Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Wedding Cakes for the Blush-ing Bride


Brides have fallen in love with blush pink and are using it as a prominent color throughout their wedding, from the flowers to the stationery and decor, their wedding dress, and of course, the wedding cake! The feeling is romantic and soft, and everything is so pretty! For our wedding cakes, this translates to whisper soft colors, pretty textures, and gorgeous flowers with delicate petals and full blooms. These are a few of our recent favorites!

cakelava was invited by Las Vegas wedding and event planner Emily Reno of Weddings & Events by Emily  to design a wedding cake for her blush pink garden themed wedding shoot at the Hilton Lake Las Vegas. Emily provided Rick with a color palette and some inspiration photos and he designed a wedding cake that integrated blush pink, soft textures, watercolor painting, and beautiful delicate handcrafted flowers.  The wedding cake is shown in the photo above and below and was beautifully photographed by Kristen Joy Photography. The cake was paired with pink and gold floral china plates and placed on top of a gold bar cart. We were proud and honored to work with such a talented group of wedding vendors! The entire list of fabulous vendors can be seen on the post  "Whimsical Pink Garden Wedding" which was featured on the wedding and lifestyle blog, Inspired By This.


Another way brides are using blush pink is in their wedding dress. Some of our blush-ing brides are choosing to walk down the aisle wearing a pretty pink dress rather than the traditional white or ivory. The model bride in our wedding shoot above wore an exquisite gown of white lace and blush pink tulle.

Our bride Arielle also wore a blush pink wedding dress (shown below). When we began working with her, she mentioned she would be wearing pink and would like a similar soft blush pink color for her wedding cake. After seeing her beautiful dress, Rick was inspired to incorporate some of the same design elements found in her dress onto the cake - blush pink color with silver "beaded" accents, and made flowers loosely reminiscent of her ruffled skirt. The cake seemed like a perfect compliment to her dress!


This next blush pink cake was designed by Rick back in the spring and remains one of our most loved cakes this year. It was created for a Boho chic themed wedding photo shoot at Legends Ranch. The styled shoot was designed by Paulina Clute Events and exquisitely photographed by KMH Photography. We loved Paulina's vision for her Boho chic wedding and her color palette of blush pink, ivory and sky, with pops of magenta, teal and forest green. Rick designed a 4-tier tall and narrow blush pink colored cake covered in white lace with a spectacular bunch of his handcrafted flowers placed in the middle of the tier.




It was very romantic and managed to bring together a feeling that was both soft and bold, and refined and wild, all at the same time. I loved all the contrasts! Our cake and the Boho Chic wedding shoot was featured on the wedding blog, Bridal Musings earlier this summer.  

As the Las Vegas wedding season quickly approaches, we have more cakes with blush pink in the works and looking forward to making every one of them!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Viva the Fabulous Las Vegas Cakes!


When in Vegas, order a Vegas themed cake! cakelava has been officially open in Las Vegas for less than 6 months, and we're already starting to rack up a nice collection of Vegas themed cakes. We're not complaining, we love doing the Vegas theme! They are colorful, artistic, the design possibilities are endless, and it is all some version of Fabulous! Here are some of our recent favorites...

Our "Vegas, baby" cake, shown above, is Rick's retro and rockabilly inspired design complete with flames, a classic car with checkerboard flags, dice, devil themed poker chips, and plenty of pin up girls! He went a little crazy with this one, but we're in Vegas, so crazy is totally acceptable, and encouraged!


Turning 40 can be pretty fabulous in itself, but if you want to really celebrate in style, head to Vegas and order a Fabulous Fortieth Birthday cake, which is what Robbie and his family did. You're turning Forty, you've earned the bragging rights, so why not announce your milestone on your cake. There is no better place to flaunt your stuff than Vegas! Like Robbie, Rick and I chose Las Vegas to celebrate my Fabulous Fortieth Birthday. It was a birthday I will never forget!


Like Robbie, Rory also celebrated his birthday in Vegas with a Fabulous Vegas themed cake. You can revisit our post of Rory's cake on the blog.


We're in Vegas, and it was only a matter of time before we got a request for dice cakes, and this order came shortly after we opened. Rick made these dice cakes with the "Married in Fabulous Las Vegas" signage for a gay couple who recently celebrated their marriage at the Neon Museum. If you want to celebrate the fabulosity of vintage Las Vegas, being surrounded by the most amazing neon signs from the casinos, a visit to the Neon Museum is a must! When we arrived at the Neon Museum, we walked past a pair of Vegas showgirls who looked at least 10 feet tall! There was much excitement in the air and it was pretty clear, these gentlemen and their guests were ready to party!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Once, Twice, Three Times a Wedding Cake - The Fabulous Trio


We began getting to know our wedding couple Bronwen and Matt before we opened our shop in Las Vegas. We had communicated with them while we were building out our shop and arranged a time to meet with them once we opened. By the time we met this talented couple, it felt like we knew a lot about them and could jump right into the cake design! The couple are amazing sculptors who appreciate art in all its forms, and their wedding cake was very important to them. Bronwen loves cake and confessed she began collecting cake photos years earlier. She had an extensive collection of photos to share with us. They wanted their cake to tell a story of them as a couple, and provided us a backstory, an introduction to who they were in text and photos that would help explain why they wanted to incorporate certain themes and colors into the cake. While we won't share the couple's private details, we can share the themes and colors they chose to tell their story:

starry night
turquoise, magenta, black and gold
full bloomed flowers
anything shiny

After discussing their themes and noticing how different they all were, we knew it would be almost impossible to put everything they wanted together on one cake, so we decided it would be best to make a wedding cake trio that together would tell the story of Bronwen and Matt.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

A Glimpse Behind the Desert Themed Marbled Fondant Wedding Cake

When Style Me Pretty first approached cakelava to do a Facebook live video for them, we were extremely excited and honored to host them at our new Las Vegas shop! What is often the case with media/social media related project requests, first comes the wave of excitement - you feel giddy about the project. Then the reality sets in. You feel anxious and slightly overwhelmed. You have x-amount of time - often two weeks or less - to design and execute a project that will delight and engage the viewer. No pressure there! You have previous commitments to clients that are just as important and will also need your attention. You only have a couple weeks (or less) to get everything done!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Style Me Pretty Comes to cakelava for Facebook Live!

Style Me Pretty at cakelava for Facebook Live!
Yesterday, cakelava had a very special visitor come through our kitchen - Style Me Pretty! Yes, that Style Me Pretty! They came to shoot Rick decorating a marbled fondant desert inspired cake for Facebook live, and we all had a great time! We've had a mega crush on the site for years, and it was an honor to host them in our new Las Vegas shop. You can watch the whole experience unfold by visiting Style Me Pretty's Facebook Videos. We've also shared their video on the cakelava Facebook page. We'd love to hear your thoughts, so feel free to like, comment, share, or just say "Hello!"

Saturday, June 4, 2016

A Desert Inspired Wedding Cake

Nevada's Valley of Fire State Park 
My list of Must See places to visit in Nevada is ever growing! Currently, at the top of the list is the magnificent Valley of Fire State Park, which is just over an hour drive from Las Vegas. I'm constantly seeing incredible photos of the Valley of Fire, and hearing from our clients getting married there how amazing this place is! I'm dying to see it in person! With the scorching desert temperatures this time of year, it will have to wait until the cooler temperatures arrive, so for now, I will appreciate its spectacular beauty from afar.

The Valley of Fire is a popular wedding destination with unbelievable natural beauty, whose landscape and colors are a perfect muse to inspire artists and designers to create and people to fall in love. I'm feeling fluttery just thinking about it!

If you are planning a desert wedding, the Valley of Fire State Park provides an array of colors, textures and patterns that would be a perfect starting place for a bride or wedding coordinator's inspiration board. When our clients Sarah and Joe provided their inspirations for their wedding cake, we were told they would be marrying at Valley of Fire and wanted Rick to incorporate that element into the cake. Like many couples marrying in Las Vegas, they were having a destination wedding and worked through the design process with us from afar.


Rick's design of Sarah and Joe's desert inspired wedding cake started with a similar shape and floral placement borrowed from one of his earlier designs, called "Alana", (shown below), which Sarah said she loved! He included the Valley of Fire desert inspiration on the middle tier. Continuing with the desert theme, Rick made delicate handcrafted flowers that the bride's florist planned to use in her bouquet. The cake turned out beautifully and both the couple and we were extremely happy with the result!

Rick and I enjoyed exploring the desert theme, after working so often with the tropical theme in Hawaii. In our short time living in Nevada, we have really grown to love the beauty of the desert here, in the same way we fell in love with the tropics. We have to remind ourselves, as we did in Hawaii, how important it is to take time away from work to enjoy and explore the beauty that surrounds us!


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

cakelava Las Vegas is on Instagram!


About a week ago, cakelava joined Instagram @cakelava . If you are wondering why we waited so long to join, there is a little story here. Several years ago I looked into putting cakelava on Instagram, and I didn't get very far. Not getting very far is an understatement. I didn't get past choosing our username, because someone with no association to our company, or to cakes, already had it. At the time I could have chosen another username, but decided to put the process on hold. It wasn't meant to be. I was also turned off by the idea that the photos posted on Instagram don't belong to the individual or company posting them, so I treaded this avenue carefully. We already had a few other social media accounts to maintain and I thought "why add another one." My hands were full with running a cake business and various social media accounts. Why make more work for myself?

Then, our company and cakes started getting tagged quite regularly, which has been the case on Pinterest for many years. People were making comments and we weren't seeing them until much, much later. Sometimes, years! These were clients of ours, students of Rick's and many appreciative bakers in the cake community. It was important to be a part of the dialog and let the people leaving comments know we appreciated them taking the time. In addition to the cakes getting tagged, our clients began asking us if we were on Instagram. "No, but we're on facebook, twitter, and pinterest". cakelava was still based in Hawaii when this began happening.

If you've been following our cake adventures, you know that we moved cakelava to Las Vegas from Hawaii and spent part of last year building out our new custom cake studio at the Montage Shopping Center in Las Vegas. We opened earlier this year. During the period we transitioned cakelava from Hawaii to Las Vegas, we took a hiatus from making cakes and also largely from social media. If there was a time to join instagram, it certainly wasn't then.

We finally decided to take the plunge and join Instagram after we had established our new cake shop in Las Vegas. It was time. We were settling into our new home of Las Vegas and were regularly making cakes we wanted to share. We're enjoying being a part of the Instagram community and happy to see many friends there as well. We're excited to see what Las Vegas has in store for us and invite you to come along for the ride! See you on Instagram!

Friday, April 1, 2016

Surprise! - Rory's Las Vegas Themed Birthday Cake

cakelava of Las Vegas, www.cakelava.com

I love surprises! (Who doesn't, right?) One of the many perks of being married to a cake designer is my annual surprise birthday cake. Unfortunately, we couldn't observe our tradition my past two birthdays because our lives were too hectic with moving preparations for the first one, and this year, we were completely occupied with opening the shop. In both cases, it was a mutual decision to not do my surprise, and it was a missed opportunity for both of us - a gift that was lost, for both the giver and receiver. Having missed out on both of my birthday surprises, I was excited when we received the order for Rory's Las Vegas themed birthday cake, which would be a surprise gift from his family.

Rory and his family were flying in to Las Vegas to celebrate his 26th birthday, and were taking him to dinner at the uber popular Tao restaurant. This lucky combination of factors added up nicely - super nice clients to work with + surprise cake + an artistic Las Vegas theme + delivery to Tao = Jackpot!

I worked with Rory's mother and sister to plan his surprise cake. They provided us some photos for inspirations and requested a Las Vegas gambling theme, specifying the games Rory enjoyed playing and some of the elements they would like to see on his cake. We knew how special this cake was to them. They gave as much thought to the flavors of the cake as the outside, and after careful consideration, they chose our Peanut Butter Fudgey and Neon Lights flavors. Rick worked hard on the Las Vegas cake and looked in his element when he was making all the decorations. He wanted the cake to be a surprise the family would always remember! I could see how satisfied he was to be making a Las Vegas themed cake - in Las Vegas! He's made many before, but it's a little different making Las Vegas themed cakes when you are in Hawaii. I'm happy to say that Rory wasn't the only one who was surprised the night we delivered his cake to Tao! Our clients left the entire design of the cake up to Rick. Witnessing the reaction of the client upon seeing their cake is always the best part and I was lucky enough to see Rory's mother's face when she first saw his cake. Her face lit up and she looked ecstatic - the surprise was a huge success! We were told after the party that the cake was loved not only by Rory and his family but by many of the diners at the restaurant who approached their table and asked about the cake. What's higher than Jackpot? Is there a double jackpot, because I think we just won it!

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Opening cakelava, our new Las Vegas Custom Cake Studio!

In late December 2015, we shared photos taken towards the completion of our shop build. While most people were busy celebrating Christmas and New Years with their families, we were hard at work creating new cake flavors, (and gaining the 5 extra pounds from all the tasting!), making display cakes, and getting our business established in Las Vegas. This was all in preparation for our actual "Opening." If you missed our previous posts, or would like to revisit them, here's a quick recap! In Part 1, we hunt for and find the perfect space. Part 2: The build out continues. In Part 3, the kitchen gets installed and our space begins to resemble a shop!

We opened cakelava, our Las Vegas custom cake studio during the week of January 10th, 2016, or, as we more commonly referred to it as, "sometime in Mid-January." The last time we opened cakelava in a new city was in March 2005, almost 11 years earlier, in Hawaii. After a year long hiatus from making cakes, we couldn't wait to open our cake shop in Las Vegas! Unlike many food businesses, we didn't have a Grand Opening or even an official Opening Day. cakelava's actual "Opening Day" became a little joke between Rick and I because we kept getting asked by people when we were opening and we didn't have a definitive date for them. We answered with "when Rick is finished making display cakes" or "when we're done testing flavors". In other words, we would open for business when there was something tangible for customers to see and taste at our shop.

If you are a baker, you know that baking in a dry climate and at higher altitudes is different than baking in say, Hawaii, where we moved from. A place that is hot and humid and higher altitudes are not an issue. It takes a lot of experimenting, and plan to gain at least a few pounds in the process, but don't worry, the stress of opening a business in a new city will likely cause you to lose those few pounds which you just gained. Our new menu for Las Vegas is a combination of our tried and true flavors we offered in Hawaii and a selection of flavors honoring our new home Las Vegas. We are excited about the menu and have had great feedback so far on the new flavors!

"So, how will we know when you're open?" .... We had people ask us if we will have a neon OPEN sign when we Open. We have no neon OPEN sign in front of our shop, or even an "Open" sign. Our doors says "Open by Appointment", so technically, we have the word "Open" in front of our shop. cakelava's new shop opening was more like one day our shades were up, there were display cakes in the window, and we began meeting people at our new studio rather than just talking to them on the phone or by email.  To us, being "Open" was just a formality. As far as we were concerned we were already Open. Our business and creative minds were open, we had started taking cake orders, we were excited and ready, and everything was in place! We had been corresponding over email for a number of months with customers prior to opening our doors, and delivered our first cake order in Las Vegas before we officially Opened.

After "Opening" I was quickly reminded how tough it was to establish a new business in a new city. In Hawaii we were there for 10 years, we were a known business with a reputation, and here we were starting from scratch all over again. With every new inquiry, I had to pull up a map of Las Vegas and see where the heck we would be delivering to - it was all new and there is so much to learn! We had requests to go to California to deliver cakes. It's been over a decade since we had to drive more than an hour and a half for a delivery. We are learning fast here! We've already made our first delivery to the The Strip at night, and for the uninitiated, the traffic can be quite the adventure, though so far, not nearly as bad as delivering a cake to the North Shore during a surfing competition. You haven't experienced fun until you've done that! So far, we are enjoying doing business in Las Vegas. We've met so many kind people, many of whom have taken us under their wing, acting as mentors, and showing us the ins and outs, and the ups and downs of Vegas. We're also learning why Las Vegas is called "The Ninth Island" - we are constantly meeting people who are from Hawaii or have some connection to Hawaii, and we love that!

cakelava, after Opening.

Here is a glimpse at part of the front room of cakelava's Las Vegas custom cake studio. It is completely different from our Hawaii cake studio which was painted green and had wood furniture and a client area that resembled a living room. For our Las Vegas studio, we chose a clean, modern, white, grey and silver palette, mixing metals, wood, stone and glass for a rustic industrial feel. Our client meeting area has white countertops and wood and metal barstools. We chose concrete flooring and an open ceiling with exposed ductwork. The studio feels like a gallery filled with beautiful artwork and it is such a nice place to come to work every day! There are eye-catching cakes displayed in the front window and spotlighted on floating shelves above the client meeting area. We also have framed photos of cakes on the wall and a handpainted sign of our Flavors, which we absolutely adore!

Like every single item in our studio - even something as simple as a chair, or a light, or a clock - Rick and I labored over how to present our new flavors. We were proud of our new flavors, many of which were created specifically for Las Vegas, like our Red Velvet Elvis, "Jackpot!!!" and "The All-Nighter" to name a few. We wanted a sign that was artful and preferably handmade. After spending a good amount of time researching different shops on Etsy for a handpainted sign, we encountered the super wonderful Tessa, who owns ChippyPaintDesigns. We collaborated with her to create a handpainted sign for our flavors, and she created the beauty shown above! The sign fits with our shop decor perfectly! Thank you, Tessa!

The front room of the studio has a lot of light coming in and continues the clean, minimalist look we were going for. We selected a handful of photos of our favorite cakes to display on the wall and Rick designed some gorgeous cakes for our storefront window.

Now that our shop is Open and we've begun meeting with new clients and have some cake deliveries under our belt, we are starting to love working in Las Vegas! A huge thank you to everyone who has supported us in our journey and efforts! We're excited to see what adventures await us and look forward to sharing them with you as they happen! Stay tuned! ...

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