Thursday, January 15, 2015

Edible Art

I must admit I have a neat job and some really neat hobbies that let me meet interesting and talented folks.  I met this gentlemen a long time ago in a previous career when he was painting a mural for the city and offering art lessons for kids.  Years later I met him through his wife who volunteered in the program that I am blessed to be a part of.  Not only was he painting (one of his landscapes actually hangs in my home) but also writing.  He wrote a series of science fiction books inspired by his son.  I must say I was honored when he asked me to edit the Jack Ryder series and throughly enjoyed reading them.
What brings us to this post and ultimately the cake, is his most recent medium of spray can art paintings.  Only limited by his imagination Jim Hurst has created a series of incredible paintings using, not paintbrushes, but spray cans.  Not only have I seen him adjust his craft and hone it over the years now I get to see him achieve a level of success not many artists achieve.  Today Jim is opening up his first public exhibit at the Carolina Civic Center.  The Carolina Civic Center is a historic theater in downtown Lumberton, North Carolina.  A Mecca for performing artists for more then a century this theater is pleased to offer a venue for visual artists as well.  You can read more about his work and this exhibit in the local paper that spotlighted his exhibit.
When Jim's wife asked if I would do a cake for the opening of the exhibit I was so very honored.  The instructions were simple, a butter cake which would appeal to all segments of the cake eating public. Then they asked me to make an edible image cake utilizing any of Jim's paintings.  Although there were many paintings I loved, getting the images downloaded to print caused me some challenges.  I was finally able to get an incredible painting he did utilizing the Cape Hatteras light house.  I was struggling how to make this a Jim Hurst original cake (customizing it with more than the painting image) and as an artist realized when I am done with a painting I make it forever mine by signing it.  So I did my best to emulate the Hurst signature at the bottom of each of his paintings in icing.  I utilized the same black icing to create a rope frame around the photo and voila!  Jim had his own work of art for his art opening.  We hope he has a successful exhibit and enjoys the success that this talent artist deserves.

Three Cheers on your Birthday!

You might recognize this cake.  I have made it before but I am very select on making it because it is so moist it literally is like placing cotton candy on your tongue.  This is what is known as my infamous butter cake soak with a rum syrup.  Then it is topped with a chocolate rum sauce.  It is a cake that has an octane level that gives it a little kick.
This one was made for a wonderful lady with a heart of gold.  I thought I was going to get to see her on her birthday, but when life popped up and changed my plans I decided the least I could do is change her birthday cake from a more traditionally decorated cake to this special cake that will spread some warm birthday wishes.  I hope her birthday was wonderful, and that the cake was like chocolate icing on top.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Apologies Neccessary

  I have been beyond slack.  Two of my favorite pastimes are baking and writing.  I could give you a long list of reasons (not excuses but reasons) for my absence but at the end of the day the point is still the same....I have not paid attention to this blog or my readers for over a year.  I have missed you.  I have missed telling the stories of the cakes.  I have continued to bake and have missed the low fat, no calorie step where I get to share this with you.  My apologies.
  So we are starting some new ideas and new communication methods in 2015.  To begin you may have noticed the redesign of the blog.  A new logo, new look, for new energy in 2015.  Not only that but we now have a Facebook page.  After sharing the photos on a personal page (by my most wonderful supervisor) I have decided it was time for just a cake page.  You can find us on Facebook at Custom Cakes 4 You.  Depending on comments and request we may add an Instagram page, I am still trying to decide.  So feel free to chime in and let us know what you think.  I hope you like our simplified logo and new look.  As always, just like we like to listen to you about your custom cake from inception to final serving, we would like to hear from you about our social networking.
  We also guarantee not to change some things.  The high quality cakes, custom designs and of course sharing the stories behind each and every cake.  We hope you will enjoy every aspect of our newly energized hobby and enjoy the sweet smell of every cake delivered.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Shea Cake Strikes Again

If I ever go into baking full time two things will have to happen. First, I am going to have to charge more. Second, I am going to have to change the name of my company from Custom Cakes 4 You to Shea Cakes. It seems that the tag my coworkers have tagged my cakes with has stuck. I am honestly grateful that they often talk about their Shea Cake and how much they enjoy its to other people. they have done it so much that people are now asking for a Shea Cake. Something I find absolutely amusing, because it honestly seems to have taken off.
Point in of my incredible coworkers daughters came home from college a couple of weeks ago and asked if I would make a small birthday cake for her boyfriend. Mind you she is San N.C. state student. In other words she lives in Raleigh,the Mecca of food and bakeries in this state. You know the big city. However she came home and asked me to bake the cake, because her boyfriend had asked her if he might be able to try a Shea Cake that he had heard so much about from her. Besides the fact that I am enameled with almost all of my coworkers children and would help them out with any baking project I can, this story I couldn't resist. Apparently the cake recipient is a Minnesota Vikings fan. This made it even easier.
Essentially I made an 8x8 butter cake with an edible image on top. Searching for the right image wasn't a problem. Finding one that would fit on a square cake....well that was a little more difficult, but obviously not impossible. A little purple icing border and the cake was ready for delivery to Raleigh. We will see what the recipient thinks.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Birthday America!

I admit it.  I have a problem (no snickering from the peanut gallery please).  I hate to say no to anyone.  If it something I don't want to do or honestly can not do I will and can say no.  However often times if someone asks me to bake a cake (which you know I love to do) I just can't say no.  Sure enough this morning a friend asked me if I had the ingredients for a cake.  Silly question, of course I have the ingredients for a cake.  The next question was, do you still have that flag cake pan?  Once again, silly question, I have never gotten rid of a cake pan.  This was all just a prelude to the real question of, would you bake a cake for me, for today, for fourth of July?  My friend had to work and thought it might be a nice surprise for others in the same predicament.  So I said, of course I would love to bake a cake.  It was nothing too special just a butter cake aptly decorated as our American flag.  It twas a rush job so I have to admit I took some shortcuts to make sure it got done quickly.  However no one complained about it, and apparently the entire cake disappeared, which is the highest honor I can receive for a cake.
Happy Birthday America!  Happy Independence Day to all Americans!   

Monday, June 25, 2012

It's a Rosey Birthday

  A few posts ago I spoke of a co-worker, Janice.  I had made a cake for her daughter Catie's birthday.  Guess what?  Janice's birthday was right around the corner from Catie's.  So when I got pulled aside by two of the people who report to her saying they wanted to do something extra special for her birthday, and would I please bake her a cake, there was no way in this world I could say no.  However on her actual birthday she was working out of the office so I convinced them to wait until Monday when she would be back in the office.
  In the meantime I wanted to come up with something extra special for Janice.  Something elegant, but casual.  Something I have never done before.  After spending a little time on Pinterest, I found it.  A cake decorated with hombre roses.  Now I was not sure I could do this, because I had never done it before and decorating on the sides of a cake can be, well, tricky to say the least.  So I baked a ten inch two layer butter cake.  After the normal prep, I dirty iced the center, sides, and top and went to work on the roses.  It was actually amazingly easy and the overall effect is gorgeous.
  Knowing that Janice had a day camp that day and would be early I made sure I was actually extra early so I could deliver the cake to my coworkers without Janice seeing it.  However part way through she saw it.  So one employee, let's call her Tamika played it off like the cake was for her daughter.  Janice apparently gazed at it saying what a pretty cake it was and how good it would taste.  After an entire day of this, around three the entire staff came together to sing happy birthday to Janice.  She was stunned and it took awhile for her to realize that the cake was actually for her.  As it turned out one of the children in the day camp also had a birthday and a teen volunteer had turned 17 the day before.  So in the spirit of birthdays and fun, Janice shared her cake with everyone.  I have to admit I cut it in such a manner so that she would have plenty to take home and share with her family.
  After we got done with all the days events, Janice said she was touched by the cake.  She said she could not remember the last time anyone had made her a birthday cake.  The fact that people had wanted to go the extra mile for her, just made her feel so special that day.  That is what this cake was all about.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Fishing for a Cake

"What are your plans this weekend?" is often an opening line, not for a date, but a request for a cake.  One of my coworkers, lets call her Denese was going to the beach with her family.  She wanted to surprise them with something sweet while they were there so she decided she wanted a, "Shea cake."  I promise I did not come up with this term but it is one that is used by many of my coworkers, and I am finding it seeping into my vocabulary.
  I digress.  After the opening line Denese asked about a cake for the entire family, since she had to travel she preferred a sheet cake.  Knowing Denese fairly well I knew that she was not a laying on the beach, toes in the sand, kind of person.  So this left me a little befuddled until she told me this was a fishing trip.  Now somewhere in all my stuff I was sure I had a guy in a boat fishing.  However when I went looking it was not there.  Plan B.  I went to the store and found the seaweed, turtles, fish, and star fish that would work.  A little blue gel, brown sugar for the sand, and we had a great fishing/beach scene that the family could devour.
  One of the great things I have learned thanks to a previous cake for Janice in this blog is that sheet cakes fit perfectly into a long flat rubber made tote.  I packaged it up for Denese and sent her to the beach.