Saturday, December 24, 2011

Martini Themed Birthday Cake During The Christmas Season

Had such a hard time not making a couple of French Martinis while creating this gift package birthday cake for Mollie (aka Marlena) this past weekend. Inspiration was drawn from the holiday season and most importantly from my consultation with Theresa of the fabulous Italian Restaurant - Il Bacco in Queens, New York.
                                                   Happy Birthday Mollie!

The cakes Blackout Chocolate Cake filled Raspberry Preserves and Strawberry Compote Italian Meringue Buttercream. They were served with a fresh sugared strawberry topping - which by the way is so very easy to make.

                                                     Sugared Strawberries

                                                     1 Pint Fresh Strawberries
                                                     1/2 cup sugar

Rinse and quarter strawberries and place in a bowl.
Pour sugar over strawberries and mix through to evenly coat the strawberries.
Cover and place in refrigerator for about 2 hours. The sugar will draw out the yummy juices from the strawberries.
Serve the strawberry goodness.

MAY 2012


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Barbara Streisand Theme Birthday Cake for Lauren's Mom

When Lauren M. called me to create a cake for her mom's birthday for this past weekend I was thrilled. Lauren one of my newest customers had me create a Knick's themed birthday cake for her dad just about two week ago.
 Lauren's mom loves Barbara Streisand! Enough said...I knew exactly where to go with this cake.
Barbara in a black gown, a mic in her hand and a hat that she might have worn ... no guarantee there, in Hello Dolly....but then again...the hats she wore in that movie were really big. Nevertheless, I wanted to get a hat of sorts on my little figurine characature of her.
I had seen Barbara in pearls and with other hats with flowers and a fan so I incorporated those on the side of the cake as well as "pinkish" make-up. I don't think I've seen Barbara in bolder color lipsticks.
As a cake designer, people ask sometimes, where do you get your ideas? Well honestly, for the most part the initial inspiration comes from my customers. I get an idea as to what they have in mind, then I simply go off and do research on what they've said. This time was a little harder as there weren't any and I mean there weren't any cakes I could find with a Barbara Streisand Theme to help jumpstart my creative process. So,  I just found pics of Barbara and her movies, watched her song videos  and listened to a cd of her music I had stashed in my cd archives. My God she has an awesome voice! Once in the Barbara zone...there was no turning back!
Lauren's mom's birthday celebration was held at "388" a lovely restaurant in Roslyn, New York. the way...the cake flavor? Blackout Chocolate Cake filled with Cookies and Cream. now...Barbara's song is stuck in my head...."Memories of the Way We Were". How I love that song!

Winter Wonderland Sweet 16 For Michelle

Here ia a photo of our beautiful Michelle LaRinga who had her Sweet 16 on Friday, December 2. She not only is beautiful on the outside but beautiful on the inside as well. When I first met Michelle and her mom Maria and brother Luca at the shop, I was taken by her sweetness. It was as if I knew her and her lovely mom and brother for years!
Together we designed her cupcake favors. They chose a Winter Wonderland theme featuring white snowflakes to be place in a hexagon box in a cloud of white tuille, tied with a silver ribbon.
The cupcakes after the tasting were half - vanilla butter cakes, filled with a luscious passion fruit buttercream and topped with vanilla buttercream, sprinkled with coconut.  The other half of the cupcakes...Michelle and mom wanted to please all their guests with a choice of cupcakes - Deep Dark Black Out Chocolate Cake filled with Nutella Buttercream, drizzled with caramel and topped with a Vanilla buttercream.
Michelle's Venue was the lovely Roma View on Cross Bay Blvd. in Howard Beach, New York.
Well Sweet Michelle...I hope you had a fabulous Sweet 16 Party. May you always be happy! And, may all of your Sweet 16 wishes come tru

These gorgeous centerpieces were created by Rose of Designs by Rose in Howard Beach, New York. Rose creates the most beautiful and creative floral designs. Her design work is worthy of being featured on David Tutera's Bride Show!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Noah's Army Cake and Cupcakes

A first for Sweet Alchemy by army cake for my young friend Noah...Laura's son on his birthday. Noah is all about camoflage, army uniforms. You rock little army guy! Hope your party was the best ever.
Happy Birthday Noah!

Hannah's Little Mermaid Cake and Cupcakes

 Little Mermaid Cake and Cupcakes for Hannah
  Here is a cake and cupcakes I created for my little friend Hannah for her birthday. Hannah and her mom Laura love love love Ariel in the movie "The Little Mermaid". Their favorite scene is when Ariel is sitting on a rock and singing while the ocean waves splash behind her.
Happy Birthday Hannah!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

NY Knicks Themed Cake at Riverbay Restaurant

Here is a NY Knicks themed cake for a customer's Dad for his birthday. The birthday get together was held at a lovely restaurant on Long Island....The Riverbay Restaurant on Willis Avenue in Williston, New York.

Cake was a Yellow Butter Cake with an Italian Meringue "Metaxa" Brandy Buttercream. Yummo!
The ball on top of the cake was of Rice Krispy Treat.

Happy Birthday! 

Manhasset Schools SCA Cupcake Favors

Manhasset Schools SCA Luncheon Cupcake Favors

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Manhasset Schools SCA Luncheon Cupcake Favors

These Cupcake Favors were given to the guests who attended the Manhasset Schools SEA Luncheon, held at the Town of North Hempstead Country Club. The cupcakes were a delicious pumpkin spice cupcake topped with an Italian Meringue "Metaxa" Buttercream and a sunflower in keeping with the fall theme of the luncheon.
This project of 35o cupcakes to be boxed and ribboned would not have been possible with the help of my daughter, Maria Monis-Sideratos and her friends. These wonderful women went to Maria's house and helped with the boxing, which would have been a daunting task for the "chief pot washer" - baker - and designer - me.
A very special thank you goes to Maria for opening up her house to all of us and to the 350 boxes - ribbons - cupcakes and buttercream.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Michael's 40th Birthday Poker Cake

Here's a fun birthday cake I created for Michael for his 40th Birthday.
Everything on this cake was handcrafted and painted, with the exception of the lowercase "m" on the poker chips which was created with "Tappit".
When creating cakes, sometimes you need a little inspiration. My friend and partner Sofia had the coolest idea. The wire accents with the card suites decorations suspended from them, were inspired by her card cake. Thanks Sofia. Which brings me to something I have wanted to discuss in my blog....and that is sharing information.
When talking to one of my instructors in cake design....we spoke about sharing "secrets" of the trade etc. And she said something beautiful to me. She said...Amelia...there is enough work out there for all of us. There is no need to hide information and not share our knowledge." I totally agree. Perhaps its the teacher in me....but I always seem to have the urge...the need to teach. Everyone's hand is different. Everyone has there own vision. It's how you take the information you learn and transfer it to the cakes you create that make it your own.
I find that with a little inspiration from other cake designers, the fashion world, nature, and just everyday objects....a cake can be created.
Sometimes...we get "stuck" just as writer's get writers block. I call it caker's block. When I get that way....I just step away. Grab a cup of coffee....sit on my porch....and empty my mind...which isn't very difficult to do these days! Then...I just go back to my worktable...."let go" and allow myself....yah...I mean give myself permission to be me....
Before I know it...I'm in my zone...It's almost as if someone else's hands are working on a piece. Oh...wait a's not someone's the real self under the surface.
Happy Caking Everyone!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Manhasset Women's Coalition Against Breast Cancer Silent Auction Cake

This is a cake - Bohemian Chic - I created for the Manhasset Women's Coalition Against Breast Cancer for their fund raising dinner and Silent Auction held tonight at the Inn at New Hyde Park.

The flowers were fantasy peonies trimmed in gold highlight, ribbon flowers and feathers of hope for the cure and a pink ribbon for the cause.

The women of the coalition are such a hard working and dedicated group. I am honored to have just a little part in their fund raising efforts to wipe out this beast.
A beast that has taken so many of our sisters.

I pray for a cure in our lifetime.

Congratulations to the MWCABC for a fabulous job! This year they had 500 people attend this worthy function!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Halle's Sweet 16 Cake Vision

Halle's Favors

It was such a pleasure consulting with Halle and her parents on Halle's vision for her Sweet 16 Cake and favors.

Halle's vision for her cake was to be artsy and out of the box. Loving animal prints we incorporated fantasy zebra and leopard prints into the bottom two tiers. Her third tier was a vision of polka dots...I took the dots and created arched dots. They don't look perse' like animal print....but somehow....the dots to me were a very abstract interpretation of a cheetah.
Halle's top tier represented her color scheme at her venue - The Douglaston Manor, in Douglaston, New York. We wanted to represent the colors as well as Halle's vision of something dreamy and artsy - almost VanGo-ish. Alright...maybe that was more me. The VanGo-ish tone. Her cupcake favors were royal blue chocolate disks with a silver fantasy daisy with a fantasy silver ribbon rose. I wanted to incorporate the two flower elements that were on the cake. The flowers on the cake were in magenta.
The topsy turvy cake Halle requested was made of red velvet cake as were her cupcake favors.

I have to say at this time that the staff at the Douglaston Manor - Daniel Miller (Maitr'd) and servers were absolutely wonderful. From the moment we arrived at the manor to the very last final detail I attended to on the cake - they were extremely helpful. It is service such as theirs that make a cake designer's life so much easier. Thanks guys!

So to our Sweet 16 young lady - Halle...I hope you had a fabulous time at your party. Wishing your Sweet 16 year be filled with all the best and that your dreams come true. To your mom and dad...even though I've only spoken to Halle for a couple of hours....I could tell she is a fantastic teen! Mom and should be proud! May all your wishes for Halle come true.

Halle's Vision

Topsy Turvy Sweet 16 Cake at The Douglaston Manor in Douglaston, New York. September 23, 2011.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Two More of Some of My Favorite Cake Creations

Marc Jacobs Purse and Shoe

Cartier Watch Groom's Cake

Was scrolling down my blog and found these two cakes I created. It was the Cartier Cake that was noticed by one of the producers at TLC, which prompted her to call me to audition for TLC's Ultimate Cake Off. Didn't get on that season, but then, Al Roker Productions called, and we were selected to film a special with Sylvia Weinstock on WE TV. An experience I will never forget!

The Marc Jacobs bag and shoe was for Yvonne, who celebrated her birthday at Seasons on Long Island. Looked pretty nice in their winter room with a fireplace as a backdrop.

Ok...enough reminiscing....on to new cake creations and to building out our new shoppe in Port Washington, New York! Yesssss people....we finally got our verbal approval for permits and are now lining up our contractors!

Christening Cake and a MacKenzie-Child's Inspired Birthday Cake

What a sensational 2011 season we've had so far! Going through my blog I thought I'd just recap a couple of cake creations that were created for our amazing clients! There are so many more to view in older posts.

Not only did Sweet Alchemy by Amelia have the opportunity to create....but we were on two podcasts...The Andrew Zarian Show - Guys From Queens, where I muppetized out of cake, Andrew for his birthday and where Sofia baked some delish cupcakes.

To make the season even "sweeter" Sweet Alchemy was in a one hour television special "ICED WITH SYLVIA WEINSTOCK", which aired on May 29, 2011, on WE TV. During this special with the Empress of Cakes Sylvia Weinstock, Sofia and I competed for a coveted three day mentorship which we won! During the mentorship, we were asked to create and execute a wedding cake in just under 2 days, in a medium (buttercream) neither Sofia nor I were expert in...but learned very quickly!) for a bride whose reception was at Cipriani Wall Street! The antics and the drama were to die for! We're just hoping it reruns on "WE".

Who knew...that five years ago....after visiting my son Terry in London....and taking cake design classes at Squires International School of Cake Decorating, that I would be bitten by that "sweet bug" and leave teaching and social work to become a cake entrepreneur!

And so...on to new and exciting days in creating for happy events.

Cake Highlights

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Baby Sophia Celebrates Her First Birthday at Roma View

I can't begin to express how happy I was when Jennifer contacted me to create Sophia's first birthday cake. I'm always thrilled when I get a chance to create a cake. But this cake was especially special as it is the third cake I've done for Jennifer and James...the first cake for them being James' groom's cake. James related to me when they were cutting the cake that Jennifer had leaned over to him and said that when they became pregnant she wanted a cake from me. That was the most precious thing I had ever heard!

Well several months later, I received a phone call from James...a clandestine one at that....James wanted to secretly meet with me to order Jennifer's baby shower cake! We knew she loved ducks and gerber daisies and Coach we designed a Coach diaper bag, with all the goodies that go into a diaper bag and of course....a mama duck with her babies following AND yellow gerber daisies! we are a year later, AND....another phone call. This time to order baby Sophia's 1st Birthday cake.

We set up an appointment at Jen's mom and dad's home. It was like a family reunion! And of course, our new addition....Sophia!!! What a happy happy baby! Always smiling! And Cuuuuuuuuuute as a button!!! Together we went through my albums, and then created little Sophia's cake. It originally was to be a 3 tiered cake...but I wanted to surprise them and made it into a 4 tiered cake. The flavors were chocolate blackout cake with cookies and cream filling and the remaining tiers....a moist vanilla cake with Italian Meringue filling with a "schmere" of apricot preserves gently accenting each layer within the tiers. mmmmmmmm!

Baby Sophia's favorite characters are Elmo and his pet fish Dorothy. So I hand-crafted each character out of gumpaste and placed them on the cakeboard to the side of Sophia's name ribbon.
The cupcake on top was made out of krispie treat, and white chocolate modeling plastique and decorated with white fondant and fondant appliques. The cake under the dome of the cupcake was a white sour cream cake.

I can't wait for pics of the party and the cake cutting to arrive. The minute they do, I will post them with a blurb of course!

Before I forget...I want to thank the serving staff at Roma View for their help in getting us set up. They were so very kind and sweet. Why one of the staff, I wish I had asked her name actually helped up maneuver the cake table so that there wasn't a glare from the waterfront. Which by the way is beautiful.

My best wishes to Jennifer and James and their baby girl Sophia. May all their dreams for their little one be fulfilled!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Newest Cakes

Dont know what happened to the images. They are pretty tiny. But I did want to post them as they are so pretty. Pamela called several weeks ago to order these cakes for three birthdays, Neeta - 30, Lachmi 70 and Wellie 81.

These simple yet elegant cakes are both whimsical and classic. The orange diagnol cake with the lace piping was made for Neeta, and the red double banded cake for the two grandmothers.

Each tier was a different flavor, chocolate with strawberry preserves and chocolate brandy ganache, red velvet with a traditional cream cheese filling, yellow butter cake with fresh strawberries and cream, and moist white butter cake filled with pineapple and passion fruit Italian merringue buttercream.

When I arrived at their home in Richmond Hill I could hear exotic Indian music wafting down the driveway. It was hard for me not to start dancing. I so love Indian music. Then the music turned to modern Guianese. This promised to be a rockin party.

Hoping that everyone had a fabulous time. Many happy returns to the celebrants, Neeta, Lachmi and Wellie!

Andrew Zarian Show Appearance

Wow...who would have thought that this "little girl" from Hell's Kitchen would be doing what she's doing now. In the past year, I made an appearance with Sofia Demetriou on the Andrew Zarian Show - Podcast - Guys From Queens Network, where I created a muppetized Andrew for his birthday, filmed a special for Al Roker Productions - on WeTV - Iced With Sylvia Weinstock, where Sofia and I won a coveted 3 day apprenticeship with the Leonardo DaVinci of Cakes, Sylvia Weinstock, and then appeared again on the Andrew Zarian Show on Thursday, July 14th, where we shared with our viewers, the hilarious antics behind the scenes of "Iced". And in between, opened a shop and closed (not due to any fault of our own) and am in the process of re-opening in Port Washington.
Whew....that was a mouthful. Not to mention all of life's everyday events.
Growing thinks of all the possible things one could be when they grow up. One of my dreams was to be a photographer/documentary film maker. Circumstances didn't allow for it to happen. But there was always an indescribable know like the feelings you get when you want to do feel like you're going to jump out of your skin.... you just can't
pinpoint what it is...yet you know it's a need to create something....anything? I guess this is where destiny pokes it head and sends you places where you never really think anything out of what you expect to happen....and're clear! You know exactly what it is you want to do....when you grow up. Well I'm all grown up now physically, on the other side of 50...yikes...and I am following my dream of having a custom cake shoppe....yes....the clarity was "create cakes", appearing on National Television and a Pod Cast! Hmmm...I wonder what else is on the media horizon.
Well...I am living the dream, and for now....this is where I will be....until that little girl inside of me starts wondering again....."What do I want to be when I grow up?"

Thank you Andrew and Jessica for having Sofia and I on your show! I know I for one had a blast...still thinking about those brownies you had. yummmmmm???????????

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Buttercream vs Fondant - And the Controversy Continues

I have to say...I've never heard so much controversy over buttercream vs. fondant as I have in the past couple of months since our television special "Iced With Sylvia Weinstock". Sylvia...I continue to bow to you. You are the Leonardo DaVinci and Queen Mother of Cake Decorating.

I'm sure this debate has been going on for years and I'm sure the arguments have been heated, but you know what they're never really aware of some things until you are experiencing the events or witnessing up close and personally.

Nothing really beats a smooth, light and silky buttercream as far as taste is concerned, and if applied perfectly...I mean totally pockmarks, no swirls...(not getting it perfect is enough to make a grown woman cry!) I mean ice smooth...buttercream is the way to go. It's natural - no preservatives - the real deal. And... if you happen to leave a pockmark behind or can...indeed start all over or in a last ditch recovery...if aesthetically beautiful and part of your overall design concept... you can camouflage it with beautiful flowers, or elegant buttercream piping. Not that that should be your fallback. It should be as perfect as perfect can be...and it better taste amazing.

On the other hand...fondant...allows for that beautiful porcelain look that so many people like...including myself. And...fondant allows for easier manipulation, maneuvering and certain decorating elements you simply can not do with buttercream. (Believe me...after almost dropping the buttercream cake on the show, and creating an indentation on one of the tiers...(I forgot to put my center dowel in! Duh!!! I know!) Do you remember on one of the episodes of Cake Boss when Cousin Anthony dropped the Sweet Sixteen Cake down the stairs...and all of us decorators were screaming at the television...yes you know who you are....where is your center dowel!!! And we all thought it was a set dears....crap like that does happen on reality t.v. I know....You do forget when under pressure!)
But I digress...Back to buttercream and fondant.
Of order to have a perfectly smooth fondant covering, you must have a smooth buttercream foundation. So it does pay to practice practice practice getting that foundation right. It doesn't have to be ice-smooth...after all... Buddy V. "dirty ices" and Toba Garrett spackles.... but they get it smooth, or you will get those dreaded bulges and bumps...Not a very attractive!!!

In order to keep it natural, the best way to go is to make your own. That way you are insured of a pure product. However, when you are in business, and are working pretty much alone, and you have several cakes to do per week and all of the customers are asking for rolled fondant icing, the pre-made commercial stuff is the way to go especially in the summer. And some of them do taste pretty good. I have my favorite. Each cake...needs a minimum of 1 1/2 pounds of fondant...and that's for a 6" cake....Can you imagine the time it would take to make say...7 pounds of fondant for a three tiered cake times three or four or more cakes? would be ideal...but honey....if I wanted an upper arm workout I'd go to the gym. It's enough rolling out the stuff. (I don't have a sheeter!)

Each of the icing mediums requires a certain skill set. (Some of us are better at one or the other or the multi-talented...both.) The basic skill to attain is the proper application of buttercream. It is the mother of all skills to master. You might screw up a bit...God knows I have...and believe's really humbling when you've done this on national television, but in the end...with perseverance...and patience, and a love and passion for what you are doing...your end product does come out pretty nice. ( least that's what people tell me about my work.)

The same goes for when you are working with fondant. I've seen some pretty bad fondant jobs. Yah...I'm pretty critical now, (I go to events and affairs and the first thing I do is check out the cake!) after 5 years of paying my fondant dues! Kerry Vincent would come at you like no tomorrow too ! Even though I haven't reached her level yet, I hope to soon. (Remember what I said before? Practice Practice Practice?) You don't just slap fondant on a cake. I'll never forget the first time I worked with it when I went to cake decorating school in London. I was sooo nervous about it....and afraid of being embarrassed in front of the masters of cake decorating there. Seriously, these people were the big guns...the likes of Tombi Peck, Anne Skip, Alan Dunn, Maisee Parish, Debbie Brown were enough to make you wish you were born with a decorating certificate attached to your pinkie toe.) Yet...after the first fiasco, elephant skin....tearing....cracking....thick on one side...too thin on the other...jagged edges....I soon learned how to create a PERFECTLY smooth foundation for my decorating projects.

So, at this're probably wondering...does she like decorating with buttercream icing over fondant icing? I will let you know after I've challenged myself to create the biggest most glorious cake of my career...I'm talking least 5 feet buttercream and gumpaste flowers and then one in fondant and gumpaste flowers. If you don't hear from me after I've completed this means that I've collapsed in a corner of my workshop covered in....buttercream or fondant.

Monday, June 27, 2011

50th Wedding Anniversary Cupcake Tower

I created this mini-cake tower for a 50th Anniversary celebration. The symbolism behind the cake was very interesting. The celebratory couple have three children all of whom live in different parts of the country...thus the butterflies...representing them. On either end of the mini-butterfly cakes, there were chocolate silhouettes of each of the grandchildren.

It was a sweet concept and I had a lovely time planning this tower of mini's with my client.


Pink Hydrangea Christening Cake

This lovely cake was for a christening held in May of this year. The pink hydrangeas were all completely handcrafted and placed on the cake to give the appearance of petals gently falling down the side of the cake. The piping you see on the bottom and top tiers was freehand.

I remember reading one of my favorite cake design books in a chapter that discussed piping.

I find that when in a very quiet room....and allowing oneself to get into the "zone" the piping flows freely.

I've tried several times to "copy" someone else's patterns...yet found it extremely difficult to do. But, when I gave myself permission to go with the flow...and to allow my imagination to go free...I was pleased with the work and the process.

This cake was a vanilla buttercake filled with fresh strawberries and strawberry puree and whipped cream. It was so hard not taking a slice out of it. Yummy.

Recent Cakes - Yanni's and Lambraki's Birthday Cakes

Here are Yanni's and Lambraki's Cupcake Towers for their birthday party held at Lucky Strike in New York City. Yanni wanted Super Why and we created a Candyland Cake for Lambraki. Yanni turned 4 and Lambraki turned 1.

There was a lot of pressure with the Super Why cake for Yanni. Why? You ask?

Because Yanni is a Super Why afficionado...There was absolutely no playing around with the image of this character! Either it is....or it isn't! make absolutely - 100% sure it was....I created a 2-D representation of Super Why on sugar paper and tranferred it to pastillage.

On the other hand...Lambraki's was easier. I knew Candyland!!! But to make sure, I got the colors and the little marshmallow king right I went out and bought the game.

Nah....I bought it because I secretly wanted to play it!

Happy Birthday Yanni and Lambraki. Many many many more!