool, internet!! Stay chill, me!! PEACE! xo Lyndsay
Sad ghost cake! Hallowiener is upon us so I thought I’d post this ghosty guy I made in the hot drippy heat of July, for no reason at all, except, whoops it’s October and I have an accidental ghost cake to post. I’ve been lite-googling “dinosaur mask paper mache” because I was thinking of being a silver-themed Ultraman-ish villain this year. Mostly because I feel like wearing silver, because I am jealous of Teddy’s silver gloves. Also, I love the kids’ space costumes in this post from Tell Love and Party – SILVER! GLOBE HEADS! Last year I attempted to be Grapes but I messed up my costume – after pinning on a whole bunch of purple balloons onto my purple silk vintage shirt, I couldn’t get the damn shirt on afterward, an engineering fail. The year prior, I went as CAKEHEAD which was pretty cool – “cake in a box!” This year Teddy is so pumped to decorate our house all Halloween-ish. So far we have a fake bloody hand given to us by our old neighbours, hehe. Side note: this ghost cake made me think of none other than Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze in the racey penile wet pottery scene in Ghost. This movie came out in 1990 and I totally saw it in the theatres (mom?? I think I was too young). I was such a little innocent that I don’t remember much about the “scenes of a sexual nature” but the final scene where the BAD GUY IS GUTTED BY A VERY LARGE AND INSANELY SHARP SHARD OF BROKEN GLASS and his soul is dragged to hell by rather terrifying black shadows is emblazoned upon my memory. I also remember thinking, when the credits rolled: when Demi sees Patrick again she is going to be an old lady (although she has proven she does not really age!) and he will still be a handsome young man.Time to watch GHOST again, 27 years later!! xo Lyndsay
Look at that dreamy fluffy adorable face! It’s so hard not to just snuggle the daylights out of this Rilakkuma cake face. I made this lil guy as a secret surprise for my blog bestie Steph! Three years ago now, I received an email from her saying “hi” and seeing if I wanted to meet up for coffee, since we both live in Vancouver. I love that – blogger blind date! I am a legitimate huge fan of I Am A Food Blog - her and Mike make the most delicious recipes and I love their crisp, stylized photography and overall sense of design. Plus, their Friday Finds are also always some of my favourite reads of the week!
Dark chocolate cake, coffee buttercream and almond toffee crunch – I got the toffee recipe from Erin of Erin Bakes! She has a sweet new book out, and it’s like a choose-your-own-adventure style cake recipe book jammed with cakes, frostings and textural fillings, plus easy decorating ideas and Erin’s comedic writing style. The toffee recipe is dangerously legitimate. Buttery, sweet and salty, and I added toasted salted almonds, making it crazily addictive. The toffee set up like a charm, and I snacked HARD on the leftovers while watching Broad City on Saturday night… oops. Looking forward to making more from Erin’s book!
Oh buddy!!! So sorry for the lobotomy! Steph and I had a fun afternoon power walking in the sun, eating Japanese rice bowls at a cute little cafe and then, cutting into little brownie bear Rilakkuma cake.
I’ve really been enjoying just slowly working on cakes these days. It feels simple and pure, with good intentions. I’ve needed that lately, as I’ve been feeling so crotchety and lite-cynical about the blogging machine. Getting flour-dusted and meditatively piping cakes feels like the right move at the moment. Happy birthday Steph! So glad I finally got to make you a cake, hehe! xo Lyndsay
My lil man T “graduated” from preschool in June. My heart was both filled with joy and pride but also brutalized by sadness – hearing his scratchy little singing voice belting out “He’s got the whole world in his hands!!” amongst his class of cuties, well, I was basically a puddle on the gym floor afterward. It was a potluck, so I made this square buttercream flower cake – originally my idea was to pipe “I BELIEVE THE CHILDREN ARE OUR FUTURE” on it… but opted for crazy colourful piping instead.
I had a bunch of balloons leftover from my cake book photoshoot so we brought those to the party. Here he is, captured in a quiet little moment of singing to himself while playing on the living room floor before the graduation party.
T wore his “fancy guy” shirt, a candy-striped number from the adorable brand Ultraviolet Kids. I would so wear this shirt in an adult size.
Teddy painted good old pasta necklaces as presents for his teachers – I took photos of him painting them and printed the photo to use as a thank you card. Ok I just looked up Whitney Houston’s “Greatest Love Of All” on YouTube and those opening notes just made me teary-eyed! Hoo boy. Watching my baby grow up has been the most bittersweet thing I’ve ever known. xo Lyndsay