Helicopter Cake

There’s a special story behind each cake, and this one is no exception. This cake is about  a proposal. Not just any proposal, but Kirt and Meagan’s proposal after a helicopter ride through the Grand Canyon! Can you say a swept-off-your-feet type of experience?

Here’s a pic of Meagan and Kirt after their moment:

Now that’s happiness. 🙂

The helicopter itself is the N137PH Eurocopter from Papillion Grand Helicopters:

01. Engagement1

It’s not everyday I get the chance to recreate such a special scene and to create a helicopter cake…

02. Gumpaste Figure

03. Sugar Cake Figure

06. Cake Planning

The making of the helicopter cake was an incredible process. This was by far, one of the most structurally challenging cakes I have done so far. Not only was it making the cake, but it felt like recreating the helicopter itself. The entire cake itself measured 3 feet long, and the planning alone took the most time. Many components such as the base, main rotor, tail and tail rotor couldn’t be made out of cake and needed careful consideration.

It all came together the day before the wedding:

07. Cake Template

08. Chocolate Helicopter Cake

09. Cake Structure

I learned a number of techniques to create the internal structure of this cake from Mike McCarey’s Cake Structure Class as well as his Cakenology DVD. I found myself reviewing many of my notes and photos from his class. A kind thank you to the amazing Mike for putting this information out there. Check out his cakes here.

And thank you to Kim and Janis for the help on this cake – their talents never cease to amaze me.

12. Crumb Coat

13. Fondant Helicopter

19. Calgary Cake Artist

20. Helicopter Cake

24. Airplane Wedding Cake

30. Engagemnet Cake

Thank you to Simply Brooke Photography for this sweet photo of the cake cutting (pun intended):

31. cakecutting

It astonishes me everyday what cake really represent. This was a tangible, edible, symbol of love and happiness – from their hearts… and into their bellies!

Here’s a slideshow of the process. Enjoy!:

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Mount Royal Broadcasting Cake

3D Cake SketchRadio CakeKim Vy Television CakeInternal Cake StructureCake AssemblyPutting Cake TogetherRose Sen CakeMount Royal Broadcasting CakeRose Sen and Janis SimmonsRose Sen Cake DecoratorSurprise CakeCake LadderCake SketchMayor Nenshi Cake Cutting

What an busy weeks it has been! I have been dying to share this – my team and I had the amazing opportunity to create the cake for the 50th Anniversary of the Mount Royal University Broadcasting Program!

When I first met with Michelle and Alana from the Broadcasting Alumni Chapter, I understood immediately the value and importance of this program. It reminded me much of my own Baking and Pastry Arts Program – where many of the people that were once students in the Mount Royal Broadcasting program have branched out and become long-standing members of the industry.

Alana and Michelle even kindly showed me around the studio, and explained that although there have been many renovations throughout the years, the original room where the filming is done remains the same. When I walked into this room, there was this amazing nostalgic feel to it – the feeling that it all starts from here. And the ladder! Alana explained that there’s a very special story behind the ladder as it has been there from the beginning, and almost all the students have been on it at one time or another.

Here are some pictures from their actual studio:

BroadcastingMany people asked how many hours we put into this cake, and to be honest, for a project like this there were many uncounted hours of planning and preparation. This is one of the largest(and heaviest) cake projects I have done to date, and for each step along the way, it took an incredible amount of thought and careful consideration.

As for the process, we got as many of the gumpaste or dry pieces done throughout the week – this included the buttons, the dials, the radio mic, TV antennae, the candle, and big number 50. The top slice, the radio, the books, the TV, and the bottom tier are all made of cake.  All the final decoration of the cake came together during the evening before the event, where we worked late into the night to get the cake ready for the big day.

Because of the size of the cake and the number of tiers, this cake required final assembly on-site. To help hold the cake together, there was a center rod that ran the entire length of the cake, along with the usual boards and dowels in-between each layer. I estimated the final weight of this cake to be nearly 100 lbs, and it could have easily served up to 250 or more.

The Alumni Chapter did an amazing job of planning the party, the original cake sketch was tied into the table centerpieces, the screens throughout the building, and even on the tickets! Even Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi came out to celebrate and have first cut of the cake!

I’m incredibly grateful for this amazing opportunity and I hope I was able to tell their story through their cake. I thought it was an interesting correlation – through cake and creativity I try my best to tell a story and to deliver a message, and broadcasting does the same through wavelengths, frequencies, screens, and sound. Congratulations to the Mount Royal Broadcasting Program to an amazing 50 years!

Check out the slideshow of the process below:

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Hamburger Cake!

I’m so excited, I’ve always wanted to make this – a hamburger cake! Not just any hamburger, but a realistic 3-D cheeseburger with fixings!

I love these cakes because it feels like I’m cooking and cake decorating at the same time. 🙂  This cake was for Pat – the perfect person for a “patty” cake!

Hamburger Cake

3D Hamburger Cake

Burger Cake

3D Hamburger Cake

Burger Cake

3D Hamburger Cake

A run down of the process:

  1. The cake board was masked into squares using tape then airbrushed with red food colouring. The tape was then removed to reveal the checkerboard pattern. This was allowed to dry beforehand.
  2. Lettuce was rolled out thinly, cut with serrated scissors to make a wavy edge, then veined. The lettuce was then painted with a combination of green and a bit of brown liquid food colouring to look more like green leaf lettuce instead of ice berg lettuce.
  3. Tomato slices were made by shaping red modelling chocolate into a curved wedge shape, then sliced using a sharp Chef’s knife.
  4. Onions were made by rolling out and cutting a strip of off white modelling chocolate, adding lines using a paring knife, then curved
  5. Cheese was rolled out of golden yellow modelling chocolate. Once the cheese was placed on the bun, some gentle “drips” were pulled down and shaped by hand
  6. Fries were made using off white modelling chocolate that was rolled out then placed in the freezer to firm up. Fries were cut out, then skins were painted on using brown food colouring and a paintbrush.
  7. The buns were carved out of cake, the covered in buttercream, then fondant. Textures, lines and indents were adding using sculpting tools, then the buns were airbrushed using brown.
  8. The patty was carved out of cake, covered in butter ream, then fondant. Texture was added using sculpting tools, then hand painted using a combination of brown and black.
  9. Sesame seeds were made using off-white fondant that was rolled into a very thin rope, cut into small segments, then squished down one by one.
  10. A little but of shine was brushed onto the surface of the patty and cheese using a thin layer of oil.

I even took a video!

On a side note – if anyone here is from Calgary, AB and if you like burgers: I suggest you check out one of my favourites places, Boogies Burgers. It’s a hip diner-styled place with HUGE burgers and the most delicious spicy fries. The burger itself is as big as the plate it’s served on, and is definitely a meal within itself. My current favorite is a single “Boog-Mac.” (The secret is to wrap the paper around the burger to eat one of these monsters.)

Chuckwagon Cake

Chuckwagon Cake

Chuck Wagon Cake

Stampede Chuckwagon Cake
Chuckwagon Cake

I’m so happy I got a chance to make a Chuckwagon cake! Not only that, it was for the Rick  Fraser chuckwagon team!

For those of you who are not in Calgary, once a year, we have the Calgary Stampede. It’s a huge fun expo/celebration, with focus on the western lifestyle, agriculture, and the rodeo. This is when the cowboy hats and boots come out for everyone, and the whole city gets into party gear.

I’m fortunate that I had the chance to enjoy the Stampede this year. I think having William and Kate at the parade really increased enthusiasm for the Stampede this year –  I know it did for me.

At the Stampede,  I had the chance to check out the rodeo for the first time! I got to see several events, including bareback riding, bull riding, barrel racing, saddle bronc, steer wrestling and tie-down roping. After the rodeo, we checked out the cake competition(of course). And I had my share of mini donuts and smoked beef on a bun – the food is a very important part of the Stampede, in my opinion. 😉

Another integral part of the Stampede are the chuckwagon races, so I was so happy when the opportunity arose for me to make this traditional-styled chuckwagon cake.  I feel like it was my little way of participating in the Stampede itself, and giving back to this great event.

Hats off to all those cowboys, volunteers, staff, and participants that make the Calgary Stampede come together!

Camera Cake – The Nikon D300 DSLR

I love surprises.

And I recently had the ultimate opportunity to partake in a cake surprise and make a 3-D camera cake!

Camera Cake Nikon D300 DSLR
Camera Cake Nikon D300 DSLR

Camera Cake Nikon D300 DSLR

Camera Cake Nikon D300 DSLR

I’ve always wanted to chance to make a camera cake, and I was very blessed when the cake stars aligned themselves to make this happen.

And this wasn’t going to be just any camera. My goal was to make it Tyler’s camera – the Nikon D300.

There were a lot of special personalized details in this cake – the teal retro camera strap, to the edible image on the back of the cake, to the figure of Tyler wearing one of his favorite Nixon watches.

Camera Cake Nikon D300 DSLR

Camera Cake Nikon D300 DSLR

Camera Cake Nikon D300 DSLR

Camera Cake Nikon D300 DSLR

Camera Cake Nikon D300 DSLR

Recreating the shape of the lens was the most tricky part because of two reasons:

1) The bottom of a cake that has been carved into a cylinder will sink down and collapse on itself and

2) The shape of a cylinder likes to roll around

To combat this, I cut apart several fondant buckets and pieced them together to form a shallow, rigid, bowl-shaped support. The bottom 1/3 of the cake lens sat inside this support. This was then securely attached to the cake board to prevent movement while decorating and transportation.

The shine of the lens was recreated by painting a thin layer of piping jelly on, which was then hand painted with white food coloring to give it some depth.

Camera Cake Nikon D300 DSLR

Camera Cake Nikon D300 DSLR

Camera Cake Nikon D300 DSLR

The cake was filled with chocolate cake with chocolate chunk vanilla icing. It was then hand carved and sculpted. Because of the short time frame I have to work with the cake, this became and overnight project.

The finished camera cake was rather large – it measured 11″ high and was 14″ at it’s widest point, could serve up to 50 people, and weighed at least 20 lbs. All that butter cream, icing, and fondant sure gets heavy once it all gets put together!

Camera Cake Nikon D300 DSLR

Camera Cake Nikon D300 DSLR

And I was extremely lucky to witness his surprise and excitement when he saw the cake!  I just had to take a picture of him taking a picture. Note that the matching outfit was not a coincidence. 😉

Happy Birthday Tyler!!!

Camera Cake Nikon D300 DSLR

Camera Cake Nikon D300 DSLR

Camera Cake Nikon D300 DSLR

To see a wonderful glimpse into his vision and passion, check out Tyler Kergen Photography.

Carrot Cake that looks like a 3D Carrot

A carrot cake that looks like a 3-D sculpted carrot cake! ( Typical Rose humor going on here….)

Anne really loves carrot cake, so I was more than happy to have created this as part of her birthday celebrations.

Happy Birthday Anne!!!!

3D Carrot Cake

3D Carrot Cake

3D Carrot Cake

3D Carrot Cake

3D Carrot Cake

Fifth Wheel RV Motorhome Cake

Recently I had the opportunity to work on a vehicle cake. This time, it was a RV/motorhome cake – specifically, a fifth-wheel trailer!

This cake was for Bill & Livia’s 70th and 65th birthdays! This was a surprise to them from their lovely two daughters.  Bill & Livia are a couple who have their birthdays just a few days apart, and who LOVE to go camping! And they always go RV-ing with their chocolate brown lab. They have been married for many years – 43 to be exact –  and apparently they compliment each other very, very well!

From concept:

To cake:

Happy Birthday and Happy Camping to Bill & Livia!

How to Cut the Cake?

“How do you cut the cake???”

I highly suggest this excellent post by Debi Brim, experienced cake decorator and caterer, on How to Cut a Wedding Cake, including step-by-step photographs and instructions. I couldn’t have explained it better!

This “grid” technique also works great for how to cut a 3-D cake. Here I was below was using the same method.  To summarize:

  • Remove accents or items that might in the way
  • Cut a strip of cake (in this case, it was about 2 inches wide). I cut downward until it hit the board. This was about 4 inches.
  • Then cut that strip into pieces (it can be 1″ wide pieces – I cut mine a little big here). If you want even smaller pieces, you can cut this in half again.
  • Remove the dowels/supports before cutting the layer below. (I use scissors to remove slippery dowels.)

For more information and photos on cake cutting, please check out Debi’s Brim’s post on How to Cut a Wedding Cake.