Thursday, September 2, 2010

Candy Buffets!

Wondering what the new trend in wedding and party events are?  Well check it out!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wedding Cakes on a Budget

Just because you can't afford to spend $1,000.00 on a wedding cake doesn't mean you can't get a great tasting and elegant looking cake.  Know your budget, know your limits, but still know that there are always possibilities out there.  Many of us cannot afford to spend a lot of money, but still want some cake.  Though budget determines a lot, there are ways to have your cake and eat it too!

For more information read the following article:

For more cake tips check back soon!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tips on the Perfect Pound Cake

Curious how to get that pound cake recipe to turn out the photo on the recipe?  Who wouldn't!  Try these tips and tricks as well as the recipe provided in my article!

For more tips and articles check back here or at  Follow me on Twitter!

Kali's Top 10 Wedding Venues

Not sure where to host your wedding this year?  I have reviewed my favorite Top 10 Venues out here in the Salt Lake area.  You can find my article at Kali's Top 10 Venues.

Have a friend or family member getting married?  Share the site with them!  I'm sure they will appreciate it.  It's hard to know what venues allow what, cost the most, or even have the right appeal.  At least now you have a good idea about where to start your search.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


August 17, 2010

On August 17th, I did a small catering job and wedding cake for a bride named Shurna.  They met me at the Utah Bridal Expo this year at South Towne.  The event was held at Le Jardin in Sandy.  I have been to this venue about five times now.  For those of you who have never been there, it's a set of greenhouses.  They are full of flowers, stone walkways, and gorgeous arches.  It's a really pretty venue.  My only problem with this venue is that it gets really warm.  It is, after all, a greenhouse.

Le Jardin

Shurna ordered a Romantics Platter which is chocolate covered strawberries, pretzels, butter cookies, and marshmallow bon bons.  She also ordered the Cookie and Brownie Platter which consists of brownies and assorted cookies.  Her colors were pink, gold, and white and she was going for a very elegant theme to the entire wedding.

Le Jardin was about 75-80 in there.  It was hot.  Not a good place for chocolate covered items.  I placed each tray upon another tray filled with ice.  However the chocolate was getting soft no matter what.  I had warned the bride of this previously though.  So there wasn't much to be done.  It was a beautiful reception.

Trays and Set Up

I placed rose petals around the trays and labeled each tray as well

Chocolate Covered Pretzels

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Chocolate Covered Butter Cookies and Brownies

White Fondant with Gold Pearls
Serves 125

Strawberry Swirl with Chocolate and Vanilla Creme Filling

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Buttercream: Move Aside Betty Crocker!

I get a lot of clients that really do not know what buttercream is.  Many compare buttercream with "frosting".  Frosting being that canned crud you find in the grocery store (Sorry Betty Crocker, it's true).  It's overly sweet, grainy, and stiff.  Basically it is the definition of "gross".  A lot of people do not know how to make buttercream, therefore they buy this little jar and call it golden. Well lets fix that today, shall we?

First of all, there are several types of buttercream (and no, Betty Crocker or Pillsbury jar frostings are not one of them):

Simple or American Buttercream - This is your standard buttercream that many homemakers use and even some commercial bakeries.  It consists of fats creamed together and then powdered sugar beaten in.  Flavorings and colors can easily be added to this batch.

Decorators Buttercream - This is also known as "Rose Paste".  It is creamed much less than Simple Buttercream and used for decorations (i.e. roses).

Pastry Cream Buttercream or German Buttercream - Made by beating together pastry cream and softened butter.  Not a very stable buttercream and is usually used for fillings.

Italian Buttercream or Swiss Buttercream - Boiled water and sugar (simple syrup) is cooked to the softball stage and poured over beaten egg whites.  Butter, flavorings, and colors are then added.  This is the most stable form of buttercream and is used by many wedding cake decorators and bakeries.  This buttercream has an eggy aftertaste at times.

Buttercream Fondant - Made by beating equal parts of buttercream and fondant until smooth.  Does not harden over like normal fondant, but is much more pliable. However, in high heat this tends to break down.

Which is better?
Well depends on the use.  If you are just making a simple round for a family party, go with the Simple or American Buttercream.  If you are making a wedding cake or have a larger tiered cake (and especially if it will be outdoors), I recommend Italian Buttercreams.  Decorators Buttercream should only be used for roses and other buttercream decorations that you need to stand up.  Do not use it just to ice your cake.  Buttercream fondant can be used in place of normal fondant, however just remember that in high heat or humidity it will fall apart.  Pastry Cream Buttercream should ONLY BE USED FOR FILLINGS.  Do not frost a cake with this.  One, it's a pastry cream.  Two, it will break down.  Three, only use this as a filling if you plan on keeping the item in a fridge. 

Classic American Buttercream
1/2 C. Shortening
1/2 C. Unsalted Butter
2 T. Milk or Heavy Cream
1 t. Extract
4-6 C. Sifted Powdered Sugar

1.  Cream fats until fully incorporated.  Slowly stream in milk until mixed.  Whip for two minutes.
2.  Add extract.
3.  Slowly add powdered sugar until buttercream has reached the consistency you desire.  I prefer it to stick to the paddle when you lift up your mixer.

And there you have it...BUTTERCREAM.  True, American, creamy and sweet buttercream.  Now, go out there and make yourself some buttercream.  It's quick, it's easy, and you can frost cupcakes, cakes, cookies, or whatever.

Happy Eating!

...and no more jar frosting.  Please.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Brailsford Wedding

August 7th, 2010
Susan and Roland

Yesterday I catered a wedding of about 150 people for Susan and Roland.  Let me start by saying Susan and her family are BY FAR my most favorite clients.  They were so laid back, left decisions up to me, and were so grateful for our services.  Her mother tipped myself and my server for working so hard and then came back later and tipped us a second time because the guests were commenting how great it was.  The bride, Susan, gave me a hug and everytime she passed by me just kept saying "thank you".  They are a great family.

When we first arrived to the catering site (which is outside) it was POURING rain.  Winds were blowing over vases, knocking off tablecloths, and it even started to hail.  We put everything inside the house's kitchen, but ultimately unless we could set up outside we were going to be behind schedule.  Originally appetizer service was going to start at 5:30pm.  The rain did not cease until close to 5:15pm.  Everything was behind schedule, tablecloths were soaked, and flower vases ruined.  The bride, groom, everyone still had a smile on their face.  They were just happy to be getting married.  They didn't care.  Honestly, this is how it should be.

Once the ceremony finally got going we began to set up.  Everything went smoothly and we served at 7:00pm.  Guests lined up to eat and came back for seconds.  This was the funnest wedding I have been to in awhile. Guests were laughing, dancing, drinking, and everyone was having a good time.  The toast was almost like "Comedy Centrals Roast".  It was hilarious.  When we left people were still partying and I have a feeilng they were going to be there all night.  My type of wedding.

I did not get a chance to take photos before the event.  This was taken after eating.  I will get more from the photographer.

The Menu
Thai Chicken Skewers with Spicy Peanut Sauce
Fruit Trays
Vegetable Trays
Fresh Spinach Salad with Red Wine Vinegrette
Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Honey BBQ
Turkey, Swiss, and Avocado Ranch Sandwiches

The cake was my FAVORITE PART.  The bride loved my "Ashley" cake design.  We changed out the colors and flowers, and I have to say I almost like this one more than the original.

The Cake
Bottom Tier - Peanut Butter with Chocolate
Middle and Top Tiers - Raspberry Lemonade

The cake had brown fondant, ivory ribbon border, ivory piping, and fall colored flowers.  These colors really went with the theme they had going outside.  Everything was brown, green, and orange.  It was gorgeous.  Especially on the setting of a horse farm.

So many guests just came up to look at the cake.  One lady asked for my card because two of her daughters are getting married this year and she wants to use me!  I have to say, this cake fits the bride's personality.  Laid back, fun, and awesome.

How much would I charge for this cake?  This cake is $400.00 and serves 150 guests.  Topsy turvy cakes are the hardest type of cake to make, therefore you have to pay top dollar for them.  Not to mention the piping detail on the sides.

Aside from the rain, hail, and heavy winds, we did have one set back.  Once the cake was assembled, the cake table began to sink in the wet ground and lean to the same side the top tier is already leaning to.  This made the top tier start to slide to the side more.  I placed two dowels in the cake to prop it up, then covered them with flowers.  While myself and my server steadied the cake, three men from the bridal party lifted the table and placed two by fours underneath.  Once done, the cake was stable again.  She held strong the rest of the night! The florist also shorted me on the flowers.  These types of cakes take LOTS OF FLOWERS.  So I had to steal pieces here and there from the centerpieces.  Daisy here, hydrangea there, but in the end, I got enough flowers to cover the cake.  Phew.  If they are not covered, all you see are the foam and supports.  Let's just say, not very pretty to see.

By far my favorite wedding.  Food, cake, and the bridal party.  Everyone was awesome, everyone loved the food, and the family was gracious. 

Happy eating!

Thursday, August 5, 2010


At the Utah Bridal Expo this year I gave away a free wedding cake.  The winner was named Emily.  Basically she won a four-tier cake with a credit of a said amount to decorate those four-tiers.

Emily was a very sweet girl.  She kept saying "thank you" even though she won the cake through a drawing.  She was very appreciative and even paid for a tasting.  She would call and state she couldn't wait to see her cake and never gave off that she was anything more than grateful.  She was so thankful she won a free cake and so was her family.  It was nice to have a bride that was thankful and not acting as though she deserved the works.

For this cake I would normally charge $375.00 and no that doesn't include flowers.

The cake was four tiers.  The top and third tier being one inch shorter (called off-set's a new fad).  Her wedding theme was very elegant.  So we elected to do white fondant with a simple ribbon border, then white vine piping on the second and bottom tiers.  The flowers were provided by Heritage Gardens (her reception site...which by the way...I love this place).  I arranged them on the cake and table. 

Cake Flavors
Bottom Tier: Lemon Cake with Raspberry Buttercream
Third Tier: Chocolate/Vanilla Marble with Chocolate Buttercream
Second and Top Tiers: Coconut Cake with Coconut Buttercream

The Bride arrived and herself and the groom constantly said thank you.  Guests were coming up and saying the cake was gorgeous and when they found out she won the cake they were even more in awe.  I set business cards behind the cake and was told by the Hostess at Heritage Gardens that they were gone within an hour.

I received a call the Monday after the wedding from the brides father.  He stated that the cake was absolutely gorgeous and he and everyone were in awe that it was a free cake.  He stated that people came up to them int he line and discussed how gorgeous it was.  That it tasted amazing.  He also wanted my address to mail me a a bonus because they were so appreciative.  I told him it was ok because she won the cake, but he insisted.  He also said that when their next daughter gets married there will be no doubt they are coming to me for a wedding cake.'s so nice when people appreciate your work.  Seriously, this family and the bride really were so great.  They were so appreciative and more so understood the hard work in a cake.

Just goes to show that not everyone out there in this world are ungrateful or do not understand the hard work that goes into a wedding cake.  I must say that this family was by far my favorite family to deal with.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Bridezillas: Why a large, town-eating, growling monster would be more pleasing to deal with...

...Afterall, at least the monster just eats you and calls it good.

Ever seen that episode of "Cake Boss" on TLC where the bride comes into Buddy's bakery and destroys the wedding cake he made because it was "too elegant"?  That's never happened to me, but scary actually does happen outside of the reality TV realm.  Brides are really like that.  I have heard of brides knocking their cake off the table because they didn't like it.  Throwing out food in front of a caterer because it wasn't what they wanted.  Ripping pictures done by a photographer for whatever reason.  It's insane.  Some of these brides calm down a few hours later and are just embarrassed, others just keep with the behavior.  Though it sucks to deal with them, I usually pity the poor groom in that situation.  Good luck Chuck.

Bridezillas will never be satisfied.  They will pick and find just about any little thing they hate about your cake, service, work, etc.  These are the worst clients to have, but in the wedding business you are going to encounter HUNDREDS of these.  Yup, sorry, it's true.  All I can say is invest in Excedrin and tough skin.  Now this blog is not out there to offend anyone, however if you were a Bridezilla and you are offended...well, it sucks when your pointed out.  I'm not apologizing for it. 

My Theory on Them:
I honestly think (and this is just in my experience) Bridezillas primarily exist for two reasons:  One, they are raised spoiled (no offense) and two, they are usually planning a wedding on an EXTREMELY tight schedule.  In Utah I would say 98% of the brides I meet are planning a wedding only three months out.  THREE MONTHS!?  That is 90 days to meet, plan, purchase, finalize flowers, invitations, reception halls, food, cakes, dresses, licenses, churches, linens, nail appointments, whatever....that's pure insanity.  No wonder these chicks are freaking out.  I started to sweat just typing about a 1/4 of the duties they have to do just now.  Half the time they meet with EVERYONE of those companies in the same month.  These brides not only tend to forget what the heck they ordered (it all blends), but then are usually the ones freaking out at the wedding.  Majority of them apologize after the wedding realizing that is what they ordered.  Damage already done though.  They freaked out, bitched at the wedding, slandered your company that you "ruined" their wedding when all along...they got what they ordered.  Do they go back and say "Hey everyone, I was wrong!".  Hell no.  Thus, why everyone in the business dreads, avoids, and kicks themselves in the @$$ for ever dealing with Bridezillas.

How Do You Deal?
Well I wasn't kidding about tough skin and Excedrin.  Majority of these Bridezillas DO apologize, however a larger majority dont.  Not because they felt they were in the right for freaking out on you...its because they are embarrassed about how they behaved.  I have had Mothers of the Bride and Fathers of the Bride call me the next day apologizing for their daughters behavior and state that the cake was great and that it was what THEY PAID FOR and that their daughter was having a "bad day" kidding.  You just have to smile through these people.  If you know you delivered the cake that the bride ordered, that's the bottom line.  Yes it sucks if they bash you and you lose business, but that's the biz.  You can't fight it.  You just know that you did it right and leave it at that. If they call, you speak calmly to them.  Explain where they were wrong (as kindly as possible), and even show them contracts, orders, etc to show them where THEY WERE WRONG. 

In the wedding business, ALWAYS keep detailed notes.  Dates/times you spoke, orders placed, sketches and examples, swatches, etc (this helps because as I said, brides forget what they ordered).  If someone says "go with your own direction", make them sign a contract stating THEY AGREE WITH THAT.  So if they hate what you delivered, you legally know you did what they asked.  You can't do anything to stop them from telling everyone they hated it.  People will usually bitch more to the public when they know they are wrong just to make themselves feel better (read my post on Bad Press).   That's just basic psychology.  The average person will never admit their wrong to the general public.  It's easier to play the victim/blame another then stand up and say they were wrong.  We all know we've done it.

Bridezillas are everywhere.  Whether it be on their very own TV show (TLC), in your business, a friend of yours, your own child, or just some bride at a wedding you are attending.  Some people you can peg as Bridezillas from just your consultation meeting, others seem so far from one that you are ten times more shocked when they turn out to be one at the reception.  That's why I say plan on EVERY bride being one, and be thankful they turn out to be chill in the end. 

Don't let them get you down either.  They tend to yell at every vendor there, not just you.  They will not always apologize either.  If you know you did it right, just pat yourself on the back and walk away pitying the poor groom stuck with that chick for the rest of their lives.

Bad Press and the Negative Nancy

When you are in the wedding cake business, you deal with a lot of different characters.  Unfortunately, you randomly come across the people that dont understand how business works.

I received a few comments on a free review site about my business recently.  Reading bad reviews about your business will always bring you down, however, you need to realize one thing.  Majority of people who enjoy your business do not go and seek you out online to write a review.  However, those who did not like it or had a bad experience WILL.  I would say 90% of people are vindictive when they are upset.  It's sad really.  These are usually the people that do not realize how business is, how hard it is, and feel that slandering you (usually when they are in the wrong anyway) will get back at you and make them feel better.  These people are just (usually) unhappy with themselves and want to bring anyone else down with them. 

Example #1:  Now about these bad comments.  Funny thing is, one of them I knew who it was.  I had this Mother of a Bride who had a cupcake stand of mine she rented from me.  In my contract it CLEARLY STATES you must return the rented equipment the Tuesday FOLLOWING the reception to get your deposit back.  I'm usually pretty laid back about this.  Email me, call me, whatever and let me know if you are going to be late.  Sometimes I dont need them right away.  Well she would pick a date to return it, then change it last minute (literally...she'd call me an hour before she was supposed to show up and say she couldn't).  This wedding was May 5th.  So finally June 28th I told her I needed that stand by the 2nd of July for another wedding.  She said she'd bring it that evening.  Again, an hour before she was supposed to show up she called and cancelled.  I couldn't reach her after that.  I had to create a new stand for the wedding.  Then July 7th she calls and said she wanted to return it.  I told her I was sorry but I could not take the stand back.  I had to replace it because I told her I needed it by a date for a wedding and that it had already been over two months of her not returning it.  That exact same day I received a comment on that free site that her "wedding cupcakes" were dry and horrible and smashed together.  I knew it was her because of the username (it was the exact same as her, but worse is the entire time she kept stating how "wonderful" and "appreciative" they were of their cupcakes via email (I saved those emails just in case).  I even got two referrals from that wedding.  Yeah...they must have really sucked.  See?  She's pissed I finally said no to the stand after all her crap, so she turns around and writes that.  She knew she couldn't fight legally over the stand, she signed a CONTRACT that she violated and I was more than lenient with her.  People like this are out there.  You will deal with them A LOT in the wedding business.  It's ridiculous.

Example #2: Another comment I got was from someone stating they were a "former co-worker and friend/'.  Side note: If you are a friend of someones, why would you slander their business without perhaps saying something to them first?  First they claimed they knew of someone who ordered bridal shower cupcakes from me that were not filled and that this person contacted me several times for a refund and never heard from me.  I'm going to stop you right there...I have NEVER done bridal shower cupcakes.  Ever.  I honestly cannot remember the last time I have, unless it was over a year and a half ago.  I have detailed order slips.  Not a one is listed for a bridal shower.  Birthdays, baby showers, movie night, just because...yup no BRIDAL SHOWER.  Second, I would have recalled someone calling to complain.  I do, call people back and especially in regards to complaints.  Then this person went to state that they were at a wedding where people said to not eat the cake (yet then this person ate it anyway...which is interesting), but that it was "dry and flavorless" and that the cake was leaning completely to one side.  Again, I'm going to stop you right there.  I have been in this business A LONG TIME.  One, if your cake is leaning, someone will call the cake decorator.  Either right there or the day after...OR the photographer who emails me the photos would have mentioned it (because we are all in this business).  I have NEVER had a cake leaning on me, ever.  I call the day after my weddings and follow up with the clients about their order.  No one ever said their cake was leaning or that it was "dry and flavorless".  Furthermore, in my contract it states to contact me if there are ANY issues so that I can come out and see them.  In the case of a leaning cake, I can fix that.  Wedding cakes weigh up to 150LBS (sometimes more)...they may/can lean.  It's an EASY ten minute fix.  I kid you not.  However, I knew this review was complete BS because no one ever called me about a leaning cake and I have not done any cakes for anyone I even personally know since February of 2010, before that was March of 2009 and this post was July 20th, 2010.  So ummm yeah.  Bottom line...a bride or someone would have told me their cake was that awful.  Trust me on this.  You dont pay $300.00 for something  and then blow it off if its dry, leaning, whatever.  Which further led me to believe this was probably either that same lady, a person who confused companies (attention, there is another decorator out there going by Kali Cakes in Utah...yeah...bummer for me), or just someone who wanted to be a complete jerk.  If that person wanted to be serious they could call me about this issue.  They dont.  Which just tells me they really have nothing but the desire to bitch about something they really shouldn't be.  Simple as that.

Bottom line, you'll get bad press.  On these stupid online sites, you will get a lot more bad press than good.  Ever looked up your favorite restaurant on  Notice how many BAD reviews there are?  How minimal good reviews there are?  That's because people love to bitch and complain, but usually these are people that are bitching over something that could be easily fixed or they are just vindictive (insert cupcake stand lady).  So dont let it get you down.  If you see bad reviews on a restaurant or company, dont believe them.  Honestly, word of mouth is the best, but remember that some people lie or say whatever they can to justify their own actions and usually they were in the wrong.  I promise you the Cupcake Stand Lady (as she shall be referred) will slander my company, but never mention that she kept fooling around returning a rented item for TWO MONTHS.

These people can be very draining.  Trust me, I know.  You just have to push through and appreciate those people that call you personally to state they loved their cake.  People who called just to say that while standing in the line they got nothing but comments about their cake and just had to tell me.  Or people who call asking if you can do another cake for their other son/daughter getting married. Appreciate those, ignore those who are negative.  Some people hate everything (Bridezillas especially, but that's for another blog).  Some people dont realize that instead of bitching on some free site they should call the company and let them know.  Usually they dont call because they know that they ARE FULL OF IT.  Hence why you only hear about this "bad experience" on a website.

Stay strong if you are in the wedding business.  It's ugly.  People are never going to be 100% satisfied.  Any company tells you that all customers are from them...they are lying.  Not everyone has the same tastes, etc.  That's just simple statistics.

Sunday, August 1, 2010


At the Utah Bridal Expo at South Towne this year I had the "Ashley" cake on display.  It's one of my favorite pieces.  It's five tiers and is just the craziest design.  I got a lot of requests for the cake from the Expo and today was the first day I did one of those cakes.  I will be doing another next week. 

These are by far my favorite types of cakes.  They are called "topsy turvy".  They are extremely difficult and not many cake decorators in Utah can successfully pull them off.  I love them.  They are like art work.  They are difficult, defy gravity, and edible to boot!

"Danni" is three-tiers of 12", 10" and 8" squares.  It serves about 154 (when cut to the traditional 1"x2" pieces).  The bottom and middle tier are chocolate cake with caramel swirl filling and cookies n' creme buttercream.  The top tier is red velvet with mint/chocolate filling and cookies n' creme buttercream.  The cake is filled with white and purple daisies, carnations and some green filler.  There is a light pink ribbon border and green vine piping detail.  You cannot see the detail at its fullest, but when I get the photos from the photographer I'll update it.

I never actually met the bride or the groom for this cake.  Just the Aunt who was ordering it.  She was a really sweet lady.  The cake making went really smooth with this one.  The only speed bump was that the Bride and Groom changed the reception time by a half hour on us and didn't tell me.  So at 5:30pm, when I'm getting ready to leave, I get a call asking where I was.  Haha.  I told them I was scheduled for a 6:00pm delivery.  So I had to rush to put this cake together, which is never good with these types of cakes.  The Aunt, however, apologized when I arrived saying that they changed the date and she realized they never told me.  So all was good.

July 31, 2010
I tried to get a better photo, but there were too many guests and the photographer in my way.  I will get the professional photos soon and update then.

The guests absolutely loved it.  Hopefully I can get more referrals and orders off this cake.  They had about 100 people there when I left.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Fondant! Wait...what is fondant?

If there is one question I tend to get a lot from Brides, it's "What is fondant exactly?" Funny thing is, this question comes after they state they do not want fondant, it's gross, and refuse to have it on their cake. Hmmm....that makes sense. Anyway, lets put the fondant questions and concerns to rest, shall we?

Fondant leaves cakes smooth enough for any decorations.  Including stencil work.
Though there are several kinds of fondant, the one in regards to cake decorating (majority of the time) is ROLLED FONDANT. Rolled fondant is NOT the same as poured fondant. Different ingredients, different method, and most certainly a different blog entry. Rolled fondant includes gelatin, glycerin, corn syrup, flavoring, and powdered sugar. It's a pliable sugar dough that is rolled out to cover cakes and also can be used for decorations. It can be dyed just about any color or just left white.

Fondant, unlike buttercream, gives you a smooth and satiny finish to any cake. It can be steamed to make it shiny, airbrushed for texture, and more importantly it is much more stable than buttercream. Fondant can withstand the heat and bumpy car rides. Buttercream tends to become mushy and move around 70F and melt at 80F.

Buying vs. Making Fondant and the Perils of the Home-Maker-Cake-Baker Fondants
Here is where a true cake decorator tends to get annoyed. NO, you do not have to buy fondant. Yes, Cake Boss and several other big-time cake decorators buy fondant (in particular the Satin Ice brand). I can say that for six years I too bought it. It's easier, but certainly not cheaper. For about the 1/3 of a cost of a bucket of fondant you can make the same amount at home or in your cake shop. So why not just make it? Well to be quite's a pain in the...well you know. You have to mix, you have to measure, and you have to knead a bunch of fondant by hand. Benefits? You control the consistency, texture, and most importantly...FLAVOR!

If you are just too scared to make your own fondant, buy it. There is no shame. A LOT of bakeries just buy their fondant. You will notice, however, they all tend to buy the same brand...SATIN ICE. It's smooth, it's pliable, it tastes like vanilla candy. I can say this is my favorite brand as well. Let's cap on some others out on the market.

Wilton Brand - Buy this and kiss your clients goodbye. It's chunky, stiff, chalky, dry, and overall the worst fondant on the market. WORST! It's over-priced to boot.
Pettinice - Great brand, but pricey. For 15lbs the cheapest I can find is $65.00. It compares to the quality of Satin Ice, but is not flavored with vanilla.
Choco-Pan - I have had students in my cake decorating class ask if they can use this. Yes, but ITS NOT FONDANT. This is modeling chocolate. Two VERY different products. Modeling chocolate can be rolled thinner and cover more surface area that fondant and also is much more pliable. However, it also tends to tear and not do well on wedding cakes in heat (ummm...hello, it's chocolate). So I tend to avoid modeling chocolate unless it's for figurines.
Gumpaste - Again, this is not fondant. I have had students that used this thinking it was. This is for sugar flowers and other decorations that you want to dry to a rock-hard consistency.
Duffs Buttercream Fondant - Though it's technically fondant, I hate this stuff.  It has WAY too many artificial flavors added and their "white" is actually a very dark IVORY color.  Which royally sucks.  Furthermore, dying this stuff is worse than bleaching black hair blonde.  It doesn't take.  It's very stiff.  The only good I have found in this stuff is that it covers about a 1/3 more than normal fondant, but who cares when you have to work it to death.

If there are other brands I missed, it's because they are inconsequential to my point and probably products I will never use.

Making Fondant
If you are using "marshmallow fondant" please for the love that is all cake decorating and holy...STOP IT NOW. It's flat, it's unpredictable, it has horrible coverage, and tastes like a chalky marshmallow and honestly...not true fondant. There, I said it.  Those making this "fondant" are the ones ruining fondant for the rest of us.  Majority of the clients I get that say they hate fondant, say its because they ate it on a homemade cake that "Sally Sue" made with her homemade marshmallow recipe.  

Here is a recipe that I have found to be the most accurate for making true fondant that you can put on cakes.  It can by dyed, though I recommend dying in the process of making, and covers just about any type of cake.  The only drawback to this recipe (and basically any homemade fondant recipe I have found) is that it just doesn't harden like factory fondant.  Why?  Well look at the ingredient list on your bucket of purchased fondant.  Yeah...see all that?  That's why.  Either way, this is good.

Kali's Fondant Recipe
2 lbs. of Sifted Powdered Sugar (Use a nice quality brand, such as C&H)
1/4 Cold Water
1 T. Unflavored Gelatin
1/2 C. White Corn Syrup
1 1/2 T. Glycerine
1/2 T. Clear Vanilla Extract (if you dont use clear, fondant will be yellow)
1/2 T. Clear Almond Extract

In a large (not metal) bowl, sift half the powdered sugar.  Make a well in the center and set aside.  In a medium pot, place cold water in the pan.  Sprinkle lightly with gelatin and wait about five minutes for gelatin to dissolve.  You want the granules gone.  Turn on medium heat and heat until gelatin begins to melt and become clear.  Add corn syrup and glycerine.  Remove from heat and stir to combine.  Add flavorings.  Pour mixture into the well of your powdered sugar.  Using a wooden spoon mix slowly by adding powdered sugar from the sides of your well until a sticky/stringy mess has formed.  Add the rest of the powdered sugar until you can no longer mix with a spoon.  Move to a non-stick surface (I use a vinyl mat) sprinkled with powdered sugar and knead until strong and pliable.  This may require more powdered sugar or not.  Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and allow to rest AT LEAST eight hours before use.  

Viola and congrats.  You just made REAL FONDANT.

...and now, you know what fondant is.  

The Topsy Turvy vs. Mad Hatter

I get a lot of clients/prospective clients that call for a "topsy turvy cake". I start to quote them, only for them to follow up with a phrase such as "You know, like from Alice in Wonderland?"...okay...hold on people. It's time for the ultimate clarification! I think Food Network Challenges (though I love em) have started to confuse the American people on whats what when it comes to cake terminology. So let me break it down for ya:

Topsy Turvy!
March 2010

A Little About Em
This cake in fact is nothing like a mad hatter cake. Each tier is separated by foam blocks, boards, flowers, etc and lifted at an angle. Yes, cake is literally LIFTED to angles. This is one of the most difficult cake designs out there. Not many decorators can pull it off, nor have the stones to try. Why? Because even if you are an 1/8 of an inch off in measurements your cake can come tumbling down like an old brick building in those action movies (ya know...where the tiny puny car runs through the walls like it's not big deal?). These cakes require countless measurements, stable cake structure, a good buttercream recipe, heck of a lot of fondant skills, and a lot of knowledge of physics. They are, however, some of the coolest cakes to ever be made. I have made several of these in the past. My most famous is the "Ashley" cake. It's been at the Davis County Bridal Showcase and the Utah Bridal Expo at South Towne. It's five tiers and filled with flowers. Today, as a matter of fact, I'm doing a three-tier rendition of the same cake. Next week, doing it again.
How Much Do They Cost?
Depending on the size of the tiers, height, etc the pricing is hard to say.  Mine start at $250.00 and the famous  "Ashley" cake is $750.00.  Most people think thats an outrageous amount.  However if you knew the skill, time, etc that went into these (and the sheer matter of fact that you yourself couldn't make offense, just pointing out that no Average Joe can pull it off), you would be more than willing to pay for this work of art.  That's what they are.  They defy gravity, showcase unbelievable skill, and are edible.  Hell, who would want to pay less than $1,000 for it?!  Imagine having that at your wedding!?  Trust me, it will be noted and you will have the cake everyone talks about.
Are They Stable?
Iffy question here.  Yes and no.  Have I had them fall over?...YES.  Why?  Because the photographer felt he should move the table with a cake such as that on it.  They are not built to be moved after assembly.  Yes, on Food Network Challenge they move them a whopping three feet to a table.  Bravo...that's TV, not reality.  They are assembled on-site and most definitely NOT MOVED afterwards.  I do not make my cakes impossible for the guest to take apart and cut.  The ones on Food Network are practically a pain in the @$$ to pull apart, let alone cut up.  Reality folks.

The Mad Hatter Cake!
Mad Hatter Cake

Here is where we think of "Alice in Wonderland".  The mad hatter is a tiered cake, stacked right on top of one another, and carved in funky shapes.  They can be round, square, a mixture of both.  Each tier is angled on the sides and top in a "mad" design.  They are typically covered in fondant with designs that range anywhere from flowers, to pinstripes, to dots, etc.  It's endless with these cakes.  They are supposed to look "mad".

How much do these cost?
Not as much as topsy turvy, but they still are not cheap.  These still require a lot of skill.  They are hard to carve and the Average Susie Homemaker Baker tends to experience what we in the business refer to as "sinkage" when they attempt these.  They require supports, stable cake recipe, and good fondant skills.  These types of cakes, i'm sorry to say, CANNOT and SHOULD NOT be made with any cake mix.  No cake should really, but these especially.  You need a sturdy cake (such as pound cake) that will still taste great, but not fall over.  My average cost for a two-tier mad hatter starts at about $85.00.  These aren't easy. Unfortunately, everyone loves these types of cakes, but are not willing to pay for them.  Of course after they attempt to do it themselves, they realize just WHY people charge this much to make them.  They take TONS of time and effort and honestly, creativity.

...and there ya have it.  The difference.  I will post photos of the Topsy Turvy cake I'm doing later today.  It is named "Danny", after the bride (as all of my wedding cakes are).  This one is bright and very summery.  Perfect for the season.

Now, go forth with the cake knowledge you have been given today.  Order away that Mad Hatter or Topsy Turvy cake, shock the baker/cake maker with your terminology.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Hit the brakes...I'm headed north!

Originally I had started this blog to talk about cakes, pastries, recipes, guidelines, etc. Though this is all very exciting, I think it leaves out one of the largest facts about cake decorating/private chef work...THE CUSTOMERS. Some are crazy, some are fun, some are the absolute definition of "Bride-Zilla" and some are the easiest and most laid back people to the "T". Names will be changed (because no one likes a lawsuit), but I will discuss just how this business really is. The "inside scoop" as you will. It's not pretty. Cake decorating and the wedding business is honestly one of the ugliest businesses in the prettiest of events.

Sometimes it all goes smoothly, others not so much. Have I ever had some crazy bride throw my cake? No, but I had one call me to say she tossed it in the trash. Funny thing is, she was actually lying to just get her money back. We'll save this for another time. This is just a prelude tease.

...and so, it begins. Cakes, brides, a little history, a few recipes, a little know how, and you have the ever-so-miraculous-art of CAKE DECORATING. There are tears, there is blood, and sometimes, there is cake.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Pastry Creme

Want to be a Patisserie? Or shall I say, Pastry Chef?

Well, the first step is the natural ability. You can go to culinary school, read all the books, take classes at your local culinary supply store, but if you dont have it naturally, you will never have it. No offense. This was honestly a speech our Executive Chef in Culinary School said. He wasn't lying either.

Reason I bring this up? Pastry Creme is the natural ability tester. It's honestly an easy thing to make, but the ultimate ability tester. You are probably asking yourself how it can be so easy if it's testing your natural abilities? Well, if you are a natural-born cook, it's easy. How's that? Pastry Creme requires you to be able to "tell" when it's ready for the next step and when it's done. No recipe can tell you.

The Recipe:

Orange-Scented Vanilla Pastry Creme
by Korilynn Shaw

2C. Whole Milk (You may use heavy whipping cream too if you would like)
1/4 C. White Sugar
2 Egg Yolks
1 Egg
1/4 C. Cornstarch
1/3 C. White Sugar
2 T. Butter
1 t. Vanilla Bean Paste (see previous entries about this)
2 T. Orange Zest

1. In a heavy saucepan, stir together the milk and a 1/4 cup sugar. Bring to a boil over MEDIUM heat (Note: Medium please. Any higher and you will scorch your milk at the bottom before the rest is even bubbling)
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks and egg. Stir together remaining sugar and cornstarch. Add cornstarch and sugar to the egg and mix until smooth. Set aside to rest until milk is boiling.
3. Using a laddle, slowly pour boiling milk mixture into your egg mixture. Whisking the entire time. Continue to slowly add milk (while constantly whisking your egg mixture no matter what) until it is all gone.
4. When fully incorporated, return the mixture to the heat and bring to a boil. Whisk constantly (unless you want some fluffy eggs).
5. When the mixture comes to a boil and starts to thicken, remove from the heat. Stir in butter, vanilla paste, and orange zest.
6. Transfer to a heat proof container and set on top of an ice bath. Whisking constantly to cool.
7. After cooled, cover immediately with plastic wrap and place in fridge until ready for use. This will prevent a skin from forming over the top.

So how is this a tester? Well, let me tell you. Majority of first-time pastry creme makers will make scrambled eggs. Yup. It's hard to tell when that egg mixture is just right. If you make it spot-on the first time out the are a natural! No joke.

What happens if it starts to curdle? Keep whisking! Remove it from the heat and whisk like you have never whisked before. You can save a pastry creme from being eggs. If you remove it from heat ASAP and whisk like a crazy person. However, once you have full on chunks, you are beyond saving it. Sorry to say.

Pastry Creme can be used for filling cakes, eclairs, eat it plain, fill tortes, fill tartlet shells....oh man it's endless. It's creamy, smooth, and so rich! It's pudding. Yes, it is. If you want a thicker pastry creme for filling eclairs or to hold up in a cake, use whipping creme and let thicken a titch longer on the stove. You will never buy Jell-O gelatin mixture again after you know how to make this decadent and amazing creme.

*Pastry Tip: Let sit overnight in the fridge. This makes all of the flavors come together and settle. It will taste twice as sweet and the orange will be twice as strong.

Now you are probably asking how you make chocolate pastry creme? That's another blog. Chocolate is a much more difficult one to make correctly. Let's start one thing at a time.

So go forth...make some pastry creme! If you fail the first time, dont think you suck and you will never be a pastry chef. Just means you have to keep going. Make note of what mistakes happened and go try again.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Homemade Raspberry Sauce

...great for so many things. Chocolates, cookies, cake fillings, drizzling over sundaes. It's endless and will be endless once you try this!

Rich and Luscious Raspberry De-Lite
by Chef Korilynn

10 oz. Frozen Raspberries (Yes, you can use fresh too, but why waste a perfectly fresh raspberry for this)
1/4C. Sugar
1/4C. Rum
1 Vanilla Bean

1. In a medium sauce pan, heat all ingredients over medium heat. (*Note: If you are using a gas stove, please be careful that the flame is not coming up the side of your pot in ANYWAY. Unless you dont mind your eye brows no longer in place after the rum ignites in flame).
2. Once the sauce begins to boil slightly mash raspberries with either a fork or large spoon. Only until they are slightly broken up.
3. Allow to simmer until the sauce has reduced in size by 1/4. Sauce should be thin enough to drizzle off a spoon, but thick enough to still coat the back of your spoon. If sauce does not easily drizzle you have boiled this too long and you are ready for jam! Kididng. Add 1T. of water slowly until sauce is able to drizzle. DO NOT ADD COLD WATER.
Do you have to use rum? Absolutely not! If you dont wish to use rum axe it. Will all of the rum cook out? No. This is a common misconception about alcohol and cooking. Yes, 85-90% of that alcohol content burns out, but you will never be 100% free of the alcohol in your recipes. I'm sorry to say. Hey, sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but it's true.

Sauce freezes great! Simply pour into a heavy duty tupperware and freeze for up to three months.
Best use for this raspberry sauce? Pour over the pound cake you learned about yesterday! Or drizzle over a chocolate cupcake or mini cake and dust with powdered sugar.

The Pound Cake

Sooooo misunderstood. When you h
ear "pound cake" what do you think? Most people think of a loaf with strawberries and whipped cream. Second thought tends to be a bundt pan with drizzled icing. Third? What? There is a third!? Yes there is. This should actually be THE FIRST. Pound cakes are amazing for just your average cake, specialty cake, and especially wedding cakes. Not only are they the most versatile cake, but the sturdiest. No offense Pillsbury, but fondant and pudding cakes really don't mix.

Pound cakes can be turned into anything! Most people assume Vanilla is the only flavor. C'mon now. You have marbles, chocolate, peanut butter, lemon, and even mint out there now! As
long as you know the basics of how to make a pound cake, variations are endless in my book.

This recipe has been around for YEARS. You h
onestly think no variations have arisen? The original name for "Pound Cake" came from the fact that the old recipes contained a pound of butter, pound of eggs, pound of sugar, etc. Today you no longer use a pound of everything, but still have the richest, most buttery tasting cake imaginable. A lot of people fail at the art of making a pound cake (no offense...). I'm sure most of us have attempted to make a pound cake from good ole Gram's recipe and failed miserably. Course you did! When she wrote it, she already knew what she was doing. She assumed whomever read it would too. Without thinking that maybe, just perhaps, we are cake-clueless. Was yours too crusty on the outside? Crumbling in the inside? Was your batter thick like a cook
ie dough? It happens. We are going to fix all that right now.

The Recipe. This is my own personal pound cake recipe. Why am I sharing it? Because it's a no-fail pound cake recipe. Anyone can do it. I have modified and created this puppy myself through trial and error. Only thing I ask of you as you use this recipe is to use it right! Don't go saying
you used a "Korilynn Original" and then dont follow the instructions. This is only a no-fa
il recipe if you actually follow the recipe. No shortcuts. No substitutions. Just follow what I have.

Key Notes:
First - Ingredients should be at room temperature. I cannot say this enough. Anytime you are making a traditional pound cake, you have to have everything (yes that includes milk, eggs, and butter) at room temperature. Why? Because pound cakes rise due to the amount of air in the batter. A cold egg does not whip air into itself. Your batter will curdle and you will end up with a pancake-like-cornbread-feeling-substance out of your oven. Sound like your last baking project? There you go.
Second - Sift your dry ingredients! I kn
ow, it's a hassle, but that five seconds it took to sift makes all the difference. All of your dry ingredients are now evenly distributed amongst each other. You need this. People over mix their cake batters because they are trying to incorporate un-sifted ingredients. Sifting allows air into your batter and even incorporation.
Third - Use a stand mixer. Yes, I know that nifty hand mixer is great. For cookies! Not a pound cake. Stand mixers are proven to whip THREE TIMES as much air into a batter in less turns in the mixer. Meaning you get the air in your batter without over mixing it. I use a Viking stand mixer. Honestly, the best one I have ever used! Yes, I know most of us have KitchenAide. They are alright, but they do not have the capacity or quality of a Viking. So, spend the extra $150.00 and get a Viking.
Fourth - Do not over mix! You have no idea how many people over mix their cake batters. When you do this, you end up with a flat and very stiff cake. Almost like a mix of bread and pancake. It will taste very eggy and not so great.
Fifth - Quality! You use crap ingredients, you get a crap results. Yes, it's true. Buy quality ingredients. My recipe calls for Vanilla Bean Paste. The best one is Madagascar Vanilla. You can get it at any culinary supply store or online. The Vanilla Bean Paste is amazing! Not only does it give you flecks of real vanilla bean, but high concentrated and PURE vanilla extract. It's a thick syrupy-like substance and it tastes amazing. Use it in everything from cookies to cakes, to frosting! Seriously, you will note the difference immediately. As for butter, use unsalted sweet cream. It's the only way to go.

Kali's Sweet Sweet Pound Cake
Created by Chef Korilynn

Temp: 350F
Yields: 2 - 10x10x4" Pans

1C. Butter - Room Temp
1/2C. Crisco (Not Butter Flavored Crisco, just good ole Original)
3C. Granulated Sugar
5 Eggs - Room Temp (I'm serious about this)
3C. All Purpose Flour
1/2t. Salt
1/2t. Baking Powder - Make sure this is fresh!
1C. Milk
1t. Vanilla Bean Paste - You can get this at most culinary stores

1. Sift your flour, baking powder, and salt together. (If you are noticing lumps left in your sifter, then you have some old and not-so-great flour so sift again)
2. Cream your fats. (Here is where most people go wrong. They "cream" til everything is mixed and then they are done. Wrong! Cream until not only your mix becomes very light in color, but is almost fluffy)
3. Slowly stream in sugar (I mean this...slowly. Just stream it in so that the mixer keeps incorporating it. No large batches in at once. Just a slow STEADY stream and then let those cream until AGAIN you have a light a
nd fluffy mixture)
4. Add your eggs one at a time. (Only add the next one after the previous one is mixed in)
5. Add your dry alternating with the milk. You will want to end with the dry. (Turn your mixer to a lower setting so that you do not over mix while doing this process. I usually do a 1/4 cup dry, then 1/4 cup milk, etc. Make sure you end this alternating cycle with the dry)
6. Add vanilla bean paste last and only mix until it's in.
7. Grease your pans. (I use Bakers Joy for all of my pans. This stuff is amazing. I can get a 14" cake out of the pan like no other...I highly recommend this. Do not use Pam for Baking. Has too much grease and you will have crispy corners)
8. Place batter evenly in both pans. Leaving on the countertop shake from side to side. Then tap the bottoms on your countertop two or three times. This ensur
es all air bubbles are out of your batter (remember those little sinking centers? Yeah, you probably skipped this step)

Bake 60 to 90 minutes.
*Every oven is different. This is why there is a range. Place cakes in the oven and make sure they are not touching. You should have AT LEAST an inch of space between the two pans. After you close that door, DO NOT OPEN until you have reached AT LEAST 30 minutes into baking. Even if you open your oven for a brief little peek, you have just let cold air in. This is the primarily reason people have sunken cake centers. Seriously, just put it in the oven and walk away. At 60 minutes, test your cake by using a large toothpick in the center. If it comes out clean. Remove the cakes and set on a wire rack. For 10" or smaller, let cool 10 minutes. For anything over 10" I recommend 15-20. Do not leave in there longer than 20 unless you want a soggy bottom. Remember, the cake is just going to sit there and steam. If you used Bakers Joy, flip the cake out on the cooling rack and it should come right out. If you did the good ole shortening and flour method, scrap the sides first. Let cakes cool ENTIRELY. Then wrap two layers of plastic wrap fully around and chill in the fridge for at least four hours. Why four hours? Well to stack them you need to cut them. A cool cake is the only way to carve.

I like to use pound cake for specialty and wedding cakes. Ho
wever it can be fun to cut up a slice, drizzle some homemade raspberry sauce (another blog entry) and top with powdered sugar. H-E-A-V-E-N! As long as you know how to make a proper pound cake, the possibilities are endless. We'll get into variations another time. For now, go out and make a pound cake. Slap some frosting on there. Eat it plain. They are so moist and so sweet, they really can be the most versatile cake available.

Have any comments? Questions? Just ask away. If you want to know how to trouble shoot common problems you have with making pound cakes, please put the problem below and I will do my best to help ya. Feel free to email me at with any questions. Also, if you live in the Salt Lake County area, come take my culinary classes at Orson H. Gygi. We have a cupcake bouquet class starting February 11th and Basics of Cake Baking/Decorating staring February 17th.


- Some Common Errors Encountered -
Sunken Centers
Yes, this does happen. Several reasons to be in fact. Let's discuss...
*First, you did not shake and tap the bottom of your pan when filling it with the batter. You need to ensure all air bubbles are out of that batter and have risen to the top. Otherwise you get an air pocket and as the cake bakes that pocket eventually bursts. Thus, a sunken side.
*Second, you OPENED THE DOOR. This is the most common error. No, slamming a door around your cakes while they are baking is an old wives tale. Your cake
will not sink. Trust me, I have a one-year old that takes his hammer to the oven door while I have cakes in there. They rise just fine. However, every time you open that door (even when you think you are opening it a minor teeny tiny bit) you just let cold air in. Cakes like their warmth and constant temperature. Let them be. Now a days most ovens have a glass front and oven light. Use it. Check on your cake without opening the door.
*Third, you did not sift and your ingredients were not room temperature. Hey, I never knew pound cake ingredients had to be at room temperature either. Trial and error man.
*Fourth, your oven has a cool spot. This happens a lot. This is why you honestly should own an oven thermometer. Test your oven once in awhile. Example, mine says 350F on the dial and it's really closer to 375F. Believe it or not that makes all the difference in the world. Check your ovens true temp and you'll be surprised.

Inside of Your Cake Is Buttery and Chewy
*First, you probably did not measure correctly between your b
utter to sugar ratio. If you did, move on to number two.
*Second, did you use REAL butter? Or did you use margarine. Yes, there is a difference. One has oil, the other has milk fat. Oil=Buttery/Greasy Pound cake. Also, was your Crisco the butter-flavored? Yes? There you go.
*Third, how did you prepare your pans? Was it using shortening and flour? If so, you must realize that you only need a very TINY amount of shortening to put that flour on. Most people grease the crap out of their pans. That grease has to go
somewhere and it's going in your cake! Again, this is why I use Bakers Joy. Ten times easier.
*Fourth, you put way too much sugar in there and you didn't let your cake cream up like it was supposed to. Pound cakes are seriously forgiving. You can accidentally add too much of one item, but if you dont mix properly, it shows.

The Tops and Sides Are Burned
Are they burned or just very brown? It's okay if they are very brown. All pound cakes have a crust. In fact, they are usually "done" when that crust is so stiff you can crack it by pressing on the top of the cake. Don't care about this crust. You are cutting it off anyway! Now, if you are using a bundt or loaf pan and the top is very brown and super crusty, then we have a problem. Regular cake pans, this is okay. If you are not using a reg
ular cake pan and have a very thick and heavy crust on the top you have two things gone wrong here. One, you over greased your pan. I know, this is a recurring theme, but so true. Two, your oven is too hot. Like I said...ovens are tricky little guys. They are never the same temp. Longer they run, hotter they get. When I bake wedding cakes all day my oven eventually is turned down to 250F even though it's still 350 inside. It is an oven after all. If you have a gas oven, then you are lucky and I am jealous. Electric, however, are the most unpredictable pieces of crap. Sadly, they are in most places I li
ve. I have learned to adjust.

What Does A True Pound Cake Look Like In The Center?
Not doughy! If you have doughy or clear looking spots, your cake is sooooo not done. Same goes if its crumbling. You have now overdone it. The true center should be fluffy, very thick, and a nice cream color. That is a thing of beauty. It tastes pretty darn good too!


Welcome to my blog, The Kakery! It's a food lovers, cake creators, and pastry inspirational blog. Learn recipes, techniques, and read reviews on food I have eaten. Comment, debunk, do what you want. It's free to all!