Monday, July 29, 2013


Eight years ago, I was blessed with the greatest gift ever - my son. He is an amazing little boy - so smart, silly, sweet, did I mention silly. Honestly, this kid makes me laugh every day. Sometimes, with the crazy things he has done, I'm amazed he's lived this long. But that's a boy for you!

For his birthday cake, he's had this planned out in his head for the past year and a half. On Christmas of 2011, we got him the Cars 2 DVD, and when he watched it, there was a preview for the new Disney Movie set to come out in theaters in the summer of 2013. From above the world of Cars.... it's Disney Planes!

The moment he saw it, a spark ignited into a wildfire of excitement. Lucas LOVES planes. He wants to be a pilot when he grows up - along with a truck driver like daddy, a policeman and a firefighter. But mostly a pilot. We live near an airport and have been taking him to a parking lot by the runway to watch the planes take off and land since he's been a baby. On his 2nd birthday, we took him to the EAA museum in Oshkosh. Every year for the past 3 years we have taken him to see the Air Show in downtown Milwaukee. And... *shhh... keep this a secret* my husband and I are thinking of taking him to the EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh in two years when he turns 10.

But I digress. With the movie set to be released in theaters three weeks after his birthday this year, I knew that this would be the perfect time to make him the Disney Planes cake he's been wanting. I had this big huge picture in my head, but it ended up being scaled back somewhat as the guest list shrank. No problem - in fact I think he loved it.

The cake itself is yellow cake with chocolate buttercream filling, and all of the decorations, with the exception of the airplane, are made with frosting. His favorite part, besides the plane, was the skywriting on the side of the cake. The airplane is a toy I purchased - and after eating his slice of cake, he grabbed the toy and ran away with it to have many adventures.

Happy Birthday Lucas!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

40 years of love

I made this cake two weeks ago, but it has taken a while for me to think of just the right words for the story I am about to write.

One year ago, my husband and I hosted the annual choir picnic for the church choir I am part of. After everyone left, a few people stayed behind for a bonfire, and we had a wonderful time. Two of those people were Pat and Jeff Kramer. A wonderful couple - high school sweethearts that had been married for 39 years, and still acted like newlyweds. Several years ago, Jeff was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, and even as his condition worsened, their love only grew stronger. Such an inspiration. Well, on that lovely summer evening last year as we were sitting around the fire while my kids and two of their friends played and chased fireflies, Jeff told me that he wanted me to make a cake for their 40th anniversary the following year. He had been following my cake adventures for quite some time and has always had such nice things to say about my creations. Of course I said yes - he and his wife have been friends of ours since I first joined the choir and to tell the truth I was honored that they were choosing me to be a part of their special day.

Fast forward eight months later, and tragedy struck. On March 28, 2013, Jeff Kramer had a sudden heart attack and passed away. I was deeply saddened by this, as were my husband and children, who always delighted in going to their house for past choir picnics and Christmas parties, and watching him play with his train set in the basement (Jeff loved trains!). Of course, I just figured that Pat would no longer be having an anniversary party, but I still offered to make her a small gluten-free cake if she wanted it. Well, she surprised me and said that after thinking and talking to her children, she decided to still have the party, as a celebration of Jeff's life and the love that they shared for well over the 40 years that they were married. I was so deeply touched by this gesture, and was happy to make the cakes for them.

Since Pat has celiac disease, she did request a gluten-free yellow cake with  lemon buttercream filling for herself, and then a sheet cake for the rest of her guests - a layer each of chocolate and yellow cake with almond buttercream filling. It was my first time making a gluten-free cake, and I was surprised with how well is turned out. I even tasted a bit of the leftover cake from when I cut the dome off the top, and it was a bit more dense than the usual cake, but still yummy so I knew she'd love it. The decorations were simple - purple roses and border, just like their wedding cake 40 years ago. For the small cake I used some purple royal icing roses that I had stored away, but for the main cake, I used buttercream. Well, of course the morning I decorated the cakes, the weather was warm and humid, so the roses didn't turn out the way I wanted them to, but I think they still looked okay. And Pat loved it, wiping away any doubts I had in my mind of having made her a sub-standard cake.

Then there was the message. I had a hard time figuring this out myself, as did Pat. She finally sent me a message three days before their anniversary with the final details about the cake, along with the message she wanted on top. I think it is so fitting.

Thanks Pat for letting me be part of yours and Jeff's lives together - your love is an inspiration to everyone whose lives you've touched over the past 40 years.