Saturday, April 26, 2008

The week that was...


So this week was filled with a bit of show and tell, cake decorating, and swordplay...chocolate style!

We were happy to play hosts to Girl Scout Troop #748. It's always fun and interesting to teach young people about how we create chocolates and listen to their questions.

In addition, Judy created a chic, petite cake for a dear friend up in NYC to display in her dessert bar/bakery.

And finally, we created over a hundred chocolate sword tablets for the Cummer Ball which was catered by Catering by Liz. This project was very exciting for us as we got to try out new techniques, i.e. creating a mold out of gelatin and using our chocolate sprayer!

Hopes all is well with everyone!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Communion Cake


On Sunday, we were commissioned to make a petite communion cake for a party held at a nearby church on the same street as our boutique. The interior is a chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream. We decorated it with a rosary made from fondant and hand painted with pearl and gold. Also, we included a spray of jeweled dogwoods appliques.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Greatest Love Song of ALL TIME....PERIOD.


So this is the greatest love song of all time. Search the web to find out the amazing story about this movie, this song, the writers and singers, etc. etc.

I mean...isn't that life...'take this sinking boat and point it home....we still got time....'

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Last Minute Wedding Cake vs. long term planning


We just completed another VERY short notice wedding cake for a bride, who first contacted us a week before her wedding....needless to say it became a hectic week! Which brings up the idea of why should you book your cake so far in advance. It breaks down into the following:

  1. The NUMBER ONE reason is that the baker could be booked for that weekend. you have to imagine what it is like, a baker has to do as many cakes as possible without losing quality in terms of design and execution in order to run a viable business. Some bakers can do 3 cakes, others can do more...cake decorators like Ron Ben Israel and Duff of Charm City Cakes, can do up to 20 cakes in a week....all probably delivered on Saturday at 5pm!
  2. If you wait until the last minute, you are left with what the baker already has in stock, in terms of colors, materials, decorations, and flavors. Most good purveyors are on the west coast, so shipping by ground can take several days, which pretty much means you won't get anything exotic that isn't already in the baker's inventory. We were lucky to have a few signature flavors already in stock for the above cake, i.e. pistachio, champagne, and blood orange. But if we hadn' get the idea.
  3. Certain decors take time to create. Namely sugar paste flowers, which need time to dry after being crafted. In addition, coloring fondant to match the decor of the wedding can be prohibited by the fact that fondant, after being colored needs to rest, or it will become very fragile and easy to tear when rolled onto a cake.
  4. Another element of the decor is approving the final details, etc. For instance, if the fondant is colored the same week, it's pretty much a one shot deal, i.e. if the color isn't what the bride wants, there really isn't much time to change it, due to the fondant needing to rest.
But, the cake was really cool and fun for us to execute because it tested our ability to conceptualize a cake and do a quick turn around for a cake that is rather complicated and exciting:
  • We had to color fondant on short notice using the colors we had on hand, mixing blue, white and gray to get a shade of blue slate that the bride was looking for.
  • Doing a double stack tier, a la April Reed, was something new for us.
  • Putting two types of cakes and three types of buttercream flavoring into one cake was intricate and fun.
    • Top tier: 8 inch Almond Cake with Pistachio Buttercream
    • Bottom tier (top): 10 inch Yellow Cake with Blood Orange Buttercream
    • Bottom tier (bottom): 10 inch Yellow Cake with Champagne Buttercream
  • Delivering the cake to a boat on the St. John's River say the least!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Wedding Cake


We recently did a short notice wedding cake for a bride and her groom a few weekends ago. The key themes were the colors: Navy Blue and Silver; a cake topper; and two intertwined hearts. Given the size of the cake topper base, we had to enlarge the cake tiers. The interior of the cake was white cake with pecan cream cheese icing and chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream.

Cake for Cool/Hip Mother of the Bride!

I was just getting ready to write to you.  Yesterday was the
most exciting day! I first came by to pick up your cake,
and was thrilled. It was just gorgeous, and the smell that
filled my car was so delicious! After I picked up the cake,
and dropped it off at home and then went for my dress fitting.
That's where it all came together. It is really amazing,
the color of the dusting and the shape of the lace molds to match
the dress was really uncanny. Beautiful work! Everyone
loved the champagne filling as well. Thanks Jaycel!
- Kathy S.


We recently finished creating a Birthday Cake for a very cool Mother of the Bride whose daughter is having us create a wedding cake and wedding favors for. Her wedding cake is the style of her dress and she wanted to create something in a similar style for her mother's birthday cake, with the actual cake being a yellow cake and champagne buttercream.

So we created a series of bands that are inspired by the waist of her dress, with knots in the back for buttons, and lace motifs. All the decor was colored with a blend of various dusts to mimic the actual colors of the dress. We believe that you should rarely use a straight color for a decor element on a cake, because the color is much too flat looking. You want to have shades and hues of color to your decor. The cake is covered with ivory fondant.

I wish I took a better picture, so my apologies and sorry for the stool....we are planning on getting a photo table soon!

Thursday, April 17, 2008



I wanted to include a link to an amazing blog for those of us who love the Pastry Arts.

My partner and I were taught and raised in a world where perfection, exactness, clean lines, and amazing and innovative tastes were the rule, not the exception.

The photos and words in the above blog are what we aspire to bring to our clients, working and learning everyday to bring that about is what makes us happy and engages us!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Childhood dreams....

Really moving's long....but completely worth it!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Party Weekend!


Here are two cakes that we did over the weekend, both birthdays!

The party hat cake was a great experience because we got to experiment with a technique of high stacking a cake to create a very tall tier. You can't just stack cakes on top of each other, because the weight will not support the cake and it will start to press down too much, so you have to dowel the bottom cake tiers. Also, we had to shave the cake down to get that pointed structure that is iconic of a party hat. The cake flavors were chocolate cake and vanilla buttercream.

The other cake was a horse cake done for a client's daughter's 16th birthday party. The theme was equestrian. The top layer is chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream, while the bottom tier is yellow cake with chocolate buttercream. I really like the use of stencils to decorate a cake for a few reasons. It really utilizes the advantage of fondant over buttercream covered cakes, since you can use the fondant as a canvas to decorate on. The stencils are custom made, not cookie cutters, which lets us give the cake personality that is unique to the client. And finally, you can adjust the size of the decor via shrinking or enlarging the stencils!

Hopes you all like them.

This is going to be a very busy week for us!

1. We are sending samples to an amazing gourmet food company in Michigan that we greatly admire to see if our chocolates can be sold in their store.

2. We are holding a number of tasting for brides, including a couple coming out from California!

3. We have a short-notice wedding to do on Saturday, which is going to be fun. Mixing the technique of extra high tiers with the Lily cake tree motif.

4. My little cousin is getting a cupcake tree for his birthday on Tuesday, delivered by me dressed in my chef whites to his school.

5. We are doing a petite birthday cake for the mother of one of our brides, who wants it to be done in the style of her wedding cake, flavors: yellow cake and champagne buttercream!

6. A baptism cake this Sunday that we are going to decorate with a rosary hand sculpted from fondant.

7. Meeting for competitors in the MOCA Takes the Cake competition.

Good times!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

When We Play with Our Food.....


So we just got invited to be a part of MOCA Takes the Cake competition in May. We are very excited for the chance as it means we will be returning back to MOCA, after attending MartiniFest for FolioWeekly at the beginning of the year.

The competition is split into two parts: one is making a sculpted cake and samples enough for 500 people. The second part is dessert samples and perhaps a chocolate sculpture. Well we have experience with chocolate sculptures. Judy created the above sculpture in just a day and half after returning from NYC the day before MartiniFest. We have taken this sculpture all over the has been broken, sat in the window of our shop for a few it has a little bit of bloom, but I think it is still hot!

We will post more info on the event as we get it and of course we will post our creations after the event!

Our Promise


We have been really excited about the reception we have gotten about our site and blog the past few days! It really does make a difference!

As a new business we have been developing ideas about the sort of business we want to create and the reputation that we want to be known for. I think I would like to state a few key principles for our guests to be able to count on in a concrete way:

1. We make all our chocolates and cakes from scratch, using ONLY the finest ingredients. We DO NOT use cake mixes! We do make Swiss Meringue buttercreams for our fillings, NOT american-style icings where confectionery sugar is blended with shortening and/or watery butter. Our butter is shipped to us from Vermont and is 83% butterfat vs. 40% butterfat supermarket butter.

2. All of our products are made on-site. We do not purchase product and re-sell them, PERIOD!

3. We DO NOT charge for tasting/consults for weddings.

4. Once we receive a deposit, we do not bump you off for a 'bigger' wedding that comes later. I thought this was an obvious thing....but we have heard some stories.....

5. If you cannot meet at our boutique for a consult/tasting, then I will make every effort to come and meet you at a local coffee shop or venue of your choice.

6. We are here to bring a bit of happiness into your life, NOT stress, disappointment, or indifference!

7. We return your calls and emails within 24 hours. (Just be sure that we have your email and/or phone number! Someone asked us about a groom's cake this week and didn't leave us an email or phone number to reply too!)

8. In fact, here is my personal cell phone number: 904.891.8186.

I am sure that we will be adding things as we continue on our journey, but it's a start!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Chocolates of the World Competition...yeah..WE WON!


The first charity event we did was a couple of months ago for the International Visitor's Corps, which hosts people from other countries to come to the United States to understand our system of government better and our people as well! We were very excited to have been invited to attend and were a bit nervous sense we would compete against the pastry chefs of all the major hotels and resorts in the region, Marriot-Sawgrass, Sea Island, etc!

The competition was to create a plated dessert, which would be judged by best plating, best taste, and best dessert buffet presentation.

We created a chocolate spire that had three platforms, each containing a chocolate, which we called: "Bonbons Threeways!" i.e. a bonbon, a truffle, and a molded piece. Our truffle was a pistachio truffle rolled in crushed pistachio nuts, a bonbon of red wine, and the molded piece was a honey cardamon caramel.

We nearly KILLED OURSELVES making over 300 spires, 900 discs, and 900 bonbons for the event, assembling the spires on site was a herculean task of which Judy was not too pleased about....BUT WE WON for BEST ARTISTIC CHOCOLATE PRESENTATION!

We also donated a box of chocolates...our NEVERENDING BOX which the winning bidder got to bring to the store every month for a year to be refilled with our awesome bonbons.

Food of the Gods...


This blog has been a way for us to talk about and showcase our cakes. But we also are chocolatiers, who have spent enormous time and expense to learn about of the gods.

In the next couple of weeks we are going to post our thoughts of the world's favorite food and flavor and explain our chocolates....first instance....why do we name them after virtues?!?

"We the People...."


One of the goals of our blog is to introduce the purpose of our company, "Etiquette of Chocolate," which is celebrating the special people and moments in our guests lives through cakes and chocolates.

Our ambition is to be the best in the world in fulfilling this purpose. It sounds rather grandiose, right?...GOOD! Because it is!

But what does that mean?

Being 'best in the world' at 'celebrating the special people and moments in our guests lives through cakes and chocolates?'

We are in a journey to figure that out, but we have some notions and ideas about what it will entail:

1. Finest Ingredients in the World & Using Nature as Our Palette

Our canvas is the cakes and chocolates that we create. When you are using a cake or box of chocolates to celebrate a moment or a person that is special to you, the cakes and chocolates BETTER be made with the BEST ingredients in the world. Hence, our cakes use only the finest butter from Vermont allowing them to float on your tongue, chocolates from France, and flavorings and spices sourced from around the world. We know where the best restaurants in NYC get their product....and we get it from there, TOO!

Breaking out of the iron grip of past flavor combinations! The classics are great and we pay homage to them better that most! But venture out into the world of green teas from Kyoto and our Signature Champagne buttercream!

2. Artisanship and Craftmenship

Two key components of a great and sublime food experience are fine ingredients...and great technique! Both Judy and I were trained at the French Culinary Institute in NYC and went on to work and intern at the best places in NYC for desserts: Fauchon Pastry Labs, Ron Ben Israel Cakes, P*ONG, and Le Cirque. The techniques that we learned from all of that experience goes into our chocolates and cakes.

Plus, we feel that you have to have a signature style that speaks to our guests tastes and personality. Our chocolates are straightforward flavors that balance both the taste of chocolate and the infusion of flavors that we create. Our cakes are very chic and clean, very well edited!

Equals an intense desire for excellence. We have tasted perfection, we have worked stations where the only standard was excellence. It's the world that we know!

3. Hospitality and a Happy Company

We believe that people who use our service are our guests! We want to create an experience that leaves people happier than before they entered our world. That is why we only use the best ingredients, why we spent so much time and sweat training ourselves in the best institutions, why we continuously read and read about our field, and why everyone who walks into our boutique is a guest in the home that we have created.

A Happy Company is one where it knows it's purpose and embraces it as a meaningful way to spend one's time and labor. Where people are respected and allowed to have fun doing what they feel that were meant to do.

Cliff notes:

(Best ingredients)x(global palette) + (great technique)x(great style) + (hospitality)(happy company) = Etiquette of Chocolate!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

It's a Boy!!


We recently created a Baby Shower Cake for a client who heard about us from our 'Rock out My Son's Cake!' We created a sketch which the client approved of, consisting of a couple of child building blocks that had the initials of the baby boy on them. We then added two 'stuff' animals, an elephant and an alligator to round out the design made out of fondant. The cake was a carrot cake with pecan cream cheese icing.


Thursday, April 3, 2008

Cake Sketches


When we meet with a prospective bride about her wishes for her cake, we usually execute one to two sketches. These allow us to flesh out the ideas and to see if they go together. Sometimes a bride has ALOT of ideas about her cake, tearsheets from magazines, colors, flowers, etc. Taken individually they all look beautiful, but when putting them together onto a cake, sometimes....less is more!

We firmly believe that it is our duty to give a bride a cake she can be happy with, reflects her personality, tastes wonderful, and will be immortalized in her wedding photos for years to come.

The above sketches are a small sample of the types of cakes we have been asked to conceptualize thus far this year.

Take cake!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Can you do something simple....?


We have been getting ALOT of requests for rather 'simple' cakes for birthdays. Many people think that we only do elaborate wedding cakes or birthday cakes, i.e. drums or shoes! But we also love making rather simple and elegant birthday cakes for small intimate gatherings, as well!

We really like to pipe a small tablet, made out of chocolate, wishing the lucky person "Happy Birthday" rather than writing directly on the cake, it doesn't look as nice, we think. Also, while you certainly can, we have found that alot of people don't want to put candles into the cake! Go figure!?! Guys tend to be more geometric while the Gals prefer the flowers.

Take cake!