Tag Archives: the knot

Just a typical week in January …

newday

Words to remember …

This time of year is always a little bit challenging for me, as it’s a notoriously quiet season for cakes. As a business owner, I’d be lying through my teeth if I told you I was throughly enjoying the break from the studio, because even though there’s little coming in – there are still bills to pay! Fortunately, very similarly to many of my friends who are teachers and have to budget for summers without paychecks, I’ve learned how to budget for a few quiet winter months before things start picking up in the spring. And since time is incredibly valuable, now is the perfect time to 1) finally catch up on all the non-kitchen tasks that involve a lot of paperwork and computer time, 2) make a few coffee dates to catch up with other cake making friends & wedding professionals, 3) work on a few designs from my own idea sketchbook, and 4) fill the “inspiration-well” by taking in many other forms of art. And so, that’s exactly what I found myself doing for the first full week of January.

Here’s a few of the highlights from the week of January 6th:

chai_TeaI had a number of coffee dates this week with fellow entrepreneurs in the wedding industry – including a very long coffee date with two other fabulous NJ cake designers. It’s always interesting to chat with people in the industry, as each of us comes to our craft from different backgrounds. During our conversation, I realized that my strength as a cake designer comes from art & design first. Creating unique and modern designs, as well as realistic 3D cakes is definitely my passion. It’s a tricky balance between keeping one’s artistic integrity and making the all-mighty $. Even though a lot of people would consider it “easy money” to replicate designs, I never like replicating other designers’ or even my own work! It seems like the ever-present challenge for me over the past few years has been figuring out ways to translate über-expensive designs into more budget-friendly designs without losing the overall aesthetic.

Adding emphasis to how important the design process is in my cake creation, I was totally surprised to discover during our cake chat that it’s not a mandatory step for my fellow cake designers to create cake sketches. Almost every cake I create (with the exception of 3D cake replicas of objects), is sketched first – and in many cases – revised a few times too! I think a future post on my design process is definitely in store for this year …

theknotbook_sweetelementcakeOne *big* highlight to my week was finding one of my wedding cakes in the 2012 edition of The Knot’s Complete Guide to Weddings book!

sneak_peekOf course, I couldn’t stay completely away from the studio! I started out 2013 with a cake design for the upcoming spring/summer issue of NY Weddings. The photo above shows an in-process photo of a zillion little hand-cut gum paste pieces and a sneak-peek of the finished cake in the bottom right hand corner.

moma_jan2013Mr. Sweet Element & I also had a chance to enjoy our favorite city after the cake delivery to NY Weddings last Wednesday, which meant a long overdue trip to MoMA and a fabulous re-do birthday dinner for Mr. Sweet Element at Empellon. If you’re ever looking for insanely good Mexican – look no further than this gem in the West Village.

2013_01_11_nycwalkAlso in the “filling of my inspiration-well” – I finally got to watch The Black Swan (loved), almost finished Molly Wizenberg’s “A Homemade Life” (highly recommended), and got to snap some photographs in NYC on Friday before I met up with a few friends. While I live in the land of instagram & cell-phone photos 90% of the time, I am on a mission this year to improve my photography skills with my “real” camera. I think it’s sad that so many people have DSLR cameras and only shoot in the automatic setting! The pics in the collage above will give you a glimpse into what caught my eye during a 3 mile morning walk from midtown to the west village.

Spring 2012 Press!

I thought I’d take a moment to share some of the latest Sweet Element cakes that have found their way onto the pages of a variety of spring bridal magazines!

Here’s our pleated cake (on the right) in a Designer Desserts feature in the Spring 2012 issue of The Knot.  All cakes in the feature pulled details from fashion to adorn cakes – one of my favorite things to do!


Sweet Element definitely made a splash in our first appearances in both Contemporary Bride New Jersey & Contemporary Bride New York with a total of 9 cakes featured in their Spring 2012 issues!

In the inspire me: Jet Setters spread, our Par Avion Wedding cake was featured.


Here’s a close up shot of the Par Avion Wedding Cake.

In the inspire me: Groom’s Cakes spread, we had our Miller Lite Beer Bucket and our Lego Star Wars & Guinness groom’s cakes featured.


Close up of the Miller Lite Beer Bucket Groom’s Cake.

Close up of the Lego Star Wars & Guinness Cake.

I was thrilled to see our set of five Monique Lhuiller Inspired Wedding Cakes opened up the Cakes to Feast Your Eyes On feature!

Last but not least, we had one of our fresh flower wedding cakes, a square fondant wedding cake decorated in orchids in the subsequent pages of the Cakes to Feast Your Eyes On feature.


Close up shot of the Cascading Orchid Wedding Cake.

Fall 2011 Press!

Whew … where did the summer go?!  I can’t believe fall is right around the corner, but I will definitely be welcoming it with open arms.  Between the heat waves, power outages and ridiculous humidity, I can’t say that summer is my  season of choice.  Fall is definitely my favorite season of the year though: crisp autumn days, chilly nights, the brilliant colors of fall foliage, warm apple cider and Halloween!

And what better way to start off the fall than with showing off some of the latest Sweet Element press! 😀

It’s always nice when your first cake in a publication is one of the biggest 😀 Here’s Sweet Element’s debut in Brides New Jersey.

Close up of the lavender and blue lace and blossom wedding cake.


Also featured in Brides New Jersey (as well as Brides New York & Brides Pennsylvania), was one of my favorite styles of wedding cakes, The Sequin Cake, that seems to be becoming a Sweet Element signature.  These cakes are extremely time consuming & definitely labors of love, but the end result is always stunning (even more so in person than in print!).
Close up of the metallic sequin wedding cake.

As all my friends know, I *love* shiny things … so I was super excited when the editors at The Knot asked if I would make a silver cake for one of their color report pieces.  I couldn’t have asked for a better shot of the cake … and I totally LOVE the shoe on the bottom of the page as well!

Here’s a close up of the silver cherry blossom wedding cake.


And last but not least, my first published groom’s cake!  I don’t know why they didn’t choose the front shot of the AT-AT cake, but I’m still psyched that one of my sculpted cakes has finally garnered some attention from the press.  The other nice thing about this cake, is that since it was a real cake created for a client a few years back, I was able to reach out to my client and let her know that her groom’s cake was in the press!

Close up view of the AT-AT cake from the rear.

Summer 2011 Press!

Apparently this is the summer of sequins!  Check out two Sweet Element sequin wedding cakes that were recently featured in Get Married & The Knot (national edition)!




Sweet Element Winter 2010 – Press!

Sweet Element was lucky enough to have a few more of my personal favorite Art Deco styled wedding cakes featured in both NY Weddings & The Knot winter editions, so I thought I would share!

One of the two covers for the Winter 2010 edition

NY Weddings Spread with a Sweet Element cake!

Closeup of the Blue & Silver Art Deco Wedding Cake

The Knot Winter 2010 – National Edition Cover

I was delighted to see my cake in the table of contents too!

The Knot spread with one of my favorite White-on-White Art Deco wedding cakes & a few Sweet Element chocolate bon bons too!

Sweet Element Cakes July Wrap Up

Where oh where did July go?! Apparently, it was far busier than I thought! Luckily, I was able to schedule a short birthday vacation away at Mohegan Sun & a few incredibly awesome birthday lunches & dinners out in NYC, but other than that July was all about cake!

The month started off with a wonderful tasting with the Volunteer Committee at the Montclair Art Musuem, where I had the pleasure of meeting a small group of wonderful women that I hope to work with on a few events soon.

Here’s a shot of some of the cupcakes that the MAM ladies sampled~chocolate devil’s food with espresso buttercream topped with a chocolate covered espresso bean & vanilla bean cake filled with strawberry preserves and topped with fresh strawberry buttercream.

Here are a few of the cakes from this month:

This first cake was won by a Montclair mom in the BaristaKids giveaway back in April.  The lucky winner requested a dark chocolate cake, filled with a dark chocolate ganache, frosted in a vanilla buttercream and decorated in chocolate.  As her daughter is an avid gymnast & fan of the color green, I thought the silhouette of various gymnastics poses would be a perfect design. It was a lovely surprise to find this thank you email waiting for me in my inbox the next day:

Thank you so much for the wonderful cake.  It was a big delicous and a big hit.  Taylor was so excited!

This second cake was made for an adorable 2 year old’s birthday party held at Creative Groove Studio in Hoboken, NJ.  I created the chocolate school bus on the cake in the likeness of a school bus character on one of the birthday boy’s favorite books and added in the first line, “The Wheels on the bus go round & round …” on the side of the cake to tie into the invitation.  This cake was a devil’s food cake filled with raspberry preserves, frosted in vanilla moussaline buttercream and decorated in chocolate.

This third cake was a last-minute order made for a sweet 3 year old’s birthday held at Senorita’s in Bloomfield, NJ.  While I was browsing through a few bridal magazines in Barnes & Noble one morning, I met a local wedding planner, who just so needed a birthday cake for her daughter in just a few days.  Luckily, I was available, and was more than happy to create this princess themed cake to tie into their Princess & the Frog themed party.  This cake was also a devil’s food cake, filled with a milk chocolate ganache, frosted in a lavender tinted vanilla buttercream, and decorated with gumpaste inscription, blossoms & crown.  If you are looking for a local NJ event planner, I can tell you that Without a Hitch definitely puts together a beautiful party!

Of course, as soon as I thought I was going to have an open weekend to catch up on some of the business part of Sweet Element (like this *blog*!), I received a call last Thursday morning from The Knot asking if I could help them out & have TWO wedding cakes for them by this past Monday morning for a segment on predictions for Chelsea Clinton’s wedding this coming weekend.  After receiving the dossier late Thursday afternoon about what was known (in theory) about the event (i.e. event planner, florist, location, style of dress, etc.), I drew up a few sketches of ideas for two styles of cakes and worked with The Knot to whittle the selections to the following two cakes by Friday morning (yes, this left me TWO days to make TWO wedding cakes – EEEEP!):


This first cake was a seven tier cake with three burgundy sugar peonies & gold fondant ribbons.

Here’s a detail shot of one of the sugar peonies. Seriously a labor of love!

The second cake was a slightly more modern wedding cake comprised of four tiers with alternating pearled & flat white pleats.

Here’s a quick shot of the cakes at The Knot’s studio in SoHo along with some of the floral arrangements:

There could be a whole series of blog posts dedicated to these two cakes (if I was crazy enough … wait, I just might be ;D), including some of the following topics:

  • How to source materials for EXTREME last minute orders (Thank you NY Cake!)
  • How to NOT freak out when on a tight time frame (having an awesome husband helps!)
  • How to create sugar peonies without any custom cutters
  • How TIME CONSUMING it is to make gumpaste flowers
  • Learning the importance of delegating – The structure/delivery man CAN paint!
  • When making wedding cakes under duress, REMEMBER to EAT! (Yes, the time is worth it!)
  • When going through TV withdrawl, Hulu.com can be your bestest friend.
  • How to pray to the delivery gods so you will run into NO traffic on a Monday morning delivery to NYC (I owe you a BIG one!)
  • And last but not least, How to say “How High” when media opportunities arise that ask you to “JUMP!” (Big thanks to The Knot for allowing me to take part in this opportunity!)

Be on the look out for these two cakes tomorrow morning on Fox & Friends! It’ll be Sweet Element cakes’ national TV debut! 😀