Monica and Brian: RUSTIC buttercream

Sometimes clients think that rustic buttercream means well RUSTIC. We use to make a joke in my old kitchen that anything less than perfect was called Rustica (Italian for Rustic). But it just so happens we were an Italian restaurant and well it happened to be that everything was RUSTICA. Not always ideal for that perfect looking panna cotta but definitely an ideal when it comes to how we present food.  The thought behind this is that it  wasn’t fussed over and looked still very natural and minimally handled. On the other hand, to obtain this true rustic look, here at Sweet Heather Anne, it might seem “easy” or “laissez faire” but in fact it takes a careful eye to get these very natural looking swirls and waves. I think as far as rustic goes, we get it right. Stunningly simple, textured and very appetizing.

Monica and Brian choose the rustic buttercream finish for their cake and in their space, it feels elegant, still very natural and most importantly true to their style. I loved the details: gorgeous peonies, engraved Mr and Mrs forks, burlap and wood. What a beautiful wedding and a great couple. All photos by the talented JR Magat Photography. 

Check out more photos of their wedding on JR Magat’s blog.

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Treat yourself… to our new simple treat signature buttercream cake

Sweet Heather Anne would like to introduce you to a new beautiful simple buttercream cake called the SIGNATURE. Gorgeous horizontal lines organically pattern this buttercream cake. And they come in many sizes and even stacked and tiered. Hello Signature! You are a new classic and dare I say Sweet Heather Anne’s signature cake.Image

Macaron

Macarons are a true French delicacy and our taking us by storm. Not to be confused with macaroons (coconut), these are meringue based with almond meal folded in sandwich between flavored buttercream. They are dainty, playful and make for inspired canvases of interesting flavors and shades not yet categorized by Pantone. They are also very challenging and take a skilled hand and patience to create the perfect texture and “pied” (the foot that elevates the shells.) Thanks to the likes of Laudree and Piere Herme, we have plenty of inspiration.

At Sweet Heather Anne, we keep experimenting with these cuties. One of my favorite flavors is chai ( with cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, ginger and black pepper.) And then there’s pistachio and citrus praline and oh the list goes on. We are hoping to make a lavender macaron with lavender that Claudia grew.  But we also love playing with their presentation.  Whether boxed up and tied with ribbon, our infamous ombre macaron tower, apothecary jars and vintage cake stands, macarons deserve special treatment. We always have in rotation two flavors of macarons at the dessert counter, so passer-byes can come in and sample these delectable confections. We love making them, maybe just as much as we love eating them!

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REMINDER: we still have a few spots left for our July 2nd Cookies Decorating Class ( Independence Day themed.) Please contact us to reserve a spot. We would love to decorate with you.

peonies

Both Renoir and brides consider this flower, the ephemeral illustrious bud, their muse. Tight spherical blossoms open up in layers of big pedals with flashes of yellow coated pollen in their center.  These flowers undoubtedly have a presence and some say quite the feminine mystique. They seem like the perfect flower for marriage. In Feng Shui tradition, peonies are supposed to be good luck for a couple. During the spring time, these flowers are in full bloom, but the season is short lived. But with meticulous hands, sugar paste flowers can take their place and be a lovely interpretation of the real thing. Throughout this post, our some of our favorite romantic peonies that we got to use or make.

This wedding used real peonies with piped buttercream details. Oh so very English garden.

Passionflower showed us how lovely peonies are paired with green blueberries.

Hand painted peonies look like a cool graphic wall paper. Simply the outline of these flowers remain,  yet, a lasting impression.

Who said you can have too many peonies? These gorgeous flowers (hand sculpted sugar paste) will cascade down this cake in true magnificence.

A Very Special Birthday Cake

Rockette80th Full Cake

This one had me at the words art deco and Rockette. But come to find out Marzy is one of those rare majestic human beings that lives a very beautiful life, she dances. Dancers use body movement and form to translate ideas, while we do it with cake and a large dose of fine art techniques (which we used our whole arsenal on this one.)Radio City Music Hall Rockettes

 Marzy was on the Ed Sullivan show, was a former Rockette and still dances today at the young age of 80. Her daughter commissioned this cake for her mother to represent parts of her life. What’s better yet was that her birthday party was all about art deco and the 1920’s. As you will see in this cake, Claudia and Heather seamlessly combined art deco (with its’ stark geometric patterns) with the softness and fluidity of dancers, whether in the hand painted line of Rockettes or the hand sculpted dancing figurines.  Rockette 80th dancer close-up

Father’s Day Dessert Counter

ImageFather’s Day is next weekend! Our dessert counter will be stocked with assorted cookie boxes (including Mexican shortbread, chewy chocolate molasses cookies, white chocolate cranberry cookies, and Dad themed decorative cookies), Mexican spiced chocolate cake truffles, and a limited supply of chocolate praline 6″ inch cakes. Call us at 734 913 2025 by Wednesday to reserve your Dad some treats.

Dessert Counter hours are Friday June 14th 10:00am-6:00pm and Saturday June 15th 9:00am – 2:00pm.

July 4th Cookie Class ( July 2nd 5:30pm – 8:00 pm)

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The other day Claudia was talking about First Lady Dolly Madison. She was quite the fun one. She relished in her first lady duties and pioneered some of the traditions we have today. Dolly Madison believed the more the merrier and any occasion is better with food, lots of people and dancing. Undoubtedly she would have thought these American inspired cookies are a must for any party.

We invite you to come celebrate our independence with the ladies from Sweet Heather Anne. We will show you how to decorate some delicious brown sugar cookies with red, white and blue. What better to bring to your July 4th get-together than these spectacular cookies. Come have some fun and learn some new techniques. You will leave with the recipe and skills to re-create these cookies at home, as well as cookies to share.

All Sweet Heather Anne classes are hands-on, so come ready to work in comfortable clothes. Class fees include all materials. If you would like to bring your own tools that’s fine, but not necessary. We will not provide meals, so plan ahead if you think you’ll need a snack. Payment in full is required to reserve your spot. Bring a friend and receive 15% off their tuition.

$75.00 per person
Contact us to reserve your spot or call 734- 913-2025

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!

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.