Sunday, September 13, 2015

From the Gathering Place to the Ninth Island

It's been seven months since we relocated our lives from Oahu ("The Gathering Place") to Las Vegas. The decision to leave Hawaii and move to Las Vegas, AKA the "Ninth Island" was not an easy one for us. We spent ten years creating a life on Oahu and building cakelava from the ground up. We left loved ones, Kailua - a town we loved, our clients, the wedding community, the people of Hawaii, and a place of unbelievable natural beauty.  Leaving all this to start over again in Sin City. It sounds crazy, and it was! People often ask us why we left Oahu, and the answer is, it's complicated and also very personal, but we made a decision that we felt would be best for ourselves and our business. Seven months later we have no regrets!

Life in Las Vegas has been an incredible experience thus far, filled with one unpredictable adventure after another. The learning curve has been tremendous! If you think it is difficult to open and run a business in Hawaii, try doing it in Las Vegas! After being here, I honestly think it is one of the hardest, most regulated, and most expensive places to have a business, but if you are willing to put in the effort (and finances) to make it happen, it can also be very rewarding. I think back to when we opened cakelava on Oahu and had that same crazy feeling we're having here, a combination of exhilaration and fear, not knowing what the coming years would bring. Ever since we arrived in Las Vegas, we've been working on our shop. Nonstop. Las Vegas is full of diversions and caters to every vice known to humans. It is truly a 24-hour city, but we've had our nose to the grindstone so we can open cakelava here as soon as possible! Stay tuned for the progress. There is an insane amount of planning to open a business here and it took months to find the perfect space for our shop, but we did it! We feel excited and anxious and can't wait to see what our new island, the Ninth Island, holds in store for us!

From the Gathering Place...

Oahu the Beautiful 

Another day by the beach
Pulling on the Banyan Tree at Kapiolani Park 
Sending Aloha to Uncle Clay's House of Pure Aloha!

To The Ninth Island...

Welcome to Nevada, and the Pacific Time Zone!
Dam! The Hoover Dam is awe-inspiring!
Lake Mead. The Ninth Island's beach
Amazing signage at the Neon Museum!
Bellagio Underwater scene, Vegas style! Once we're open, maybe we'll attempt it in cake! 
Visting Mount Charleston
Red Rock Canyon - Heaven in Las Vegas!
Because one photo of Red Rock Canyon is not enough!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

GO.... Mascots!
 A little over a week go we delivered a beautiful wedding cake with handcrafted peonies along with a surprise groom's cake of "Puddles" the Duck, the University of Oregon's school mascot. The Puddles the Duck cake was absolutely the perfect gift for the groom, who is a die-hard fan of his alma mater! We recall when we met with the couple to design their wedding cake, the University of Oregon came up on a number of occasions. If the groom was solely in charge of planning the wedding, green and yellow would be their wedding colors. Seriously! In one of my communications with the bride about her groom's cake, she mentioned it was becoming difficult to keep the secret from her fiance, especially when he kept asking if they could have ducks on their cake. I thought this was pretty hilarious! Somehow I don't think the green and yellow duck cake toppers would have married well with the pretty peonies.

Can you imagine the ducks on top of this beauty?

I certainly can't.

The groom's cake grabbed a lot of attention that night, as to be expected, but Rick and I were smitten with their gorgeous wedding cake as well! Their wedding cake was inspired by their invitation, which had a lovely print of peonies on it. Rick's handcrafted peonies complimented the design.

Puddles the Duck was sculpted out of chocolate cake, a very popular flavor choice for groom's cakes. Rick spent many hours sculpting the duck and had to create a special support structure. We needed to make sure that under all the pressure to dazzle the groom and bride and their guests, Puddles didn't lose his head, feet or ruffle any feathers!

The couple were thrilled with their cakes and sent us a very nice thank you note shortly after their wedding, part of which I've included below:

"... wanted to send you an email to thank you so very, very much for the STUNNING cakes for our wedding!!!  The wedding cake was absolutely beautiful and the peonies were amazing.  It looked exactly like our wedding invitation!  And Puddles was OUT OF THIS WORLD!!!  It was beyond anything I could have ever hoped or imagined...Scott was blown away and was so incredibly happy with the surprise!!! 

Both cakes were supremely delicious, moist and full of flavor -- we received many compliments from our guests that they were the best wedding cakes they ever had

Doing the Puddles the Duck groom's cake got me thinking about another mascot themed cake we made years earlier. (circa 2008) It was also a surprise gift from the bride to her fiance. Both mascots were from Universities in Oregon and they are rival schools! Rick has now made "Puddles" from the University of Oregon and "Angry Benny" Beaver, also called "Angry" Beaver, from Oregon State University. If Puddles and Angry Benny had to duke it out in all-out cake fight, who would win? That is a fight I would love to see! We'll be rooting for them both!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Happy 75th Birthday Batman!
On the evening of Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014, an enormous four-day pop culture media festival called Comic-Con opened at the San Diego Convention Center. Comic-Con is a much anticipated event each year with more than 100,000 attendees coming together to celebrate the best in pop culture film, comics, video games, costumes and more. Coinciding with the kick-off of Comic-Con, DC Comics, the publisher of the Batman comic book franchise, declared July 23rd as "Batman Day" honoring the 75th anniversary of the creation of the Bob Kane and Bill Finger comic book hero.

Outside of Comic-Con, Batman Day was celebrated throughout America. Local theaters showed special screenings of  Batman movies. Fans of the caped crusader threw parties in his honor, and at cakelava, Rick was hard at work making a special cake for a woman who adores Batman!

Our client wasn't kidding when she said she loves Batman more than anything. She said she has felt an affinity with Batman for years and has a Batman tattoo. She calls her apartment "The Batcave" and has Batman items throughout - pictures on the walls, Batman tchotchkes on the shelves, and Batman dolls. In honor of Batman's 75th birthday, she and a group of her friends would attend a special film screening of the original "Batman" movie (with Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson) from 1989, then going back to her place to celebrate with treats and cake!

For her cake, our client knew exactly what she wanted - a 3D sculpted "Chibi" Batman modelled after a doll she owns. We didn't know what a "chibi" version of Batman was but thankfully, Google does and was all too happy to help. Our client brought her coveted Chibi Batman doll to our shop, still in the box and sealed. We knew what this doll meant to her and when she told Rick he could open the box to access the doll, we felt honored.

Rick sculpted the Batman out of chocolate cake. He spent a lot of time sculpting the body and it's gigantic head. The doll had subtle nuances in its shape that required special attention to get the look just right, and he had to build a specials structure for the standing figure. We were thrilled with how it turned out and thought our client would think it was too cute to cut. It turns out she did!

She greeted us outside her building wearing a sleek black outfit with a patterned jacket and leggings - Batman themed of course - and squealed when she first saw the cake! As far as reactions go, a big grin is a huge plus but a squeal is an impulsive, kid-like reaction that cannot be contained and it is the ultimate reaction for us to witness! The cake was well-admired as we walked through the building to her apartment. We didn't know her guests were waiting inside and when the door opened, we were swarmed with a room full of people who instantly pulled out their phones to snap photos. This was one well-photographed cake!

In addition to her amazing Batman cake, party guests enjoyed her homemade Batman sandwiches and black lemonade served in mason jars with chibi Batman heads on top. How cute!
That's one happy Bat-group posing with the cake!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Feeling the Blues
It wasn't long ago that I read a tweet by a popular wedding site announcing that blue wedding cakes are trending.  It was a timely announcement because we had made 2 blue wedding cakes that week. I had noticed we've been making more blue colored cakes both for weddings and birthdays in 2014 so I figured it must be a trend, and now I had validation from the wedding powers that be, we will probably be seeing more of them! The cakes posted here were made this year.

For the cake decorators out there, are you also getting requests for blue colored cakes? What other color trends have you been noticing in 2014?

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