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Tuesday
Oct232012

Sweet Design Company: Baby's Baptism

By Catherine McCulloch

Every parent wants to celebrate the birth of their adored new baby. Various cultures and religions mark this special event in a significant way. Within the Christian tradition many churches have a baptism, christening or dedication service to present the child to God and acknowledge the parent's promise to raise their baby with faith. It is a ceremony of joy!

This dessert table was created to celebrate the baptism of a baby boy. The luncheon was held in one of the private rooms at Earth restaurant in Bloor West Village. Because the walls are a very dark charcoal gray, we decided to add lots of sparkle to the table with silver platters, dishes and a silver cake pedestal featuring light catching crystals. More sparkle and silver were incorporated with cut glass candy jars, silver cupcake wrappers and sprinkles, Baci chocolates and an oversized vase filled with blue and silver Kisses.

Baby blue and ivory accents provided a gentle look appropriate for a dessert table styled for a baby boy. Risers were wrapped in paper with a soft starburst pattern then decorated with ribbon. More ribbon embellished cake pedestals and vintage silver dishes. Scrumptious treats for the guests featured cake pops, red velvet and chocolate cupcakes, lemon meringue tarts, chocolate pecan tarts, almond cookies, chocolate shortbread cookies, mini chocolate chip cookies, caramel and chocolate French macarons. Blueberry candy sticks, blue chocolate disks and blue raspberries added a pop of color while malt balls were were one more pop of chocolate.

Many congratulations to this blessed baby surrounded by family and friends to nurture and love him as he grows up.

Monday
Oct082012

Sweet Design Company: Happy Thanksgiving!

By Catherine McCulloch

 

Thanksgiving is a great time to get together with family and friends. Depending on your commitments to in-laws and siblings and  nieces and parents and children and grandparents and great aunts and....... sometimes there just isn't enough time to create that Martha Stewart aesthetic and home baked taste. This dessert display combines some made-from-scratch elements with made-it-to-the-grocery-store-just-before-closing items.

Toblerone cheesecake cupcakes are easy to put together and require no baking. They can be created the day before in ordinary cupcake holders and then dressed up just before the company arrives in pretty Autumn cupcake holders with a leaf topper to finish them off.

The pumpkin pie with cranberries is a mix of store bought and home made. I used a little less than 2 frozen pie shells to create the base in a tart pan. With the extra dough, I pressed out a few oak leaves to decorate the pie. Cranberries added a splash of authentic fall garnish. The pie filling started with a base of canned pumpkin pie puree and turned into something delectable with the addition of cream cheese, butter, cream and spices - what's not to love about those ingredients!

Cinnamon and powdered sugar mini-donuts came straight out of the package. Popped onto sticks brightened by yellow ribbon and then jammed into pie pumpkins, the donut sticks added an extra element of fun for the kids. A dish of bright orange jelly beans and a jar of color coordinating gumballs and candy sticks finished off the display with another jolt of color and a few more flavours to add to the mix.

Hay bales, pumpkins, mums and kale certainly added to the festive fall dessert display, but these desserts can look just as appealing served on a table with a few mini pumpkins surrounded by leaves from your back yard or local park.

No matter what you serve, or how you decorate, the most important element of course is celebrating with the people you love and taking a few minutes from the craziness of it all to remember to be truly thankful. 

Wednesday
Oct032012

Sweet Design Company: Run For The Cure

By Catherine McCulloch

On Sunday September 30th, I participated in the Run For The Cure with 20,000 other people walking and running to raise funds to find a cure for cancer. I was part of a team of 60 friends, family members, neighbours and students who all came together to support the amazing Mrs V. as she undergoes treatment for breast cancer.

Another team mate and I decided that everyone would need a little pink treat to help power them through the streets of Toronto on that beautiful Autumn morning. We baked dozens of chocolate chip cookies with a bright pink Smartie in the middle of each. The cookies were packaged in clear cello bags imprinted with the pink breast cancer logo. To reflect the gifted teacher that Mrs V is, I designed loot bag tags to look like a blackboard with chalk lettering. An apple in shades of pink was added to the middle, along with breast cancer ribbons to symbolize the vision to find a cure. The bags were all tied together with lots of bright pink ribbon.

Before the race we all met together at the Opening Ceremonies to take a team photo, get our faces painted, hear inspiring stories of recovery and share cookies. We also took a moment to include our words on the Wall of Hope. I wrote a message of encouragement to Mrs V here in Toronto and Elma in England, two remarkable women whose strength, grace and humor I love and admire.

 

 

Saturday
Sep292012

Sweet Design Company: KitKat Candy Cake

By Catherine McCulloch

Every year my children's school holds a cake walk as a fund raiser. Parents and children get creative with their baking skills to produce some very imaginative cakes to raise money for extra programs.

I was planning a vanilla two tiered ombre rose cake in shades of choral, filled with apricot buttercream. My children were horrified. Apparently no kid in their right mind was going to choose my version of Autumn Elegance. Their exact instructions to me involved lots of candy with a parting 'fun NOT fancy' shot as they left for school.

Enter the KitKat Candy Chocolate Cake to save my kids from sure and certain cake humiliation. Bright, colorful, fun - a candy extraveganza! (Not a rose, piping bag or open star tip in sight.)

Fast and Fab Tip: This cake is not particularly difficult to make, but it is a little time consuming to decorate. I made the cake and icing from scratch because I prefer the taste but you can use a mix and pre-made icing or if you're really pressed for time, pick up a chocolate cake from your local bakery and just decorate. A cake with chocolate icing works best for the base because any other color will show through the KitKats.

DIY Tip: It takes about 13 KitKat bars to cover a double decker 9" cake. With respect to the candy, you'll need enough to fill the space between the cake and the top of the KitKat bars. This will vary from cake to cake as it's dependent on the height of your cake. For the best results get enough candy to mound at the center of the cake just above the top line of the KitKats.

Decor sticks with some height will give your cake extra wow factor. Use something light like pixie sticks, rock candy, cupcake toppers or extra long skinny candles, then choose candy to color coordinate.

Last but not least; the ribbon. This piece of decor not only adds punch visually, but is actually an important structural element as it holds the KitKats in place which in turn keeps the candy from spilling over the sides.

The kids (and the kids at heart) will love it!

Sunday
Aug122012

Sweet Design Company: Our Styling + Your Family Treats = Perfect Marriage 

By Catherine McCulloch

Does your family all like to bring treats to celebrate an event like a baptism or bridal shower? Do you love the look of a themed dessert table but suspect you'll be cut out of the will if you don't include Nonna's crostoli or Aunt Margret's shortbread? Sweet Design Company has the answer. We'll style your table and you provide the family favorite treats!

The pictures on this blog post were taken at the Islington Golf Course for Christina's breakfast bridal shower. Her mother-in-law lovingly made many of the delicious cookies and squares on the table. Her mom's friend Bruna, owner of Cookies and Cake Pops created the bridal shower cake, macaron tower and the sweet flower cake pops.

Our client wanted a garden themed dessert table in purple, green and yellow. She gave us her bird houses to include on the table. Floor to ceiling windows overlooking the gorgeous green golf course added to the ambiance.

We started with a garden basket covered in moss twigs as the focal serving piece for displaying the shower cake. Large flowers in purple and green, and sprigs of pale yellow berries were arranged between the cake layers and added to the basket. We embellished our client's bird houses by adding hanging moss and a few delicate blooms and then perched them on risers wrapped in color coordinated paper, ribbon and decorated with more pretty flowers. Elegant glass domes displayed blossoms on the center of cake pedestals to add a little more color and garden decor. The nature inspired aesthetic continued with a faux white tree trunk surrounded by moss and flowers and topped with an elegant French macaron tower.

Sweet Design Company provided an array of platters and cake pedestals adorned with ribbon or flowers. As we didn't know specifically what scrumptious treats were being brought to the party, we provided different sized serving pieces in white and silver to accommodate a variety of desserts.

Family and friends generously surrounded Christina with delicious cookies, squares and cakes. More importantly they surrounded her with their love and caring and well wishes for a long and happy marriage.