Wednesday, December 24, 2008


December is a crazy month for just about everyone, except Cake Designers. I mean if you have a retail bakery then of course you will be very busy with holiday orders but usually cake designers are not driven by holiday traffic, when people are baking at home they don't get married or have an elaborate cake at their family event, so we have our share of work to do but we are not "crazed with cakes." And although that is generally true, I have certainly done my share of Christmas present cakes and even a dreidel cake for Hanukkah. But when you run a small business I can say without hesitation you are ALWAYS busy. The end of the year brings a fervor of cleaning, book signings, photoshoots, planning for next year and year-end accounting (I love that quick books), not to mention celebrating! We had our Confetti Cakes Holiday party last week and then I was at Ron Ben-Israel's home (a.k.a. The King of Cakes) on Sunday making Latkes with my friend Zac Young (Executive Pastry Chef at Butter).

But of course when my friend called me up from Sports Illustrated Kids and said they needed a cake to celebrate their 20th Anniversary how could I say no? (Well, quite honestly I don't know how to say "No" and that is why I usually do not answer the phone!) So we replicated their mascot Buzz Beamer popping out of our delicious Chocolate cake. You will have to check out the issue in 2009, Buzz will be featured on the contents page.

So we all know what my new year's resolution is right? To write a more consistent blog...and to win the next challenge on the Food Network :-). The last one I did will air on Dec, 26th.
Happy Holidays to all!

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Style Network

One of the three wedding cakes I made for my very own wedding

Am I the world's worst blogger? I know it! Trust me I am always filled with TONS of ideas to write about on the blog...I even keep a list of things I want to talk about! Somehow I just never find the time to sit down and write it.

So here is a good excuse...we will be featured on The Style Network tomorrow, Tuesday 12/16 evening at 9pm/8 central. The Show is, Martha Stewart Living: "The Art of Cakes II" A Wedding Special.

The awesome producers over at Martha Stewart Weddings came to the bakery and filmed us and sat me down for an interview over at the MS Headquarters. They also took the DVD and photographs from my very own wedding to incorporate into the show. They wanted to show what a cake designer, someone who is in the industry and designs wedding cakes for a living did for her own wedding. So check it out and see for yourselves.

Me and my hubby, October 6, 2007. Photo by Jamie Watts

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Leaving on a Jet Plane.....

That's right I am off to Savannah, Georgia on Monday to teach a class at Minette Rushing's. I'm very excited to meet all my students and to make one of my favorite cakes from our new book, the Safari Gift Box Cake. Last time I was in Savannah I was on Paula Deen's Show and I had to carry a huge sculpted disco ball and decorated sugar cookies, so I am happy to say that I am traveling a lot lighter this time. I have been so busy that I didn't even have time to write a blog entry but yep, our newest book, Confetti Cakes for Kids, came out last week on November 5th.

We have had a lot of events going on besides our usual cake orders so it was especially busy. We had one press event last Tuesday at Dylan's Candy Bar. We were lucky enough to have Rachel from the awesome blog Cupcakestakesthecake attend and she took lots of great photos.

Thursday I was talking with Mario Bosquez the host of Living Today on Martha Stewart Radio about baking secrets. I even brought him some of our cupcakes made with Brown Sugar Buttercream swirls on top...yum!

Then Martha Stewart Television is working on a special that will air on the Style Network December 16th so they came to visit us in the bakery. I've been lucky enough to be interviewed by many blogs recently so just in case I haven't had a chance to mention them before here are a few:

And of course I would be remiss if I didn't talk about the cakes we had this week too. We created a bottle of Champagne made out of chocolate cake and vanilla buttercream, standing on a silver platter, with grapes and a napkin all made out of sugar. Today we had a cake go out to celebrate a 70th birthday, how exciting! I wonder what I will be doing at 70? Probably still baking!

Coming up:
Tomorrow, Nov.16th we have a recipe in PARADE
Cake Classes, Dec. 4th (sold out) and Dec. 6th
Book Signing in CT, Dec. 7th

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

We have these little pumpkin cakes from our new book. I think they look like mini pumpkins with funny faces just like Mr. Potato Head.

I love Halloween! When I was a little girl I used to spend a lot of time planning my costume and then proceed to complain to my mom if she made me put a coat on to cover it up.

Well, yesterday was a lot of fun and a really hectic day. I started out at the Today Show in the morning, showing Kathie Lee and Hoda some of our cookie lollipops from our new book, Confetti Cakes for Kids. Instead of making them in the design of candy lollipops we created ghosts, pumpkins and witch hats. (kinda like we did in our first book, The Confetti Cakes Cookbook, but less fashion focused.Watch it here and click here for the recipe.

Everyone at the Today show was so nice to work with, it takes so much behind-the-scenes preparation for just a four minute segment! We had brought along a few cakes too but we ran out of time.

We made this Witch Hat cake especially for the show but I don't think anyone could see it!

After that show I ran over to Martha Stewart to shoot a segment for a wedding special on The Style Network. I'll let you know when that airs.

Well, we have a jam packed couple of days with more classes today and next week, while we work on sugar decorations for our upcoming cakes and start making cookie dough for our next big event! And the Food Network just called for a HUGE challenge....

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Batman Lego Video

Cake is covered in rolled fondant marked with rolling pins to create brick effect

Remember a few weeks ago I told you that we were working on another video? Well it's finally done. It's of the Batman Lego Cake we made for the launch of the new Batman Lego Video.
The video is an abbreviated version of the process for making the cake and all the figurines but I hope it will give you a sense of it all. My friend, Lisa Stock, the amazing filmmaker edited down over ten hours of video tape and that was with stopping the camera every few minutes or else she would've had over 12 days worth of footage. The cake took about twice as long since we had all those stops but I hope you think it is worth it, see the video here. Here are some more still photos of the process.

Cake is airbrushed

I was hoping to get to my computer to write more but between cakes, classes, interviews and the release of our new book, Confetti Cakes for Kids, there has not been one extra second (or at least that is what I tell myself and thus the reason I have been avoiding the gym too.) Just to prove it to you (or me as the case may be) here are two great blog postings from two of my students from the last two weeks (I actually taught over eight private classes and four more this week too!) Tessa came from California and Bettinia came from Germany!

Just starting to decorate with the windows

Lastly, this Thursday morning I will be on the Today Show! I'll be on with the two hosts, Kathie Lee and Hoda around 10AM EST. So we are frantically trying to get all the cakes and cookies finished for that segment. I have a rehearsal the Wednesday night before so everything must be finished by tomorrow night...o.k. Bye!

Back of Cake

Sunday, October 12, 2008

It's LIVE!

Here's the cake Michelle made to surprise her College friends on "Rach to the Rescue"

After many, many months our brand new website is up and running! The new site will allow you to see some new cakes, link directly to our videos and pre-order our new book, Confetti Cakes for Kids, directly from us or Amazon. This is all thanks to countless hours from our amazing web designer Kristin Schreiber who is so creative and efficient and this all happened as she became a new mom! I swear she took less then two weeks off. So if you haven't seen the new website check it out here.
Behind-the-scenes at Michelle's beautiful house.

The last few weeks have been so busy and besides finishing up the site: we had three beautiful cakes go out, the segment of me on Rachel Ray aired (which I never got to talk about so here are some behind-the-scene photos), I did another segment on the show ABC News Now, and we were featured today on one of my favorite blogs,

Delicious chocolate cake and swiss meringue buttercream!

Our Batman LEGO cake has gotten so much press I can hardly wait until our video comes out. I am meeting with the producer tomorrow to see the first cut so I'll keep you posted.

Michelle was a great sport and she received the VERY first copy of Confetti Cakes for Kids! The entire segment came together because of the two awesome producers Cara and Wes!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

LEGO Batman comes to NYC!

This past Tuesday we delivered the heaviest cake we have ever made. Warner Bros. asked us to recreate the landscape of the new LEGO Batman Video game. This cake was comprised of three different cake flavors (vanilla, chocolate and red velvet) and was entirely edible. Even the sugar sculptures were made out of sugar. If this entry doesn't make much sense it's because there is a huge lack of sleep going on. We have been working on the cake for twelve days straight.

Dare I say this was the biggest cake I EVER made? Well, let's just say it was the HEAVIEST that I had to transport. This cake was close to 300 lbs. The six foot tall sock monkey we made for the Food Network's Extreme Cake Challenge was much taller and may have been up there in weight but it stayed in the studio. For this cake we had to enlist the help of SIX guys from the neighborhood to help us get it out of the bakery. That may sound like we just had to lift and go, but what I need to tell you is that you have to get through three doors, get over the foot of steel that extends toward the ceiling at the end of the stairs and then walk up four steep steps all before getting it into the van and driving in NYC traffic to our final destination!

An exciting part of this project is that we took over ten hours of footage depicting the making of the cake and figurines, and my friend Lisa will create a video similar to our first YouTube video.
Here's a quick video of the cake cutting:

This cake could not have been accomplished without the amazing work of Amanda, Liz and Jen (all pictured in the photo) and Edgard who came in to help too!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

DJ Ray

Despite making cakes for the last ten years I had never created a turntable. We are working on getting some newer cake photos up as we redesign our site but I could not resist giving you a sneak peak of one of our newest groom’s cakes. Our client, Rosalie was so great to work with. She wanted to make a turntable for her now hubby, Ray, with his favorite Depeche Mode album listing “their song.” Along with the cake we made some sugar decorations that brought us all back a decade. We recreated Ray’s DJ jacket (you know the kind that has satin fabric and old school embroidery!), a basketball since he played in college and a replica of his college baseball hat.

Rosalie said Ray was floored…well here you can see what she said for yourself:

Monday, September 8, 2008

Rachael Ray

Logo made in sugar!

Big things are happening over here at Confetti Cakes. As I write this I am so excited I don’t know where to begin. First off I have to tell you the very first copy of our new book, Confetti Cakes for Kids has arrived! Even my parents haven’t seen it yet! It’s hard to believe something that we have worked on for SO long is finally here. It will be in stores by November 5th.

Next up, I’m going to be on the Rachael Ray ShowTOMORROW, Sept. 9th. Rachael is launching a very special new series called, “Rach to the Rescue.” Tuesday is just the first of the two segments I will be on. Stay tuned for the next big air-date but watch tomorrow so you know what is going on. I can’t reveal anything extra at this time but you know as soon as I can I will post some behind-the-scenes photos…all I can say is that this shoot was SO much fun.

We heard it was Rachael’s Birthday last week when we shot the first segment so Confetti Cakes made her a cute little popcorn cake to help Rachael celebrate her 40th birthday. The popcorn is one of our mini cake projects from our first book.

September has brought us a loaded schedule of private classes, PR for book #2, some HUGE cakes and we are getting ready to roll out our new website. Oh, and did I mention I’m moving too! As my mom would say, “life is never dull.”

Monday, August 18, 2008

Design *Sponge Podcast

Just two weeks ago we created two beautiful wedding cakes with sugar flowers that we had never made before. One had gorgeous deep purple calla lillies and the other had large garden roses. I realize I am always talking about what's going on in and out of the bakery but I rarely share photos of our new cakes. We are in the process of a redesign of our website but in the meantime here are two of our recent cakes with flowers. Jessy from Fleurs was one of the amazing florists we worked with and was really helpful as we tried to match the flowers in sugar!

That same week we were visited by Grace Bonney of Design *Sponge. She and Christy Kolar stopped by to record a podcast, after listening I realize I need to strike the word "Um" from my vocabulary. I talked about how I got started in cakes and what it's like to be a small business owner, they also posted our chocolate cookie recipe from our first book. Design *Sponge is one of my newest favorites, it's so inspirational. Check out the podcast here.

Since we are talking about weddings and blogs I think I forgot to mention the fabulous blog post from Martha Stewart Weddings, The Bride's Guide by Darcy Miller from back in June!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

November will be here before we know it!

It has been too long since I last wrote. July and August have been really busy with working on our brand new website, and some other fun'll just have to wait and see. The most exciting news is that November will be here before we know it and you know what that means? Yep, our new book is launching! So we will be busy preparing for our book party and lots of demonstrations and book signings. People have already been talking about it and the book is even up for pre-sales on Amazon. Here's the cutest blog entry from Cake Journal, I love everything Louise talks about.

Some people have been so excited that they have already starting making our Monster Cake featured on the cover of our new book. Becky of Cake Confections made TWO Monster Cakes for her most special clients, her daughters Darby and Mekenna. They turned out great!

November also has me traveling back down to Savannah. The last time I was there I had the honor of being on Paula Deen's show, "Paula's Party" but this time I have the pleasure of being hosted by Minette Rushing who has an incredible custom cake company. I will be teaching our sculpted Safari Cake from the new book. For more info about the class check out Minette's Blog.

The coming fall has us booked with a ton of classes, lots of wedding cakes and as always our realistic sculpted cakes so stay tuned.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

YouTube take II

We had so much success with our first YouTube video that we thought it would be a good idea to put up my compilation reel. This reel takes little snips from some past television experiences and rolls it all into one. Watch it here.

We also posted one of our recent television segments from April on Youtube. The show is a creation of Gourmet Magazine and aired on PBS. The show (which is a James Beard Award winner) is called, "Gourmet's Diary of a Foodie," and the segment focuses on Trompe L'oeil: The Art of Culinary Deception. It shows me making our Sushi cake. Both videos were edited by my amazingly talented friend and film artist, Lisa Stock. Another woman made a YouTube video about our cakes too, we didn't even know but that was so nice, watch here.

The last two weeks have been really busy, a ton of great cakes, and six classes…not to mention installing my bathroom soap dish in the wall…I’m talking cement, grout and silicone…plumbing is just another art form. Here are some other cakes we've done that tried to "trick the eye."

Monday, June 16, 2008

Hi Y'all

Paula and me on set right after taping the show

Since I started my company many moons ago I have been so fortunate to be featured on numerous television shows. One of the best parts of my job is communicating to people the art of cake decorating. I'm able to do this through demonstrations, television appearances, teaching classes and through our books (our newest book just went up on Amazon for pre-sales!).

One of my all time fun experiences was with Paula Deen on her television show, "Paula's Party." It was a Disco-themed party, so we made her a disco ball cake with the show logo on it, (Do not ask how I got that cake on a small commuter plane from NY to Savannah). We also made disco ball cupcakes and some delicious platform shoe cookies, Paula was wearing the real shoes and a wig too.

As with all the shows I have been on the producers were amazing, so professional and organized and Paula was especially great! It struck me while I was on set with her how much she says, "Y'all" to the studio audience, and it is only now that I realize I am way out of my league when I use that same phrase during my demo's. Paula is FROM the South, I was born in the Bronx (and not the Bronx Zoo as my older brother told me) and grew up on the North Shore of Long Island. So even though I probably don't have the right to say it, I still do because it is such an inviting way of saying we are ALL part of one group! I can't say enough nice things about Paula (and her staff) so I am sure she would not mind the next time I say, "Y'all know what I mean" during one of my classes.

Producers Aimee and Michelle with me before the show

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Ten Best

Last night was the award ceremony held by Pastry Art and Design Magazine at ICE, honoring the 2008 recipients of the Ten Best Pastry Chefs in America. I was humbly included with nine other amazing pastry chefs:
*Chef Ciril Hitz, Johnson & Wales, Providence, RI
*Chef Vincent Pilon, Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, Las Vegas, NV
*Chef Deborah Racicot, Gotham Bar & Grill, New York, NY
*Chef Gilles Renusson, Grand Rapids Community College, Grand Rapids, MI
*Chef Sebastien Rouxel, Thomas Keller Restaurant Group, New York, NY
*Chef Alfred Stephens, Olives, New York, NY
*Chef Alex Stupak, WD-50, New York, NY
*Chef Stephane Treand, St. Regis Resort Monarch Beach, Dana Point, CA
*Chef Jenifer Witte, Alex, Wynn Las Vegas Resort & Country Club, Las Vegas, NV

Look for all of us on the cover of the next issue of Pastry Art and Design. Each of us will be profiled with our featured recipe.

It also happened to be my birthday, so in addition to getting such a fabulous award I shared the evening with my family and friends. For the event we recreated one of the designs and recipes from our new book that will be out this fall, Confetti Cakes for Kids. We created 500 mini cupcakes using our vanilla cake brushed with raspberry preserves topped with lemon curd buttercream and three handmade marzipan flowers placed on each mini cake. Of course, I did not do this myself, without Kathleen, Amanda, Stephanie and Candice (not pictured) nothing would ever get done!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Go ahead brag about yourself...

In my family we have many funny sayings, or as my husband will tell you, at least they are funny to the entire Strauss clan. So, whenever we mention something great that has happened to one of us a common reply from the peanut gallery is, "Go ahead brag about yourself" this keeps us all firmly planted on this earth. I love the fact that my family is so supportive and at the same time lets me know exactly where I stand...right beside them. And let me add that this saying has never stopped one of us from letting everyone know our good here is a list of some great stuff that has happened to Confetti Cakes recently...and thanks I will go ahead and brag about ourselves!

1) Our YouTube Video has over 600,000 hits and a five star rating!
2) We were one of the featured videos and #11 most subscribed, #1 most subscribed this month, 18 most viewed on YouTube, thank you You Tube!
3) A nice feature on four NY Cake Decorators was in GOTHAM magazine's June/July issue, and we were one of them!
4) I was picked as one of Pastry Art & Design's, Ten Best Pasty Chefs in America for 2008, event on June 9th.
5) Our YouTube video has been embedded in a bunch of other great websites:
6) posted some of our fun birthday cakes for some inspiring ideas in Dream Cakes and Be a Baker.
7) Last but not least our first cookbook has gone into its fourth printing!

O.k. back to making cakes!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Teaching, teaching and more teaching...

Me and Ana Ruiz, a cake designer from Mexico

So guess what I've been doing this guessed it...teaching! When I started giving private lessons and group classes I had no idea what to expect. I've basically let my students guide the way, creating their own curriculum by telling me what they most want to learn. Students have come from all over the United States and all over the world including England, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, Brazil and more! Many are professional pastry chefs and cake designers that want to master specific cakes from our book, or certain techniques such as sculpted cakes. Others are individuals that have full time jobs and cake decorating is a hobby that they love. We have also given some group classes but after ten people it is tight in our little bakery!

New York Cake Decorators- Meet up: group class everyone made a mini handbag

Tomorrow a woman is coming from Paris. She is about to open a pastry shop and wants to know all about running the business and how to make great cupcakes, cookies and mini cakes, that she can sell in her shop. In addition to teaching in my bakery, Thursday night I will be teaching at The French Culinary Institute. I am a visiting professor and go into the professional pastry classes to teach the basics of fondant and some quick decorations. It is so great after many years of making cakes to be able to give back to people who are just starting their careers. And I am happy to report in less then one week we have had over 3,900 views to our YouTube video. So I guess you can say I have taught over three thousand people how to sculpt a labradoodle out of cake...o.k. just kidding!

Me and Hiroko, from Japan. She made a giftbox cake with the lid open. The lid, box and tissue paper are all edible.

Monday, May 12, 2008

You Tube Video

It's up! Our first YouTube video. As promised, we created a video of me creating my dad's birthday cake back in April of his dog, a golden labradoodle . My friend and amazing film maker Lisa Stock, lent me her camera, helped me film over five hours worth of the process and then she edited it down to a mere four minutes. As the video says "from 4 days to 4 minutes". This is the perfect format for people to see what I actually do. We build a block of cake, carve it down and then decorate. Sometimes I take still shots of the process but they don't do it justice.

For my dad's cake we started with our Old-fashioned Vanilla Cake and Vanilla Buttercream, (the recipes are in our book) split and filled 10-inch round cakes. Stacked them, carved them, and took the cakes apart to dowel so it was structurally sound. After the cake was sculpted I "crumb coated" the cake, which means I sealed in all the crumbs with a layer of buttercream. I made the head by carving styrofoam, because we had to drive the cake to my parents' house and I wasn't taking any chances. Then we covered the cakes with a mixture of white chocolate and vanilla rolled fondant. The plastic wrap and towels around the cake are to keep the icing from drying it. It took a long time to make all that fur!

The little birthday cake in front of the dog is also real cake and the "Happy Birthday" letters, collar and eyes are made out of gum paste. I hope you enjoy the video, watch it here.
Photos: Jordan Pique

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Color Proofs

This week is flying! We've been so busy in the bakery and wedding season has just started. Our week started on Sunday because I gave a demo for Pastry Scoop's Spring Conference at FCI on how to make our handbag cake and other sculpted cakes. The last few days I've been busy teaching private lessons, preparing for another demo that's tonight at ICE, working on a wedding cake filled with beautiful cherry blossoms for this weekend and then...more edits for our second book! We've already been through four rounds of edits concerning the text and the recipes, this time around we are seeing our first set of color proofs. This round is for looking at the photos to make sure they aren't too bright or too dark, including anything extra that you may have not seen when you took the photo, like a little extra frosting all over my hands! I put a picture here so you can see. Along the bottom you can see information written in Chinese, our book is being printed in China, and a chart telling what round of proofs we are on. At the top you can see the color breakdown. The color breakdown reminds me of my days working in textile design.

Lastly, with everything else going on, InStyle Weddings did a special segment on the Today Show yesterday and included our wine bottle cake to show one of our Groom's Cakes, I've posted the link here. And did I mention I planted flowers in front of the bakery last Saturday? Whew, o.k. gotta run!