Monday, August 30, 2010


This is where I live. Eight blocks inland in an old neighborhood in Santa Cruz. I have lived here for 40 years now and am still inspired by the beauty, ocean smell, the fresh produce and generally healthy lifestyles of the folks who live here. People make fun of Santa Cruz saying it is a "Hippie" town and that we are all "Veggies" and "Tree huggers"... well, who cares! Let them laugh....I live in paradise! I am not a vegetarian, no longer a hippie, and well as far as a tree hugger...ok, I own that one :) 

Living in an inspirational location I get ideas from nature and the surrounding areas for cake concepts. The ocean is an amazing inspiration. It has not only the colors of the sky, water and earth but it creatures and shells, the rolling sands and waves, and then the myths that go with it's glory. So here is a cake where I took the ocean as my inspiration and since so many folks want to perform their nuptials in this area I thought it would be a great window display for the shoppe!
 The photograph was taken by Royce at BlurredLine photography. He is amazing with lighting and just capturing little moments that really make a photo something special. THANKS Royce! You should check out the website if you like photographs. He did some amazing shots at the World Pastry Cup last month! 
As far as the Ocean Themed cake goes....there is a mermaid at the top I am carefully placing... I used fondant and gum paste as my mediums. Some things like the waves that stand out from the sides of the cake and the dolphins are all gum paste but other things like the shells are a mixture of gum paste and fondant. This buys me time for making details since gum paste drys out so quickly. 
Another inspiration I have here is the fabulous farmers markets on Wednesdays and Saturdays. I can always check out what is in season and perfectly fresh and ripe around here. Summer time is the time for fruit and berries are going all around me so I adore making strawberry desserts and here is a classic with a more modern decoration. I made the little wild strawberries on top out of marzipan. I colored some green and some red and then took a tiny bit and made it a darker green for the foliage. The cake is a vanilla chiffon filled with a classic bavarian and whole cut strawberries. I placed half cut ones on the edges of the cake so you can see them when it is out of the mould. I then spead a thin coat of buttercream on top and rolled out the light green marzipan, cutting it to size I placed it on top of the cake. I then made a nice arrangement of the little strawberries and free hand cut leaves. I rolled a bit of the dark green into thin ropes for the vines and viola! you have a lovely strawberry bagatelle or frasier. Whatever you want to call it ... it is a fabulous summer dessert! Sometimes I like to scent the bavarian cream with a tiny amount of rose water for just that little something something! 
So now I go out into the world to look for more inspirations. They are all around us, we only need to keep our eyes open! 
I am very excited to go to Las Vegas and Oklahoma at the end of September for a bakery showcase and then the Oklahoma Sugar art show! Talking about inspiration!! It just gets my juices flowing to see what amazing art folks are doing with food and sugar. Although my home is a good source, the world at large is soooo much more inspiring and fascinating for ideas. I can't wait! And just think of the blogs I will come up with and photos too! YOU should be excited too.. and even better come on down to one of these shows! The Oklahoma Sugarart show has been going for many many years and is now HUGE due to the overwhelming popularity of cake decorating...and thanks to all the cake shows on TV. 
Here is Mercedes Strachwsky's winning entry from last year...guess what the theme was! :)
Look at the incredible detail of the underwater scene between the bottom layers!! And the delicate and beautiful mermaid... kinda makes mine look like a bag lady... LOL. 
Can't wait to see this years entries!! The theme is mansions and monasteries. 


Paula said...

I love your blog!

This looks so delicious!

Have a nice time!

Emmy said...

Hi! Your smores and vegan chocolate/peanut butter cupcakes were delicious!
Here's a link to the Whisk Kid:

Your blog is making me hungry. I can't wait to try to make some croissants!
~ Alicia :o)

Stephanie said...

holy! Your cake is stunning!!!

I also love that last cake

Choclette said...

What an amazing place to live, no wonder you don't run out of inspiration. An amazing cake too.