Floral Galore

The proportions of this horizontal striped buttercream cake were just perfection, the 360° floral placement is breathtaking, and these photos by Lauren Gabrielle are beautiful.  Macarons were a sweet final touch on each place setting.  We hope you enjoy these photos of Lori and Josh’s Lovett Hall reception as much as we do.
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A Casual Affair: Karissa & Cliff

It was so fun to receive these beautiful photos by Julie Pepin of Karissa and Cliff’s outdoor Michigan wedding (especially of the cake cutting)!  We were able to do what we do best, and I think you’ll agree that the overall effect is stunning.  Everything is edible– gum paste flowers, fondant bark & royal icing moss.

Photo by Julia Pepin**dsc_5603**dsc_5177*dsc_5288*dsc_4672 copy*dsc_5410*dsc_5197*dsc_4668**dsc_5347 **dsc_4697 copy **dsc_4999 **dsc_4732*dsc_4669*dsc_4689*dsc_5360**dsc_5364For more of Karissa & Cliff, check out Julie Pepin’s blog.

 

Air & Sea Backyard Wedding

Sometimes we meet someone new in the industry and immediately we’re smitten.  It was like that when we first struck up an Instagram friendship with Janelle of re:find joy in Chicago.   Not long after, she was on a train to Ann Arbor to discuss her own upcoming wedding.  Her whimsical sketchbook and quirky urchin inspiration were utterly enchanting.  We love how just a little bit of creativity can transform our simple vintage buttercream wedding cake.  Without further ado, here are a selection of shots by Julia Franzosa of Chris & Janelle’s mystical, magical backyard wedding.

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Can’t get enough of Chris & Janelle’s backyard wedding?  Check out this Wedding Chicks blog!

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.

Wedding Cake Design: Inspiration

When clients come to the studio for cake design appointments I always ask that they bring along  photos of the aspects of the wedding that are most important to them.  The great thing about cake design is that the cake can be as personal as the client would like.  Often couples will bring photos of other cakes they like.  While that is helpful, it’s even more helpful to see your colors, patterns, and other design elements from the wedding that you love.  That is what helps us to design a cake that is personal and enhances the event design.  We’ve drawn inspiration from all kinds of sources, everything from stationary, to florals, and even the bridal gown.

The gown was the exact source of cake inspiration for Maureen and Derek’s recent wedding at the Colony Club in downtown Detroit.  Maureen’s gown was Monique Lhuillier‘s Hyacinth.   The top tiers of the cake mimic the texture on the bodice of the dress, and similarly the bottom tiers are inspired by the gown’s skirt.  The cake isn’t so literal that you think immediately of a dress, but it does have the a similar  *gorgeous* look and feel, keeping the design of the evening cohesive.  And of course the inspiration can come from anywhere, so don’t hesitate to bring us that scrap book you’ve been putting together since you were five.Wedding Cake design based on gown

Wedding Cake at Colony Club

A big thank you to Robert Bruce Photography for sharing the cake image.

Meet Heather

I thought it might be nice to take some time to introduce you to the Sweet Heather Anne team.  I’m going to a blog entry about all three of us, but we will start with Heather since she is the owner and namesake of the business.  She also is going to be doing a Culinary U workshop at What’s Cooking Detroit this coming Saturday (March 2nd), so if you like what you hear you can check her out there–be sure to ask her about her love of spoons.   Carla HallMichelle BommaritoJohn Somerville of Lark, and many others will also be there.

Heather’s love for cake design stems from an education in art, a passion for food, and a childlike refusal to believe that there isn’t anything she cannot create.  While attending the University of Michigan School of Art and Design, she packed up her paintbrushes to study abroad in Florence. Though she had hoped that immersing herself in the realm of the Italian masters would rub off on her artistic prowess, she found herself more interested in the perfect foam atop my cappuccino.

Upon returning to the States, her new-found passion for food seeped into her art making. For my art school thesis, I dedicated myself to forming the same connection to food in Michigan that I had experienced in Italy. After working with food producers and artisans in the Ann Arbor area, she created a series of edible monuments to honor each one.

Before opening Sweet Heather Anne, she took time to carefully refine my craft: developing and refining her palate with Eve Aronoff at eve the restaurant and braving the Food Network’s Last Cake Standing as an assistant to Courtney Clark of Cake Nouveau.  As owner and cake designer at Sweet Heather Anne,  she loves what she does, and looks at each new cake as a challenge to create something beautiful that will make your day extraordinary.

Glimpse into the Sweet Heather Anne kitchen, and check out Heather in action: hand-painting a cake topper, decorating cookies, and making royal icing.

at work

Heather at work

Heather at Work

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?

custom cakes, wedding cakescustom cake, Metro detroitcustom cakes, Sweet Heather Annecustom cakes, Metro Detroit

Many thanks to Amanda Dumouchelle for the gorgeous images.

L-O-V-E + 2.14.13

We talk and think and talk about love and weddings all day here at the Sweet Heather Anne studio.  This being our first February 14th in our new studio, we couldn’t be more excited.

So we have planned exciting only-for-V-Day-flavors and events.  Don’t forget to sign up for our Valentine’s Day cookie class on Wednesday February 13th.  You’ll leave with 2 dozen beautifully decorated cookies for you and your loved ones!Ann Arbor, Valentine's Day, Cookie Class

On 2.14.13 we’ll be popping up with Sweet Pea Floral Designs at Rock Paper Scissors on Main Street in Ann Arbor and at VLNTSDY MRKT by Pot + Box in Detroit.  We also will be selling our super cute and superbly delicious treats at the #DessertCounter on Thursday February 14th through Saturday February 16th.

Our Cakes-for-Two are topped with a gilded gold heart, and are all-around super special.  We’re baking these in two flavors: Mexican spiced chocolate and strawberry ginger (a V-Day only flavor!).  Must I remind you that both chocolate and ginger are aphrodisiacs?  Just saying guys.Pop Up, Rock Paper Scissors, VLNTSDY MRKT

We’ll also be doing ombre french macarons (chai spice + raspberry) and conversation heart sugar cookies.Valentine's Day Cookies, Sweet Heather Anne

French macarons, Ann Arbor

Pop by and say hello at one of our Valentine’s Day locations, we’d love to see you.

Sweet Heather Anne Pop-Up Shop at Rock Paper Scissors Ann ArborSweet Heather Anne, Detroit

Many thanks to Abby Rose Photo for the gorgeous photos