Cake Gallery Slideshow

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thankful for Being Busy

I'm back after a month-long break from blogging about cakes, during which I was busy baking and decorating like crazy! Particularly the week before and during Thanksgiving, I was baking juggernaut.

Also, my plans to complete the National Blog Posting Month challenge bit the dust in November. Novembers are just too busy for blogging!

Some highlights of the past few weeks:

Whimsical topsy-turvy Spider Man birthday cake for my godbrother's son, Riley, who celebrated his 2nd birthday! I was trying to recreate an amazing $700 design by Nati's Cakes. Hope I did it justice!

This is quite possibly my favorite cake that I've ever created for someone's birthday, and after 11 years of cake decorating, that's saying quite a bit! An adoring husband ordered this for his wife's surprise 40th birthday celebration. He handpicked the design and decor. His attention to cake detail was very impressive and so sweet! His wife's favorite flower is the tulip, as is mine, so I loved working on this one:

My November baking also included pumpkin bread, pumpkin chocolate cupcakes, 20 dozen cookies (in one day!) and some new Martha Stewart chocolate cupcakes (always testing new recipes). This past Thanksgiving, I was, as always, very thankful for all of my awesome clients who give me the chance to create new cakes and cupcakes every year!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Baby Steps

Pink Mary Jane cakes atop a larger cake, Summer 2006

My friend Deb from my old neighborhood in Austin gave me this sweet idea, courtesy of Martha Stewart's magazine, for Baby Shoes mini-cakes! You can make them in several different styles--baby boy's first walkers, baby girl's Mary Janes--and personalize them in lots of ways. I adore these Baby Shoes and always welcome the chance to create them!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Eat My Sombrero, Ole!

Earlier today I found some pics of Mexican Sombreros that I'd saved, and it took me a few minutes to remember why I had them. They were for a 3-D Mexican Sombrero Cake I created for an adorable little boy's 2nd birthday celebration a few years ago!

The fiesta was very on-theme and included a performance by a Mariachi troupe that was likely enjoyed not only by the guests but also by neighbors up and down the street. Authentic decorations and party favors from a real Mexican party store on the other side of town added to the flavor.

As for the Sombrero Cake, the most challenging part of creating it was keeping the frosted fondant brim from collapsing due to the weight of it all. I love making unusual cakes, and I haven't had another order for a Sombrero again, but as this is San Antonio, it might still happen!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Cake Servings

Image from

Have you ever wondered how caterers can cut up a wedding cake into about a million slices? It's all in the technique. The same cake, in the hands of a lay person, might only yield half as many servings. But caterers know exactly how to carve it all up to feed the masses.

First, a "wedding cake slice" is officially small. Smaller than a party cake slice. A slice of wedding cake is about 1 inch x 2 inches x 4 inches. Party cake slices, usually from a sheet cake, are more like chunks of cake, about 2 inches square or larger.

Then there's the technique, which never fails to impress me. Since wedding cakes are almost exclusively round, they are cut from concentric circles within the cake tiers like so:
Image from

When well-meaning relatives and friends of a wedding couple tell me they'll be cutting and serving the cake instead of the caterers, I always provide them with a cutting guide (see above). Then they predictably go into a panic! However, cake servings are determined based on the cake cutting guide, so if someone cuts the slices too big, there won't be as much cake to go around. If a couple has ordered exactly enough cake to feed their guests, then the numbers can be off when the slices are larger than usual.

That's why I love a caterer's serving staff! They know what they're doing and they do it quickly too. Because when you're at a wedding, there's nothing worse than waiting forever for cake (or not having any at all)!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Wedded Bliss

Fall wedding cakes are much more enjoyable for me. For starters, there isn't the added stress of worrying how to transport enough cake for 300 people in 105 degree heat! Buttercream frosting melts quickly in the summer heat, causing all manner of upsets and necessary fixes. It may not seem like a big deal, but it absolutely is!

My most recent wedding cake order was for the first weekend of October. There was still a chance that the temperatures would be warm, but definitely not in the 100 degree range. However, it was in fact quite the opposite, with a record coolest temperature of 51 degrees for that date in San Antonio history AND unbelievable rain and winds that tore through town at dawn. We lost power all over the city, which was a mite scary for me as I had last minute additions to do to the cake before delivery and could not see in the dark or turn on my stove or microwave, as well as wondering how I was going to exit my gated neighborhood when the gates wouldn't open! But the power came back on finally, I dipped several dozen strawberries in melted chocolate, and we figured out how to exit the incoming gate to get to the wedding site on time! Whew!

Bride's Cake: Swirls and Dots and Fresh Flowers

Slightly blurry closeup of the cake

A view of my floral handiwork! (Wedding couple asked that I arrange the flowers, but I am not a floral designer, so I'm pretty proud of myself!)

Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Groom's Cake with Basketweave Design and Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries

Closeup of my Strawberries

The wedding was a Jewish second marriage ceremony for two very lovely people, and I was very honored to be asked to create their wedding cakes for their special day. Mazel Tov!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Princess Treats

In case you've ever wondered what lots and lots of cupcakes look like all at once . . . here's a little over 100 of them in a really large box!

This past Sunday, I delivered my all-time largest order ever: 500 cupcakes, 300+ cookies and 1 four-tiered cake. It took two separate trips in a borrowed SUV (my Mom's) to actually deliver the goods. And the most amazing part? I did all of it for free! Yes, that's right, I didn't get paid a cent for my 5 days worth of work. And even more amazing? I'm so glad I did it!

The cupcakes, cookies and cake were all for the guests at the My Princess and Me event for which Sweetest Whimsy was a sponsor. Every single penny from the 450+ tickets sold went directly to the St. Peter-St. Joseph Children's Home. Almost $14,000 was made in ticket sales alone, and other goodies such as princess accessories and gift baskets were also available for purchase.

The event venue, Red Berry Mansion, was the perfect place to be a Princess for a day (it even looks like a castle) and even the rain and cold weather did not keep the little girls away! Every last one of the 500 pink-frosted and sprinkled vanilla cupcakes was eaten. In addition, I introduced a cookie decorating activity to the My Princess and Me event for the first time, and it was a total success--out of 300+ cookies I baked (from dough generously donated by Johnson Bros. Bakery, Inc.) , all but 3 were decorated by charming little princesses.

The Cake Table at My Princess and Me: My 4-tier Castle Cake atop a crown centerpiece I created out of odds and ends in my house.

I like this off-kilter view.

A good view of the silk petals I used on the cake, in part to fix some frosting damage that happened in transit.

The back of the Castle Cake.

Closeup of the Crown centerpiece under the cake, made up of tulle, silk petals, flowers and leaves, and one of my kids' dress-up crowns.

My helpers created concentric rings of pink cupcakes around my showpiece cake, which was not for cutting but for decoration only during the event.

A funky Castle that I designed out of more cake and ice cream cones, 4 different boxes of them in all sizes! The castle tier took longer to build and frost than the other 3 tiers did altogether!

Two of the Princesses in attendance decorating their sugar cookies with frosting, rainbow sprinkles and chocolate chips! (They happen to be my own little Princesses!)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Happy Cupcakes Week: CancerCare for Kids

Image from

September 21-27 is the fifth annual Cupcakes for a Cause Week! Cupcakes for a Cause was launched in 2004 by CancerCare, a national nonprofit organization that provides free, professional support services to anyone affected by cancer. Cupcakes for a Cause enlists bakeries to sell specially decorated cupcakes to raise funds for the CancerCare for Kids program.

So to help raise even more funds for this awesome program, here are some things you can do:

1) Design a FREE E-Cupcake and send it to a friend! Powered by 1-800-FLOWERS, they will donate $1 for each E-Cupcake sent.

2) Host a bake sale in your community anytime during the month of September and donate the proceeds to CancerCare for Kids.

2) Purchase cupcakes from participating bakeries around the country. Each bakery will donate a portion of the sales to CancerCare for Kids. Sweetest Whimsy is not a sponsor because we do not have a brick-and-mortar retail storefront, but we are happy to be a cheerleader for all of the other great local bakeries taking part in this!

3) Order a Cupcake in Bloom™, made entirely of flowers, from a participating florist. Each florist will donate 10% of the profits to CancerCare for Kids. Who says it has to have sugar to be sweet?!

So how is Sweetest Whimsy celebrating Cupcakes for a Cause Week? I am hosting a NO-BAKE BAKE SALE! That's right, you can purchase a virtual cupcake from my bake sale, and in return, you will have donated the full amount (tax-deductible) to CancerCare for Kids AND receive a coupon for a future purchase from Sweetest Whimsy! You can donate online at the Sweetest Whimsy website or by contacting me directly.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Calling All Princesses!

You are cordially invited to take part in a fairy tale Mother/Daughter event, My Princess & Me, at the elegant and historical Red Berry Mansion on the Lake on Sunday, October 11! For just a $30 donation, each little Princess will receive a professional hairstyle from top hairstylists in San Antonio, make-up application, a tea party, music, dancing and a keepsake photo with her Queen Mum – all while helping support the children of St. Peter – St. Joseph Children’s Home.

Princesses will arrive in their most royal finery with their Mothers (or Grandmothers, Aunts, Sisters, Friends). All Princesses will receive a magical treat of hair design and makeup from our very talented fairies.

And this year, my company, Sweetest Whimsy, invites all Princesses to decorate their own royal cookie treats and dine on special Princess Cake and punch with their Moms! I will provide all the sweet ingredients for each girl to let her inner sugar artist come out!

There will be time for a fairy tale photo to remember this special day. What could be more magical than seeing hundreds of girls of all ages enjoying time with their Mothers and new friends?

Of course, this Royal Event wouldn’t be complete without dancing! Princesses will gather together and dance to great music with girls from the Royal Court. Special appearances by San Antonio Fiesta 2010 Queen of the Vine, Hannah Montana and other special guests!

And the best part of all? 100% of the profits from this royal event go directly to St. Peter - St. Joseph's Children's Home! St. P-J's is a home for children who have suffered sexual and emotional abuse, neglect, poverty and broken homes, as well as a community counseling and service center for families in crisis. This event is made possible by the many companies and individuals who are providing funding, services and in-kind donations, and I am thrilled that Sweetest Whimsy is a sponsor this year! I hope everyone will join me at the Red Berry Mansion on the Lake!

Event Details:
Sunday, Oct.11th, 2009
12:00pm - 4:00pm

The Red Berry Mansion on the Lake
858 Gembler Road
San Antonio, Texas

Ticket Information: Order Your Tickets Online!
$30 donation per person
~ Your entire donation goes to help St P-J's Home
(Or call 210-408-0101 to purchase tickets)

All images from My Princess & Me website

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Vacation's Over!

I have been on "vacation" mode for most of summer, taking just a few orders here and there. One notable exception was these cakes, created for the wedding of a lovely couple who happen to be Carys and Thalia's preschool teachers' parents:

The bride wanted a romantic, traditional cake with pillars, flowers and swirls and dots in ivory buttercream. I hope she liked the finish product!

The groom wanted chocolate cake with German's chocolate filling on the inside and a simple Dallas Cowboys motif on the outside.

Just transporting the cakes to the wedding site was quite a challenge! (Note to self: Avoid summer weddings on 100+ degree days.) The buttery buttercream was getting slightly soft on the ride to the reception, despite the A/C being on full blast and at the lowest temperature in my car. But it all came together in the end, as it always does.

And there were some "fun" cakes too, like these Transformers cupcakes and Optimus Prime shaped cake for a boy's birthday party that coincided with the release of the Transformers 2 movie:

I also revisited something I used to love to do, but haven't had time for in recent years--molding chocolate candies. I used to make these for all holidays and for parties. I took advantage of a combined birthday/baby shower order to mold candies shaped like white chocolate sea shells and roses for the birthday girl and tiny white chocolate baby bottles, rattles and teddy bears for baby-on-the-way:

Besides these few exceptions, I spent my summer baking time playing around with some new (to me) recipes culled from several new cake books I've recently acquired. My "taste testers", that is my family, my husband's co-workers, and the staff of my kids' summer camp, were busy trying new flavors or variations for me!

I also did research this summer on the "competition"-- that would be everyone and anyone who also sells cakes and cupcakes! My research was conducted during our family's trip to the Pacific Northwest and involved visiting cupcake and cake shops in Seattle, Vancouver and on Vancouver Island. Yum. And I got lots of new ideas!

School's back in session and temperatures are starting to drop oh-so-slowly, so my "vacation" really is over. Already the dates on my calendar are being filled in with orders, and it's with a very grateful heart that I look forward to each and every one!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Slide Show, Side Show

I've added some new features to the blog to make it a bit snazzier! Scroll to the bottom of the page to view two new slide shows!

The first is a Flickr slide show that features some of my favorite cakes.

The second shows a collection of my favorite cake decorating tools that I use in my business and ones I recommend to my students in my classes. Plus, all are available through Sweetest Whimsy's NEW link!

I had to post these add-ons at the bottom due to space.

Thanks for viewing!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Life-Saving Cookie Recipe

Saturday, May 16 of this year was going to be one of the best days of the year for my family--my younger daughter's 5th birthday party, a big "Disney-Princess-Ariel-Under-the-Sea" themed bash in our backyard with lots of splish-splashing water fun. I am not joking when I say that we had talked about and planned all aspects of this party for at least nine months, and my daughter absolutely had her heart set on this theme.

Well, we got the water part alright. May 16 turned out to be probably the wettest day of the entire month. In under an hour, we watched our carefully laid out backyard 'Under-the-Sea' wonderland torn apart by high winds and sheets of rain. Not dainty little raindrops, but sheets and sheets of rain.

So our outdoor party quickly became the "Under-the-Sea-in-my-living-room" party. With a little more than an hour left before a dozen and a half or so pre-schoolers would arrive at our house, I planned an entirely different party. (This is the part where I run around the house looking for suitable indoor activities for all these kids.) Coloring activity? Check. Foam craft activity? Check. Play-doh? Check.

Right, now I had enough stuff for them to do to last about 30 minutes if we were lucky. Hmm . . . how about decorating cookies? Great, only we had no cookies of course. Thank God I am a cake decorator and always have extra frosting on hand. I quickly thumbed through all of my cookie recipes, trying to find the easiest and quickest one for shaped cookies. (Not that I had time to make any shapes, except for "round").

The recipe I decided to make was one I hadn't actually made before, at least I don't remember doing so. It's from the Southern Living Incredible Cookies book. I'd had hit-or-miss luck with other recipes from this book, but I was pretty desperate at this point so decided to go with this one because it used few ingredients and ones that I happened to actually have on hand:

Sugar Crinkles

1 cup shortening (ie. Crisco)
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp lemon extract (I used orange, it was all I had citrus-wise)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
  1. Beat shortening and 1 1/2 cups sugar at medium speed w/ electric mixer until fluffy. Add eggs and flavorings, beating until blended.
  2. Combine flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to shortening mixture, beating well. Cover and chill dough. (This is where I stuck the recipe in the freezer for a quick chill.)
  3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls, roll in 1/4 cup sugar. (I did not roll in sugar as I wanted the kids to decorate them, but have since done this step as well.) Place on ungreased baking sheets.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-9 min. or until barely golden. Cool 2 min. on baking sheets; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Makes about 5 1/2 dozen.

So, all in all, May 16 turned out to be one of the worst days of the entire year so far. Several guests couldn't come last minute because they were having their own "worst days" and some very hopeful bathing-suit-wearing kiddos were super-disappointed to be kept indoors. But the cookies turned out to be a hit! The kids loved decorating them with my rainbow of frosting colors, candies and sprinkles, and the parents loved eating them (plain, no frosting). I've had several ask for the recipe. Seriously, these are great cookies, and I usually dislike sugar cookies (too plain!). Okay, the recipe didn't exactly save our lives, but did save the party somewhat! Hope everyone enjoys these!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Kindler, Gentler Cupcake

Sweetest Whimsy turns 11 years old this year. I believe I came up with the original name for the biz, Sweet Whimsy, in January 1999 after creating cakes for six months. The thought boggles the mind. It all started with the cakes--a few orders from good friends turned into orders for friends of friends, and then the next thing I knew, I was a trained cake decorating instructor, which helped expand my business even further. A visit to the Cake Gallery, will take you down my own personal Memory Lane with some of my classic cakes from the past decade as well as my newest creations. The Gallery has sloooooowly been undergoing a makeover for the past few months, so thanks for your patience while photos are updated! (My previous attempts at watermarking and uploading the photos did not work as planned.)

Moving on . . . my recent cupcake "research and development" phase has been mouth-wateringly successful! This week I made the decision to update all my cake and cupcake recipes so that I am using as many organic ingredients as possible AND to try to make them healthier! Yes, I know, it's oxymoronic to think of "healthy cupcakes," but it will be a fun challenge for me anyway. And I promise not to compromise a bit of the flavor in these recipes while doing so, 'kay?!

My first successful find is a recipe for egg-less chocolate cupcakes. (It's actually from a book I picked up at the used book store in March. At first, I thought the cookbook would be great, and then thought it was a waste of money. After revisiting it, I've found a few gems after all.) I was really, really wary about this recipe as I put my first batch of them into the oven, but guess what? They're moist, intensely chocolatey and taste great! The texture is a bit different without the egg, but I like the way they turned out:

Egg-less Chocolate Cupcakes

With my favorite chocolate frosting, they're great (ok, not as healthy either)! I had planned to debut these beauties at my daughter's birthday party this weekend, but she insists she only wants vanilla cupcakes, and I cannot change her mind! Oh well!

As far as keeping it (kind of) healthy, I already use organic milk in my recipes. I'm switching to a healthier sugar tomorrow. I'm cutting back on the butter and using non-transfat vegetable shortening. Baby steps toward a kindler, gentler cupcake for everyone.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


I'm happy to say that I've been busy with weddings lately, but haven't had a chance to post anything interesting here! I also made some updates to the website, not that you can really tell, but I spent forever "cleaning up" over there . . . !

Seeing a whole line of cupcake-themed stationery, stamps and gifts at Michaels recently has made me want to expand my cupcake offerings! Because really, what's sweeter than a cupcake? I basically get orders for chocolate and vanilla cupcakes, sometimes strawberry thrown in there once in a while. I've been doing "research" on some cool flavor combinations and hope to offer some new cupcakes very soon!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

New Paper Site

Paper Duvet Wedding "Pockets"

Sweetest Whimsy has another new website with even more paper offerings, featuring invitations and accessories from TATEX Thermographers! You can now browse through the following wedding invitation lines they offer:
Graduation Announcement Options

Scrapbook-Style Baby Announcement

In addition, Baby and Graduation Announcements and Social Invitation designs are also featured on the new site. Whether you're planning a birthday celebration, retirement party, shower or Bar Mitzvah, we've got you covered!

And don't forget the accessories for your big event, such as personalized favor boxes, embossed napkins, and attendants' gifts:

Pyramid Favor Box

You can view the new paper lines from the Sweetest Whimsy home page or click here to visit the TATEX designs. And the best part?! All paper orders, any size, are discounted 20% when ordered directly from the website! Discount does not apply to TATEX album orders placed through me.