Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Calgary Cousins Cupcake Cuteness!

Man I'm lucky I have cool in-laws. The Trawicks are prettty prettty sweet, although they are the first to self-deprecate themselves! Not only did I marry an awesome fellow, but in tow came his great immediate family, his extended family, and crazy-town cousins (one of whom happens to also be one of my best buds).

Anyhow... way back in May, dear cousin Bryan married the lovely and superfun Danielle in a stylish and nonstop fun wedding in Cochrane, Alberta. B & D live and work in Amsterdam, and both love to travel the world, so the wedding reflected this in a lively way -- from a shot of vodka to kick off the dining, to Indonesian food, to a late night bratwurst bar! The guests were from all over the world to celebrate their union.

The food and drink flowed well into the evening, the dancefloor was bompin' and the bride's father was charmingly boogying into the night! And of course, Coco Cake sole proprietor and cousin-in-law L.K.Sung made cupcakes and a cake for the occasion!! This was my first (and, let's face it, likely the last! - sorry Randy!) time I will haul a Honda Element's worth of equipment, supplies, storage and cake stand on a 13 hours drive from Vancouver to Calgary! I baked everything at my own cousin Jenine's place (thanks again J!)... I must say it was a bit of a stressful time, just because I was so worried about everything turning out! I am so used to my own oven's temperament and my workspace and kitchen ,but I thought of it as a challenge, and of course I knew how happy it made B & D that I was making their wedding cakes! In the end I was thrilled with how everything turned out and I turned that stress into dancefloor energy. :)

The cake topper is of Bryan and Danielle on their little canal boat in Amsterdam! When Rich and I visited last year, we had a great time being cruised around on it, as well as being treated to some wonderful hospitality.

Many many congratulations to my cousins B & D!!!

Love, your Chinese cousin

Photography by Mud River Photography.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Four Party Animals Straight From The Street. Sesame Street.

Heehee! I loved how these Coco Cake created nutbars turned out. As I handcut each little fondant eyeball and made the beaks and such for Big Bird and piped all their different types and colours of hairiness, in assembling them, I just couldn't help but make little conversations up between them all. And of course I was thinking about this hee-larious video of Bert and Ernie doing gangsta rap that someone sent me a while back... go HERE to view! I made these for my wonderful dentist's niece and nephew who were up visiting from the States.

I can imagine Elmo being a total lovin' life party animal, very hyper, always full of ideas and up for anything. Cookie Monster is a gluttonous, fuzzy, happy-go-lucky creature of few words, Elmo's delightfully overweight sidekick, a touch on the "Bobcat Goldthwaite" side. These two naturally are drawn to each other and love to hang out, both being one of those friends you can just call up out of the blue and hang out with, no pretense and no weirdness, someone who is always up for making ice cream or going to the mall or going for a bike ride! Elmo and Cookie always partner up, whether it's being on the same bowling team or riding together on a roller coaster... much to Oscar's chagrin, as this means he's always stuck with that wet-blanket, complainy and generally all-around wussy Big Bird.

Oscar's always annoyed with Big Bird's weak, warm-milk complaining, whether it's his migraine, his sore back, his stomach in disarray from a past-the-expiry date can of worms... Oscar would way rather hang with Elmo and Cookie but his negative disposition and gruff attitude is a turn-off for those two posi-core creatures. But really... underneath the grumpy-old-man vise, he just wants to be that guy who everyone wants to hang with. He wishes he could be so casual and fun and lighthearted as Elmo. But living in garbage cans has tainted his outlook... even though Elmo has said anytime Oscar wants he can crash on Elmo's couch, Oscar continues to live in his garbage can, mostly out of self-deprecation...

Big Bird still lives with his parents and has never gotten past puberty, nor has he ever held a real job... but still, his buddies hang with him and care for him just the same. He only eats white bread and worm sandwiches washed down with glasses of milk...

And such are the little stories that go through my head when I'm in Coco Cake World... :)

Monday, August 23, 2010

An Apple A Day!

Olivia and I began our Coco Cake cupcake conversation over her wedding day way back in November... and I found her to be so sweet, kind and full of cute ideas. She really wanted to do something cute and different for wedding cupcakes... but wasn't quite sure where to go with it. We talked about robots, dolphins (her fiancee loves dolphins but she was veto-ing that idea!), their love of the outdoors... I wanted to get to know who they were so some potential ideas could develop. Eventually Olivia mentioned they were getting married at the horse stables and she is a teacher... and their wedding colours were red and robin's egg blue. So I thought of apples! Apples for teachers, and a crunchy snack for horses... and it turned out Olivia is allergic to real apples and was thrilled to have "apples" on her wedding day...

For Olivia and Jeremy's wedding, I made ten dozen cupcakes, half in chocolate cupcakes and half in raspberry cupcakes, frosted in vanilla buttercream, and decorated in red sanding sugar with green fondant leaves and dark chocolate bark "stems"!

And a sunny wedding day to boot, even though it called for rain... such is luck in love! I hope to post a pic of the lovely couple soon too.

Happy Matrimony Olivia and Jeremy!

xo Lyndsay

Friday, August 20, 2010

Anniversary Cake For Erin & Lenny

Erin and Lenny are two lovely people who celebrated their fifth wedding anniversary recently... and Erin requested a chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting. I never keep peanut butter around because I am a horrible little peanut butter fiend. I could eat it with a spoon until the jar is empty and my jeans no longer fit. (This has happened, and it takes many hours at the gym to sweat this out.) Any kind of peanut butter -- natural, smooth, natural crunchy, Squirrel brand with the peanut on top (seriously such a genius little marketing touch, as I still remember that from my childhood and still look for it today)... and especially Kraft's evil and delicious smooth peanut butter (made with icing sugar-- true, and brutally delicious). Any and all peanut butter I will devour.

And peanut butter and chocolate together -- sheer diet-wrecking insanity. Not that I'm ever on a diet... I have never been able to diet in my life, because I love eating too much. I'd rather pound the pavement in runners and a baggy old tshirt burning calories, or do power yoga, and be able to eat most anything I like... though I do still eat fairly healthily, an attitude instilled by my mom when we were growing up, ie "one Oreo cookie wrapped in saran wrap" for a treat in my lunchbag or a handful of seaweed-based "gummy" bears in natural fruit flavours.

Anyhoo... I made this cute little peanut butter buttercream-frosted dark chocolate cake with dark chocolate ganache filling, and a delightful little pool of chocolate on top. Let me tell ya, it was pretty hard not to just dig right into the cake with a spoon. :)

Happy Anniversary Erin & Lenny! Here's to many more years of love, fun travel, good food and happiness!

xo Lyndsay

Monday, August 16, 2010

Richard Scarry-Inspired Sneaker Car Cake!

The very excellent Robin emailed me with a request: a special cake for her little cutie Henry (also known as Auggie) who was turning 1, and for her hubby Brady, who was turning 40. But she couldn't decide on lion themed (Leo birthdays!), or shoe themed -- because Henry adores shoelaces. We also threw around the idea of having a Richard Scarry themed shoe car. So we came up with a compromise -- a shoe cake that was also a CAR with two little lions driving it! Perfect!

I think I ground my teeth on this idea from the minute the sneaker car cake was decided upon. I'd never made a shoe cake before, but I had a vision in my mind of what I wanted it to look like. My intention was to work on it way before the deadline, but of course orders pile up and suddenly the day is upon me!!

I made the cake using three large vanilla sheet cakes and 1 7 inch round vanilla cake. I had it all piled up on top of each other with the layers frosted in between and holding my serrated knife, I said out loud... "Now what!" I realized that my particular design sense could come into play here and I could create something that was much more cartoon-like than super realistic. So I started carving something that looked sort of like a shoe and sort of like a car... haha... I was sweatin' it big time. It was only after I had finished frosting the entire thing a few times with buttercream and had rolled out and adhered the massive piece of hand-tinted blue fondant to it that I let out a little yelp of glee -- I could really see it coming together at that point... but too bad I only had 2 hours left to work on it... !!

Details I loved: the exhaust pipe puffing out black exhaust, the shoelaces flying to the side (they're going fast! - my husband's idea!) and the stripe motif -- if I had had more time, I would've made the lion outfits stripey. :)

Haha. I loved how it all turned out in the end... the cake was pretty huge actually, 40 pounds and probably could feed 50 guests! The cake was so cute it made me laugh and I didn't want to give it up, I wanted to keep it an shellac it -- always a good sign for me. And how cute is freakin' Henry... he looks like a perfect blond German baby from the 1950s, I think. For some reason he looks like a baby from olden times.

Happy Birthday Auggie and Brady! :)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Kai & Xian's Toy Story & Sanrio Birthdays!

Corrine contacted me nice and early with a request for her two cuties' double birthday bash: A Toy Story themed cake and matching cupcakes for Kai, and Sanrio themed cupcakes for Xian! Coco Cake enjoys a creative challenge so of course I said "sure!!!" and... I adore Sanrio characters, as I've mentioned many times before on my blog... having grown up with all the old-school characters, such as Little Twin Stars, My Melody, Hello Kitty (of course!) and my personal fave, Tuxedo Sam (the penguin)!

Then, the kicker - I got the CUTEST card in the mail from Kai and Xian. It murdered me with its cuteness. So with each passing hour as I slaved away (heehee!) on the fondant cupcake toppers, I thought of that little card and got excited to make these kids the cutest cakes ever...

Thanks Corrine for the fun order, and great to meet Kai and Xian in person! :)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Jen & Ben's Super Cute & Crafty Wedding!

The darling Jen and scholarly Ben got hitched in a whimsically craft-ful swirl of coloured bunting, gingham tablecloths, typewriters, ice cream and red stripey old-timey straws. Coco Cake Weddings Department (heh heh) was on hand to provide a triple threat of delicious cupcake trouble -- pink rosette buttercream frosted Berry Good (vanilla cake with fresh raspberry and swirled jam), vegan dark chocolate Coco Ganache (gluten free even, to boot!) and Lemon Frill (lemon cake with lemon creamcheese frosting!).

In addition to the cupcakes, I also made a sweet little buttercream frosted, fresh-raspberry filled cutting cake for the top tier of the cupcakes, dozens of pretty little mini flags, and, as requested by the bride, two handmade bunting(s?), one large and one mini! Ahhhdorable!

Sweet details made this party super cute: red and white stripey straws, oodles of ice cream and the cutest cake toppers I've yet to see, emulating the bride and groom exactly!

Thank you Jen & Ben, for having Coco Cake be a part of it all! And mega congrats to you both!

xo Lyndsay

photos of the bride and groom: Jen's friend Camille made the collage out of sideline snapshots; bottom pic also taken by a pal at the wedding!