Friday, October 26, 2012

Little "SHOP" of Horrors

Don't be fooled...this post is not about a man-eating plant (although that would make a really cool cake). Rather, it's about a cute little imaginative boy named Liam and his special birthday request. When Auntie Melissa asked him what he wanted for his birthday, little Liam's response was "a Spider Cake!" Melissa contacted me, and we made this boy's 3-year-old wishes come true.

A Spider Cake. Perhaps Liam was inspired by the fun spider web decorations his mom put up in their home, an eight-legged creature he saw crawling up a tree, or maybe from their evening walks in their Halloween adorned neighborhood. Whatever the inspiration, Liam is truly an October baby. And this post comes just in time for this spooky season. Keep in mind that there are numerous ways of creating these creepy crawly cakes...this happens to be how I created this one with the resources I had. 

AHHH!!! There's a BIG SPIDER in my fridge!!!
I started off by finding cake pans that resembled the form of a spider's body. I wanted this cake to be anatomically correct. You know, two body segments, fangs, four pairs of legs, four pairs of eyes. For the cephalothorax (or the spider's "head" in layman's terms) I used one-half of a ball cake pan. For the abdomen (or butt), I used two different sized oval pans.

It's been a while since I've created a sculpted cake, so I was excited to bust out my serrated knife and carve away. For Halloween, people carve pumpkins, while I carve cakes. Go figure.     

The makings of the Spider's abdomen.
Your scraps can be turned into cake pops, or fed to some sweet-toothed scavengers.
Can you see the fangs?
Melissa requested for a vanilla cake with strawberry filling, so once I was happy with the carved forms, I still needed to cut through each in order to fill. After the filling was added in each segment, they were masked with buttercream and chilled in the fridge to allow them to set.

The strawberries macerated in sugar would become the spider's "bloody guts" when cut and eaten.
A buttercream dam is necessary to prevent the filling from oozing over the sides.

The spider's body was now taking form. Next step was to cover the cake with black fondant and add the details. I used a number 6 tool to create a hairy texture and placed these layers on specific parts of the spider like its back and face. For the eight legs, I used armature wire for the skeleton and covered them in fondant. (Disclaimer: armature wire is NOT edible, but was used for the legs to create a stable dimensional effect without falling over).

Once all eight appendages were covered and textured, I added spider web designs to the cake board, eight red eyes to the head, and a special birthday message for Liam.

Strawberry juice was splattered around the webs to create a subtle bloody effect.

Liam was super stoked to see his Spider cake! I wasn't sure if it was his sheer excitement to see the spider, the sugar high from the spider's eyeballs, or just his three-year-old hyperactivity, but this boy was HAPPY and it totally made my day! 

Straight for the eyeballs!

Liam has a way with names, and thinks my name is "Avenue"...which I kinda love by the way. He also named his spider cake...."Shop"....Shop the Spider...."because him happy!" But for those that fear these venomous creepy crawlers, he's the "Little Shop of Horrors!" 


~Avenue of Cakes~


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

An Ode to the Purple and Gold

I've got to be honest. October is not my favorite of months. The air begins to get a little chillier. The days get shorter and shorter. It marks the beginnings of the hectic holiday season. The signs of summer in Southern California begin to fade away. 

There is one thing however that I look forward to every October...the NBA Season! (*especially since we didn't get a full season last year. Stupid lockout!). I LOVE the Los Angeles Lakers! A fanatic is an understatement, some would call me borderline obsessed...and I'm not afraid to admit that. So you can imagine how excited I get over a request for a Lakers themed cake. My very first blog post happened to be Lakers themed cupcakes (not by mistake either).

My beloved team did a lot of revamping during the offseason, and us Angelenos are full of anticipation for our new and much improved squad. Mitch Kupchack did work to keep the legacy of the Lakers organization alive, and for that we thank him. This post is dedicated to the Purple and Gold.

Did you know that the NBA Logo was modeled after the silhouette of a Laker? That's right. Jerry West aka "Mr. Clutch" aka "The Logo," represents the National Basketball Association. This trivia knowledge inspired me to use the NBA Logo with a Lakers twist for a Jerry West fan.
Jerry West photo by Wen Roberts via Logo Design Love
Typically, getting "people" (picture or sculpture) on cakes is not an easy feat, unless you have an expensive edible image printer or you make that person "cartoony". Very rarely will you find someone to look like an exact replica of themselves. I had to tap into my artistic skills when it came to Kobe Bryant. With some white rolled fondant, food colors, a paint brush, and a pin, using a technique that tattoo artists use when tattooing a portrait to get the contours and features of a face on skin, I was able to achieve a decent Kobe Bryant. It's almost like "painting by numbers". Check out the "player development".
I would have photoshopped Kobe's face to simplify the colors of his picture, but I was lucky enough to find one that had already been simplified and broken down with perfect colors.

Here's one of my favorite cakes done for a fella going off to college to play basketball. 

Did you notice the Wheaties box in the background? It happens to have the 2008-2009 NBA Champions on it ;)
Lakers cupcake toppers
Personalized and Lakers inspired ball cake
I designed this cake at Sweet E's Bake Shop the week before the Playoffs to get fans ready. I had to let LA know that the Lakers run this and always!

I can go on and on about my love for the Lakers, but I'll try to keep this about the cakes. Surely I'll have future orders that require me to channel my other passion and I'll have more opportunities to blog about it. Until then, I wish the LA Lakers good luck and health during their 2012-2013 NBA Season. We look forward to October 30!

~Abs of Cakes~

Thursday, October 4, 2012

You are never too old to pursue your passion!

No, I haven't fallen off the face of the earth. 
Yes, I'm still alive (a whole decade older as a matter of fact). 
No, I no longer work at Sweet E's Bakery (as mentioned in my last post). 
And Yes, I still make cakes!

This summer has been an eventful one filled with weddings, travels, Back in June I turned 30! And I must say that I'm loving it so far. Unlike some, I actually embraced turning 30, and wanted to plan something special but not typical, classy yet whimsical, chill but I threw a "Feathers and Bowtie" themed thirtieth birthday bash fully equipped with some Abs of Cakes sweet treats and crafts.

Peacock feather, Abs of Cakes creation.
I made 30 origami bow ties, no two exactly alike, to represent each year of my existence.
I crafted this bow tie necklace from an old neck tie and chain as part of my birthday outfit.
I provided my guests with a random food spread selection...some watermelon (I LOVE watermelon!), Spam musubi, li hing mui apple, and some "bow tie" snack bags...give me a theme and I run with it. I also served meatballs, truffle cheese potatoes, and Sio Pao made specially by my cousin Nerielynn (love you).
With my experiences of organizing events to raise funds for certain causes, I saw my birthday as an opportunity to not only celebrate with my friends and family, but also as a Benefit to send me to Pastry School in New York one day....because you are never too old to pursue your passion! 

Pastry School is expensive. New York is not cheap! I could use all the help I can get to offset the costs of this dream of mine. In lieu of gifts, I asked my guests to help donate to my dream....but of course I wasn't expecting a hand out (even if it was my birthday). I wanted all of my guests to know how serious I am about my craft, without feeling obligated to invest in it. So what did I do? I gave them the opportunity to "win" an Abs of Cakes creations. 

I created five mini cakes with the "feathers and bowtie" theme, Hello Kitty cake pops, and feather/bowtie cake pops.
I really don't know why I stood right in front of my cakes and blocked them out of this shot. Silly me.
Art + Cakes = Love
Some awesome artists, including my amazingly talented friend Ritchie Ramirez, donated their works of art to my cause which were raffled/auctioned off. We raised a good amount of money to kick start this next step into my cake career....and we had fun doing it.  

This is Ritchie Ramirez, ladies and gents. Can't thank this man enough...I owe you :)
Original Art by Ritchie Ramirez...they come as a pair.
Special Thanks goes out to my friend Kenny Rojes for being the highest bidder and proud owner of Ritchie Ramirez original art. Congratulations!
Shout out and thanks goes to the Gallery fam for winning the bid on this Abs of Cakes Bow Tie Cake.
Congrats to all those that won and contributed to my Cause. Endless thank yous for your support. 

In order to be inspired, I think it's important to surround yourself with creative positive people. I truly am blessed with some incredibly supportive friends and family that believe in what I do and continue to inspire me with their presence. 

To my cousins Ron and Joy, thank you so much for opening up your home aka "The Gallery" and for helping me organize my special day. You both are inspirations both individually and as a couple. I love you guys!

 To explain my dream and the objectives of my party in more detail, I created a website for can check it out here...and even donate to the Cause if you feel compelled.  

Thank you for stopping by. I'll try to visit here more often ;). 

~Abs of Cakes~

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