Fresh looks for Spring!

 

Simple Treats Nicole Haley1Although it barely seems like it, it is *technically* Spring here in Michigan, and so we decided to freshen up our Simple Treats cake designs to welcome in the season!  We’ve created a peach colored garden rose for a sweet romantic look, a wreath of sweet little pastel hearts,  whimsical multi-colored confetti and a couple of beautiful hand painted plaques for a very modern appearance.  We also kept on our popular gilded heart topper, because for a simple message of love, how could you beat that?

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Once we were thrilled with the appearance of the cake, we couldn’t resist switching up one of our available flavors to one that guests have been clamoring for ever since we debuted it for Thanksgiving last year–chocolate salted caramel.   This really special flavor is one we crave when we want to treat ourselves, and now we’re making it available for you!  Our deeply chocolate-y chocolate cake (made with Calder Dairy butter, and hand cracked local eggs) is now paired with luscious caramel, lightly salted to bring out the complexity of the flavor.  Add a layer of creme fraiche buttercream with real vanilla beans, and you have a cake welcome at any party!

Of course, we still have our signature flavor, Vanilla Damson Plum, made with our brown sugar vanilla cake layered with homemade lemon curd and slightly tart Damson Plum preserves that we can in the fall for use all year round.

Something important to note: we’re not a traditional bakery in that we make a bunch of cakes and have them waiting around for days in hopes that someone might buy them–we make every cake to order, and we’re excited to be able to offer these as an affordable option for your birthdays and other special occasions.  Check out our gallery here for the different finishes and toppers available.

Have we tempted you enough?  Give us a call at 734-913-2025 to order a cake especially made for you today!  Please give at least 48 hours for your order, but we will always try to accommodate any last minute orders that we can.

Thank you to Lauren at Dear Golden for use of her beautiful store for our photo shoot–it’s newly open, and FULL of gorgeous things that we love– and to Nicole Haley for her fantastic photography!

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Meet Abby

This is my last week at Sweet Heather Anne, I am moving on to new adventures at the University of Michigan. There are too many people I have enjoyed meeting and loved working with to name. I will miss you all dearly. Though I have to say, I am so excited about this new & exciting step for me, my family, and my career. More importantly, I am SO excited to be introducing you to Abby, Sweet Heather Anne‘s interim business manager.

Abby is a great woman. She (like me) graduated from New York University. And though the fighting violets pale to the Wolverines in school pride, I was very excited to meet a fellow alum in Ann Arbor. As if that isn’t reason enough to love her, she has a great eye detail and awesome sense of humor. Oh and did I mention that she speaks French fluently?

She’s going to do a great job taking cake of you. Please don’t forget to be patient as she settles in to her new position.

I decided to ask her a few questions about Abby, so you could better get to know her.

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What was your major in college?
I was a French literature major and had a minor in food studies and business. I will say the French and food part go together surprisingly well. It feels great that I get to read Jean Brillat Savarin untranslated.
How and why did you become interested in food?
My mother has always introduced me to good food. Her love of farmers markets, local agriculture and simple straightforward fare has molded and shaped me. I like to call her my very own Alice Waters. It also helps that I am just a glutton for good food and I believe it is such a positive way to explore new cultures.
What’s your favorite SHA cake flavor?
Loving the cake truffles (because moist delicious cake covered in chocolate is addictive) but my favorite flavor would have to the citrus almond cake. YUM!
What do you love about working at SHA?
Well I am the newest addition, but I love working with such talented passionate women. Heather and Claudia are a force to be reckoned with. But I also deeply enjoy working with clients, getting to hear their stories and feeling like we get to contribute something meaningful and real to their special occasion.

If you could go anywhere tomorrow where would you go?

Morocco, Vietnam and Lyon, France. Obviously, not all at once. All because I love the food and vibrant culture and I have the added benefit of understanding what they are telling me.

What’s your favorite thing to do on a Sunday morning?
Lets pretend its Saturday. I would wake up, go to the farmers market and get way to excited about fruit and vegetables. Grab handfuls, come home and start making jam. I would then go to a lake near by with my boyfriend, drink Lambrusco and eat cheese, swim, then come home and finish the jam. Sunday morning, I would get a great piece of bread and smear a lot of delicious jam all over it with a big cup of tea and the NY Times. I try to make it a reality a couple of times a year and I love being in a place surrounded by lakes.

 

What’s it like to grow up in San Francisco?

Amazing! San Francisco is a very special place and home to my family. I believe in some Jack Kerouac way we must all go west at some point in time. I feel like it is bountiful and unique and I like to defend it with as much gusto as rooting for UM during a football game. That being said, Ann Arbor has charmed me and the people I have met are some of the most warm, generous and wonderful people I have met.

Photography by Abby Rose Photo

Mother’s Day Pop Up

It is a big couple of weekends here at the Sweet Heather Anne Dessert Counter.  Last weekend we were chock full of Michigan themed sweets for graduation.  This week we are gearing up for Mother’s Day.

Not only will we be offering our own very fine desserts decorated beautifully for your mom, we also will be welcoming Hello! Ice Cream & Gelato who will be popping up in our cake studio for the Dessert Counter this Friday from 10-6 and Saturday 9-2.  We can’t wait for all the excitement.

Hello! Ice Cream & Gelato will be selling six packs of their delicious and adorable gelato jewels.  Each package will contain six different flavors to tantalize mom’s taste buds.  In addition they’ll have macaron ice cream sandwiches in your choice of chocolate or raspberry, and ceylon cinnamon ice cream sandwiched between chocolate molasses cookies.
Pop Up at Sweet Heather Anne

The ladies of Sweet Heather have created a gorgeous set of desserts special enough for the lovely mom(s) in your life.  Our chocolate caramel cake (a new flavor we’re introducing just for Mother’s Day) is topped with a hand-painted heart topper.  In honor of Heather’s mom, Julie, we’re making Mexican spiced chocolate cake truffles (they’re her favorite).  And our hand-decorated brown sugar cookies and French macarons in earl gray and blood orange will also be available.  sweet treats for your mom

We can’t wait to see you this weekend!

Michigan Graduation

Hopefully you’ve all met Claudia & Heather by now.  If you have you know that they both are University of Michigan graduates and so there is a lot of excitement around here this week for Spring Commencement.  We are going to be so busy making some pretty incredible maize and blue cakes for some of you out there.  Those of you who haven’t ordered your cake yet, don’t worry.

The Sweet Heather Anne Dessert Counter will be full of University of Michigan-themed sweets for your special grad.  We’ll be selling lots of tasty treats including: French macarons in maize and blue, block M cookies, maize and blue signature cookies, mixed cookie dozens, and mini cupcakes with maize and blue confetti.  Here’s a sneak peak at some of the sweets that will be making an appearance…Don’t forget to stop by, Friday 10-6 and Saturday 9-2!

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Meet Claudia

A couple of weeks ago I introduced you to Heather, with promises to introduce you to the rest of the team.  (By the way the team consists of Heather, Claudia, and myself.)  Claudia is a cake designer extraordinaire with an eye for detail.  I asked Claudia some probing questions thinking that I would write about how awesome she is and fill in the blanks with some fun facts.  Turns out Claudia’s answers are just as awesome as she is, and I decided to do a direct cut and paste instead, and let Claudia tell you about herself in her own words…Boutique Cake Studio. Ann Arbor

I studied Cultural Anthropology in college {at the University of Michigan}.  Coming from a small town, it really opened up my understanding of how different people perceive the world.
I was raised with an appreciation for home cooked food.  A love of food is something that my mom and dad shared when they were falling in love, and it was always a part of their home. I can remember making pancakes with my dad sometime before I could read.  At some point when I was still really young, I memorized the recipe and could make them by myself.  I was very strong willed.
Claudia Kimble baking
The first recipes I made as an adult were baked goods that had sentimental value to me,  like my mom’s peppermint frosting and my grandma’s date pinwheel cookies.  Baked goods are especially wonderful this way, because we eat them on holidays and birthdays and at special times of the year.  They seem to conjure up years past and are more potent and delicious because of it.  It’s also a craft that women have carried on, for the most part, and that’s pretty badass.
My favorite S{weet}H{eather}A{nne} cake flavor is the Citrus Almond.  I think it’s one of the most creative, and it has the most meaning for Heather.  However, when chocolate with chocolate ganache and chocolate buttercream makes it on our menu, that will be my favorite.   I’m really excited for some of the more adventurous flavors we are working on for the summer.  I love floral and bitter flavors, so I’m pumped that we’ve been throwing around using ingredients like fresh garden lavender, basil, and candied fruit.  Maybe fennel will make it in one as an homage to you, Rachel.
Boutiqe Cake Studio. Ann Arbor
The first, more selfish reason I like cake decorating is that I love geeking out on an artistic task and being left alone to be as meticulous as I want about it.   When I find my flow zone, I can transcend space and time.  It’s wild.
The second reason that I love cake decorating is the WOW factor.  Cakes, the giant sculpted kind, are one of the most frivolous luxury items I can think of right now, and it’s so fun to see people’s reactions.   I love the moment I pipe the final rhinestone on the sculpted jean booty, and I’m like, “WOW, that looks like a booty in some jeans.  Suzy Q is going to freak out!”  Or when the little sugar dog I made really does look like Johnny’s favorite boyhood beagle.  I think that stuff is hilarious.
If I could go anywhere tomorrow, I might stay at home all day.  I love being home.  I love my housemates.  I have so many projects that I could never work again and be busy every day.  I would cook, sew, screenprint, work on my bike…  THEN I would get on my bike and ride all around Ypsi.  I would get Ugly Mug and Beezy’s and Bona Sera (It’s a very long day).  I would ride to my friend Jen’s house and make her come out to play with me.  At the end of my day at home, I would totally jam with my house band!  It’s comprised of anybody that happens to be in our house at the time (“If you’re in the house, you’re in the band.”)  We call ourselves Alpha Uterus.  We’re the best worst band you’ve never heard of.
Because we have Sundays and Mondays off, I consider Sunday my Saturday and Monday my Sunday.  On Monday (my Sunday), my favorite thing to do is sleep in.  I love sleeping.  There’s an lcd soundsystem song, “I’m Never as Tired as When I’m Waking Up.”  That’s how I feel every time I wake up.   Once I’ve committed myself to the new day, my favorite thing to do is make some Ugly Mug coffee, pour-over style, and do the Monday New York Times crossword.  See how I worked it so that on my Sunday I can finish the crossword?  It’s good in my world.
Many thanks to Abby Rose Photo for the beautiful images of Claudia.

HAIL: Appreciate + Reciprocate

Last week we did a cake for Appreciate + Reciprocate‘s Annual Benefit Dinner, which MVictors may or may not have called epic!  (Read their article to find out).

A+R is a group of University of Michigan students who work to raise money for the College of LSA‘s Emergency Student Aid Fund.  As scholarship recipients themselves, these students want to give back to the community that has supported them.  With the feeling that financial constraints are not a reason for dropping out of school the Appreciate + Reciprocate students are working to bring awareness and raise the funds to keep qualifying students in school.

Our cake pays homage to all the Victors, some of whom were present.  Heather had the opportunity to meet Desmond Howard, Dhani Jones, and Denard Robinson.  Check them out in this video of the event done by Video Vision 360.  Personally I am not a football person (though my husband and his family would NEVER miss a Michigan game).  I have, however, always been a fan of Dhani Jones.  I think it was the bow ties that got it started, they’re so dapper.  And then I found out about his BowTie Cause and I was sold.  Heather couldn’t stop gushing about Denard’s positivity.  Needless to say, love of football or not, I was pretty jealous when I got this text:Sweet Heather Anne Custom Cake BoutiqueWe should not, however, allow Desmond Howard, Denard Robinson, or even Dhani Jones (as fabulous as all three are) overshadow the importance of the work of  Appreciate + Reciprocate.  College students sometimes get a bad rap for their late night partying and “ping pong” games.  But hey, who hasn’t enjoyed a great “ping pong” game in their life?  These college students are doing a tremendous amount of good for their fellow students, and who can argue with that?

Sweet Heather Anne is truly honored to play a small role in supporting their work.  And if you weren’t impressed enough already?  They surpassed their goal of $10,000.00 raised from the Benefit Dinner!

Thank you Penny Stamps

It was a big weekend for the University of Michigan.  In case you haven’t heard, the basketball team played in the NCAA  Division 1 Final Four and National Championship for the first time in twenty years.   Perhaps with less national pomp and circumstance, but no less worthy, is the celebration of  the re-naming of the School of Art & Design to Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design.

Penny Stamps and her husband E. Roe Stamps have been instrumental in positioning the school to become a national leader in art and design education.  Their generosity is particularly poignant to our own Heather Leavitt, Sweet Heather Anne‘s owner and head decorator. Heather not only is a graduate of the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design, she also was a Stamps Scholar.  Much thanks to the leadership and generosity of Penny Stamps, Heather’s time at the University of Michigan sculpted who she is as an artist today, laying the foundation for Sweet Heather Anne‘s signature artistry.

In celebration of the re-naming  Heather created a cake (and accompanying cookies and macarons) to commemorate Penny Stamp’s enormous impact on the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design.

Sweet Heather Anne. Corporate Cakes“Creating this cake was such an honor.  When I was in art school, my thesis involved creating cakes as edible monuments to local farmers and food producers.  Now that I am a local food producer, it was amazing to have the opportunity to create an edible monument to Penny Stamps and the art school.  I feel like I’ve really come full circle.  It was awesome to see all of my Professors, and celebrate Penny, and everything she has done for the school and the arts. ” -Heather

Penny W. Stamps.School of Art & Design. University of MichiganPenny W. Stamps. School of Art & Design. University of MichiganPenny W. Stamps. School of Art & Design. University of MichiganPenny W. Stamps. School of Art & DesignPenny W. Stamps. School of Art & Design

Many thank to Abby Rose Photo for the gorgeous images above.

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Edible Monument to Tantre Farm, part of Heather’s thesis project at the Stamps School of Art and Design in 2007.

Buttercream vs Fondant

I don’t know if anyone else has noticed, or even thinks about it much, but fondant has gotten a pretty bad rap for itself.  It’s not that I don’t understand why, I do.  At its worst it can be a thick gummy paste with a strangely chemical after taste, at its best it is what I call marshmallow-flavored  Play-Doh.  And this is how the buttercream versus fondant debate usually starts.

There are a few points that I always like to make.

The first is that you’re not losing buttercream but gaining fondant.  Every fondant cake has a layer of buttercream underneath the fondant.  We try to make the layer of fondant as thin as possible (typically about an eighth of an inch) that way guests who don’t prefer fondant are easily able to remove their fondant and push it to the side. .

Secondly, because event cakes are typically large, and are serving lots of guests, they are cut differently from your typical home cake.  Instead of the typical pie wedge the cake is cut in concentric circles and then thin slices.  What this means is that most guests will be served interior slices of cakes, which will have only a thin layer on the top.  And in case my description made no sense, perhaps this diagram will help.

How to cut a wedding cake

What the decision really comes down to is a decorating decision.  Buttercream is delicious.  Here at Sweet Heather Anne all busttercream is Swiss buttercream, made with brown sugar and vanilla bean paste.  It makes for a lovely ivory tone with flecks of bean.  Not ideal for a white on white ultra modern affair, but definitely wonderful.  Fondant also receives color better than buttercream, and allows us to make that perfect color match more so than buttercream.   Fondant in all its sugary glory is a tool that allows us to achieve a desired aesthetic.

Buttercream cakes are delicious and stunning in their simplicity.  Check out some of our most recent…

Buttercream Cake by Sweet Heather Anne

photo by Abby Rose Photo

Buttercream Wedding Cake by Sweet Heather Anne

photo by Adrienne Fletcher Photography

Wedding Cake by Sweet Heather Anne

photo by Abby Rose Photo

Buttercream Wedding Cake

photo by Jess + Nate Studios

Chrysler Building + Jenny Packham=Wedding Cake Inspiration

I am so excited to share the photos from Lindsay and James’ wedding at the Colony Club Detroit.  There are so many things about this wedding that I am excited share, it makes it hard to know know where to start.

Lindsay and James live in New York City and love the Chrysler building, its art deco architecture inspired much of the aesthetics of the day.  Wanting the cake to fit with the day, we took literal inspiration from the Chrysler Building, making the top of the building the top of the cake.  The middle two tiers incorporated elements of the bride’s gorgeous gown, Astrid by  Jenny Packham. We tied it all together with architectural elements of the Chrysler building on the bottom tier. Sweet Heather Anne wedding cake at the Colony ClubI love this shot of Lindsay next to the cake, she and James look so happy, and the inspiration her dress served is so apparent.Sweet Heather Anne wedding cake at the Colony ClubSweet Heather Anne wedding cake at the Colony Club

Lindsay wasn’t the only one to have the day’s apparel memorialized in cake.  James loves shell toe Adidas, and for the wedding wore the very special Adidas “Diamond” Original Superstar–60 Year Anniversary Shell Toes.  Lindsay wanted to commemorate his love by creating the shoe out of cake.  We captured all the details including the diamond trefoil on the laces.

Adidas Shell Toe 60th "Diamond" Anniversary CakeAdidas shell toe groom's cake

And to put both cakes in the broader context of the Colony Club is breathtaking.  Many thanks to Blaine Siesser and The Shooting Gallery for the gorgeous images.

Sweet Heather Anne wedding cake at the Colony Club

Celebrate Spring in Style

I love Easter because it means that spring is coming.  After a long winter of bitter cold and lots of snow, the pastel colors and green buds add welcome cheer and a reminder of what is to come.

We are so exited about spring, and welcome you to celebrate with us Sweet Heather Anne style.  Thursday March 28th we’ll be teaching our Easter Cookie Decorating class.  Students will learn our signature cookie decorating techniques, leaving with two dozen decorated cookies and the skills and recipes for dozens more.

Sweet Heather Anne Custom Cake Boutique

The Dessert Counter will be featuring gorgeous treats perfect for Easter baskets and celebrations.  In case you miss the class we’ll be selling our decorative sugar cookies in dozens and 2-packs.  Our Easter cake is 6-inches and serves 8-10 guests.  It features lemon cake layered with lemon and raspberry curds and covered in a light pink vanilla Swiss buttercream.  All topped with our adorable Easter banner.

Sweet Heather Anne Custom Cake Studio

Packaged for gifts in boxes of 5, our pistachio and blood orange French macarons  are beautifully tied up with a ribbon.Sweet Heather Anne a custom cake boutique

Our chocolate cake pops with pastel drizzle, packaged in 2-packs, will brighten up even the dreariest of days.

Sweet Heather Anne a custom cake boutique

Last, but certainly not least, carrot ginger is back!  It will be making a limited time appearance at the Dessert Counter in the form of cake-in-a-jar.  Come and get it before we sell out.

Many thanks to Abby Rose Photo for the gorgeous images.