Nature journal thanks

Thanksgiving cake 2019For the past 15 years I’ve gone up to my partner’s family’s cottage to celebrate Thanksgiving. Every year I’ve brought a dessert to add to the Thanksgiving table.
This year I decided to do something different. Most years when I’m up at Lake of Bays, (in the stunning Muskoka area of Ontario), I’m astounded by the beautiful scenery: the lake and its changing colours and waves, the leaves and that amazing sky. I usually record the things around me in my nature journal, not only the scenery but small finds lying on the ground: an American Black duck feather, acorns, oak and maple leaves in their fall splendour and mussel shells found along the shore.
This year I decided to do a riff on my nature journaling and recreate it in fondant.
We do indeed have so much for which to be thankful.

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Musical birthday

Noel Campbell 21st birthdayWhen a super talented young man, who plays cello, guitar and a plethora of other instruments hits the magic age of 21, it’s time to celebrate.
Noel’s birthday coincided with his solo CD launch. A cake to laud his premier cello artistry was made but since the party was expected to reach 200 celebrants, a cake to mark his 21st birthday was also needed.
Happy birthday Noel. Knock ’em dead out there!

Serving up a happy birthday

Tennis 60th bday Greg Byers (2)My friend Greg was celebrating a significant birthday and his partner Bonnie asked me to make a cake to mark his special day.
Greg loves all manner of things including music and politics, but he’s especially fond of tennis. When I suggested a funny spin on a tough match, Bonnie thought it would be an amusing way to poke fun at his getting to the ripe old age of 60.
Here’s a fondant version of poor, exhausted Greg after an especially gruelling tennis match. He laughed when he saw it and said it was the best cake ever.
Here’s to many more tennis matches dear Greg!

Hayley & Mike’s wedding

Hayley & Mike wedding Aug2019My partner Richard’s nephew Mike was getting married and he and his bride-to-be, Hayley, asked me to make their wedding cake. I was touched.
They wanted a naked carrot cake. Decorations would be roses and succulents like the bouquet Hayley would carry. Everything sounded great. Except I live a six-hour drive from the venue! Time to figure out how to take this show on the road.
I baked carrot cakes and froze them, then made lemony buttercream and froze that too. A few days before the wedding we packed the car with boxes and ice packs and hit the road.
We arrived in Lake of Bays, in the beautiful Muskoka district of Ontario, north of Toronto, a few days early and met up with the bridal party and put all our stuff into a fridge at the cottage where I’d be putting the cake together.
On the morning of the wedding, we arrived and I went to work. I assembled the three tiers and when it was time to decorate the cake itself, the roses and succulents looked a bit lonely. I decided that adding something that grew around the cottage would be apropos. Hayley and Mike love the cottage at Lake of Bays. I wanted the cake to feel like it came from there.
Jess, the sister of the groom helped me find acorns, pine cones and wild mint that grows at the water’s edge. We washed them all and added them to the roses and succulents. It was just the perfect thing. The formal roses and baby’s breath contrasted well with the earthier tones of the pine cones and acorns. Formal and natural side-by-side.
The bride and groom loved the cake. And after the charming by-the-water’s edge ceremony and dinner, the guests tucked into the carrot cake.
Congrats to the newlyweds Hayley and Mike. Wishing you many sweet years together.