Category Archives: Cakes

A Vintage Cat Lady Party

nikkiikkin cat lady party 16 Hi Friends!  Have you missed me?  Its seriously been way too long since my last post, in fact my posting the entire last year has been non-existent.   Its not because I haven’t wanted to, Ive just been up to my eyebrows in sugar.  And thats not a bad thing!

I’m so appreciative of all of the local referrals and etsy sales that I’ve been given this past year but I want to keep this blog going too.   I still want to focus on sharing my own work,  I have plenty of content to share but I’d like to include more resources and inspiration boards.  Maybe even try out some DIYs and tutorials which in the past I’ve shied away from doing. I also would love to start a series about my favorite sweet spots in NYC.   My son, Hudson has started pre-k this year and is 5 full days away from mommy now. Yikes! but Yeah! too.  Ive got about 25 more hours a week on my hands, so lets play!

If you follow me on Instagram (or have popped in to check on me and seen my instagram feed that changes on my blog sidelines) you have been in the know with what I’ve been up to.  Ive used Instagram as a replacement for keeping up my blog.  I still get to share and I love the instant feedback I get from all kinds of people.  You may have figured out that I run in a few different creative circles.  Im an interior designer, so I follow lots of dwelling and design peeps.  Although it would seem that cake designers, cookie artists and party stylists are one big family they actually stick to their own groups, well I’m a little bit of each of those too.  And then because my daughter is a ballet dancer at School of American Ballet, I love to follow the professional dancers, students, dance moms and dance photographers.   I have so many interests and have made a lot of great connections within each of these creative groups, they are great cheerleaders and an inspiration to me.  A year ago I tried keeping up with Twitter but I’m much too visual.  I was constantly clicking the links to see the pictures and blog posts and that really takes a lot of  my time.  A picture is worth a 1000 words, right?  So lets just get to this gorgeous party!

I had a hard time picking which sugar project to jump back in the game with, there are SOOO many good ones I havent shared.  Im going to start with my daughters 12th birthday.  This was a home party in August, very small, just family and 2 of Macy’s friends.

nikkiikkin cat lady party 4 We have a running joke in our family about cat ladies, Im one, my sister is one and macy is too, except she hasn’t had a house full of cats like me and my sister have had.  Macy will certainly reach that point one day but until then she can keep on dreaming because our little NYC apartment is not the place for it.    We also joke about Macy being an old soul, we believe she was once a fiesty old lady, strong willed and wordly.  She is a collector, to the point that I have to clean her out sometimes, she just like her stuff.  So, to sum it up this  Vintage Cat Lady Party was all about Macy. nikkiikkin cat lady party 1   Let me first tell you about these amazing tablecloths that I used on the cake and dining table.  They are from the vintage collection of one of my best friends, one of the most giving and selfless people I know.  Jennefer generously express shipped me some of her most prized pieces including the pink one I used on the the dining table that was her great-grandmothers and the white lace edge one that was hand embroidered by her mother!! I was so nervous about using them but Jen just said that her great grandmother “would be ecstatic for it to be used”!  When I asked her about barrowing something for the party she sent me all kinds of pictures and mock ups to choose from.   At first we passed on the dark green but then came back to it and Im so glad we did, it was so perfect.  I loved that it was the same emerald shade as my jadeite cake stand, just darker.  I really wanted to keep that one!  (Jen, if you ever find a duplicate grab it for me!) nikkiikkin cat lady party 3 nikkiikkin cat lady party 11 nikkiikkin cat lady party 10   The party decor existed at the dining table and a smaller side table that served as a backdrop.  The paper goods were a mix of the Frills and Frosting collection that comes out of the UK  and the Poppy Talk for Target which was a summer collection that you cant get anymore. That magnificent cake was fake, oh yeah!  I love to make fake cakes for my parties.  First of all that cake would feed 100 people and my parties are small so I would never need such a big cake but I always want that big focal point.  I like to serve cupcakes or smaller cakes instead, in this case I made a strawberry shortcake….with sparklers….and cupcakes with plastic toy cats on them.    On top of the strawberry short cake is a cat knick knack from my childhood days of collecting cat decor for my room.   We lit the sparklers when we sang happy birthday and it was awesome but they did leave soot on the cake that I had to scrape off before I served it.  Not a big deal, still worth doing. The porcelain cat on top of the fake cake was also mine, dated 1990 on the bottom.   nikkiikkin cat lady party 14   nikkiikkin cat lady party 19 nikkiikkin cat lady party 18   nikkiikkin cat lady party 9       This was a tiny party by any account, so I didnt go crazy with the sweets.  I made oreo yarn balls (which were really evil cake pops in disguise) and I ordered a bag of old school butter mints AKA baby shower mints.  They were the perfect pallet of pink, yellow, teal and white!   nikkiikkin cat lady party 21 nikkiikkin cat lady party 20   nikkiikkin cat lady party 5   I made some cute cat and yarn ball cookies sets, you can find them in my etsy shop here.  The tuxedo cat face cookies are also in my shop here. The invites and thank you tags for take home cookies were from Sequins and Spaceships shop on etsy. nikkiikkin cat cookie 2 nikkiikkin cat cookie   Macy and I made wrappers for our milk bottles out of streamers and stickers from Little Dear Prints on etsy  (which should win an award for cutest packaging, it was like Christmas when they arrived). nikkiikkin cat lady party 8   nikkiikkin cat lady party 6 nikkiikkin cat lady party 13   nikkiikkin cat lady party 12     As favors, we gave the girls these super cute cat ear headbands, they had pearls and were purrfect.  They are sold at several places for a range of high and low prices.  I’m pretty sure the $20 set at ASOS is the same cheap product that you can find on amazon and ebay.  I order ours from this ebay seller without any problems in shipping but pearls did pop out as the girls played in them.  No big deal we just glued them back in.   nikkiikkin cat lady party 17The food served on my kitchen island was not a part of my decor but I always give thought in presentation, we served cucumber sandwiches, egg salad on a croissant, spinach dip and veggies on inexpensive doilies.  The girls needed to eat light because after the afternoon party they did this:   nikkiikkin cat lady party 15 Very old lady like, right?  A 2 hour trapeze lesson at NY Trapeze School, very awesome!! Two ballerinas and a gymnast flew like pros! nikkiikkin cat lady party 1   nikkiikkin cat lady party 22   I dont know how most people decided to celebrate actual birthdays for their kids but we spend it together and make it special even if there will be another party with friends.  We like to do something such as see a movie and there is always a cake with candles.  This year I made Macy an ice cream cake and hid it in the freezer a few days before her birthday.  We spent the day out and I surprised her with the cake when we got home.  Keeping with the theme, because I already had the  table cloths and paper goods, I went with an ombre rosette cake.  The most forgiving cake decoration there is!  I highly recommend trying out this techinque, here is a link to a free Craftsy tutorial for it.

P.S. those lovely long blonde locks pictured above are getting chopped 8-10 inches today!  WOW!

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Filed under Cakes, Celebrations, Cookies, Cupcakes, SugarCoated

Nautical Stripes and Sugar Sequins Cake

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If you’ve followed along with my blog for a while you probably notice this pattern: I have several posts and then I wont have any for weeks.  My silence is not laziness, during those weeks that I don’t post I am always super busy making the beautiful sugar works that I share!  I wish that I could be more consistent and always have a regular MWF blog but it’s just a lot of work when the majority of my content is all my creations.   If you would like to see sneak peaks of my day-to-day creations you can follow me on Instagram (my live feed is in the sidebar).   If you do follow me, then you have seen the beautiful cake I made for my daughter’s 11 birthday.

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Macy loves nautical striped shirts, first it was just the plain navy ones, then J.Crew started making ones with sequined hearts & anchors.  She has striped dresses and skirts, all mostly in navy.  In general navy is a neutral for all of us.  We often go out as a family looking very stripey, bluey and coordinated.  Not on purpose, we just all like it!  Ok, Hudson doesn’t really know what he likes but we like it on him (currently his favorite shirt is one that we tie dyed, he calls it his “color shirt” it makes him very happy to wear it…with navy shorts of course).

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For the first time ever Macy didnt have a party for her birthday.  It was a break that had been decided when we planned on during the planning of  her Dylan’s Candy Bar birthday party last year.  So there was no disapointment for her or me, it just the decision that was made.  I still knew that I would make a beautiful cake.  In fact, I did plan to make several cakes (all fake except one for us) but I had too many other projects going on that it fell to the wayside.  Hopefully I can make the beautiful Nautical Suite of cakes that I sketched out,  I just have to make it a project on my list.

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I made Macy’s cake an extra tall 6″ round.  It had 2 layers of chocolate and 2 layers of vanilla cake with swiss buttercream.  I used brand new recipes for every bit of the cake and I am so happy with them!  Both the chocolate and vanilla cake recipes were suggested by Jessica Harris of Jessicakes, they are the sturdiest cakes Ive ever made.  They are definitely the type of cakes you need to get a flawless fondant finish.  If you are new to fondant and find it frustrating to get perfect, it’s probably your cake and icing that is the problem.  I know when I started researching the best tips and techniques I found my fondant skills were fine, my cake stacking skills were really bad!  So along with Jessica’s recipes I also used the upside down icing technique, (its crazy sounding but for small cakes it really works!!) and I’m a big fan of the wax paper transfer method for applying cake decorations.  With horizontal stripes this is the ONLY way to achieve perfect level stripes all the way around.  You will lose your mind and too much sleep any other way.  I will post links to recipes and tutorials at the end of the post.

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So the design was simple really, it mimicked the stripped shirt Macy loves (and now has 3 of).  The sugar sequins technique on the anchor was new for me, new in general really.  I had seen it somewhere on the internet and filed it away in my mind.  In going back to look for any tips or the example I had seen I could not find anything anywhere.  So  I winged it.  I pressed candy sequins into still soft fondant and let dry over night.  Then I painted on metallic luster dust.  It turned out beautiful but I’m sure there must me some other ways to cover the candy sequins more completely.  The thicker I painted on the luster dust the less definition I got on the shape of the candy, I tried the spray color too but it didn’t cover the colored sprinkles at all.

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Over all I liked the creation enough to make cupcake toppers for my etsy shop with this technique. These cupcakes were not for Macy’s birthday but I still had the nautical theme in mind when I combined them with stripped Simply Baked baking cups I purchased from Pick Your Plum ( you can also get them here  or here and on amazon)  I’ve listed heart shapes in gold or silver in my shop, but really the shape and colors are limitless!

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Although we didn’t party like rock stars, we did spend the whole day celebrating Macy, with a movie, dinner, stroll in the old neighb (Lower Manhattan) and she had a friend stay over.  It was a beautiful and unseasonably cool August day, we enjoyed our stroll on the Battery Park City Promenade as we always do.

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My chic tween rocked a new Target dress with an on trend origami bird pattern on her birthday, she added to it a glitter Crewcuts belt (the type that inspired the sugar sequins technique) and a brass whistle necklace she bought at the Brooklyn Flea, oh and a navy blazer, lol.

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Check out my new Sugar Sequin toppers here.

My new favorite Vanilla Cake recipe for a dense sturdy cake here.

My new favorite Chocolate Cake recipe for a dense sturdy cake here.

Swiss Meringue recipe by Martha Stewart here.

Jessicakes wax transfer technique here and a video on icing a cake upside down here.

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Filed under Cakes, Celebrations, SugarCoated, The Chic Tween

Modern Fondant Flowers

My family & I are traveling back from Tennessee today & I’m blogging from the road! I’ve never tried to post from my iPhone before but here it goes! Keeping it short because I have a hard enough time being grammatically correct at the desktop.

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I thought these modern fondant flowers would be the perfect little post to share. This flower is a stylized chrysanthemum. The bigger the flower gets, the more the layers. Silver non pareils give a little shimmer in the center.

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Originally designed per a clients request they are now a regular listing in my Etsy shop. I created them as a cake set of a dozen flowers in various sizes. The smallest flower could also make pretty cupcake toppers.

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Click HERE to see the Etsy listing for these flowers.

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Filed under Cakes, Celebrations, SugarCoated

Zig Zag Cake

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Its been waaaaay to long since my last post, but I promise my blog has not left my mind.  Ive been super duper busy making all kinds of beautiful sugar creations and I have plenty of content to post.  I just have to find the time to do it, so hang in there folks!
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First up is a special little cake that was for a good deed rather than a sweet tooth.  This beautiful cake is fake…a prop…a dummy (although they aren’t being called that much any more).  I made it for a few reasons, practice being one of them but I also was testing out some new techniques I learned from a Craftsy class, more on that in a moment.  I really made this cake to use as a display and teaser at my daughter’s annual school auction.  The bidder of this cake not only won a cake (not this one but a real one) but a full party package donated by me that included cookies, cupcakes, party styling and set up help too.  Although I havent been contacted by the bidder yet, it did raise a good amount and I cant wait for the winner to claim their prize.  It will be a lot of fun!
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So now about this cake.   I have to say that I am very pleased with the quality of my construction, it marks a new era in my cake design expertise.  And I really owe it all to another blogger, cake decorator and interior designer, Jessica Harris of Jessicakes.  I’ve stumbled across her cakes for a few years and popped in a few times at her blog, but when I realized that she was creating her cakes with special techniques (and not a magic wand) I knew that I had to study up.  This was about the same time that she announced that she had been asked to be a Craftsy instructor and all of her tips and techniques were available as video tutorials.  I bought the class, Clean & Simple Cake Designthe week it debuted and it was the worth every penny.
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Jessica uses her interior design side to design and create cakes.  She plots out the design to scale in CAD (I’ve designed all kinds of things in CAD, including a quilt, but never had I thought to use it for cakes!), she repurposes tools from the hardware store (like a PVC pipe as a large rolling pin) and she has the eye of a trained and practiced designer (her cakes are modern and clean lined).    She is a perfectionist and every cake starts with a perfectly smooth, crisp and clean cake base.  All the times I ran across her cakes online I swore they were decorated styrofoam dummies.  But they aren’t! And luckily she includes her cake icing techniques in her Craftsy class too.
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In her class, I didn’t learn just techniques, I learned that I should often be working with a different medium to create perfect decorations.  Jessica’s cakes are covered in fondant but the decorations are mostly modeling chocolate.  Besides being delicious, modeling chocolate has a very important attribute, it is flexible but doesn’t stretch out of shape as easily as fondant.  You can cut a true straight line and move a piece of decoration without a square loosing its 90 degree angle or a circle turning into an oval.  It also self heals with just the warmth of your fingers, so seams and boo boos can be erased.  The horizontal zig zag band around this cake was made from modeling chocolate, you can see up close how perfectly straight the cut lines are.  You can’t really achieve that with fondant.
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The technique that I learned to apply sugar decorations to a cake has literally created a whole new cake world for me.  After cutting out this zig zag pattern I applied it to the cake in just a few seconds without struggle or disappointment using Jessica’s wax-paper transfer method.   With the modeling chocolate stuck to wax paper with shortening, it was like wrapping a sticker around the cake and pealing off the paper backside.  Perfectly intact and in the correct position.  Awesome.
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The beautiful fantasy flower is also a design and technique from Jessica Harris’s class, she includes several templets for decorations like bows and ruffles along with the recipes for marshmallow fondant and modeling chocolate.  It’s really an all-inclusive type of class!
In case it doesn’t already show, I am so happy with all that I’ve learned!  I truly found her tips and instructions to be simple enough for real life cakes, not just for a very special occasion and I cant wait to try them out more often.
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