Cake Gallery Slideshow

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Mine, Mine, Mine!

If you visit the Sweetest Whimsy website (and I hope you do), you may notice that it's a bit topsy-turvy in the next few days (probably weeks). I am in the process of watermarking my original photos of my cakes in the Cake Gallery and some of the products I sell with a prominent 'Sweetest Whimsy©.' Why do I have to do this? Earlier this year, I discovered, while randomly surfing the web for something totally unrelated, that one of my photos of my own cake was on someone elses's website! It was really strange and slightly unnerving. Then it kind of made me mad.

So I sent a polite but firm email to the owner of the site (it was a blog), and requested that proper credit be given to my photo if they continued to use it. Otherwise . . . they just needed to get it off their site ASAP. They were very nice about it and gave me full credit for my photo.

Thus the Herculean project of removing all the photos from my site, watermarking them, and then uploading them all once again. Eeek. I've been working on the watermarking with some cool software I got online which has made the process somewhat easier (after I spent about an hour figuring out the software).

And while I'm updating all the photos, I'll be updating the website in general. Sadly, many of the items for sale are no longer available from the vendors I've worked with! The retail world is a fickle place.

And then when I've finished that project, all the blog photos will be watermarked as well. Because my stuff is MY STUFF. Intellectual property rights, blah, blah, blah. If someone wants to "borrow" an idea or two from me, that's great, because I do the same and what goes around comes around if we're all honest and polite about it. Call it "friendly cakelifting", if you will. But I do need to protect my work so that this doesn't happen again.

Thanks for your patience, if you visit my site. I am, as always, still open for business and ready to answer any questions. Look for the new and improved Sweetest Whimsy soon!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Trend Spotting: Russian Folk Art

Russian Matryoshka Dolls (photo from Google Images)

Oops, I was just TOO tired to blog yesterday! But I'm back with a continuation of my previous blog about Trends in design in 2009. I said I would post pics that corresponded to the trends, and this is an item I actually found before I read the article! How cute are these Russian Matryoshka Dolls? I've seen several instances of the cute nesting dolls making their way into our homes by way of dishes, DIY craft kits, pillows, etc. But these ceramic Matryoshka Doll measuring cups really take the cake, in my opinion. They're actually useful, for one thing, and they certainly reflect the growing trend of Russian patterns and art.

I spotted them in the Anthropologie catalog, which I always love for their unique items. Although I don't sell these (and I wish I did), I don't mind sharing with everyone that you will soon see these in my kitchen!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Trend Spotter 2009

One of the cool things about owning a business is the stuff you get in the mail and email from wholesalers and vendors about their products. I just eat it up! Occasionally, I get to find out about a cool new product coming out before everyone else has caught on. I also get advice and information from marketing and merchandising experts in weekly emails from various sources. This week I received a newsletter with an article by a design trend advisor about what's in store in interior design for 2009:
  • Simplicity--"Slo-tec" (I think that should really be spelled slow-tech, personally!)--back-to-basics, eco-awareness, quality vs. quantity or speed.
  • Gold & Plum--these two jewel tones paired together.
  • Patchwork--quilted accessories.
  • Red & Orange--the colors of fall, "passionate, warm and inviting."
  • "Glacier"--this one is hard to define. Frosty, icy, metallic, etc.
  • Non-traditional outdoor design--sleek, not just wicker and wood in the backyard anymore.
  • Russian patterns & folk art--traditional themes and patterns in modern ways.
In my next post, some pics of what these design trends may look like in your home or office next year!

Little Pilgrim

Little Pilgrim Girl, Thanksgiving 2004

I love this cake, made using the Wilton Scarecrow Pan. The pilgrim girl's cornucopia even had a cascade of molded harvest-theme candies. Now that Thanksgiving is upon us, I have another excuse to bake my chocolate pumpkin cake and possibly use this pan. I love Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Kindness is Contagious

Kindness In Lieu of Wedding Gifts and Favors

In the past year, I have been involved in, as well as invited to, several weddings. One emerging trend in the wedding circuit that I've noticed as both a guest and wedding vendor has been the inclusion of some type of charitable element in the couple's wedding day. For example, some are requesting donations to a favorite charity instead of buying a wedding gift. Or, in a really wonderful twist on traditional wedding favors, other couples choose to make donations to worthwhile causes in each guest's name.

Married-couples-to-be are of course so full of love and happiness on their wedding day, so it isn't surprising that many choose to share their happiness with others in a
real and meaningful way. It's a "win-win" for everyone involved. Couples who've already established their households and don't need any more kitchen towels or crystal vases can help the global effort to better the lives of others and the enviroment. Guests are saved a trip to view yet another wedding registry at the mall; I loved donating online recently to my friends' chosen charity, the American Heart Association, and my gift was even more heartfelt than a place setting of china might have been!

Although I do sell shower and wedding gifts, I am pleased to help any clients, either wedding couples or guests, who are interested in participating in this truly meaningful alternative to the "wedding gift." I can provide a list of local and national charities who make it very easy to create an atmosphere of giving for your next event, and help word your invitations to let your guests know your wishes. Because kindness truly is a gift that keeps on giving.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Get Baking

Forget for a moment that Christmas really is next month and let's just focus on the fact that Thanksgiving is next week! For many years, Thanksgiving was my favorite holiday. I love that it has everything to do with being thankful, being with those you love, and FOOD!

Here's a recipe I was given last year at Thanksgiving and have been making all year since. It's so good . . . more like cake than "bread."


4 Eggs
1 C. Oil
2 C. Flour
1 C. Pineapple Tidbits (not drained)
2 tsp. Baking soda
2 tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 can Pumpkin
Beat Sugar & Eggs until well blended. Add Oil. Combine dry ingredients and add into egg mixture. Add Pumpkin & Pineapple. Grease pans (3 disposable bread tin pans) and pour into containers. Bake between 50-60 min. at 350 degrees until toothpick comes out clean.

(I bake mine in mini loaf pans, perfect size for my daughters' lunch boxes.)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Autumn Wedding

Thanks to all my Facebook friends who requested pics of this cake! Here you go!

Katrina & Dylan's wedding cake
November 8, 2008

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Safari Baby

Recently I was asked to create a baby shower cake for a teacher at Thalia's school. The date for the shower was pushed back a few weeks due to the baby girl's early arrival, and the shower became more of a welcome party. The shower was hosted by her fellow 2nd grade teachers and the entire faculty and staff were invited to meet baby Sydney. I was extremely honored to be given the chance to make a cake that all the teachers and staff would see and eat!

They requested a very large sheet cake, but I recommended two smaller sheets so they could have different flavors and because it's so much harder to transport a very large and heavy cake. They also requested that the cake match the theme of baby Sydney's nursery-- Safari.

I was thrilled to finally do a proper safari-themed cake! Anyone who has ever been to my house can attest to my love of animal prints. Only my daughters' rooms and one of our bathrooms have escaped being animal-ized. I studied alot of safari baby bedding and accessories and toys to get ideas for the cake. What fun research! I kind of wished I still had a baby in the house so she could have such a cool nursery!

Here are the cakes, one chocolate and one vanilla:

I think they turned out really cute! I freehanded all the animals, which was rather unusual for me. I normally would have done an image transfer to get the shapes exactly identical.

Thalia's teacher, who ordered the cakes, said that the cakes were a hit with the new Mom as well as the guests, and that one particular teacher who never eats cake was seen leaving the party with a plateful of cake to take home! I was so pleased.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Christmas is Next Month: Cool Gift

for the grandparents . . .

for me . . .

Today I did some holiday shopping on my own website! I ordered some photo ornaments to send to far-away relatives and it was so easy! The hardest decision, of course, was choosing which photos to use. I hope our family members enjoy trimming their trees this year with our photos from the past year.

I usually order at least one photo ornament for my own family's tree each year. It's so much fun unwrapping them and reliving funny or fun memories! They are truly our most treasured Christmas keepsakes, along with the ornaments and decorations made by our children.

Why not turn your favorite image from 2008 into a holiday treasure? Visit Sweetest Whimsy's online selection of photo gifts and start creating your own special ornament. The flat porcelain ornaments are hand finished and measure 2 7/8" (round) or 2 1/3 x 3 1/4" (oval). A great gift for loved ones and an even better gift for yourself!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thinking Outside the 'Big Box'

A Small Business with a Big Heart

Sweetest Whimsy is, by design, a small, one-woman
business. I am Sweetest Whimsy! For 8 years, I created custom cakes and catered intimate get-togethers, working by myself with very, very occasional help from some trusted colleagues and friends when the occasion called for it. When I decided to offer personalized invitations and gifts in 2006, it was something else I could do all on my own from my home-based office, while at the same time keeping my family my #1 priority.

I sometimes cringe whenever I walk through huge discount warehouse stores and see the rows of cheap and enormous cakes and desserts churned out on a daily basis. I laugh when a potential customer asks if I can make a similar cake to feed 50 people for $15. No, I can't actually, because I don't have 40 such cakes in the freezer, baked several months ago, just waiting to be decorated with an industrial-size tub of frosting! I can, however, create a one-of-a- kind, made-from-scratch-within-24-hours
celebration cake in your favorite flavor, with your favorite frosting and decorated exactly the way you want it. That's what I do!

Likewise, I really can't compete with the "big box" office supply and craft stores selling paper and encouraging shoppers to 'do-it-yourself' when it comes to invitations with their many kits and accessories. Big box stores buy in huge volumes and can typically offer lower prices. The spread of big-box stores has been a challenge for all small businesses, but as with my cakes, I can offer my paper customers that human connection that is so often missing
when you buy from the big box. I want to know all about you and your event--your theme and every little detail you care to share, if you're working within a budget, how you've envisioned the finished product, and so forth. So, whether you're ordering a special party cake or invitations for the wedding of your dreams, I promise to:
  • Become as familiar with your needs and preferences as I am with what I offer.
  • Offer unique, eye-catching items that big box stores, by definition, can't or won't sell.
  • Create a fun experience, from the brainstorming stage all the way through to the fulfillment of your order.
I don't have a storefront (yet!), tons of merchandise, or huge shopping carts, but I do offer you my creativity, flexibility and the desire to make your next event a huge success. Since 1998, many of my customers have become cherished friends, and a bit of my heart always goes into whatever I create for them!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Mommy Cards: Call Me

Staying Connected in the World of Parenthood

I got such a kick when I first saw these little gems last year! Why? Because our children are so precious to us, and parenthood is the most important profession there is. And because these cards are just adorable! These business card-sized 'Mommy Cards' are perfect for:
  • Announcing your new full time job (possibly the toughest job you'll ever love!) if you're a new parent.
  • Babysitters, teachers, daycare providers, family and friends to contact you, especially in case of emergency.
  • Networking with other parents for playgroups, sports teams, carpools, etc.
These stylish cards come in several designs and colors and measure 3
1/2 x 2". So you can finally stop scrounging around for pen and paper and start handing out these darn cute little cards that say to the world: "Proud to be a Mom!"

Mommy Cards are very affordably priced, so you can order enough to give one to everyone you know! $17 for 50 personalized cards that include your name, kids' names, address, contact phone
numbers, and email. Also available--Mommy Card Holders, bright, colorful cases for your new calling cards:

Mommy Cards & Card Holders are available online at Sweetest Whimsy's paper website.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Chocolate Just For You

Photo from Google Images

As I mentioned recently, I was a Career Day speaker at my daughter's elementary school for the second year in a row! Both times, I gave each student a copy of my favorite chocolate buttercream frosting recipe, one that I use on my cakes when people request chocolate frosting. (Unfortunately, chocolate frosting is rarely asked for compared to vanilla buttercream.) When I started the blog, I promised recipes and tips, in addition to product information and random anecdotes, so here is Sweetest Whimsy’s Favorite Chocolate Frosting Recipe, just for you:


* 3 cups sifted powdered sugar, divided
* 2/3 cup baking cocoa (ie. Hershey’s, Nestle Toll House, etc. I use either Hershey's Special Dark or Nestle Toll House, but you can use whichever brand you prefer)
* 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened
* 5 to 6 tablespoons milk, divided
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Beat 1 cup powdered sugar, cocoa, butter, 2 tablespoons milk and vanilla extract in small mixer bowl until creamy. Gradually beat in remaining sugar and milk until smooth. Makes 2 cups total.

This recipe is a slightly scaled down version of what I usually make for cake orders. Can be doubled easily.


Monday, November 10, 2008

Christmas is Next Month: Holiday Greetings

"Christmas is next month." If you say it to yourself, you might be as shocked as I was when I did today! (Not to mention how close Thanksgiving is.)

Not to panic! Now is a great time to think about how you want to celebrate the December holidays in relation to everyone else: Holiday Cards? Cocktail Party? Open House? Gifts? Treats?

Let's start with the cards: If you're like me and send out holiday greetings with a photo to friends and loved ones far and near, now is the time to think about which image you want to use in your card! Is it time for another family photo? Call your photographer and schedule an appointment today! This is one of the busiest times of the year for them. Or do you send photos of your kids with Santa? Find out when Santa will be appearing at your local mall and plan to go early and avoid the lines. Do you prefer photos you've taken yourself? Even better! Don't forget to make appointments for haircuts if needed (I forget this every time until it's too late!). Leave yourself enough time to find coordinating outfits for everyone if that's a tradition in your family. And if you like a unique background for your photo, take time to scout out potential sites for your photo shoot. In short, plan now for a great Christmas card photo!

Photo cards, or even traditional cards with photos inside, are so popular and common now among families that it's almost strange to receive a card without a photo. Everyone loves to see how much the kids have grown, or your new family pet, or where you've relocated to in the past year-- especially family and friends who may live far away and see you infrequently. Sweetest Whimsy offers 32 layouts for photo cards and 46 layouts for photo greeting cards (you attach your favorite photo). Photo cards have room for up to 4 lines of personalization, and photo greeting cards allow your choice of standard verse, or you may choose to create your own verse.

I particularly like using a photo full-bleed for the front of a photo greeting card:
How can Sweetest Whimsy help take the panic out of your Christmas planning? Give me a call or send me an email, and I will be happy to work with you!

**20% discount to anyone who places a holiday card order at Sweetest Whimsy online through November 30th!**

Sunday, November 9, 2008

If the Shoe Fits, Eat It

A friend asked if I really made a shoe cake because of my previous post with the shoe piñata pic. Yes, I did do a shoe cake (have done several actually!) for a little girl's birthday, and the shoe piñata was an 'inspiration' for the finished product. The pic helped me figure out the shape of the cake, although I ultimately opted for a wedge heel for more cake 'support'!

This is, to date, still one of my most favorite cakes. I've listed it on my
cake 'Hall of Fame' (see sidebar) because I loved how it turned out! And it's an unapologetically girly cake too--the theme of the party was a dress-up birthday party at Miss Priss, complete with a runway model show at the end!

**My NaBloMoPo week-long streak on The Sweet Spot came to an end yesterday; after 78 cups of cake batter, 18 cups of frosting and countless hours of decorating, I completely forgot to blog!**

Friday, November 7, 2008


I was recently a guest speaker at Career Day at my daughter's school. One of the kids asked where I get my ideas. Good question. I am almost always given some kind of direction by the client, who may or may not have a detailed idea of the cake they want. The rest is up to me. Sometimes I get inspiration from browsing cake idea books, such as the annual Wilton Yearbook. Or photos or drawings found online. Occasionally from magazine articles with step-by-step instructions, like this one:
Baby Shoe Cakes from Martha Stewart Living magazine

When I am doing a novelty or character cake for a kid's birthday, I am often given a toy or image to work with:

Dora the Explorer CD

Sometimes the cake is to match the party theme and its accessories, exactly:

High heel shoe party pinata

For me, doing research for a cake or theme is often as much fun as creating the cake itself! And it's an integral part of the whole cake design process. There is some back and forth with the client as well on which image or design to go with-- ie. "regular" Dora or "fairy tale" Dora?

I love all aspects of planning a cake. Tonight I am working on a wedding cake order that began with eight possible design ideas narrowed down to the final one. It's exciting to see it all come together after envisioning it in your head for several months and as rough sketches, as I do for wedding cakes. Can't wait to see the final product!

Dora the Explorer and pinata pics from Google Images

Thursday, November 6, 2008

New Stuff for Sale!

I'm excited to announce the addition of over ten new stationery and invitation lines to Sweetest Whimsy's lineup! Very soon I will be offering paper and gift products by McPhersons. Wedding and social invitations, wedding and party accessories, holiday cards and social stationery from this great company will soon be available at Sweetest Whimsy's website. Their lines will really complement the existing products already available through Sweetest Whimsy.

Meanwhile, here is a sample of my favorites (mostly baby-related!) from the many different lines:
Baby Photo Announcement

Versatile Photo Announcement/Invitation

Naturally Ever After . . . "green" wedding invitation

"Baby Dress" Announcement

More McPhersons to come on the website!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Banana Split Rainbow

I wrote the other day how much of my work is heavily dictated by the imaginings of young children. Recently, my daughter's friend ordered up a very specific cake for her 5th birthday--a Rainbow Cake topped with her new Littlest Pet Shop figures with banana cake and strawberry cake and chocolate filling in between. Rainbow Cake, check! Pet Shop toys, check! Banana cake, check! (I have a great recipe, which I don't share with others, that has been in my husband's family for many years.) Strawberry Cake, check! Chocolate filling, check! Ok, I can do all those things, but when I thought about how banana, strawberry and chocolate might taste in one big bite, I was a little apprehensive.

I asked her Mom if her daughter really wanted all these flavors all together? Yes, absolutely! "I imagine it will taste like a banana split!" she said enthusiastically. Ok then!

The actual shape of the cake, a rainbow, was really exciting for me! I had envisioned this cake as a 3D rainbow with the pets on top of and around it. Mom said they would be fine with a sheet cake with a rainbow design drawn on top. Puh-lease! Too boring! I assured her the 3D rainbow would be much cuter.

I hit a snag when it was time to put the cake together. So there was a layer of banana, a layer of chocolate, and a layer of strawberry. When I had dreamed up the rather large 3D design I had in my head, I had not anticipated how heavy the cake would be or how it would stand up on its own without falling over. Plus it would have to be transported to the party site. i am not an engineer, sadly, and the cake in my head refused to become a reality. So I scaled down the cake to a manageable size, one that would not fall over or implode. The rest of the cake batter and frosting became a second, very simple layer cake that I called the "parents' cake." The rainbow, of course, being for the kids!

I am quite proud of how it turned out in the end. It would have been more impressive as a larger cake, but I don't think I could have handled the stress of moving that cake around and praying it would make it! The birthday girl loved her cake, by the way. The flavors were exactly as she had envisioned in her head, and they actually tasted really great together! A few kids refused to try it--too many flavors jumbled together--but most of them did. I told the birthday girl that she had the honor of creating a brand new cake concoction for Sweetest Whimsy!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Happy Voting Day!

Here is a cookie cake, with fresh berries and frosting for the stars and stripes, in honor of Election Day today! Hope everyone made it to the polls!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Celebrating the Years, One Cake at a Time

2005: Triceratops Dinosaur

2006: Lightning McQueen

2007: Golf

2008: Hot Wheels #5 Racetrack

The cool thing about birthdays is that everyone has one. And the cool thing about creating birthday cakes is the opportunity to do one each year for the same person. With kids, you also get to see how much they've grown in a year and how their cake tastes have changed in that time!

I have a very good customer, Mason, who I have had the privilege of creating birthday cakes for since he turned 2 years old. Since 2005, I have made a 3-D Dinosaur cake, 3-D Disney-Pixar Lightning McQueen cake, 3-D Golf Ball and Club, and this year, a Hot Wheels track shaped like his age-- 5. Each year, I never know what the birthday boy is going to ask for, but whatever it is, I'll try my best to make it exactly like he wants it! This year, I suggested the racetrack be shaped like the number 5, and I think it might be my favorite of all his cakes to date.

Getting to know my customers through their cakes is just one of the perks of my work! Children ask for the craziest and zaniest cakes, but they are always my favorites! Adults are more reserved-- white cake, white frosting, no decorations, often no challenges for me. But kids pull out all the stops and are only limited by their imaginations, which are boundless of course.


November is National Blog Posting Month! I only found this out yesterday! So I am going to attempt to post a blog at all of my sites (business and personal) each day. I may not be able to keep up with all of them, but I'll give it a shot! I probably needed to try this a while ago!

Stay tuned for some sweet stuff every day!