Sunday, December 6, 2009

Birthday Dots

Lori's birthday falls right around Christmas time, which is why you'll see our tree in the background of this photo. After the baby shower last month, we'd been experimenting with the whole "whimsical tiered cake" idea. This ribbon wrapped beauty (say that three times fast) is marbled twice over: purple and white fondant on the outside, yellow and chocolate cake on the inside.

Friday, December 4, 2009


This cake took us down memory lane to the late, great, IBM Selectric electric typewriter. An acquaintance from school asked us to help celebrate the retirement of a 40-year employee at his office, who, yes, still uses her old Selectric to print mailing labels. He wins the award for being by far the best client we've had so far, since he came to us with a specific design in mind and sent photos from every possible angle (including measurements!)

The basic shape was pretty simple, but carving out the hollow on top after the fact proved slightly more complicated than I imagined. As usual, the most fun parts were the little details--note, if you will, the notched type wheel and the other inner pieces. All classic Tara. My favorite thing is that no plastic dowels or cardboard support layers were necessary; the entire thing is completely edible (and pretty delicious, too).

Monday, November 16, 2009

Baby Shower

Yes, it's Fall Festival time again, and that means there's a Caldwell Cake to be won in the school's silent auction.

This one was requested for a baby shower, and it posed an interesting challenge. Instead of creating the design from scratch, we were asked to replicate an existing cake from another website. That meant a little reverse engineering on our part, and a whole lot of geometry measuring out those diamond patches. (I don't know if you can tell in these images, but Tara "quilted" the perimeter of each patch before placing them onto the cake--genius!)

Except for the ribbon at the base of each layer, everything on this cake is edible, from the tiny bow ties to the sneakers on top. Those shoes, by the way, marked our first foray into gumpaste construction; we were thrilled with how they came out, so I included an extra close-up photo below.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


Well, this was certainly a new theme for us. Rhonda's husband was turning fifty, so several months ago she ordered a coffin-shaped cake to go along with the black balloons and other "mourning" gag decorations. We had to do some research on several funeral-home websites before we were able to settle on a model that would be easy enough to create with fondant, yet still elegant enough to get buried in.

Once we got started, it came together pretty quickly, but during the final stages we realized things could have gone smoother if we had decorated each section and then pieced them together afterwards. Oh well. The embellishments, as usual, are Tara's handiwork, including the improvised columns at the corners which turned out to be my favorite part.

Yes, the flowers on top are edible as well, but due to time constraints we chose to buy them pre-made. The stems, leaves, and ribbon, though, are Caldwell Cakes originals. :)

Ultimately, this little guy was displayed on the table along with a sign we picked out that shows a cartoon Grim Reaper saying "Relax, I'm just here for the cake!"

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Nashville Sounds

The theme for the Tennessee Cake Festival this year was "Love Affair with Music City," the original date having been scheduled for Valentine's Day weekend. The event had to be postponed until nearly March, but we figured we could still work in a nod to Nashville's minor league baseball team, the Sounds.

This marks the first time we've revisited a cake design, as well as the first "behind the scenes" photograph we've posted. I prefer the glove being taller, and I was particularly pleased with the way the team logo turned out, since I piped it by hand. Tara created the grass field upon which it sits using about a thousand individual squirts of green icing. Phew!

The other image is the cake's endoskeleton support structure.

Friday, February 20, 2009


My neice, Lily, turned one last week. Naturally, we were commissioned to create a masterwork to celebrate the occasion, but agreed only on the condition that the cake's subject be a surprise to both mom and baby (although let's be honest--baby doesn't really know what cake IS at this point...)

Anyway, we had grandma ship us my sister's old doll from when SHE was a wee tot. Her name is Sally, and she looks, well, pretty much like this picture. I had fun engineering the arms to project out from either side without falling over, and as usual my wife drove home the artistic details. For example: I did the blue eyes, but Tara added the little white dots in each. The doll's hands and feet are made of a different, more plush fabric than the rest of its body, so Tara simply pressed the yellow fondant with a paper towel to give it texture. Genius!

You can't see it, but Sally even had a fondant Fisher Price tag stuck to her hindquarters.