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
Put An Egg On It: Easy Easter Cake! (With A Miffy On Top)
It is so very hard for me to believe my lil boy is going to be starting elementary school next year. It was only yesterday that he looked like this, and I was a crying heap of a mess with milk-engorged leaky boobs and a floppy postpartum tummy wondering what the f*ck I was doing. Newborn-baby-time was the craziest time. Now, he is almost FIVE, which pains me so deeply, watching bittersweetly as his legs elongate further every day, feeling so proud of the sweet, thoughtful and wild boy he’s become, yet so heartsick with yearning. His new school is just a few blocks away in our own neighborhood, which makes me happy. They hosted their annual school carnival so I volunteered to make two cakes for the cake walk!! I figured I knew I would be donating cakes in the future so may as well start now! Plus, we would attend the carnival too just to get Teddy excited about his school, and get him used to the walk! So I made these two cake walk cuties: ruffly edges, sprinkles, bright colours, and vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream.
The carnival was a blur of games, bouncy castles, cotton candy buckets, hot dogs and tables full of cakes donated by parents – they had over 100 cakes for the cake walk! We had two little red tickets left to blow at the carnival before we had to get home for bedtime – wild man Teddy had already been burning the candle at both ends running around, bouncing, playing games and having a blast. I kind of sensed that entering the cake walk at this final hour was probably creeping into meltdown territory, and before I could explain to Teddy about the cake walk – i.e., that only one person wins a cake… he had already presented his tickets and ran off to stand on a number while Bruno Mars kicked in. The walk was on. The adult boogying began. The kids danced like no one was watching. The music stopped. The number was drawn… and it was not ours!! When T realized he didn’t win I immediately saw his little face and body crumble into a million disappointments and the tears began to pour out with a big, overtired wail of sadness…
Thank God for the bucket of cotton candy, his eyelashes blinking with tears and a look of sheer sadness on his face as he emotional-ate blue sugared fluff until a stained blue moustache appeared. And, now apparently for his upcoming 5th birthday we are having a “cake walk theme” whereby “you can make all the cakes, mommy!” Hmmm…. PS I can’t believe it’s already Summer with a capital S. We’ll be celebrating Christmas again before you know it. xo Lyndsay
Wilder and Wilder! Where The Wild Things Are Cake + Cupcakes
“Mom!! Try to poo a lot so then you’ll have a baby!” Teddy said this to me yesterday out of the blue. Just imagining what his furiously-working-overtime little 4-year-old brain is parsing together about how babies are made makes me laugh/smile/cry… He’s been asking for a baby sister for a year or so now. “Time to get pregnant in your tummy, ok mom??” is another tidbit he’s thrown at me, as if I can snap fingers (or labia) together and out of my vagina flies a fully formed baby girl. Other things Teddy has said lately: I’ll tell you what you are! You’re just the bun of a hot dog! or Go away, ya bum clown!!! (referring to, what I can only guess is human butt cheeks dolled up in clown makeup.) Things Teddy doesn’t know/remember/understand: his mama had breast cancer, and may or may not have any viable eggies, and is also 40 years old, an age by which reproductivity takes a deep nosedive. His mama has already tried implanting one frozen embryo into her uterus, but it swam away and didn’t want to stick. She has two more frozen embryos on ice, and will try implanting those sometime soon, but the longer she is off of her Tamoxifen, the more terrified she is of cancer coming back.
Today is International Women’s Day, and it feels more pertinent than ever. How did women’s vaginas ever become reduced to being called a pussy? Do vaginas look like hairy little cats somehow? The vag is one powerful organ. Oh, a pussy? Yeah, babies come out of those – vaginas are basically superhuman. So I made a cake for the vagina today. xo Lyndsay
I named this cake Rosie after Rosie The Riveter, feminist icon, We Can Do It, yes we can. Protest cakes continue – because resistance can be aesthetically pleasing, it can be kawaii, it can be a buttercream rose cake. Check out thelittle video I made for this on Instagram!
Michaela asked me a bunch of questions so I thought I’d include the full interview here in case anyone was interested, a lot of it’s about my Instagram account – because I do often get questions about how to build your Instagram/blog, and what apps I use etc… So here it is. What inspires me… mom style … my favourite Instagram accounts and why, etc!
Teen Vogue: Where do you get your inspiration for Instagram?
Me: Colour, comedy, consciousness and cuteness inspire my Instagram.
What would you describe your aesthetic as?
Artfully messy colourful minimalism!
What is the purpose of your Instagram account?
Initially to share my cakes – but it’s become a place of community, support and connection – I’ve met lots of my Instagram buddies in real life now which is so great. Instagram is like the pen-pal-ing of this decade. I feel like I could go get coffee and pastries with so many people all around the world now.
Has being on Instagram presented you with any great opportunities?
I’ve worked with some nice brands – so monetarily, yes – but connection may very well be the coolest part that I’ve experienced.
Do you spend a lot of time editing your photos and what apps do you use?
Not really. I sometimes use VSCO Cam but more often I lazily edit right in the Instagram app. Most of my photos are also taken with my good old iPhone 6s!
Your tips for creating a great feed and building a following?
The feeds I like are ones that seem genuine, somewhat jokey, sometimes serious, with beautiful content and funny or compelling writing. My tips for creating a great feed – go with your gut, don’t try to fit into anyone else’s mould – be yourself and enjoy it. I think if you enjoy it, it comes across. Follow people you actually like, and interact with them because you want to. That’s the way to build a loyal following, is to be loyal and interested yourself.
What or who inspires you?
Strong, creative women inspire me, and those who are in positions of influence who use their voice for a greater good, who don’t shy away from being controversial or losing followers. I recently did a cake series based on “Pussy Grabs Back” and lost hundreds of followers. But over the same few days I gained hundreds more, and those are the ones you treasure, the ones who follow you because of who you are, not simply because your feed is “pretty.” My family inspires me with their compassion, empathy, love and support. Women who have inherent and specifically interesting fashion sense inspire me (especially cool moms!)
What is your favorite subject to talk about on your feed?
It truly ranges. When I was going through breast cancer, I would share some of my brutal days. I’d talk about my fear of impending infertility, or the loss of my hair and sex drive. Other days, I’ll talk about how shitty and difficult and hellish it is to make macarons! Yep, it’s a real mixed bag.
What are your biggest passions?
My family and friends; baking and photography. I also love fashion but I rarely indulge anymore, my style has toned down. I tend to wear the same few outfits over and over in different iterations.
What would someone be surprised to find out about you?
Perhaps that I’m a breast cancer survivor, diagnosed in 2015 while in my 30s. Do not ignore any changes, big or small, in your breasts (or anywhere in your body). Be vigilant. I found my cancer early and because of that I saved my life.
Who are your favorite accounts to follow?
I like people who not only post beautiful or interesting content but who share something of themselves too, people that feel genuine, and who don’t shy away from expressing their views. And of course there are the just-damn-cool women I like to follow, whether they are brilliant creators or hilarious people – @cherrybombemag, @katherinesabbath, @designsponge, @mollyorangette, @manrepeller, @linda_lomelino are some of my favourites.
What’s your proudest accomplishment?
My son. Hands down. He is the coolest little 4-year-old shreddin’ hilarious sweetheart dude and I love him to bits.
I was 20 when I found the official word feminism. I realized I had been a feminist all my life. I was in my second year of university, and I enrolled in a Women’s Studies class, along with two of my close friends. My eyes were opened. At first, my feminism was one of anger – I was determined to be right and considered it my job to “change the outlooks” of my sisters, my mother. I remember getting my mom a Christmas present – Feminism In Our Time, an overview book. My hair became pixie-cut short. I came home from college no longer wearing a bra. I remember my mom joining me in a Take Back The Night march. She has always supported me, quietly, though perhaps then she knew this was a part of growing up – to question our surroundings, to fight what we feel is unjust. Now, two decades later, I’ve settled into my own kind of feminism, which is – just being me. Now I know a little better – feminism comes in so many forms. Now, I am a mother and a wife, a daughter, a sister and a friend. A baker of cakes! Raising my son to be respectful, thoughtful, open and independent – I hope he turns out like my husband – a strong, kind, compassionate and loving man, a feminist himself. My activism is a different kind than it used to be, yet I see its value and power – it’s informed by my past, present and hope for the future. My voice is attached to this blog and to my work, to my cakes. Stand together. Do not stay silent or be complacent. My form of protest may be audibly more quiet but no less strong. Pussy grabs back. xo Lyndsay
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
Next Stop on the Coco Cake Express! River’s Cutie Train Birthday
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.