October and November are turning out to be busy months! Which is wonderfully exciting, but has left me little time to sit down and properly document my adventures in Pastry World… Hence this ginormous post to catch up on the backlog. I feel like I’m drafting a photo journal, today.

Today’s Special is a 3 for 1 deal: An Opening Night, a Wedding Weekend catering adventure, and a 60th Birthday.

We’ll begin with the most recent, the 60th Birthday. A friend commissioned me to create a photo album cake for her husband’s birthday. She sent me the image files, I sent them to Edible Tasty Prints, they sent me edible images! This was the first time I’d used sugar paper images in my own work.

If you are in the market for edible images for your own project, I would highly recommend these guys. They are seriously on top of their game and communicate with you to ensure there are no glitches in your order. You know how printers sometimes leave little annoying drag marks on the paper if they need to be cleaned? They sent me doubles of my first order to make sure I had enough usable prints. Major customer service points:-)

Contemplating how I’m going to get this huge sheet of fondant onto the book. (My rolling pin was not big enough to handle this task.)

Finally ended up picking up the entire sheet with my hands and arms, then dropping it onto the book.

Which eventually, looked like a book!
Yellow cake with chocolate buttercream. Serves 40. ($225)

Painted gilded photo corners…

…to match the airbrushed gilded pages.

The next most recent, the Wedding Weekend catering adventure!

My friend Sara and I met during school. If you put us together in a kitchen, you’d better either be wearing a chef coat, or riot gear to protect you from the whirlwind of productivity. We are a dangerous pair and have tackled many-a-catering challenge. It’s not often that one is lucky enough to find someone with whom you click so well, so of course when Sara asked me to help her cater Ally and Eli’s wedding, I jumped for joy!

The two of us fed 40 people a 3-course meal and plenty of dessert. Alas, I don’t have any photos of dinner, as it was too dark and our hands were to full with service. But since this is a pastry blog, I made sure that to capture adequate documentation of desserts at the end of the night!

My first task, THE CAKE. The wedding was intimate with only 40 guests, so the couple wanted to go with a simple, 1-tiered cake. The venue was in the Sonoma area of wine country, so we went with lovely fall colors and grapes vines. And I had strict orders that there be no fondant, so all the decorations were made with chocolate.

12″ Carrot cake with white chocolate cream cheese frosting.
Serves 40. ($225)

White chocolate grapes, hand painted with luster and petal dust, and oil colors for chocolate. The grapes look black from the inadequate lighting in the kitchen. They were actually a beautiful, deep purple.

Big cake is big! The 4-layer cake was too tall for the box I had purchased for transport, so I had to macgyver a more suitable dwelling for the ride up to Sonoma.

The cake was actually requested in addition to the couple’s original plan to have a variety of petit fours desserts. We gave them the best of both worlds!

Sara’s mini Pain au Chocolate.

Pecan Tartlets.

Mini Tart Tatins.

The spread.

Signage provided by Ms. Bride, Ally:-)

Mmm… Even layers!

So pretty!

Mini creme brulées in puff pastry. These were the most fun to make! We made the puff pastry bowls first, then filled them with brown sugar vanilla anglaise, sprinkled some sugar on top, then took a blowtorch to them.

The venue, Rancho Wikiup, (a stable converted into a 10 bedroom house) was just too beautiful not to include a few pictures!

The dinner table.

Autumn themed centerpieces included seasonal flowers, fruits and vegetables.

Lastly and least recent, (though not last or least in standard or beauty!) my first ever dietary challenge for the Opening Night cake. This half-sheet cake was for a friend and fight choreographer of a local high school production of Goodnight Desdemona, Good Morning Juliet. All kinds of allergies to avoid with this one including gluten and dairy.

Gluten and dairy-free chocolate cake with strawberry filling and vanilla buttercream.
Serves 50 ($150.)

Burnt marzipan scroll. (Amazingly, nuts were not on the list of allergies!)

The mask is a white plastic mask I got from a Michael’s Craft Store, covered in fondant. I wanted to use it as a mold then remove the fondant shape once it had dried. However, the back side of the fondant could not breathe to dry out properly, so I was unable to remove the fondant shape without it falling apart. The fondant remained fixed to the mask for this project.

I will quickly be falling behind in my posts again, as there are 5 projects to tackle in the next 2 weeks. I suppose I should get out from behind the computer and get my shopping done!