Most of my work is inspired by fashion, or at least design outside the culinary world. Yet people always ask me to make a cake that looks like their purse. Why do you want to eat your purse! This blog can be a learning tool for you and an outlet of self expression for me:) No more purse cakes! Enjoy!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

To hero

The picture above is a cake I made for my cousin Jenn's wedding....look familiar?  It was based on Baroque in Patent Leather, a cake that graces the cover of this beautiful, inspiring, and (at least for me) life changing book.....

I made Jenn's cake when I was a baby cake designer.  I was living in New York at the time and was totally obsessed with the woman I call my hero.....Margaret Braun!  If you don't know who Margaret Braun is....first of all....shame on you!...and secondly...she is the woman who changed my life.  I know that sounds dramatic, but it is true.

In 2002 (I was in college a the time), I found this book.  I must have read the book 100 times in the first week.  I was consumed with ideas and found myself practicing my piping skills everyday.  I would tape a piece of parchment paper to my dorm room wall and practice over and over using toothpaste.  What?  Listen, I was a poor college student and toothpaste is cheap....and it actually looks and pipes like royal!....but you have to get the super cheap, pasty kind.

Now, 12 years is what my book looks like today....

She's been through it....just for the record, I eventually bought another copy so I could try to preserve what was let of this one.....because it is SIGNED!!

...and yes...I have had many, many adventures in sugar!  She signed my book at a demo at Macy's in NYC.  As a young cake was one of the best days of my life.  So naturally, much of my early work looked very Margaret-like......

God this picture is old!  Sorry for the quality..I think I used a disposable camera.  

The best thing about Cakewalk, is that it taught me to be fearless and try to push the limits of cake design.  It gave me chance to understand the importance of detail and develop my own style!  This is when I understood that MY cakewalks were the fashion shows, magazines, and pop culture I loved to obsess over.  I started to pull inspiration from everything around me.

Okay enough about me....let's talk about the work.   Here are a few of my favorites from Margaret...

Seriously, she even managed to reinvent the polka dot!

   Chalice toppers are a signature Margaret statement.

I love this fashion cake by Margaret....

Gorgeous!  It was inspired by Italian designer Rene Caovilla....check out this shoe he designed...

This is everything!...cake inspiration for days!!

And we can't forget her movie work...

Meet Joe Black

Bride Wars

And this showstopper from Rachel Getting Married....

That could not be more awesome!

A couple weeks ago, a friend asked me to create an over the top baby shower cake....something that didn't scream BABY! no blocks or strokes.  I was looking though my fashion archives and realized this was the perfect time to pay respects to the woman who I have always looked up to!

Margaret is known for her sculpted tiers, hand painted cakes, and signature cake toppers.  I have to get all three things on this cake.....and my added touches with some fondant texture.

I started by sculpting the top edge of each tier...

I run my knife along in a wave pattern.  Then I coat the cake in white chocolate ganache.

I looks funny....stay with me...

Next I smooth the ganache, cover in fondant, and use my fingers to pinch and define this top edge.

I add some guys have seen this before in my Stella McCartney cake....

It's time to paint....

I am using pink food coloring, white to tone it down, and then a lightly damp craft sponge to wipe the color off.

I paint color into the lines....

Then I use the craft sponge to wash the color over the surface...

I added some embellishments.  Once still looks a bit crazy...stay with me;)

Let's talk about the topper.  I need to make an ode to a chalice without actually making a chalice.  I am gonna try to make a golden rattle.  I start by making a chocolate piece from my Pavoni mold.  It needs a hole though so I can feed it through the dowel.  I am gonna use a bubble tea straw.

I dip the straw in chocolate...

Place it into the top of the mold and hold it to dry so it remains level....

Then I popped the top off and filled the mold with chocolate....

Okay I got a couple air bubbles but I'm gonna gold leaf this thing so it won't matter.....

The cake is stacked and ready to paint....

With the middle tier I wanted to add some polka dots but in a different way than Margaret does them.  So I gave them some texture...

I also added some bows based off this cake Margaret made for Puff Daddy's baby shower....

It's coming along!!  Here is the finished topper....

I just continued to paint until there was nothing left!!!

And here she is all together....

Yay!  I love her!  And she made it on TV!.....

The cake was for Kim Z. from Don't Be Tardy on Bravo!  I also got the chance to meet Margaret again in person!

Here was my cake from her class.

I would like to send a huge thank you to Margaret Braun for being my hero, giving us this amazing book, and allowing me to do this blog the way....Margaret is super down to this Master Class....

That's all for now;) Bye!!


  1. It looks amazing!

  2. so beautiful! thank you for sharing :) x

  3. What a beautiful cake! Thank you for sharing your inspiration, Margaret and her cakes are magnificent!

  4. Love this design and your work. I was curious when you do a wavy cake like that if you have to use a thicker fondant so you can press the waves out. I am looking forward to your next post.

  5. I have been obsessed with your cakes since I first saw you on Food Network Challenge. Ill be honest, I now only watch it to see if you'll be back. The most beautiful cakes!

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  15. Hi, I just read your post and really enjoyed.. Your discussion was very interesting. I bought Margaret book this year when I saw your polka dots cake as you mentioned about her and her book. I read her book again and again, and consumed new designs. Atlast I won the international cake competition in wedding cake category. I am so happy to read your detail post. Thanks for sharing with us.