Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Fire Trucks and Butterflies

This weekend was a busy one at The Sassy Lamb, I had a fire truck cake to deliver on Friday and my first wedding cupcakes on Saturday. I had it all scheduled out but of course ran into troubles late Thursday night when I couldn't get my icing to turn red. It just kept going bright pink which simply would not do for a fire engine cake. The cake was for this girl's dad who is the fire chief and who turned 60 on the weekend. So I trucked myself out to McCalls, which is NOWHERE near Sassy Lamb Headquarters, for the ingredients I would need. Things did not go as planned there either but I managed to finally get a fire truck cake that was bright fire engine red and I'm pretty happy with it. Hopefully my client was too!

So I really didn't get started the wedding cupcakes until 9pm which resulted in my being up until 5am decorating! You would think that I might be crying on the kitchen floor, or smashing and burning my kitchen up but somehow I got into a groove and had some fun with it...or maybe i just lost me mind!

Me and this guy became pretty good friends...

I call him Sir Greeny Fondant.

So before I show you the pictures of these cuppies, I should start by explaining the theme of their wedding a little. It was for my friends Jon and Anna who are simply the sweetest and "most meant to be together" couple. Apparently they are super nerds for this violent video game called BioShock. Careful, the video is violent, you've been warned. So they wanted their cuppies to fit into that theme somehow while still being classy. So we went the art deco route, as that is when the game takes place and did a black and white checkerboard floor in fondant...hence Sir Greeny Fondant who would later darken to be Sir Blacky Fondant. And because Jon and Anna have been vegans for the last 4 years, I whipped up what have to be the best chocolate cupcakes (vegan or non-vegan) I have ever tasted...sorry to toot my own horn. Topped them with a simple vanilla icing and tada!

But wait, there's more! Apparently, the morpho butterfly plays a big part in the BioShock game and it also was a big reminder of Jon and Anna's trip to Costa Rica recently so they asked if I could top each cuppie with a butterfly somehow..I considered gum paste, fondant and finally settled on rice paper (thanks Martha Stewart!)

When in doubt, I always ask Martha.

So I set to work hand drawing (well tracing) 60 rice paper butterflies, then painting each one with turquoise luster dust and raspberry vodka and then cutting each one out and sticking them into tiny fondant butterfly torsos. Phew!

and here are the butterflies in stage one.

this is the staging area...where they go from cupcakes to stars!!

and here they are all ready for the spotlight!

So that was my weekend. Spent the rest of it enjoying the insanely beautiful weather. It was mine and Kevy's anniversary so we dined at Table 17 in Leslieville. Sunday nights they do a fixed menu and holy cow! YUM!

Kevy is still drooling over his chorizo pasta and I am still dreaming of duck confit lentil salad...

Go there and eat, we recommend it. But maybe make a reservation, I think we might have been lucky to get in without one. Oh and the playlist (not sure if it was a one time thing) was great. Not sure how Madonna and Prince are still somehow classy and romantic, but it was.

Happy baking!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Welcome to The Sassy Lamb's Blog!

So, I thought it was about time I bit the bullet and started a blog.

I've been wanting to for ages and have had all the same fears that I assume most beginner bloggers have (do I have anything to say? does anyone want to hear it? what if I'm boring?!) but here I am, blogging. Funny how you can worry so much about doing something and plan and procrastinate and make excuses and if you put that much energy into just doing the thing you're afraid of, you could be really great.

Anyway, for those of you that don't know the Sassy Lamb, that is me, Jaime Dobbs. I started this business after quitting my graphic design job in the travel industry. The business is basically a smorgasbord of my creative outlets, including, but not limited to my baking and knitting.

The real catalyst for finally buckling down on the blog was today's adventure at the Iron Cupcake Toronto. This month's secret ingredient was flowers and I spent a good chunk of time researching edible flowers and their many tastes and debating what to make. I finally settled on Lilac and Lavender. Good, decision made, now I was on the hunt for Lilacs, especially after my good friend Coriander Girl told me lilac is super expensive. So I got out my snippers and prowled the neighbourhood, I even went as far as jumping of the street car mid-trip when I saw Trinity Bellwoods was overflowing with gorgeous lilacs in both dark and light shades. Point is, I stole a lot of lilac. I whipped up a test batch and after many soy milk infusions of lavender and lilac, I was happy with the flavour. I took that test batch to a friend's party and the reviews were great.

Here comes the "fun" part. I may or many not have had a few too many drinks at said party. I probably should've gone home much earlier and avoided finishing that french rabbit that I love so much. But alas, I did not. I woke up Saturday morning, downed tylenol, had a very late breakfast with friends and set to baking. I had just purchased the cutest new apron, so I was dancing around the kitchen to dirty dancing, measuring, whisking, preheating the oven.

Now here comes the dumb part. I regularly store my frying pan in the oven. When I am not hungover, I remember to take the pan out of the oven before preheating, but alas, I did not. Not to worry, I slipped on my cute pink oven mitts and set the pan on top of the stove to cool and continued pouring, mixing, etc Not sure what my intention was, but I needed to move the frying pan and my wine-soaked little brain had a momentary lapse. I grabbed a hold of that searing pan with my bare hand. I'm not sure if it happened in slow motion or if even my nerves were drunk and taking a long time to deliver pain messages to my brain but I feel like I held on to that sucker for way too long. The result was and is a nasty burn on my right palm.

Now here comes the pathetic part. I am now mixing batter, separating eggs whites, filling cupcakes liners and removing things from the oven with my left hand. My right hand is permanently stuck to an ice pack. Things are going slow but they are going. I'm not sure what happened next, I know i needed a new bowl, i know I was careful, but next thing I knew my giant salad bowl is smashed in a trillion pieces on my kitchen floor. You'd think this would be sad, and I almost did cry (not for the bowl, i hated that bowl anyway), but for a moment I almost thought, this is like a movie, it's funny. Don't cry. And look on the bright side, thank god you're wearing shoes! So I take a step towards the closet for the broom and pain shoots through my foot. Amazing, a piece of smashed bowl has landed somehow, between my toes. I hobbled upstairs in hyperventilating tears, rinsed out my toe and stuffed it with toilet paper, hobbled back downstairs and proceeded to sweep with my left hand (note to left hand: you suck, stop relying so much on ole righty, start pulling your weight!) Sweeping took forever!

Not bad for all left handed eh?

And here comes the tasty part. I headed to bed soon after all these shenanigans and woke feeling much better. Gathered up everything I needed and headed down to Liberty Village. I was almost in the clear but managed to stall Ross' truck in an intersection. Luckily Susie's window was down and she was able to simply tell the motorbike dude flying toward us to "please not hit us, we've just stalled". Don't want to imagine what "women driver" thoughts must've been going through his head. But we made it, set up, tasted many yummy cuppies but did not win. But I say this story is worth more then any prize being awarded.

Wow, long story. Here is a picture of me with my lady cakes for your viewing pleasure...that's right, it was also nude iron cupcake apparently...

And here's one of my seester tasting a cuppie...

Thanks for reading! More adventures coming soon...

Jaime (The Sassy Lamb)