Sunday, August 31, 2008

It's Fun to Turn One!

Makenna celebrated her 1st birthday today and probably doesn't realize how lucky she is that her mommy bought her such a special and fun cake! Neither Rick or I got a cake like this when we turned one. Quite frankly, we don't recall what our 1st birthday cake was, but I guarantee it wasn't anything like this. It makes me want to turn one all over again. Rick was given a pink and olive color palette with a polka dot theme and carte blanche on the design and from there he let his imagination run wild. Makenna's mother chose Strawberries Chantilly and Kona Toffee Crunch to serve to their 200 guests. We wish Makenna the happiest of birthdays!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Details, details. Celadon Greens, JK monograms and a Millenium Falcon Groom's cake

All images courtesy of Visionari

I absolutely love the images that Visionari sent us of our clients Karla and Jason’s wedding on July 26th. Although there were so many exquisite photos of the couple, for this wedding, I decided to focus on the details, and let the event come to life on its own.


Location: Grace Chapel of Honolulu
Photography: Visionari
Wedding Coordinator: Shawnee Hammer – L’Elegance Bridal Consultants
Floral Design: Flowergirls
Linens: Les Saisons
Catering: Indigo Catering
Cupcakes & Millenium Falcon cake: cakelava

See more photos of Jason's Millenium Falcon Groom's cake in a previous post on our blog.


Thursday, August 28, 2008

cakelava Interviews: Jen from Cake Wrecks, Pt. 2

All images courtesy of Cake Wrecks

Jen waxes wreck-tastically. Part 2 of our interview.

Sasha Reichart: Often, what can turn a perfectly good cake into a catastrophe is the writing, whether it is misspellings, grammatical errors, or poor penmanship. In our opinion, the writing on a cake is one of the most difficult things to master. After seeing so many writing-related mistakes, do you feel more sympathy for these decorators?

Jen: Hmm. You know, since most writing errors tend to come from grocery store bakeries, I guess I do feel more sympathy for those decorators. I’ve heard about the high demands and lack of training those jobs often entail, which makes the errors more understandable. Still funny, mind you, but more understandable.

Sasha Reichart: Let’s talk about the “Creepy Cakes” category. People are impressed by realistic cakes but at some point they can become too realistic and turn creepy. What is the creepiest cake you have seen and why do you think so?

Jen: At this point I think the creepy baby cake still gets the prize. It’s the half-open eye; that still gives me the shivers.

SR: One of your photo submission requirements is that the cake wreck must come from a professional bakery, grocery store, etc., to have been paid for with money. How do you verify a submission?

JEN: Most submitters send me the link where they found the cake or tell me where they purchased it, which helps. If it’s just a photo sent in, though, sometimes I’ll e-mail and request more info. There’s still no guarantee that a non-pro cake will never make it on the site, but I do try to err on the side of caution these days.

SR: What do you do when you aren’t writing about wrecks?

JEN; Lately I’ve been trying to keep up with the flood of e-mails! That, and taking a crash course in blog management – I’m learning a lot more about CSS and Google Analytics then I ever thought possible.

SR: Are the submissions primarily coming from the designers themselves or people who find them online and send them in?

JEN: Mostly people are sending in their own photos of cakes they’ve ordered in the past. I also get a lot that people have just found online, and a few bakers have even sent me a link to their site and told me to have at it - the brave, brave souls.

SR: Why do you think the Cake Wrecks site resonates with so many people?

JEN: Because laughter transcends our differences, and everyone needs to laugh more. I think Wrecks also reminds us that we all mess up sometimes, but that’s ok; it’s only when we stop laughing at our mistakes and start taking ourselves too seriously that we need to worry.

SR: Based on the submissions you receive, have you noticed any geographical trends? Are there cities or towns with more violations than others?

JEN: Hah – good question! I’m afraid I don’t keep track of where all the e-mails are coming from, though, so I couldn’t say. It has been interesting to see all the different styles of cakes from around the world, though.

SR: If you happen to know your readership, are they mostly cake designers or outside the profession?

JEN: Certainly the baking community was among the first to embrace Wrecks, but now the appeal seems to be almost universal. I get e-mails from corporate cubicle-dwellers, stay-at-home moms, students, doctors, and folks from every walk of life in-between.

SR: Your blog is a favorite of many people, including us. What are some of your favorite blogs?

JEN: Cute Overload is my go-to place when I need to smile and/or get a refresher course in baby-talk for my “kittehs”. I also recently discovered ThreadBared - which unfortunately is no longer updated - and my inner geek enjoys the Great White Snark.

(SR: we're in touch with our inner geek as well and are big fans of the Great White Snark!)

SR: Do you like to eat cake and what is your favorite flavor?

JEN: I don’t like cake; I ADORE cake. My personal drug of choice is a cupcake still warm from the oven, with gooey icing melting down the sides. Just thinking about it can make me go into a sugar-deprived stupor…


SR: Do you purchase your cakes from grocery stores or from cake companies, and when was the last time you ordered a cake?

JEN: I’ve always preferred making my own cakes and cookies, although I’m too lazy to bake from scratch. So, I use box mixes. I honestly can’t remember the last time I ordered a cake from anywhere: if it’s for a friend, I usually bake and decorate it myself.

SR: What are the future plans for Cake Wrecks?

JEN: I’ve been contacted about doing a Cake Wrecks book, although that’s still in the very early planning stages, and I’d love to get some t-shirts or aprons designed for the site. I’m also gradually tweaking the site design, adding features, and I’m working on setting up a better e-mail system for submissions. Mostly, though, I’m just trying to take everything one day at a time – and, of course, to keep the cakey wreckitude coming!


Once again, thanks to Jen for allowing me to pick her brain. We can't wait to see what Cake Wrecks does next! Thank you to everyone who commented on yesterday's interview. Jen was fun to interview and we're glad y'all, or is it ya'll ;-) enjoyed reading it.

**Next week Wednesday we have a FABULOUS interview lined up with Beryl Ann Byrd of Just Fabulous Pastries, which we are very excited about! Beryl, a highly respected cake designer opened Just Fabulous Pastries in 1987 and is based in San Diego, CA. Check out the Just Fabulous website and blog and prepare to be amazed!**

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

cakelava Interviews: Jen from Cake Wrecks, Pt. 1

From the first time Rick and I saw the Cake Wrecks site, we were instantly hooked. Finally, a site that speaks to not only us cakesters, but cubicle-dwellers, stay-at-home moms, students, anybody with a pulse with a sense of humor. The concept of Cake Wrecks is to showcase cakes that have gone awry in some manner, deviating from what was originally intended, with hilarious results.

During the past week, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jen, the creator of the Cake Wrecks site. Jen is interesting, intelligent, and has a great sense of humor as to expected from someone who’s site has been nominated for “Best Humor Blog” in the Blogger’s Choice Awards. Big thanks to Jen for letting us in to her wrecktastic cake world. We’re even bigger fans of hers now than before!

Sasha Reichart: Let’s start with the simple stuff. When did you develop the idea of Cake Wrecks and what was your inspiration for creating the site?

Jen: The idea hit me quite suddenly on the day I was e-mailed the now infamous Wal-Mart cake. I already had a few other cake pictures saved that I thought were funny, and I thought, hey, I should put these on a blog! A few hours later, Cake Wrecks was born.

Sasha Reichart: What is your definition of a cake wreck, or as you say, a “wrecktastic design”?

Jen: A Wreck is any cake that is odd, inappropriate, goofy, quirky, tragic – you name it. It’s not necessarily an ugly cake, or even a poorly-made cake. It’s just something that I think is funny, for any of a number of reasons.

Sometimes I have readers complain that I’m posting cakes that are too nice to be called Wrecks, but it just comes down to what I think is entertaining, not what the worst-looking cake is.

SR: Do you have any previous cake decorating experience, and if so, can you tell us about it?

JEN: Does taking all of the Wilton classes count? [wink] Because that’s about it.

SR: Rick and I have noticed that many of the cakes are beautifully done, and wouldn’t necessarily constitute in our minds, a wreck, if they were evaluated on the craftsmanship of the work. Some of the baby shower cakes come to mind. Is it the realism of the subject that you feel is in bad taste, like maybe it is too self-referential, or are there subjects that are taboo in your mind and what would those be?

JEN: Again, this goes back to how you define a “Wreck”. I feel like anyone could find and post pictures of poorly-done cakes, so I like the challenge of taking a relatively nice-looking cake that has an odd quirk to it – Drew’s Birthday Wish comes to mind – and writing commentary that makes it funny. On their own, sure, these cakes aren’t Wrecks at all: but make up a story about a spoiled kid saying he wished his parents were dead on his birthday, and suddenly it’s downright wrecktacular. (Hopefully, anyway!)

The only taboo cake subjects on Wrecks are gory and naughty/porno cakes. That’s just personal preference on my part: I’m kind of squeamish and more of a Cute Overload kind of girl, so I stick to posting what I like.

SR: The Cake Wrecks site has been widely circulated and the photo submissions are pouring in, but in its humble beginnings, where did you obtain your photos before people started sending them?

JEN: My first dozen or so I found while looking for inspirational cake designs online. Once I started the blog, I got a little more intentional with my searches, but I really thought I’d only have enough material to last maybe a few months. Now, of course, I don’t have those worries!

SR: So level with us, how many of those Wal-Mart “under neat that…” cakes have you received from readers, despite having it at the very top of your Submission “Guidelines”?

JEN: LOL – well, not as often now as I get the giant toilet cake, but still at least 3 or 4 times a week.

SR: Have you ever offended the creator of a cake wreck by posting their photo and how was it resolved?

JEN: Aw, you’re killing me here. Can’t you stick to my favorite color? Favorite movie quote, that kind of thing? No?


Ok, since you asked, yes - though thankfully only 2 bakers have been offended that I know of. The first one was actually really sweet about it, considering it was my fault for posting her cake when she’s not a pro baker. (This was early on, before I was as strict with my posting standards.) The second baker was, shall we say, less than amused. I was extremely apologetic to both, and I immediately removed the offending photos. I’m not out to hurt feelings, so if any baker wants something they made removed, I’ll remove it.

Thabo's Belly Cake, by Kate E.

I’d like to mention, though, that the creator of the original pregnant torso cake (“It’s Rude to Stare”) thought it was hilarious that her cake was posted on Wrecks. It’s always my hope and intention to write in such a way that everyone – even the people who make the cakes – can laugh about it. After all, anyone who’s ever attempted cake decorating has made a Wreck or two, myself included! It’s part of what makes us human, so why can’t we all laugh about it?

SR: Is there a category of a wreck that you prefer over others?

JEN: As a writer, I like the challenge of making people laugh with my commentary when the cake on its own isn’t funny. But for just the initial laugh factor? I like the literal-minded mistakes, like the Wal-Mart cake or the “Olympic Rings” cake.

SR: What about your readers, is there a category of a wreck that seems to be most popular?

JEN: Two hands-down favorites are the fireman cake (which isn’t even mine: Scott of Basic Instructions posted it on his site) and the Naked Mohawk-Baby Carrot Jockeys. I think the readers either like a great story (ala the fireman cake) or something so completely bizarre that you have no choice but to laugh (Carrot Jockeys).

SR: What is your favorite cake wreck photo you have received, and why?

JEN: Ooh, that’s a tough one; I get so many crazy-good cakes submitted. I guess due to reader responses, though, I’d have to pick the Carrot Jockeys. Those little guys are going to take over the world someday, you know.

SR: That’s our favorite too!

END, pt. 1

And tomorrow, Jen wrecks on! Part 2 of our interview. In the meantime, check out her fantastic blog, Cake Wrecks!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Graduation cake for Dr. Chantel ... and a BIG announcement!

Boy, what an insane weekend this was! On top of having cake orders nearing the double digits, we took yesterday off in observance of Rick's birthday (which is actually today ... and he's working) so now emails are piled up in the inbox and there plenty of phone calls to return. It's gonna be a long day. Where is the aspirin when we need it? I thought it most appropriate to include a cake we made a little over a week ago, in honor of Dr. Chantel's graduation from Pharmacy school.

We are extremely excited to announce that starting *tomorrow* for 2-days, we will run a 2-part interview with the one and only Wreck-tasticly Amusing Jen of Cake Wrecks. I had the great pleasure to interview Jen this past week for our blog, which will kick off our series of Interviews with fascinating people in the cake and wedding industry.

If you want to learn more about our first Interview "victim", and her fantastic site, Cake Wrecks, check it out, we have it linked on our site, and prepare to laugh HARD! Jen has been previously profiled on our blog in a post called "Fun on the 4th". Here are just a few of the many hilarious cakes you'll find on her site.

All photos courtesy of Cake Wrecks

Not my birthday cake... not my birthday cake, (and NOT made by Rick ;-) but I couldn't resist posting this one!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Leslie and Sam - Sunset at the Beach at Ko Olina

All images courtesy of Bianca Photography

Friday’s post was devoted to running a business as a husband and wife team. One of the “teams” mentioned was Bianca Photography, owned by Bianca and Grant Gomes. Recently we received images from Bianca Photography of Leslie and Sam’s wedding on August 2, 2008 and were so excited, we had to share some of these spectacular images! I absolutely love the colors of this wedding -- bright and bold sunset colors, which couldn’t be more perfect for a wedding that took place on the grounds of Paradise Cove, at Ko Olina, on the west side of Oahu.

The theme of Leslie and Sam’s wedding incorporated bright, sunset tones, tropical flowers and seashells. Not wanting to leave any detail left to chance, they hired expert coordinator Mona Hirata, of Weddings by Grace & Mona . Mona’s beautiful weddings have been featured numerous times here and on our website. Leslie and Sam held both their ceremony and reception for their 300+ guests on the grounds of Paradise Cove, a beachfront property where one of Hawaii’s most famous Luau’s take place. When we arrived to deliver their cake, we saw a sea of yellow and orange. Bright yellow cymbidium orchids and orange protea were striking against the white linens. Woven Lauhala boxes held the floral arrangements, made by Spinning Web Florist. I love the accent color of Chocolate Brown dress shirt against the crisp white suit worn by the groom and the sunny yellow dresses worn by the bridal party. This was definitely Paradise found!

For their wedding cake, Rick designed a 4-tier square bright yellow and orange fondant stunner. Handcrafted white and yellow plumerias were placed on the cake along with edible shells. Leslie provided us photos of her surfboard which had the same bright tones. In keeping with their tropical theme, Leslie and Sam selected our Rainbowlicious and Local Kine Special flavors for their cake.

Shortly after their wedding, Leslie and Sam sent us this thank you note:

Thank you so much! I just can't get enough. It was gorgeous and tasted just as good. We received so many compliments. We are definitely hooked and look forward to our next opportunity to have a cake made from you.

Leslie and Sam, you are a beautiful couple and such a pleasure to work with! We look forward to more cakes with you in the future.

-- Sasha & Rick

Special thanks to Bianca Photography for use of their gorgeous images. Check out their website and blog!

See Leslie and Sam's wedding cake and many more on

Friday, August 22, 2008

A Shout out to the other Teams

Three and a half years ago I was in the process of interviewing for restaurant Sous Chef positions and I made the decision to leave my career to go and support Rick and his dream of having his own cake shop. With the support of my husband, family and friends, I went from being the culinary meat girl to the cakelava "people person" (as in, "he makes the cakes, she's the people person"). Suddenly, there I was with a new career on my hands after 8 years in the industry, and a budding network of professional contacts and a file full of new clients. It helped of course, that prior to cooking, I had done some hard time in the corporate world with marketing jobs, and knew business etiquette which was definitely useful in starting off. I also believed tremendously in Rick's creative ability and didn't want to see him do this alone or with anyone else, and he felt the same way. We took a deep breath, said goodbye to leisurely (or regular) vacations, and opened cakelava.

One of the greatest rewards of owning cakelava is getting to work with Rick. I love to watch him in his creative element, and coming into the kitchen every time he finishes up a cake. The satisfaction of having our own business is equal to the biggest adrenaline dinner rush in my prior career. Owning a business can also be very challenging and even more so when you are married to each other. Patience is key and respecting each other's space is essential. Since we know first hand what it means to run a business as a husband-wife team, we have a great deal of respect for the vendors we work with who also choose to do it together and we wanted to acknowledge a few of them here:

-- Sandra and Marvin Williams: Finishing Touch and Blue Cheese Hawaii

-- Yvonne Chapman and Alex Garcia: Yvonne Floral Design
-- Cassandra and David Dieterle: Cassandra Dieterle Photography and
Honolulu Wedding Consultants

-- Bianca and Grant Gomes: Bianca Photography

-- David and Lupe Louis: Dynamic Sounds and Aloha Fountains

-- and the soon-to-be-husband and wife team of David Miyamoto
and Michelle Guda: Dave Miyamoto Photography

Take a little time to check out the sites above and get to know some of the best Teams in Hawaii.

Enjoy the weekend!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Libidinous Side of Cakes

Yesterday our STAR WARS R2-D2 cake on was profiled as the Great White Snark’s “Geeky Curiosity of the Week.” We’re huge fans of this blog and its snarky commentary. See our previous post “All Hail the Great White Snark.” I quite enjoy roaming outside of cakeland and into The Great White Snark’s geekworld on a regular basis and highly recommend you do the same. On a recent visit I happened to find out “The Top Five Girliest Vampire Movies”. Who doesn’t want to know that? I know I do! I instantly felt more informed, and was humored in the process. Keeps things, y’know, balanced.

We’ve been profiled before by The Great White Snark, (Snark, not Shark) when he wrote about our Star Wars cupcakes with sculpted Death Star top tier cake, but this time it was different. Little did we know that our innocent droid cake would evoke such a lascivious response from someone, but hey, we’re not complaining either. For a couple of cake geeks, it’s the ultimate compliment, really. I’m proud to say this wasn’t the first time that our cakes have taken someone’s thoughts right into the gutter and it won’t be the last. One of our brides called our “Hawaii Five-0” flavor “Sex cake” after she tasted it, and it came as no surprise when the couple ordered all their wedding cake tiers in that flavor. Who says cakes can’t get no satisfaction! Someone will be having a very enjoyable wedding night.

As I write this, Rick has begun work on a sculpted Porsche Carrera birthday cake, and for some men, it doesn’t get any more libidinous than that.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Carly and Matthew - A Celebration in Pink and Green

All images courtesy of Dave Miyamoto Photography

When Dave Miyamoto sent us these images of Carly and Matthew's wedding we were instantly smitten. His lovely images not only show Dave's talent for capturing people's smiles and spirit, they show a couple madly in love with each other, and that is pretty darn sexy. Since we met Carly and Matthew a year ago when they ordered their wedding cake from us, we have become "fans" of theirs. They have been a total delight to work with, are very enthused about anything we make for them (including birthday cupcakes, birthday cake, and a wedding cake), and we found out are also Modest Mouse fans, an added bonus.

For their wedding, Carly and Matthew hired some incredible vendors, including Mona Hirata, of Weddings By Grace & Mona, Debbie Hemingway of Designs by Hemingway for the beautiful pink and ivory florals and Dave Miyamoto to document their special day. Vows were exchanged at the Hale Koa Hotel, a military hotel in Waikiki, where the reception also took place. I love the combination of a more formal, military attired ceremony with the playfulness of the pink and green themed reception. Bright pink and green linens were placed on the tables, and complemented the flowers, favors, and even some of the cuisine, including their wedding cake.

Carly and Matthew gave us plenty of artistic leeway when designing their cake. Their requests were funky, pink and green and white, and swirls, so Rick worked his magic and the result is below. For their cake flavors, they chose Guava Lava, a completely pink cake, which couldn't be more fitting for this wedding, and our Hot Fudge Sundae, a nice combination.

Rick was filmed by KITV news on August 7, 2008, while he was working on Carly and Matthew's cake. To see the making of their cake in action, click here.

We wish Carly and Matthew many years of happiness as husband and wife, and Carly, we'll see you this weekend for your birthday cake!

see Carly and Matthew's cake on soon.

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