February 7, 2012

Our Blog Has Moved!

We have a BRAND NEW website and blog.  Kindly take a moment to switch your bookmarks now:  http://www.sugarflowercakeshop.com/blogs/blog

October 21, 2011

What to Bring to a Sugar Flower Cake Shop Consultation


If you’ve come to one of our cake tasting parties, you know how much fun it is to mix-and-match different flavors to come up with the perfect combination that works for your cake.  Hopefully you’ve left with a clear sense of who we are and what our local and seasonal ingredients are all about.  The next step?  Schedule a consultation with our designer.

During a cake consultation at Sugar Flower Cake Shop, we discuss cake architecture, placement of flowers and decor, plus special details for your big day.  We will ask you a ton of questions, but don’t worry, we can help you figure out the answers.

Some things to consider:

  • How do you describe your style?  Funky.  Simple.  Elegant.  Decadent.  Classic.  Modern.  Bold.  Formal.  Contemporary.  Whimsical.  Traditional.  Over-the-top.  We bet you can check a few of these off the list, so we’ll want to know which suit you best.
  • How many tiers do you want?  Remember, we can always do some layers faux to not be wasteful or provide sheet cake for extra servings.  We’ve done five-tier cakes for 50 people and three tier cakes for 200.  So, don’t feel restricted, but we do need your guest count.
  • Do you like round, square or hexagonal cakes?  Perhaps a combination.  The majority of our clients prefer round, but we are totally open to the possibilities.
  • For tiered cakes, what proportion suits your eye?  Do you like cakes that seem taller or wider?  We can even play with the heights of individual tiers or space in between to add additional interest.
  • What kind of color scheme do you have?  Subtle.  Bold.  Pastel.  Monochromatic.  Bright.  You name it, we’ve done it, but we’ll need to know what you like.  If you have color swatches or Pantone chips, we’d love to see them.
  • For the cake decor, should we include our detailed sugar flowers to coordinate with your floral arrangements?  We love working from pictures to match flowers exactly, so please bring them!
  • What additional details can we include?  Monograms or other inspiration from the invitation, bridal gown, linens, china, the venue itself or even family heirlooms are all welcome additions.
Finally, what inspires you???  Is it art or architecture, fashion and design, travel with a sense of the unknown, the wisdom of words, nature or cuisine?  Email or bring us any inspirational photos.  They can come from magazines, blogs, your iPhoto library or Flickr stream.  You can bring pictures of cakes, but it’s not necessary.  In order to create your custom cake, we will get to know you by looking for similarities in the pictures to find your exact style.
Our favorite part of designing is trying to reflect the individuality of our clients.  We look forward to meeting with you!
September 25, 2011

An NYC Wedding Cake Story: The Tree Cake

If you know me, you’ve been hearing about the “tree cake” we have been working on the past bunch of weeks.  Well, it was set up and delivered to the Central Park Zoo last night.  Sooo much fun putting a cake together while listening to the seals bark and fielding questions from curious children passing by just outside the ropes.

From concept to completion, I am super proud of the work my team put into creating this particular cake.  Truly, our finest yet.  This cake literally began with my father clearing dead trees from his backyard.  He found and delivered a six foot tall and relatively straight trunk.  The tree slices were purchased online through Save-on-crafts.  With the assistance of a Sawzall, drill and lag bolts, we were able to attach the slices at varying points to the trunk.  Who knew cake decorating included so many power tools?!?!?!

The cake is almond with zingy lemon filling and icing.  It is appointed with cymbidium orchids and buds, contrasted in color with blackberries handmade from sugar.  The berries take an incredibly long time to create as each drupelet was individually rolled and placed on it’s center.  The tiers alternate between being brush embroidered and texturized, though I must confess, that was not our original intention.  With yesterday’s super high humidity, as we were setting up the cake, all of a sudden we noticed that some of the tiers were literally dripping royal icing (not good!).  The brush embroidery had sweat and was melting.  Luckily, we were able to form a pattern, so I went to work with a step ladder and spatula.  I have to say that I actually liked the cake better after the fix!  I think it makes the tiers left with brush embroidery stand out more.

We received the ultimate compliments on this particular cake in the form of a buzzing bee desperately trying to extract pollen from the orchids while we were assembling it and the groom exclaiming, “AWESOME” as he and his newlywed dashed by on their way to take photos.

Special thanks to Danielle Bobish from Curtain Up Events for planning such a lovely event and to my assistant Lea for working an obscene number of hours this weekend.  I think her hard work paid off, don’t you?

I’m not fishing for any more kudos (I’m already ecstatic), but I would love to hear what you think!

September 17, 2011

An NYC Wedding Cake Story: Feathers

Eachcake designer has his or her own take on the classics.

The “feather cake” has definitely been done before.  In fact, the last-minute request to create a wedding cake was inspired by a photo of a Sylvia Weinstock.  I’m truly hoping that those who are familiar with this kind of cake will see some differences in our design.  What you may not be able to tell from the photo, though, is that each of our 200 feathers were made individually from tempered white chocolate.

Want to know a secret???  If you own a food processor, try this experiment:  blitz chocolate chips or a plain chocolate bar past the powder stage until it clumps up.  You will have something that will feel and act almost like clay.  You can roll it out, cut it with a cookie cutter, shape it, etc.  Have fun!  Only issue…you must work fast.  Within a few minutes, the chocolate will come back to room temperature and harden.  If your piece doesn’t come out so well, simply blitz it again.  Remember to work in small batches.

Special thanks to my assistant Lea for making sure we had NO WATER around any of the chocolate and to intern Renee who helped crank out almost every one of those feathers this week.  What an awesome team I have!!

August 29, 2011

Batgirl Motorcycle Cake

So, please ignore the bakery stuff in the background, but I am super excited to share this cake picture with you.  Wish I could personally take responsibility for it’s completion, but this was a total team effort, spearheaded by Elisa, the fabulous fondant fairy.  She comes into our shop periodically when our clients decide they want something out of the ordinary.  Each time we work together, the result is just incredible (at the top of the list are the sugar beer bottle, Storm Trooper and Alice in Wonderland cakes, for sure!).

With just a tiny bit of suggestion from me on the construction, Elisa went straight to work building the infrastructure, carving the pieces of cake I baked and covering them in fondant.  This process took two days!  We were battling the advance of the humidity, but all pretty much held together.  Tam, Kevaughn and I jumped in at the end, rolling fondant and adding a few details to cover some of the uncooperative fondant cracking.  Most of the details survived the night, though we did have to ditch the fancy rearview mirrors Tam had made.  When looking at the photo, please take note of Kevaughn’s writing skill (I’m soooo jealous!).

This was for a little girl’s ninth birthday, featuring her favorite character from waaaaaaay before she was born, the 1970’s Batgirl!  Hope our interpretation of her Batcycle made her day…

 

July 19, 2011

Gay Wedding in a Basket

Do you know anyone planning a City Hall wedding in the next few weeks?  Sugar Flower Cake Shop has teamed up with some great vendors to offer a package deal to take care of all of the wedding details to make it extra special!

Kelly Guenther Studio

Rock Paper Scissors Events

Naturally Delicious

Earl Maneein

July 19, 2011

Interesting Facts About Products at NYC’s Greenmarkets

Here’s another blog entry from intern Jessica.  She spent some time this weekend scouring NYC’s Greenmarkets to come up with some interesting facts…

The Farmer’s Market

Strawberries at Sugar Flower Cake Shop are super fresh, hopefully never seeing the inside of a refrigerated section at the supermarket. Our berries of choice? Berried Treasures, available at NYC Greenmarkets.

At the Sugar Flower Cake Shop, we decorate the cakes with flowers and other things found in nature. Many of the inspirations for decorating wedding cakes come from what the vendors sell at the farmer’s market. Today, the vendors sell apples, beets, strawberries, blueberries, carrots and maple syrup. Here are some interesting facts about each that are found at the farmer’s market.

There are 7,500 varieties of apples are grown throughout the world. The people that facilitate the growth of these apples are known to practice pomology, the science of apple growing. Peter Stuyvesant, a pomologist, planted America’s longest-lived apple tree in 1647. In 1866, the apple tree was still producing fruit until a derailed truck struck it.

Around 800 BC, an Assyrian text describes beets growing in the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the wonders of the ancient world. Beets were an important plant for both the ancient Greeks and Romans. Beets of this period were white or black rather than red. Modern beets are derived from wild sea beets that originated around the coasts of Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

Strawberries are the only fruit with seeds on the outside. The average strawberry has 200 seeds. Madame Tallien, a prominent figure at the court of the Emperor Napoleon, was famous for bathing in the juice of fresh strawberries. She used 22 pounds per basin. On the other hand, Americans only eat 3.4 pounds of fresh strawberries each year plus another 1.8 pounds frozen per capita as opposed to Madame Tallien’s 22 pounds of strawberries for her bath.

The naturally-sweet wild berry is thought to have been a popular native fruit, since sugar was scarce and very expensive in the early years of North America.  Therefore, blueberries played an important role in the diets of Native Americans. In the past, blueberries were used for medicinal purposes along with the leaves and roots, and were used to treat coughs, and was said to be good for the blood. Today, wild blueberries tend to contain more brain-saving bioflavonoids than the domestic ones and are recommended to people with Alzheimer’s disease to have each day.

Carrots are a root vegetable that originated in Afghanistan. They were purple, red, white, and yellow, but never orange. In the 16th century, Dutch carrot growers invented the orange carrot in honor of the House of Orange, the Dutch Royal Family. They did this by cross breeding pale yellow carrots with red carrots. Carrots are about 87% water.

Maple sap is sweet, water like liquid that is collected from the maple trees. Forty gallons of sap is gathered to make one gallon of maple syrup.  The trees release their sap in the springtime after the trees were dormant in the long winter season.

Knowing these unusual facts gives a deeper meaning to the wedding cakes we make. Sugar Flower Cake Shop is one of the industry leaders that continues to support our local farmers.

 

Works Cited

“Bartlett’s Blueberry Facts.” Bartlett’s Blueberry Farm Home Page – PYO. 2011. Web. 17 July 2011. <http://www.bartlettsblueberryfarm.com/BlueberryFacts.html&gt;.

“Beets Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits.” Nutrition Facts in the Food You Eat and the Impact on Your Health. 2009. Web. 16 July 2011. <http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/beets.html&gt;.

“Interesting Facts about Maple Syrup.” Maine Maple Kitchen – Maple, Honey, Cream, Fruit, Jam, Flavored Syrups – Facts, Benefits, Recipes. 2011. Web. 18 July 2011. <http://www.mainemaplekitchen.com/factsaboutmaplesyrup.html&gt;.

Martino, Russell J. “Carrot Trivia – Fun Facts About Carrots Cooked & Raw.” — Weight Loss Tips, Cholesterol, Blood Pressure, Diet, Fat Burning, Nutrition, Exercise, Fitness. 30 June 2008. Web. 18 July 2011. <http://www.drrussellshealthandweightlossblog.com/62/carrot-trivia-fun-facts-about-carrots-cooked-raw/&gt;.

“NY Apple Country Fun Facts.” NY Apple Country Home Page. 2002. Web. 18 July 2011. <http://www.nyapplecountry.com/funfacts.htm&gt;.

“Strawberries Facts and Trivia.” Where to Find Pick-Your-Own Fruit and Vegetable Farms / Orchards for Local, Fresh Fruit, Vegetables and Pumpkins, Along With Canning, Freezing & Preserving Instructions! 2010. Web. 18 July 2011. <http://www.pickyourown.org/strawberryfacts.htm&gt;.

July 15, 2011

The History of The Wedding Cake

Today, we have a guest blog post from our summer intern, Jessica, a girl who has traveled across the country from California to NYC just to come work with us for a month.  She is loving her summer program with Dream Careers and we just love having her!  Check out some facts she discovered while researching about the origin of wedding cakes…

The History of the Wedding Cake

Today, wedding cakes are intricate and beautiful cakes that are served at the weddings reception to commemorate the newlywed couple. This tradition dates back to the Roman and Medieval times.

At first, wedding cakes were just seeds that symbolized growth and development for the relationship and for the possible children the couple might have. Therefore, these seeds were not meant to be eaten. Later the seeds were substituted for flour and a baked cake. Like the seeds, the cake and flour represented fertility and were not to be eaten. Throughout the years, the tradition changed and people started to add sugar to the cake to make it edible.

During the medieval age, newlyweds practiced the ritual of stacking breads, which were also called cakes at the time because of their flour-base. The couple would proceed to try to kiss above the bread stack and if they succeed, it was predicted that they would have many children. By the 19th century, wedding cakes were slowly evolving into the modern cakes with many couples having singled-tiered plum cakes. Soon after, many multi-tiered wedding cakes appeared. The stacked bread demonstrates the origins of the current multi-tiered cakes.

Also during the Medieval times, the groom’s cake was called the wedding cake and the bride’s cake was separate. Throughout the years, the terminology became reversed and the bride’s cake is now called the wedding cake. The groom’s cake was given away to the guests as a keepsake for the night and it was usually made of dark fruitcake or chocolate cake because these cakes can be edible for long periods of time. Many also believed in the myth that if a woman slept with the groom’s cake under her pillow, she would dream of who she was going to marry.

Currently, fashion and trends influence brides for the design of their wedding cake. In the past, many cakes were designed to represent royalty like the royal family. Today many cakes use the fashions that celebrities wear to influence the decoration of the wedding cakes.

Works Cited

“Enchanted Brides.” Enchanted Brides – Home. Web. 10 July 2011. <http://www.enchantedbrides.com/trends/index.html>.

Kish, Jan. “Groom’s Cake History.” Jan Kish La Petite Fleur. Web. 10 July 2011. <http://www.jankishlapetitefleur.com/v2/cakes_groomsstory.htm>.

“The Wedding Cake . . . History, Customs and Traditions.” Hudson Valley Weddings. Everything You Need to Plan a Wedding in the Hudson Valley. Web. 10 July 2011. <http://www.hudsonvalleyweddings.com/guide/cakehistory.htm>.

“Wedding Cakes.” Marriage during the Middle Ages. 2001. Web. 10 July 2011<http://www.medievalweddings.net/wedding_cakes.htm>.

“Wedding History.” Ruthie’s Cakes and Desserts. 2007. Web. 10 July 2011. <http://www.ruthiescakes.net/Wedding%20History.htm>.

June 19, 2011

Photos from our Matchmaker Party

Parties are just so much fun, especially when surrounded by lovely people.  As you may know, a couple weeks ago, we unveiled our new shop space with a Matchmaker Party, asking wedding planners, caterers and bridal press/media to come mix-and-match their favorite cake and icing flavors to come up with unique combinations.

I wanted to take a few moments to share some of my favorite images by Peter Dressel.  While the furthest thing from Peter’s usual work is weddings, he’s made an exception and captured some delightful images of my space and our guests.  I love the crispness of the colors in his images.  Peter is especially adept at head shots.  Standout photos are of Tammy Golson from Tammy Golson Events pumping her fists in the air and the smiling face of Sharon Becker from sb beauty.  Both of these ladies had a hand in helping me pull off the party and how I looked.  I am eternally grateful to them both!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

June 18, 2011

Silky Smooth Brown Sugar Caramel Sauce

Mmmm…the words “brown sugar” in almost any recipe elicit all sorts of delightful sounds at any given moment…mmmm….

I added a salted caramel buttercream to my repertoire this past year.  Though I don’t specifically remember the exact origin – likely a client request – I do remember the debate in my mind whether I should create my own caramel or use something I can purchase.  There are the time benefits for the sourced stuff that sometimes outweigh the cost benefits for making your own.  In the beginning, this was exactly the predicament I was in and time won out.

Despite the fact that I use the absolute best pre-made caramel sauce (rich and sweet, but not sickeningly-so), it still bothered me that I wasn’t a sauce of my very own.  Well, this weekend being Father’s Day Weekend, the wedding world has taken somewhat of a hiatus.  We’ve had just a few birthday party cakes and cupcake orders this weekend, plus a couple of sugar flower orders to keep us busy, but without any wedding cakes there has been time to play!

I would like to share with you my brand new recipe for Silky Smooth Brown Sugar Caramel Sauce (will make just over a cup of sauce):

Ingredients:  brown sugar, water, heavy cream

Equipment:  4 quart sauce pan, candy or insta-read thermometer (that goes to at least 300 degrees)

Combine one cup of brown sugar (approx. 200 g) with a half cup (approx. 100 g) of water in a 4 quart sauce pan.

Heat the sugar on high to 230 degrees (it will bubble up a whole bunch), turn down to medium high and heat to 275 degrees.  Remove from heat and stir until mixture flow off a raised spatula/spoon in a steady stream.  Add a pint of cream (approx. 225 g) and stir until smooth.  If the sugar clumps too much, you can add the pan back to heat for a minute.  Constantly stir.

I like to transfer my sauce to a pyrex measuring cup to cool.  This gets it out of the pot to stop the cooking process and into something pours easily.  When completely cool, I will transfer the sauce again into plastic squirt bottles, making it super simple to use the sauce in any recipe.  At home, it’s great to drizzle over ice cream or yogurt.

Notes:

  • When cooking brown sugar that you will want a large pan as it has a tendency to bubble up a LOT!
  • The ratio of sugar to water is 2:1.  Feel free to adjust the recipe accordingly.
  • It’s best if your cream is not cold from the refrigerator.  Take it out at least a half hour before beginning to make the sauce OR warm it in the microwave just a bit (maybe 30 seconds?).
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 28 other followers

%d bloggers like this: