Dreamy Farm Wedding

We love the cafe lights, fun foral, and big smiles at Jess and Ben’s outdoor Misty Farm wedding.  As always Alison and her crew at Viva La Diva knocked it out of the park, and Jess + Nate captured it beautifully.  Featured here is our mini-cupcake dessert table, macarons, and a buttercream cutting cake.

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WINTER CLASSES 2014

We are excited to announce our new class line up for Winter 2014. Why not learn a new skill this year! Come join us as we teach you to get your cakes looking professional.  No more sitting at home watching cake boss, come do  it!

CAKE 101 SERIES: $250

Wednesdays Jan 22-Feb 5th (starts at 5:30pm)
Cakes 101 will be composed of Buttercream Basics, Mastering Piping Techniques, and Fondant Fundamentals: Creative Toppers for Cupcakes. By the end you will leave with a great understanding of cake construction and decorating. Special tools required.

 

BUTTERCREAM BASICS:JLB cake table

Wednesday January 22th: 5:30-8:30pm $100
Come join us as we show you the ins and outs of buttercream and cake construction. We will teach an array of Sweet Heather Anne’s buttercream techniques, and then you get to practice your favorite on your very own six-inch cake. You will leave with a beautifully decorated cake to share as well as the recipes and know-how to do at home.

 (photo courtesy of JLB photography.) 

MASTERING PIPING TECHNIQUES:

Wednesday January 29th: 5:30-8:30 $100
Become piping proficient and take your skills to new heights. Learn to roll and cover a cake in fondant and execute a variety of our favorite piping techniques. You will practice the techniques in class and leave with a beautifully decorated dummy cake with gorgeous piped details of your choosing. Some tools required.

 

FONDANT FUNDAMENTALS: HarnistNHP964

Creative Toppers for Cupcakes

Wednesday February 5th 5:30-8:30 $100

Looking to add some pizzazz to your cake creations? Learn how to work with fondant to make custom fondant toppers perfect for cakes and cupcakes. We’ll share some of our favorite fondant tricks of the trade and you will take home one dozen cupcakes topped with your creations as well as recipes to make them on your own. Some tools required.

 (photo courtesy of Nicole Haley)

Haunting Masquerade-143 (1)ADVANCED FONDANT CLASS (4 student limit)

Tuesday February 18th 5:30-9pm
Wednesday, February 19th: 5:30-9pm $250

Enjoy this highly personalized class during which Heather will teach you how to cover and stack cakes and practice a variety of decorating techniques including gilded painting, pieced fondant details, piping and sugar paste flowers. You will decorate a dummy cake inspired by the cake shown, and leave with the knowledge to continue your sugar work confection on your own. This two part class is perfect follow up to the Cake101 Series.
Special Tools Required.

 

 

 (photo courtesy of Bradley James Photography) 

To sign up, email info@sweetheatheranne.com or call.

Bring a friend and get 15% off the second class.

 

Move over Cupcakes, the Cake Table Has Arrived

I really love cake.  I love looking at them, eating them, baking them, and perhaps most of all, creating them.  The layers of cake filling and buttercream offer so many opportunities for creating complex flavors.  And that is why I love cake.

It also is the same reasons I don’t love cupcakes.  I do apologize to those of you who love cupcakes, I know there are a lot of you out there.  The cupcake simply does not provide my ideal cake to filling to buttercream ratio.   For those of you laughing, I dare you to do a side by side taste test, you will quickly realize the ratio’s importance.

Cupcakes so far have been integral to the recent dessert table trend.  I do get it.  Dessert tables are great for so many reasons: enhancing your decor and overall theme, getting guests up and moving around after the meal, and others.  Which is why I’m so excited about the next step in the dessert table: the cake table.  It gives you all the beauty of a dessert table, but with cakes instead of cupcakes.  I am obsessed.

Last wedding season we did a few cake tables, one of which you can read about here, another was a rustic cake table for Taylor and Anton who married at Misty Farms.  We decided to keep the cake table simple, so as not to interfere with Misty Farm’s rustic feel.  The simple buttercream cakes look so at home there. I just want to eat them, don’t you?

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Many thanks to Amanda Dumouchelle for the gorgeous images.

“I Love You More than Michigan Loves Football” (+ other fine details)

Ann Arbor is home to so much talent, wedding industry included.  As our business has developed I have been amazed at the power of community among Ann Arbor’s wedding professionals.  And it is such a wonderful experience to be amongst such a talented group.

Amanda & Chad’s wedding was so much fun, in part because so many of us were involved.  Abby Rose Photo (our next door neighbor and lunch buddy) took the photos, Stacy at The Gown Shop did the dress, and we did the cake and dessert table.  Amanda also had a very specific vision for her wedding (fun!) and was totally involved in the planning process.  She and her mom had the most impressive binder and organizational system.  I don’t know if they’ve thought about planning weddings, but if they have watch out!

Judging from the photos all that work was worth it.  Amanda and Chad had a beautiful day full of gorgeous details and personal touches. (Be sure to make it to the end of the photos, the signage in the last photo totally makes the cake display, I can’t stop loving it!)

Sweet Heather Anne Metro Detroit Wedding CakesMetro Detroit Wedding Cakes, Sweet Heather AnneMetro Detroit Wedding, Sweet Heather AnneMetro Detroit Dessert Table by Sweet Heather AnneMichigan Football Helmet groom's cake by Sweet Heather Anne

Go Blue! Sweet Treats

Michigan Football is so much a part of fall in Ann Arbor: there’s the traffic (I’m looking at the standstill on Main street right now), the long restaurant lines, but more importantly there’s Michigan pride. This being our first fall at 920 N Main Street, we are so excited to be a part of the Ann Arbor community and the Michigan spirit that consumes downtown.  We just couldn’t resist celebrating Michigan pride Sweet Heather Anne style.

Metro Detroit Cakes and Desserts, University of Michigan desserts

Every home game our dessert counter features Michigan-themed treats including: maize and blue french macarons, mini cupcakes with maize and blue confetti, Michigan football cookies, and Marzipops.

Any of these items are also available for pre-order, as are the Michigan fondant cake pictured above and the sculpted helmet cake below.  All perfect for your tailgate or other University of Michigan-themed event.  Contact us for more information.

Michigan Helmet Cake

Special thanks to Abby Rose Photo for capturing the football helmet cake in all its glory.

Cheese and “Punch” Party

Most of us (especially us single gals) are well aware that summer is the wedding season.  Let me tell you, I have never been more aware until working on wedding cakes.  We have way more business.  On the flip side, the winter is slow…  Very, very slow.  Last winter, Taylor and I took an extended vacation while Heather worked herself silly (despite the business having less orders).  This year we’ve decided to combat that by whatever means possible; Not just for the business, but also for Heather’s sanity.

Enter, the christmas cookie.  We make a beautiful, mixed-dozen box of cookies that’s perfect for a small holiday gift.  Rachel, our business manager, suggested we make sample cookie boxes for potential corporate clients in the Metro-Detroit area.  It was a bit of a risk (making them was no small committment!), but within a few days we had several calls for some of the largest cookie orders we’ve ever taken.

Then it donned on us that we have to actually make the thousands of cookies and hundreds of cookie boxes.  We like each product from our studio to be a unique work of art, so this is really no small task.

We’ve had to get pretty creative about tricking ourselves into doing all this work.  One creatively fun way we got all the tags made was to throw ourselves a paper cutting party, or a cheese and ‘punch’ party, if you’ll go there with us.

We’ve also begun to acquire a team of loyal volunteers.  Among them is our new intern, Ariana.  She’s a student at U of M interested in pursuing baking.  (She has a writing background, so we’re hoping to finagle her into blogging…)

Kristi, Heather’s long-term friend and fellow art-school grad, has been on-call for Heather since before there was a company.  She’s incredibly meticulous and has a ton of paper cutting experience, so she kind of led the tag-making charge.

I spent a lot of the night eating cheese and taking photos (obviously very important– I am a blogger now, after all..)  Rachel even made one of the cheeses!  It was originally yogurt gone wrong, but what a tasty mistake!!

You might think (like me), who does that?!  1 – Who makes their own yogurt?  2 – Who would think to make the excess into cheese???  Well, the same person who has this menu on their wall…

And THIS AWESOME KITCHEN SETUP…

We couldn’t mention our fabulousvolunteers without giving a shout out to the Sweet Heather Anne Husbands Club.  Well, there’s one husband – Drew.  He’s great.  (He’s done such essential tasks as fix the doorbell… woo hoo!)

Heather’s boyfriend, Antonio, has done countless hours of grunt work and cooked lunch for us probably a hundred times.  He’s the hardest working un-employee ever, and we couldn’t do what we do (as well, at least) without him.

Enjoy our party photos!  Hopefully we’ll get some photos up soon of our cookie production… it’s quite the scene!

Sweet!

As a warning, there are studio nudes in this post. While they are quite different from other types of nudes, this post may not be safe for work.

Besides working my booty off with Heather at the studio, I also work in the evenings slinging drinks at the Old Town Tavern in Ann Arbor. While my mother may worry about me, this non-traditional work schedule affords me the flexibility to do really cool things like take college painting courses on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. (I got an A on my first oil painting ever, thank you, thank you) For Painting I this semester have this super cool professor (Maybe I’m sucking up, but the semester’s not over, after all), and he recommended I check out the work of Will Cotton. The stuff is so cool that I have to share it with you all. I chose a few examples that were especially cake related.

I have to say, as a student of traditional piping techniques, and I almost shed a tear when I saw his sculptures. I had a harder time lifting those images from his website, so you need to go there to see them. It will be totally worth it.

The next woman is wearing a croquembouche hat. For those of you not familiar, it’s a (ridiculously fabulous) French wedding pastry tower. Yes, rather than wedding cakes, the French choose to construct giant towers of puff pastry, chocolate, caramel, macarons, spun sugar, almonds, ribbon, or whatever else they choose. In that light, it’s not a huge leap to put the thing on a beautiful woman’s head. I understand, Will Cotton, I understand.

While I’m on the fine art tilt, I’d like to give a shout out to one of our favorite (cake) artists, Kate Sullivan of Cake Power. Last summer, she created this beautiful cake installation to mimic Wayne Thiebaud’s iconic Cakes. We love her.

Food Imitating Art

Besides being a great teacher, I recently found out my professor makes really cool art. Through November 26, you can see his paintings in the U of M Residential College gallery. It’s totally free (date night?). While the intensity of the pieces may not totally translate on the computer screen, because 1) many were constructed from computer-generated images in the first place and 2) they are really big, here are a couple of examples anyway. I took them from his blog.

A Nightmare Before Christmas (Birthday)

Thank you to Erin Werner of Erin Werner Photography: She sent us these lovely pictures, and she is also Gabby (the birthday girls)’s mom!  When Erin contacted us about this order, we were so excited.  As a child Heather dreamed of working as a sculptor for Pixar, because of movies like this one!

Each of these characters was a labor of love.  This cake was small, but Heather and I each spent a whole day sculpting!  Heather excels at making organic shapes… she made Oogie Boogie, Zero, and Jack and Sally’s faces!

There is a finite amount of time that we are able to work on each cake.  We don’t like to work on a surface of the cake more than a day before they go to the client, so all of the decorating takes place in that time.  Some of the details could be made ahead of time, as the pure sugar sculptures have an indefinite shelf life, but we don’t realistically have free time like that.  Plus, it’s nice to have some freedom to change things in the moment of cake creation.

Gabby arrived at the studio looking cute as a button, toting her Jack and Sally dolls, and immediately our hard work was totally worth it.  She didn’t know she was going to be on the cake with Jack and Sally, and all she could do was smile!  Thank you again to her mom, Erin, for the super fun order and for taking these beautiful pictures.

Food For Thought

Sweet Heather Anne Cake Ann Arbor Gallery Project

So, in the studio, we listen to a lot of NPR.  Like, a lot a lot.  Like, every day…  And we can only listen for so long before were are talking amongst ourselves.  Again and again, we talk about is Americans’ general relationships to food, and how much attitudes could change for people to be more healthy and systems be more sustainable.

Sweet Heather Anne Cake Ann Arbor Gallery ProjectIn the brainstorming process, we kept coming back to distorted food costs as a reflection of all the hard work that goes into getting food to the consumer.  As Americans, we certainly expect food to be affordable, but we are also far enough removed from the supply chain that it can be difficult to understand why food should sometimes cost more.   This is not a very rosy subject.  But we DO have a rosy outlook!  We are hopeful!  We know that information is power!Sweet Heather Anne Cake Ann Arbor Gallery Project

What we really wanted to do was to make a cake (or series of cakes) honored one person who touched each ingredient on it’s way to becoming our cake.  We knew we wanted to make the pumpkin cake… The recipe is relatively straightforward, and it highlights beautiful seasonal fruit from Tantre Farm.   We hadn’t quite solved the design problem though, as it needed to be done in a matter of weeks, not months.  Hm.  We simplified our idea, and translated it to what we do best… building one GIANT cake.  Heather chose to make it a contemporary version of the cake on our business card (love it!) and to use one large tier to diagram it’s ingredient history.  We love the final product, and we hope you do too… It’s on display at the Gallery Project through December 11.Sweet Heather Anne Cake Ann Arbor Gallery Project

Not only did we get to make a beautiful cake, but the three of us had an evening off to hang out together!  Most importantly, being around other artists, not just bakers, allows us to continue to be inspired.  We had a lovely evening of conversation, bumping into old friends, and making new ones.  The exhibit spilled out into the street with our friends Phillis and Joel at The Lunch Room. (mmmm slaw!)  Sweet Heather Anne Cake Ann Arbor Gallery ProjectThe three of us took advantage of the beautiful night and ended the night with a cocktail and some pickled tomatoes at our favorite new evening spot, Mani Osteria.  It was a lovely break after a very busy week.

Sweet Heather Anne Cake Ann Arbor Gallery Project I have to admit, it felt a little productive, too.  We bumped into some potential holiday cookie clients!  We were able to have a little toast to the future of the business..  All in all, how sweet.

Sweet Heather Anne Cake Ann Arbor Gallery Project