Sunday, November 27, 2011

The 2nd Birthday Cake

I really didn't think my life could get any busier then it already was, but then just over a week ago my daughter turned two. There is always extra work when throwing a party, but I know all of my cake decorating buddies know the pressure is on to make your own kid's cake. Once again my husband begged me to order cupcakes or cake from a local bakery, but again I would not even entertain these thoughts, even if it put my health in jeopardy. After all, we are talking cake!

About a month before the birthday I had started thinking about a theme for my daughter's cake, knowing at two that this may be the last time I have any say in it...and had I given my daughter some input she probably would have told me this year what she wanted too!

So I picked the adorable main character from the book by Taro Gomi, My Friends. In the back of my head I had the image of an amazing cake by one of my favorite people and an incredibly talented cake designer, Kate Sullivan (her blog Cake Power is really cool too!). She made a sculpted cake of Frida Khalo and I have always loved it.

Here is a TINY image...visit Kate's website under "defying gravity" to really see the cake!

I'm sorry to say I didn't take any process photos this time because I was rushing like a mad woman late into the night. But my AMAZING friends at Satin Ice were kind enough to send me the pre-dyed Pink Fondant....It saved TONS of time. I just mixed the pink with a little of the Satin Ice Baby Blue and was able to recreate the intense fuchsia pink color I wanted.

The cake was delicious white cake and chocolate buttercream from our first book.

And it was all worth it when Sophie said, "Mama, I want to hug my cake!"
She also wanted to eat the bird!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Halloween Class at Make Meaning

Just in case you have been following my frenetic pace and wondering what is keeping me so busy I am excited to share the news!

Besides running the day-to-day operations of Confetti Cakes, teaching private lessons and making 600 desserts for the NYCWFF last week...MOST of my time has been taken up working for a fabulous craft company as a consultant. (oh right, and I'm 6 months pregnant and have a toddler at home!)

I was hired by Make Meaning a few months ago to develop, the first of its kind, a walk-in cake decorating experience. We are about to launch the experience in the beautiful, brand new store opening in November but I have even more exciting news.

I'm holding two classes to TEST the experience in two weeks and you and your kids can come!
Since it is right before Halloween, each guest will receive a cake (pre-baked, filled and iced in rolled fondant) that you can spend over an hour decorating with all of the fun embellishments-from disco dusts and sprays to stencils and edible markers and beyond.

Here is all the info:
Wednesday, October 19th

4-5:30pm: Kids Class (7 & up)

8-9:30pm Adult Class

Sign up soon because spaces are limited!

Learn more about Make Meaning: watch their video

Saturday, October 1, 2011

NYC Wine and Food Festival

Our Banner

As I sit here devouring one of the gifts of Dorie Greenspan's Cookie Bar (chocolate cookie!) I am reliving the events of last nights SWEET Event from the NYC Wine and Food Festival which I was lucky enough to be asked to participate in. The event was completely sold out weeks before and now I know why.

Besides all of the proceeds going to benefit SHARE OUR STRENGTH, it was an amazing event, which brought together some of the most talented and well-known Pastry Chefs in the world.
There are too many things to talk about at length so I decided to make a Top Ten list of my favorites of the evening.

Our Table all set-up for service

1) Talking with the famed author and one of the nicest people you will ever meet: Dorie Greenspanand meeting her sweet son Joshua and husband.

2) Meeting Sprinkles Owners, Candace Nelson and her husband , being completely inspired talking to this entrepeneur-mom, tv star (judge of Cupcake Wars)...oh and she is SO nice AND Beautiful, and their cupcakes were delicious too! They have a new NYC store

3) Watching Jacques Torres eat one of our push pops, layer by layer commenting (in front of me) how delicious he thought the buttercream was and how moist the cake was! And meeting his beautiful wife.

4) Seeing my great friend Ron Ben-Israel and his most lovely office manager (and talented photographer) Rebecca. She will be posting photos soon!

5) Meeting Karen DeMasco of Locanda Verde. My favorite restaurant in NYC and every dessert she makes is outstanding. Meanwhile she is so talented and modest and sweet at the same time.

6) Eating the S'mores from The Sea Grill and reconnecting with Michael Gabriel

7) Hanging out with long time colleague and Top-Chef Judge Johnny Iuzzini and hearing about his recent escapades.

Me, Dorie and Johnny

8) Meeting Alessandra Altieri from Bouchon bakery, she as so kind to come over and introduce herself, and her desserts were delicious.

9) Enjoying a fun dinner beforehand at one of the best Mexican joints n NYC, La Esquina and working with the two best assistants a girl could ask for, Liz Shim and Holly Bollig.

Holly and Liz

10) Meeting Christine Quinn and having her rave about my sweet husband (who used to work with her) and I couldn't believe she remembered the cake I made for City Hall's 200th birthday.

Push pop with two layers of cake and three layers of Buttercream

It was great seeing so many wonderful friends and colleagues and I was very
pleased that the 600 desserts were loved by so many and people commented that they had never seen the push-pops before and thought they were delicious. They were all gone under 3 hrs. My only wish was to have more time to check out the other tables, it was a big event with three separate rooms. Probably better for my health :-)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Marlin Cake

Whoa, this summer is flying by. It took a hurricane for me to sit long enough to post a new cake entry. I made this cake for one of my favorite clients, I think out of his six birthday's I have made five of his cakes! (See Oscar's fifth cake here)

Oscar has been spending this summer near the water, his Dad drew a Marlin fish to put on his birthday invite and his mom (who is a very cool designer) orchestrated the cake. I came up with a sketch based on her direction and away we went. It's a completely designed nautical themed cake, with a sugar Marlin popping out of the top, half vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream and the other half was a decadent chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting (I used the recipe from our kids book: Confetti Cakes for Kids).

Enjoy the photos!

Marlin fish made out of white gum paste on a wooden skewer and painted with luster dusts and gels.




Buoys painted with candy colors and petal dusts

Oscar's name spelled out to look like rope. I used gum paste and a clay gun.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Jedediah Revisited

A few months ago, My mom and Aunt went to lunch out Jamesport, N.Y. They were visiting the Victorian home, now turned into a restaurant and hotel, Jedediah Hawkins Inn. As my mom described the house I relived the making of a wedding cake we did a few years ago. It was an exact replica of the home. We tried to execute every last detail down to the paint colors and the hydrangea bushes that were recently planted.

The actual cake was Banana (one of my favorites) paired with Chocolate Ganache. Since the cake took place in August and it was extremely hot, and the wedding was to take place in a tent (read: NO Air Conditioning) I convinced the mother of the bride away from Chocolate buttercream in favor of the Ganache for stability reasons, thank goodness she agreed!

Anyway, I thought it was fun to look at the actual photos of the Inn next to the cake!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Valentine's Demo

This Thursday, February 10th join me as I demo our decadent brownies in Yonkers, NY. First 20 attendees will get a FREE copy of our best-selling book: The Confetti Cakes Cookbook (it's in its sixth printing!)

Here's the info:

Sweet Valentine’s Day Treats With Celebrity Chef Elisa Strauss

Hosted By Westchester’s Premier Waterfront Condominium- Riverview Club


FREE BAKING DEMO on Thursday, February 10 From 6pm to 8pm

Learn How To Whip Up Tasty Indulgences


Your Coverage Is Invited

Yonkers, NY – February 2, 2010 – Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Elisa Strauss, owner and designer of Confetti Cakes®, will be demonstrating how to bake perfect holiday desserts at Riverview Club, Westchester’s premier waterfront condominium. On Thursday, February 10 from 6pm to 8pm, The Food Network veteran who frequently appears on “Extreme Cake Challenges,” will be offering up her expertise and showing guests how to prepare and decorate delicious Valentine’s treats. Scrumptious samples of her award-winning recipes will be served throughout the presentation.

The event is FREE and already filling up fast; those interested are encouraged to RSVP quickly to Staci Zampa at 914-965-6360 or email while there are still spaces available. The first twenty attendees will receive a complimentary signed copy of The Confetti Cakes Cookbook

Monday, February 7, 2011

Blast from the past

What's the saying? "Imitation is the sincerest of flattery" by Charles Caleb Colton
Just yesterday I was walking down Amsterdam Avenue and I was stopped dead in my tracks by a wedding cake magazine I saw in the window. I felt like I was dreaming. I was looking at my design on a cake, yet I hadn't made the cake. Yet, the design, piped in Royal Icing and using the brush embroidery technique, was what I had piped with my own two hands, but I didn't. You know what I mean.

It was my pattern but to be honest it was executed much better, much cleaner then I had! So I went inside the store to see who did it but alas it didn't say on first glance but I took a photo so you can see. The magazine looks to be from Australia which is such a coincidence. I have at least three classes this year with students flying in from Australia.

My Original Design

I looked up the original version that was featured in Modern Bride Magazine (R.I.P.) in 2003! The cake isn't even on our website anymore (besides the press section).

Well, I'm flattered.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Target and Confetti Cakes

Have you been in a Target store recently?
If so then maybe you have seen some of my handiwork.

A few months ago I had the pleasure of working with the uber-creative design team behind the Target in-store ads for Valentine's Day! Since it is February, I thought it was time to share the awesome process I was apart of. I was asked to design cookies and cupcakes that complimented the look of the Target products. This was one of my first gigs as a food stylist but with my background in art, design and fashion (oh right... two books and ten years of cake making too) it all felt really natural.

Thanks to the amazing stylist Joe Maer for hiring me and my friend Mary from Cake girls for recommending me. Let me know if you have a chance to see the ads!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Happy Birthday Vassar!

It's the 150th Birthday of Vassar College, my alma mater where all my baking began in my senior year of college. Fast forward a number of years (just a few years of course) and I am a professional cake designer. I'm honored they chose to feature one of my cakes in the advertising.

It is ironic since I studied studio art at Vassar and the cake shown, made for Bride's magazine, was inspired by the artist Wayne Theibaud.

Also, check out the latest blog posting of Sweetest Couture, they included us with some of the BEST cake designers on Earth, what an honor!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Classes Update

Just a little update on a class coming up at the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) in New York City this March. The class is for professionals and individuals that have some experience with cake design. Here is the description for the class (a lot of techniques are covered):

Elisa Strauss, Sculpted Cakes, March 21, 22, 23, 2011, 7:30am-12noon, $750.00
Any fashionista will adore this bag. It makes an unforgettable Mother’s Day or birthday gift. By changing the shape and adjusting the handle, you could make a briefcase-style bag, too. If you can make this cake, you will have the fundamentals to make any sculpted cake. Although not obvious as a tiered cake, this doweled creation is made unique by gum paste decorations that personalize it to any occasion. Students in this class will receive credit from the ACF.

If you are interested in registering please check out ICE's website.

On another note, I will not be teaching in Paris this year. Unfortunately we could not get all the details squared away in time but I hope to be going in the future. In the meantime, the owner has just had a baby so hasn't taken down the course description. Please DO NOT sign-up for this course.

As always, I am teaching PRIVATE classes to students from all over the world and working on a whole bunch of creative projects that I hope to be able to reveal later this year. I'm also excited to be moving my studio next month; so lots of exciting changes in 2011!

I tweeted but not sure if I mentioned in my last blog, our first book The Confetti Cakes Cookbook was just re-ordered for its SIXTH Printing.